Want Romantic Bliss? Use My Top 10 List for Choosing a Lifelong Partner

choosing a lifelong partnerHere is my top ten list of qualities you will want to look for in a man.

I share this list with you as a dating coach, but also as a person with a deep desire to see good women end up with worthy men. I want YOU to end up with someone who will treasure his relationship with you. I want you to end up with someone that will bring out the best in you.

There are few things sadder to me than a woman with a beautiful heart settling for a man that slowly deadens that heart over years of emotional neglect.

To prevent that, allow this list to impact your perception of men. Allow me to influence your perception of who is, and who is not worthy of your pursuit.

This list is in order, with number ten being the most important to your long term joy and satisfaction.

1. You would be proud to introduce him to people that care about you.

2. His life history suggests strong motivation for achievement. This will eventually pay off if, for example, he is still learning how to communicate well with women.

3. He has a face you find attractive.

4. He is willing to allow you to pursue your own interests and career. He sees your pursuits as equally important to his own.

5. You share the same basic beliefs about why humans exist and what our purpose is in life. choosing a lifelong partner

6. He communicates his thoughts well with words. You do not feel like you are pulling teeth when you try to get him to talk about his inner thoughts.

7. He shows a genuine desire to understand what makes you happy. He wants to know what you think about when you become quiet.

8. As you get to know him, you find his interest in you grows deeper and he shows loyalty and respect for the relationship even during (and after) arguments.

9. When apart, a thought about him makes you happy rather than worried or anxious.

10. When you are in his presence, you feel a natural desire to please him. He doesn’t bring out your competitive side or a desire to “prove yourself” in any way. This means you love him completely and you trust your heart in his hands.

I hope this list sparked some helpful thoughts or perspectives for you. Feel free to share it with people you care about.

James Bauer

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56 thoughts on “Want Romantic Bliss? Use My Top 10 List for Choosing a Lifelong Partner

  1. Nina said:

    Great list. I am tempted to “settle” for less because I’m 70 years young, but know in my heart that the emotionally unavailable guy I have been seeing for a year who doesn’t want to commit to anyone is not the guy I want to spend the rest of my life with, so getting up the courage to move on in 2017.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Nina, You could have written this for me – except that I am 69 – and dreading the big 7-0 next year. However, it is just a number – as they say. See my other recent comments on here. I have wasted 5 years on a man who has massive problems with alcohol and a severe mental health problem – causing him to be a commitment-phobe. I believe now he probably has ADHD and consequent anxiety, and is not bi-polar as I once thought. He uses the booze to be able to cope with life. It is also time that I moved on, leaving him to his inevitable fate with the booze. Very, very sad, but I tried my very, very best to be there for him, and he did not want me. The bottle is his best friend. I wish you luck for the future. I hope you find peace and love, as I wish that for myself, too. Lorna

  2. Flora said:

    My man had all these qualities. But unbeknown to me he had also been silently bargaining in his head over the last few months until he ended it.

    Sober for 13 years, he realised he couldn’t be with me because I like a few glasses of wine. Even though he said at the outset he didn’t mind. That we’d discuss anything that bothered us. He didn’t discuss. “the price was too high for me to pay..just being in love with a drinker is killing my self esteem and peace of mind…my life depends on these values”.

    He was “more madly in love with you than ever before… I love you more and more each day…. Never cared or been so passionate about a relationship before..”

