I Don’t Want A Boyfriend—I Need Him To Be My Partner

I’ve always struggled with relationships because I have a problem with the old-school boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic. I don’t want or need a guy to pay my way, fix my problems, or take care of me—if I’m going to be with someone, I want an equal partner.

  1. He has to support my career. As my partner, he needs to understand that I’m much more than just a girl who hangs out, eats pizza and has sex with him several times a week. I’m smart and driven. I want to succeed and he should support my ambition and be my biggest cheerleader (and I’ll offer him the same in return). While a boyfriend doesn’t really care about what goes on in my life outside of our dates, a partner wants to be in the loop regarding all aspects of my life. That is what I’m looking for.
  2. I don’t play mind games and I don’t want a guy who does either. There’s nothing I hate more than mind games. If a guy has something to tell me, he needs to just come out with it directly. I’m not a mind reader and don’t have the patience to try and figure out his thoughts and feelings. I need him to be my honest and straightforward partner, not a jerk who thinks he can manipulate me. He has to quit the mixed signals.
  3. I can’t stand clingers. I’m not the typical girlfriend. I am smart, strong and rational. Being emotional is something I do in small doses, so he can’t expect me to be overflowing with joy every time he walks into the room. If he wants that, he should get a golden retriever. Yes, I’ll show him that I care, but I’m level-headed and focused. I need a partner who will understand that, not a boyfriend who constantly demands my attention.
  4. He can’t have a savior complex. At 24-years-old, I’ve lived alone for almost a decade and have never needed a man to come rescue me. I’m strong enough to take care of myself. My partner has to acknowledge that and let me fight my own battles.
  5. We have to be working towards a common goal. We need to bond over much more than the fact that we find each other attractive. We have to want the same things in life and put all of our energy and passion into them. I’ve gone out with guys who’ve been physically beautiful and shared one or two of my interests, but that was never enough. My partner and I need to be actively moving towards something together. This will keep us interested in each other and excited to spend time together.
  6. Sex can’t be the main priority of our relationship. In relationships, sex is key. In partnerships, on the other hand, the connection is much deeper. Yes, we can still have great sex and have it often, but that can’t be our main priority. Partners have common interests and hobbies and work together on projects. I want him to work with me on building a business, not just be a boyfriend who likes to hang out with me a few hours a night for sex and brings nothing else to the table.
  7. He has to be mature and respect my bubble. Relationships can be nerve-wracking. There are always the small issues of missed dates and suspicious texts which end up being a huge deal in the end. I need a mature partner who won’t be jealous and monitor me at all times of the day. Just like business partners know that each one has more to their life than the partnership, I need him to let me do my own thing every now and again. I can’t have him getting dramatic. He needs to be confident and mature.
  8. I want him to rely on me. As my partner, he can count on me no matter what. Partnerships are stronger than romantic relationships because there’s more rationality and less emotion. He can always count on me to not just pat him on the back but rally up and actively help him through hard times.
  9. I want to split the bill. My partner and I both earn money, so we should all pay our part of the bill. Whether we’re traveling the world or having dinner, we both have a personal responsibility. I don’t need him to pay the check for me just because I’m the “girlfriend.” That makes me feel inferior. I want us to be equals and equals share obligations.
  10. We have to be friends before we hook up. Often, we fall into the boyfriend/girlfriend simply because we don’t really know each other when we start dating. It’s easy to swipe left on someone hot and begin going out for the sake of sex. I need to know him well before I commit to a relationship. My partner has to be my friend first and foremost and then a lover. This is a recipe for a successful relationship.
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.