Romantic relationships are a big challenge, and no matter how happy couples look, no such relationship is without problems. Consequently, there are traits to look for in a partner that help you get through difficult times and get closer.
This is primarily due to facts that are in complete contradiction with each other. The first is that we all have an innate need for love, care, and attention that, when not satisfied, triggers the basic emotions of sadness and anger in the brain.
Another fact is that people in relationships cannot realistically meet all the needs of their partner.
Given these two facts, there will inevitably be moments when we feel unloved, unhappy, unappreciated, hurt, and angry. It’s not bad, just as it’s not good, but it’s simply human nature.
Research by the Gottman Institute has shown that the way we resolve our inevitable conflicts is a major indicator of a relationship’s longevity. We can become professionals in conflict resolution, but as they say, it takes two to tangle, so we have to choose a partner who will work with us to build a long and satisfying relationship, writes Psychology Today.
Accordingly, these five qualities you should look for in your partner.
The ability to empathize
Empathy is the ability and willingness to put oneself in another person’s skin and imagine how they feel (which can be completely different from how you see and feel things yourself). Without empathy, how do we understand each other? Without the ability to empathize, a compassionate, kind, and caring attitude toward you is unlikely to be a priority for your partner.
When things are tense, humor is the one that can calm the fight and turn a wrong moment into something better. While not a solution to every quarrel and problem, humor definitely brings people together and also helps us put things in the right perspective – because if we can laugh at something, then it’s not that scary, is it?
Willingness to communicate
This primarily refers to the willingness to continue the conversation – when it comes to that difficult moment. Two people who love each other and are motivated to stay together have the power to resolve almost any conflict. However, resolving a conflict takes time, patience, and skillful communication. Partners must find common ground or calmly accept that they do not agree on something.
It takes some time to resolve a conflict, as many steps need to be covered until both persons feel heard.
Talking includes clarifying the problem, understanding the deeper meaning and importance of the problem, ensuring that each partner understands the other’s attitude, allowing the emotion the topic evokes, conveying empathy, and thinking to a solution that works right for both.
Understanding emotions and how they work
During an argument, emotions lead the conversation and the situation, and they are firmly rooted in our brains in the same way. No matter how smart we are, no one can stop emotions from occurring, especially during conflict.
Only after they calm down do we have any choice on how to respond to them. Some people react immediately, giving in to their impulses. Others, however, pause to think before acting. Thinking before we speak or act is best because it gives us much more control over the outcome of our interactions.
Without understanding your feelings, your partner will not understand you and may criticize you for it or react badly. We want someone who will not take our moods and suggestions too personally and someone who will become curious and ask what upset us instead of reacting.
We want someone who will listen without defense – or at least strive for it. We want someone who knows that sometimes there is nothing to fix and that patient listening is a powerful tool for couples.
Understanding the Importance of Setting Master Rules
At the beginning of a relationship, things usually go smoothly, but when the courtship period ends, differences and disagreements begin to emerge. Before a conflict arises, it is a good idea to discuss establishing a set of ground rules for arguments.
The basic rules are how to argue constructively. The goal is to learn certain ways we can help each other in the discussion, for example, if you agree to talk in a calm voice instead of shouting.
In setting the ground rules, the idea is to anticipate conflicts and quarrels and practice how to do damage control. You do this before the discussion because it doesn’t make sense in it – since you are not rational and calm.
Since we are an expert in ourselves, we teach each other what we need when we feel bad, sad, angry, and the like.