If the three qualities I am going to describe in this article are not true in your life and in the life of the person you want to be with, your love life is doomed. I guarantee it. Am I exaggerating just to get your attention? No, I most definitely am not.

If you are still looking for “The One”, you probably have done some reading on the topic of how to find a life partner, for there’s a lot of it out there. If so, then you’ve noticed that no matter the author and no matter the medium, whether it’s a book, a dvd or a live talk, all the experts teach (including me) that a critical step in attracting the love of your life is to be crystal clear about the qualities you want in a partner.

Consider this analogy. When your server comes to your table to take your order in a restaurant, if you don’t say what you want, you’ll go hungry, right? I think you see the point. You must articulate what you want. This is why all the experts on the law of attraction say that a key component to manifesting your ideal life partner is to come up with a list of qualities you want them to have. Some call the list “must-have’s and can’t-stand’s,” others “absolute yeses and absolute no’s,” still others “deal-makers and deal-breakers.” It doesn’t matter what you call your list; it only matters that you have your list.

And you probably do have some kind of list. (It’s probably too long, but that’s another topic for another day!) Whether it’s written as a Word document on your computer (which was my approach when I was single), or an actual piece of poster-board hanging in your closet (which was my wife’s approach), or just a vague list in your head (the most common and least recommended approach), most people can articulate the qualities they want and don’t want in a partner.

For example, a person’s “must haves” list may include honesty, financial stability, sense of humor and attractiveness, while their “can’t stands” list might include active addictions, being unemployed, smoking or not wanting children.

Now, as I said, most people have a list in some form. So the problem isn’t having a list, it’s what’s on the list, or more specifically, what’s NOT on the list. Most people’s lists are missing the three most critical, most essential qualities needed to build a healthy, sustainable relationship.

In all my years as a relationship coach—and remember, I deal exclusively with single people who want to find the love of their lives, meaning, I deal with this all day, everyday—not once have I ever heard even a single person mention any one of the three qualities I am going to talk about.

Houston, we have a problem. A big problem.

Based on my experience with hundreds of clients as well as my personal journey in attracting my own ideal partner, if you don’t insist on seeing these three qualities in a potential partner’s life (and in yours too—you’re not getting off the hook here!) you will never have a long-lasting, fulfilling intimate relationship.

I’d like to walk you through each of the three qualities. I’ll verbalize them as questions, for in that form, they are easier to understand and apply. But remember this: Although what I am going to describe are qualities you should insist on in a potential life partner, they also must be true of you.

1. Are they ready and willing to make a commitment?
If it is your desire to be in an exclusive, long-term relationship, then the very first item on your “must haves” list must be that your ideal partner is ready and willing to make a commitment. If that seems sort of obvious, let me ask you this: How can you tell? How do you know if they’re ready and willing? That’s the hard part, right?

Let’s begin by examining what it means to be “ready.” I define it as being complete with regards to all former intimate relationships. In other words, a person is “ready” for commitment when they’re not attached to someone else in any emotional, physical or legal way. Let me be very direct on this because, in my experience, when you have intense chemistry with another person, your judgment concerning your readiness or someone else’s readiness is severely clouded. I believe that everything I’m about to say is true without exception.

If a potential partner, or even someone you’re currently dating, is separated and not officially divorced, they’re not ready. If they were divorced less than a year ago, they’re not ready. If their spouse died less than a year ago, they’re not ready. If they were living with someone and that relationship ended less than a year ago, they’re not ready. If they were dating someone for more than a year, yet not living together, and that relationship ended less than a year ago, they’re not ready.

If you are the first person they’ve dated since a divorce, death or being dumped, no matter how long it’s been since that event happened, they’re not ready. If they are still living in the same house with their “ex,” they’re not ready. Do you catch my drift? Just because someone is single does NOT mean they are ready for commitment. You can be single and yet still be completely attached.

Additionally, if a person talks negatively about their “ex,” if they are still bitter and angry, blaming, criticizing and hating the “bitch” or “bastard” for what they did to them, they’re not ready either. In other words, if there is drama, there is attachment. Being filled with hostility, jealousy and malice toward a former lover leaves no room for you in their heart. They’re not finished, they’re not complete—they’re not ready.

A person is “ready” when their heart is a wide-open space, completely free of any attachment towards their former lovers, feeling generally indifferent towards them.

The good news is that you can discern whether or not a person is “ready” on your very first date. All you have to do is say something like, “You seem like a really great person. How come you’re on the market? Who let you go?” Then sit back and listen. If they say, “Oh, God. I was married to a real bitch. Thank God the divorce will be final next month.” That’s your cue to say “good night” and walk away. They just told you they’re not “ready.”

