The One Trait to Look For in a Partner

I posted this on my other blog awhile back, but since it is so good, here it is again =). How many of us are really honest with ourselves about our flaws and weaknesses? Like truly, painfully, heartbreakingly honest? Most of us are too afraid to accept that we have character flaws. And since most of us can’t even accept it, we definitely can’t work on on them. That’s where relationships come in.Through the eyes of someone else we are able to step back and see ourselves for what we are.

The One Trait To Look For In A Partner

 
MAY. 24, 2013 

There were a few comments from people about my post on how to date amazing women saying it was too extreme and that everyone has faults.

Of course, everyone has faults. It’s impossible to find someone without some emotional baggage or insecurities.

The real question is, what does that person do with it? In the first two articles of this series, I pointed out how to notice emotionally manipulative behavior and how to avoid women who display it. These were women who had problems and baggage and used them as a weapon with the men they date.

In this article, I will be talking about the traits that you want to actively look for in a relationship parter when deciding to date or commit to them. To give a hint, it’s looking for people who manage their personal flaws and baggage well.

My first handful of significant relationships were mired with a lot of manipulation and victim/rescuer dynamics. These relationships were great learning experiences, but they also caused me a great deal of pain that I had to eventually learn from.

It was until I managed to find myself in relationships with some emotionally healthy women who were able to manage their flaws well, that I really learned what to look for when dating someone.

And I discovered in this time that there was one trait in a woman that I absolutely must have to be in a relationship with her, and it was something that I would never compromise on again (and I haven’t). Men are usually unwilling to compromise on superficial traits: looks, intelligence, education, etc. Those are important, but if there’s one trait that I’ve learned you should never compromise on, it’s this:

The ability to see one’s own flaws and be accountable for them.

Because the fact is that problems are inevitable. Every relationship will run into fights and each person will hit up against their emotional baggage at various times. The determinant of how long the relationship will last and how well it will do comes down to both people being willing and able to recognize the snags in themselves and communicate them openly.

Think of your girlfriend/wife/ex-girlfriend/love interest and ask yourself, “If I gave her honest constructive criticism about how I think she could be better, how would she react?” Would she throw a huge fit? Cause drama? Blame you and criticize you back? Claim you don’t love her? Storm out and make you chase after her?

Or would she appreciate your perspective, and even if she was perhaps a little bit hurt or uncomfortable, even if there was a little bit of an emotional outburst first, would she eventually consider it and be willing to talk about it? Without blaming or shaming. Without causing unnecessary drama. Without trying to make you jealous or angry.

No?

Then she’s not dating material.

BUT! Here’s the million dollar question. Think of that same girlfriend/wife/ex-girlfriend/love interest, and now imagine that she gave you constructive criticism and pointed out what she believed to be your biggest flaws and blind spots. How would you react? Would you brush it off? Would you blame her or call her names? Would you logically try to argue your way out of it? Would you get angry or insecure?

Chances are you would. Chances are she would too. Most people do. And that’s why they end up dating each other.

Having open, intimate conversations with someone where you’re able to openly talk about one another’s flaws without resorting to blaming or shaming is possibly the hardest thing to do in any relationship. Very few people are capable of it. To this day, when I sit down with my girlfriend, or my father, or one of my best friends and have one of these conversations, I feel my chest tighten, my stomach turn in a knot, my arms sweat.

It’s not pleasant. But it’s absolutely mandatory for a healthy long-term relationship. And the only way you find this in a woman is by approaching them with honesty and integrity, by expressing your emotions and sexuality without blame or shame, and not degenerating into bad habits of playing games or stirring up drama.

Suppressing or over-expressing your emotions will attract someone who also suppresses or over-expresses their emotions. Expressing your emotions in a healthy manner will attract someone who also expresses their emotions in a healthy manner.

You may think a woman like this doesn’t exist. She’s a unicorn. But you’d be surprised. Your emotional integrity naturally self-selects the emotional integrity of the women you meet and date. And when you fix yourself, as if by some magical cheat-code the women you meet and date become more and more functional themselves. And the obsession and anxiety of dating dissolves and becomes simple and clear. The process ceases to be a long and analytical one but a short and pleasant one. The way she cocks her head when she smiles. The way your eyes light up a little bit more when you talk to her.

