To expand on my recent post on my personal blog about Single Issue dating (Read it here) , I have written some guidelines about what people should be looking out for when they are open to finding a new partner, whether they are seeking a poly or a mono relationship.
There are three essential elements when getting to know a person who you are are interested in, without these elements being in sync with yourself and your family, your chances of having a happy home life is greatly reduced.
If your politics, your ideals regarding social issues or your religious convictions are widely different, forget it! Our worldview is the backbone to our principles and who wants to compromise their principles or expect others to compromise theirs, just to get a partner? Is it worth it?
If you are a vegetarian, green, liberal would you expect to have a successful relationship with a hunter who constantly instructs you on the fact that those evil commies are trying to take away their gun rights?
If you are a Christian family do you expect to start a relationship with an atheist who might mock your beliefs normally? Would you hope to convert them? Should anyone have to live with such pressure?
At the end of the day, although someones age, looks and sexuality seems to fit what you want, it is their worldview which helps to shape the person that they are, ignoring that and relying on superficial things to guide your courtship will definitely lead to disaster.
Similar to worldview, your aims for the future are often guided by the above, how the home will run once the new person joins? Do you want someone to be at home all the time? Do you want children in the relationship? I have seen people who state on forums that they expect any woman they date to be a housewife and mother and then start flirting with Ms. Smith who says that her job is really important to her!!
Why do this?
Similarly, if you have widely divergent aims when it comes to having and disciplining the children you already have, you are looking at major marital disharmony, if they don't believe in sparing the rod and you believe that beating children is abusive, how on earth do you expect anything to work? No one ever likes their parenting techniques being criticised, if you want a harmonious homelife, make certain that this is an issue you are all agreed on, even if none of you have children yet, it can save a great deal of pain.
Also location, if you live in the middle of a rural wilderness and they live in the city and don't want to move too far from it, discuss that beforehand, it might be that they are hoping you would move and you are hoping that they will, but location means a lot more to someone than where they live, it's about being comfortable with the facilities and convenience of the location, if they are social people used to going out every weekend and might be bored senseless on your small farm a mile away from the nearest neighbours, please take that into consideration.
Your interests and passions are just as important in a relationship as any thing else, long relationships can wither and die when the people involved realise they have little of shared interest outside of the running of the home and trust me, it will be discovered eventually.
If your idea of a good time is curling up with a good book and his is dancing the night away, is this a good match? If family activities are mostly centered around the great outdoors and it might be their idea of hell, this is just a huge store of resentment waiting to explode when the new person in the relationship feels they either they have to conform to the group activity(and be miserable) or be left out when others go off and enjoy themselves (and be equally miserable and lonely to boot) it is just a bad situation.
If one of your pet peeves happens to be reality television and the couple you are courting are addicted to them, this might be a constant source of annoyance.
Of course there is room for a bit of compromise when it comes to interests and hobbies, neither of my partners is as passionate about films as I am, nor do I get as addicted to novels as either of them, but where they like and enjoy a good film and I like and enjoy a good book, we can meet half way with our interests. Also, I have interests in common with one or both of them and they both have some interests they share that I am less interested in, so these interests overlap meaning that there is always someone to share with and you are not boring a partner senseless talking about your love for Star Wars when they hate sci-fi.
At the end of the day, successful relationships, poly and mono, rely a great deal on chemistry, but we shouldn't allow sexual attraction (or sometimes just the mere fact that someone is single regardless of what they look like) and the fact that they will accept you, be your only guideline for going ahead with a relationship, you have to like a person just as much as love them, without that, you are left with not much else when the NRE wears off.