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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the morale of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.