A psychologist says the most healthy relationships come down to one basic trait

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I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

It’s REALLY hard to figure out whether someone you’re interested in is a good fit for a long-term relationship.

Or is it?

Well, it turns out, psychologist Alexandra Solomon says you can dramatically increase your chances of success by making sure your romantic interest has one trait…

A trait that many of us take for granted.

And in today’s post, we’re going to explain what that trait is and how you can go about discovering it in someone else.

If you’re looking for love, this quality is the most important box to check

In an in-depth post on Psychology Today, psychologist Alexandra Solomon revealed what she considers the most important quality to look for in a potential romantic partner…and it’s not something you can discover on someone’s Bumble profile.

Instead, she says that “relational self-awareness” is the most important trait for the long-term viability of any relationship.

And it’s a quality that you both need in order to create a fulfilling and happy long-term relationship.

So, what is relational self-awareness?

According to Solomon, “it is the ability to take a curious stance vis-a-vis yourself.”

If you have relational self-awareness, then you’re able to:

  • Talk about relationship experiences and how they shaped their relationships today.
  • Understand and define their feelings.
  • View any previous relationship problem as caused by both parties.
  • Listen to feedback about themselves without running away or reacting overly defensive.

While most people consider educational level, income or physical attractiveness for the viability of a partner, Solomon says that these factors pale in comparison to relational self-awareness.

Why?

Because long-term love is about choosing someone who will be by your side when challenges arise. You need someone who will front up to the problems with you, rather than run away.

So the question is:

How can you assess someone’s level of relational self-awareness? Solomon provided two strategies:

1) Watch their stimulus-response process

We all encounter different moments throughout the day where we need to choose how we’ll react. Solomon says that awkward or challenging moments are what you need to look out for. They’ll reveal a lot about someone’s self-awareness and character.

Here are some examples of situations to watch out for:

  • If you’re out for dinner, and the waiter brings the wrong order.
  • You’re driving and someone cuts them off.
  • You’re waiting for an Uber but they’re late as they can’t get your location correct.

When situations like this happen, we usually respond in 3 ways:

Fight: Get angry and make demands.

Flee: Get down, run away and get walked all over.

Stay calm: Stay cool, calm and collected without putting others down and still showing an ability to stand up for themselves.

We’re all prone to fight-or-flight reactions, but people with high relational self-awareness tend to choose the third option.

It shows an ability to regulate emotions, emphasize with other people’s emotions and stay rational.

This is important for a relationship because sooner or later you’re going to face those challenging moments.

The bottom line is this:

If they can’t stay calm when you do something that frustrates or annoys them, then it’s going to be difficult for the relationship to thrive.

2) Listen to how they talk about past romantic relationships.

This is a great way to get an early clue about someone’s relational self-awareness.

Solomon says that people who don’t have much relational self-awareness “tell stories that are full of blame and shame.”

They see themselves as victims.

In contrast, people with high relational self-awareness tend to tell stories that have more balance to them. If the relationship didn’t work out, they would say things like, “She was suffering and therefore unable to connect in a healthy way”. Or they’ll focus on growth – “It was painful but I learned from the experienced.”

So, the next time you’re on a date, use these two tools and observe how they react. If they’re calm, collected and balanced, you might be onto a winner.

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get $50 off your first session (exclusive offer for Hack Spirit readers).

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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