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Choosing a partner is one of life’s most important decisions. In an age where divorce is becoming increasingly common, it’s time to consider the three pillars of a happy, functional relationship.
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw famously said, ‘Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else’. Over the course of a lifetime, however, these ‘small differences’ can really add up; incompatibilities can result in relationship misery, while compatibilities lead to a satisfying and fulfilling partnership.
But how do you go about selecting the right life partner for you?
From a psychological perspective, character similarity is one of the strongest predictors of long-lasting relationships. Dr Noam Shpancer from Psychology Today1 explains, ‘On almost every parameter of background, personality, values, and experience, we prefer someone who has a lot in common with us over someone who is totally different from us’. It makes sense; if you date someone who is similar to you, you’re more likely to feel understood because you both come from the same social and cultural worlds. That’s the reason our matchmaking system aims to pair like-minded singles – it’s the most likely way you’ll find a compatible life partner and enjoy a loving, long-lasting relationship.
Three traits of a strong partnership:
Friendship is the foundation for any resilient romantic relationship. Sure, heated romance might bring two people together, but it’s friendship that keeps things going when the rose-tinted glasses start to fade away. So when you’re choosing a life partner, look to your current friendships and think about the sort of people you tend to gravitate towards. Likely, you’re friends with people who make you laugh, who are fun to be around, who offer stimulating conversation, and who have similar interests as you do; these things stoke the fire for a long-lasting friendship. Similarly, picking a partner with friend-like qualities is the best thing you can do to ensure your relationship has what it needs to last the distance.
No-one is perfect, and as hard as it is to hear, that includes you and any potential partner you’ll come across. So when it comes to partner choice, it’s vital that you see someone for everything they are – the good, the bad and the ugly – and then decide whether you’re able to accept their shortcomings. After all, a lifetime is a rather long time to spend focusing on faults, and as psychologist Salama Marine explains, ‘the basis of a healthy relationship stems from the freedom to be yourself without fear of the reaction from your partner’ 2. So choose a partner whose weaknesses are accepted as part of an otherwise-wonderful package; your relationship will stand in good stead to bear life’s inevitable ups and downs.
READ MORE: Make the right partner choice for you – read the four secrets to finding love that lasts.
It goes without saying that being with someone for a lifetime won’t always be easy. Even the best relationships don’t happen by chance – they require effort, communication and dedication. We’ve all heard the statistics; 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce. So pick someone who’s willing to fight when the going gets tough. By choosing someone who is as committed to a successful long-term relationship as you are, bumps along the way will be met by a robust, united force.
While partner choice is likely to be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in life, in most cases you won’t need to over-think it. If you’ve found someone who is fun to be around, who understands you, who accepts you for who you are and who is willing to work to keep your relationship alive, then you’re on the right track to a satisfying, fulfilling and long-lasting partnership.
READ MORE: Whether you’re from Cairns, Canberra or somewhere inbetween, EliteSingles can help you meet compatible singles near you. Register today to boost your chances of finding that special someone!
1. Dr Noam Schpancer, Psychology Today: Laws of attraction: How do we select a life partner, 2014.
2. Salama Marine, EliteSingle’s in-house psychologist.