And, just as importantly, what is your new love bringing to the party?
Oh boy, clients and potential clients ask me these questions constantly---and yes, I realize some of you never want marriage, but a long-term relationship. But then there are those clients over the years as a dating coach who have told me they’d never marry again. Then, voila! A year later I get a wedding photo or a wedding invite! Whether you want to date, have a LTR or marriage, both parties need to bring certain qualities to make a relationship sound and happy.
Running a dating consulting service for well over 25 years, there’s certain characteristics/things a potential mate does that make them worthy of your love, worthy of a long-term commitment. If they don’t, let’s move on as we have a very big sea full of great men and women. (BTW, if I had a dollar for every man who asked me “Are there really any good women out there? I assume they are all married” ---I just laugh.) And give them the hard-core stats---yes, there are 128 million singles in the US. You are single right? And a wonderful catch for a lucky woman? So, let’s bury that discouragement and frustration and stop listening to your friends.
1. He/She prioritizes health It doesn’t mean they need to be a triathlete. Taking care of oneself is important. Exercise. Good healthy eating habits. You don’t want to be the caretaker of someone who is only 50 or 60, right?
2. He/She gives with no expectations That’s amore! Keeping track of what I did for you, what you did for me---well, that will never work. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s a one-sided relationship with you doing all the giving either. It means caring and giving with your heart and not keeping count.
3. He/She respects your career, no matter what you do She may make more money than you. Travels more for her career. He may have two Ph.Ds. and you have a 4 years degree. If you both enjoy your professional life and hobbies, that’s what adds joy to a relationship.
4. He/She is fully supportive No, I don’t mean financially. The vast majority of my clients want to date someone with the same financial stability and ability to pay for things on their own. Supportive means providing encouragement, practicing empathy. You give help when they need it and it is reciprocated.
5. He/She considers you in large decisions
If you are in a relationship, and one of you gets an exciting job offer elsewhere, oh yes, absolutely this is something you need to discuss as if affects both of you. Married or living together? Buying an expensive piece of art that will be in a central part of your home---yes, you both should consult before making the purchase. After all, you are both going to have to look at it (and enjoy it!).
6. He/She inspires you
You admire each other! He has new thoughts for travel that you’d never thought of. She comes up with a new sport for the two of you. You have different traits---I know from my own relationship I admire his analytical mind, quirky humor and organizations skills. He admires my ideas and outgoing nature. We both inspire each other. Now I put things back in the correct places in the fridge as he takes the time to keep it neat and organized!
7. He/She makes mistakes and takes responsibility
This is big, friends. No one is perfect. Two words are crucial in a relationship: I’m sorry.
8. Boundaries are honored and both of you set them
He may like quiet time in the morning to meditate. She may like tennis and drinks with friends twice a week. A relationship does not mean you are joined at the hip.
9. He/She keeps the spark alive
Both of you take responsibility to keep the fires burning. Passion is important. One of my clients just gave her 3-month boyfriend a massage kit with a sweet note to save Fridays at 5pm for a massage. (No, she’s not a masseuse). Another gave her boyfriend a set of sateen sheets---he was thrilled. A male client asked my advice --- he sent me 4 cute photos of negligees from Nordstrom and asked me which one I thought she’d like. The reason for the gift: none at all!
10. He/She has integrity What a loaded word. Without it, a strong, stable relationship is impossible. It’s the quality of being honest, having strong moral principles, behaving ethically even behind closed doors. I like this definition of five attributes of integrity: follow a set of examples, be truthful, help others, lead by example and take responsibility.
Bottomline: Don’t ever settle! Happy dating and have a lovely weekend.
Andrea McGinty Dating and Relationship Consulting Services Featured on Oprah, WSJ, Bloomberg, NYT, CNN, Today Show, People, The New Yorker and more