    3 months on, my heart is still shattered, carrying so much pain and confusion around with me.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Flora, You may not lke to hear what I have to say, sorry. But I’ll say it anyway. My situation is the reverse, but it may help you to see more clearly how your man feels. I have been involved romantically for several years with a man of 64 who has a massive drink problem – and I mean MASSIVE – to the point where he lost everything, was in debt and went to prison for taking money from the client account to try to get his finances in order. I did not know he had when we got together and I had known him socially for several years before that. He keeps it secret from everyone. (I did know about the prison). I adore him (not so much now, I have to say, which is sad – but after 5 years, I have to harden my heart and be realistic) – but I was crazy, crazy, crazy about him in the beginning, and I knew he was crazy about me, too. I don’t drink – or very rarely, but I do not particularly like it or have the need to, and seeing how it has affected his life has put be clean off. Slowly, I have tried and tried to get him to not drink, for the sake of his health, his finances and his LIFE – but he says it is not easy – I have no idea how hard it is for him. It has broken my heart. I have cried myself to sleep many, many times, and it has affected my health. I have read everything I can get my hands on about alcohol dependence and the underlying psychology of why people need to drink or to take drugs, how they can quit, and what a struggle it is for them, to try to understand. Here is what I have to say to you. IF you love him as much as you say, can you not appreciate how YOUR drinking affects him? He is right – for him to stay off it, he has to constantly remind himself that it is WRONG, that it is POISON, that it is the ENEMY. With that mind-set, it must tear him apart to see the one he loves having “a few glasses of wine” (and I bet it is more than a “few” – I believe YOU are in denial about this!!). It must feel like betrayal to him – that you will still allow alcohol into YOUR life when he knows how devastating it is, and has to constantly deny it himself. Like “sleeping with the enemy”. Surely, it is not too much to ask that you do not do this in his presence – unless you, yourself, have an alcohol dependence problem and find it impossible? Loving someone is not just about the “bells, whistles and violins” feeling. It is about respecting their principles, and doing what you can to make life easier for them – never wanting to hurt them and always having their best interests at heart. He will be afraid of losing you to the booze, as he knows how it can so easily and insidiously take a hold. I wonder if you went to an AA meeting, or an AlAnon meeting for friends and family, you would understand where he is coming from and respect his wishes. It is a HUGE achievement to give up an addiction – not many people do – they usually end up slowly killing themselves, the way my man is. And it is not a pretty death!! You should congratulate him for this and be there at his side to help him maintain it. An ex-alcoholic told me recently that “maintaining” is the real problem, and needs the on-going support of friends and family. Talk to him about this. Maybe he will take you along to an AA meeting, and you can see for yourself just how difficult this addiction is to master. Or maybe you could contact a helpline and talk to an ex-alcoholic yourself, for advice, to better understand what they go through daily. But, YOU certainly need to take this on board and get a better understanding of it all. It is a VERY serious matter, and has robbed me of the man I love dearly. I hope this helps. Best wishes. Lorna

  3. S said:

    missing 7 & 8. What a shame.

  4. emotional said:

    Wow when I signed up for your newsletter I wasn’t expecting all this great free advice. Thanks so much for this list. Its hard for me to believe people but I believe you know what you are talking about. A lot of key things in here. A list in my own heart. Great ?.so I have a guy friend who is all these things to me. It is always best to start off as friends first. Any advice how to make this type of friend mean more ? The friendship gets better with time even though he questions do I love him am I in love with him. He has said he is not ready for a relationship. I swear I am a better woman because of allll your advice. I was an emotional wreck hating men lol. I’m very feminine and I guess too bossy but finally I have my emotions some what in check afterlelearning a few things and now having a great relationship with a mam that is a really good friend.

    • James Bauer said:

      Great! I’m happy for the progress you’ve made on your personal development journey. Thanks for allowing me to play a small part in that journey!

      To answer your question, you may want to go through my mini-course on transforming friendship into something more. Click here to see the description of this special report.


  5. Celeste said:

    Dear James,
    My partner of two years is loving, gentle and trustworthy. After some serious (but failed) efforts in relationships, it is nice to have the security of a stable relationship. But I feel rather alone on an emotional level: he’s quite an introvert and takes time to get comfortable around people, which is part of his lovable personality. Now after being patient and trying hard for 2 years, I’m starting to wonder if his inability to talk to me is because he is unused to talking about his emotions and his inner life, or if he actually has no inner life and I’m waiting for something to appear that simply doesn’t exist. He loves me, and really does try, but struggles so much to answer any emotionally- based questions (example: ‘honey, tell me a nice memory you had as a kid’, or ‘would you tell me why you and your ex broke up’ or ‘can you tell me about the first time you noticed me’), or to understand me when I try to explain to him how I feel.

    He’s wonderful company, in the day-to-day-life of things, and I know I can trust him in many ways, but I’m feeling l alone, deeper down, and noticing that I’m strongly attracted to spending time with other people (friends, both old friends and wanting to make new ones) because it feels so nice to talk on a less superficial level than the simple every-day things of life.

    It feels like a real shame to give up on the only mutually respectful and loving relationship I’ve ever had in my 35 years, but I’m starting to feel like I’m exhausting my possibilities and I have to decide to live with a partner with a shallow emotional bond, or break things off. I’m usually super optimistic and am enthusiastic about problem-solving but I’m not sure of what else to try. Any thoughts? Could I be looking for pearls that are just not there?

