Saying that I used to have questionable taste in men is putting it nicely. I constantly chose guys that were no good for me—it became a vicious circle. Thankfully, my current boyfriend is the polar opposite of any of my exes. In fact, many of the qualities I used to look for in partners are ones that my boyfriend lacks, and it turns out that’s a good thing. Here are some things I no longer want in a relationship.
- Someone who’s spontaneous This tends to be code for being unreliable and unpredictable. I used to always be attracted to men who were adventurous and not only went along with my crazy, random plans without advanced notice but also brought me along on theirs. This created problems that could have been avoided if plans were made instead of doing things on a whim. It’s also very hard to feel secure in a relationship with someone who is spontaneous to the point of overkill. My boyfriend is flexible and doesn’t mind when plans change or something comes up out of the blue, but he doesn’t have this insatiable drive to be spontaneous.
- Someone who’s the life of the party I’ve always been a very social, outgoing, and friendly person. I enjoy going to parties, going out to bars and restaurants, doing new things and meeting new people. In the past, I’ve dated a lot of guys who I thought would be able to keep up with my lifestyle and I assumed if they were similarly extroverted, they wouldn’t be the insecure or jealous type. Unfortunately, the guy who is the life of the party is also the guy who always needs to be the center of attention no matter where he is or what he’s doing. He also lives for the party, meaning he doesn’t know when to slow down and doesn’t ever want to spend a night in, which becomes exhausting and detrimental. My current boyfriend is one of the funniest, most interesting people I have ever met, but he doesn’t party often and doesn’t feel the need to be in the spotlight 24/7.
- Someone who can’t stand up for himself In the past, I often found myself in relationships with guys who would let me get away with anything. I was attracted to guys who said what I wanted to hear in order to make me happy rather than what I needed to hear, which was the truth. Even when I messed up or did something hurtful to myself, to them, or to someone else, they were the type that would excuse my behavior and tell me it wasn’t my fault. When I had bad ideas, dangerous plans, or was being irresponsible, they continued to praise me and support me. My current boyfriend supports me 100%, but if my behavior is harmful to anyone including myself and/or him, he’s not afraid or unable to make it clear that I’m in the wrong.
- Someone with problems that need fixing Before I began dating my current boyfriend, I was always dating guys who needed fixing. I’m a very empathetic and understanding person, and although both of those qualities are good, they can also be my tragic flaw. Part of the reason I was attracted to guys that needed to be fixed was that focusing on their problems was a way to avoid working on my own issues. I also used to believe that the idea of our love or relationship saving someone was romantic, but I’ve learned now that saving or fixing someone else is impossible—they need to do it for themselves. My boyfriend and I both encourage each other to make healthy and positive changes in our lives but we don’t expect either of us to “fix” the other’s problems.
- Someone who likes drinking too much I’ve always liked drinking and in the past, if a potential partner told me that they weren’t into drinking or had a problem with someone who drank often, I would run away as fast as possible. I thought that I needed someone who would drink wine with me at dinner, have beers with me at the beach, and would always be down to throw back a shot or two before a night out. Dating guys who encouraged my drinking led me to forget my responsibilities more often than not. My boyfriend now will sometimes have a beer or a shot, and while it doesn’t bother him if I have a few glasses of wine while we snuggle up to watch a movie, he doesn’t feel the need to.
- Someone who neglects everything besides our relationship Of course you should prioritize your relationship and the person you’re dating, but every healthy relationship needs space from time to time. More to the point, if other important things in life such as friendships, family, and work are being neglected because of the relationship, it becomes a toxic one. It’s nice to feel wanted and loved, but I used to confuse those feelings with obsession and impulse control. I was attracted to guys who always wanted to be around me and in order to do so would put absolutely everything else on the back burner until I realized that was unhealthy and unattractive. I never question the fact that my boyfriend prioritizes me and our relationship, but I also feel confident that he’s able to balance the other parts of his life.
- Someone who’s heavy on the compliments Yes, it’s nice to be complimented and I like when someone tells me I’m attractive or they think I’m pretty. However, I used to be attracted to guys who were obsessed with my body and didn’t pay much attention to my mind. I was battling an eating disorder and dating guys who focused on my body made it easier for me to justify only focusing on my body as well. My boyfriend now compliments me on my looks all the time, but he compliments me on my personality, my brain, and my accomplishments too and emphasizes that those things are more important than being attractive.
- Someone who’s just there to provide me with an escape I used to be attracted to guys who served as an escape from reality and my life. They were distracting and usually adrenaline junkies. I often found myself addicted to them the same way people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. These escapists were often unstable, had extreme mood swings, and always were running away from something whether it be the past, the cops, or their personal problems. These types of guys would get me high rather than ground me, and it was intoxicating to be around them. There were many problems with dating guys like this, but the main one was that although the highs were great, the lows were unbearable. My current relationship does make me feel happy and high in a sense, but it isn’t because I’m looking to escape from anything. My boyfriend helps keep me grounded and focused on my goals, and together we’re building a life that neither one of us needs to escape from.
I never realized just how toxic my past relationships were until I really took the time to examine my approach to love and met a guy who’s actually kind, supportive, and good for me. Now, I’ll never go back to the way I was before.