Life is a little crazy sometimes. Time is short. Work is hectic. Bills are due. Commutes are long. Social media is distracting.
All of these things can sometimes make us feel like we are in a time warp. All of a sudden we look up from our Facebooking and Twittering and Instagramming and go…wait…it’s Friday already?! To live a happy, fulfilling life, we really need to slow down now and then and take a look around. To live in the present moment. To appreciate where we are, what we have, and who we are around.
This is especially true when we are in a relationship, or even just seeing someone. It is easy to become distracted and not give our partner the attention or affection that they crave and deserve as a human being. This can quickly lead to feelings of being unappreciated or taken for granted.
For that reason, I’ve put together a short list of things I feel a good partner should pay extra attention to in order to do their part in a relationship:
Be with someone who is honest and loyal.
While honesty and loyalty shouldn’t be difficult traits to find, they are. While I’ve said before that the only thing that really causes cheating is a cheater, I think we need to understand that someone who will cheat on you, does in fact have more ways to go about it these days – and also more ways to hide it.
Honesty and loyalty are cornerstone traits to the very foundation of any relationship: Trust. Therefore, trust must be earned through displaying these qualities frequently. Do not give your trust to someone who has not earned it.
Be with someone you’re comfortable being weird with.
Let’s face it, you’re a little weird. I’m a little weird. We all have our quirks and unique qualities that we may keep hidden from the world for fear of being judged. I believe that this is natural, and that there’s nothing wrong with it (as long as it doesn’t harm anyone).
That being said, your significant other should be someone whom you feel completely comfortable expressing your secrets and desires to. He or she should know, and accept, the things that you don’t tell other people in the world. The right person for you isn’t going to try to iron out all of your wrinkles, they are going to love each individual one just the same – because those wrinkles are what make you, YOU.
This comfort comes from being able to be open and honest with your partner, and that comfort comes from being able to open up without fear of being judged.
Be with someone who loves you even when they don’tlikeyou.
Uh, yeah, obviously you need to LIKE the person that you’re with. Sometimes, liking someone is even more important than loving them – but you’re not ALWAYS guaranteed to like them, are you? You may disagree, you may quarrel, you may hold different viewpoints on the world, you may have arguments about family or how you’re going to raise your future children.
This is why communication and compromise are so important. This is why choosing to love someone every day is so important. This is why relationships aren’t perfect fairy tales (and also why they fail often these days), because they take work that isn’t always fun.
But just because you argue or disagree or get frustrated with someone, doesn’t mean you stop loving them. If you have a house and something breaks, you don’t walk out and sell the house. You fix what’s broken and keep moving forward.
[Side note: If your house is an absolute disaster and it’s burning down while simultaneously flooding and being devoured by termites, then get the hell out of that house and cut your losses. I’m not advocating dealing with someone’s constant negativity or drama that eats away at your relationship. I’m talking about reasonable compromise).
Be with someone who gives you their undivided attention.
Remember the example I gave in the beginning about how we are always so distracted these days? DO YOU?
A relationship is not choosing the person that you’re going to sit next to on the couch while your faces glow from your newsfeeds. While the ambient light can be flattering, it’s not exactly a beacon of communication between you two.
Be with someone who forgets that they even have their phone on them when they’re with you. Someone who genuinely wants to know how your day was. Someone who listens. Someone who doesn’t need an empty distraction to make it through their time with you. Someone who enjoys being with you in silence just as much as they love exploring the depths of your mind through conversation.
Be with someone who understands that the one person in front of them is far more important than the hundreds behind the screen in their hand.
Be with someone who appreciates who you truly are at your core.
In our visual generation, everything has been chiseled down to looks. We swipe right or left on our dating app after two seconds of seeing someone’s face, and (maybe) reading a 300 character bio about them. We want the person who will look the best in our selfies. We want the person who will help us create an image of the life we want to live – all the while overlooking the person who would actually be our teammate on the journey we truly want.
Be with someone who appreciates your outer beauty, but understands that it pales in comparison to your loving, genuine heart. Someone who understands that your perfect skin will someday wrinkle and your beautiful hair will someday thin. Be with someone who understands that it’s not the photos that are important, but the memories you are creating while taking them.
Be with someone who truly loves and accepts you for who you are today, while they support you on your journey to become who you’ve always dreamed of being.
This article originally appeared on James Michael Sama’s Blog