couple in love

A key part of relationship counseling is understanding what your ideal partner looks like. Not everybody gets the person they want to be with, and many people find that their soulmate differs from their vision of the ideal partner in ways that are unforeseen and exciting. However, knowing what you want as a good baseline can help you find a healthy relationship with somebody who respects you. Here are qualities that you should look for in an ideal partner.

Mutual Interest

It may seem like it should go without saying, but the first thing you need to have in a relationship partner is mutual romantic interest. This needs to be said for two reasons: first, not everybody realizes that a partner is not a thing to be “won.” Secondly, it’s important to have the interest apparent from the beginning, rather than thinking that the other person will eventually fall for you if you work hard enough at it. Mutual interest also means loving the person as they are right now. Many a relationship has failed before it began because one party liked some things about the other and decided that they could “fix” the other person’s faults. While people do change during a healthy relationship, you need to start from a place where you each want to be with one another before those changes take place.

Open Communication

A healthy relationship requires plenty of communication. You need to be able to share your feelings, both good and bad. When a problem arises, you need to be able to discuss it before it gets larger. Healthy communication means being able to speak up if you feel uncomfortable or neglected. This is also a skill that you need to maintain. As you spend more time together, communication often erodes because you get to know each other’s habits and tendencies better. When a relationship hits a rough patch, one of the primary purposes of a relationship counselor is the reopen lines of communication that may have been turned off through the passage of time.

A Sense of Identity

You and your relationship partner should have an identity together and should enjoy spending a lot of time close to one another. At the same time, your identity as a couple shouldn’t supersede your individual identity. This means that you should still retain your own social connections and hobbies that are separate from the person with whom you are in a relationship. The time apart allows you to enjoy your time together more. Equally importantly, spending time pursuing individual activities and hobbies allows you to keep your sense of personal identity. Some relationships fail because the people in them lose their sense of self and long for a time when they only had to worry about who they were.

Teamwork

A healthy relationship makes both of you stronger because you can work with the other to get past obstacles that might have stymied you before. That’s why teamwork is a hallmark of a good relationship . This doesn’t just mean working together to overcome the problems that stand in the way of your relationship, but helping each other overcome problems that might have nothing to do with you. For example, if your partner is having trouble with work, you might not be able to do anything more than provide emotional support. But that support is extremely important and valuable, so you are doing a service by just being there.

Affection

Of course a healthy couple needs to be affectionate toward one another. But how they show that affection needs to reflect them as people and them as a couple. Caring for your partner might be as simple as holding hands or the words you use when you address the person. These gestures need to feel natural coming from you and need to be received well by the other person—affectionate moves that make your partner feel uncomfortable are problematic. Luckily, since a healthy relationship relies on clear communication, any problems you find in this area should be able to be easily resolved through simple discussion. A little bit of work can help you develop a language of love that is unique to the two of you.

When you enter a relationship, you should strive for a partner that meets the goals above. You likely have many other things that you are looking for, and some things that you will come to appreciate that you didn’t even know you wanted. A healthy relationship is filled with surprise, excitement, and, of course, love.

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