The dating world is daunting these days. The trend is to either create an online dating profile and communicate with potential partners through an app OR go to crowded social spaces and see who’s there. It feels more challenging to make a connection with newfound technology, social media, and lack of social events. You may find yourself dating and not finding someone who meets your standards. You may also find yourself on a perpetual pattern of being in relationships that never work out. Maybe you even have a list of what you want in a partner and then become stressed over trying to find that “perfect” person. Navigating new relationships can feel difficult and unsatisfying. Defining your non-negotiables can help you determine your standards for a partner while allowing yourself to date someone you may not have expected to be with.
What are non-negotiables for a relationship?
Non-negotiables for a relationship are character traits, qualities, or values your potential partner needs to have or meet. You specify these non-negotiables based on your desires. Dan Savage, a sex-advice columnist and author, recommends defining five non-negotiable traits. Establishing five traits allows you to set appropriate standards for what you want in a significant other, without limiting yourself to strict expectations that someone may not fill. Ultimately, the five non-negotiables provide clarity and self-assurance of what your true values and desirable traits are.
How do I define my non-negotiables for a potential partner?
When defining your personal non-negotiables for a relationship, it is important to reflect on what traits or qualities mean the most to you and what you most desire in a relationship. It is helpful to think about your previous relationships and/or previous “crushes” or love interests to determine what you liked and did not like about those people. It is also important to reflect on your own values and determine if you want your future partner to match those values.
Examples of *broad* non-negotiables for a relationship include, but are not limited to:
- Has children or does not have children
- Shares the same values
- Understanding and empathetic towards mental health
- A height preference
- Similar shared experiences
- Sense of humor that you enjoy
- Similar sexual preferences
- Has a healthy relationship with their family
- Location preference for where the person lives
For now, reflect on your values, what you are attracted to, what worked in your previous relationships, and what traits you want in a significant other. Jot down the five traits/ideas you feel works best for you. In part 2, we will refine those *broad* traits to five specific non-negotiables, based on your individual measuring stick!
Savage, D. (Host). (2006-present). Savage Lovecast [Audio podcast]. Index Newspapers.