Your worries will dissolve. And regardless of what happens, whether you’re together for a minute, a month or a lifetime, all there is acceptance. TC mark

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Siblings Keep You Grounded

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My friend, Victoria, has three sisters. Can you imagine growing up with three other females? Anyone with a sister knows it involves a lot of arguing over bathroom rights, secret borrowing of clothes, and constant competition to be better in everything. My own sister and I still look at each other suspiciously whenever our favorite items of clothing go missing. And we don’t even live together anymore (it happens during visits, I swear!!).

Victoria once described her relationships with her sisters as a blessing. She said something like, “Back when we were younger, if I tried to leave the house in a dress I thought looked cute but apparently wasn’t, my sisters would straight up tell me. They’d say, that is the ugliest dress ever. Go back and change!”

Siblings keep you grounded because they are one of the only people in the world who will tell you the truth. They are not afraid to make fun of you or insult you. Sometimes it hurts, but you grow from it. You learn that you have been going out in unfashionable outfits and that you’ve been dating awful people. They’ll definitely let you know when you are being ridiculous. Basically, siblings (and any other people who are so close to you that they are like siblings) help you learn the truth about yourself.

Humility requires self-awareness. How can we know if we are below someone if we don’t actually know where we stand? Are you self-aware?

Pictures of my sister and I!

Last one was from graduation day, stolen from my sister’s Facebook =)

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What Kind of Person Are You?

ImageThis is an interesting article. I often wonder about what people are like behind their exteriors. What if that smelly homeless guy on the corner has an amazing heart? What if the sixteen-year-old girl working at the checkout line in your local grocery store is plotting revenge against her best friend? What if I’m not as nice as I think I am?

The exercise asks some really great questions that make you think. Questions like, “Would people who know you well say you can be pretty judgmental sometimes?” and “Picture a button that, if pressed, would make 1,000 strangers across the planet drop dead instantly and also make a career dream of yours come true or lead you to true love. No one would ever know that you pressed the button if you do. You’re given exactly one hour in front of the button to think about the decision. At the end of the hour, would you press it?”

If you have the time, it is definitely worth looking over. Maybe you’ll learn something interesting about yourself that you didn’t know before.

Truth

chocolate chip muffins

A slightly hefty woman with brown curls put her hands on her ample hips.

“And what do you think you’re doing, Miss Olivia?” she demanded from her four year old right as the little girl began reaching at a sample tray full of chocolate chip muffins. “Stop it right now. You’re going to ruin your appetite. Come on, girls. We’re going that way.”

The little girl put her fingers in her mouth and looked sheepish. The older girl, probably around eleven years old, gave her mom an annoyed look and followed.

“Anyway, Marie, so getting back to what we were talking about…”

The mom chatted on the phone and pushed her grocery cart absentmindedly. Olivia gently nibbled on her thumb. She looked back at the muffins one last time before skipping forward.

“Marie, I don’t know why you are so nice and accommodating. That woman doesn’t know what she is doing. She doesn’t bake her own stuff for the school sales, buys the cheapest wine for our meetings, and hasn’t even read Pride and Prejudice! I mean, jeez Louise, what right does she have to run a book club? That is the ultimate women’s book club book! I say we tell her that she needs to step down. How about at this Friday’s meeting?”

The mom put the phone on speaker and told her older daughter to hold it while she rummaged through the oranges. The person on the other end’s voice rang clearly, “Meredith, don’t you think you’re being a little harsh? Jenny is devoted to the book club. Yes, we all know she’s lacking a bit, but honestly, don’t you think we should make more of an effort too? We are all part of the club…and anyway, she is a really good friend. I don’t think you understand. You haven’t been in the group for very long…”

Suddenly, Meredith looked up. “Where is Olivia?”

The older daughter looked exasperated. “I don’t know, Mom. You never told me to watch her.”

“I gotta go. Call you later.”

Meredith and her older daughter left the cart behind and raced through the store. They found Olivia teeter-tottering on the stool by the sample tray.

“Olivia! Get your hands off that muffin!”

“Oh my God, Mom, just let her eat it!” cried her older daughter. “God, you’re so mean and bossy. That’s why NO ONE LIKES YOU.”

Some shoppers looked at them curiously.

The mom’s face deepened into a dark red hue. She whispered, “How dare you say that to your mother in public. We’re going home. You’re grounded. For a year!”

The three of them trooped out of the store. Olivia’s chocolate stained lips were the only ones smiling.

Some people don’t like to hear the truth. Do you?