Attraction is a tricky beast, and one that’s entirely relative. There are certain things that draw us to other people. Maybe it’s their looks, maybe it’s their confidence, or maybe it’s… well, their incredible bodies. But let’s be real—you can’t rely on even the best glutes to provide unconditional love and support. That’s why it’s key to seek out certain traits in a long-term partner that revolve around one big keyword: Character.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of ten qualities that every women should seek out before settling on a partner. We like to think of them as relationship non-negotiables that you absolutely deserve.
A Sense of Humor
You’ve heard this one before, but when a person has a whip-smart sense of humor, their attraction points go up tenfold. And we’re not just talking off-the-cuff quips: A person that can make you laugh—or at least help you see the bright side during tough times or tense situations—is someone you want.
Indeed, all people have backbones, but not all people have vertebrae constructed of integrity, honor, and loyalty. Standing their ground, not being swayed by the crowd, and having strong morals can certainly make a partner a keeper.
Kindness and Warmth
Although we may be biologically attracted to jerks from time to time (here’s why, FYI!), you ultimately deserve to settle down with someone who treats you well. As a general rule, nice people are attracted to other nice people. Someone who’s kind to strangers, welcoming to new friends, engaging in conversation, and non-judgmental has a sort of warmth that’s infectious.
By generosity, we aren’t insinuating wealth. Stinginess extends far beyond just money– stinginess with feelings and emotions can also put a huge strain on relationships. As a whole, it pays to hold out for a partner who doesn’t hold back.
Confidence is key—we’ve heard this cliché time and time again—but it still rings profoundly true. Nobody wants to be around insecure, needy people.
If we’re going to talk about confidence, we most definitely need to talk about modesty. Although we love a person with a lot of confidence, it needs to be displayed in the right way, especially when it comes to things. A person who’s constantly talking about his cars and watches and gadgets and gizmos is the equivalent of a woman talking about her Louboutins and Birkins and Chanel Boy Bags– tacky, annoying, definitely not sexy. A person who is modest about what they have– and how they look– makes a good partner. It shows unselfishness, self-awareness, and a general level of class.
Excessive PDA is so ninth grade, but a partner who isn’t afraid to show a little affection in public is definitely not a bad thing. A person who isn’t afraid to hold your hand, kiss or touch you in public is highly attractive, and also goes a long way to making you feel special. Who wants a cold fish?
If a person is a solid ten when it comes to looks, but a measly two when it comes to intellect, move along. If you connect with a person on an intellectual level, you have a better likelihood of connecting on an emotional and sexual level. Not to mention, you’ll never run out of things to talk about, you’ll constantly challenge each other, and smarts keeps your relationship interesting and meaningful.
To all the haters out there that say it’s dead, well, it’s not. Chivalry, whether you want to admit it or not, is a huge component when it comes to finding the right partner, regardless of gender. If a person is naturally chivalrous—we’re talking about doing polite things like introducing themselves to people and opening doors for others, not ordering your food for you in restaurants—it’s a sign that they were raised well, respects others, and is potentially a keeper.
A well-groomed, well-kept date is a bit of a no-brainer when it comes to settling down. But, a person who only not keeps himself clean but also takes pride in the cleanliness of his spaces is a definite non-negotiable for most women. We’ve all seen it—the stereotypical bachelor(ette) pad with the mattress on the floor, clothes in a haphazard pile, empty beer bottles and a half-eaten pizza littering the coffee table—and we all fear it. A person that keeps their apartment, or car, or desk somewhat tidy shows that they takes pride in the things they’ve worked for, and takes care of them. We bet they will take pretty good care of you as well.
A version of this article was originally published in March 2015.