WORDS by Rachel Grace

WORDS by Rachel Grace

In our early teens, my friends and I used to play a nameless game which involved describing our ideal partner. Our answers fluctuated depending on maturity and as the years passed our answers diversified. From Mauritz, the pink cheeked new boy, all the way to our OC obsession which drove elaborated debates of the pros and cons of dating either Ryan or Seth. 

The good old times when pages of our school books were mini shrines to our crushes. When small glitter hearts encased our future last names like Mrs Radcliffe or Mrs Michael-Murray. When sleepovers were filled with whispered conversations at midnight under torch light, dreaming of the person who will one day become our soul mate. Those innocent hours of wondering and passionately discussing were linked by a single thread; appearance.

Those days are now laughed at over a glass of wine and the essence of our conversation has since changed. Firstly, our future happiness doesn't blossom or stem from the possibility of a romantic relationship. And secondly, the qualities agreed upon have nothing to do with a pretty or chiseled counterpart. None of us lo longer factor in a six pack or broad shoulders, the things that we look for now can't be sliced out from a magazine and stuck in a sparkly scrapbook.

Maybe it's due to growing older,  but looks now seem like the pictures made from sprinkled chocolate on a cappuccino; never expected but appreciated if it happens. It's not uncommon to meet someone you’re not physically attracted to at first, until their personality tumbles out, causing sparks to manifest a wild fire as you become utterly convinced that they're the most beautiful person you've ever met.

That's not to say appearances aren't important, they are, but they're finite and don’t promise a true partnership. With this in mind, here's a list of ten things or qualities to look for in a partner that have nothing to do with looks.

1. Kindness

Cruelty and meanness in relationships aren't scarce, mistreatment on any scale has entered our lives, either personally or vicariously through someone we love. Kindness may seem like an obvious quality to look for in a partner, but in reality the beauty of this quality is wildly overlooked. If you're on a date and the person dismisses the wait staff then it doesn't matter that they speak to you with a voice of honey and reserve the icy condescension for others, because time reveals most things and it might eventually reveal you on the receiving end of that acid tongue.

2. Humour

We can't all date a Chris Rock or an Amy Schumer but we can all have someone whose humour aligns with ours, someone who can lighten your mood when it feels dark and heavy and makes your shoulders slump. A person with a sense of humour who can make people smile with their quick remarks, quirks and perspectives is someone worth waiting for. Wrinkles abound with age and hopefully we all have the good fortune to watch the creases deepen as the years pass, but humour doesn't fade in time and its company never grows old.

3. Empathy

It's a lonely time when you feel as though there's not a person in the world who understands what you're experiencing. The isolation can at times feel as though it can drive you mad and test the limits of your sanity. Whatever we're experiencing in life, whether it's profoundly sad or joyous, a partner with empathy will always be there to understand what it's like. Empathy is loneliness' antidote, even in small quantities, and a partner who can be empathic and acknowledge your emotions and feelings opposed to proffering solutions is an invaluable comfort.

4. Intelligence

Intelligence is the kind of attractive which supersedes the physical aspect. Intelligence isn't limited to one's IQ; some are numerically gifted, can fix a computer without consulting Google, can draw an image which replicates a photograph or compassionately care for the sick. Sometimes intelligence can't be measured, but we know it's there. Whatever form intelligence manifests in, look for it, and don't settle without it.

5. Passion

We all need something that gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Some people spend their lifetime searching for a passion that drives them, while others have spent their childhood knowing. Someone with passion of any kind, similar to intelligence, is a quality to look for in a partner. There's a feeble comparison between the unmotivated and lazy person with a face and body that belongs on an underwear campaign and the motivated, driven person who speaks with pride about how they passed their day.

6. Open Mindedness

Opinions are diverse and it's okay to disagree with someone from the bottom of your heart, and still sincerely respect their right to believe it. Yet there is a difference between someone who has solidified their ideas and opinions to one whose responses and thoughts are fluid with every lesson learnt and ideas exchanged. A partner with an open mind means growing and learning together, even if the beliefs that arise aren't congruent between the two of you. My parents have been married for 25 years and they'll sit at the dinner table spearing pieces of pasta between disagreements and then unite in something completely different while brewing English tea before watching television.  Open mindedness doesn't mean persistent agreement, it means respecting and considering another person's point of view, even when it may seem madly absurd.

7. Warmth

Warmth can be shown in soft touches or waking to a hot pot of coffee made just for you. It's not bringing home a bouquet of red roses or showcasing diamonds woven in a gold chain worn around a wrist or resting on a chest, dangling from a necklace. It's showing appreciation and affection for all the little pieces of you, like buying bed socks for your frozen feet in winter or holding a nervous hand and with words unspoken, calming you down. Warmth is the crux of any relationship and a crucial quality in looking for a potential partner.

8. Independence

A person who is their own being even in the absence of a partner and who is not defined by another is a person with a form of independence that should be looked out for. We all have or have had the friend who's identity hinges on a relationship, who's sense of self falters and shifts if someone else is not there to direct and support it. Independence is a quality to seek, someone who can share your life while not being consumed by it.

9. Confidence

We all have our scars etched from periods of low self-esteem, the thing we dislike the most about ourselves which we hope is invisible to eyes besides our own. Yet, there's a difference between having insecurities and seeking approval through others to determine one’s worth. It's a thin line between assured confidence and arrogance, and self-deprecation and low self-esteem. This quality is important because if someone hasn't accepted who they are, they'll never let you love them as they are. A relationship becomes tumultuous and laced with egg shells because if first they don't at least mildly love aspects of themselves, it's difficult to allow others to love them if they don't believe they’re worthy of it.

10. Committed

The whole one-foot-out-the-door, seeking-lust-not-love and playing- emotions-like-a-game-of-chess thing can be exhausting. No one wants a shadow partner who disappears when things get dark or too hard. Someone who will be committed is a quality to search for, one that's hard to come by and one that can be disguised in ulterior motives and ingenuity, but one that exists nonetheless and one everyone deserves. 

What is the most important trait you look for in a partner?

Image source via: Oyster Mag

WORDS BY:  Rachel Grace

Rachel Farnham is a shameless book worm, red lipstick wearer, day dreamer and writer. In her spare time she can be found completing her uni degree, listening to Taylor Swift and cuddling her cat who detests affection.