Sure, there are plenty of decent guys out there, but finding one who’s truly exceptional feels like a nearly impossible undertaking. How do you know if your boyfriend is actually your unicorn? Chances are, he’ll have these 11 qualities and then some:

He hangs onto your every word. By that we mean that he actually listens to what you’re saying, commits important details to memory and  acts on conversations you’ve had. He’s not just waiting for you to finish talking so he can have his say — you actually feel heard when you’re having a conversation with him. That’s a very rare thing to find in a guy (no shade to men, but they’re just not taught to listen as well as we are!) and pretty exceptional.

He holds your thoughts and opinions in high regard. He cares about what you think and feel about any given situation. He doesn’t ask just because he knows he’s supposed to — he asks because he thinks you’re smart and wants to know how you’d approach it. You’re not ever hesitant to offer your thoughts, either, because you’re confident that he’ll hear them and take them into consideration. He trusts your judgment completely, which is why he always wants to know your take on things.

He often asks, “How can I help?” Not only that, but he actually follows through on the offer. Sometimes the only way you want his help is for him to listen, be there, and offer support. Other times, you need him to cook dinner because you’re tired from work or to help move your BFF to her new apartment. If you’re able to articulate all that, good on you. If he’s able to actually follow through on it? Good on him. A guy who will go out of his way to make your life easier is a serious unicorn.

He treats women well, regardless of his relationship with them. Sure, a man who loves his mom is hard to resist, but if he treats all the women he encounters with respect, he’s for sure a good dude. The true mark of how a man sees women is how he acts around them when he knows there’s nothing he’s going to get in return. A dude can be super charming while hitting on you at a bar, but how does he treat the girl who messed up his wash in the laundromat? Those little interactions matter.

He does the dishes without being asked. Maybe it’s not the dishes, but it’s other small household tasks. Taking out the garbage, changing out the toilet paper roll — those are all the little things that can add up if you have to constantly remind him to do them. If he’s able to own his space and clean up like an adult without being asked, that’s awesome.

He has zero red flags. All of that awesomeness isn’t compensating for some hidden major red flags, like a pet snake, another girlfriend, or a tendency to yell at you and smash things up. Sure, everyone’s bound to have a few issues, but he’s not hiding major secret flaws from you. You’re able to see him how he is, not how he wants you to think he is.

He goes out of his way to make you smile. He remembers the little things, like that chair you loved at the home goods store months ago. He surprises you with his thoughtfulness in ways big and small because knowing it’ll bring a smile to your face is its own reward. That’s a unicorn quality to find in a man.

He fights fair and knows how to communicate. You can get him angry, for sure — after all, he’s only human — but you’ve noticed that he is always fair, even when you’re fighting. He’s not setting out to win or even the score. He’s just trying to be understood. He makes his point known and listens to yours, but he never makes you feel like crap or puts you down just because he’s mad.

He wants to help you pursue your dreams. He’s not looking to just absorb you into his own goals for his life — he wants to be your partner in a real way. If he’s able to support your dreams because they’re just as important to him as his own, hold on to that. That’s so rare.

He’s kind. Remember, unicorns are never harmful, angry animals. He’s kind to you, to your friends, and just to people in general. Kindness is such an undervalued trait in this day and age, and to find that in a boyfriend is special. He really is a big old softy, and you’re lucky enough to have found him.

He takes a genuine interest. He’s the kind of person who wants to know not only what you’re feeling, but why you’re feeling that way. He’s not just ticking things off the “supportive boyfriend” checklist — he is genuinely interested in a way you can feel. That’s not to say he’s going to start caring about makeup or which shade of red your shoes are, but he’ll do at best to at least understand the things that matter to you, even if they don’t really matter to him.

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