How to know if they are a keeper? It partly comes down to what you want in a relationship, but there are some traits that almost always help make a partnership work better.

Of course, you want someone who is compatible with you but that can cover a huge range of things. Compatibility is one of those things that you need on some level to make it through the long haul, having compatibility when it comes to inner qualities — like one’s values — is the most important thing. Hobbies and surface characteristics — like vacation preferences or decor preferences — are less important. To know if someone is a keeper, it’s important that you two are compatible on the big, significant issues issues— but that’s only the beginning.

Because your values may line up with your partner’s values, but they also probably line up with other people’s— and that doesn’t mean that all of those people would be right for you. So how do you know if someone’s a keeper? In part it’s down to them being a good person, but it’s also about them being the right fit for you. Here’s what the experts had to say about knowing your partner is one who you want to hold onto.

Little acts of kindness

The little things can mean so much. It’s just a way that you can know that they care about you and that you’re on their mind.

They are willing to work through the tough stuff

It’s easy to run away from a conflict and pretend it’s not happening— it’s much harder to commit to working through it. If your partner is willing to do that, it shows that they’re really committed to you and the relationship.

They treat you like an equal

You should look for someone who cares about you at least as much as they care about themselves, That your happiness is their happiness, and that they love you, and will take care of your needs as they arise and never complain about it. They just do it out of love. If your partner can do that, it makes for a really strong foundation.

They encourage you to be independent

Being a great partner means encouraging you to do what’s best for you— even if it doesn’t involve them. It’s very important to have independence in a relationship. Successful, healthy relationships allow for the both people to form a bond which lets them to not only grow together but also to grow independently as people. It’s essential to have your own sense of autonomy while feeling you can depend on each other. If they encourage you to go out and have your own life, that shows that they’re considerate and secure.

You can be quiet together

A great partner should make you feel so comfortable that you can spend time together saying nothing at all. How well do you and your partner do silence? If you and your partner can experience silence together without feeling freaked and worried that something is wrong or — an even bigger red flag — feeling bored, then that’s a good sign you can stand side by side on life’s unpredictable journey.

They have an open mind

Life comes at you fast, so you want someone who’s going to be able to handle that with you. Compassion and an open mind is important. Being open to new experiences, changes, and challenges can make the road a lot smoother.

They make you your best self

Ultimately, how to know if they are a keeper, is by how they make you feel. It’s really not about them, as it is about you. It’s all about what kind of person you are, become, and feel like when you’re in their presence. If you feel like your best self— or like you want to strive to be your best self— that’s definitely a sign that they’re a keeper.

Great partners can be tough to find. But when you have one you should hold onto, you’ll know.

Read more: Signs You and Your Partner Are a Natural Fit