9 traits of a partner who will stick by your side for life

Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room many years ago, I read a motivational poster of “life hacks to be happier”. The very first one on the list went, “Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.”

Then recently, I came across an article about Warren Buffett where he said that the most important decision you’ll ever make has nothing to do with your money or career. 

It has everything to do with the life partner you choose. 

As a married person myself, I can vouch for the wisdom in this statement. Choosing a life partner should be an endeavor to approach with level-headedness, no matter how starry-eyed you are. 

Of course, forever isn’t a guarantee. But you do increase your chances of having someone who’ll stick by your side if you know what traits to look for. 

Here are 9 traits of a loyal life partner who’s worth taking the chance on: 

1) Knows how to communicate

Let’s start with great communication skills. Are they someone you can open up to? Can you talk about anything under the sun? Do they work with you when you need to discuss an issue or resolve a conflict? 

For a relationship to go the distance, there must be real connection. And that won’t happen without the willingness to communicate. 

One of the main reasons I knew my husband was someone I could invest time and energy in was that with him, conversation felt so easy and natural. 

We could spend long hours on the phone or on dates talking about literally anything, from silly to serious stuff. This, even though he is a generally quiet guy. 

We both felt like we could grow old together and never run out of things to say!

2) Empathy

Another trait that would indicate someone has what it takes to stick by your side is empathy. 

This goes hand in hand with communication. But empathy goes beyond merely listening – it’s knowing how to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and feel what they’re feeling. 

Not everyone can do that. I’ve been in relationships where I didn’t really feel understood. My concerns would be dismissed or ignored. Eventually, I realized that a future with these partners wasn’t likely to happen. 

I didn’t want to be with someone who didn’t get me or at the very least tried to. Besides, a partner with low empathy wouldn’t be mindful of how hurtful their actions could be. 

For instance, when they lose patience and snap at you, they’d fail to see how painful that is. When you call them out on it, they might even say (as an ex of mine did), “Pssh, you’re just too sensitive!” 

An empathetic partner would never do that. Here’s what you can expect from them instead: 

  • Their full attention during conversations
  • Acknowledgment and validation of what you feel instead of saying you’re overreacting
  • Anticipation of your needs and different ways to support and comfort you
  • Patience and a judgment-free zone
  • Sensitivity to your non-verbal cues
  • An effort to see things from your POV

With that kind of emotional intelligence, you can expect this person to stick by your side! 

3) Shared values

When you’re dating someone new, it’s hard to tell how compatible you really are beyond initial attraction. This is something you’ll likely discover much further down the road, hopefully sooner than later. 

But it’s a key element of what makes a relationship last. In fact, you might even be poles apart in personality, but if you have the same core values, you still stand a great chance together. 

As Ideapod founder Justin Brown discusses in this video, having shared values is what connects people in deeper and more meaningful relationships. 

I totally agree with him that finding out what makes your partner tick and vice-versa is a great way to discover which values you have in common. It’s a pretty good gauge of your relationship’s chances. 

Because the truth is, plans change. Life directions change. But when you share the same core values, there’s a strong foundation that remains constant amidst these changes.

These shared values keep you aligned and moving in the same direction together, still by each other’s side even after decades.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Just because you share the same values doesn’t mean you’ll agree on everything. 

However, when it comes to the big things — your beliefs about family, career, integrity, and how you treat others — you’ll pretty much be on the same page. 

4) Supportive

It goes without saying that someone who’ll stick by your side is supportive. They understand the definition of teamwork. 

Which means, they’ll take their role as your teammate seriously. They’ll be there for the small stuff just as much as for the big stuff. 

People often think of supportiveness related to the big dreams and goals we have. Like, “Oh, my partner fully supports me in my goal to have my own soap-making business!” 

And of course, that’s all well and good. But I’d like to point out that supportiveness in the small things matter just as much. 

How exactly do they show that support? Do they assist in practical ways like running errands for you or bringing you dinner when you’re staying late at work? 

What I’m trying to say is that the words “I support you” are easy to say. But if their actions don’t reflect that, then it’s hard to feel supported. 

5) Humble

In Justin Brown’s video that I mentioned earlier, one of the points he raised was the ability to take criticism. 

This is a crucial trait in a life partner who’ll stick by your side. Knowing how to take criticism is an act of humility, and in my book, that goes a long way in resolving conflicts and making a relationship work. 

To put it bluntly – there’s no room for pride in a relationship. Both partners must be able to lay their egos aside so that there’s room for growth and understanding. 

6) Independent

Ah, this one’s a warning against a life partner who could potentially be codependent

Back when I was still single, I had a boyfriend who was so clingy and needy. He wanted us to be together all the time, and at first, I found it flattering. But eventually, suffocating. 

Look, even if you’re in the most intense of relationships, you should never lose sight of yourself. Yes, you’re a couple, but you’re also you. Being in a relationship shouldn’t stop you from being that. 

Plus, independence gives you both much more to talk about and share with each other. My husband and I have completely different interests – I’m into art and vintage stuff and he’s into sports and gadgets. 

I find that these differences add more to our relationship than subtract from it, simply because we can learn a few things or more from each other. 

Believe me, independence and sticking by your side may sound contradictory, but it’s actually complementary. 

A good partner will encourage you to be your best self and will cherish the special qualities you have. 

7) A good sense of humor

Browse through any article on the secrets of a lasting relationship, and you’re bound to find humor on the list. 

And rightly so. Family and couples therapist Dr. Juliana Morris says in O Magazine, “Typically, when a couple has humor, it means they have perspective.”

Isn’t that the truth? Humor helps us in so many ways – it increases the bond we have with our partners and relieves stress. It lightens the mood so that the serious stuff doesn’t seem so scary.

And when you laugh often with your partner, there’s an ease in your relationship, which boosts your odds of staying together. 

I remember a reel I once watched of a guy interviewing his grandparents about how they’ve managed to stay together. The couple looked at each other and burst into laughter, and his grandma said, “Oh, he just still makes me laugh after all these years!”

Don’t we all want a relationship like that? 

8) Integrity

This is perhaps one of the surest signs that someone will stick by your side. Let’s face it, in a world of dating apps, casual hook-ups, and social media, giving in to your wandering eyes has never been easier. 

But not if you have integrity. That’s the gist of it, really. A person with integrity has all the other traits related to loyalty – honesty, consistency, trustworthiness, faithfulness…

I could go on and on, but you know what I mean. A partner with integrity will be guided by a strong moral compass. If you ask me, that’s truly worth keeping! 

9) Chemistry with you

Before I end, I have to mention chemistry. Now, chemistry isn’t exactly a trait, but it’s an important element that will keep somebody by your side. 

The thing is, chemistry isn’t exactly definable. Perhaps the closest I can think of is that it’s an intangible, organic connection. You feel an undeniable pull towards them, a sense of ease and familiarity, as if you’ve known each other for a lifetime. 

And real talk – you either have it or you don’t. 

Without chemistry, even if the person has all the traits on this list, it won’t matter. The relationship might look good on paper, but it’ll lack that spark that ignites passion and a profound sense of connection. 

Bottom line – your relationship might feel flat or forced. That doesn’t exactly bode well for the future. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to stay with someone who might be great in so many ways, yet still doesn’t FEEL right for them. 

Final thoughts

Keeping a relationship strong, happy, and healthy is hard enough with all of life’s pressures. So it makes sense to choose your life partner carefully. 

Sure, it might require more time, energy, and discernment to find a life partner who’ll stick by your side through thick and thin. 

But as someone who has found hers, let me tell you – taking your time is worth it for that 90% of your happiness.

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