You may have struck out in the past with romantic partners, but that’s no reason to give up on love.
Below, relationship experts share eight standout traits that will set apart the person you’re meant to be with.
1. He becomes interested in your interests (even the esoteric or slightly nerdy ones).
If you’re a die-hard “Game of Thrones” fan, your partner doesn’t necessarily need to know the details of every major house. He or she should, however, indulge and activity listen to your excited recaps of the show the next day, said Samantha Rodman, a psychologist in Takoma Park, Maryland.
“A good partner will listen to your stories and try to get involved,” she told HuffPost. “A significant other should enjoy seeing you happy and be willing to share in whatever brings you joy: They may not get into baking themselves, for instance, but they’ll hang out in the kitchen and hand you the cookie cutters.”
2. You feel super comfortable around her.
Ultimately, you know that confidence and inner worth comes from within. Still, when you’re with the right partner, she’ll make you feel even more comfortable in your own skin, not less. In short, a good partner will recognize your worth and respect you, said Alicia H. Clark, a psychologist based in Washington, D.C.
“Through their love and respect, these partners inspire you to be the best you you can be,” she explained. “They make you feel comfortable because rather than focusing on aspects of your personality they want to change, they focus on what they love about you.”
3. He’s your biggest cheerleader.
In the grandstands of life, your S.O. should be your biggest fan. And when you’re feeling down or need to rant at the end of the day, he should be a dependable sounding board, said Cynthia Ackrill, a life coach based in Washington D.C.
“A good partner believes in you even when you don’t,” she said. “That might be annoying when all you really want is a pity party, but in the long run, it’s the freedom to experiment in life and find your best self.”
4. She isn’t afraid to apologize.
Who has time for a partner who can’t admit they’re wrong? Someone who deserves your affection will be willing to apologize when it’s necessary and point out what they’ll try to do differently next time, said Elisabeth J. LaMotte, a psychotherapist and founder of the DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center.
“If someone is willing to say ‘I’m sorry’ and describe in a meaningful way what they need to work on to improve themselves and their relationship, it indicates the kind of emotional maturity that tends to exists in quality relationships,” she said.
Keep in mind that it needs to go both ways; you also need to be capable of an authentic apology.
“If one person is doing all of the apologizing, the relationship is probably unbalanced,” LaMotte said.
5. He makes room for you in his life.
You should never feel like an encumbrance in your partner’s life. They right guy or gal welcomes you into their world, making you feel at home in their home, with their family and friends, and when it’s just the two of you hanging out.
“Partners worth your time share themselves with you and relish you making room for them in your own life,” Clark said. “Whether it’s clearing out space in their closet for some of your clothes, making time on their calendar for you or trusting you with their feelings, worthy partners demonstrate a capacity to share themselves and their life with you.”
6. She’s comfortable with you doing your own thing.
Spending time together is important, but you should be comfortable with time on your own as well, Rodman said.
“A partner who wants to tag along everywhere you go and text constantly may be nice in the honeymoon stage, but this will wear on you quickly,” she warned. “It’s key for partners to keep some parts of their lives separate and maintain their own identities, even if they share most things with one another.”
7. He considers your needs.
The best partners will consider your feelings and opinions whenever making a big life decision, Clark said.
“Even the healthiest relationships are rife with opportunities for compromise, whether it has to do with divergent work schedules or out-of-sync feelings on something,” she said. “They understand the necessity of give and take and as a result, you feel confident that your needs are as important as theirs. Feeling valued and considered is a key element in inspiring cooperation and compromise as a couple.”
8. She doesn’t try to fix you.
This might be the most important tip of all: A partner who’s worth your time won’t feel the need to cast judgement on your life or attempt to change you. They appreciate how your life choices up to this point have shaped you, Ackrill said.
“A partner shouldn’t try to fix your life,” she told us. “Sure, they may want to fix your stress levels, just as you want to fix theirs, but they understand when you just need to be held until you figure it out for yourself.”