'I'm a divorce coach. Here's how to use the SEEK principle to find your perfect partner.'

As I rummaged through my memories box not long ago, I stumbled upon a relic: a list my best friend and I scribbled about our 'Ideal Boyfriend' when we were just 12. She sought someone smart and towering with bright blue eyes, while I had dreams of dimples, long blonde hair, and a sense of humour. Ah, the superficial desires of preteen years, but at least I nailed the funny part.

More recently, a friend declared her New Year's resolution: finding a partner who was affluent, exuded class, and was well-travelled, well-read, healthy, had good manners and was not afraid to do housework. Oh, and was good looking… The list went on... and on. I found myself lost in a mental maze, trying to conjure an image of this amalgamation of qualities—perhaps an older version of Clark Kent or Sean Connery? Seriously?

These days, I am pleased to admit that, having gone through one divorce and a couple of long relationships before and since, my longing for dimples and long blonde hair has significantly waned. 

Reflecting on my 16 years as a separation and divorce advisor, I've grown convinced that seeking specific traits isn't the path to finding the perfect partner.

In fact, I believe that instead of fixating on "what" your partner is (or should be) – blonde, educated, wealthy – it's crucial to focus on "who" they are. More importantly, it's critical that early on, you make an honest evaluation of how your partner makes you feel – and how you make them feel.

I call it the SEEK principle. It's a framework I've tested not only on countless clients navigating separation but with friends who are commencing new relationships and it seems to hold true.


So, what exactly is the SEEK principle?

Let's start with 'S' for Stretch. Your partner should challenge you to grow and vice versa, whether that be intellectually, physically, sexually, or emotionally. When one person teaches or pushes the other person to experience new ways of being, of doing or thinking, both partners evolve – and your life together and your relationship continues to remain fresh. If there is no movement, no flow, you will both become stale, and like a stagnant body of water, your relationship will begin to feel icky and boring: the death knell to any relationship. So stretching is about keeping your relationship interesting. Of course, for one person to stretch the other in a long-term relationship, both people have to have freedom to grow individually – to expand by experimenting new ideas, hobbies or otherwise and bring them back to the relationship.  

Watch: Dating: Translated. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Remember: If there is no stretch, no growth, and nothing interesting about your partner then your relationship is likely to wither and die.


'E' stands for Equality – this is about having a balanced power dynamic rather than there being uniformity between you and your partner. It's natural for both of you to excel in certain areas, but equality here refers to you having mutual respect for each other and an equitable exchange of energy. Emotional balance is crucial too, ensuring neither person feels consistently superior (above) or inferior (below) to the other and that one person is not consistently 'chasing' the other person. Of course, it is pretty normal for one person to be more dominant at any one time. However, that dominating role should swap from time to time. If it doesn’t and the power imbalance remains unchecked, then that is a sign of an unhealthy emotional relationship as one partner is maintaining emotional control and power over the other. This can lead to the feelings of inadequacy, insecurity and resentment on the part of the dominated person all of which may lead to the relationship ending or a more toxic and unsafe relationship evolving.

The second E? Well that is for 'Edge'. Your partner must have to have that certain 'something' to you. That kind of thing that is unique that you find irresistible. Some edge that you (and maybe only you) find so incredibly cool, that lights your fire and is the genesis of your passion for your partner. It could be the way they raise their left shoulder when they laugh, their Michael Hutchence walk or their dulcet tones. If your partner doesn’t have an edge that you think is hot, then you may want to consider whether you are really just friends. Of course, there are times where having 'edge' doesn’t seem so important to either or both partners (for example after the arrival of a new baby). But over the long term, it is crucial that both partners put the time in to nurture and sustain this "edge” as otherwise the fire or passion between you will be at risk of dying out.


Finally, the K – 'Kindness'. Their kindness to you and others who are important to you, as well as complete strangers. Kindness is imperative. You can have stretch, you can be equal and they can have edge, but if they are not kind, they are not a partner for the long haul. There are going to be many, many challenges, internal and external in any long relationship, and if your partner is not been compassionate, trustworthy and honest i.e. KIND to you, then they are not worth you. It’s as simple as that.

These days, when I sit down with people who have left their partner or are thinking about leaving their partner, there is usually one of these elements missing. I hear often, "He is my best friend, we are equal and we learn from each other but the edge is missing." Or, "They are really sexy and they stretch me but we are not equal in our relationship and that has made me unsafe and insecure which is unlike me. I don’t want to feel like that anymore so I’m done". I tell them that understanding what is missing helps us work out what it is that we want. It also helps us to be more appreciative if we have found relationship gold. 

So remember, when thinking about who is your perfect partner, seek and you will find.

Feature Image: Getty.

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