The Most Important (and overlooked!) Qualities in a Life Partner
Your love life will be eternally doomed to drama and disappointment if the three qualities I’m going to describe in this article are not reflected in your potential partner’s life.
In all my years as a relationship coach offering dating advice, it astounds me that when a single person creates a list of qualities they’d like in a life partner, they universally leave out the 3 most important ones!
This is the ultimate in self-sabotage!
Every list I’ve ever seen is missing the three most critical, most essential qualities needed to build a healthy, sustainable relationship.
Honesty, a sense of humor and attractiveness are very desirable qualities, while being addicted, unemployed, or obese are normally undesirable. Yet the qualities that I’m talking about are even more important than those!
Based on my experience with hundreds of clients, as well as my personal journey in attracting my own ideal partner, if you don’t insist on seeing these three qualities in a potential partner’s life (and in yours too—you’re not getting off the hook here!) you will never have a long-lasting, fulfilling intimate relationship.
As I walk you through each of the three qualities, I’ll verbalize them as questions because they’re easier to understand and apply in that form.
1. Are they ready and willing to make a commitment?
While this might seem obvious, most people have no idea how to determine whether a potential partner is ready and willing to make a commitment. If I had a nickel for every client who told me that they dated someone for months, only to find out they were neither ready nor willing to commit, I’d be a rich man.
Let’s talk about being ready and willing separately.
I define being “ready” as being complete with all former lovers. In other words, a person is ready for commitment when they’re not attached to someone else in any emotional, physical or legal way.
Let me be very direct on this because chemistry clouds our judgment when it comes to determining a person’s readiness.
They’re not ready if they’re separated and not officially divorced.
They’re not ready if they’ve been divorced less than a year.
They’re not ready if they’ve been widowed less than a year.
They’re not ready if they were in a co-habitating or long-term relationship that ended less than a year ago.
They’re not ready if a long-term relationship ended and they’ve not spoken with a coach or counselor about it.
They are not ready if they occasionally date or hook up with an ex.
They are not ready if they’ve had a “friends with benefits” relationship within the last year.
They’re not ready if they’re involved with an ex financially (e.g. owning property, businesses, insurance policies, etc.) other than child support or alimony.
They’re not ready if they are angry and bitter toward their ex, blaming, criticizing and hating the “bitch” or “bastard” for what they did to them.
In other words, just because someone is single does NOT mean they’re ready for commitment. A person is “ready” when their heart is a wide-open space, completely free of any attachment or aversion towards their former lovers.
The good news is that readiness is fairly easy to discern. All you have to do is say something like, “You seem like a really great person. How come you’re on the market? Who let you go?” Then sit back and listen.
If they say, “Oh, God. I was married to a real bitch. Thank God the divorce will be final next month.” That’s your cue to say “good night” and walk away. They just told you they’re not ready.
Now, let’s look at being “willing,” and unfortunately, it’s much more complex to discern. Being “ready” is about ones emotional availability; being “willing” is about one’s aspiration. In other words, do they want a long-term, exclusive relationship? Is it their life’s goal? And more importantly, how can you tell?
Well, early in the dating process, certainly by the third date and before you have sex, you have to tell the other person the kind of relationship you’re interested in and ask if they want the same thing.
Now, there are players out there, those who will mislead you and not tell the truth. But if you’re listening, you can discern a person’s aspiration by the way in which they talk about themselves.
People who are telling the truth usually use very few words and make direct eye contact as they speak. They don’t hem and haw, make jokes or change the subject. They answer with straightforward simplicity. However, those who are hiding their true feelings do the opposite.
Let me give you an example. Feel the difference in these two answers in response to a direct question like, “Where do you see yourself in the next couple years? Do you want to be married, have a family, white-picket fence, that sort of thing?” (This kind of question might not be appropriate on a first date, but by the third, it most certainly is.)
“Damn! I forgot to bring the ring (patting his pockets, laughing). Well, uh, if it was the right situation (coughing, looking away), um, I think that could be a good thing. I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. I’ve been focused on my career. But, uh (looking away again), if I met the right person, I think it might be nice to have a person to hang out with all the time. So, ya, I guess I’m open to getting married some day. So, do you follow the news? What do you think of Obamacare?”
“Definitely (looking straight at you). I’ve done the bachelor thing and it’s been fun. But I’m ready to start a new phase of my life and I’d love to be in a lasting relationship (still looking at you). How about you?”
