If I Can Do These Things With You, You’re A Keeper

A guy doesn’t have to serenade me with love poems on a high mountain peak. He needn’t wine and dine me at the classiest joint in town. Finding “The One” isn’t about flashy romantic gestures—when I’m looking for love, I focus on the everyday aspects of a relationship. From silly to serious, if I can do these 15 things with a guy, I know he’s the right guy for me:

  1. Celebrate accomplishments We always toast each other’s successes. He’s the first person I want to tell my good news to and I’m equally excited for his victories. Whether it’s as life-changing as landing a coveted job or as simple as locating misplaced car keys, we love to cheer each other on.
  2. Attend family functions I can stand beside him proudly when we’re socializing with my clan. It’s easy enough—everyone he meets at these gatherings WANTS to like him—so he goes for extra credit by keeping pace with my extroverted big brothers, swapping crazy stories with my stepdad, and goofing off with my nieces and nephews. He’s forever assured his place in my heart.
  3. Hang out on the couch all day in old pajamas No, not seductive lingerie—I’m talkin’ baggy sweats and a moth-eaten T-shirt. The soft, cozy stuff I bust out when comfort trumps sexiness. I mean rolling out of bed after a long cuddle session and eating cereal together at 4 p.m. If he can share those relaxed days with me, he might be my match.
  4. Laugh like a hyena When he’s near, he flips my silly switch. I know I look like a fool and I’m concerned that I might snort my drink out my nose but I’m helpless to control this insane mirth. It’s a sometimes inconvenient reaction but it’s also a clear signal of how playful and happy I feel in his presence.
  5. Fart So I passed a little gas after a fiber-rich meal. Instead of getting offended, he cranked one out himself, like the call and response of two birds seeking their mate (only grosser). It’s one of those next-level bonding opportunities that signifies serious-relationship potential. Tomorrow, though? No beans with dinner.
  6. Debate stupid stuff I tell him that dinosaurs have feathers and are related to birds; he insists that “Jurassic Park” is the height of scientific accuracy. We call Google in to judge the contest. I win this round, but maybe a week from now, he’ll take down my theory that it’s unsafe to combine Pop Rocks with soda. Absurd as these arguments may be, he looks so damn cute when he’s insisting on the correctness of some obviously flawed belief. And yeah, I even love the way his eyes light up when he proves ME wrong.
  7. Double text I text him twice in a row (or maybe thrice, if I really have a lot on my mind). What’s it matter? I kept remembering things I wanted to mention—I already knew he’d respond the moment he could. Pressing “send” on that message shouldn’t make me feel like I’ve activated an explosive device. With him, it doesn’t. Hell, when he’s at his phone, he double texts way more often than I do.
  8. Ask for help It’s terrifying to admit I can’t do something by myself. Not only am I revealing a weakness, I’m also trusting that he has the skills to help me solve my problem. I’m no damsel in distress, but we all need rescuing once in a while. Whether he meets me at the airport with my forgotten ticket or order pizza when I scorch the roast chicken beyond edibility, he’s my hero. Don’t worry—next time he needs a save, I’ll be HIS knight in shining armor.
  9. Accept critique How can I improve the soup recipe I made last night? Does he think this article conclusion is strong enough? I’m not asking for lip service—I sincerely want to know what he thinks. As much as I’d like to believe I’m usually on top of my game, I value his input. Seeing a situation from his perspective helps me to grow and improve.
  10. Take on shared responsibility We’re asked to co-host a friend’s birthday party. Do I panic and micro manage him at every step of the planning process? No. We split the tasks evenly and each do our part. Everything comes out as it should because we function as a team. I can rely on him and he can rely on me. When we tackle any task together, I’m willing to tie my fate to his.   
  11. Face my fears Sometimes, beneath my confident exterior, I’m a writhing mess of uncertainties. He doesn’t judge me for my insecurities. He knows I’ll confront them in my own time, on my own terms. When I’m ready to overcome a phobia, he sticks by my side, my biggest cheerleader. Nothing is too scary when his hand is in mine.
  12. Talk about the future Some guys get cold sweats when I attempt to make plans a week in advance. Those jerks can clear out now, because I’ve got him. He’d be happy setting our schedule a month or two ahead of time. He likes to think about where we’re headed. (He’s already envisioning us as a couple of old fogies in matching shirts.) I think we’re on the right path.
  13. Be honest about my needs That’s right—I need things: physical things, intellectual things, and emotional things… but I have a helluva time expressing those needs, stubborn and independent as I am. He pays attention to my patterns. He asks for clarification when he’s uncertain. He never makes light of my feelings. I’m a complex human, and he doesn’t judge me for it. In fact, he loves my intricacies.
  14. Sit in silence We don’t use mindless chatter to fill long pauses because, well, there’s nothing awkward in our conversational lulls. We savor the quiet moments. The mood in the room might range from introspection to mindless contentment. We always seem to find the perfect balance between sharing our words and collecting our thoughts.
  15. Make prolonged eye contact If the eyes are the window to the soul, I’m not about to let just anyone look deep into mine. But I never tense up or glance away when he locks his gaze on mine. I count his lashes. I memorize the color variation of his irises. Cue the cheesy romantic music, because when we’re this connected, the rest of the world truly does fade away.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.