What I want in a partner:
  • Respects me
  • Respect for others
  • A service ethic
  • Shares some of my interests
  • Has interests of their own
  • Humble, for real
  • Respects and supports their family
  • Responsible with money
  • Well employed or otherwise self-supporting (7th tradition)
  • Encourages me to be self-supporting
  • Can be silly, but not the default state
  • Can be very serious
  • Has goals and plans of their own
  • Expresses self in work or hobbies
  • Has their own sense of self worth
  • At least as mature as I am
  • Independent
  • Dependable 
  • Caring, thoughtful
  • A good neighbor
  • A good friend
  • Accepting of me
  • Accepting of my sexuality
  • Accepting of my orientation
  • Willing to dance, can enjoy it
  • Sexual compatibility
  • Political compatibility
  • Similar values
  • Healthy attitudes about sex
  • Is happy
  • Generous
  • Fair-minded
  • Has or is willing to have a dog
  • Respects whether I’m ready to live together or not
What I don’t want:
  • Racist
  • Sexist
  • Politically extreme
  • Prone to rage
  • Controlling, dominating
  • Codependent
  • Criticizing, disparaging, judgmental, blaming
  • Conformist
  • Buys into toxic masculinity or the patriarchy
  • Buys into toxic femininity
  • Expects all my unstructured time to belong to them
  • Greedy
  • Advantage-seeking
  • Conservative
  • Assumes I’m wrong about everything I say
  • Hoarding
  • An alcoholic or addict
  • Insists that we have to live together

One of the mistakes I made early in the last relationship was to contribute financially well over the level of being self-supporting. When I got laid off, I couldn’t do that anymore. While I was training for a new career, I contributed right at the level of being self-supporting through my severance pay, and later, through acquiring credit card debt. But it was so much less money than they were used to.

My spouse deeply resented the reduced level of contribution and saw it as changing their life without their permission, because I chose to train for a new career instead of starting over in my old one (which is what happens when you get laid off – in my industry, nobody hires at higher levels from outside the company – you start at entry level again). It didn’t matter that a new job would still not pay enough. 

Also the layoff happened just after I had borrowed a lot from my 401k for a project, so I was trying to pay back the loan so as not to incur a heavy tax penalty. My spouse blamed my project for changing their life as well, even though commitment to carry out that project was made plain before we ever married.

Sorry I’m not explaining it well without anonymity-breaking specifics.

Another mistake I made was justifying making my career decisions unilaterally as long as I was meeting my 7th tradition. Right or wrong, my spouse felt left out. It would have been more respectful to fully discuss these things beforehand.

In any case, my business in my new career didn’t take off soon enough to prevent me maxing out the credit cards, so it became necessary to fall back on the old career and, yes, start at entry level, which is where I still am now. It’s taken a few years to pay off all that debt, plus defaulting on the 401k and assisting them with their tax burden.

In my next relationship (if any), I want money to not be a factor.

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