    With appreciation!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Celeste. I see your dilemma.

      In some ways, deciding what to do next is as simple as asking yourself a “yes or no” question: “If he never improves his capacity to reflect on his inner world, do I still choose to spend the rest of my life with him?”

      Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Because every man has a range of potential, and you don’t know whether he’s at the beginning or the end of his capacity for developing the kind of introspection skills we’re talking about here.

      Genetics and associated neurological traits determine much of a person’s capacity for abstract reasoning, reflection on emotions, and capacity for subtle verbal nuances during communication. But everyone has a range that can be developed or underdeveloped depending on upbringing, modeling by parents and siblings, past dating experiences, and other factors.

      Interestingly, psychological research has shown that men who read drama or romance fiction developed greater capacity for empathy and self reflection. Researchers propose this is because in fiction you get to see inside the thoughts of others and therefore develop the ability to put into words the things that you may never have spent much time thinking about before.

      So maybe your next step is to find out to what degree his family, life history, education, reading habits, etc. have (or have not) given him opportunities to develop his emotional insight. Some men simply lack the words to express thoughts and feelings. It can literally be as simple as helping a man to develop the vocabulary to talk about the abstract feelings he has never discussed with a person before. Sometimes counseling or psychotherapy can help a man develop his awareness of the internal world of emotion running in the background of his thoughts.

      I hope this helps.


  6. nee said:

    Hello James,
    I read your mails and articles for some time and I find most of them very helpful! It’s the first time I share a comment so I’d like to read your thoughts…
    I’m 25 and I’m in a relationship with a guy who’s 27 . We live in a distance of 30 km and we both have quite busy schedules. .. we are together for 2 years and it has been quite difficult to bond in these conditions…
    So… about your list…
    No 1 and 2… Not perfect, not bad… it’s ok…
    No 3,4 and 5 Really good!!!
    No 6 , well… that’s not always going very well…actually, this is where most of our arguments start…but combining it whith No 7 I guess we could say we have a work in progress…
    No 8, this is the best part of my relashionship…!Honestly this is the most important reason I want to be with this guy!!!
    No 9 , the answer is YES…although I have some misgiving about Νο 10…
    Now… your turn, your thoughts… I would greatly appreciate to read your view about my thouhts on your list….How do you see a relashionship like this…?
    Thanks in advance!

    • James Bauer said:

      It’s interesting to see how you’ve analyzed your relationship using my list. I think that was a good exercise because it helps you think about some things that are fairly important considerations.

      That said, I want to remind you that this is a list that describes the perfect scenario. Real life is never perfect. To me it seems like you found yourself a pretty neat guy, someone worth investing in.

  7. Shelly said:

    Hi Thx for this post! Let me ask you this…I just ended it with a guy Ive been on and off with….He is emotionally unavailable and I dont think is capable of the love I deserve…I told him from day one I’m looking to get married someday and want kids…he has recently told me he’s not sure if he wants those things anymore…In person we have a great time together, great chemistry and he is super affectionate but when we are away from each other the contact is minimal…he rarely calls and only communicates by text which I hate…I have told him numerous times what I like but no follow through…SO my question is WHY do men who dont want relationships go after women that do ? This guy has come back several times and refuses to step up to the plate and work on himself…I would never do that to someone it’s so selfish!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Shelly. I wish you were not experiencing that pain right now. I think the most likely answer is that he is attracted to you and has a hard time pulling away to pursue a lifestyle more in line with his stated desire to avoid commitment at this point in his life. However, there is always the possibility that he is really just a “player” who toes the line to get close with you without thought of how it impacts your life. You might want to go through my special report on building honesty and spotting lies.


  8. Dee said:

    grateful for this…be blessed James!

  9. tebo said:

    thanx James, I wasnt sure if the man am with is the right one,you have just confirmed that he is the wrong one…………thanx a lot

  10. I agree that most of your list is valid. At my age (76) I also know that we can not always expect perfection. I am very pleased with my current man (and think that I please him as well) but we have only been dating since last December (8 months). I had the “list” of my own and he met every criteria on that and a lot more. I believe that he loves me too, in spite of my being over 6 years his senior, but I need the reassurance of introduction to members of his family. Do you think that is unreasonable? I have not yet pressed him on that matter (just mentioned it in passing).

