So, say you’re getting along really well with a guy or girl. It starts turning into something bigger than just a friendship. What do you need to do? Well, one thing I would suggest is to determine your non-negotiables. It can be a mental list or a color-coded, typed set of bullet points. Whatever you do, know your non-negotiables in advance. Even, if you are single, you can make this list. It’s always better to be prepared. When thinking of non-negotiables, think about things that you are absolutely NOT willing to give up in a relationship. You don’t want to be too picky, but of course you don’t want to settle either. Making around five to ten non-negotiables is reasonable. I talked to some TWAMPS, and asked what they considered some non-negotiables and the things they came up with included:
- He/she should get along with my friends (and family). If he doesn’t past the friend test, chances are he’s bad for you! Your good friends and family are your best resources because they know you the best. So if they don’t like him or her, they probably have a good reason. Once they meet this person, talk to them and see what they say. If they have legitimate reasons why they don’t like your new boo, you should probably listen.
- He/she should be intelligent. You’re at William and Mary, so more than likely, you have many options to choose from in terms of intelligence.
- He/she should be responsible and respectful. R & R are extremely important in any relationship. If you don’t feel like the potential boyfriend or girlfriend is making good decisions then it’s probably not meant to be. It’s good to know that your significant other can make the best choice for themselves and you. Definitely don’t settle on this one!
- Share the same values. It’s pretty important to have similar values. Opposites can attract, but there needs to be a good foundation or a “common denominator” as I call it, in order for the relationship to work. For example, it might not work out if you want to save the environment and your significant other drives a gas-guzzler and litters. It’s good to have rather similar core beliefs.
- Exploring new interests. You probably want your boo to do a whole bunch of new things with you. These interests could be learning to salsa, trying a new restaurant, skydiving (although that could be very dangerous and scary), and any number of things that would interest you or your partner. Always compromise. Do activities that your partner likes and they should do the same for you.
- Hygiene. Even though this can be embarrassing to talk about, it’s true! Sexiness and smelliness generally don’t go together. Make sure that he uses good hygiene just ‘cause!
- Has a Sense of Humor. Having a good sense of humor is also a non-negotiable. If they make an effort to make you laugh that means they care about your happiness. Humor is all-around a great trait to have because it can really get you out of a rough spot. So look for the humor whenever you can.
- They’re Supportive. You want a partner who cares about you both emotionally and mentally. It’s necessary that both of you are somewhat invested in the relationship and understand the other person’s perspective. In general, it’s good that they listen to your problems and you listen to theirs (we all need someone to lean on).
- They’re Honest. It’s good for your prospective partner to tell the truth. You want them to do it in a tactful way of course, but you want to know for sure that they will always tell you what you need to hear. Someone who cares will always tell you how they feel for your own good.
- Physical Appearance. This non-negotiable is tricky. You want to be attracted to the person, but try not to give in to the superficial desire for looks because if you don’t have the deeper emotional and intellectual things in common, physical stuff generally isn’t enough to keep a couple together.
Depending on the person, this non-negotiable list can vary. Do what’s right for you. If you feel right about your partner and where the relationship is going, then celebrate good times! If you are having doubts or questions, making this list might help you see whether you guys have the most important things in common. So the big conclusion, never settle and know what you want from another person, then you can be truly happy and satisfied in a relationship.