So being “ready” is the first part. The second part is being “willing,” and unfortunately, it’s much more complex to discern. While being “ready” speaks of one’s emotional availability, being “willing” speaks of one’s life aspiration. For it’s one thing to be capable of commitment; it’s another to desire commitment.

The issue here is, do they want the same kind of relationship that you want? Are they “willing” to commit to a long-term, exclusive relationship? Even if it’s not with you, do they want that for their life?

It is incredibly common to hear of two people dating, even for months, only to discover that that they are misaligned, wanting very different relational futures. One person may be interested in a long-term exclusive relationship with the intention of getting married and having a family, while the other person, well—isn’t.

As it turns out, the other person didn’t want exclusivity, or, they had no intention of ever getting married, or, living with someone, and/or, they never want children. After a lot of time, energy and emotion has been invested in the relationship, it turns out these two people are on very different paths.

How do you determine whether or not the person you’ve just met (or are dating) is “willing” to commit, desiring to be in an exclusive, long-term relationship? Well, it starts with you simply asking them what they’re interested in. Early in the dating process, certainly by the third date, you have to tell the other person the kind of relationship you’re interested in and ask if they want the same thing. You can’t just assume they want what you want. (If you’re on-line, the very first line in your profile should declare the kind of relationship you’re interested in and even then you need to talk about it face to face.)

Now, I realize a person may mislead you and not tell the truth. I know that happens quite frequently. The guy, for example, may say he wants a long-term exclusive relationship, but it turns he just wants to casually date or he’s an outright “player.” People sometimes lie. But if you’re listening, and I mean listening with your intuition, you can discern what a person is really interested in. How? Well, by the way in which they answer your question.

When someone is seriously interested in finding a life partner, they usually use very few words when answering and make direct eye contact when doing so. They don’t hem and haw or change the subject. They gladly answer because it’s what they want. So they answer with simplicity and conviction. However, when a person is hiding their true feelings, they will make a joke of your question or change the subject altogether. If they do answer, they will use a lot of vague and general words.

Let me give you an example. Feel the difference in these two answers in response to a direct question like, “Where do you see yourself in the next couple years? Do you want to be married, have a family, white-picket fence, that sort of thing?”

Answer A:
“Damn! I forgot to bring your ring tonight, so I guess we’re not getting married now (laughing). Well, uh, if it was the right situation (coughing, looking away), um, I think that could be a good thing. I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. I’ve been focused on my career. But, uh (looking away again), if I met the right person, I think it might be nice to have a person to hang out with all the time. So, ya, I guess I’m open to getting married some day. So, do you follow the news? What did you think of the Seals killing Bin Laden?”

Answer B:
“(Looking straight at you)…Definitely. I’ve done the bachelor thing and it’s been fun. But I’m ready to start a new phase of my life and I’d love to be with a woman that knocks my socks off (still looking at you). How about you? Do you want marriage, kids, the whole nine yards?”

Obviously those two answers are miles apart. But notice that—technically—both A and B are “yes” answers. The first person did say they wanted to get married some day. But if you are listening with your “third ear,” your intuition, answer A is a screaming “NO.” If you want an exclusive relationship and continue to date someone who says something like this, when you find out they’re seeing other people or won’t make a firm commitment to you, don’t play the victim. They told you exactly what they were up to—you just didn’t listen.

At the top of your list of ideal qualities then, make sure the first item says, “My partner is ready and willing to make a commitment.” And be sure YOU are ready and willing too, for if either one of you don’t own this quality, your love life is doomed.

2. Do they like the opposite sex?
Does this question seem odd? If someone is dating, isn’t it obvious that they like the opposite sex? Well, in a word, NO! Allow me to let you in on a dirty little secret. Many men don’t like women, or more specifically, femininity. Yes, they want to have sex with women, but being sexually attracted to women is a far cry from sincerely appreciating femininity. And likewise, many women don’t like men or the masculine way, even though they too are physically attracted to them.

There are a couple reasons for this. Let’s talk about women first. Because of centuries of abuse and harm inflicted upon women by the dark masculine force, there is a collective anger, mistrust and fear woven into the DNA fabric of the feminine soul. In other words, women “come from the factory” predisposed to disliking masculinity. It’s part of the feminine collective unconscious. Now, as a young woman grows, far too often, an abandoning, abusive or generally disinterested father raises her, and the wound deepens. Years later, if she dates or marries a man who lack integrity, gentleness and consideration, her dislike of men hardens even further, even though, as I’ve said, she may be strongly sexually attracted to them.