    • S said:

      Hi James, I’ve been reading your articles and many thanks for the list! I’ve been dating 4 months with a guy from Australia who is under separated status for a couple of years. He can’t get divorced because his partner would get 80-90% of the total assets after he’s been working so hard for these years… But he’ll eventually divorce after several years when the kids grow up (they are 15 &16 years old and he loves them very much). We really have a great time together and I found that he meets all criteria of your list except the first one because I’m single, in my late 40s, and hope to get married… but he’s still separated, not divorced. I don’t know if I should keep investing in this relationship and enjoying my life for the time being, or I should stop seeing him since he can’t promise a possible future under his current situation… James, it’s my first time share a comment here. I’d really like to know your thoughts! Thank you so much!!

      • James Bauer said:

        Hi Sharon. Being married on paper doesn’t count for much if two people are not living together and have no relationship (other than sharing children).

        It sounds like you’re enjoying this relationship. For that reason, I see no reason why you should not continue to pursue a future with him. But if he is still living with her, then that’s a completely different situation. From what you said here it sounds like he exited the relationship with his wife a long time ago.


  11. Anita said:

    What you right is so true! The models we are brought up with colour our expectations for what is normal. In the end I left my marriage and broke up my family because a close friend and therapist said to me, What sort of role model are you for your girls. If I am prepared to put up with emotional deprivation, passive aggression, and a person who usually puts himself first, then I am teaching them by example. Good quality men do exist. I wholeheartedly support that. The things you write about, James, are as much about ourselves and our self respect and self esteem. What we expect from men is reflected in what we think we deserve. Keep writing.

  12. Sally Sunday said:

    Thank you for your list. In a relationship for 40 years, I realized long ago we keep changing (I believe every day) and keeping communication open between us keeps our relationship alive and loving. He’s a 10. Appreciate your perspective and guidance.

  13. Dear James, I have a guy in my life who meets only the criteria on numbers 4,5,6,7 and 8. I am torn between moving on and settling because I’m tired of starting over and over again. Please give me your sincere advise.

    • James Bauer said:

      Oh Kels, that’s just not enough information for me to have an opinion. It sounds like the idea of leaving him to start a new relationship makes you unhappy. If that is the case, don’t let my list pull you away from a relationship you are enjoying.

      • Thank you James, maybe I gave you the wrong impression. I am more unhappy because I am in a relationship I do not enjoy. five out of ten is average and that is why I feel that I am settling for what I do not really want. The feeling had been there before now, your list only confirmed it.

      • Egg said:

        It’s not like buying a car. Where you have list with the AWD, gas mileage, color, power windows, convertible, price range, NEW[not used], reclining seats, hatchback. Then you shop for a year, your friends and salesman send emails about vehicles that just came in and you go and test drive and take your list with. Then as you go through it and cross the obvious off and then walk away because there is a small dent, or it gets 27 miles per gallon and not 29. Give yourself a break. Start a journal and then make a page for each time you do something that starts the fight. Then can you honestly say that Mirror Mirror on the wall I’m the fairest of them all.

  14. FANofGOODmen said:

    I have been one of those rare women who has always been blessed with quality men in her life from my dad, uncle and husband who encouraged my wings and helped me achieve my dreams. A 40 yr unbelievable fairy tale marriage suddenly ended by death and now yet another great man has been in my life for over a year and will be there permanently. I believe dads, brothers, etc show a girl what a great man is and how they should be treated by men. When you grow up with that it’s easy to see the gems among the turds. However, when that is missing, you’ve never known a truly good man and that makes it hard to recognize one when you see one. Articles like this help, but nothing replaces the luck of growing up with good men. Women, make sure if you marry, you’ve married a man who will teach your daughters about good men and how they should be treated. I’ve had 4 epic men in my life and I still soar with eagles. I know this sounds egotisitcal, but I believe the men early in my life shaped my perception of men and gave me so much self-confidence and love my life has been joyous, exciting and an adventure I want to embark on daily. I want to thank and acknowledge those epic men in my life, even those passed. Words cannot convey my thanks. Women, don’t give up. There are epic men out there. Train yourself to recognize them if you didn’t have one growing up. This article is right on target. Only thing I disagree with is the looks thing. It’s amazing how an average guy suddenly seems like a 9.5 when his personality is a 10. Looks fade, personality is more fixed.

