Not Sure What You Are Looking for? 11 Good Character Traits In A Significant Other

Updated July 1, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Whether you are someone who frequently goes on dates or is just beginning to dip your toes back into the dating pool, you may already know that dating can be much like conducting interviews. Although you might have fun along the way, you may ultimately be looking for someone with the right traits to come into your life and enhance its quality. That said, do you know what you’re looking for in a significant other? Are you aware of traits that often make for a supportive, loving partner? While it can be helpful to give everyone a chance, you should also be aware of your boundaries regarding relationships. Many people are at a point in their lives where they are not quite sure what they want. Others may feel rushed to get into a relationship and not take extra care to ensure that it is with the right person. Regardless of your circumstances, everyone deserves to have a partner that complements and loves them. If you feel lost when it comes to dating, consider these 11 positive traits that you may want to look for while dating. 

Dating can be a challenge if you don’t know what you want

Emotional and life maturity

Immaturity comes in many forms, and for the most part, can be easy to spot. Mature individuals normally have a handle on their life, which ranges from everything from how well they take care of their living environment to how they go about making their career a priority. On the other hand, someone immature may refuse to take care of important things because they don't feel like doing it or because there is something fun that they’d rather do instead. Although you may only see this once you have become more comfortable with another person, a lack of maturity in life can be problematic. 

Beyond life maturity, you may also want to search for a partner who displays emotional maturity.  An emotionally mature person is aware of their emotions and can break away from negative behavioral patterns that can affect them and their relationships. Those who do not have this trait may act out without knowing why they are doing so. They might also avoid talking about their feelings or addressing issues in their relationships because they don't want or don’t know how to handle them. Pay attention to how your partner deals with their emotions and major responsibilities; this may help you determine how they will interact with you. 

Vulnerability

Many people accept others into their lives but refuse to let them in. When you are in a relationship, you expect that your partner will open up to you and let you know about who they are and how they feel. A partner trusts you with their dreams, secrets, and fears and remains receptive to anything that you may have to say, especially about things that can help them grow as an individual. They also expect the same from you. If you are with someone who refuses to talk about themselves or open up about things that are bothering them, you may have a hard time communicating effectively with them. When it comes to dating, try to look for someone who can be vulnerable with you.

Self-awareness

In a relationship, your partner's bad habits not only affect them but can impact you as well. From everyday financial choices to how they interact with themselves and others, everyday decisions have consequences. However, those who are not self-aware typically continue to make these choices without realizing or questioning why they are doing it. Even worse, they may continue with their behavior because they don't understand the issues behind their actions. Alternatively, someone who has cultivated self-awareness does things with purpose and considers the consequences of their actions before they decide to do something. More importantly, they can break bad habits because they know where these urges are coming from and what they can do to remedy them. A self-aware partner makes for a healthier relationship as they care for both their lives as well as your own.

Honesty and communication

Without proper communication, it can be difficult to sustain a relationship. You and your significant other are partners for a reason. If you lose the ability to communicate what you need, the team can fall apart. To foster a strong relationship, it can be crucial to look for a partner who is comfortable communicating their needs with you. This is someone who doesn't feel like they must hold back because they know that you can listen and communicate back effectively, as well. Someone who can communicate their feelings honestly may also be more trustworthy. There’s a difference between openness and rudeness, but in general, someone who can say what they feel and speak their mind about various issues may make a supportive partner. Honesty and communication can be two of the most important traits to look for in a significant other. 

Sense of humor and adventure

Dating may feel like a chore, but it doesn’t have to. When you are with another individual, you want to find yourself smiling, laughing, and enjoying yourself, going to different places, and learning more about each other along the way. Whether you are taking someone else out or being taken out on a date, expecting the other person to have a sense of humor and adventure is natural. People who are too serious can make a relationship feel restrictive and stifling. That said, beware of the individual who has too much fun too often. These individuals may not take things as seriously, which can lead to problems down the road. Overall, try to look for an even balance of responsibility and fun.

Respect

Respect is a given. However, because respect comes in many forms, being disrespected can be hard to detect. For example, you may come across someone who seems to be perfect in every way but who has a disregard for listening to your input on various things in your relationship. Although they are great in the other areas that count, this lack of respect for your opinion and your needs can be a disadvantage if you are attempting to cultivate a long-term relationship with them. There needs to be consistent give and take in relationships, and compromise can only exist if respect exists for another person's feelings, boundaries, and life. If you see any signs of disrespect when you begin dating someone regularly, make sure to bring it up and form a constructive conversation around the issue. If someone is unable or unwilling to be more respectful, seek someone who does have this trait.

