I have plenty of single friends who flail around from relationship to relationship, never feeling fulfilled. The cycle of disappointment continually drives them through drama and heart ache. You can't help but think, this must be easier!
Dating can seem like a lot of games that lead to pain and disillusion until you finally give up. I'm not an expert but I have dated a lot and I have a few ideas on how to date and chose a partner.
Many relationships start out of emotional attachment and pure lust, but this isn't long term. Take your time getting to know someone, you don't have to jump into anything too quickly.
Some people seem to thrive on drama, likely because it gets them attention, but ask yourself if you want to spend your life in this spiral. Relationships woven together by insecurity will eventually fall apart.
While dating, we spend so much time trying to please or impress this new potential suitor. We can forget to stop and decide- do you actually like this person in the first place? Don't invest time in a relationship you don't want to be in. Is this person interesting? Do you have common values? Or do they irritate and annoy you?
Don't let fear of rejecting or hurting someone's feeling be the reason you stay in a relationship.
There is a saying, opposites attract. While this may be true, I think men and women are opposite enough, we don't need more opposite qualities to contend with.
Thus, look for someone who is more like you than different. For instance, If you are an extrovert, your life might be easier to share with another extrovert. They will naturally gravitate towards doing things you enjoy too.
On the flip side, sometimes someone who has the opposite qualities than you ( ie- perhaps someone detail oriented when you're not) can help create balance, like on a great team. That's if they don't annoy you to death first.
Of course, it's always good to find someone supportive, who makes you a better person but doesn't try to control you.
Lastly, one of the most important qualities is a sense of humor because if all else fails, at least you can laugh about it!
I'm sure there are many other qualities to look for in someone (that you will spend the entire rest of your life with), these are some that I find most important.