The Answer To “What Are You Looking For In A Relationship”

How to respond to “what are you looking for in a relationship” is a very dreaded thought for a lot of people while trying to find a partner. Dating is difficult enough as it is, without having to come up with what might feel as predefined answers. After all, dating is all about who you are, and finding someone who appreciates that, right?

Well, to put it simply, yes! That is indeed the whole idea of dating. Finding someone that truly appreciated you, and reciprocating those feelings. After all, relationships are all about mutual growth, respect, love and support. 

But then, why must it feel like an interrogation in the beginning? Why all these intrusive questions about:

  • Who you are
  • What are your preferences
  • How do you enjoy spending time
  • What are you looking for in a relationship
  • Do you want to get married
  • Do you want children
  • And so many others!

Well, don’t think about it in a negative way. After all, you’re both looking to share your life with another person, so it’s natural to want to find out if that person is worthy of your time. While it might give you the impression you’re applying for a job, the other person just wants to get to know you better, same as you want to better understand them.

Do I Need To Make Myself Sound Appealing?

This type of reasoning and self-wondering is actually a trap of your own making. Since finding the right person is by no means an easy task, you might be tempted to go as broad as possible with descriptions about yourself (especially when you’re online dating). After you gather a larger pool of interested people, it’s a straight shot to pick the one that’s correct for you, right?


The more people you try to draw in with details like “I’m a fun person looking for like minded individuals” and “I’m easy going and relaxing to be around”, the more problems you’re creating by yourself. If you’re saying broad and general things, then you’ll indeed find yourself in the scenario where a lot of people want to meet up, but just as they basically have no clue who you really are, you won’t know either.

The only thing that can amount to is frustration, wasted time, or messages which might make you give up on dating altogether. Sure enough, if you just clench your teeth and choose to go from date to date, no matter how awkward or unpleasant they turn out, eventually, you’ll find someone.

But why taste the waters this way, when there’s a much better way of finding a suitable partner.

What To Actually Do

man and woman on a romantic date

So you’re unsure how to respond to “what are you looking for in a relationship” when you’re being asked by potential partners. However, did you take time to answer it for yourself first of all? The sooner you’re 100% sure about exactly what you want, the sooner you’ll be able to communicate that properly.

Try to get rid of any ideas like “I’ll know when I find them” and get down to some introspection. Monogamy, poligamy; something casual, or maybe you want to move in with someone? Marriage material? Kids? Well, how many? Life is short, so do not wait for it to happen; make it happen yourself.

Once you’ve had this talk with yourself, only then is it time to “put the pen to the paper” as it goes. And now comes the best part! You can write…anything you want! There are no restrictions here, because once again, you’re not applying for a job, and you’re not trying to get 5 stars our of 5. You want to find someone who gets you and cherishes you for who you are.

No limits, no undertones; make explaining who you are and what you want plain and simple.

When someone’s wondering what you’re looking for in a relationship, you must have answers that will clarify everything without the need for interpretation. That being said, keep in mind that you want to be honest and straightforward, not blunt and rude

What’s the difference?

True enough, being frank and being blunt might just sound like the same thing if you’re having a quick read, but there is a difference. Here, see for yourself:

Honesty: “I want to be with someone that accepts me for who I am, and who understands that there are some things that I do not want to change.”

Bluntness: “I will never change for you no matter how much you ask.”

As we’re sure you’re going to agree, the second method is a great example of how to respond to “what are you looking for in a relationship”, as long as the objective is to scare people away. Yes, you want to be upfront, but keep in mind that this other person has absolutely no idea who you are. If you’re too in their face, chances are they’ll pass, when they might have otherwise been interested if you were just a bit more polite.

Remember You’re Actually Looking For A Person

Oftentimes, when we talk about the amorous aspects of life, we tend to say that our relationship is like that, or that we’re looking for this and that type of relationship.

