1. The kind of man you marry says “I love you” and “I’m sorry” because he genuinely feels that way, and he never hesitates to be the one to say it first. The kind of boy you date says those things when an apology will get you off his case and an “I love you” will keep you around a little longer.
2. The man you marry asks you out. The boy you date asks you to hang out. The man you marry will be clear about his intentions. The boy you date will keep you questioning.
3. The kind of man you marry knows the art of treating someone to a night out, and he realizes that he should do so not because he’s a man and it’s his masculine responsibility, but because everyone deserves to be treated well and swept off their feet now and again. The kind of boy you date won’t think that these gestures are important.
4. You’ll have things like reading, a love of nature, music, politics and religion in common with the man you marry. You’ll have things like drinking and talking about people from high school and where they ended up with the boy you date.
5. The kind of man you marry doesn’t seek you out for his own means. He doesn’t want you because he wants sex, or someone to show his family, or someone to wrap his arm around at the end of the day. The kind of boy you date was lonely or needed someone to sleep with regularly or needed to get his family off his case.
6. The man you marry sticks around no matter how messy things get. This one is important, because if you think that the rest of forever isn’t going to be a little messy at times, you’re kidding yourself. And you need someone who can handle it, who is committed. The boy you date is the one who uses you at his disposal. Who seems to come and go when it’s convenient for him. Who isn’t committed enough to want to stay when things are anything but happy.
7. The kind of man you marry wants to go down on you. The kind of boy you date wants you to go down on him.
8. The kind of man you marry is hella good in bed, not because of their physique or skill, just because they care enough about you, and not just themselves, to make sure that you’re happy and taken care of before they are. The kind of boy you date is there for his own release, and his own needs.
9. The man you marry will understand that bodies fluctuate in size, that hair is natural and to shave it is a personal choice not a requirement, that ailments happen and so do sometimes unseemly excretions. The boy you date will be grossed out by anything that makes you anything less than the Kate Upton poster on their wall.
10. Whether or not they receive your family’s complete approval, the man you marry is respectful even if they’re hesitant, the boy you date is disrespectful right back.
11. The man you’ll marry is the one who will change his mind about marriage and kids having met you. The boy you date is the one who says neither are for him– ever.
12. The kind of man you marry doesn’t fight dirty. He doesn’t call you “fat” or “stupid” in your arguments. The boy you date does.
13. The man you marry will know how to do his own laundry, cook himself a meal, have a savings account, wear a tailored shirt, be comfortable in his sexuality/gender performance wherever it falls on the spectrum, be cognisant of whether or not he wants kids or a house on a farm or a condo in a city, because these are things that every person should know before they get married. Needless to say, the boy you date will be unsure of what he wants, and the problem with it is that when he does decide, you have to make sure it aligns with what you want.
14. You will never have to question whether or not the man you marry loves you. Even if everything else is up in the air, even if everything else has totally fallen to shit, you know that there is something deeper between you, and it’s all you really need. The boy you date will never give you that feeling of assuredness. Not because he didn’t say it, not because he didn’t act like it, but because somewhere within you, you know it isn’t true.