What should you look for in a partner?
Of course, there’s no simple answer; after all, everyone’s different, and you’ll have to consider your priorities when deciding to settle down.
With that said, there are a few general qualities that improve your chances of a happy long-term romantic relationship.
1. Look for a guy with similar interests.
You don’t have to have identical hobbies, but a decent amount of research shows that couples do better when they have similar tastes and interests. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your partner and dissimilarities can quickly become grating.
This becomes especially important if you have kids since you’ll want to match up on childrearing philosophies. Otherwise, conflict could arise.
2. Look for a guy who’s emotionally stable.
In a study called “Emotion regulation predicts marital satisfaction,” Lian Bloch and others presented the case that long-term married couples are more likely to use constructive communication to express their feelings. In other words, to maintain a long-term relationship, you’ll probably need a sound basis of emotional stability.
You’ll also need to communicate positively to escape from the “negative states” that occur during a conflict. As the study notes, couples can only successfully address their problems and heal emotional damage when they’re at a lower state of emotional arousal—when they’re not lashing out at their partners or bringing up old arguments.
3. Look for a guy who can create a budget.
Money isn’t everything, especially where romance is involved. However, financial hardships can quickly create significant issues in a relationship. According to several studies, financial issues are a leading contributor to divorce and long-term relationship dissolution rates.
You don’t need to date millionaires, but make sure that your partner understands how to budget. It is a good idea to lay out your finances when you’re in a relationship that way there is an understanding of who’s in charge of each bill. Occasional financial issues are just a part of life, but if you’re constantly living paycheck to paycheck, something needs to change.
Ideally, you should deal with financial issues before considering marriage. Consider bringing in a financial advisor if things get rough, and never think of your financial issues as completely separate from your relationship; if you’re living with your partner, you’re going to have to think about money sooner or later (probably sooner).
4. Look for a guy who’s willing to put in the work to make the relationship healthy.
Relationships are work. Don’t believe anyone or anything that says otherwise. If someone wants to be with you, they’ll do what they need to to make that happen, and vice versa. You should also be aware that no other person can fix or heal you.
If someone truly cares about you, they’ll stand by while you work through the ups and downs of life—when you’re at your absolute worst, or at your very best.