One important thing to always remember is that people form relationships, and as such, you’re looking for another person. This, in turn, should affect how you express what you’re looking for. 

Instead of saying: “I’m looking for a relationship where we go out a lot.”

How about: “I’m a social butterfly, and spending time with friends is very important to me. You should also be the type of person that enjoys having others around.”

It’s much easier for people to understand what you expect from them, rather than a situation that they’re a part of. Moreover, presenting your expectations at a personal level can be more manageable than associating them with a grander scale (in this case the idea of a relationship).

Yes, if the person won’t think they fit into the category you created, they’ll move on, but that’s exactly what you want in that case. Do not worry about driving people away; that’s the only manner in which the ones which are right for you will have enough “room” for you to find each other.

Concrete Examples Of How To Respond To What Are You Looking In A Relationship

couple on date getting to know each other

So now that you have an idea on how to structure your criterias, let’s get into some examples of how a complete section of a dating profile would look. Of course, this would work just as well in real life when you’re grabbing a cup of coffee with someone, with some modifications here and there.

  • You’re a lover of cats, or at least open to becoming one, because I have 3.
  • You believe that public transportation is the way to go for a more eco friendly world, and such don’t own a vehicle.
  • I do not want children, and neither to get married. I would however like to live together. This isn’t discussable.
  • If you’re already in a relationship, I am not interested, simple as that. 
  • I’m a political being, and regularly involve myself to help disfavoured members of my community, as well as fight for equal rights and participate in protests. You’d have to be eager to join me in these activities.
  • Being on my own is a very important part of my day. We wouldn’t be sharing a whole day together, and we wouldn’t even live together either. You’d either have to respect this, or preferably share this lifestyle.
  • I do not have many friends, and I’m generally socially awkward. I want to meet your friends, but I might seem weird to them, which you’d find ok.
  • I’ll gladly cook every time, but you always do the dishes; no exceptions. I also have a particular way in which I store them.
  •  I hold my faith very dear. I’m not religious, but I am spiritual, and regularly practice my faith. You do not have to practice with me, just accept this.
  • I do not own a smartphone, and I do not want one. This means that you’d have to be ok with actually talking over the phone during the day.
  • I’ve cut ties with all my family for a long time now. I will gladly meet yours, but mine aren’t a topic of discussion until we know each other better.

These are only some ideas about subjects that are broad in nature, but which usually come up when you’re trying to get to know someone better. As you’ve seen, a lot of these can quickly turn controversial.

So, for transparency’s sake, here it is: yes, you will receive hate messages. As long as you want to be open and straightforward, this is unavoidable. People will message you about you being a religious loony, or a nazi, or a communist, or a loner with no friends, or will write to you simply to prove that something you’ve written is wrong and that you should feel bad about it.

It’s part of the way of the world, and you’ll have to accept that. As long as you have any preferences, opinions, or otherwise choose to verbalize one of your thoughts, someone’s going to disagree. The sooner you can state with pride that you believe something or that this is simply how you are and if someone disagrees they’re welcome to move on, the happier and calmer you’ll be.

Do not, and we can’t stress this enough, engage in meaningless fights over the internet, over one of your characteristics, and as such the person you’re looking for. It can only lead you to believing that there isn’t anyone out there for you, which is simply untrue. No matter how specific of a being you are, your match is waiting out there, and that’s statistically true. 

Final Thoughts

And that, in our opinion of course, is how to respond to “what are you looking for in a relationship”. It’ll filter out the noise associated with dating, and help you focus on what’s actually important: finding that one person, not drawing in loads of them.

Once you do, the work’s not over though. Dare we say, it’s actually only beginning. Relationships can be extremely fulfilling, but only if you do them right. So, why not check out our 150 questions to ask yourself and your partner for a better relationship?

And after that, have a look at our replayable card game for couples, Better Topics. We created it with all the values and ideas mentioned in this article, and also based on our own mariage. It’s a fun and engaging method to help you talk about the more important things in life.