Relationship Experts Reveal Non-Physical Traits Women Look For In A Partner

Brush up on your jokes and polish your conversation skills, guys.

man and woman smiling at eachother Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

Good news, guys: It's not all about looks. Granted, this is better news for some of us than for others.

For instance, all that work in the gym might still pay off if what you're after is a superficial fling that happens thanks to your superhero chest and waist measurements.

But if you're looking for something of substance — say, a lasting relationship built on mutual respect and admiration — there also is hope if you know how to project certain non-physical character traits that women seek in a romantic partner.


What are those traits, you ask? We were curious, too, so we reached out to a panel of relationship experts to ask the question. Below is their shared insight, and let's make sure this is very clear: If you haven't already brushed up on your conversation skills, now is as good a time as any.

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Here are non-physical traits women look for in a partner, according to five relationship experts:

1. The ability to feel and show empathy

One of the most common non-physical traits that women look for in their partners is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings, thoughts, and experiences without judgment or personal bias. It involves being able to step into another person’s shoes and truly feel what they are feeling, in order to connect with them on a deeper level.

When a person receives an empathetic response, they feel seen, heard, understood, comforted, and held closely. This is a major source of connection in partnerships.

Unfortunately, many women desire and expect empathy without giving their partner enough context or history to truly step into their shoes. When their partner does not immediately meet their needs they feel disconnected, resentful, sometimes angry, and often doubt the quality of the relationship.

In heterosexual relationships, male partners more than anything want to support their women, but too often the demand comes before they have enough knowledge and understanding they need to be empathic. They are simply expected to be there in that instant. As much as the man wants to provide for their partner, it’s a no-win situation.   


Ladies, give us some context at the time the need surfaces and we will do everything in our power to lovingly empathize. If just holding you or listening is all you want, we are happy to do so. We simply don’t know that’s all you need.

Larry Michel, the Love Shepherd, and founder of the Institute of Genetic Energetics

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2. A sense of humor

Women value someone who can make them laugh at themselves, laugh at what is getting them down, and laugh at the pressures in her life. 

What is laughter? It’s the ability to take something and make it into nothing. It’s the noncaloric elixir that helps a woman smooth over the rough spots in her life.


Most of my patients and life-coaching clients, share that what becomes most important to them in someone who has serious partner potential is a man who can make them laugh, someone who lightens their life, someone who brightens their outlook.


Life is hard in general and for women, it is particularly stressful. Women are held to body standards that most of the time aren’t even found in real-life models. Pictures are so digitized that the proportions aren’t real, even if they do make a particular dress in this photo shoot look more appealing.

But this doesn’t stop women from trying, to look thinner, more toned, and taller, all while trying to keep a relationship, and hold a job, as she probably is taking care of her kids, and home.


So, someone who can make you laugh in the midst of this struggle — that's priceless.

- Patricia O'Gorman, life coach, trauma and addiction psychologist, author

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3. A shared worldview or mental mindset

I believe we are all in a constant state of perpetual healing. It’s not about waiting to be healed to find a partner. It’s about finding someone whose trauma is compatible with your own. Perhaps you have a Superman complex and your potential partner enjoys being the savior. The non-physical trait we look for is a “crazy” that’s compatible with our own. Relationships have the potential to help us heal if we choose accordingly.


Erika Jordan, love coach, NLP practitioner

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4. A self-aware approach to life

I think self-awareness is a powerful multiplier trait that builds firm bridges in a relationship.  It sparks the willingness to learn and grow from insights. As it evolves and is shared, that capacity is a catalyst for effective communication, problem-solving, and the delights that foster trust. Ultimately, it can gird the mutually beneficial action that keeps the connection fresh and attractive.

Ruth Schimel, Ph.D., career & life management consultant, author


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5. The ability to hold an engaging conversation

I advise my clients to nurture a relationship full of open communication. It's called dialogue, not monologue. It's a give-and-take in conversation, which can often lead to the same reciprocity in life. If you're meeting someone for the first time and it's clear they aren't listening to you, they may simply be anxious. If you go on second and third dates, and they're still not listening to you, they may be all about themselves and probably aren't right for you. The conversation is like dancing — where one partner leads sometimes, then gives that role over to the other partner.

Alternate speaking from the heart with active listening (a skill therapists, coaches, and spiritual leaders are taught but is rare in society in general). This leads to honesty and a foundation of trust. This, in turn, can help you get through tough times with respectful dialogue instead of accusations, secrets, and betrayal. If you're talking to one another, you'll be open about your mistakes. You'll ask for assistance when you need it because you feel understood and supported. And you'll work together toward common goals. Not to mention you don't feel so all alone. Ever.

- Kathryn Brown Ramsperger, author of literary romance and relationship coach


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Carter Gaddis is the senior editor for experts and wellness with YourTango.