    • Sally Sunday said:

      Beautiful thoughts!

    • Egg said:

      The placement of that characteristic on the list is over time as the relationship develops. This list is a lifetime achievement that one reads and refers back to. After you spend time with someone and a relationship develops then this a foundation to build upon.

    • Emily said:

      Such great insight! I realized from reading this that my experiences with guys or lack thereof from a young age may likely impact my current challenges in finding a quality man! I have no brothers. Some guys in my family (alive or deceased) have/had difficulty communicating feelings in a functional way. The women in my family are very strong and tend to be the leaders. I need to work hard to not lose sight of what qualities I’m looking for in a strong, decent man!

    • Allison Levy said:

      I just divorced after a 22 year marriage. I think part because we had a daughter, but after she left, we had nothing left. Most of the marriage felt like criticism and sarcasm and unlove. I don’t know why I stayed in it so long, except to say for my daughter. Forget what I was feeling. Plus, I didn’t have those great men in my life. In fact, I had quite the opposite and so did not truly know love or what it should even feel like, until I met this one man 3 years ago who showed me what a man was really suppose to be like. And say that, not that this man and are dating, but we created a bond like no other. We have had a lasting friendship after only knowing each other for 10 days on a military assignment. Then 1 year after that we met again and spent 10 more days on a military assignment. Our friendship grew stronger (at this point I was still married, so was not even looking for a romance), but this man showed me how kind, how gentle, how caring, and how important I truly was. I felt so special like I had NEVER felt around a man before. This year, I just saw him again, not on a military mission, but on just a vacation. He and I spent 5 wonderful days together (and now I am divorced), and it couldn’t have been more perfect. No, he is not the perfect man, but he truly defines these 10 characteristics from Day 1. My heart truly finds him to be so special and so important in my life, BUT, I have never told him that from a woman to man perspective, just from a deep bond of friendship perspective. Who knows if I ever will as I find just the relationship that we have to be sentimental and meaningful, how can I “mess” that up with my emotions for him. As I absolutely have no clue his true emotions for me.

      Wow!!!! I have not shared that with anyone, but this list really put into perspective what I truly want in a man.

      Thank you James for sharing this list with us.


  15. James thanks for this clarification.
    We will still have our own dealbreaker lists, but this is a great start…..if he meets this list, then we can consider if he meets our dealbreaker list..and if we meet his.
    Consciousness and the work it takes is so worthwhile. Thankyou.

  16. penny said:

    Ive met a man like this and he has all these traits and much more ,ive been blessed thanks James

  17. Julia said:

    everything on your list applies to me. Thanks

  18. GREAT INFORMATION.. Are any men contributing to this blog? And contribution is what I mean. Not defensiveness or the like. You should be glad that women are being tutored as it were in qualities and attributes that enhance you as men, and not want anything less in someone, so you wouldn’t of them in you.


  19. Linda said:

    My last boyfriend (of 5 years) had every single one of these qualities except one that became two. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on a major parenting issue (recreational drug use in the household), which led to anxiety-producing thoughts as we’d always have to see what was going on in the house to know whether or not we could spend any time together or if adult children needed babysitting. It’s sad; I miss him. I feel like it was like one of the old Greek tragedies where all in life is perfect except one flaw that takes down the hero, the heroine, the family and half the damn village. I’m not sure why I share this other than to just do that-share, so thanks for listening. It is encouraging to know that I was on the right track and should I ever look for another, now I have my list not only of what to look for, but of some characteristics that he’d find in me. Thank you.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks for sharing, Linda. Often it helps others as much as ourselves when we share experiences of frustration. I guess this is an issue where it’s hard to find a compromise. There really is no such thing as compromise on such an all-or-nothing issues.

      • K said:

        Dear James,

        thank you so much for your great list and work in general!
        Enjoy your blogg!

  20. Cindy said:

    This is excellent! We should treat it like a bible. Once we as women put in hard work in truly understanding men and how to treat them ,then we ourselves deserve everything on the list!! Always be positive!!!

    • These thing are so hard for women to understand. Im starting to get it all and being ok with being uncomfortable. Soooo much work to do on myself. Its very motivating.!!!!

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