What's the most important thing we look for in someone we might want to date? Is it sexual attraction? Shared values? A sense of humor? Well, according to a new survey, it's none of these. Elite Singles ran a survey of 400,000 singles and found that for 82 percent of women and 70 percent of men, kindness is very important for considering a long-term relationship with someone. It outranked sex, money, connection, and pretty much whatever else you can think of. It's all down to being kind. It makes sense. It's such an important factor because it predicts so much different behavior and makes you feel secure.
"I think kindness is one of the most important qualities that there is in a long-term relationship," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "It’s not necessarily hot and sexy! But for long-term health and happiness in a relationship it’s very important. Knowing and observing your partner’s kindness with other’s in their lives is what makes you feel safe and like you can trust them. This doesn’t mean that you are never going to fight or never be angry with each other. But it means that you can trust that you are in a safe environment where your partner is not likely to 'hit below the belt' and say things that are ultimately unacceptable and tough to recover from."
There are undoubtedly a number of important factors and traits that make a strong relationship, but kindness is definitely one that you should consider a deal-breaker.
So what else should you look for?
If we know that kindness is necessary to keep a relationship going in the long term, is there anything else that should be a non-negotiable? There are other traits that may not seem important right in the beginning of the relationship, but show their importance later on. When you've been together for years, when you've had every sort of fight, when it feels like you might want a change or to just sort of stop trying, there's one other quality that will help you through.
"The other very significant quality in a relationship is respect," Hartstein tells Bustle. "It’s more or less the opposite of disdain whose presence is a very likely predictor of breakups or divorce. With the combination of kindness and respect your relationship has a great shot at weathering all the storms that life brings."
So in the early stages, trust your gut. Look at how they treat you, how they treat other people. Does this person seem kind, do they treat you and people around you in a way that makes you proud? If you see that kindness and have that respect right from the beginning, you'll have a much better chance in the long run. It's worth holding out.
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