Life in your mid-20s was consumed by a new career, moving out, embarking on new adventures, making new friends and, of course, casually dating. As you've evolved throughout adulthood, so have your dating standards. Some of the qualities you thought were important for a significant other to possess then are the polar opposite of what you seek out today. As you've grown and changed, so have the following requirements for a partner:
1. Is A Perfect Ten In Terms Of Physical Appearance
At 25, good looks may have been the determining factor for whether you continue to see someone or not. You may have even given someone the boot for not having your preferred eye color. If you no longer see this as a viable reason to not date someone, you are headed down the right avenue of maturity. Remember that while physical attraction plays an important role in every relationship, emotional attraction will make you desire your partner even more. Good looks may lure you to someone, but integrity, honesty, kindness and humor make you stay with them. Physical attraction may have been an initial attention grabber, but character is the glue to the success of your relationship.
2. Is Not Divorced
"When you're young, someone who's divorced can look like a loser. But he or she may have learned a lot of valuable things and can be a better partner because of the divorce," said Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka "Dr. Romance") psychotherapist and author of the forthcoming Dr. Romance's Guide to Dating in the Digital Age and the previously published The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. You quickly abandoned the thought of dating a divorcee at 25, but now it's time to adopt a more realistic outlook. Most people who have been divorced strive to make their new relationships more meaningful to avoid the same problems they encountered in their previous marriage.
3. Shares The Exact Same Interests
Am I deeming sharing interests with your significant other as unimportant? Of course not. Values and morals are components that should align with your partner no matter what age you are. However, with age should come maturity, and accepting differences should reflect that maturity. Having some separate interests can create a well-balanced, healthy relationship. Dating and relationship writer Lori Bizzoco asks a vital question: "How do you grow as a person if you choose a partner who likes everything you do?"
4. Has An Impressive Job
Seeking out men or women pursuing impressive careers (e.g., doctors, lawyers, CEOs of businesses, etc.) may have been the trendy thing to do in college or while flirting at guys at the bar in your mid 20s, but you've retired that tactic as you've grown older. In terms of finding someone with an "attractive" job, "as long as your honey can pay the bills, it's much more important for him or her to have work that is meaningful than to have one of the impressive jobs," said Tessina. Plus, someone with a less demanding job may have more time and energy to invest in your relationship.
5. Makes A Ridiculous Amount Of Money
At some point or another, every young person has the fantasy of finding someone who can financially support his or her needs. Thankfully, this concern has dwindled. "In a world obsessed with material objects, young people who have money, who can pay the check, can support their needs," Bizzoco said. Instead of wanting to be a person who can support your shoe addiction, you should now yearn to find someone with the same approach to spending and saving money.
6. Independence From Someone
You only had one person to care about at 25, and that person was you — independence from a significant other was necessary then. With the lingering thoughts of marriage and children, interdependence has risen as a more important factor. According to Duana C. Welch, Ph.D. and author of the upcoming book Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish I Do, being able to rely on the one you love is highly valued in at least 37 cultures.
7. Highly Educated With Multiple Degrees
Motivated and educated individuals are attractive at every stage of life. But you're no longer looking for someone with an overload of degrees like you may have at 25. Being in a relationship with someone who isn't Harvard or Yale educated doesn't mean you're settling. It just means you've realized there are more ways to learning than higher education.
Switching gears from dating "wants" to "needs" in a relationship, as you mature, gives you the best possibility to find a real relationship. Adding more life experiences (and evaluating those experiences) can lead you to the right path of dating success. Being honest about what will make you happy and giving chances to people that don't hit 100 percent of your checklist will maximize your chances of meeting the right person.
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