It’s nearly the same for men. Though we aren’t born with a predisposition of negativity toward the feminine, we are bred with it. In other words, for women, the dislike is nature; for men it’s nurture. Listen very carefully here. Most boys have been taught, both directly by older men and by our culture, that femininity is a pain in the ass (to put it mildly). Disliking women is like racism. Men aren’t born with it, we’re taught it. The anti-feminine message is rampant everywhere from locker rooms to church pews. For example, when I was a kid and my father was frustrated with my mother, he’d turn to me and say, “Son, stay single!” If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times. Additionally, just as women have had terrible histories with the men in their lives, men have had troubled relationships with women. Our moms, dates and wives have scarred us and left us with a ton of negative baggage as well.

Finally, even if you’ve been raised by decent parents and had good experiences in relationships, there can still be a strong dislike of the opposite sex just because of how different we are. The masculine and feminine ways are so opposite that one famous author said it was like we are from different planets. So even if our history is healthy, it’s quite possible to dislike the opposite energy just because it’s so foreign to us.

Now, I know that sounds pretty cynical and gloomy, like you ought to swear off the opposite sex and join a convent or the priesthood. But I don’t want to give the impression that it’s hopeless, for a person can let go of this negativity. In other words, depending on a person’s history, with a bit of self-awareness and work, a person can learn to love and appreciate the opposite sexual energy. That’s certainly been true in my life and in my wife’s.

However (back to the doom and gloom), in my experience, disliking the opposite sex is not rare. Yes, it occurs in various degrees depending on a person’s history, but it’s fairly common. And if you’re in a relationship with, or interested in a person who doesn’t like the opposite sex, then intimacy and closeness with them will be next to impossible. So the second item on your “must have’s” list needs to be that your partner likes the opposite sexual energy. And again, that leads us to the question of how to tell. How can you tell if a person likes the opposite sex?

Well, classically, people say to look at a person’s relationship with their opposite sex parent. And while there’s a shred of truth in that, as we’ve seen, some people have had poor parenting, so it wouldn’t be fair to look only at that. Nor do you want to go the simplistic route and look for women who like sports or a man who can enjoy a “chick-flick.” Those are superficial things. I want to suggest three deeper signs a man or a woman likes the opposite sex.

First, how do they relate to their own opposite sexual energy? Remember, all of us have both masculine and feminine energy even though most of us are identified with one more than the other. Men have a feminine side and women have a masculine side, and how they relate to these “lesser” sides within themselves, is a good indication of how they feel about the opposite sexual energy in general.

Speaking very generally now, femininity is about feeling and relationships. So if a guy likes femininity, he’ll recognize his feelings and be open to expressing them—and—one of his priorities will be to stay connected with those he cares about. Will he do this with the passion and precision that a woman would? Heaven’s no! And frankly, he won’t want to. But he will appreciate that he has those more feminine instincts, and therefore, he’ll appreciate them in a woman. Be careful of the guy who’s all wrapped up in his macho-man bullshit. He doesn’t like his feminine side and he won’t like yours either.

The second sign that a man likes women is how he reacts to your feminine traits, not just his own. Does he appreciate the way you look at the world? One of the reasons I know I like femininity is that I feel a warming sensation in my chest and an energy surge in my entire body when I witness women being, well, women. I get a kick out of it. Women’s ways are bizarrely wonderful to me. They fascinate me. They are, indeed, from a different planet, and I appreciate their ways and see the value and wisdom in the way they move. I like women, not just sexually, but intrinsically.

While a guy may not be able to keep up with a woman’s depth of feeling and commitment to being connected to everyone and everything (I know I can’t), does he appreciate it and celebrate it, or does he ridicule you for it? Does he smile at your woman-ness or does he scoff at it? Does he stay present with you when you’re emoting or when you’re having a relationship problem, or does he diminish and discount what’s important to you, or physically disappear altogether when you’re “being like that”? If so, it may be because he just doesn’t like women.

The third sign that a man likes the feminine force is whether or not he has women friends. If a guy’s attraction to women is purely sexual, then he won’t want to spend time with women he’s not going to have sex with. They annoy him. Their ways and commitments bother him. Why would he hang out with people he can’t stand?

Now, let’s briefly apply these same three signs to a woman’s relationship to masculinity, for it goes both ways. Again, I’ll be very general and define masculinity as the orientation toward direction and goals. The masculine is “go”, the feminine is “flow.”

If a woman likes men, it will be because she likes the masculine side of herself. Remember, no matter how “girly” she is, she has a masculine side. She may prefer to rarely express her directional instincts and her goal-orientation, but she knows the masculine force is within her and she likes that about herself. She knows how necessary and valuable the (healthy) masculine is, both in herself and in the world in general. She appreciates it and values it, meaning, she likes it. Be careful of the woman who seems like a lost, needy, damsel-in-distress. She’s disowned her own masculine side and she won’t like yours either.

