What do you look for in a potential partner? Everyone has their own set of criteria and features that they find attractive. But a common point of the things that people look for in a potential mate is that they subconsciously ask the question: “What can this person do for me?”.
Let’s take some examples.
- “Someone with a good, stable job” – Someone that offers me financial stability.
- “A tall, dark, handsome guy” or “A beautiful, sexy, blonde girl” – Someone who is aesthetically pleasing for me to look at.
- “Someone who can cook well” – Someone who can feed me.
- “Someone that makes me laugh” – Someone who will make me happier.
- “Someone who makes me feel loved” – Someone who will make me feel special.
As individuals, we are allowed to make some selfish decisions when it comes to important life choices. But a relationship involves two individuals, meaning that both parties should be considered. There is some room for compromise, but the more selfish and individualistic people act, the more resentment that builds up in the relationship.
Furthermore, the question of what your significant other can do for you builds expectations. Human beings never act predictably, so this is sure to lead to disappointment. As you get used to each other’s company and your partner starts doing less “for” you, such as cooking you dinner every day or giving you gifts, you will feel as if they don’t love you anymore. Eventually, you grow apart from each other and the unrealistic expectations threaten the relationship.
Perhaps the more important question to ask is: “What can I do together with this person?”.
For example, what hobbies or passions do you share and can you do it together? Do they spend their days off in a similar way to you? Are your values and beliefs aligned in a way that you could share a life together without too much clashing? How are they different from you, what can you learn from them and how can you help them?
The advantage of this question over the first one is that it respects that a relationship is something shared by two equals. Instead of asking what value your partner will add to your life, it instead asks how you can add to each other’s lives to produce something greater.
(Image source: Puuung http://www.grafolio.com/puuung1)