How to Find Out What You Want in a Relationship

It’s difficult to know exactly what you want out of a relationship, especially if you’re young or inexperienced. Even if you’ve dated a lot of people in the past, each relationship is unique, and you may have different priorities now than you did before. Finding out what you want in a relationship can be a difficult task, but it is worthwhile.

Part 1

Determining the Deal-Breakers

1. Make a list of things that aren’t negotiable. It is sometimes necessary to educate yourself on what you do not want in a relationship in order to gain a better understanding of what you do want. It can be difficult to determine what you want, but you usually know exactly what you don’t want. First, sit down and make a list of criteria that would disqualify a potential match. According to research, the following are common deal-breakers for those looking for a long-term relationship:

Having a problem with anger or engaging in abusive behaviour

Dating multiple people at the same time

Being untrustworthy

Being in a relationship or being married

Having a health problem, such as an STD

Do you have a drug or alcohol problem?


Having bad hygiene

2. Determine which personal values you will not compromise on. Consider your personal values to be a road map outlining the kind of life you want to live. It is unlikely that a romantic partner will share all of your values. However, it is critical that you understand what yours are so that you can determine which principles and beliefs you are unwilling to compromise on.

For example, if you value honesty, you are unlikely to get along with a partner who lies. Furthermore, if your partner expects you to lie, it is likely to cause a schism in the relationship.

Answer the following questions to discover your core values and look for recurring themes:

What would you change about your neighbourhood if you had the power? Why is this so?

Who are the two people you most admire or respect? What qualities do you admire in these people?

What three items would you choose to rescue if your house caught fire and all living beings were safely evacuated? Why is this so?

Which event in your life made you feel the most fulfilled? What happened that caused you to feel this way?

3. Take into account any previous relationship patterns. Consider previous relationships you’ve had, whether romantic, platonic, or familial. Consider the factors that contributed to the relationship’s demise in those cases where it ended badly. What about those relationships made you unhappy or dissatisfied?

Make a list of any negative patterns you can find in your relationships with previous lovers, friends, or family members who did not fulfil you. Consider these issue areas to be the foundation for what you don’t want in the future.

4. Consider any problems you’ve noticed in the relationships around you. Other people’s relationships have an impact on you as well. You’ve probably spent time with friends or family members who were in romantic relationships. Even if you were on the outside, you may have been aware of the problems these people were having.

For example, perhaps your sister was devastated when her boyfriend cheated on her. You realised how important it is to be faithful in a relationship as a result of your assistance to her during this difficult time.

Take note of any red flags in other people’s relationships that you don’t want to happen in yours. Learning from the mistakes of others may help you have a more fulfilling relationship in the future.

Part 2

Examining Your Needs

1. First and foremost, love yourself. Many people mistakenly seek a romantic partner to complete them. Your partner, on the other hand, should only be a supplement to you; you should be complete on your own. Feeling complete entails having self-love that is not contingent on others loving you. Create a list of your favourite qualities about yourself to show yourself love (e.g. friendliness, your smile, etc.)

As if you were speaking to a friend, speak gently and lovingly to yourself.

Being conscious of your inner needs and desires and acting on them

Taking care of your body

Stress management

Avoid the tendency to dwell in the past by living in the present.

2. Consider the type of relationship you desire. What are your goals, both for your partner and for yourself? Try to be as objective as possible about yourself. This will help you identify the types of people you don’t want to see and the behavioural patterns you don’t want to repeat, which will help you figure out what kind of relationship you do want.

For example, you may believe you are ready to settle down, but you know deep down that you are not. Alternatively, you may believe you just want to have some casual fun, but you know from previous relationships that you become overly emotionally invested.

3. Convert your list of deal-breakers into a list of the most important qualities. Return to your list of deal breakers. Knowing what you don’t want allows you to discover what you do want. Transform your list of deal-breakers into positive qualities you want in a partner.

For example, if someone with a drug or alcohol problem was a deal-breaker for you, you could rephrase it as “concern for physical and mental health.” You know you don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol, so you look for someone who appears to value health.

Add more ‘nice-to-have’ characteristics as you come up with them. Be completely truthful to yourself. Put down if physical attractiveness is a deal breaker for you. However, try to concentrate on qualities other than appearance, such as intelligence, patience, and empathy. You should also consider religion and politics, which may or may not be important to you. Don’t leave anything out, no matter how embarrassing or insignificant it may appear.

4. Be the type of person you want to date. One way to speed up the process of finding your ideal partner is to embody the characteristics you seek. This method allows you to assess whether your expectations are realistic, as well as what you are willing to give in a relationship. It is unreasonable to have a list of demands but make no changes on your own. Personifying the traits you desire, on the other hand, makes you an attractive partner who will most likely attract someone like you.

For example, if physical health and well-being are important qualities you seek in a partner, commit to spending a month focusing solely on your own health—eating well, exercising, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. Maintain your good habits after the month is over.

Assume you listed “richness” as a quality you desire. If you believe you will have difficulty becoming wealthy overnight, you may want to change this quality to something like “is financially stable.”

Part 3

Dating Casually

1. Go out with a small group of people with no strings attached. You can make lists and look back at previous relationships for clues, but the best way to figure out what you want in a relationship is to start dating casually. Take a few people who appear to meet your standards out for coffee, ice cream, or drinks.

However, before you enter this domain, be aware of your limitations. You might not want to be physically intimate with multiple people at the same time.

It’s also a good idea to communicate that you’re dating casually to avoid hurt feelings. Establish a timetable for when you should stop seeing someone if you don’t feel a natural connection. If someone appears to be serious, or if you begin to feel more attracted to one person over another, cut all ties and follow your instincts.

2. Examine your compatibility with various suitors. Consider how well each individual matches your personal values, goals, and dreams as you casually date a few potential suitors. Check to ensure that no one is representing any of the qualities on your list of deal-breakers. Don’t forget about your own wants and needs as you get to know this person.

You may naturally feel a stronger connection or alignment with one person over others at this point. Now is the time to cut ties with other suitors so that you can focus on strengthening your relationship with this person and remaining faithful.

Even if you appear to be a good match on paper, you may not have any chemistry in person. That’s fine! Instead of attempting to force it, move on to another suitor.

3. Consider the relationship after the honeymoon period has passed. Every short-term relationship begins with rose-colored glasses on your partner. Everything the other person says or does is delightful. The perfect aura that surrounds this person begins to fade over time. Prepare for this possibility by looking beyond the crazy-in-love phase to how things will be in a few months or years.

You must consider whether the seemingly minor annoyances you have with your partner will be magnified once the rose-colored glasses are removed. Return to your list and double-check that you haven’t overlooked any important values or qualities because you’ve been too focused on them.

For example, if cleanliness was important to you from the beginning, will you be able to ignore how your girlfriend piles dishes in the sink for days on end?

Before you end your relationship because of a perceived slight, consider that you are bound to dislike some minor quirk of your partner. Just make sure you don’t forget about any non-negotiables.

4. Communicate with your companion. If you discover that you and your partner are quite compatible—that you share similar values, goals, interests, and outlooks on life—it may be time to have an open discussion about where you stand. Once you’ve determined that this person embodies what you’re looking for in a partner, you must ensure that he or she feels the same way.

Be open and honest about your emotions. It’s better to know early on if your partner isn’t interested in a long-term relationship. Don’t make the mistake of believing you can persuade him or her to change his or her mind.

Request some alone time with your partner to express your feelings about this relationship. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you over the last few months,” you might say. I was curious as to how you felt about our relationship and where we stand.” It is critical to determine whether your partner sees the long-term potential for the two of you and whether he or she is willing to become mutually exclusive.

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