Back when we were teenagers, the most important thing to look for when searching for a potential new Relationship was how physically attractive someone looked. Nearly everyone fancied the most "popular" boy in the school. Girls would "camp out" so to speak, around the edge of the playground and watch him play football with his friends, all secretly vying for his attention.

The world of the youth. Where all you had to worry about was passing exams, following the latest fashion trends, downloading the latest music and films and having the current "must have" item.

So, naturally, it makes sense to have the significant other who is "hot right now" too.

Fast forward a decade, maybe even two, and it is clear how much these priorities change.

Upon entering the adult world, where life is centred mostly on paying the mortgage or rent, paying bills, feeding the family, clothing our children and even paying off debts, our relationship goals and ambitions change somewhat dramatically. Gone is the desire for the best-looking person in the room and more of a focus on who can prove to be a more "solid" investment in making a difference to your future. Here are some examples of what people consider a priority when choosing their future spouse:

1. How reliable and dependable they are

This one goes without saying.

Speaking from my own personal perspective as a thirty-two-year-old female, I had more than my Fair Share of bad luck when it comes to relationships during my younger years. Back then, I was fuelled by a desire for excitement and challenge, and could not resist the irresistible charms of the "bad boy." However, after more than my fair share, I began to crave more substance.

I knew I always wanted to settle down with a family unit and have children, so thought long and hard about what I truly wanted from a relationship. As well as honesty, reliability was a key factor. Ultimately, we want to feel secure and stable within our relationships. Safe in the knowledge of putting our faith in someone else, knowing that they will not let us down and that they will always be there for us, no matter what.

That includes turning up on time and doing what they say they will do, when they say they will. I would like to think my partner feels that he can always rely and depend on me and feel that, whatever the situation, I will always be there and never let them down. Therefore, I expect the same in return. A person who proves themselves to be unreliable on a habitual basis does not make a good choice of partner.

2. Someone whom you can trust

For me, trust is also a key issue. We are no longer in our teens, so do not want the worry of whether our partner will go for a night out with friends and meet other people. Ask almost anybody what the most important feature that they look for in a partner is and they are most likely to say "trust." Your partner should be totally trustworthy and that you can present them with anything in the full knowledge that it will be safe with them.

Also, infidelity should not be of any concern. If so, then perhaps seriously question the relationship as without trust, then there is not a lot to go on.

3. How good they are with money and savings

Ok, so this may sound a little shallow, but, as we all know, adulthood comes with what feels like neverending financial responsibilities. Therefore, upon entering into a partnership with somebody, we want to make sure that they are financially responsible. Someone who is frivolous with money, putting new cars and the latest gadgets above essentials like paying the rent is not likely to be a good choice in the long run. We all like to feel secure and for those of us thinking more long-term, we want someone who is also on our wavelength, thinking of the future, working hard and putting money in savings to try and guarantee a good future for their families is a better option than someone who has no concept of the value of money.

Plus, no one wants to be living in fear of constantly looking over their shoulder if you have a partner who has managed to rack up thousands of pounds worth of debt.

4. Their career and salary

Again, this goes hand in hand with the above. Speaking purely from a woman's perspective here, I am slightly traditional with respect to men providing for their families whilst the woman is on maternity leave. From this point of view, it is important to take into consideration whether or not they would be able to afford to support you whilst you do so. Most of us are more attracted to people with prospects, and we have this preconceived plan of how we want our lives to be, therefore, household earnings play a huge role in determining what we can or cannot do.

5. Similar hobbies and interests

Naturally, as we get older, less emphasis is placed on what people look like and more about how we connect on a more intellectual level. We tend to look for someone with whom we share common interests and hobbies. These may be sharing a love of books, fitness, cooking, anything that will serve as good discussion points. It also helps significantly to share mutual interests so that you can do them together during your free time, rather than one of you off pursuing your love of motor racing whilst the other is off on a yoga retreat.

6. Plenty to talk about

Communication in a relationship is key. Therefore, without this, a relationship is not likely to survive. Comfortable silence is fine, however, if you feel that whenever you are together you have nothing to talk about, or are struggling for things to say, then perhaps you need to question whether you are with the right person.

7. Whether or not they would make a good parent

Naturally, if you want children, you find yourself asking whether or not your potential spouse would make a good parent. Qualities to look for would include patience and reliability, as opposed to experience. Perhaps you are desperate to have children but your partner has a volatile temper? Then maybe you need to reconsider your choice.

8. Baggage

As we grow older and gain more life experience, it is only natural we acquire a bit of baggage along the way. It is rare to come across an adult over twenty-five who is without any. However, what you choose to take on is completely down to you and also a testament to how much you like or want to make a go of things with that other person.

If you are not ready to take on another person's child, perhaps steer clear of a single parent. Likewise to someone going through a messy divorce or battling an addiction, however, if anyone is willing to bolt at the first hurdle, it probably means they weren't the right one after all.

Overall, it is fair to conclude just how much our relationship expectations differ as we get older as opposed to when we were teenagers. As this article has proved, we tend to look beyond the physical as looks fade, and instead focus on what someone can actually bring to our lives in terms of stability, both financially and in terms of trust and reliability. We now want someone who can provide the complete package so to speak, and, if they happen to be nice to look at as well, then that is a welcome bonus.