Keepers: 15 Identifying Traits of Successful Long-Term Relationship Partners

Traits Successful LongTerm Relationship Partners


She: “I’ve got myself in a mess. I have to be three places at once and all of them are important. I can’t bear letting people down and I’ve overcommitted again. I know I’m going to disappoint someone big time, and I’m sure I’m going to get blamed. Damn, why do I always try to do so much?”

Keeper: “I’m really sorry, sweetheart. I’ve seen you do this before. You want to make too many people happy, but, since you’ve already committed, why not let go of it. Worrying won’t make it better. You’re praying to the God of Mercy and you really haven’t done anything wrong except try too hard to do everything for everybody.”

She: “I know you’re right. I just need to get things in better priority. I always forget that I can only do what’s in front of me. You try to tell me to not try to second guess people or borrow trouble, and I really want to be more like that.”

Keeper: “Do you want some help? We can sort this thing out together and I can take over some of the other stuff.”

She: (smiling) “I need to carry you around in my head before I get myself in trouble.”

Trait Twelve – Keepers Know how to Self-Soothe.

Like anyone else, Keepers get hurt, frustrated, and upset, but, when times get tough, their first response is to relax and self-soothe. They know that if they’re agitated, they’ll just make more errors. To keep from doing that, they’ve learned how to take some deep breaths, go inward, and remember what is important.

If they get over stressed and respond negatively, they are quick to regain their personal balance and correct the situation.

Most Keepers will tell you that they weren’t always that way but have practiced catching self-destructive patterns before they are harder to solve.

They much prefer friendlier and more successful alternatives to arguing, defensiveness, or unproductive competition.


He: “You’re so quiet, honey. What’s going on?”

Keeper: “I’ve had a really tough day. The kids have been energy vampires. The delivery people didn’t show. The people on the committee didn’t do what they promised. I could go on, but it wouldn’t help.”

He: “Do you need to get stuff off your chest?”

Keeper: “Thanks, but not right now. You know me. I just need to be quiet for a while and sort things out. I don’t like it when I get this aggravated because I distort input and react to all the wrong things. Remember when I was so angry all the time after people disappointed me? It wasn’t good for me, or for us. Just give me a little while and I’ll be able to handle all this better.”

He: “I appreciate you. Can I take the kids out for a while so you can do it without the chaos?”

Keeper: “That would be a great help. I need to do some re-planning so these damned situations don’t get me going like this. You’re so great to care this much.”

Trait Thirteen – Keepers seek continuous transformation.

Keepers are committed to learning from the past and projecting the future more effectively. To do that, they willingly seek constant new ways of seeing their lives unfold.

Their own search for more effective ways of living is wonderfully contagious. They are most alive when seeking treasures, solving puzzles, or attaining an important goal. They learn from their mistakes and believe in their dreams.

Most people will choose security and predictability over challenge or change. Keepers successfully blend the two. They cherish traditions but search always for better ways to help themselves and others.

This way of making them ever interesting and exciting to be around. They don’t wait for someone to inspire them; they generate excitement by who they are.


She: “Hi. Dinner’s almost ready. What are you carrying?”

Keeper: “A powered kaleidoscope. Turns by itself and projects its picture on the wall. I’m tired of this gloomy weather and figure it’ll give us great, ever-changing images without having to go outside. I can’t wait to try it.”

She: “You are such a wonderful nut case. I never know what you’re up to. Mostly, I love it, but those vegetarian chicken legs were a little, well…unusual.”

Keeper: “Now, hold on. I still go to church every Sunday and play Scrabble. I’m not totally weird.”

She: “I wouldn’t want you any other way. You do keep me surprised, though, and I sometimes have a hard time explaining you to my friends. I’ll never be able to predict you but life is so much more interesting when you’re around.”

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Dr. Randi Gunther

In her 40-year-career as a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, She Had Spent Over 100,000 face-to-face hours with singles and couples helping them to sort out their desires and conflicts about intimate relationships. She Had explored all the reasons why their relationships so often start out euphoric only to crumble and how they can turn those disappointments into future successes. She truly believe that the greatest obstacles standing between you and the love you want is often right before your eyes but you are unable to envision the journey. Her specialty is to help you look at yourself and your relationships with heroic honesty and the willingness to look deeply at yourself and what you bring to a relationship so that you can finally create the kind of transformation that will change you forever. You'll finally understand why you've struggled in love, and what skills you'll need to create the kind of relationship you've always wanted - one in which you fall deeper in love while simultaneously scaling the heights of your individual potential. It's how her husband and She have made their marriage their bedrock for over 60 years. Subscribe to her free advice newsletter at where she'll tell you everything she has learned about finding and keeping a truly heroic relationship.View Author posts