They are captivating.
I avoided commitment for a long time because I was scared it would get boring if I stuck with one girl. What changed was one day I thought about my girlfriend and never sleeping with another new girl again and instead of panicking like I’d always done before, I realized I was okay with that. It actually made me happy to think about just being with her. -Colin, 32
They are there for you when you need support.
I had a sudden health condition where I had to spend a week in the hospital. It was out of nowhere. It was incredibly lonely, I realized for the first time that I couldn’t do everything on my own. My girlfriend came every single day and was extremely supportive during my recovery. It made me feel confident that she’d always be there for me, that we were a good team. -Paul, 31
They are thoughtful.
My then girlfriend ordered pizza for me and my roommate after I broke a date with her because I realized I needed to spend the time studying for the bar (my roommate and I had both just graduated law school). It showed how mature she is to not be upset by breaking a date for a good reason, and just how damn nice she is. -Brian, 35
They are great conversationalists.
Our first date was supposed to be just coffee. It lasted for 6 hours. I knew at the end of that date. -Stephen, 25
They have similar taste to their partner.
I started dating my wife because she was a friend of a friend and as I got to know her, I realized we had all the same favorite things. She was the only one who wanted to go to music shows with me — that’s how we got close. We are both big Tim & Eric fans, both love fantasy books, and dumb things like old Celebrity Jeopardy sketches from SNL. -Andy, 27
They bring happiness into other people’s lives.
Every time I told my girlfriend good news she would bring a bottle of champagne over. It was kind of egregious in some scenarios, but I loved that she always wanted to celebrate and have fun. It made me realize that’s the kind of person I wanted to be around forever. -Chris, 28
They let a guy be himself.
Every girl I’ve ever dated hated that I played video games. When I brought my now-wife to my apartment for the first time, she saw my gaming setup and asked to play. I knew she was special. -Zach, 30
They’re their boyfriend’s biggest fan.
When I lost my job she never nagged me. Not once. She never made me feel small about it. She was unwavering in her encouragement and support of me. I proposed a year later, after I’d found a better gig. -Peter, 30
When my mom passed away my girlfriend told me, “we’ll get through this.” At that moment I realized we were a “we,” and I always wanted it to be that way. -Mike, 28
They have a great sense of humor.
She laughed at a fart joke. I knew. -Andrew, 28
They can cook.
I told my girlfriend I wanted to lose weight. She invited me to stop by her apartment for dinner most nights, even when we didn’t have plans later on. I was mostly eating junk before and I was convinced “healthy” either meant “starving” or “disgusting.” But almost every night she made these amazing meals. I learned how to enjoy eating vegetables, and I lost weight almost without trying. Her support and generosity blew me away, and it didn’t hurt that she was an amazing cook. -Kyle, 32
They can go with the flow.
I wanted to take my girlfriend on a special trip to my family’s cabin but it ended up raining the whole time. Rather than sulking inside (like I’m inclined to do) she took the terrible weather as a challenge. She went to town and came back with some silly kids board games. We ended up playing strip Connect Four. It was one of the best weekends ever. -Ryan, 26
They are likeable.
My dog is my best friend, he took to her immediately. And she loved him too. -Karson, 31
They don’t play games.
I’d been dating for a long time by the time I met Ashley, what was refreshing about her is that she never once played games. She told me she loved me first, always texted back right away, and was just comfortable being herself, even if it meant she wasn’t always “hard to get.” I liked that because I don’t want to play games for the rest of my life. I just want an honest relationship. -Pat,35
They are tough.
Every time we had something bad happen to either of us she never once got defeated about it. She was always ready to put up a fight. It was during one of those times I realized I wanted to be with her forever. -Robert, 25
They are genuinely kind.
She was the first person in my life to be genuinely kind to my developmentally challenged brother. Not kind because they knew I was watching, not kind in a how-long-do-I-have-to-do-this way — just kind. I knew she was a good person at heart, and that’s hard to find. -Rick, 29
They are low-maintenance.
We drove hours to go to my favorite campsite on the coast of northern California, right by the Oregon border. Like, an idiot, I didn’t make a reservation and the campsite was full. She suggested we just sleep on the beach instead of going to a hotel or driving home. It was so adventurous, and I was happy she didn’t let my lack of planning ruin our plans. That’s the kind of partner I want. -Brad, 31
They stand out from other women.
I started playing this game with my girlfriend when I was pretty sure we were going to get married. Every time I met a new woman I tried to think of a way she was better than my gf. It sounds mean, but I was just trying to make sure my decision was the right one. And in the end, I didn’t find a single positive quality in another woman that she didn’t have in spades. -Rory, 29
They have a lot going on.
I was on a business trip and an attractive woman came on to me. I didn’t even consider it. I realized what I had waiting for me at home was so much better. -Jacob, 31
They want to know about their partner’s lives.
I found “Catholicism For Dummies” at her apartment. My family is devout Catholic and she isn’t. It was the sweetest thing. -Mike, 30
Their everyday, mundane life is enough.
We spent a boring Saturday together making breakfast, doing errands together, and then just watching TV. I realized that this was what I wanted. I didn’t mind boring — as long as she was part of the package. -Nate, 33
They accept you for who you are.
My whole life I’ve been slightly overweight. Since high school I’ve pretty much been trying to lose weight constantly but never been successful. After being together a year, I made a comment to my then girlfriend like, “Wait until you see me in shape, you’ll think I’m even better.” She looked at me and told me she found me sexy as is. I’d never thought that someone would accept that before. -Peter, 27
They are good at arguing.
I grew up with a family that screamed at each other when something was wrong and I hated it. I promised that I would never be in a relationship where we always fought and were angry, especially if we had kids. My wife never gets angry, or when she does, she takes a minute to calm down and then figure out what we can do to make the situation better. -Ed, 28
They are adventurous.
On a whim I asked her if she wanted to move to South America with me and work at a resort. She said yes. We ended up going on an entirely different adventure, but I knew we were meant to have this crazy life together. -Chase, 30
They make the lives of those around them better.
About a year into the relationship I looked in the mirror one day and thought, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.” And I knew a big part of that was because of her. -Jason, 29