The difference is obvious, right? Well, not really. Technically, both guys said “yes.” But if you are listening to more than words, answer A is a screaming “NO!
At the top of your list of ideal qualities then, make sure the first item says, “My partner is ready and willing to make a commitment.” And be sure YOU are ready and willing too.
Now, before I describe the second most overlooked quality, I want to make you aware of an amazing resource, should you want to go deeper into these kinds of dating situations. I’ve created an in depth, video-based eCourse that describes about two dozen significant issues you’ll face in the dating scene. Here’s a link to a 4-minute video that tells you all about it:
You’re thinking, WTH? “If someone is dating, doesn’t that mean they like the opposite sex!?” Well, in a word, NO! In two words, HELL NO! Allow me to let you in on a dirty little secret.
Many men don’t like women and many women don’t like men.
Yes, we are physically attracted to one another, and we want to have sex with one another, but that’s a very different thing from someone admiring and appreciating the opposite sexual energy. Many men hate femininity; many women hate masculinity.
There are some fairly complex reasons for this. As for women, because of centuries of abuse, absent and often alcoholic fathers and male partners who have lacked integrity and gentleness, women can harbor hatred toward masculinity in general.
For men, our story is different, though still tragic. Most boys have been taught, both directly by older men and by our culture, that femininity is a pain in the ass (to put it mildly).
The anti-feminine message is rampant everywhere from locker rooms to church pews.
Additionally, just as women have had terrible histories with the men in their lives, men have had troubled relationships with women too. Our moms, dates and wives have scarred us and left us with a ton of negative baggage as well.
So the second item on your list needs to be that your partner likes the opposite sexual energy. And again, that leads to the question: How can you tell if a person likes the opposite sex?
Well, classically, people say to look at a person’s relationship with their opposite sex parent. And while there’s a shred of truth in that, some parents are truly morons, so it wouldn’t be fair to look only at that. Nor do you want to go the simplistic route and look for women who like sports or men who like “chick-flicks.”
There are three deeper signs a man or a woman likes the opposite sex.
Let’s start with men.
First, how does a man relate to his own feminine side? Femininity is about feeling and relationships. So if a guy likes his feminine side, and feminine energy in general, he’ll recognize his feelings and be open to expressing them. Be careful of the guy who’s all wrapped up in his macho-man bullshit. He doesn’t like his feminine side and he won’t like yours either.
Secondly, how does he react to your feminine expression and traits? Does he smile at your woman-ness or does he scoff at it? Does he stay present with you when you’re emoting or does he discount your feelings and tell you to go talk to your girl friends?
Thirdly, does he have women friends? If a guy’s attraction to women is purely sexual, then he won’t want to spend time with women he’s not going to have sex with. The feminine way annoys him. Why would he hang out with people he can’t stand?
Now, let’s apply these same three signs to women.
First, how does a woman relate to her own masculine side? Masculine energy is about directionality and mission. So if a woman likes her masculine side, and masculine energy in general, she’ll appreciate her directional instincts and goal-orientation. Be careful of a woman who scoffs at competition and values feeling over doing. She doesn’t like her masculine side and she won’t like yours either.
Secondly, does she like the masculine tendency to “fix,” or to decide a course of action in the midst of chaos and confusion? If a woman doesn’t like, value and appreciate these qualities, she probably doesn’t like masculinity.
Finally, does she have male friends? When women resent men, they complain and sneer about masculine attitudes and actions, and they don’t hang around them voluntarily.
3. Are they open to coaching or counseling?
People don’t live happily ever after. (Damn, this is a gloomy article!) There are bumps along the way, even in the most conscious of relationships. In other words, no matter how compatible you are with your partner, no matter how deep your chemistry, no matter how similar your goals, no matter how spiritually aligned you are, you will hit rough spots in your relationship.
So knowing that, you better choose a partner who is open to getting outside help.
I just don’t know how your relationship survives and thrives over time if you both aren’t willing to be coached or counseled when you hit the inevitable rough spot.
So how can you tell if someone is open to coaching? Well, if they’re open, they’re probably being coached right now—in business, finance, fitness, or even in a sport like golf or tennis. In other words, they’re currently demonstrating their openness to hiring someone to help them get unstuck, succeed or make a positive change.
However, if a person is a know-it-all, lone-ranger type, too private and proud to seek coaching or counseling, you’ll see that trait being exhibited in their life now and my best advice to you would be to run—not walk—away. It’s a major red flag.
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