1. Handle criticism. If you’re upset about something that he’s done, you should be able to explain the situation to him without worrying about the backlash. He shouldn’t cut you off and automatically start placing blame or accuse you of overreacting. He should hear you out and find a way to fix things.
2. Discuss the future. He shouldn’t cringe whenever you mention a wedding or a baby or merging apartments. If he’s not ready for any of that yet, it’s fine. But he should be comfortable talking to you about it.
3. Survive without sex. He should be capable of cuddling with you in bed, naked, without begging you to have sex with him. He should take rejection like a champ and understand that you aren’t always going to be in the mood.
4. Save money. He shouldn’t be blowing his paychecks at the bar when he barely has enough to cover his rent. He should be saving at least a little each week to create a better future for himself.
5. Stay sober. If he wants to get wasted once in a while, it’s not a problem. But he shouldn’t come home drunk every single time he sees his friends. He shouldn’t need alcohol to enjoy himself — especially on work nights.
6. Take care of a living thing. It could be a cat. A dog. Or a houseplant. But he should be responsible enough to keep it alive.
7. Talk about your period. If he gets grossed out whenever he sees your box of tampons or hears about your painful cramps, he’s too immature for a serious relationship. He needs to grow up.
8. Apologize. You shouldn’t need to spell out why you’re upset — and you shouldn’t have to pull an apology out of him. He should say he’s sorry whenever he hurts you, because he loves you. Because he cares about your feelings.
9. Think things through. He shouldn’t impulsively buy a sports car without discussing it with you or quit his job on a whim. He should talk to you about big life decisions. He should value your opinion.
10. Express his emotions. If he’s upset, he should tell you. He shouldn’t hold back his tears to look ‘manly.’ He should open up to you about how he’s feeling, because you’re his best friend. Because he’s comfortable talking to you about anything.
11. Hold a job. Getting fired once isn’t the end of the world. But if he has a habit of landing a job, working for a month, and then getting the boot, he’s clearly the problem. He clearly needs to change.
12. Take care of himself. When you leave the house, he shouldn’t be calling every five seconds to ask you where you keep the spatula and how much detergent to put into the washing machine. He should know how to handle himself.