Dec. 31 may be all about the New Year's kiss, but by New Year's Day, most people are thinking about what comes after the kiss. This can be a good metaphor for our dating habits in general. The person we look to for instant passion, an immediate spark or even a New Year's kiss is not always the same person we would be happy sharing our lives with long-term. With this in mind, it's safe to assume that one major reason that finding lasting love proves such a challenge is that the qualities we seek in a partner aren't always those that lead to enduring intimacy.
The reasons we fall in love may be a mystery, but the reasons we stay in love are far less elusive. That is why this New Year's, I propose making a few resolutions about what we look for in a romantic relationship. There may be no such thing as the perfect partner, but an ideal partner can be found in someone who has developed themselves in certain ways that go beyond the surface. While we each seek out a specific set of qualities that is uniquely meaningful to us alone, there are certain psychological characteristics both you and your partner can aim for that make the flame not only stronger, more passionate and more fulfilling, but also far less likely to die out the moment the clock strikes midnight.
Many of these qualities won't be apparent to us when we first meet someone, but as we get to know the people we date, these are invaluable traits to both look for in them and to strive for in ourselves. These ideal attributes include:
Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone on Relationships at PsychAlive.org