- Honesty. A person who lies to you or others can't be trusted. It may be tempting to imagine that there were misunderstandings or that the lies weren't really important. But if someone has been dishonest with you, or if you find yourself doubting his or her reliability, it's time to look elsewhere. Find someone who tells you the truth.
- Transparency. Your potential partner's life should not be hidden from you. You should know where he or she works, and be introduced to family and friends. You should know what is going on in this person's life now, and what his or her dreams and plans are for the future. When you ask a question about where he or she has been or what the day's events were, the answer should be forthcoming.
- Accountability. You need evidence that promises are kept. It should always be possible to confirm that everything was done, or that there is a reasonable explanation if it wasn't. You should always be able to get a verifiable accounting of any financial dealings that affect you. Don't trust someone who omits the details and expects you to take everything on faith.
- Ethical Actions. Is this person consistent and fair? Do you share the same moral values? Don't get into a relationship with someone who is not playing by the same rules you are.
- Proof of Alliance. Your potential partner should be loyal. If someone works against your interests, even in minor matters, this is not a relationship that should continue. Look for a person who cares about your needs and is consistently willing to back you up and make an effort on your behalf.
Get insightful relationship advice from the Gottman Institute's blog.
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