A More Perfect Partner(ship)


Science Upends the Faerie Tales About the Perfect Partnership

Lately I’ve been diggin’ on media related to dating & mating compatibility. Such as How to Not Die Alone by Logan Ury, Don’t Trust Your Gut by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, and This is Supposed to be Fun by Myisha Battle. Without this (and all of my coaching expertise), I would not have seen what really matters and might have very well passed up on my current partner – with whom I’ve never imagined a more perfect partnership. These insights and related personal transformation has enabled me to find and build a truly satisfying partnership, and I can help you too. Read on for a sample of these insights.

The research shows that most of us are looking for the wrong things in a partner. And looking upon my past, I see that I have been doing that for a long time, too. It’s not surprising though, considering that humans are notoriously bad at predicting what will make us happy.

While dating can be depressing, the exciting news is that I feel fully equipped to distill all this information & strategies for the benefit of my clients to save them time and frustration in the fraught-filled dating world. While most of what most people look for in a partner has usually no bearing on relationship success, here are amongst the most important things that the science shows are worth looking for in a partner. I can help you learn how to find evidence of these qualities in a potential match, AND I can help you develop these qualities yourself.

1. Emotional stability in balance with emotional reactivity. A successful relationship benefits greatly from emotional intelligence & wisdom which can be learned by experience or accelerated  through coaching. This allows partners to be able to self-soothe or co-soothe productively rather than react in a damaging triggered angry nor impulsive way.

2. Loyalty. You’ll want to be sure that a partner is going to stick it out when things get rough as they will from time to time. But some of us grew up in a household where we learned to run from tension if it was dangerous. I know I did. Working with a coach can help you learn to move from strife back to joy without running.

3. Growth mindset. We are all unique in the way that we want to be loved. Partnership thrives when partners put in the effort to learn how to love each other in the unique ways each partner wants to be loved. 

4. A personality that brings out the best in you. What is your mood like and how do you generally feel about yourself and the world in the presence of your partner or potential mate? Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic? Joyful or dreadful? confident & intelligent or inferior & abnormal? What do your friends say about your demeanor when you are around them? One of my past partners used to frequently wonder aloud “what are you so stressed out about?” and it took me far too long to realize it was his high maintenance needs and frequent disappointment that I found so stressful!

5. Good conflict resolution skills. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship so having good conflict resolution skills or at least pursuing such skills can make conflicts an opportunity to build security & intimacy rather than a source of fear or potentially divisive. Avoiding conflict just shelves it to fester until a straw breaks the camels back and emotional explosions occur. A good coach (like me) can help you learn these skills.

6. Ability to make difficult decisions with you. Life is difficult. So are partnerships. Best to seek a partnership where difficult decisions can be made without too much difficulty. This is not an inborn trait, these are learned skills that I teach as a coach.

7. Kindness. How do they treat others – especially those from whom they have nothing to gain? Such as receptionists, houseless persons, service industry workers?

8. Conscientiousness. At least some level of this is required to be sure a partner is responsible, organized, and hard working. At least enough to learn how to love you and prevent total chaos.

9. Generally happy & satisfied with life. Yes, one of the biggest predictors that a person will be happy in partnership is how happy are they before the partnership.

10. Content of character matters most.

As you can see, these kinds of qualities aren’t easy tick boxes selectable on dating apps. It takes work to develop these qualities in our selves and work to learn how to sniff them out in potential partners clearly through our cognitive biases. This is what I help with as a coach.

Relationship guru Esther Perel distinguishes that we can have a delicious love affair with all sorts of people who aren’t ideal for us as life partners. We can love alot of people that wouldn’t be fit for building a life with, and it’s important to know the distinction. We can fall in love with people who are too different and it’s important to consider if we have a reasonably shared vision of life, mission, values, beliefs, views about money, independence vs. intimacy, emotional expressiveness, views about power, etc. Esther says that what builds a life partnership is based on more than just feelings like love – it needs to include actions, beliefs, and intimate touch. Love is easy. Partnership is so much more work & reward.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of complications involved with dating and finding and maintaining a satisfying partnership. For example, most of us use ineffectual communication tactics and approaches to acquainting that are riddled with scientifically proven unconscious psychological traps and biases that hinder our pursuit of happiness. Or we don’t know how to respond to these kinds of challenging behaviors from others. Plus, dating apps are seemingly designed to set us up for misconceptions and disappointment. We didn’t evolve to hone communication skills through text-based dating apps. And we all know meeting in real life has a whole set of further complications.

But you’re in luck because resources are out there. There are coaches like me who customize learning for you. To find out how I would approach your particular situation and goals, please accept my invitation to a free initial consultation Zoom call. You’ll get to gauge your comfort with me and I can answer any questions you may have to help you decide if I’m the right coach for you. To book your free call, click here.