What Do Men And Women Look For In A Long-Term Partner?

by | Apr 2, 2012 | Health & News

Ever wonder what qualities attracted you to your partner? Why did you decide that he was a “keeper”?

While doing research for my book, one intriguing resource was the book written by Barbara and Allen Pease, Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes: The Ultimate Guide to the Opposite Sex (1).

Interestingly, in their book, they found that for both men and women, the top quality searched for in a long term partner was personality. A recent article in Psychology Today, by Randi Gunther, a clinical psychologist, and marriage counselor, sheds more light on this topic (2).

What are some of the specific aspects of personality that are sought after in a long-term romantic partner?

7 qualities of a “keeper”:

1. Self-accountability: He is able to own his actions and behavior, seeks out ways to compromise and feels confident in his contributions to the relationship.

2. Interest: He looks for ways to make situations and activities with you interesting and meaningful.

3. Emotional Balance and Stability: You can count on him to stay centered and reliable even in the toughest of time.

4. Authenticity: A “Keeper” literally “keeps” his word. He is honest, respectful and has a strong sense of integrity. He is as open with you as open about his virtues as well as his vices.

5. Self-Soothing: A desirable romantic partner manages emotions and tolerates stress effectively and in a mature manner. He is mindful and acknowledges his level of distress and finds proactive ways to get back on track.

6. Self-Care: He takes good care of himself physically, mentally and emotionally. He does not expect you to “fix” him. He recognizes that the choice to take care of himself has positive consequences of having more to give to others, thereby being a better partner to you too!

7. Is Present: A keeper values and treasures the present moment. He is “with you” when you are together – not brooding over the past or worrying about the future. He is in the “now”.

Looking at these qualities, do you agree with them?
What specific qualities do you love about your partner?
What other qualities would you like to see in your partner?

To take this a step further and you’re really feeling brave, think about these questions:
1) What kind of partner are YOU?
2) What kind of partner would you LIKE to be?

By honestly looking at yourself and your relationship with your partner, you both can make decisions to change certain potentially detrimental behaviors and cultivate those which nourish your relationship!

1. Pease, Barbara, and Allen Pease. Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes: The Ultimate Guide to the Opposite Sex.New York: Broadway Books, 2004.
2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rediscovering-love/201108/who-are-the-keepers-the-behaviors-successful-long-term-partners