4. You’ve mastered Darwinism
By the age of 31, my sparse dating history sent me cowering underneath a table every time I heard the question:
What’s the longest relationship you’ve ever been in?
At times, I could deflect the question, but that only enhanced curiosity. Eventually, I’d surrender. My answer would always result in a raised eyebrow and the terrifying follow-up question:
From my teens to twenties, the only relationships that lasted more than a month were the ones where a woman and I had been friends before we started dating. Even then, I could never inch past the three-month mark.
In truth, I can’t blame anyone else. The problem was me. I lacked confidence and felt unworthy of a quality partner. With a self-image like that, it’s no surprise why I struggled.
When I finally overcame my self-worth issues, I began to realize that, hey, I could be a good catch for someone. I had a lot going for me. As my confidence grew, so did my dating success. I’m now married for 13 years.
Truth, I still don’t have all my shit together. Nobody does, so don’t wait until you‘re perfect. But if these seven qualities describe you, or if you are willing to develop them, you can make some guy or gal super lucky.
These aren’t traits your partner will discover on a first date, but they’ll emerge over time as life happens.
1. You put your partner’s needs first (but not always).
It might sound like a good idea to always put the other person first, but a quality partner doesn’t want that. It’s not healthy for you, and it makes you come across as clingy.
A selfish person makes for a horrible partner, but clinginess can prove just as damaging in a relationship. On paper, it sounds selfless to always shine a spotlight on your partner, even at the expense of your own interests, but in practice, it’s like dating that uninvited dinner guest who won’t leave.
A quality partner understands and desires someone who will put them first but also know when to back off and when to assert their needs.
2. You take your meds if you must.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve always found myself drawn to women who practice yoga, go to the gym, see a therapist, meditate, take their meds if needed, or whatever it is they feel necessary to care for themselves.
All of us deal with personal struggles ranging from body issues to mental health problems to burnout. You don’t have to succeed in overcoming all of your challenges; the mere act of trying, doing your best to take care of yourself earns you points. Sure, some potential partners will judge for your struggles, but they’re not worth your effort.
3. You get shit done, even with one arm behind your back.
Fifteen years ago, I had lost everything after an unfortunate business decision. We were living in Colorado and down to less than a month of living expenses with plans to move back to New York City. By asking for help, working my network, and hustling, I won a six-figure job that I should never have gotten.
Nobody talks about resourcefulness as a desired trait in a significant other, but when you find yourselves in a bind, it’s your most valuable asset. Like many of these other qualities, resourcefulness is a choice — a decision to keep trying until you find a way that works.
4. You’ve mastered Darwinism.
Have you ever met someone who seemed perfect at first? They had a good job, kind friends, and checked off all the boxes of a quality partner. But then something happened that upended their life. They lost their job, had to find new friends, or moved to a new location. Once out of their environment, they crumbled, unable to adapt.
Charles Darwin wrote, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”
In any longterm relationship, you’re going to have to adapt as individuals and as a couple. I was once the kind of person who couldn’t adapt. To put it more accurately, the sort of person who wouldn’t adapt. It’s a choice. Be the kind of person who embraces change.
5. You have something all your own.
Several years ago, my wife started a new career selling healthy foods and spices. The business pulled in pennies for the first few years, but her passion for it sustained her. It’s now a reliable money maker. There’s something sexy about a partner who works a hobby or a hustle for nothing but the unbridled joy of it.
Passion creates energy, and your partner feeds off of it. If you don’t have a passion in life, find one. Try new things until something lands. It makes you infinitely more attractive as a partner — much more so than loafing on a couch.
6. You know how to balance the four corners.
There was once a time, where a man could claim success in business at the expense of friends, health, and family, and nobody would question him. Everything would appear perfect in his world, but behind the scenes, his life was empty, and his family and friends suffered from his emotional absence.
Women too were once expected to run their household, and if the rest of their life fell into disrepair, nobody complained. But again, she suffered.
A quality partner understands the importance of balancing all facets of life: friends, self, family, and work. It requires effort and constant monitoring. Sometimes, one corner of the quad will need a bit more of your time. That’s life. But if you seek to re-balance regularly, you’ll be a more desirable partner.
7. You keep your “woo” skills sharp.
There’s a tendency for people in relationships to get lazy. They stop doing all the wonderful things they did during the honeymoon phase to woo their partner. Instead, they selfishly pursue self-interests. And when feeling the sexual urge, they’ll say, “Hey, you in the mood for sex tonight?”
To remain the quality catch your partner fell in love with, commit to always earning your partner’s affection. They may offer it out of obligation, but sooner or later, they’ll resent you for taking it for granted.
If you haven’t mastered these seven qualities, don’t fret. None of them require exceptional talent. You can decide to be a good catch and then put in the effort. Even if you’ve experienced an uninspiring dating history, it doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of a quality partner.