They are also all traits that I have, or strive to have, myself. That's the deal for me: I can't ask for something I can't offer in return.
Some of these are traits that, when they were lacking, caused serious trouble. Lessons learned. Others are things that I've enjoyed but don't think are essential.
It's reassuring to me that though I have undergone a pretty stark transition, I have also had some confirmation that this list is largely unchanged from the way it was years ago.
I'll try to put it in rough order of importance.
- She prefers a collaborative role in a relationship, where plans and work are discussed and pursued together. She prefers to share power, control, and responsibility.
- We have similar life philosophies - an outlook that is pragmatic and optimistic, and a value of people and education.
- She does not argue to "win", she argues to reach consensus.
- She is physically affectionate, and responsive, in a way that is natural and easy. She can read my body like a book, and I can read hers.
- She is slow to anger.
- When she feels something important, it shows on her face. She is not afraid to cry in front of a loved one.
- She is young at heart. She will run and jump into my arms in a crowded square, without caring what others think. She can be a goofball.
- She can express genuine remorse for hurting the feelings of others, without losing her sense of self.
- She enjoys exercising together. She designs it into her daily life. She's good at it, and in good shape.
- When she gets serious with someone, she is with only them. There are no people “on the side”, no exes she has a “special relationship” with. Her slate is clean.
- She challenges me and encourages me to better myself.
- She makes jokes and has an easy smile and laugh.
- She enjoys wild animals and the outdoors, and getting dirty.
- Sex doesn't have to always be slow and sensual, or always rough and tumble, always sacred or always freaky. It can shift across the spectrum and back as our energies shift.
- She doesn’t mind talking on the phone.
- She is willing to build a household - a shared space - with one special person. She does not ultimately want to live alone, though she needs her own private space as well.
- She talks to strangers with confidence. She does not treat them as “muggles” or assume they are dullards, and even if they are, she is gentle.
- She is a bit of a foodie - loves farmer's markets and exotic cuisine - loves to collaborate on a new kitchen experiment.
- She does not go to church, or if she does, she does it for the sense of family or connectedness, not in reverence for the Bible.
- She is competent with money.
- She does not wear any, or does not often wear any, makeup.
- She does not have any crazy relatives who are meddling in her life.
- We can cry together during a particularly sad film, with absolutely no judgement or hesitance.
- I can tell what she’s thinking a lot of the time, and if I can't, I can ask and get an honest answer, even if it's totally off-the-wall.
- She does not have any sexual hangups.
- Three times a week, or more, is her average.
- Her ideas for an excellent vacation include a bicycle trip from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, solo or together.
- She can enjoy the presence of small children, and they her.
- She has a clean living space - but not too clean.
- She sings in the car.
- She will belch or fart and claim it!