11 Things I Thought I Needed From My Partner That Were Actually Useless

I used to think that there were certain must-have qualities in an ideal partner. That’s what we’re all taught and I totally bought into it. But would being able to check off a bunch of arbitrary boxes really make a difference? Nope. Here are 11 things I searched for in a partner only to realize there were more important things I should’ve been looking for.

  1. Attractiveness I always prized a guy’s appearance pretty much above everything else. I had certain traits I looked for like a gorgeous smile, a fit body, and so on. But a person’s looks have nothing to do with their boyfriend potential! The truth about chemistry is that it’s not even about one’s looks.
  2. Fun-loving nature I was drawn to the guys who knew how to have fun, the guys who enjoyed life and reminded me to be a bit more spontaneous. But unless something more substantial was underlying this trait, it got boring really quickly. I want a guy who’s got good, positive energy, but I don’t want to be at the clubs every weekend. Our relationship should be about more than just having fun.
  3. Rule-breaking I was attracted to guys who broke the rules. The alpha males who weren’t afraid to take charge of their destiny and walk over society’s rules were appealing to me. But what is one supposed to do with this? Sure, it’s sexy as hell, but soon I realized that I wanted more—I wanted the stable guy who didn’t go around looking for rules to break.
  4. Mystery Ah, the mysterious guy. How I wanted to be with him! I think I had a glamorized idea in my head of what he’d be like. The truth is that dealing with a mysterious guy is a pain in the you-know-what. He’s usually full of drama and likes to leave it on my doorstep. I want someone who’s more of an open book. It’s just so much less stressful and I like to know where I stand when dating someone.
  5. A love of fashion It’s awesome if a guy looks after himself and dresses well, but focusing on how a guy coordinates his outfits is just fickle and a waste of time. It really doesn’t tell me anything important about the guy other than that we share the same interest in fashion and he cares about appearances. I’d rather be with a guy who can’t color coordinate but who has a good heart than a guy who wears the perfect outfit but is a jerk.
  6. Being the right height I used to be obsessed with a guy’s height. I wanted him to be taller than me but not freakishly tall. This was a bit unfair on the guys I was meeting on dating apps and asking about their height. I mean, I’m really short and would hate for this to disqualify me in the dating game.
  7. A protective nature I thought I needed a guy who would not only support me but protect me. It sounds weird but I had a romantic idea in my head that he’d be chivalrous and tell those burly guys at the bar to back off. I wanted a hero who would treat me like his princess. Then I realized I really didn’t need one. A guy who thinks he’s got to protect me makes me think he’s sexist. Ugh. Next.
  8. Someone who doesn’t need space I always used to dread the guys who talked about wanting “space.” You’d swear they were astronauts! But after dating a few stage-five clingers, I realized that a bit of space in a relationship is so important. Besides, why would I want a guy who wants me to be his entire world? That’s not romantic, that’s creepy.
  9. Romantic tendencies I wanted the big gestures of romance. I wanted the guy to make the effort to wine and dine me. I wanted pretty flowers and chocolates, and maybe even a guy who serenaded me. Ugh, cheesy much? Now I realize I’d much rather have a guy who’s less about those big gestures and more about being real. He should show me he cares, but he doesn’t have to resort to the cliched acts of romance. Those are pretty useless and boring.
  10. Charm The charming guy who winked at me from across the room and knew the perfect thing to say always sent shivers down my spine, but charm is nothing but window-dressing. There should be something else underneath it in order for the guy to be worthy of my attention. Sometimes charm hides an ulterior motive, so if there’s too much of it I’ll run away instead of being flattered.
  11. Jealousy I used to think a bit of jealousy was a good thing. If a guy got jealous from time to time, then it meant he liked me. Wrong. Jealousy is an issue he has to deal with rather than something to make me feel flattered. In large amounts, jealousy can also lead to controlling behavior. I’m much better off with a guy who knows himself and isn’t quick to turn green in the eye.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.