Do you find yourself constantly disappointed when romantic choices based on initial attraction don’t turn into long lasting relationships? Or do you find yourself stuck in a relationship that looks on paper as if it should be perfect but leaves you feeling no romantic spark? It’s time to make a list of the things you want in your ideal partner. Use that compatibility list and turn your initial attraction into a tool that narrows your choices. Putting the two together will lead you to a satisfying relationship that lasts.

Follow your intuition as a first step.

When you find someone attractive on first meeting, you’re responding to unconscious feelings that are largely beyond your control. Those emotions are essentially your brain processing information on autopilot without your conscious awareness. Matching what turns you on unconsciously with the traits you consciously want in an ideal long-term partner is what predicts prospects for a lasting relationship.

Look at both and you’ll begin to understand your relationship choices.

Explore your emotional choices and see if you can recognize your “type.” Identify the traits that repeatedly attract you and evoke an emotional response that draw you to your type. You’ll probably find those are very different from the features on your list of the perfect partner.

Spend some time identifying the traits you want in an ideal boyfriend or spouse. Do you want a partner who is trustworthy? Is high status important? What about attractiveness? The big categories usually are: attractiveness and vitality, warmth and trustworthiness, and resources and status. Ranking these traits can help you recognize what you really value in a potential mate. At the same time, evaluate what you have to offer them.

When your meet someone who has the traits that are on your “perfect partner” list, be mindful of your emotional response to them. If your gut feeling is favorable, consider them an option. You don’t want to try to change your emotions, because they can be a useful tool in narrowing your choices. Unconscious emotions may be largely beyond your control, but they will figure largely in your initial choices.

The trick is to recognize that feeling attraction is only the beginning. Don’t let the urge determine your long-term choice. Use your attraction as the first step in evaluating long-term possibilities based on your “perfect partner” list. Does this attractive date have the traits you’ve identified? How high do they rate on your list of conscious desirables?

Remember that you’re being honest about whether you meet the list of traits they want. Matching your preferences with their preferences is a good sign that you’re on the way to a lasting relationship. Studies have shown that partners who fit each other’s list of ideal traits are more likely to stay together and enjoy relationships that are more satisfying. Consciously compatible relationships can be expected to work out more often and last longer.

Read More: Who is Attractive and Compatible as a Romantic Partner?