1. A strong sense of character. They are steady and certain in the knowledge of who they are. They’re always willing to learn and to grow and to improve. But they will not compromise their values, their beliefs, or their integrity.
2. Chemistry. In the bedroom, it’s great. But it’s just as amazing to feel a strong pull to them when you’re taking a walk through the city or you’re just sitting at dinner together, having an everyday conversation and not wanting to be anywhere else in the world.
3. A strong desire to listen to each other. Not just out of obligation, but because you believe you have a lot to learn from one another.
4. A sense of humor. They don’t necessarily have to be hilarious, just capable of laughing at themselves and appreciating lighthearted moments with you.
5. Someone who’s complete on their own, who wants you to be complete on your own, but who’s also ready to give this relationship everything they’ve got and expects you to do the same.
6. A person who fascinates you. Thinking that they’re funny or smart or successful is wonderful. But real intimacy happens when you love someone for all of the little insignificant things about them, the things that you want to continue learning about and discovering for the rest of your lives together. The bully they were scared of in elementary school, their favorite holiday, their favorite food to eat when they’re hungover, the movie they know every single word to. Find someone who surprises you every day, even by the smallest things.
7. Someone you can travel with, without either of you wanting to absolutely kill each other by the end of the trip.
8. Trust. Not just that you will be faithful to one another, but that you know you can depend on one another always, especially during the darker moments… because they will come.
9. Somebody who will love you for the person that you are, but who is just as ready to support you as you try to grow and branch out of your comfort zone.
10. A strong thirst for life. Someone who’s excited to wake up next to you in the morning and wants nothing more than to explore the world with you every day, in any way that you guys can.
11. Someone who understands that relationships are about give and take, without worrying about keeping track of who owes who or treating your relationship like it’s a competition.
12. An ability to be vulnerable in front of each other. You are strong for each other when you need to be, but you never feel the need to lie or to cover things up when you’re feeling weak or insecure or depressed or worthless or anything else. Instead, you can be wholeheartedly open, honest, and unaffected with one another.
13. Someone who inspires you to want more for yourself and more for them and more for your life together.
14. An ability to support you in the pursuance of your passions, even if they don’t fully understand your passions.
15. A laugh that brings an irrepressible grin to your face every single time you hear it, no matter how sexy or dorky or ridiculous or loud that it is.
16. An ability to manage their priorities. They can understand the importance of work and financial stability, without losing sight of their relationships with family members and friends and you.
17. A strong work ethic. Not just in terms of building up a solid career and a solid life for themselves, but in terms of being willing to try anything and everything to meet you halfway, in order to make sure your relationship has a fighting chance.
18. Having many shared interests with you, while also having plenty of hobbies and interests and passions that are completely different from anything you’ve ever known. It will lead to a relationship filled with curiosity, new experiences, and never-ending surprises.
19. Oh, and an HBO Go account is always a plus. Kidding. Except not really.