7 Unsexy Qualities Of An Ideal Partner

There are certain characteristics to look for in a lasting relationship.

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There may be no such thing as the perfect partner, but an ideal partner can be found in someone who has developed themselves in certain ways that go beyond the surface.

While we each seek out a specific set of qualities that is uniquely meaningful to us alone, there are psychological characteristics both you and your partner can aim for that make the flame stronger, more passionate, and more fulfilling.


Many of these qualities won’t be apparent to us when we first meet someone, but as we get to know the people we date, these are invaluable traits to both look for in them and to strive for in ourselves.

Here are 7 simple qualities of an ideal partner

1. Maturity

This is not meant to echo the ever-advised mantra that maturity is important. Being “grown-up” isn’t merely a matter of not acting like a kid anymore. It is not about a boyfriend who remembers to take out the trash or a girlfriend who never runs late.

These qualities are nice, but to truly grow up means making an active effort to recognize and resolve negative influences from our past. An ideal partner is therefore willing to reflect on his or her history and is interested in understanding how old events influence current behaviors.


7 Simple Qualities Of An Ideal PartnerPhoto: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

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When people mature emotionally, they are less likely to re-enact or project past experiences onto their current relationships. They develop a strong sense of independence and autonomy, having differentiated from destructive influences from early in life.


As they evolve within themselves, they are less likely to look for someone to compensate for shortcomings and weaknesses or to complete their incompleteness. Instead, they’re looking for someone to share life with as equals and to appreciate independently of themselves.

Having broken ties to old identities and patterns, this person is much more available to a romantic partner and the new family they create together. Naturally, becoming emotionally mature helps with this process, and dramatically improves our chances of achieving a solid and rewarding relationship.

2. Openness

An ideal partner is open and willing to be vulnerable. No human is perfect, so finding someone who is approachable and receptive to feedback and an overall discussion is great for a lasting relationship.

When someone is free-thinking and open-minded, it lets them be forthright in expressing feelings, thoughts, dreams, and desires, which allows you to truly know them deep down. Their openness is also an indication of their interest in personal development and often contributes to the development of the relationship.




Like perfect people, perfect unions do not exist, so finding someone with whom you can talk about an area you feel is lacking in your relationship and who is open to evolving is more than half the battle. However, being willing to accept feedback from our partners and looking for that kernel of truth in what they say allows us to develop ourselves in a similar manner.

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3. Honesty and integrity

The ideal partner realizes the importance of honesty in a relationship. Honesty builds trust between people, while dishonesty confuses the other person, betraying their vulnerability and shattering their sense of reality.


Nothing has a more destructive impact on a romantic relationship than dishonesty and deception. Even in painful situations such as infidelity, the blatant deception involved is often equally, if not more, hurtful than the unfaithful act itself.

But the qualities of an ideal partner include someone who strives to live a life of integrity so there are no discrepancies between words and actions. This goes for all levels of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.

Being open and honest in our most intimate relationships means really knowing ourselves and our intentions. While this can prove difficult at times, it is an effort worth striving for.

4. Respect and independence

Ideal partners value each other’s interests separate from their own. They feel sympathetic toward and supportive of one another’s overall life goals. They are sensitive to others’ wants, desires and feelings, and place them on an equal basis with their own.


7 Simple Qualities Of An Ideal PartnerPhoto: Elina Fairytale / Pexels

Good partners treat each other with respect and sensitivity. They do not try to control each other with threatening or manipulative behavior. They are respectful of their partner’s personal boundaries, while at the same time remaining close, physically and emotionally.

Valuing and respecting our partners and not trying to change them allows us to really know them as unique individuals.


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5. Empathy

An ideal partner perceives their mate on an intellectual, observational level, and an emotional, intuitive level. They are able to both understand and empathize.

When two people in a couple understand each other, they become aware of the commonalities that exist between them, and also recognize and appreciate the differences. When both partners are empathic, meaning they are capable of communicating with respect for the other person’s wants and values, each partner feels understood and validated.



Developing our ability to be empathic helps us understand and attune to our partner. It shows that we truly care about what they are going through and feeling.


6. Affection

An ideal partner is easily affectionate and responsive on many levels: physically, emotionally, and verbally. They are personal, acknowledging, and outwardly demonstrative of feelings of warmth and tenderness.

This person should feel uninhibited in giving and accepting affection and pleasure. Being open to both giving and receiving affection adds a poignant feeling to our lives and brings us closer to our partner as a result.

7. Sense of humor

A sense of humor can breathe fresh air into a relationship when it is going through its ups and downs. And it is one of the most important qualities of an ideal partner.


The ability to laugh at one’s self and at life’s foibles allows a person to maintain a proper perspective when dealing with sensitive issues that arise within a relationship. Couples who are playful often defuse potentially volatile situations with their humor.

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A good sense of humor eases tense moments in a relationship. After all, being able to laugh at ourselves makes life much easier. Plus, it is one of life’s greatest joys to be able to laugh with someone close to us.


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Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, author, and the Director of Research and Education for the Glendon Association. She has appeared in more than 300 radio, TV, and print interviews, including NPR, the BBC, CBC, Psychology Today, Men's Health, and The Los Angeles Times.