My mom and I had a conversation a few days ago. It started off with me lamenting my prospects in the dating world. I want certain things in life from a relationship, but I haven’t even come close to finding it. It’s really easy to get caught up in physicality. He has to be X tall, clean-shaven, British…you get the picture.
Finally getting fed up with me and my whining, my mom asked me what my top 3 attributes and top 3 deal breakers are for a relationship. “Ignore the physical,” she said. “What type of person do you want to be with? What kind of character do they have?”
So that got me thinking, what are those quality and characteristics that I want in a long term relationship and possible marriage? What are those things that I cannot live without and those things that will see me walking through the nearest door?
Top 3 Attributes
I love to learn. I love to hear about different countries, different cultures, different ways of life. I really want to travel and experience, first hand, those different worlds. I love to read. I love to explore different emotions and adventures through books. I have a lot of international friends, friends from different religions, with different languages.
So, I want someone who’s similar. Someone who’s not stuck in their little bubble and refuses to leave. I don’t get people that have never moved outside of their city. The people that won’t even go across town, let alone to a different state or country.
I want someone who has the drive to continue learning and growing as a person. You don’t have to be interested in exactly the same things as me; you just have to be interested in improving your life.
2) Playing to Strengths—
Everyone has different things they are good at. Everyone has things they absolutely hate doing but are decent at. And everyone has things they are horrible at.
I think relationships should play on the strengths of both parties. If I’m better at organizing people and places, I should be the one managing our social schedule, kids’ schedules, our house, etc.. If you’re better at managing finances, then you should be the one managing it in our relationship. If you like to cook but hate the cleanup, you cook while I worry about washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen.
That’s not to say we can’t switch off. Everyone gets sick or they need a break. If one person cooks all the time and they ask the other person to take over for a day or two, they should. Though they can’t then complain about getting Mac & Cheese instead of Chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner.
It also means being receptive to each other. If you’re an amazing chef and my Mac & Cheese is not cutting it for you, let me to join you in the kitchen sometimes so I can learn new recipes. There’s no reason why both of us can’t be good at something. That way we can switch off and give the other person a break.
I’m highly independent. I can manage my bills, live within my means, and still have fun with friends. I can go to the movies or dinner by myself, though it is more fun to go with someone else. I don’t need to be in a relationship. I just want to. I want someone to share my life with.
I recently decided to make a career shift. While I’m figuring out my life right now, and there have been a lot of changes in the past few months, I’m still looking for avenues to better myself. Avenues where I can get more knowledge or make connections.
You have to be independent too. Have your life together. Have goals. Work towards them. You don’t need to have a detailed, step-by-step plan for the next 10 years of your life but you do need to have an idea of where you are going.
Be realistic about it. I’m moving into publishing and writing and I have to start at the bottom, with internships and small freelancing jobs. Those don’t pay the bills so it means I need to have a day job until I can support myself on my dream. Do the same. I don’t believe in freeloading and I’m not your mother. I’m not going to support a tortured artist as they sit on the couch all day and play videogames.
Basically, have your life together.
Top 3 Deal breakers
This is pretty self explanatory. No racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, xenophobia, etc. I have friends of every race, size, class, sexuality, and gender. I can’t be with someone who deliberately thinks someone is less than them based on an arbitrary belief. And yes, it is arbitrary.
Every one, of every race can be a bigot. It’s just negativity that I don’t want in my relationship.
I’m not addicted to anything. I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke, and I rarely gamble, i.e. once a year if at all (and it’s only one lotto ticket). While I drink, usually wine, that’s few and far between. I don’t like getting drunk, nor do I like to drink everyday.
I don’t like addiction. I’ve had & still have multiple friends addicted to cigarettes and every time I went to their house I left with a headache. I’ve known an alcoholic and he wasn’t pleasant to be around. And while I haven’t met a person with a gambling addiction, I know a few people that are headed down that road. One of who went through my wallet looking for money when he thought I was asleep.
Life is too hard as it is, and too short, to deal with someone who has an addiction.
3) Doesn’t want a family—
I originally had a different #3 (Abusive) but as I started to think about it, family was higher on the list. Family is higher for me on the list because I don’t stand for abuse in any form, mental, emotional, physical, or sexual. Like I said for #2, life’s too short to be stuck in a destructive relationship.
Family is my number three because I want the sound of little kids footsteps and laughter in my house. There are men, and women, who know without a doubt that they don’t want kids. And that’s good for them. But that’s not me. I can’t get into a long term relationship with someone who doesn’t want kids because I’d be setting myself up to be miserable.
Now, that’s not to say I would turn someone down or leave them if it turned out they couldn’t have children. (This doesn’t mean they’ve deliberately made it impossible to have kids. No vasectomies, people.) Heck, something could happen to me that could make me unable to bear children. Accidents happen as do medical conditions. But that ingrained drive to be a parent has to be there. If we can’t have our own children, we can adopt. In fact, I’d like to adopt anyway because there are plenty of children that don’t have families of their own.
Doing this exercise made me realize that there’s a lot more underneath the surface. Yes physical attractiveness is nice, but it’s the character of the person that makes a lasting relationship. Your looks disappear as you age but your core quality can grow.
If you had to pick three attributes and deal breakers, what would they be?