12 Things I Need Way More Than A “Spark” To Be With A Guy

I used to think that an ever-elusive “spark” was all it took to have a great relationship with a guy. Boy, was I wrong. Having failed in love more times than I can count, I’ve come to one important conclusion: the spark just isn’t enough. Here’s what else I need:

  1. A connection that goes deeper than the physical Although I agree that instantaneous sexual attraction is important, I need to connect with a guy on a deeper level. That only happens with time. I’ve had a “spark” with so many dudes right off the bat and mistakenly thought they could be “The One,” only to end up with a disastrous ending. Yes, it’s important to be sexually attracted to each other, but there are many more factors that go into a successful relationship. The “spark” is a great initial starter, but it needs to be complemented with an understanding of the other person.
  2. A willingness to be open and honest The general rule is that if he’s not opening up to you, you’re not important to him and I tend to live by that. It doesn’t matter how strong sexual chemistry is if I don’t know what’s on his mind. I’m not trying to be his therapist, but I have to at least have an idea of what he’s thinking. When communication is bad, sooner or later insecurity seeps in. I need a partner I can openly speak with. I’m not a mind reader.
  3. The ability to take my criticism Although I try to be nice about it, I often give constructive criticism. I do it because I want to see my guy do his best. If he can’t handle my remarks, no matter how strong our attraction is, it’s not going to work out between us.
  4. A real sense of maturity It’s very hard to tell whether a guy is mature by just the “spark” we have. He could be irresistible, but if he can’t deal with emotions and make decisions like a grown up, we won’t last. In fact, I won’t even go there to begin with. Being mature, level-headed, and having his act together is super important to me in a guy. I absolutely need that if we’re going to be together.
  5. The desire to show me (and everyone he meets) care and compassion If I find a sweet and caring guy who I’ve got sexual chemistry with, I’m pretty sure he’ll be “The One.” I always say that it’s the “spark” that pulls me in, but it’s the way he treats me that will keep me interested. There’s nothing sexier than a man bringing me breakfast in bed. In fact, I think that it’s always the caring guys who light my “spark” in the first place.
  6. A strong work ethic I need my boyfriend to be a hard worker. That’s sexy. It doesn’t matter whether he works for someone else and is trying to move up or if he’s got his own business. I love an ambitious man. If he’s super hot, that’s great, but it’s definitely not enough. My guy needs to have goals and be on top of his game — that’s what’s truly sexy to me.
  7. A recognition of my worth  I need to feel like he cares about me deeply and that I’m important to him. They say that you should only be with someone who sees your worth and makes you feel valuable, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. Life is too short to waste on one-sided relationships. I need to be his number one. Otherwise, no matter how strong attraction is, we’ll end up breaking up.
  8. The genuine, unfiltered version of himself I’ve dated one or two guys who have acted a certain way just to keep up our “spark.” Sure, I can be attracted to him at first for being a bad boy. That doesn’t mean, however, that he needs to be bad 24/7 to keep me interested. I need to know that the guy I’m with is acting like his genuine self. If he’s being disingenuous, I’ll call him out on it right away.
  9. An appreciation for my mind, not just my body It’s totally understandable that a guy would be physically attracted to me — I would certainly hope so if we’re dating! However, I need to know though that he likes my personality too. If he’s planning on dating me only for sex, that’s not going to happen.
  10. An unapologetic sense of independence There’s nothing worse than a clingy guy. I understand that our “spark” may draw him to me, but he needs to have his own life. I need my personal space and he needs to respect that.
  11. A few shared passions, at the very least I like a good conversation as much as I like sex, so he has to give me both. What would we do if we couldn’t agree on anything? If we don’t feel a passion for at least a few of the same things, our passion for each other will die soon too.
  12. Unwavering loyalty I love that we have a “spark,” but I need to trust that I’m the only one he feels that way about. If he only likes me for our chemistry, what’s stopping him from liking someone else that way? If he sees me as a whole and likes the way I think and act, I’ll be his only one.
Dayana is a passionate traveler who's been navigating foreign lands and confusing relationships since she was 16. You can read more of her work on Matador Network and her blog, Dee Across The Sea.