1. They’ve had their heart broken before.
A person who knows the agony of being rejected, played around with, or kept in a gray area of “not exactly together” does not want to go through it again. Yet being dumped is an important part of character building, emotional rawness that’s essential to becoming a more understanding, compassionate mate. When you spend time wondering how a relationship went wrong, you’re less likely to repeat such behavior in a future relationship. You’ll appreciate the right relationship. You’ll also be better in tune for signs that the relationship is going south. Someone who has had their heart broken is capable of being in love. So go get dumped. Learn from it. Then find someone even better.
2. They have a best friend or two.
Great people have great friends who stay in touch with them. You want your significant other to have strong, long-lasting friendships because it’s a sign that he or she is a somewhat stable person who values others and is valued in return. Be wary of someone who constantly has drama with a wide range of close confidants — that could soon be you.
3. They have siblings.
Growing up with a sibling or two makes a big impact on a person’s life. With a sibling, you are not the entire universe to your parents. Time, expenses, and energy are split with sibling co-habitants, who may be your closest allies or a thorn in your side. Nobody will be more honest with you than a sibling or provide a better reflection of yourself. Having siblings often means built-in, lifelong relationships with people raised by the same people in the same way as you. If you are close with your siblings, you’ll often be a better listener, considerate family member, and sharer to your mate.
4. They played a sport in high school.
Being a part of an organized sports team at the high school level is a valuable lesson in discipline, teamwork, and competition. Athletic ability is a sexy quality that never goes out of style. Plus participation in such activity forces a person to become more organized in terms of prioritizing competing obligations. These skills will come in handy when balancing work and your relationship.
5. They know what it’s like to work a terrible job.
Work experience is an essential way to determine what one’s future career might be. But sometimes it’s just as important to figure out what you don’t want to do. Having a crazy boss or challenging role will give your partner plenty of fuel for complaining. It will also help steer them in the direction of something better and be grateful for and willing to work at a great career. Worst case scenario, it will make for funny cocktail party conversation.
6. They had a favorite teacher, coach, or mentor.
When a teacher, coach, or mentor takes a strong interest into a young person’s well-being and development, that person has an extra boost of confidence and power in his or her corner. A teacher can substantially influence a person long term. I’ve become drawn to writing because of the excellent English teachers I had in high school. I loved sports because my softball and tennis coaches were supportive, strong role models who looked after their players. Senior managers in the workplace can have an enormous impact by mentoring junior employees. You want your future mate to have made these invaluable connections, as they will create a stronger, more self-reliant mate.
7. They remember their first kiss and first love.
Any person worth being in a relationship with values his or her early romances. You want that first kiss to have meant something to him or her, even if it was awkward and involved orthodontic braces. You also want your mate to hold tight to the memory of the first time their entire mind and body were captivated by their first crush. How did your mate express his interest? Was he or she too shy to do anything about it? If he or she has never been in love before, that may be a warning. They may be searching for someone or something that doesn’t exist. This could lead to a dead-end relationship.
8. They’ve dated the wrong person.
In an ideal world, our future mate would have had the most selfish, obnoxious, and thoughtless ex-girlfriend or boyfriend in the world. This ex would be so horrible that you seem like an utter delight in every facet possible. It doesn’t hurt to be adored by your new partner’s family and friends too.
9. They’ve sewed those oats.
It’s helpful if your new love interest has had some (um, “experience”) in the bedroom. You don’t want them begging you for threesomes (unless you’re into that), having a wandering eye or just not know what to do with you. It’s helpful to get some of these things out of your system to know what it is you’re looking for and to be ready for monogamy.
10. They have kind, loving family and parental figures.
If a person has strong, loving parental figures in his or her life, that’s a good start. There is so much potential baggage that each person brings to a new relationship, but having a solid foundation and a supportive upbringing is a huge benefit.
11. They’ve gotten a little wanderlust out of their system.
Make sure your new squeeze has fulfilled the urge to go backpacking for two years in the wilderness, has run triple marathons, and climbed really high mountains in dangerous weather conditions. Unless you want to spend your relationship supporting his or her quest in participating in such activities. For those people who want to settle down and don’t need exotic travel / adventures to feel alive, finding a like-minded spirit is essential.
12. They’ve learned the value of a dollar.
While it would be nice to end up with someone who has a trust fund supported by a platinum mine, it’s equally attractive to find someone who is good with money and knows how to save. Stay away from excessive gamblers, people who spend tons of money on frivolous things and people who dig themselves a deeper hole to get out of debt.
13. They know how to cook.
They don’t have to be Betty Crocker or Bobby Flay, but it’s always helpful when your significant other has been blessed with a handful of family recipes that can be whipped up from time to time. Arriving home to a delicious meal after a stressful day is the best therapy. If he or she can’t cook, they should at least know great take-out restaurants and have expert ordering-in abilities.
14. They’re licensed to drive, and can change a tire.
For those times when a car is necessary, it’s handy to be dating someone who can drive. It’s even handier if he or she can change a flat tire. There’s nothing more miserable than getting stuck on a highway and being completely helpless when it comes to car trouble.
15. They know how to do their own laundry.
If his or her parents are still regularly doing your significant other’s laundry, that’s a red flag. Unless they’re willing to do yours too.
16. They’ve learned how to argue and sincerely apologize.
Perhaps this is the most coveted trait of all. A good communicator is essential to a successful relationship. There will be disagreements. There will be frustration. But it’s how you deal with these things that will make or break a relationship. A great partner fights fairly and can admit when he or she is wrong.