1. They pick you up from the airport. Depending on your job and where you’re at in life travel can be a rare treasure or a common annoyance. But it never gets so old that it’s not without the little thrill of landing and realizing your home again. You get to hug your loved one and sleep in your own bed. If you’re in a city where you have cars, it’s expected that they offer to pick you up. Who doesn’t want to come home after a long flight to the place they know they are so cared for they don’t even have to ask to be picked up?
2. They plan your birthday. One of the major perks of being in a relationship is having someone to celebrate life milestones with — like getting a year older. Your loved one should take the initiative to make sure something is planned on this day without being asked. It doesn’t have to be grandiose — even a regular at home dinner with your favorite food. The point is you feel special and you take the time together to celebrate life.
3. They ask how they can help. The best partners play the part of the cheerleader, not the coach. They listen — without interrupting — when you need to talk through a bad day or a frustrating problem. And then they ask how they can help. If they’re on their phone half-listening and half crushing a game of 2048 and can’t be bothered to even offer to help, the red flag couldn’t be clearer: they simply don’t care.
4. They bring home champagne when you tell them exciting news. If your partner jump, unasked, at the opportunity to celebrate a promotion or landing a big client or whatever big news you’ve just told them, they aren’t the kind of person you want to keep around. Either they aren’t the kind of person who celebrates the joys of life, or worse, they don’t want to celebrate YOUR triumphs specifically.
5. They’re polite to your family and friends. They go out of their way to make them feel special because they know they will be a part of their time for a long time.
6. They reciprocate oral. No solid, healthy relationship can exist where one partner gives and the other doesn’t reciprocate without asking.
7. They address their issues. No one is perfect and we all come with our own baggage. However, only people you should really never ever consider dating just sit around and wallow in them. You shouldn’t have to ask someone to want to be better than they are now (and really, you can’t do anything if they lack that drive, it has to come from within). A keeper isn’t someone who’s perfect, it’s someone who’s improving.
8. They offer to help you move. If you’re not living together yet and you are moving, they will offer to help. Because you need help and it’s unpleasant but that’s just what you do when you love someone. They are there for you, unasked.
9. They take care of you when you’re sick. They rub your muscles when you’re sore, buy you soup when you’ve got a cold, and bring home cough drops when your throat sounds sore. If someone plans to grow old with you, they’re going to care for your body now.
10. They buy the wine/beer/liquor you prefer. They want to make you happy, and they want to do it of their own accord.
11. They tell you you’re hot. When you take extra time to look good for them when you’re going on a special date or to an event together they take the time to note that you look extra nice. Physical attraction is important in relationships and it’s one of those things that proliferates itself — if you talk about being attracted to your partner they’ll be more confident and appreciate the time they put into their appearance — which makes them actually more attractive.
12. They listen to your favorite band, read your favorite book and try your favorite style of cuisine. They don’t have to love it and they don’t have to do it all the time. But they try it because you love it and they hold your taste in esteem.
13. They text you when they’re on a trip without you. Even if it’s a boys trip. Because it takes less than 60 seconds to write one “off to spend the day doing x activity, miss you, have a great day” text. So, whatever stories people make up about how they’re focused on work or quality time are stemming from an unhealthy place of avoidance and dishonesty. They’ll never make you beg to be acknowledged.
14. They plan for the future. No one asking anyone to buy a ring after the first date but a Keeper is someone who plans for their future — and after a reasonable amount of time that future includes you. How serious can someone be about a future with you if they aren’t even planning for their own future. They take things like their health and their finances seriously because to them, the future is a concrete place they want to be.
15. They buy you presents or do nice things for you ‘just because.’ Occasional flowers or a bag of your favorite candy because they don’t sell it at very many stores and they came across it. A photo hung on the wall because it’s too high for you to reach or because you’re not very good with a drill. If someone can semi-frequently surprise you with a for-no-good-reason sweet gesture, they’re the kind of person who will be good in the long run.
16. They tell you they love you. There’s nothing sadder than having to ask someone to tell you they love you. No one would make someone they love do this. When you love someone, you want them to know they are loved. So you communicate it. With words. Often.