Always with Mr. Wrong? These are the most desirable qualities in a mate so you can have a relationship that’s just right for you. From What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal: Secrets from the Love Lab.
Based on my exhaustive research on trust and betrayal, I believe there are five detectable criteria for separating the trustworthy from the shysters. If you meet someone who possesses the following qualities, I think it worth the risk to open yourself up, perhaps little by little. There is no guarantee. But if you learn to assess others with fairness and objectivity, in time you are likely to encounter someone with whom you can connect in a deep and loving way. The opposite is also true: If someone fails any part of the following smell test, walk away.
Do not trust someone who lies to you. Too often we come up with excuses for the other person. It was a misunderstanding. She had her reasons. It wasn’t that bad. It was only one time. Take a clear-eyed look: Has this potential lover ever deceived you? Have you witnessed him or her lying to others? Do you find yourself questioning the veracity of what he or she says and then talking yourself out of your doubts? If so, move on.
A partner’s life should be an open book, without secrets. Make sure this new person invites you to meet friends, family, colleagues, and also confides in you about major stresses, ambitions, goals. When you ask, “Where have you been?” he or she should answer without hesitation.
Is there proof that this potential partner keeps promises? Are you able to check the details of any significant transactions with others, financial or otherwise? Do not trust someone who remains vague or unreachable about these issues. It’s best to be suspicious of people who say “Just trust me” in response to a specific question. Trustworthy people don’t feel the need to tell you what to think!
Does this person display just and fair conduct with consistency? Does he or she express and demonstrate values in tune with your own? If you’re not comfortable with someone’s morals, do not continue the relationship.
Proof of Alliance
Any potential mate should demonstrate being on your side and having your back—even in small ways. You want evidence that he or she does not operate out of sheer self-interest nor form coalitions against you. You want proof that he or she takes your interests to heart. It is a wonderful sign if someone demonstrates selflessness toward you. If you subject the people you meet to this clear-eyed assessment, you will gain confidence in your ability to size up others. I’m not suggesting that becoming more discerning is effortless, but I am certain that learning to trust again is worth it.