When we meet someone new, we can ask ourselves, “Are you the one for me?” If you don’t have a track record of happy relationships, it can be hard to know. Is there a checklist? Everyone has their own wish list for what they would like in a partner, but here are some things everyone can look at to rule someone in or out.

I Feel Safe With You

Safety is the most important emotional need that we all have. It’s linked with survival. If we are not safe, we cannot thrive. Any situation that puts us in physical, emotional, or sexual danger is not healthy.

Examples of physical safety are: are you in danger of being thrown out? Is your food restricted? Is your movement watched or restricted? Do you have free access to money, work, friends, and family? Are you being threatened, slapped, punched, kicked, or choked? Are you children used as a means to control you? Do you feel free to wear what you want to wear, express yourself, and do the things that you enjoy? Do you ever feel coerced into intimacy that you don’t want?

Examples of emotional safety are things like: are you yelled at or intimidated? Are you called names? Do you feel safe in speaking up? Do you walk on eggshells? Is it safe to bring up problems? Are you blamed or accused of things you didn’t do? Does your person take things out on you that someone else did? Does your partner lie or cheat?

Trust is a component of safety too. Does your person do what he says he’s going to do when he says he’s going to do it? Is he where he says he is? Can you trust that he feels what he says he feels? Is he who he says he is? Do you really know where you stand? Is he open? Do you know who his friends and family are? Secrets create uncertainty. Lies kill trust. If there is no trust, there is no foundation.

I Feel Good With You

Do you feel good with this person? Does your person inspire you to be the best version of yourself? When you are together, do you bring out the best in each other? Do you love the way your person loves? I don’t just mean sexually, although that is super important too. I mean, does your partner “get” your love language and give you love in the way that you need it?

We Vibe Well Together

Do you enjoy the same things? Do you have things to talk about other than the day to day aspects of living? Are you comfortable in silence together? Do you have the same schedule? (It can be hard for a night owl to enjoy an early bird). Do you have one or two passions in common? Are you on the same page with family? How about religion? Politics? (These can be deal breakers).

We Work Through Our “Stuff”

Do you solve problems well, or do you just sweep them under the rug. If you just agree to disagree, that mess underneath the rug will become unbearable one day. It will come out in hostile comments, passive aggressive behavior, distance, and indifference. You can’t build love on a heap on unresolved hurts. It takes great communication skills. Life’s hard enough alone. To move through with someone else requires connection, compassion, understanding, listening, speaking up, and solving problems. Do you do this well together?

I Am My True Self With You

Do you feel free to show up without make-up, in a crabby mood, in a silly mood, or as you are with all your faces? Is it safe to tell your stories and dreams without being judged or having it used against you later? Do you have to hide, put on a mask, or diminish yourself in anyway? We all shine in our own way. We deserve a place to do that in all our glory.

I Can Depend On You

Is your person supportive? Is s/he available? It’s important that we all be self-sufficient, capable adults, but humans are interdependent. There are things we can’t do for ourselves. We’re social. We need other people, their support and care.

We Love Each Other for Who We Are

Some people are loved for their looks, status, or how they feel when they are around the other person. If your person doesn’t love you for you, and vice versa, perhaps you’re being adored for the wrong reasons. Someone who loves you for your quirks and sees things in you that you don’t even see will probably stick around to discover even more things to love.

You’re My One and Only

Lots of people are funny, sexy, attractive, and smart, but if you find the one that you can’t imagine life without, that’s your person. This is why marriage vows often include things like “for richer or poorer, for better or worse.” It’s because you can’t imagine going through the ups and downs of life without this person by your side. You’re not their favorite or best option. You’re their only option.

We’re Equally Yoked

“Equally yoked” comes from the image of two oxen who are pulling a plow together. If one is smaller or weaker than the other, they can’t work together efficiently. May December romances exist. The high school drop out can marry the PhD. So this isn’t a requirement for a successful relationship, but people with the same socioeconomic background, culture, generation, political background, and religion tend to get along better because they share important life experiences and values.

What other things would you add to this list?