I’ve been talking to a friend who’s filling out profiles for matchmaking services. I haven’t done that myself too much. Haven’t really done much online dating either. I’ve tried that a few times for short periods of time, but I hated the experience so much I’ve mostly met people other ways. For me that’s been occasionally through in-person meetups but primarily via friends of friends.
But I’ve found it much less difficult and annoying than the online dating thing. And for the most part, I’m satisfied with very little. I’m usually not on the hunt for something new. I more like the fact that if someone cool shows up and we make sense, I could find a way to make it work. To me being able to date multiple people is like having a high credit limit. One that’s not there as a burden but is available just in case. Just like I don’t run a credit card up just because it’s there, I don’t try that hard to find new partners just because I can, provided I’m happy with my love life (which I generally am). But it’s nice to know I’m able to if I ever want to. (This incidentally is the flavor I am of ambiamorous, being about equally happy in a monogamous relationship or polyamorous relationship system; it’s more about who it is I’m seeing, less about structure).
Anyway, watching my friend go through the process has been really interesting. The matchmaking questions seem quite a bit more incisive than what you find in online dating profiles. They require more self-reflection, dig a little deeper.
And even though my love life has been really stable and fulfilling for quite some time now, I couldn’t help but ask myself them. To dig down deep and think about what sorts of qualities are important to me in a partner.
My Idea of a Swoonworthy Partner Is Reliable, Passionate, Considerate
Anyway, after I gave it a lot of thought, I narrowed it down to just a few qualities. When I adore a partner, it’s because they’re reliable, passionate, and considerate.
There are other things of course that I can enjoy. But these are the ones that seem to matter most that I will forget if I’m just going by gut feels and the mysterious pull of “am I attracted to this person?”
Being Reliable Is So Sexy
I’ve written about the reliability thing in the past. Consistency is such an underrated virtue; being reliable is so sexy. There are so many people who are good performers. Who can be impressive and flashy in the moment. But who rarely do what they say or follow through.
I was mystified several years back when I started to receive texts from people the day of, when we’d arranged to hang out, asking me if we were still on. In my world, if you agree to do something, it means you’re doing it, unless you cancel it. But apparently that’s not the convention anymore. And so people have started the convention of the “are we still on?” text.
More than once, I’ve been charmed and/or impressed by someone who was good in short bursts and then let down by them when they flaked. When I was sitting alone in a coffeeshop and they never showed up, despite telling me multiple times how excited they were.
In one instance, the person in question even came back later and asked me out for coffee again, after standing me up. With no acknowledgment of what happened before.
Look, I get that people make mistakes and they’re human. But it’s hard to build something meaningful with someone else if you can’t count on them.
Being reliable isn’t about an expectation of perfect behavior. But if you aren’t showing up, you cancel. Or if you’re running late, you can call/text with a heads up.
Or failing all that, you acknowledge what happened and apologize later.
It might seem like a small thing, but if you can’t be reliable when your agreement with someone else is clearcut and unambiguous — then how much of a mess will things become with fuzzier concepts like relationship agreements? Household chores? Child rearing? Sharing finances?
Not that every relationship has to have all of these elements. But hey. All the matchmaking paperwork talked about ideal qualities.
I’m a Sucker for People Who Are Passionate, Especially About Learning New Things
The reality is that I’m a very passionate person. And I’m particularly passionate about learning new things. I’m also a sucker for people who passionate about learning new things.
Partly, this is because I really like when I can have a nice back and forth with someone. Where we’ve both read about new things and can share what we’ve found with one another.
But it’s also because I don’t actually make sense to people who aren’t passionate. Not just when it comes to learning but emotionally. I’ve found that people who aren’t particularly passionate think I’m weird or too intense.
So a passionate person is more likely to entertain me and also to get me. Which is a win-win.
Having a Considerate Partner Is a Game-Changer
The final quality, being considerate, is something that took me a long time to get. Because I didn’t really have very considerate partners until I was 30 years old.
I’d always liked doing things for my partners that would make them happy — whether that was doing something for them, giving them something, what have you.
I was happy when I made them happy. And I spent a lot of time and effort thinking about what I could do for partners that would make them happy.
I remember this actually confused my ex-husband a little, that I would go out of my way to do things that made him happy. Because he wasn’t like that. He didn’t get joy out of doing nice things for me. He didn’t seem to get happy from making me happy. Happiness to him really did seem to be more a function of his own direct enjoyment of things.
He didn’t really seem to do vicarious joy. When I’d try to talk to him about it, he didn’t even follow my thought process.
At the time, I interpreted this as a sign that there was something wrong with me. Particularly as I’d never been in a relationship with someone who took my wants and needs into account. I decided it must mean that I wanted too much out of relationships — or that I wasn’t worth it.
Both were very depressing realities to sit with.
Anyway, when I finally started having considerate partners, it was a real game-changer. And I could never go back.
What’s Swoonworthy for You?
Anyway, that’s me. What qualities do YOU find swoonworthy in a partner?
I’m a little curious what sorts of things other people are looking for.
Like my essays? You’ll love my books. I’ve authored many of them, including 3 nonfiction books on polyamory and the Psychic State series, murder mysteries with strong female leads that feature a large ensemble cast of polyamorous characters.