What we really want in a partner

You’ve probably been asked on more than one occasion what you look for in a partner. Often the most obvious answers come to mind – you want them to be attractive, funny and kind. But people are complex and no one is perfect, so over the years psychologists and scientists have conducted a lot of research into exactly what men and women are looking for in their significant other.

Every study has thrown up different results, but largely come to the same conclusion: looks usually find themselves near the bottom of the list, with traits such as honesty and kindness more likely to appear at the top. And while everyone is different and will seek out different things in their partners, research has highlighted some of the key personality traits that are important to us.

We’re going to take a closer look at what people really want in a partner and why these traits are so important for a successful relationship.


Honesty is a key component in any relationship, which is probably why it is very often rated as one of the most important attributes in a partner. Honesty is important on so many levels. No relationship should be based on lies and you should always be able to be open with the person you love. But it’s also about being honest about who you are as a person and what you want from the future and from your relationship. Telling the truth is important, just as long as it’s always in a constructive way that both parties can use to improve and move forward in the relationship.


Confidence is also consistently rated as one of the most important traits in a partner. Being insecure can lead to a number of issues in a relationship. Firstly, if you’re with someone who lacks confidence they may constantly question your relationship. Secondly, their negative feelings towards themselves aren’t just affecting them. They can also cause you to feel like you’re not trying enough or cause you to be upset that your partner is unhappy with themselves. These negative emotions can take their toll on both of you, and can ultimately bring the relationship down.

Sense of humour

It seems like a bit of a cliché, but a sense of humour is hugely important to lots of people. In fact, SBS did a study of people courting over Facebook and Tinder and found that a sense of humour was ranked as the top trait people were looking for in a potential partner. You spend so much of your life with your significant other and most people want to be with someone who makes them smile and laugh. This is especially true during difficult times when we may need humour to help lift our mood and bring some positivity to the situation.


Positivity is hugely important in every aspect of your life. If you are surrounded by negative people, it can be easy for these feelings to be passed on to you and start to affect your emotions in a detrimental way, and this is particularly true if you it’s someone you live with or spend a lot of time with, such as your partner. Instead, people want to date someone with a positive outlook who can try to see the brighter side of things. Of course, there will always be times when this isn’t possible, but as a general rule people want a partner who is a happy and positive person.


Most of us have goals and things we’d like to achieve in life and in our career, and so we often hope to find a partner that also has this drive. It can be very deflating to be with someone who is quite content doing nothing and has no ambition to try new things or reach for their goals, especially if you yourself are a very driven person and you’re always onto your next challenge. This is why ambition has consistently ranked as one of the top traits people look for in a partner.


The app Clue ran a study of over 68,000 people across the world and found that kindness was very important in a potential partner, particularly for women. Kindness can be such a valuable trait in a relationship as it involves showing care and love to your partner, as well as doing things to help and support them. But it also extends further than just your relationship, and many people enjoy being with someone who is kind to everyone they meet. This can be the hallmark of a great person and someone who will naturally strive to make you happy.


Being loyal is about more than just being faithful to your partner, it’s about sticking by their side no matter what and standing up for them in times of conflict. It’s about building trust and respect and it shows that you’re dedicated to that person and committed to nurturing your relationship with them.

Academic intelligence

For many people, a certain level of academic intelligence is desirable and someone who is knowledgeable, interesting and smart can be very attractive. This doesn’t have to mean a Nobel Prize winner, but academic intelligence is also important for understanding each other and for finding things in common. It’s this intelligence that allows you to have debates with one another and to find shared interests, leading to stimulating conversations with one another over a shared passion.

Emotional intelligence

You can have all the book-smarts in the world, but if you’re not emotionally available this can cause problems in a relationship. Emotional intelligence is so important because it allows us to empathise with one another and to see things from each other’s perspective.

No one wants a partner who can’t read the mood or who doesn’t know how to help cheer them up when they’re down or support them when they’re going through a tough time. Emotional intelligence doesn’t always mean you have to agree with one another, but it gives you the ability to compromise, to listen to each other and to grow as a couple. This is why so many people consider emotional intelligence important when looking for a partner.


There’s a popular saying ‘how can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself’. Self-esteem not only affects the way you see yourself but your ability to give yourself to another person and to love them fully. Therefore, it’s not surprising that most people want a partner who is confident and happy with who they are and has high levels of self-esteem.


This is an interesting one and not something you may typically associate with desirable traits in a partner, but a study published on Psychology Today found that conscientiousness was a surprising but important aspect people were looking for in a partner. This is because they associated conscientiousness with caring, always being honest and always keeping promises to one another, very important parts of a happy and fulfilling relationship.

At Ignite Dating, we understand the importance of finding the right person for you. Someone who complements your personality and lifestyle. That’s why we spend time getting to know you, so we can use a perfect mixture of Myers Briggs personality profiling, your feedback and our expertise to match you with great potential partners. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you find love, get in touch with our friendly team today.

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