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If you had to choose one characteristic that would be a 'must-have' in a potential romantic partner, what would it be? It's a harder question than you think! In the interest of complete transparency, this was a question posed to me by my counselor. The exercise, if you choose to try it with me is to start by listing the top ten characteristics you would like to find in your mate. Then, you take away three. Then you take away three more. Then three more again until you're left with the top, must-have character trait you want in your partner. Here's what makes it tough. You can't just say shared values, it has to be a shared dedication to family. You have to be specific. Good luck!

Here's my first try in no particular order.
1. Intelligent
2. Humor
3. Honest
4. Communication
5. Christian
6. Loyal
7. Chemistry
8. Respect
9. Loving
10. Happy

Here goes nothing... Let's knock off three from the list!

1. Intelligent - I'm self-aware enough to know if he can't hold a thoughtful, intelligent conversation, I'll quickly lose interest.
2. Christian - I'm hoping as a Christian myself to find a Christian man, hoping he believes in traditional, family values.
3. Communication - I've learned through therapy that trust goes hand in hand with communication. I tie these two qualities together mentally.
4. Loyal - I'd be crushed if I ever found myself with someone I couldn't trust again.
5. Chemistry - We have to be attracted to each other, intimacy is important, both emotional and physical.
6. Respect - I want to be with someone I'm proud of and vice versa
7. Loving - In my mind, if someone is loving they're kind, affectionate, attentive.

Why do I have a feeling this is going to get even harder. Keep in mind I've already knocked humor, honesty, and happy off of the list...

1. Intelligent
2. Christian
3. Loyal
4. Chemistry

Whoa! I just knocked off loving hoping that chemistry would pick up the slack. I also had to remove communication and respect, hoping that if he's a Christian that will take care of that. Now here goes nothing... down to one.

1. Christian - I picked this not just because I want someone to help me grow my walk, but because of the shared values inherent in being a believer. In my mind, he's strong but kind and compassionate. But, just in case you're the man God is preparing for me, can you please be a sexy Christian, K? Thanks!

The first time I wrote about what I considered to be the most important in a potential suitor was back on May 26, 2020. Here's the original post:

If you're single and looking, I'm sure you've been asked, 'What are you looking for in a partner?' Honestly, it's a tough question. Not everyone is going to have all of the qualities you're looking for and what we want and need in a relationship changes over time. Case in point, what I was looking for in my 20s is completely different than what I'm looking for in my 40s.

One thing I've found while being back out on the dating scene is to not be afraid to tell someone what you want and what you're looking for. Too many people spend too much time in relationships that don't suit their needs. Frankly, if you're not transparent about your wants and needs, you're wasting their time and yours.

So what are you looking for? I spent a lot of time over the weekend binge-watching Love is Blind and Married at First Sight on Netflix. I was entranced by both. Is love truly blind? I don't think so. If you don't have attraction, you have a best friend, not a lover. In Married at First Sight, a panel of experts including a therapist, sociologist, and pastor match couples based on compatibility with the twist that they don't see each other until they're walking down the aisle. Same thing here, they can want all the same things, have similar backgrounds and points of reference, and still not 'connect.'

Clearly, we all want different things in our relationships, but sometimes when you're confused, it helps to see someone else's list to form your own initial ideas. Here's mine in no particular order!

1. Shared Values - My Faith is my strongest core value, followed closely by family and friends. Those are my three basic life tenets. What does your lifestyle look like? Do they match?

2. Compatible Education Levels - I'm a very well-read person and I'm interested not only in the world around me but continuing to learn and grow. Someone who is content to remain stagnant would not be a good match.

3. Connection - Do you have someone you can't wait to share your news with? Can't wait to hear their take on a certain situation? It's important to have a best friend and a lover all rolled up in one in your partner.

4. Chemistry - If attraction isn't there, your relationship won't reach its full potential. You don't have to be supermodel beautiful, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I certainly don't mind a 'dad' bod.

5. Honesty and Integrity - You'd think this would go without saying, but unfortunately, we've all seen enough cheaters, liars, and con artists to make daters super cautious.

6. Shared Interests - I love sports, I ride horses and love my furbabies. I also dig Mardi Gras and live music. You don't have to love everything your partner is into, but you do have to support them.

7. Compassion and Empathy - You can't teach this. It's a world view. If I saw someone treating another unkindly or with a lack of respect, it would be an immediate turn-off.

8. Stability - This sounds like it's about finances, but it's really not. I need someone who is emotionally mature enough to know who they are, want they want in life and where they're going. Dating a job hopper in your 40s is like being a momma to a grown man. Just because someone has a solid foundation and handles their business doesn't make them boring.

9. Communication and Transparency - How many times can we list this one? Have you ever felt like you had to drag things out of your significant other or felt uncertain about where you stand? It's a horrible feeling and a huge red flag. If you aren't willing to communicate openly and honestly with a partner, what else are you hiding?

10. Sense of Humor - You have to be able to have fun together! How boring would life be without someone to laugh with over the ridiculousness of life?!?!?

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