Skip ahead to #5. You won't be sorry.
I had a number of serious, long-term relationships before I met my partner, but they all ended because I couldn’t imagine myself growing old with those people. My friends and family thought I was too picky and that I should settle, but I wasn’t interested. It’s not like I was buying a car, I was looking to commit to a lifelong partnership with another human!
Luckily, these nine things about my partner confirmed that being with her is the exact opposite of settling—each one makes me beyond excited to spend forever with her.
1. She’s the best gift giver.
This goes much deeper than the exchange of material things. She nails my Christmas gifts every year (although I keep telling her I don’t need one) because she’s always listening for hints, even if I don’t know I’m dropping them. A few years ago she gave me an absolutely beautiful radio cabinet from 1954 with a built-in turntable. I’d mentioned always wanting one a few times in passing without thinking much of it. Come December, we were taking a mystery ride to Buffalo to pick it up!
2. She has her stuff together.
Not only is she wicked smart, she’s ambitious and has a trajectory for achieving her goals. In my mind, a life partner has to have more than a nebulous list of things they want to accomplish—they need the motivation to do so. Without that, you’re not dating, you’re babysitting.
3. She’s more mature than I am.
I’m six years older than my partner, but she’s the elder stateswoman in our relationship. She’s wise beyond her years, slow to anger, and she deals with things in a more even fashion than I do. A relationship between two reasonable people is, well, reasonable. That’s a very good thing when it’s supposed to last for the rest of your life.
4. She’s seriously responsible.
My partner is a practical person, probably because her parents are practical people. And with practicality, responsibility often follows. She does what she says she’s going to do when she said she’d do it, so I always know I can rely on her. She’s the Will Smith to my Martin Lawrence. Yes, that was a "Bad Boys" reference.
5. She loves donuts.
I bought flowers for my partner once, and it’s not that she didn’t really like them, she just prefers donuts. Now when I want to let her know I’m thinking about her, that’s what I surprise her with.
I love this about her because it’s an effect of her not subscribing to traditional patterns of behavior just because she’s “supposed” to be a certain way. She does what she wants and likes what she likes without making any apologies about it. In turn, that makes me feel comfortable enough to adopt that attitude.
6. She prizes being open with each other.
It’s a cliché because it’s true: trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. I trust my partner wholly and, as far as I know, she feels the same. That’s probably a result of the fact that we keep nothing from one another, good or bad. Even if it seems trivial, we share it.
7. She’s a beautiful human, period.
Not only does she have beautiful outsides—she’s so sexy—my partner has lovely insides, too. She’s a pleasant person to be around, a positive force in any room, and plain old good person. I never deny the fact that she’s flat-out a better human being than I am. That doesn’t just make life better for me, it makes life better for everyone around us.
8. She’s a crazy-good storyteller.
My partner loves to talk, and she’s full of stories. Her grandfather actually had to tell her to slow down and speak clearly when she was a kid.
Sometimes I unfairly shut her down when she gets gabby at the wrong time, like when I’m trying to sleep, but I can’t imagine being without her storytelling. She’s not just talking needlessly, she’s talking because she’s a thinker. One of the biggest reasons I want to marry her is because we’re in the middle of an interesting conversation that’s going to take a lifetime to get through.
9. She’s always by my side.
Like every couple, we have ups and downs, but the point is that we have them together. We’re constantly watching out for each other, and we make it a point to help each other out whenever possible. In essence, we go through life as a team. She’s my partner, in crime and otherwise, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.