1. No petty jealousy. Sometimes jealousy is a real – and unavoidable – human emotion, and can be totally rational. And it can even be a little flattering. But people who define their relationships by their irrational jealousy, and who are incapable of being trusting, shouldn’t be in a relationship until they work through that themselves.
2. Passionate about their dreams. It doesn’t matter if it’s career-based, or a personal achievement/passion. All that matters is that they have something in mind that’s bigger than today, and bigger than themselves, and they follow it with vigor.
3. Supportive of my dreams, too. If there isn’t room for two people with big horizons in a relationship, it means the relationship is too small.
4. Curious about things they don’t know, haven’t seen, or haven’t tried. People who shut down about anything from fruity cocktails to travel in a foreign country are probably not going to open up like rosebuds as they age. It’s probably going to only be more tightly closed from now through indefinitely, and who wants that?
5. No fragile masculinity. If something is perceived as “girly” or “gay,” that is only a reflection on the perceiver and not on the object itself. A guy who is afraid to wear something fashionable or engage an activity that doesn’t perfectly fit the norms of culturally-accepted masculinity is just, for lack of a better word, boring as shit.
6. Friend to cool people. I’m sorry, if a guy’s bros are just entirely uncool and he is a completely different person with them as opposed to with you, that’s probably a sign you aren’t meant to be together. We’ve all totally morphed our personality to be able to hang with “the guys,” and we know how painful and not-sustainable it is. So you might as well find someone with awesome friends.
7. Matching levels of cleanliness. I’m not a neat freak by any stretch, but I generally do the dishes within the day, and like things to have a moderate level of organization at all times. If you are a neat freak, be with a neat freak. If you are a bit of a pig, find another pig to root around with. But don’t ever be with someone several leagues out of your level of cleanliness, one way or the other.
8. A fair fighter. Anyone who dives straight below the belt is a bad move, but anyone who refuses to engage in any kind of conflict because they’d rather avoid confrontation at all costs is probably not going to be a good fit, either.
9. Honest about what they actually want out of a relationship. Maybe some people are okay with floating in the ether of ~what are we~ for months or even years on end. But for me and, I suspect, many people like me, having a clear idea of what everyone’s long-term plans are somewhat up front is a huge factor in entering the relationship. Because once you catch those feelings, they can’t be un-caught.
10. Good with parents. And, similarly, good with children. Just generally a good sport about having to be in important-yet-not-always-ideal situations, including extended family at holidays and people from high school you run into at the bar on Thanksgiving.
11. Okay with laughing when genuinely funny shit happens, even if it’s somewhere awful like in the bedroom. A guy who can’t laugh at himself – and appreciate the humor in things, regardless of its source – probably won’t be much fun long-term.
12. Doesn’t judge your music. (Okay, maybe a little bit, but only the fact that you listened to “Timber” so much last year.)
13. Respectful of their exes. Generally, anyone who is going to be talking serious shit about all of their exes and/or spilling their darkest secrets is someone you don’t want to be trusting with your heart, because what are they going to do if and when you break up? I guess you can just never, ever break up with them so they don’t tell everyone about that one night at the canal.
14. Knows the power of a surprise. A well-placed breakfast in bed or “no-reason” bouquet every now and again is one of the most powerful tools in a relationship arsenal.
15. A good sport. The most important quality in anyone, probably, but definitely someone for a long-term relationship, is their ability to just be a trooper. To muscle through shit and do what needs to be done, and not spend the whole time either complaining or guilt tripping. A guy who just figures it out and makes the best of it, in everything from carpentry to social activities, is the ultimate keeper. Anyone you settle down with needs to be a trooper.