13 Things I Thought I Wanted In A Partner That I Actually Didn’t

It’s easy to have a list of dream guy qualities but dating a dude who seems perfect on paper can be completely different in reality. I thought I wanted the following types of guys at first, but dating them just landed me with a broken heart and convinced me I should throw out my list.

  1. A bad boy The guy who’s a little dangerous, mysteriously sexy, and has a bad reputation seems hot in movies, but dating bad boys showed me how infuriating they are. They’re not boyfriend material at all because they don’t want to settle down and commit. They’re all over the place and I never knew where I stood when I was with them. No thanks!
  2. Someone who needed me I didn’t want a stage-five clinger but I did want to feel loved by being needed. Those needy guys actually weren’t choosing me, though—they were settling with or using me because they needed someone in their lives and it didn’t really matter who it was. Now I want someone who wants me rather than needs me.
  3. A guy who made me a spare time priority I always loved the idea of being in a relationship where the guy’s spare time was all about being with me, but that can’t be maintained! Everyone needs space in relationships and time to do their own thing. Only when I didn’t get enough of those things did I realize how much I craved them.
  4. Thrill-seeking guys A guy who’s always keen on doing new and exciting activities on the weekend sounds like fun but honestly, it’s exhausting to date someone who’s always flying by the seat of his pants. I sound old here, I know, but I just want a guy I can chill with. Staying home on the weekends is perfect.
  5. A guy who’d change for me I used to be a fixer, so I was attracted to guys who needed help with their problems. It was part of being wanted and loved, I guess. But these guys are totally toxic! I don’t want a boyfriend I can turn into an amazing man – I want a guy who’s got his act together already. It cuts out a lot of the drama.
  6. Mr. Macho Yup, I thought I wanted the guy with the huge biceps who took control of every situation. I realized he’s really annoying and I want to lead sometimes too. I don’t want some arrogant guy who doesn’t see me as an equal.
  7. A charmer A guy who complimented and flattered me always impressed me but I’ve since realized that too much charm can be really cheap and sleazy. A guy I once dated used that charm to get me to like him, then he let loose with his ugly personality. His charm was all about getting me where he wanted me. Ugh. I want someone real!
  8. A super romantic guy I thought I wanted romance—you know, like those big gestures I’d see in rom-coms—so that I’d feel special. Now when I say I want a romantic guy, what I’m really saying is that I want a guy who shows me he genuinely likes me without resorting to clichéd ideas of romance like rose petals on the bed. Insert eye roll.
  9. A guy who isn’t afraid to cry Yes, I do want a guy who’s in tune with his feelings and can express them—that’s emotional intelligence. A guy who’s overly sensitive, on the other hand, isn’t always fun to be with. The sensitive guys I’ve dated have been insecure, defensive, and full of drama. I don’t have time for that!
  10. A guy who’s big on PDAI used to see loving couples who were all over each other in public places and feel a stab of jealousy. Then I realized it’s pretty overrated and actually makes me feel embarrassed. I’d much rather have a guy who can show me real love behind closed doors. The world doesn’t need to know about it for it to be real.
  11. A mysterious guy I used to love mysterious guys who didn’t share every thought and stared off into the distance like they were pondering the meaning of existence. They seemed so interesting, like a puzzle I wanted to figure out. Unfortunately, once I got to know them, the guys who texted “k” or never gave me much of an answer when I asked them about personal things irritated me to hell! I want a guy who’s open and honest, not a human Rubik’s Cube.
  12. A guy who’s super hot Physical attraction was important to me but after a while, it becomes really boring. Plus, so many gorgeous guys are a-holes because their beauty’s gone to their heads. Ugh. I’d rather have a beautiful heart that’ll last longer than a pretty face.
  13. A guy who’s my friend It’s dating advice that always does the rounds: date your best friend! It makes sense in theory but in practice, it can be awkward AF. I don’t want to date a guy who knows all about my struggles with cellulite, who’s held my hair back when I was drunk and knows that I can become clingy AF when a guy starts losing interest. A bit of mystery is what’s needed in a relationship to keep the spark alive—and I definitely want a spark!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.