Decisions are a part of life but most important decision may be figuring out your best romantic partner. Relationships matter – a lot. They have implications for your health, your reactions to stress and even how you look at the world.
But how can you determine if your current romantic partner is the best of the best for you? It’s hard to know what factors truly matter, what you should not overvalue, or what is best to ignore entirely.
Try the A Keltner List for relationships...
Consider each question and answer truthfully with a simple yes or no response:
- Does your partner make you a better person, and do you do the same for them?
- Are you and your partner both comfortable with sharing feelings, relying on each other, being close, and able to avoid worrying about the other person leaving?
- Do you and your partner accept each other for who you are, without trying to change each other?
- When disagreements arise, do you and your partner communicate respectfully and without contempt or negativity?
- Do you and your partner share decision-making, power and influence in the relationship?
- Is your partner your best friend, and are you theirs?
- Do you and your partner think more in terms of “we” and “us,”rather than “you” and “I”?
- Would you and your partner trust each other with the passwords to social media and bank accounts?
- Do you and your partner have good opinions of each other – without having an overinflated positive view?
- Do your close friends, as well as your partner’s, think you have a great relationship that will stand the test of time?
- Is your relationship free of red flags like cheating, jealousy and controlling behavior?
- Do you and your partner share the same values when it comes to politics, religion, the importance of marriage, the desire to have kids (or not) and how to parent?
- Are you and your partner willing to sacrifice your own needs, desires and goals for each other (without being a doormat)?
- Do you and your partner both have agreeable and emotionally stable personalities?
- Are you and your partner sexually compatible?
Looking at the list, you may take issue with a question or two and think, “that’s not important.” First, I’d say that the scientific evidence begs to differ. But that’s also why there are 15 questions. More questions provide greater accuracy. While any one question may not perfectly capture your relationship, 15 different perspectives gives a fairly complete picture.
Are there different questions you could ask? Sure. More questions? No doubt, but Bill James stuck to 15 questions for his Keltner List, so I did as well.
With relationships, like selections to a Hall of Fame, there aren’t easy answers and no guarantees for what the future holds. As much as you may like a definitive scoring system where a partner with at least a 12 out of 15 is a “keeper,” that isn’t possible. Relationships are complex. Any attempt at an easy answer is inevitably an oversimplification.
Instead, consider your responses to this list as additional data points that provide new insights. Don’t stop here.
When you make important decisions – like who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with! – collect as much data as possible. Consult the experts, yourself and, as Question 10 suggests, your friends. By using both your head and your heart you can make the best decision about whether your romantic partner is Hall of Fame material.
* Adapted from an article which appeared on The Conversation