What are the first things that come to mind when you describe your ideal guy? Things like funny, smart, good-looking…?
I’m here to suggest four traits that are often overlooked, but are essential for a stable, loving, long-term relationship.
I always encourage my clients to not only think about the relationship they want now, but also the relationship they want in 5, 10, 20 years time. Some of the things that may seem so appealing (like his amazing social life) now, are not what you’ll want in five years’ time (when it means you’re left at home alone with a crying baby).
These are not the sexiest, romantic traits. But they are part of the foundation for a really solid relationship. Which I’m pretty sure is what you’re looking for.
If you’ve ever woken up to a engine that won’t turn on, you know how important reliability is in your car. But have you ever considered its importance in a relationship?
This is someone who you are going to share a substantial part of your life with every single day. Would you buy a car knowing the battery would probably die every other day? However much you loved that car, it wouldn’t be worth the hassle.
Same with your guy. Never underestimate the importance of someone you know will turn up when they say they will. Who will tell you an honest ETA if they’re out late. Who will turn up and be there for you when you’ve had a lousy day.
Life is unpredictable enough (as 2020 has more than proven to us!) without adding an unpredictable relationship to the mix. Let your relationship be secure, so it can anchor you in the storms that life inevitably brings.
You may have this one on your list. But notice how much you’re paying attention to it on dates. Caring guys give out little clues right from the get go - letting you choose the bottle of wine, suggesting a date location convenient for you, asking how you’re getting home.
It’s these little touches that add up to massive impact when you’re in a relationship. Because at some point,
you’re going to be living day to day with this guy, and no longer relying on fancy cocktails and romantic strolls to bond you together.
It will be the stroke of your head in the morning, the unexpected and much needed cup of tea, the thoughtful gift that will make you realise how much you love them.
3. Good listener
Now I will be honest, listening is not often a natural gift for malekind (so always keep your girlfriends close!). But, the good ones do know the importance of listening and acting on what they hear.
As women, we love to talk things out. That’s often our healing. And it’s important to find someone who will let you do that. And one step further, you want someone who will act on what they’ve heard.
No, he will never remember to do the dishes every day. But he can remember that it’s important for you to have Saturday morning breakfast together every week. And that banana pancakes are your favourite. And when he does, you’ll trust that he listens and you’ll open up more and more to him. Thus deepening your connection to whole new levels.
Again, look out for the little cues from your first dates. What he remembers. How he listens (attentively).
4. Stable Rock ‘n’ roll stars make super exciting dates in your 20s. But think about being with one when you’re 50 and you’re left with an alcoholic, unpredictable mess.
Again, it’s not sexy or glamorous, but a guy who leads a relatively stable life, at least in his inner world, is a god-send. That knows what he likes and doesn’t like. That has a plan (at least for now). That doesn’t suddenly lash out or withdraw for weeks on end.
When you’re in a relationship, your emotions will be affected by your partner. To an extent, you will feel what they feel. That’s part of the beauty of the relationship. But you will also be rocked by their rocky patches.
The importance of you both having your sh*t together, at least as much as realistically possible is incredibly valuable. Stability is a great base to grow and tackle life together.
Whenever you’re thinking about what you want in a relationship…
Always start with the relationship you want first. What do you want to feel, do and experience in that relationship? Then start to think about the type of guy that will give you that relationship.
Don’t start with the traits of the guy and hope that that will build the relationship you want. It won’t.
Work backwards from the end result, and you’ll see the steps so much clearer!