What Type of Person Do You Want to Be in a Relationship

Carol Lennox

Neon sign saying "Discover, Embrace, Be You.Photo by Victor on Unsplash

While writing a screenplay for a romantic comedy, I realized I didn't know what my main character wanted in a relationship. Since she's based on me, I decided to find out what I really want.

I used two exercises to get a clearer picture. You can use them, too.

The following exercise is adapted from a book for single people, titled “Keeping the Love You Find,” by Harville and Helen Hendricks. You can check out their version, which starts with listing the negative and positive traits of our parents, which they contend is what we look for in partners.Then list the traits of the partners we’ve chosen. It’s a very powerful perspective.

I adapted it to simply list the traits of my past and recent important love relationships.

Here is what I found with the first exercise.

Under each person’s name, I listed all the traits their positive traits. I also listed the most obvious negative ones any of them had that I don’t want ever again.

The top ranked positive attributes are the following:


Strong physical connection


The next ones, in no particular order are:


Good cook


Financially stable (at some point)

Activist for good causes

Caring and nurturing




Good Father



The bad traits were:

Lying, cheating, and narcissistic gaslighting from three.

Others were unable or unwilling to commit at the time, for a variety of reasons. Proving to me on paper that I do tend to be drawn to very independent, creative types.

The second exercise was easier, quicker, and equally informative.

I asked myself, what qualities do I bring to a relationship? Here are my answers:


Caring and nurturing


Healthy physical desires



Activist for good causes




Financial Stability

I also have the ability to commit when it’s right. I'm working on not being attracted to those who can’t commit when it’s right.

I also try to bring all the things I appreciate in a partner.

My negatives? I lied to my second love during a very turbulent time between us. It was a miserable experience, and I learned lying is way too much trouble, and hurts everyone. I’m still gullible myself after all these years. I have a temper, although it is largely tamed now. Flareups are very infrequent and short lived, but that wasn’t always the case.

I do have annoying traits. Sometimes even I’m annoyed by them. Constant humming, lack of good organization, a fluid notion of time, vanity. These are the things that could drive someone crazy, but aren’t deal breakers. I expect my partner to have some of those, too.

What did I discover that you might also discover?

My picker isn’t actually broken, as I had feared. Most of my relationships have had a majority of positive characteristics that I need in a mate. I’ll bet you find the same.

I’m now more acutely aware that I attract and am attracted to people with some level of difficulty committing, or maybe just committing to me at a particular point in time. I can work with and on that.

Overall, what did I learn that you can learn from doing these two exercises?

That there is hope. You can get clear on what you want in and from a relationship. Then you can go find it, using what you now know.

As for me, it also means I can finally finish the screenplay, a romantic comedy, much like my real life. Maybe the character and I will finally overcome all obstacles, complete our arcs, and find love. Why not? That’s the magic of movies. And lists.

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My purpose is to inspire and inform. You can read more by me on Medium.com/@carollennox, and on the Good Men Project. I've had a lifetime of valuable experiences, and I want to share the lessons I've learned readily, or been forced to learn. I'm a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a mother to my amazing son, Blake Scott, whom I write about often. I also write about race, equality, social justice, sex, government, and Mindfulness, not in that order.

Austin, TX

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