What should you look for in a partner? It partly comes down to what you want in a relationship, but there are some traits that almost always help make a partnership work better. Of course, you want someone who is compatible with you— but that can cover a huge range of things. "Compatibility is one of those things that you need on some level to make it through the long haul," Matchmaker and dating coach Karenna Alexander tells Bustle. "Having compatibility when it comes to inner qualities — like one's values — is the most important thing. Hobbies and surface characteristics — like vacation preferences or decor preferences — are less important." To know if someone is a keeper, it's important that you two are compatible on the big, significant issues issues— but that's only the beginning.
Because your values may line up with your partner's values, but they also probably line up with other people's— and that doesn't mean that all of those people would be right for you. So how do you know if someone's a keeper? In part it's down to them being a good person, but it's also about them being the right fit for you. Here's what the experts had to say about knowing your partner is one who you want to hold onto.
1There Are Small Acts Of Kindness
The little things can mean so much. "You need to look for the random acts of consideration and kindness," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "These are the things that will last you. For example, my toilet paper and paper towels have been magically refilled since a month into dating my husband." It's just a way that you can know that they care about you and that you're on their mind.
2They're Willing To Work Through The Tough Stuff
It's easy to run away from a conflict and pretend it's not happening— it's much harder to commit to working through it. If your partner is willing to do that, it shows that they're really committed to you and the relationship. "The one thing you should look for in a relationship is good conflict resolution skills," Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting, and relationship psychotherapist tells Bustle. "People are generally great at communicating the warm and fuzzy stuff. But when it comes to working out the kinks and differences of opinion that lead to unpleasant fighting, most folks gets stuck." If they can push through it and not get stuck, they're a keeper.
3They Treat You As An Equal
I'd like to say this is a no-brainer, but so often I see people in relationships with someone who doesn't treat them as an equal partner. "You should also look for someone who cares about you at least as much as they care about themselves," Martinez says. "That your happiness is their happiness, and that they love you, and will take care of your needs as they arise and never complain about it. They just do it out of love." If your partner can do that, it makes for a really strong foundation.
4They Encourage You To Be Independent
Being a great partner means encouraging you to do what's best for you— even if it doesn't involve them. "It’s very important to have independence in a relationship," relationship etiquette expert Mara Opperman tells Bustle. "Successful, healthy relationships allow for the both people to form a bond which lets them to not only grow together but also to grow independently as people. It’s essential to have your own sense of autonomy while feeling you can depend on each other." If they encourage you to go out and have your own life, that shows that they're considerate and secure.
5You Can Be Quiet Together
A great partner should make you feel so comfortable that you can spend time together saying nothing at all. "How well do you and your partner do silence?" clinical hypnotherapist, author and educator Rachel Astarte, who offers transformational coaching for individuals and couples at Healing Arts New York, asks Bustle. "... If you and your partner can experience silence together without feeling freaked and worried that something is wrong or — an even bigger red flag — feeling bored, then that's a good sign you can stand side by side on life's unpredictable journey."
6They Have An Open Mind
Life comes at you fast, so you want someone who's going to be able to handle that with you. "Compassion and an open mind is important," Janna Koretz, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and Azimuth Psychological founder, tells Bustle. Being open to new experiences, changes, and challenges can make the road a lot smoother.
7They Make You Your Best Self
Ultimately, if your partner is really a keeper, you'll know by how they make you feel. "It's really not about them, as it is about you," life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. "It's all about what kind of person you are, become, and feel like when you're in their presence." If you feel like your best self— or like you want to strive to be your best self— that's definitely a sign that they're a keeper.
Great partners can be tough to find. But when you one you should hold onto, you'll know.