the most important trait in a significant other

This topic, which was inspired by Real Simple, got me thinking how far we’ve come along in identifying some of the most important and loved traits in a partner. The personality and characteristics of someone I found attractive when I was fourteen years-old and is completely different from what I prefer now. And that, of course, is how it goes, doesn’t it?

The things I found most important in my significant other

…by the beginning of high school: He was the complete opposite of me – outgoing, outspoken and the most popular, charismatic guy in school. Good dancer.  And nice. That was pretty much it.

…by the middle of high school: My standards hadn’t changed much. Well-liked, talented, mysterious. Not a compulsive liar, which was a major plus in my book.

…by the end of high school: He was edgy. Piercings, heavy metal, chains, UFO pants (remember those?!). Funny – in a kind of insulting way. Led a fascinating lifestyle. Had drive. And again, nice (most of the time, anyway).

…by the third year of college to present day: He makes me laugh, has the ability to laugh at himself, honest, gentle, artistic, takes an interest in my endeavors, comfortable in his own skin, giving of his time and keeps calm in a crisis (to counter my proneness to panic). And he happens to be very nice, too.

 A glimpse into the past is quite the learning experience. I’m thankful to have gone through my phases (however shallow they might have been) before I realized what really matters. I guess it goes hand-in-hand with that saying…kiss a few frogs and something or other? I forgot the rest but I think you get the idea.

I’m curious…what are some of the traits that you most cherish? I’m guessing you’ve done some growing as well. Do tell.

-jillian m.

22 responses to “the most important trait in a significant other”

  1. Mary says:

    It's a very curious topic! I'm starting high school now so i guess it will change a lot. But it had been changing these past years so I can understand what are you talking about :)

  2. sherri lynn says:

    Oh this is so interesting! I feel like I can't really remember what I wanted in high school… probably someone who made me laugh and who was fun to be with. Through college and after college it was someone who was really responsible, a hard worker, honest, full of integrity, loved others well… all the things that I have in my husband now! :)

  3. jillian m. says:

    A hard worker! That's a good one. I always find that most people that care about the quality of their work tend to be all-around decent. It's a wonderful quality to have and one that will get you places for sure.

  4. Chelle Lynn says:

    Oh goodness, high school crushes…I recently went through some old journals, and I am amazed by how enthralled I was with charismatic jerks, and how much of a victim I felt when they were mean to me. Charisma is the last thing that I look for now in a man – my husband is sweet, adoring, funny, protective, and intelligent. He is what I consider a real man to be.

  5. jillian m. says:

    I was also looking through some old letters and journals of mine not too long ago. It's amazing how much you forget! I can't even believe I tolerated half the things I did. So glad to have learned from those experiences though. You don't much appreciate it when you're younger, but in retrospect, it seems necessary.

  6. rolala says:

    It's funny how the traits we value in a significant other evolve as we get older and wiser isn't it. My husband is kind, patient and a true gentleman who often puts my needs before my own and I couldn't ask for anything more.

  7. Elle Sees says:

    I'm still figuring mine out

  8. yours truly, melissa says:

    Loyalty, fun, laughsa lot, nice… Basically my husband is perfect for me!
    :)

  9. Monica says:

    used to go for…
    edgy
    arty
    dangerous.

    now go for…
    an ability to make me laugh is gold.
    optimistic.
    compassionate.
    smart.

  10. two birds says:

    i love this post! what a great way of looking back. one of my traits sounds funny, but it's that he isn't afraid to argue with me and has a good sense of what he wants. you would think you'd want someone who always agrees with you, but i have had that and decided it's just no fun!

  11. Lena at A Crimson Kiss says:

    HA-I was just reminiscing about my first serious boyfriend with an old gal pal, and we couldn't imagine what I saw in him! I guess first love drowns out all logic…

    These days, I cherish honesty, warmth, a sense of humor, talent (but only because John has so much of it, it's impossible to ignore) and generosity. Now I feel all gushy!

  12. rooth says:

    I was such an odd ball in high school – I didn't really have a type. Nowadays, I've gotten a lot more picky but I think that's because I know what guys have the capacity to be like!

  13. Anait says:

    I love this post….such an insightful topic. It's funny how our understanding of relationships and the value of certain characteristics and traits within a person changes with time and as we mature….hopefully for the best 😉

  14. colleen says:

    honesty, loyalty and ambition are traits. but someone i can easily share my life with, and they can share theirs with me. we don't have to like the same bands or food or careers, but we can enjoy them together. those matter to me a lot.

  15. jillian m. says:

    Rolala – gentlemanly is a good one! That's important to me as well.

    Monica – I always value optimism in, not just a partner, but anyone in my life. I think of myself as generally positive, so it's nice to have a friend that shares that.

    Lena – Agreed! We've evolved so much that our tastes and values are completely different now.

    Colleen – I love the point you've made. Sometimes, taste in music or television shows or things as trivial as those aren't what matters. It's being respectful and open towards the differences and if you can enjoy them together, that's all the better!

  16. classiq says:

    The ability to make me laugh, smart, honest, optimistic, supportive in every project I embark on, no matter how idealistic it is.
    Ada

  17. Megan says:

    I think I've always wanted who was light-hearted with a good sense of humor, who was grounded and sweet. :)

  18. Bailey@Lost&Found says:

    I LOVE this post! I've never really thought about these phases before. At the end of high school and beginning of college I really just wanted someone to give me some attention- pathetic, I know. Now that i've found "the one" it's deeper than that (I would certainly hope)- things like, loyalty, communication, forgiveness, compassion.

    Hope you have a great day!

    Bailey
    http://lostandfound-bailee.blogspot.com/

  19. Bailey@Lost&Found says:

    I LOVE this post! I've never really thought about these phases before. At the end of high school and beginning of college I really just wanted someone to give me some attention- pathetic, I know. Now that i've found "the one" it's deeper than that (I would certainly hope)- things like, loyalty, communication, forgiveness, compassion.

    Hope you have a great day!

    Bailey
    http://lostandfound-bailee.blogspot.com/

  20. Bailey@Lost&Found says:

    I LOVE this post! I've never really thought about these phases before. At the end of high school and beginning of college I really just wanted someone to give me some attention- pathetic, I know. Now that i've found "the one" it's deeper than that (I would certainly hope)- things like, loyalty, communication, forgiveness, compassion.

    Hope you have a great day!

    Bailey
    http://lostandfound-bailee.blogspot.com/

  21. kristina says:

    awww, i loved this! isn't it so amazing how our tastes change and evolve? in a nutshell — i used to not care for brainy men — now i do!!
    xo, k

  22. Jamillah says:

    Awwwww, we need to double! Seriously! I think Bob and my bf would get along :).

    A big one for me is supportive and smart. I like a challenging mind and a sense of humor and someone that actually entertains all my crazy ideas :).

    Ok, let's set this ish up!

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