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The Most Important (and overlooked!) Qualities in a Life Partner

Your love life will be eternally doomed to drama and disappointment if the three qualities I’m going to describe in this article are not reflected in your potential partner’s life.

In all my years as a relationship coach offering dating advice, it astounds me that when a single person creates a list of qualities they’d like in a life partner, they universally leave out the 3 most important ones!

This is the ultimate in self-sabotage!

Every list I’ve ever seen is missing the three most critical, most essential qualities needed to build a healthy, sustainable relationship.

Honesty, a sense of humor and attractiveness are very desirable qualities, while being addicted, unemployed, or obese are normally undesirable. Yet the qualities that I’m talking about are even more important than those!

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.

As I walk you through each of the three qualities, I’ll verbalize them as questions because they’re easier to understand and apply in that form.

1.  Are they ready and willing to make a commitment?

While this might seem obvious, most people have no idea how to determine whether a potential partner is ready and willing to make a commitment. If I had a nickel for every client who told me that they dated someone for months, only to find out they were neither ready nor willing to commit, I’d be a rich man.

Let’s talk about being ready and willing separately.

I define being “ready” as being complete with all former lovers. 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 chemistry clouds our judgment when it comes to determining a person’s readiness.

  • They’re not ready if they’re separated and not officially divorced.
  • They’re not ready if they’ve been divorced less than a year.
  • They’re not ready if they’ve been widowed less than a year.
  • They’re not ready if they were in a co-habitating or long-term relationship that ended less than a year ago.
  • They’re not ready if a long-term relationship ended and they’ve not spoken with a coach or counselor about it.
  • They are not ready if they occasionally date or hook up with an ex.
  • They are not ready if they’ve had a “friends with benefits” relationship within the last year.
  • They’re not ready if they’re involved with an ex financially (e.g. owning property, businesses, insurance policies, etc.) other than child support or alimony.
  • They’re not ready if they are angry and bitter toward their ex, blaming, criticizing and hating the “bitch” or “bastard” for what they did to them.

In other words, just because someone is single does NOT mean they’re ready for commitment. A person is “ready” when their heart is a wide-open space, completely free of any attachment or aversion towards their former lovers.

The good news is that readiness is fairly easy to discern. 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.

Now, let’s look at being “willing,” and unfortunately, it’s much more complex to discern. Being “ready” is about ones emotional availability; being “willing” is about one’s aspiration. In other words, do they want a long-term, exclusive relationship? Is it their life’s goal? And more importantly, how can you tell?

Well, early in the dating process, certainly by the third date and before you have sex, you have to tell the other person the kind of relationship you’re interested in and ask if they want the same thing.

Now, there are players out there, those who will mislead you and not tell the truth. But if you’re listening, you can discern a person’s aspiration by the way in which they talk about themselves.

People who are telling the truth usually use very few words and make direct eye contact as they speak. They don’t hem and haw, make jokes or change the subject. They answer with straightforward simplicity. However, those who are hiding their true feelings do the opposite.

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?” (This kind of question might not be appropriate on a first date, but by the third, it most certainly is.)

Answer A:

“Damn! I forgot to bring the ring (patting his pockets, 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 do you think of Obamacare?”

Answer B:

“Definitely (looking straight at you). 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 in a lasting relationship (still looking at you). How about you?”

The difference is obvious, right? Well, not really. Technically, both guys said “yes.” But if you are listening to more than words, answer A is a screaming “NO!

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.

Now, before I describe the second most overlooked quality, I want to make you aware of an amazing resource, should you want to go deeper into these kinds of dating situations. I’ve created an in depth, video-based eCourse that describes about two dozen significant issues you’ll face in the dating scene. Here’s a link to a 4-minute video that tells you all about it:

Dating in the Digital Age: Finding Your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul

2. Do they like the opposite sex?

You’re thinking, WTH? “If someone is dating, doesn’t that mean they like the opposite sex!?” Well, in a word, NO! In two words, HELL NO! Allow me to let you in on a dirty little secret.

Many men don’t like women and many women don’t like men.

Yes, we are physically attracted to one another, and we want to have sex with one another, but that’s a very different thing from someone admiring and appreciating the opposite sexual energy. Many men hate femininity; many women hate masculinity.

There are some fairly complex reasons for this. As for women, because of centuries of abuse, absent and often alcoholic fathers and male partners who have lacked integrity and gentleness, women can harbor hatred toward masculinity in general.

For men, our story is different, though still tragic. 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).

The anti-feminine message is rampant everywhere from locker rooms to church pews.

