Being a decent human being is essential.
How many times have you walked away from a romantic situation kicking yourself that you knew better? Maybe you realize that dating that inconsistent hottie with a great smile and tight abs (in the hopes he would move from texting you at 2 AM to inviting you over for Christmas) wasn’t exactly a boss woman move. Or perhaps you spent two years of your life trying to help an unmotivated guy find “the perfect job,” only to realize no job would ever be good enough.
Deep down, we all know what we want and deserve (honest, kind, caring, considerate, stable), but the truth is that lust is blind and sometimes we ignore certain (read: important) signs before agreeing to move into something more serious. Read below for 25 non-negotiables that every woman (and man) should offer and require.
1. He has a steady job that he actually likes.
He doesn’t need to be skipping into the office, but getting into a relationship with someone who hates his job is a whole other story. Do you really want to live with someone who’s miserable 40 to 80 hours of his week, or worse, stressing that he’s unemployed all of the time? No, you don’t. Not only will his attention be (rightfully) focused elsewhere, you’ll likely feel helpless and frustrated with his endless complaining, bad moods or when he just completely shuts down.
2. He can afford to live like an adult.
There’s food in the fridge, money in his savings, and he’s able to carry his own weight financially while making good financial decisions. What does this mean? The hot 35-year-old trainer/model who takes you to diners for dinner but blows through money in Vegas while living with a roommate (or his mom) isn’t going to be house hunting with you anytime soon.
3. He has a solid set of good friendships.
How does your guy treat his friends? Does he make an effort to actively engage the people in his life? Does he support them, appreciate them and stay connected, or does he take them for granted under the guise “they know how I feel”? You’ll learn a lot about his ability to value others by paying attention. You’ll also get a good sense of how independent he is.
4. He takes care of himself.
How someone feels about themselves is evident in their self-care routine. If a person isn’t concerned with their own physical, mental and emotional health, they aren’t valuing themselves.
Pay attention to how he lives. Does he have balance? Does he know how to relax in ways that are healthy? Or does he live in a cycle of extremes where he’s burning the candle at both ends during the week, and then collapsing on the couch in front of the TV all weekend/finding his only . of “zen” playing X-box or at the bar?
5. He’s able to communicate like a grown up.
He may not want to talk about every little thing all the time, but a grown woman needs a grown man who can have conversations about important topics without running away, shutting down, blame-shifting or name-calling. Can he discuss issues that are important to you? Can he bring up tricky topics without going from 0-60? Does he share how he feels in a respectful way and can he listen and actually hear what you are saying?
6. He’s self-motivated.
It’s tempting to want to help and coach someone you like/love, especially when you see their potential. But it’s essential that a partner be able to pick themselves up when they’re down and crawl out of a rut when they fall into one. Is he able to push himself to make efforts to achieve his goals? Does he have goals that he does more than just talk about? Does he have goals at all?
7. His words and actions are in-sync.
Sure, he can say he thinks, feels and values certain things, but does he live it? Paying close attention to what he does is more important than listening to what he says. Words are pretty, but the truth lies in what he actually does.
8. He knows how to nurture.
Newsflash: A plant isn’t a great way to gage this (those things are hard to keep alive). You can, however, get a sense of how nurturing he is by paying attention to how he treats others.
Is he always on the receiving end of gifts, help and gestures, or does he do things to make the people around him feel cared for? Is he offering to help his mother clean the garage, bringing you soup when you’re sick (without prompting), or instinctively grabbing a blanket for his sister’s toddler when he notices the room is chilly? There has to be a balance in give-and-take and thoughtfulness needs to go both ways.
9. He can handle life.
Stress, bad news, setbacks and downturns happen to all of us. How does he handle it when they happen to him? Does he break down, shut down, or . the victim or martyr? It’s normal to get upset and discouraged, but healthy adults take these things in as a part of life and do their best to move forward without letting it knock them out. They also learn from their mistakes and find ways to make things better next time.
10. He makes room for you in the relationship.
Read this as often as you need to: You absolutely don’t want to be in a relationship with a selfish person. Being with a partner who only thinks about how he feels, what he wants and what he needs will cause you a world of hurt. Worthy partners see relationships as a partnership and are willing to approach situations with a “we” mentality.
12. He’s able to walk away from the P0*n.
13. He’s emotionally mature and available.
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Don’t get into a relationship with a man you have to explain basic adult emotions to. Also, if he’s “not sure” what he wants relating to any subject that’s important to you (commitment, children, marriage…being with you), it’s not a good idea to move forward.
14. He has interests (and is interested in knowing yours).
If he has a passion for living his own life and has spent some time figuring out what brings him joy and enhances it, that’s a very good sign. It’s an even better sign when he wants to share that with you and get to know what makes you tick. Relationships are about two people having the same values and some shared interests, but if you’re exactly the same, how will you ever grow?
15. He’s accountable.
Make no mistake: accountability is a key character trait that will make or break a relationship. When someone is accountable, they’re willing to own their decisions, are forced to be self-aware, and hold themselves responsible for their words and actions. There’s no blame-shifting, victim mentality or twisted mind games.
16. He’s respectful.
Of you, your boundaries, of the waiter, of himself, those around him and of life itself. Translation: Everything the guys growling at the cab drivers or sending you unsolicited d*ck picks on Tinder are not.
17. You feel good around him.
This one is a biggie. Too many women sit across the table from men who give them anxiety or a gut burn and try to convince themselves that it isn’t what they think it is. But it is. You should feel emotionally and physically safe around the man you’re out with.
18. He’s consistent.
If your guy feels one thing on Monday and another on Tuesday, and flips back to Monday’s thought process that Thursday, you’re in for a hell of a lot of chaos.
19. You can truly see yourself with him long-term.
Not because he’s good enough or fits some kind of idea of who you think you should be with, but because he shares your vision, values and makes you feel like there’s a real potential for an equal, supportive, mutually-respectful partnership.
20. He likes himself.
It’s essential that someone has appreciation and love for themselves in order to fully appreciate the love you offer them.
21. He doesn’t put you on a pedestal.
It sounds great in the beginning, but you aren’t perfect and cannot live up to those kinds of standards. People who build you up take it really hard when they learn that — gasp! — you’re human.
22. Your friends like him.
Not everyone in your life will get along, but if 40 percent of your friends have met him and are telling you he’s no good for you, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate.
23. He’s not selfish.
Selfish people are in a relationship with themselves. They’re focused solely on their feelings, their needs, their time, their wants and what they’re getting out of every situation. They’re utterly impossible to reason with (nothing is ever their fault), and they will always let you down and find some way of twisting it to make it your fault. A “Me” person will drive a “we” person up-the-wall and break their heart, guaranteed.
24. You can count on him.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask that you be able to count on the guy to step up and do what he says he will do, be where he says he will be, and have your back.
25. He’s an overall good guy.
Not just a nice guy, but a genuinely good and decent person.