When it comes to finding a partner there are lots of things we look for – is he kind? Does he look like Brad Pitt? Funny? Attentive?
But according to an expert psychologist the trait we should actually all be looking for is ‘relational self-awareness’.
In a recent article Alexandra Solomon, a psychologist at Northwestern University, speculates what all long term relationships need is ‘two people who are able to competently handle all of the sh— that hits the fan.’
And the best way to do this is if both people are relationally self-aware, which Solomon defines as ‘the ability to take a curious stance vis a vis yourself.’
In short, someone who can be fluid and open-minded toward navigating the different situations that life throws at them.
Talking about why this so important, Solomon explains that external situations and things ‘come and go’.
‘When I get laid off or when you get transferred, you want somebody who has the tools that it takes to sit in all of that complexity of: How do we value your job needs versus my job needs?’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘What comes up in me when you tell me that you want to move us across the country? How do we work shoulder-to-shoulder, side-by-side on that kind of stuff?’
The problem is, how do you suss out whether someone has this quality when you’re first dating?
Well, either you take them on a treacherous mountain climb on the second date to ascertain how they cope with changing conditions and stressful situations OR you could follow Solomon’s advice and do the following:
Pay attention to how your prospective partner talks about their past relationships: ‘People who don’t have much relational self-awareness tell stories (especially love stories) that are full of blame and shame. They tend to cast themselves as victims and other people as suckers, losers, or fools,’ she advises.
However someone who has a higher level of relational self-awareness might say something like: ‘It wasn’t the right time for us,’ or ‘It was painful, but I learned from the experience.’ As Solomon puts it, they can appreciate the ‘shades of gray.’
Although we would just point out here that we don’t advise launching into ex-lover chat on the first date – especially not before the main course.
If you think you’ve fallen for someone who isn’t relationally self-aware then the bad news is that apparently there’s little point trying to force them to be. The good news is though that you can work on this trait within yourself and see whether this has an impact on the way they respond to things over time.
So to summarise, the ideal romantic partner is relationally self-aware… and looks like Brad Pitt (did we mention that already?).
Source: red online