Additionally, just as women have had terrible histories with the men in their lives, men have had troubled relationships with women too. Our moms, dates and wives have scarred us and left us with a ton of negative baggage as well.

So the second item on your list needs to be that your partner likes the opposite sexual energy. And again, that leads to the question: 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, some parents are truly morons, 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 men who like “chick-flicks.”

There are three deeper signs a man or a woman likes the opposite sex.

Let’s start with men.

First, how does a man relate to his own feminine side? Femininity is about feeling and relationships. So if a guy likes his feminine side, and feminine energy in general, he’ll recognize his feelings and be open to expressing them. 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.

Secondly, how does he react to your feminine expression and traits? Does he smile at your woman-ness or does he scoff at it? Does he stay present with you when you’re emoting or does he discount your feelings and tell you to go talk to your girl friends?

Thirdly, does he have 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. The feminine way annoys him. Why would he hang out with people he can’t stand?

Now, let’s apply these same three signs to women.

First, how does a woman relate to her own masculine side? Masculine energy is about directionality and mission. So if a woman likes her masculine side, and masculine energy in general, she’ll appreciate her directional instincts and goal-orientation. Be careful of a woman who scoffs at competition and values feeling over doing. She doesn’t like her masculine side and she won’t like yours either.

Secondly, does she like the masculine tendency to “fix,” or to decide a course of action in the midst of chaos and confusion? If a woman doesn’t like, value and appreciate these qualities, she probably doesn’t like masculinity.

Finally, does she have male friends? When women resent men, they complain and sneer about masculine attitudes and actions, and they don’t hang around them voluntarily.

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 compatible you are with your partner, no matter how deep your chemistry, no matter how similar your goals, no matter how spiritually aligned you are, you will hit rough spots in your relationship.

So knowing that, you better choose a partner who is open to getting outside help.

I just don’t know how your relationship survives and thrives over time if you both aren’t willing to be coached or counseled when you hit the inevitable rough spot.

So how can you tell if someone is open to coaching? Well, if they’re open, they’re probably being coached right now—in business, finance, fitness, or even in a sport like golf or tennis. In other words, they’re currently demonstrating their openness to hiring 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, you’ll see that trait being exhibited in their life now and my best advice to you would be to run—not walk—away. It’s a major red flag.


So there you have it. These are the most important, and overlooked, qualities in a life partner. Ignore them at your peril.

Finally, I’d like to point you towards another incredible resource to assist you in attracting a great, lasting relationship. It’s another all-video eCourse and it contains my proven and practical 5 step conscious approach to finding your life partner. Here is a 4-minute preview video that tells you what it’s all about:

Attracting Lasting Love: A Conscious Approach to Finding Your Life Partner

Please feel free to comment or ask questions on anything you’ve read in this piece. I welcome your feedback and wish you all the best. If you want to learn more about my coaching practice and all the eCourses I have to offer, visit my website at


Roy Biancalana Roy Biancalana (71 Posts)

Roy Biancalana is an author, a certified relationship coach, a certified “Living Inquiry” facilitator and a spiritual teacher. He has been supporting the personal growth and life-transformation of thousands of people for nearly 25 years. His passion is working with men and women who are committed to awakening to their true spiritual nature and experiencing the love life they most desire. With a warm, personal and informal style, Roy specializes in supporting single people in attracting the love of their lives and also helping those who are in committed partnerships experience a deeper level of intimacy. READ MORE




  1. wrote on May 23rd, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Amy Barnes

    Great Article. Until recently I realized that I have always said I wanted a relationship but I always put it out in the future, after I write my book, or clean the house, or whatever. Now I realize for me two important aspects are realizing that I am ok just the way I am – no more cramming self improvements – self love. The second is that I had a limited ability to receive love.
    Great article!

  2. wrote on May 23rd, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Jennifer Thomas

    Thank you, this is all true. I have learned so much from your coaching.

  3. wrote on June 8th, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Joyce at I Take Off The Mask

    Commitment is indeed one thing most people overlook nowadays. But unless one is committed to really loving a person and making relationship grow, even the initial emotions of love and fondness fade away, and we wonder why we’re always searching for something only to lose it all in the end.

  4. wrote on June 1st, 2012 at 10:33 am


    Great post! Very instructive. Learnt in a concrete way what I knew by intuition. Thanks a million for sharing!!

  5. wrote on July 9th, 2012 at 10:13 am


    Hi Roy

    Thank you I have learnt so much about relating through your article. Its given me some interesting insights into self reflecting on my own relating style & responses & what to look out for an aspire to. Much appreciated.

