Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Qualities to Look For in a Partner

May 2, 2012 4:56 pm 0 comments

Photo: wiki commons.

When I was a little girl, I began compiling a list of qualities I was looking for in a man. I don’t know what happened to that list, but if I still had the paper, it would have crinkles, cross-outs, highlighter streaks and tear stains.

The attributes we desire in a partner change as we mature and reassess what really matters (such that I no longer seek a blue-eyed, French-speaking, caged-bird-freeing, Jewish guitarist with an aching desire to compose Grammy-worthy songs about me). Our priorities also change as we reflect on one failed romantic relationship after another. So how do we figure out what we want and what we need, and is the distinction between desire and necessity significant?

A friend once asked me, “If your boyfriend were your son, would you be proud of him?” This reflection can clarify your values—though envisioning your partner as your child is admittedly creepy in an Oedipal sense, and I don’t suggest you bring it up as you leap into bed together.

To some Jews looking for a relationship with another Jew, the level of religiosity doesn’t matter—anyone who is circumcised and knows when to utter L’chaim can be a contender. This is often the case if your identification with Judaism is secular, and more rooted in culture and philosophy than based on a strict interpretation of Jewish law. If you fall for someone whose religious beliefs and traditions don’t align with yours, perhaps you can “keep calm and carry on,” as the hackneyed but still useful World War II saying goes. You might still have a satisfying relationship if both of you are respectful (as in interested and supportive) of one another’s tenets.

For those who not only observe the High Holy Days and Shabbat, but also keep kosher, follow the sacred texts closely and attend synagogue regularly, not any Jew will do. If leading an organized religious life is fundamental to your identity, it’s natural to want a partner who shares your beliefs and customs. This is especially true if you intend to raise children, as compatible ideologies will strengthen the core of your family. (Is it too much of a stretch to compare it to the Kardashians, who are bonded in their belief in the power of makeup and cosmetic surgery?)

In addition to evaluating what aspects of your Jewish identity matter in your relationship, be honest about your personality traits and their compatibilities. Sometimes counterbalancing traits can lead to a more fulfilling relationship.

For example, two timid people can hold each other back, but if one is outgoing, they can teach each other how to be both social and introspective. Similarly, a talker will feel most cherished by a listener, a stubborn person will be happiest with someone flexible, and so on. It’s not that opposites always attract (in fact, in terms of intelligence and morals, they shouldn’t), but rather that how the pieces fit together matters more to the puzzle than the pieces themselves. That being said, humor, as well as a consistent willingness to make one another happy, is essential to every loving relationship.

You will have to consider how you generate and prioritize your criteria. It might seem counterproductive to question whether or not you know what’s best for yourself, but be open to refining and expanding your criteria.

Start by thinking about the specific people in your life who make you feel happy, loved, and secure–family, friends, and mentors. What do they do to bring you delight and contentment? Remember that you might not get everything on your wish list, but there are many gefilte fish in the sea.

Sasha Ingber is a freelance writer whose work focuses on relationships, travel and dance. She is currently a graduate student in Johns Hopkins University’s writing program.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli actress Moran Atias said that playing a Muslim woman in the hit FX series Tyrant has changed her outlook. “Educating myself about a different culture has made me more hopeful and humble, that we’re all the same,” the Jewish actress, 35, said during an interview with AOL Build. Atias plays Leila Al-Fayeed, the strong and politically minded wife of the president of Abbudin, a fictional Middle Eastern country run by a dictatorial family. The Israeli-born former model, who earned the title of Miss Globe International […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Jewish Fashionistas From Around the World to Tour ‘Chic Side of Israel’

    Jewish Fashionistas From Around the World to Tour ‘Chic Side of Israel’

    A delegation of 35 Jewish fashion industry mavens from around the world will travel to Israel later this month to “discover the chic side” of the country, 5 Town Jewish Times reported. The eight-day tour, organized by the Maryland-based Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) and the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, will include visits to key fashion sites and meetings with some of the country’s top fashion designers, merchandisers and marketers. Participants will also attend a JWRP Fashion Week event in Tel Aviv. JWRP said the trip is […]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Honored to Represent Israel at 2016 Olympic Games

    Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Honored to Represent Israel at 2016 Olympic Games

    Pro golfer Laetitia Beck said she is honored to have been selected to represent Israel at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil largely because of her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust. “Everywhere I go, I want people to know where I’m from, my background and where my family came from because of the struggle they had to go through,” she told the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). “Every week when I play and I see the Israeli flag, it brings me a lot […]

    Read more →