I spent too long on guys who just weren’t worthy of me, but now that I actually love myself, I’m way choosier on who I let into my life. That’s why I’m holding out for a guy like this, no matter how long it takes.
He’s not an alcoholic. Been there done that and partying isn’t my only interest anymore. I have goals for my career and myself that would be thrown completely off track if I took it up again full-time. And while I could be with a guy who drinks (I’ve had drinking relationships), why would I put up with the slurring, falling over, passing out, and the super-loud repetition of every point his drunk self makes when I don’t have to? Once in a while is one thing, but I don’t have the time or patience for that nonsense.
He’s not abusive or possessive. I see a sliver of narcissism and I’m out. No joke. I’ve unfortunately been through an abusive relationship and had a hard time finding balance afterward. I didn’t want to feel intimidated but I didn’t want to think I could kick his butt either. Now I think it’s more about respect. But I’ll tell you the best way to keep narcissists at bay: know your worth, encourage them to save themselves, and set firm boundaries. They’ll weed themselves out. Any resistance to that (or pouting or temper tantrums or threatening to hook up with what’s-her-nuts if you leave him) is a glaring red flag.
He’s not newly single. In my experience, newly single guys, whether freshly divorced or dumped, jump back into dating as a distraction. And they’re usually right back to partying. It’s like dating myself five years ago. Maybe he’ll good-luck-chuck it with you, I’m not psychic. But I for one am not crutching a guy through his ex issues.
He doesn’t complain about his ex. Here’s another red flag and a sure sign he hasn’t healed (or moved on) from his previous relationship. Let me tell you, if he calls his ex (or, God forbid, the mother of his children) a “dumb bitch,” you’ll carry the same title eventually—usually as soon as he screws up and you call him on it. This guy likes to leave out (or even flat out lie about) everything he did that brought on her crazy and he’s hoping to find a new girlfriend who agrees with him. “Yes, baby, you’re right. Yup, she’s nuts.” But piss him off and you’ll be slated like her.
He’s not rude, bigoted, or cruel. I almost included offensive but decided it’s relative. The f-word is offensive to many (including my mother) but I sling them like hotcakes so who am I to say? And while I don’t mind offensive, I have no tolerance for any guy who makes fun of people at the mall or thinks he’s somehow better than anyone else or just says horrible things to me or others. If I see it, I’m out.
He doesn’t think my house is his new hangout. In the great age of hang, dating was replaced by being in the same place while not doing much of anything. But unlike my life a few years ago, I now have things to do and no, you can’t chill on my couch, picking movie after movie like an over-stayed guest that can’t take a hint. You can date me and we can do things together but you’re not going to become an immediate fixture. You’re not a lamp. Go home. Give me a chance to miss you. And spoiler alert: big, red flag.
He’s responsible with his own interests and goals. As a matter of fact, the guy I’m waiting for doesn’t have time to sit on my couch, watching TV all day. Like me, he has stuff to get done and passions he enjoys spending time on. He has his thing and I have mine and we come together in the middle because we have fun together. We might text a little here and there but we realize we’re busy people who can’t drop our work every two seconds to send another heart emoji.
He admits his mistakes and doesn’t get defensive. First off, I want to feel like I can go to him with a concern, even a criticism, and he’ll hear me out. I want to solve problems, not yell cruelties. And of course, I’ll reciprocate. What I don’t want is what I’ve had before where I didn’t dare even hint at unhappiness or fault for fear of setting ‘He-Who-Does-No-Wrong’ into a defensive temper tantrum. (After all, “How dare I criticize when I’m this, that, and the other?”) I don’t want a pushover, but I can’t be with someone who can’t admit when he’s screwed up.
He’s informed and has a worldview. As I educate myself in the ways of the world, I’ve discovered some hard truths about how government, corporations, food system, health care system, foreign economics, and banks actually work. I’m not a full-on conspiracist but I appreciate deep conversations and open discussion. I don’t expect we’ll agree on everything— and hope we don’t. For me, it’s all about sharing new ideas and playful banter.
He makes me laugh. I didn’t realize how important this was to me until I dated a guy who was as funny as a near-death experience. Seriously. And the harder he tried to make me laugh, the more irritated I got. While he did have some good qualities, I found him obnoxious and it made me miserable. I want a guy who’s witty and actually does makes me laugh. I want inside jokes and some extra joy in my life if I’m going to share it with someone.
He winds up becoming my best friend. I’m done jumping in with both feet. If I’m going to open myself up to a relationship, it’s going to be because I got to know someone well enough to realize we’re a good match, not because I’m blinded by new relationship giddiness. I want to savor the anticipation of seeing him, laugh with him, and enjoy each other. And I’m not rushing into labels either because there’s no hurry in getting to know someone. Time will tell. And until then, I’m holding out for a guy that I click with – a guy that eventually feels like home.
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