Relationships can send you spiraling head-over-heels. But is the person you are dating worth the risk of falling in love? Are they the type of person who will help break your fall ... or just break your heart?
Qualities of a "keeper":
1. Sees the real you - and the best in you
You did not hang the moon; anyone who thinks you did will eventually be disappointed. Your partner shouldn't idolize you, but he or she should be able to see past your minor dysfunctions. The ideal partner is someone who sees your full potential while understanding that some days, you will not quite live up to it.
2. Is considerate in the little things
We are all guilty of tuning out our partner occasionally. But when someone really likes you, he or she makes note of the little things that make you happy. If you are having an especially rough week and your significant other pops by with one of your favorite treats (Kung Pao chicken, sci-fi movies, chocolate cake, etc.), you've found a good one. Support may also come in non-material ways - helping with a tedious chore or simply listening when you need to talk.
3. Is trustworthy
When your partner is behaving suspiciously, a relationship can quickly become exhausting. You should not have to operate in a state of hyper-vigilance, constantly wondering where your partner is and what he or she might be doing. Find a mature, trustworthy partner and you will sleep easier each night.
4. Is someone you can live with someday
You may prefer radically different settings on the thermostat. Your furniture styles may clash horrifically. These types of differences can be managed, but adapting to chronic disrespect, polar opposite personalities, etc., may be nearly impossible. When considering a potential marriage candidate, also consider how your temperaments and values will intersect.
5. Is respectful to your family and friends
Admittedly, some relatives are not worthy of our full admiration. But your partner should show at least the same level of respect for your family members as you do. This is ultimately an extension of his or her respect for you - being polite (or at least civil) to your family reduces stress on you. As for your friends, your significant other and best buddies may never totally click, but a loving partner will try to keep the peace for your sake.
6. Is a friend
Sure, you are a super cute couple. But is the person you are dating friend material too? Consider what brings friends together in the first place: common interests, values or experiences. Make sure you truly like your partner's core person, not just his or her physical attributes.
7. Is more than a friend
Friendship is great, but you are obviously looking for more in a romantic relationship. Be open to how you define physical beauty, but you should ultimately feel a powerful attraction to your mate.
8. Supports your interests and passions
You won't share every interest, but your significant other can still cheer you on from the sidelines (literally or metaphorically). Disclaimer: If your interests are destructive (binge drinking, playing video games to the point that your muscles begin to atrophy, etc.) a loving partner will not condone these habits.
9. Has his or her own passions/interests
If your partner doesn't have any obvious interests of his/her own, your interest in him or her is likely to fizzle quickly. Our hobbies and passions give us dimension as individuals and also supply something to talk about during all that time together.
10. Is capable of being kept (i.e., is capable of commitment)
Your mate could meet all of the above criteria, but if he or she isn't interested in settling down, it's irrelevant. If you are looking for a long-term relationship, be sure you are also looking for a loyal, commitment-minded person. Some people take a little longer to arrive at that place, but others are determined to never be "tied down."
When considering what makes a particular guy or girl a "keeper," also listen to your intuition. Do you feel fundamentally safe with the person? Does he or she delight your heart? And does he or she possess the character traits and communication skills that make a healthy relationship possible? If so, secure the good thing you have together with a clear expression of commitment to that person.