Empathy and affection

Your partner should be your best friend and the most supportive person on your side. No matter what you are going through, they are the one person you can rely on to be there for you. Along with support, your partner will likely be paying close attention to the little things that matter to you and ensuring that you know that you are loved every step of the way. A partner who is empathetic and affectionate does each of these things, even after the initial fires of passion have burned away. Truly empathetic people care about you and want to see you succeed. When it comes to your relationship, avoid settling for anything less.

Having boundaries

Many people feel as though they lose themselves when they enter a relationship. This type of problem can develop when a couple starts taking on their relationship identity rather than maintaining a healthy balance of solo and couple activities. Partners who have trouble spending time alone may try to be with their significant other constantly, leading to friction in the relationship. When you begin dating, pay attention to how much time they spend away from you. Do they make an effort to see you but still pay attention to their work, friends, and other hobbies? This can be a sign that your partner has already set healthy boundaries for themselves, which can be important to maintain when you start dating.

Dependability

No matter the request, these individuals make an effort to get things done and do it to the best of their ability. Of course, because they have boundaries, they know when they have too much on their plate and need to say no. Much like many other character traits on this list, you can differentiate a dependable person from one who is not so dependable. For example, showing up on time for a date, making sure that they have everything in order so that they don't have to reschedule, and reaching out when they say they will can demonstrate their overall reliability as a person. Although this doesn't speak to some of the greater demands they may face later in the relationship, a dependable person is typically dependable in all facets of their life.

Positive outlook

The people you spend your time with can have a major impact on who you are and who you will become. When you surround yourself with people who have a negative outlook on life, you may start adapting to some of these perspectives, which can influence how you approach the world, others, and yourself. On the other hand, when you surround yourself with positive people, you can benefit from their joyful outlook on life. Choosing a partner who is positive about things may be non-negotiable when you start a relationship. People who bring you down may not contribute anything positive to your way of living. Pay attention to how your date talks when they are speaking about themselves and some of the events in their life. If things are constantly taking a negative or self-deprecating turn, this can give you valuable insight into what they will be like beyond the first date.

Presence

There's nothing more frustrating than being on a date, only to find that the other person is spending more time on their phone than they are talking and paying attention to you. Presence can be very important to many people who are actively dating. When you are on a date with another person, they should be engaged with you and trying to get to know you better. This is the purpose of asking someone out. If their focus is elsewhere and they don't seem to have too much interest in the date, this could be a habit that is not going away anytime soon. Choose a person who makes you the priority when they are with you and doesn’t leave you questioning how they feel about you. 

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Dating can be a challenge if you don’t know what you want

Online counseling for relationships

Looking for positive character traits in a potential partner can be a start to a fulfilling relationship. However, some people may find it hard to get into relationships and avoid them out of anxiety or fear. Alternatively, they may be dealing with issues that stress their interactions with others once they enter a relationship. Are you struggling with past trauma or current emotional issues that make it difficult for you to start and maintain relationships with others?

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

 If so, Regain can help. Regain is an online counseling resource that assists others work through individual and partner-related issues by providing access to certified therapists on a flexible schedule. You can chat with your therapist about any concerns you might be facing and participate in sessions according to your availability. 

The efficacy of online counseling for confidence and self-esteem

The dating scene can be challenging, particularly if you’re lacking confidence in yourself and what you have to offer. In one study, researchers found that online cognitive behavioral therapy was effective in improving self-esteem, self-compassion, and quality of life and decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Those lacking confidence in their relationships could benefit from web-based interventions that target self-esteem. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a form of therapy that aims to change a person’s automatic negative thought patterns that could be contributing to mental health concerns. Over time, the individual learns how to foster more helpful thoughts, thereby changing their behaviors and beliefs about themselves.

Takeaway

While the list above only provides a brief glimpse into some of the positive character traits you may want to seek out in a potential partner, they could provide you with a helpful start. Having trouble determining what you want in a significant other is natural and may only be the first piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve found someone who seems like the right fit for you, it can take time, effort, and perseverance to make a relationship work. Whether you’re still searching for someone or you’re in a long-term relationship already, you might need guidance along the way. Working with a therapist could provide you with the support you need to foster a healthy, happy dating life or relationship.

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