Secondly, guys, how does she react when you express your masculine traits? Does she appreciate the way you look at the world? The masculine gift is to know what to do and how to do it. Sometimes this directionality can appear to lack empathy and consideration of people’s feelings, such as when a man blurts out a solution to his woman’s problem without fully listening to her and asking if she wants his advice. But even so, does she see how valuable your way is? Does she like that you seem to be able to decide a course of action in the midst of stress and emotion? That you can find clarity in the midst of confusion? If a woman doesn’t like these inherent qualities, she might, in reality, not like masculinity.

Finally, does a woman have friends who are men? Is she comfortable around guys? Can she hang out with them, even though they are from another planet? When women resent men, they don’t want to spend time around them. They complain and sneer about their attitudes, actions, ways and concerns, for underneath it all, they really don’t like men.

So the first two essential qualities on your “must haves” list should be that your potential partner is (1) ready and willing to make a commitment, and (2), that they actually like the opposite sex. But before we go on to the last one, let me ask you: Do YOU like the opposite sex? Is your attraction more than just physical?

3. Are they open to coaching or counseling?
People don’t live happily ever after. (Damn, this is a gloomy article!) There are bumps along the way, even in the most conscious of relationships. In other words, no matter how perfectly matched you are with your partner, no matter how deep your chemistry, no matter how similar your goals, no matter how spiritually aligned your are, you will hit rough spots in your relationship. Life is just too complicated and unpredictable for it be any other way. You will face problems.

So knowing that you will get stuck, maybe many times over the years, then one of the wisest things you can do is choose to be with a partner who is open to getting outside help. I just don’t know how your relationship survives and thrives over time if the both of you aren’t willing to be coached or counseled when you hit the inevitable rough spot.

If you are a student of success or successful people as I am, you’ll notice that successful people have a least one thing in common: They surround themselves with mentors, coaches and experts. They may, and often do, have huge egos, but they still realize they need outside help in order to succeed.

Take me, for instance. I have a pretty healthy ego, a belief in my own abilities, but yet when I played professional golf, I had a nutrition coach, a strength and conditioning coach, a swing coach, a short game coach and a mental coach. I’ve also had business coaches, speaking coaches, writing coaches, spiritual coaches, and yes, relationship coaches. In every important area of my life I’ve hired someone to help me achieve my goals and be successful. One of my best qualities is that I’m coachable.

If you want to be successful in your love life, you and your partner need to be coachable people. But if either of you is like my ex-fiancée, who said, “I’m never going to talk to someone about my problems,” I just think your relationship is doomed. What are you going to do when you get stuck? Brush it under the rug? Ignore the problem and hope it goes away? In my experience, couples don’t get themselves unstuck. They’re too close to it, they can’t see themselves clearly.

So how can you tell if this quality—being open to coaching or counseling—is true of someone? Well, of course, you can ask them, but again, in the romance phase of a relationship, when people have a tendency to say whatever they believe the other person wants to hear, who would be honest enough to say, “No, I would never set foot in a therapist’s office. I’m not talking to some stranger about personal stuff.” So, asking a person directly is probably not the best way to determine if a person is coachable.

There’s a much easier way. If they’re coachable, they probably are being coached right now. Maybe it’s in business, finance, fitness, or even in a sport like golf or tennis, in some area of their life, they’re being coached. In other words, they are presently or have recently demonstrated that when they face a challenge or a problem, their response is to hire someone to help them get unstuck, succeed or make a positive change.

However, if a person is a know-it-all, lone-ranger type, too private and proud to seek coaching or counseling, would never talk to someone about their problems, believes that they can figure it out themselves, my best advice to you would be to run—not walk—but run the other way. That’s a major red flag.

So there you have it. In my opinion, attracting a partner and having an amazingly intimate long-term relationship with them requires that both partners share these three essential character qualities: First, you both must be ready and willing to commit. Second, you both must authentically like the opposite sexual energy. And third, you both must be coachable people, willing to get outside help when needed.

I know your list has many other items on it. And I’m sure they’re important to you. But your love life is doomed if you, or your partner, don’t have these qualities operating in your lives right now. Are you willing to examine yourself on these? And are you willing to refuse to date someone who doesn’t exhibit these qualities? I hope so, for if not, if you fudge on any of them, happy, healthy intimacy will never be yours.

Roy Biancalana
Relationship Coach and Author

Author's Bio: 

Roy Biancalana is an author and relationship coach who focuses on supporting people who wish to find the love of their lives. For more information, visit his website at www.coachingwithroy.com or call him at 407-687-3387