1. He has opinions and respectfully defends them. He knows what he wants for dinner. He knows the kind of apartment and neighborhood he wants to live in. He knows what he wants with his future. And while he is respectful and open to negotiations and compromises, he has his own viewpoint and is willing to defend them. With him, you’re not left deciding everything on both of your behalves, and you actually get some input instead of just “Yeah, whatever you want.” Which is immeasurably sexy.
2. Whatever his financial situation, he is smart with what he has, and encourages you to be the same way. He doesn’t have to be rich, he just has to be savvy. And being around him should make you savvier (and vice-versa).
3. He has breakfast mastered. It doesn’t matter if he is a master chef, or even knows how to properly boil some pasta. What matters is that he is capable of getting out of bed, heading to the kitchen, and whipping up (at the very least) a coffee the way you take it, and maybe some toast with butter and jelly. It’s not the contents of breakfast that matter, it’s the fact that you get to wake up to wonderful smells and the knowledge that someone else has everything taken care of it. It’s one of the most subtly sexy things a guy can do.
4. He is thoughtful about things that are beyond the material. It’s one thing to show someone you care with money. It’s another to know that they need a backrub, or a couple hours of space, or just someone to sit and listen for a while. And arguably, the latter is much more valuable (and attractive). Though material things can be nice every now and then…
5. He is not a gossip, and discourages you from being one. There is nothing tackier than a guy who spends his time pettily talking shit about other people. It’s one of the most efficient ways for him to demonstrate insecurity, jealousy, and tedious interests. But it’s not enough that he be disinterested in gossiping — he should discourage you from doing it, too. When my boyfriend catches me being petty for no reason and gives me that “come on, you’re better than this” look, nothing is more necessary.
6. He is not threatened by your past, or anything else about you. Look, if someone is uncomfortable with your past or feels threatened by it in some way, they shouldn’t be dating you. That’s kind of the end of that. Sexy husband material-type guys know what they want and feel confident when they have it. If your past was a problem, they wouldn’t be with you.
7. In both body and surroundings, he is clean. He shouldn’t be an oppressive neat freak, of course, but it’s good to have someone who takes care of their own body and the environment they put themselves in. (Also, let’s be honest, if a significant part of your relationship is spent cleaning up after him like you’re his mother, it’s going to get old quickly.) Clean guys give off strong Grown Ass Man Vibes.
8. He surprises you. It doesn’t just have to be the usual, “Hey, here’s a nice bouquet of flowers just for existing,” though that can be nice. The idea is that his tastes, his habits, his ways of showing he loves you — all of it is evolving and continuing to surprise you. You’re never bored by him, and he reminds you that you can’t really know everything about him. Every day is a new discovery, and it feels exciting to watch the person he’s becoming.
9. He loves showing you off. He’s not shy about bringing you around friends or family. Quite the opposite — he loves doing it. You never feel more beautiful than when he’s presenting you to someone he cares about.
10. He is passionate about something, even if it’s not his day job. Even if what he loves is playing little songs on his guitar when he gets home from work, or coding games in his spare time, or even just exploring the outdoors, what matters is that he loves it. Having something that lights up his eyes like a child, that he loves talking about and wants to share with you, is incredibly attractive, in a very long-term way.
11. Even if he takes your input, he has his own sense of style. So this is obviously a thin line to walk, because on the one hand, you don’t want a guy who is going to refuse every suggestion you make to his wardrobe. But you also don’t want a sentient department store mannequin who just passively accepts everything you put on them. (This is how my 19-year-old boyfriend ended up wearing baby blue Abercrombie sweaters and faded Diesel jeans. Bad things happen when they do not put up a fight.) So point being, a guy who has his own taste and sense of style is very sexy, so long as he’s willing to take a little input.
12. He loves things about you that nobody has ever noticed before. A friend was telling me recently that a guy she was dating noticed a little scar on her chin that she never even realized she had, and certainly wouldn’t have thought of as cute. He was like, “Yeah, it’s a little scar that shows when you smile. I love it.” I mean, come on.
13. His compliments make you melt. You’re both watching a movie on the couch in your sweats/pajamas, looking extremely casual (or, if we’re being honest, kind of scrubby), and he looks over and says, almost matter-of-factly, “You’re beautiful.” You can tell that he believes it in a way that no one else does, even when you look your worst. And that little, offhand compliment makes you melt more than any big, orchestrated romantic gesture. He just gets you.