It’s funny how nothing in life turns out quite the way you imagine it. When I was younger, I thought for sure I’d end up with a guy who fit a very specific set of characteristics. Now, the qualities I want in the man of my dreams are nothing like what I used to desire.
He’s not necessarily my former physical ideal. I once had a very specific physical type that I felt for over and over again — decently tall, dark complexion with brown hair and eyes, and boyishly handsome. I always went for guys that met that description, but as I’ve aged, I’ve realized that it matters more what’s inside a man than outside. I still need to feel a physical attraction, of course, but I become physically attracted to the goodness and sincerity of a guy’s spirit and the way it shines through. Now I find myself into all types of guys that I never thought I’d ever like.
What I wanted changed when I changed. I grew up and developed who I am. I’m a totally different person than I was in my twenties, and that’s a really good thing. I’m so grateful to be who I am today. As I went through that metamorphosis, the type of partner I want in my life changed drastically as well. I would never date the guys I used to date at this point in my life. I’m sure I’ll continue to grow, but I do believe I have a grounded idea of what I want in a man now.
The man of my dreams now matches me on the inside. I used to care more about a guy’s image — what he looked like, what he did for work, how he spent his spare time, whether he had tattoos or piercings or stupid stuff like that. Now I worry about who he is inside. What are his hopes, dreams, and goals? Is he kind and considerate? Is he loving, thoughtful, and intelligent? I always cared about that stuff, but I used to let the other superficial things cloud my vision and distract me. Now I only want to know a man’s soul.
The physical chemistry is a bonus that comes with everything else. I used to always go for physical chemistry first, but now I’ll give a guy a second chance if I think he’s a good person. I’ve learned that chemistry can definitely develop from an attraction to someone for who they are inside. Now that I know that, I find myself attracted to guys I never would’ve looked at twice when I was younger. I wanted someone “hot” to boost my low self-esteem. Now I know who I am and I know that stuff doesn’t matter.
His sense of humor is more important now. I have to have a guy who gets my weird, quirky sense of humor and enjoys it. If we can’t get along in that way, we won’t last long. Once upon a time, that wouldn’t have been high on my list of priorities, but it is now! I need a guy who can laugh at himself, not take life too seriously, and make me giggle when I’m feeling stressed out or weighed down. It’s one of my top requirements.
I care more about his ambition than his paycheck. I used to get mad because I always ended up dating guys who were even more broke than I was. I resented their lack of funds and the fact that we could never go out and do anything. Then I got older and realized I wasn’t mad at the fact that they had no money, I was mad at the fact that they had no drive. They had no purpose and no end goals in life. It was pretty lame. Now I recognize that ambition and persistence are the qualities I want in my ideal man, not necessarily a cool title or a big paycheck.
He has to be as spontaneous and independent as me. I had no idea that this was so important to me until recently. It explains why I’ve always gotten bored so quickly in the past! I want someone else who wants to adventure and travel and experience new things. He must share my thirst for adventure and endless curiosity. He also needs to be able to exist happily and independently and have his own life. I never cared about that before, and I don’t know why.
He needs to be nice but also have a backbone. I’ve always liked nice guys, but I often ended up with pushovers. I had no idea what I actually wanted, which is a good man who still stands up for himself and others. It’s a difficult middle ground to find, but I believe it’s possible. I’m very careful now not to make the same old mistakes and end up with doormats.
He says what he means and does what he says. Once upon a time, I thought that drama equaled passion. I wanted a relationship full of ups and downs and dramatic fights and reconciliations. That was what I believed love meant. I thought a man had to be jealous and possessive to truly love me. Now I just want someone who stays strong and steady and does exactly what he says he’ll do. I don’t want to play any games. I just want a genuine person.
He’s emotionally stable. I never understood the importance of this before, and I ended up dissatisfied and frustrated the majority of the time. A man with emotional strength is difficult to find and also worth his weight in gold. My dream guy now is highly emotionally mature and understanding of what it takes to function in a healthy adult relationship. He’s completely different from the men I once loved.
He knows who he is and why. Gone are the days when I messed with guys who have no confidence or sense of self. I used to dig conflicted, tortured artists, but now I see they are just overcompensating for insecurity. It’s the calm and quiet guy in the corner who I want now – the one who takes his time and makes sure he’s going about his life correctly. I find that more attractive than the hottest man around who ends up needing constant reassurance.
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