Life After Divorce . . . One Thing Desired in a Relationship

By Lindy Earl

          I’m a nerd.  I don’t know if anyone else likes the term, but it fits me and I accept it.  I’m a math nerd as well as a grammar nerd.  That means I count the times I have fits over bad grammar. Double whammy.

          So, as a nerd, I enjoy conducting research.  Since I have been writing relationship columns for about a year now, and run a fabulous (hello, Members!) relationship group on Face Book called Single Again, I now enjoy conducting research on relationships.

          Recently the question was posted: What is the one thing you most desire in a relationship?  I know we all have a list of answers, but I wanted to know the number one answer – and I learned it!

          Not only in my poll, but in other research, the number one answer about what is desired in a relationship is honesty.  It is the number one answer in multiple polls.  If you add similar (almost synonymous) answers, like faithfulness and loyalty, the numbers are off the charts.  That’s what we want. 

          Now, some people were glib with  answers, such as kisses or hugs. I’m guessing that these people were either not being serious about the question, or not honest with themselves.  Kind of ironic, huh?

There are some other, once-only, great responses:  humor, respect, devotion, heart for God, real.  Nobody can know exactly what that last answer means, but that’s fine as we can each put our own spin on it.  What is real for you may not be for another person, but that’s okay.  It’s a fine answer.

One answer that is just plain sad: Alcohol free. My, this person may be bringing some baggage with them.  I’m sorry for them.  It certainly seems like a simple enough request, but that it would be number one on their most desired list . . . sad.

One answer I expected to find, and it was there but not that often, is integrity.  I find it sad that it isn’t the number one answer, because I think a person of integrity will encompass most, if not all, of the other responses – loyalty, faithfulness, respect, devotion, honesty.  They may or may not bring humor, but with enough integrity maybe humor can be viewed in a supporting role and not the main character.

One definition of integrity is having strong moral principles.  Why was the word moral never given as a response? What other words are missing? Upright. Ethical. Truthful. Sincere.  Maybe these are seen as synonymous with other answers.  Maybe the challenge is that only one answer was allowed, when we obviously want more than one thing.

An interesting point is what was not said.  With almost a hundred responses in this unscientific, statistically insignificant research, no mention was made of physical characteristics.  Nobody mentioned any facial features, or height, or looks at all.  Nobody mentioned location, although I have met people who definitely put geographic boundaries on people whom they will date. Nobody mentioned anything that had anything to do with materialism – job, house, car, income.  That may be because it sounds so shallow, and while it may be a first response, nobody was willing to put it down, since names were associated with the answers. Intelligence wasn’t included in anyone’s answer, although I know people who desire intellect and some who are college snobs, limiting their dates to people who put in their time for their degree. Hobbies were not discussed, and again I think that’s because the survey was limited to one response.  But it is important to have commonalities! Hobbies are a great place to start.

I believe that the characteristics we most desire, we probably display in ourselves.  We think of ourselves as honest, faithful, loyal, funny, respectful, and devoted, thus we desire the same from our Significant Others.

My final take away from the research is that few, if any, of these traits should be on the list at all.  They should come standard in any human being.  We shouldn’t have to ask for loyalty, it should be assumed.  We shouldn’t have to seek faithfulness, it should be offered.  Sobriety should definitely not have to be on any list of desirable characteristics. So the research, if anything, is sad.  What should be, and probably once was, normal behavior, is now so rare that it has to be sought after and demanded.

That’s life after divorce.

            Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant.

* Contact her at to submit a question for her Advice Column.

* Find her on Face Book and join the group,  Single Again: From Devastation to Dating, on FB.

* Purchase her latest book, Surviving Holidays and Events After Divorce at for $8.00 (half off Amazon’s price).