In an age of swiping right and binge-watching The Bachelor, millions of Americans are obsessed with the idea of finding “the one” with whom they will live happily ever after. But in her new book How to Choose a Partner, Susan Quilliam makes the case for putting aside conventional wisdom about romance.
Instead of searching for bliss and emotional fireworks, she writes, singles should look for someone who will aid their own self-improvement: “The most important factor is not whether we are currently ecstatic, but whether we are currently growing, and whether we trust that we will grow in the future, and whether we believe our partner is growing too.”
In a sense, she adds, it’s a good idea to approach dating like interviewing candidates for a job: “Be open-minded about possibilities, proactive rather than reactive and as flexible as possible about nonessential parameters.” And never forget that some people “are simply happier alone.”
This appears in the January 23, 2017 issue of TIME.
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