How To Find A Better Partner

Nov 17

Although attracting someone is a big part of securing a date with them; it is even more important to working out if you want to stay with them or not.  Some people call this part of dating the qualifying round, the screening or even the testing.  Regardless of what terminology you use this is essentially the interview part of dating.

We all have a general idea of the type of person we want as a partner.  Some of us have a very full list of characteristics, abilities and traits.  This kind of list normally includes personality quirks, intelligence levels and physical attributes that we find attractive.  While they may be considered to be important to you or the person doing the qualifying, are they actually important for ensuring that you have a successful relationship?

The problem with this sort of list is that it is often lacking something – you could be wasting your time looking for some of the things you want from a partner.  All the while not looking for the things that really count.

Relationship Quality and Individual Characteristics Research

The best way to figure out which qualities you should be looking for in a potential partner is featured in an issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that was published in may 2011.  There are 4 articles that specifically look at the conscientiousness and self-control and how it affects the quality of a relationship.  Brief points have been gathered below.

In 3 of the studies, it was discovered that self-control was important for a partner staying faithful.  If your partner is good at controlling themselves, it makes sense that they would be better at stopping themselves from giving into temptation when someone attractive flirts with them.

Also, when it is easier to trust someone with a higher level of self-control.  Therefore, self-control makes a relationship stable for both people in a couple.

Another quality that is connected to self-control also appears to be important to whether a relationship is successful or not is conscientiousness.  In 2 of the studies conducted, it was found that when it comes to correcting mistakes within a relationship; conscientiousness comes into play in fuelling motivation to make necessary changes and corrections.  It was particularly true with regards to male partners who were conscientious. 

It also seems that both conscientiousness and self-control play a major part in partners being able to keep promises with each other.  In all 4 of the studies, the two qualities showed the potential for partners to follow-through on promises they made, whereas actual feelings played no part.  The findings seem to suggest that people don’t keep promises to you because they want to and love you, but more so because they have an appropriate amount of self-control to see the task of keeping the promise through to completion.

What Does It Mean For You?

There is one common idea established by these studies – people may still make mistakes in a relationship no matter how much they love you; if they lack the necessary level of self-control.

 That makes things a little confusing as people look for love between them and their partners for a way to fix things and assure themselves of their partner’s motivation to continue as a couple, their trustworthiness and their faithfulness.  Whereas as the truth is that you need more than just love.

With all of the above in mind, therefore, when you are looking for a partner that is going to stay the long run, not cheat and not mess up ALL the time, then you should be looking at potential partner’s abilities rather than their emotions.

How can you assess a person’s conscientiousness and self-control though?  Below there are some examples of the things you should be looking at.

Their Attention Span

We rely on our self-control to help use focus and direct our attention appropriately.  Pay close attention to the attention your date gives to you, the type not just the amount.  Look out for examples of their attention spa in other parts of their life too.  Do they feel the need to pay attention to the smallest details regarding their hobby or work?  Are they easily distracted?  If a potential boyfriend or girlfriend is easily distracted and very unfocused most of the time; they probably lack self-control.  The lack of self-control will make relating to you, sharing with you and communicating with you very tricky at best.

 Do They Delay Gratification?

Self-control also helps us to be more patient and rather than rush out to get things we want; it enables us to put off getting them until it is the right time.  Watch out for tale signs of lacking in this ability to delay gratification.  If they are going crazy because dinner is late being served in a restaurant – this is a warning sign.  Also, be alert if you notice they have a lot of credit cards and credit card debt.  The people who can’t delay their gratification, want it all now.  Therefore, they lack patience.

Are They Good At Planning?

When an individual is conscientious they are better able to make plans and stick to them.  Even if their plans aren’t particularly explicitly outlined or thorough; they will have a good idea what they are doing and when.  On the flip side, the people who just go with the flow and wing it are the ones that lack conscientiousness.  Although their spontaneous nature may be attractive and fun in the beginning; it will lose its shine when you are trying to plan something important and they are no use to you.

Do They Achieve Their Goals?

Lastly, another way you can tell if your potential boyfriend or girlfriend has high levels of conscientiousness and self-control if they set goals and achieve them.  It doesn’t mean that you have to look only at high-flying city businessmen and entrepreneurs as potential partners, but it does mean that you should be looking for people who finish things they start.  If you discover that your date has a list of aspirations, hopes and dreams; it is worth asking them more questions before getting serious.  People who talk a good talk but don’t walk the walk normally have very low levels of conscientiousness and self-control.  It could be that if you start a relationship with that type of person that the relationship is just another unfinished plan.

In Conclusion

Remember that when you decide you want to pursue a relationship with a particular dating partner that you need more than just love.  You also need more than the mental qualities and physical attributes you would normally look for in a potential boyfriend or girlfriend.  They need to have the ability to become and be a good partner and that only comes from having a good level of conscientiousness and self-control.  When you look for those character traits, you will find a better boyfriend or girlfriend.