Note: This is the second of a two-part series. Click here for part one
The following is a continuation of how to choose a mate in the second half of life—and how to decide whom not to choose:
- How emotionally open is your romantic partner? Relationships require us to open up and actually reveal ourselves. We can’t remain emotionally hidden or private, and we can’t keep things on a superficial basis if we want a deeper relationship to develop. So how cautious, held back or reserved is s/he? You don’t want someone to be playing it too emotionally safe, because falling in love isn’t emotionally safe.
- How pessimistic, cynical or jaded is s/he?
- Is s/he jealous or very possessive of your time? Does s/he repeatedly grill you about who you are talking to, what you talked about or where you’ve been without reasonable justification? Is s/he quick to accuse you of wrong doing or of having unfaithful motives without cause?
- Is s/he controlling or manipulative? Does s/he want to control the money, who you are with, what you do, what you say or what you feel?
- How insecure is your partner? Is s/he forever unduly taking things personally while assuming you are being mean-spirited? Is s/he defensive? Is nothing his/her fault? Does s/he have a hard time owning up to a mistake or accepting accountability for wrong-doing or poor decisions? Does s/he blame others instead of examining his/her role in what happens? Does s/he get argumentative or belligerent when confronted?
- How compassionate and empathetic is your partner?
- When tension starts to build between the two of you, is your partner able to talk about what is troubling him/her and identify what s/he needs?
- Generally how comfortable and satisfied are you with the way anger is expressed in the relationship, or with how disagreements are handled? How effectively does s/he work through disagreements and conflicts without destroying love, trust and good will?
- What activities, behaviors, stress reducers or substances is s/he addicted to? You might as well know now what you’re going to be dealing with later on.
- What priority does your partner put on your relationship? Is s/he available to you emotionally, physically and with time?
- Have you been with the other person when s/he was sick, in a bad mood, depressed, discouraged, hurt, anxious and angry?
- How responsive is s/he to what you say is important to you?
- How willing is your partner to blend with you? Your lifestyle, your family and friends, the realities of your career and income, your children/grandchildren and your dreams?
- What’s fun? What role does play have in your relationship?
- How important is neatness, cleanliness, appearance and personal hygiene to you?
- What assists you in feeling close, connected, loved, valued and cared for?
- How well does your partner communicate and express feelings? Good communication is reciprocal. It’s more than just bombarding someone with your thoughts and feelings—it’s about being an extremely good listener as well. It’s about knowing the difference between “talking with” and “talking at” someone. It’s about being interested in another person’s emotions, needs and desires without being defensive, hostile or dismissive.
- What dreams or goals are the two of you shooting for together? Is there an agreement about what takes priority?
My recommendation? Don’t jump in with both feet until you know the answers to the above questions. Also, make sure you hold yourself accountable for meeting all the above criteria yourself. Having a good relationship isn’t just a matter of finding the right partner—it’s also about being the right partner.