Little quirks and personality traits you don't even notice make him heads of heels for you.
My partner and I are very lucky in that we don’t have to spend significant time away from one another. What’s more, we don’t want to!
But when we do spend extended time apart, it makes me think about all the things I miss when she’s not around. I’ve actually come to realize I don’t just miss the following nine characteristics, I simply couldn’t do without having them in my life.
While at first they may seem specific to us, most people in happy, healthy relationships bring them to the table in their own ways.
1. Her compassion.
My partner is always considering the other person’s perspective. She’s not just tolerant, she legitimately makes an effort to understand a situation or an issue from someone else’s point of view. And for her, it doesn’t require effort—it’s her default.
I have definitely absorbed some of her compassion (not as much as I would like, I mean, some people make it really hard for me to be understanding). As a result, our inevitable arguments are brief and constructive. We don’t hold grudges, and we always meet each other in the middle after we make an effort to see where the other is coming from.
2. Her patience.
Since I’m not perfect, I do stupid shit sometimes. I’ll leave the toilet seat up, I’ll drink milk right out of the carton, I’ll leave the door wide open in the middle of winter while I run outside to get something. My partner takes it all in stride.
Sure, she nudges me when I do something dumb, but she doesn’t go bald-phase Britney Spears on me. And you know what? That’s awesome. Her patience just makes me want to fix whatever it is that needs fixing.
3. Her feminism.
She’s a feminist. I’m a feminist. We aren’t a couple, we’re partners in crime, and it’s the best.
I was regrettably in a few more traditional relationships in the past, and it was exhausting. With my partner, I don’t have to “man up,” or be a slave to pride. Instead, I can ask for her help, I can vacuum and dust instead of dealing with gross stuff, and I can be me instead of some faux, hyper-masculine version of myself.
I am telling you, the patriarchy is the worst.
4. Her emotional support.
I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, which means that there are times when I need a little more emotional support than the average person. My partner graciously provides it. She knew very little about GAD before we started dating, but not only has she learned to help me when things are bad, she’s basically become the American Ninja Warrior of panic attacks.
When I’m not unreasonably cowering in fear, I try to provide as much emotional support to her as I can as a way of saying, “Hey thanks for having my back, partner.”
5. Her blueberry crisp.
I do most of the cooking these days, but my partner is no slouch in the kitchen. She’s an especially gifted baker. There is nothing I request more than her blueberry crisp; it’s stupid how good it is. Remember Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? That’s me after eating this unreal blueberry crisp.
6. Her positivity
I’ve lost count of how many times people have told my partner that she ought to be a motivational speaker. Even when things are total garbage, she makes an effort to see a silver lining.
Just the other day we were playing a board game with friends and my buddy Zach died, or failed a roll of the dice, or something. My partner, being completely genuine, said, “It’s okay Zach, you did a really good job.”
Absolutely nothing escapes her vortex of positivity, and that’s gotten us through some tough times. When things are Jem-and-the-Holograms-the-movie-bad, I try to imagine what my partner would do.
7. Her practicality and logic.
I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I dive in headfirst, hope for the best, and adjust if I need to. This can be an awesome way to live, but sometimes my freewheeling can get me in trouble.
My partner is the complete opposite: she is a planner, a think-before-you-talker, and a rule follower. We tend to balance each other out in this regard—she has become more spontaneous and adaptable, and I’ve become more methodical and contemplative.
8. Her awesome taste in “terrible” movies.
We all have mundane superpowers. For example, if parallel parking were an Olympic sport, I would be on the national team. My partner’s superpower is an uncanny ability to find legitimately great movies in the massive heap of one- and two-star trash on Netflix.
Just to be clear, these movies aren’t masterful examples of cinematic craft, but they don’t deserve the one- or two-star designation either. Such gems include When a Stranger Calls, Enough, Dreamcatcher, and The Tourist.
9. Her encouragement.
She makes me feel like my wins are her wins too, and that’s a real motivator for me. She’s always saying that she’s proud of me, and I try to do the same for her.
One of the reasons our relationship is strong is because we’re really invested in each other’s accomplishments, professionally and personally. If I had to choose what on this list I would miss the most, my partner’s encouragement would be it.
This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.