We all idealize the person we’d like to meet and spend the rest of our lives with. Unfortunately, the chances of finding someone who can live up to all of those ideals are slim. All relationships require compromise. But that doesn’t mean you should compromise on everything, especially those qualities that are most essential to you.
As I discuss in Chapter 4 of the new book Dating the Second Time Around, it’s helpful to think through a list of the qualities that you absolutely must have in a relationship partner and those that are immediate deal-breakers. When a relationship is new and you discover something that doesn’t quite fit, it’s easy to convince yourself that you can overlook it or make the other person change. Most times you won’t succeed.
That’s why spending time thinking about what matters most to you is so important. As you get started making your list, think about your previous relationships and what worked really well with those partners and what didn’t. Try to picture how you’d want your new relationship to be one, five or 10 years down the line, remembering that you will probably be spending a lot of time with that person.
As part of the eHarmony Guided Communication process, we ask people to go through this exercise and then share their top must-haves and can’t stands with their matches. Since most people often wait months or years to uncover fundamental incompatibilities, we provide a way for eHarmony members to find out faster if any of their relationship red flags are raised.
So what are the most common relationship must-haves and can’t-stands? We analyzed what more than 720,000 eHarmony members selected from a list of 50 options for must-haves and 50 options for can’t stands. Here’s what we found matters most for men and women. Do you agree or disagree? Add a comment below.