Dr. Alexandra Solomon, professor of Northwestern University’s popular “Marriage 101” class and author of Loving Bravely, posits that the most important trait of a partner is relational self-awareness. People with this quality can talk about how past relationships shaped them, identify their feelings instead of merely acting on them, view relationship issues as a combination of “me” and “you” stuff, and listen to feedback in a healthy way.

You can assess this in a date by looking at (1) their stimulus-response process in frustrating moments (do they fight, flee, freeze, or study the moment and respond in a composed way?), and (2) how they talk about past relationships — do they see events in black and white, or are they aware of the nuances of context? Is there blame and/or shame? Do they play the victim or do they take shared responsibility? Do they cast other people as villains, losers, or fools? Is there a focus on growth? The canonical financial disclaimer that “past performance may not be an indicator of future results” does hold – but how we process our past may be one of the most telling indicators of how we will function in current or future relationships.