On our very first date, I declared to my partner that I was looking for the type of relationship where I could feel everything. I explained that I understood the risk of being vulnerable and the potential for heartbreak — yet I had a strong desire to go all in.
During my spiel, his celestial blue eyes never lost contact with mine. He did not try to convince me of his willingness to do the same. Nor did he try to sell me on the potential for peril. He just listened.
And when he was sure that I had fully expressed myself, he replied, “I understand.”
I found comfort in his earnest and straightforward response.
In an instant, I knew that I would eventually love this man — and now I do.
Of course, all the how-to books on dating might call this a red flag. But I didn’t see it that way. What I saw was a man who was willing to let me feel the way I felt. A man who also allowed himself to feel how he felt. And at that moment, he did not feel one way or the other.
He was not in love — but he was open to the possibility of loving. He was not sure if he was looking for something long-term — but he valued consistency. He did not know what would happen, but he was curious enough to take the next step — which happened to be a second date.
And the rest is history.
My partner would never describe himself as emotionally attractive, and I am reasonably confident that he would say he was the opposite. But I beg to differ.
Sometimes he doesn’t have the language to express himself. And there are times when he misses the cues. But he always makes a concerted effort to show up as the best version of himself. And he’s willing to fail valiantly — over and over again.
I love him — because he keeps it real — even when it’s unsexy.
If you are wondering what traits an emotionally attractive potential partner might possess, here are some things to consider:
They ask questions.
One of the things I have learned about emotionally available people is that it is easy to tell when they’re interested —because they ask questions.
When it comes to finding a potential mate, you want someone curious about you. You want to be with the kind of person that pays attention to the little things and the big things. If you’re having a bad day, you want someone who will give you space to share.
Emotionally available people want to know about the things you enjoy and the things you don’t. They are intrigued by the inner machinations of your character.
Curious people make others feel seen. Their eagerness to know you is like fertilizer — for them and you.
They listen without interrupting.
Of course, it stands to reason that genuinely curious people are also fantastic listeners. But it’s about more than listening — it’s about listening without interrupting.
Emotionally attractive people also give others the experience of being heard. These are the kind of people who seldom try to finish your sentences — because they are your sentences. They also don’t interject with stories about themselves.
Emotionally attractive people are not just waiting for their turn to talk because they are too busy concentrating on hearing you.
They express their feels — without being embarrassed about the vulnerable stuff.
When an emotionally attractive person has the floor, they share with their hearts wide open. They express themselves in the best way they know-how. And they rarely balk at the tender bits.
Emotionally attractive people know that vulnerability is a superpower, not a weakness. They let people in because they know that intimacy is rare and potent. They are willing to take the risk of being exposed — because they know that the reward is worth the gamble.
They keep in touch — without being stalker-ish.
Ambiguity is the worse. Not knowing whether someone likes you or not. Sitting around waiting to see if the other person is going to reach out first — sucks!
But you don’t have to worry about this with an emotionally attractive potential partner. Why? Because they keep in touch.
Since they are willing to be vulnerable, they have no qualms about letting you know that they want to see you again.
They return calls and respond to texts (when time permits, of course). You never have to worry about them overwhelming you or exhibiting stalkerish behavior. Because they understand that you have a life. And that you are not always available to respond right away.
Emotionally attractive people respect your time because they respect their own.
They have boundaries — and they make them clear.
One of the tenants of emotional intelligence is the ability to erect, recognize, and respect boundaries. And that’s what emotionally attractive people do.
They know themselves well enough to see where the lines are. And they will make them clear — so that you can honor them. And they will do the same for you.
If you are not ready to invite them into your home — they won’t force the issue. And if they are not comfortable having sex before confirming STI test results — they let you know upfront.
Dating without boundaries is like walking through a minefield — there are potential explosions everywhere. But you don’t have to worry about this with an emotionally attractive potential partner. And if one of you should accidentally cross a line — they will let you know without flying off the handle.
They speak highly of others — and complain without bashing.
A good portion of the population operates on one of two channels — (1) excess praise to the point of worship. Or (2) dragging anyone who does not fit into their ideal vision. But that’s not how emotionally attractive people operate.
Emotionally attractive people have zero reservations about giving props, and they offer compliments without hesitation. Speaking highly of others is second nature to them.
They also permit themselves to speak freely about the things that don’t sit well with them. Because they know how to complain without bashing, they understand that just because something goes south doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. But more importantly, they get that we are all fallible — and so they give grace.
They accept all their parts — even the shadowy bits.
If you have ever heard someone speaking badly about someone else — you can only imagine how they talk to themselves.
Well, the same is true for emotionally available folks. They can give grace to others because they give grace to themselves.
There is nothing more attractive than a person who can accept their wholeness. The good. The bad. And the ugly that only a mother can love.
Emotionally attractive people understand that there is no light without darkness, so they accept all their parts — even the shadowy bits. And that acceptance allows them to accept others in their wholeness too.
They tell the truth — even when it’s uncomfortable.
Everyone says they want to hear the truth, but most of us only want the truth we want to hear.
Telling the truth is uncomfortable. But emotionally attractive people are willing to bear that discomfort.
Truth-telling often comes with the risk of being rejected. Because all too often, people are reluctant to accept the truth, especially when feelings are involved. But emotionally intelligent people know that putting it all out there offers a chance for a positive outcome — even if it’s not the desired result.
Respect is valuable. And the truth is one of the ways you get it — emotionally attractive people know that.
The traits mentioned above are subjective. At the end of the day, whether someone is the right partner for you comes down to one undeniable truth — how they make you feel.
If you’re with someone that makes you feel how you want to feel — that’s the sweet spot.
Originally published at https://medium.com