When I decided I really wanted to settle down, I thought long and hard about what qualities are important in a guy. Determined to make sure I didn’t just end up with someone because I’m over being alone, I made a list of what I really needed out of a relationship in order for it to last. Here’s what was on it.
- We have to be able to talk. It sounds simple enough, but I found that so many of the guys I dated were men that I couldn’t actually talk to. Even my last long-term relationship was with someone that I felt didn’t really listen to me. I’m a wordy gal and I need a guy who’s willing to actually absorb what I have to say and be able to give me feedback too. Real conversation is the number one way I connect with other people and I obviously need to feel connected to my partner.
- He has to have some conflict resolution skills. Earlier in my dating career, I just moved from one thing to the next. Dated a guy that was too nice? Next time I looked for someone who was capable of saying no. Well, he turned out to be a liar so I focused on finding someone honest. That guy turned out to be kind of dull, so I needed to find someone who shared similar interests… and the cycle continued. I realized eventually that everyone is going to have flaws and every relationship is going to encounter issues. The best trait I could find in someone was a willingness and ability to work on things continually.
- He has to accept me for me. I’ve been in a few relationships where I felt like he was always trying to change me or pointing out things he hoped I would fix. I wanted to find someone who loved me for who I am, not someone who felt like I would be great after I lost a few pounds or finished my degree. Like anyone, I have flaws; I’m messy, I own way too much makeup, and sometimes I watch old Grey’s Anatomy reruns instead of doing my laundry. I need someone who can accept that I’m not perfect but I’m always willing to work on myself.
- He has to be smart in the same way that I’m smart. Maybe that sounds mean, but let me explain. I want to be with someone who can discuss the news with me, who’s read the same books as I have, or who’s at least willing to Google a topic. It isn’t that the guys I’ve dated in the past weren’t smart, it’s just that they were smart in a different way. Maybe they were great at math, or maybe they were more visual-spatial. I need someone who can challenge me in a conversation.
- He has to be attractive (to me). He doesn’t have to look like Jason Momoa or anything (although I wouldn’t turn him down if he did!) but I do need someone I feel sexually attracted to. The sexual aspect of a relationship is important to me too. I need someone who I can connect with mentally and physically.
- He has to be wholly and unconditionally honest. If there’s one thing I need out of a relationship, it’s honesty. I need my partner to be honest with me at all times about everything and I’m prepared to hear to the hard stuff. Even little white lies are not for me. This takes a guy who isn’t afraid to hurt my feelings a little bit and who isn’t worried about my reaction. He has to be able to stand behind what he says and he has to keep his word.
- He has to be respectable. I’m sure this means different things for different people, but to me it means that he has to have integrity and honor. One of the easiest ways for me to lose feelings for a partner is if I lose respect. When that happens, it’s usually because I felt my partner didn’t have those qualities when he handled something that happened in our lives. If I lose respect for someone, it’s pretty hard for me to get it back. Then it’s pretty much over.