    Kind regards


  6. wrote on September 10th, 2012 at 7:16 am


    Hi Roy,
    I was doing some research as a brand strategist and came across your article. It’s really amazing how no one ever really talked about these essential criteria you’ve written about. Kind of blew my world apart. Tweeted it as well.

  7. wrote on November 12th, 2012 at 6:48 am


    ‘My name is Dora I am from United States, I was in a relationship with Ben and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but February 14, 2012 a day I can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because I answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but I refused, and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I begged him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so down cast and I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love Ben very much and I am not willing to loose him to any woman, so I ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart…i am testifying to this great spell caster ATINGO TEMPLE. if you need his help you can contact him on

  8. wrote on January 19th, 2013 at 11:59 pm


    An excellent and accurate article!

    I loved the points about liking the opposite sex. I have male and female friends, and I love my male friends. In fact I have more male friends than female friends, and I’m trying to amend that, but men are just so much simpler to get along with, and like the hobbies I enjoy.

    I’ve seen the people that don’t like the opposite sex. One guy will only befriend “attractive” women, and if he finds out they are with someone else, suddnly the friendship isn’t there. I couldn’t put my finger on it, because he seemed nice enough. but I couldn’t get along with him.
    I then found that it was obvious he didn’t like women unless he could sleep with them or flirt.

    It’s such a good point. Although I must say it’s also a worry if they have female friends, because sometimes people “collect” friends of the opposite gender to befriend and flirt with. If non of their opposite gender frinds are below a 7/10 in the looks department there might be something sus going on.

    You can tell because they overuse phrases like “out with the boys” or “girls night”
    a balanced person will have a mixture of friends.

    Also good with being “ready” I live with my ex for the last 2 years. We were together 2 years, so lived together 4 years now.

    He goes around saying he is single, which technically he is, but good thing he’s not looking for love because people would be fooled to think either one of us has the commitment to date someone else.
    He argues this point with me, and I say that if you do that just move out!

    He said he saw an ex couple that got another bed and started dating other people as “housemates” I guess you could do that for sex, but I’d be jealous of this.

    The weird living scenario I would never have guessed in a thousand years.

    On my side I think we could have been helped with therapy, instead of him refusing help and us being in limbo for 2 years…

    Spot on.

    • Roy Biancalana
      wrote on May 10th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Roy Biancalana

      I just saw this comment. Thank you for your openness. I’d sure love to support you in your relationship journey. If you’d like to explore working with and learn what that would look like, just let me know via email:
      Thanks, Roy

  9. wrote on March 7th, 2013 at 1:03 pm


    This has to be one the best articles I’ve ever seen written about this subject. I just broke up with someone last night. Firstly, because I am still dealing with sexual addiction and really should spend an extended period of time ALONE no casual sex, no flirting, no dating. As the longest Ive been without this is since I was say 16 or 15. My ego is used to it now, feeds on it, plus I have a casual sex addiction that I don’t want or need!
    Ive been hurt, co-dependent, lost, ungrateful, depressed, abused and been the heartbreaker. Ive played lots of roles – I am highly adaptable. I hide it pretty well. This last guy is one year younger than me and little things about him irritate me ALOT, we’ve only dated for 3 months but have dated before and been mates. he also never initiates sex or intimacy, he said he feels like he’d be rejected, he seems to encourage a mother son role where I ‘tell him off’ for something. I don’t like this at all! but I have fallen into it as I am a dominate type. I also think he’s quite naive, which he argued against. I just don’t get the impression he has had an insight into him self yet and I think I’d want to be with someone who has been there (like I have or currently going through) already. He also thinks highly of me and It felt like a pedestal. As much as he protested, it still feels like that and my self esteem and ego can’t handle that. Its like he’s kinda scared of me as default. I don’t like this what so ever! He also doesn’t exercise, eat fruit or hardly any veg, he has an ongoing skin condition that he could look at some more and he said he doesn’t like the idea of marriage. He said he wants everything like a marriage, kids etc., but no ‘piece of paper’. I said good bye.
    I need to go on an extended break for a year maybe of non dating so I can finally reach my potential! I just hope I don’t fall into dark depression like last time when I tried this

    • Roy Biancalana
      wrote on May 10th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Roy Biancalana

      I just saw this comment. Thank you for your openness. I’d sure love to support you in your relationship journey. If you’d like to explore working with and learn what that would look like, just let me know via email:
      Thanks, Roy

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