The differences between someone looking for marriage and someone who's unsure of what they want can often be subtle, particularly because everyone has a different idea of what lifelong commitment looks like. But there are some common traits that people who are looking for marriage find irresistible.
Of course, there's no one quality that makes someone the one, because everyone is looking for something different. And it's likely you'll know you've met the person you want to share your life with based on the feelings you have around them and how you act towards them. In fact, research shows people behave differently when they think their partner could be their soulmate. (For instance, men start using "we" all the time and relax in their own skin a bit more when they think they've met the person they are meant to be with, according to Dr. Sal Raichbach PsyD, LCSW, of Ambrosia Treatment Center). We subconsciously alter our behavior to ensure this person stays in our lives.
These traits are like bat signals in the eyes of someone who is looking for marriage, whether the people who possess them mean to give off wedding vibes or not. But knowing what these traits are can put you in an advantageous position: you play them up if there's someone special whose attention you're trying to grab, or downplay them if the last thing you want is for someone to fall for you.
Be More Inquisitive
Everyone wants to feel seen and heard, so asking questions and just generally showing interest can make a person feel valued. "By asking questions early in a conversation, you’re making it clear that learning about the other person is a priority and you’re not just there to talk about yourself," Joel Minden, a licensed clinical psychologist told The Cut.
Lead With Positivity
It might be instinctual to assume that we prefer to be around positive people, but there's actually scientific backing for that. "Having strong, positive social support is one of the most important factors in predicting the physical health and well-being in people of all ages. It can help us cope effectively with stress and even help strengthen our immune system and lower our risk of disease," Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, a health psychologist, explained to UW Health. So if you approach your life with positive energy, you'll be more attractive to others, as you can better help them get through life.
Ask For What You Need
People often assume a partner should just instinctually know what you want, but that kind of thinking sets your relationship up for failure. No one can read minds, regardless of how much they love you, so you'll have to tell them what you want to make a relationship work. In addition, there's often a presumption that stating what you need is selfish, but in fact, it's the opposite. "It is not just self-serving, it serves everyone involved. People know what your requirements are and if they, too, are honest you can come to an agreement much more quickly," allowing you and your partner to move forward on the same page, as Atalanta Beaumont, a psychotherapist, explained to Psychology Today. Having the ability to voice your desires will make people see you as someone who can make a real connection work.
Get To Know Yourself
Elena Murzello, author of The Love List: A Guide to Getting Who You Want, conducted interviews with more than 100 people to discover what made their relationships work. Five years after the book was written, some of the couples had divorced, and Murzello deduced that the couples who couldn't make a relationship work were the ones who hadn't taken the time to get know themselves as individuals before getting married. She told NBC Better that "a lot of these couples were growing apart because they just didn’t know what they wanted and who they were," which is why it's so important to figure out your own needs before adding someone else into the mix.
Research shows that couples who argue are 10 times more likely to stay together than couples who don't, though the fights have to be "good fights." Taking the time to learn how you can communicate effectively during conflict can help you be a better partner, and it will make people feel like they can get through the hard times with you. Check out this rundown of habits of fair-fighters.
It's easy to fall into a pattern of putting a partner's needs before you own, but sacrificing your own care for the sake of someone else's is actually detrimental to yourself and your relationship. If you're not taking care of yourself, you won't be able to give your partner as much energy as you potentially could, and you'll both suffer. "Losing yourself in a relationship can create anxiety, resentment, or even hopelessness, and can cause you to rebel or express yourself in exaggerated or extreme ways that can threaten the connection," Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D. explained to Pyschology Today. So taking care of yourself is really just another way to take care of your relationship.
Show You're Reliable And Open
An emotionally unavailable partner might be intoxicating when you're dating around, as the Huffington Post explains, but when you're looking for someone to marry, a person who leaves you waiting and wondering won't be attractive. Making a point of being reliable by being punctual and following through on commitments will demonstrate that you are someone people can count on.
Cultivate An Independent Life
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a healthy relationship has boundaries and both partners "feel supported to do the things they like." Not having your own interests can cause a relationship to become codependent, which isn't sustainable longterm. As couples therapist Matt Lundquist, LCSW, told Greatist, "No one can be 'everything' to anyone," so ensuring you have your own life will allow you to enter a relationship with more realistic expectations and practices. Others will see you as someone they can build a life with.
Approach Your Life With Humor
I'm not saying you have to become a stand-up comedian to attract a partner. But people who hold onto their sense of humor during hardship have an easier time getting through it. Particularly in romantic relationships, "a little lighthearted humor can quickly turn conflict and tension into an opportunity for shared fun and intimacy," Help Guide explained. Showing others you don't take yourself too seriously will highlight your resilience, demonstrating you'd make a good partner through the ups and downs of life.
This list isn't a catch-all for finding the perfect partner, but keeping an eye out for these traits might make finding love a bit easier. Just remember to find someone who wants the same things you do.