1. She’s interested in dating you not just anyone. There’s a pervasive fear among men, especially as you get into your late 20’s, that women are more interested in checking ‘serious relationship’ off their list than they are in you as a specific person. A girl who makes it clear that she’s not looking for a relationship, she’s looking for you is a calming presence that makes us feel confident about moving forward.
2. Along those lines, she’s interested in the real you, not her fantasy version of you. Real love is not a fairy tale and by the time a guy starts thinking about settling down he knows how dangerous it is to be with someone who’s only interested in the idea of you. Sure, we all want to be with people who are interested in self-improvement and getting better over time — but we need to start by being attracted to the person they are today, right this second.
3. She isn’t looking for someone to save her. It’s an ego boost to be able to swoop in and solve a girl’s problem, but this is absolutely not something that’s workable or attractive on a larger, lifelong scale. We want someone who has their ducks in a row, who’s going to contribute to our lives if we get together, and not be a dependent.
4. She makes you laugh. Like, genuinely belly laugh. Life is too short to be with someone you don’t have fun with.
5. She’s physically affectionate. This one definitely has outliers, but in general men love it when a woman physically expresses the way she feels about you. Not just through sex! Think about it: women hug and touch their female friends all the time, men tend to only get physical touch from their girlfriends/wives. We’re starved for it and we want to know it’s going to be a part of our lives with you because very few people want to go through life without consistent physical intimacy.
6. She’s positive. The number one complaint my friends have that eventually make them leave a relationship is that their girlfriend is ‘too negative.’ We look at how you talk about the people in your life: friends, family, coworkers — if you’re negative about them, you’re going to be negative about us one day.
7. She has the attitude of a true partner. She supports you in your decisions, but doesn’t try to take over and control you. “She’s the cheerleader, not the coach”. It is your life, after all, and you feel the same way about hers.
8. She’ll stick around when things aren’t pretty. Longterm potential means longterm commitment, the stick-to-it-iveness that means she won’t walk away if you lose your job or have a health issue or suddenly aren’t as flashy as you were on day 1. We need a glimpse of a girl who will still love us and think we’re just as manly when the cards are down.
9. She’ll try new things. There are very few people on this planet that want to be with someone and know that all the experiences they have within the first year of dating are the only experiences they are ever going to have. Life is long and there will be a long time together (hopefully) to grow and adventure out into this wide world. We all want to be with someone who is up for the challenge.
10. She’s capable of healthy disagreement. Sometimes guys will make a political joke in your presence just to see how you react. We want to know that you understand when to laugh it off and when to stand your ground. There needs to be room for people to have two separate brains capable of two separate opinions on a topic and it not being a cause for a fight.
11. She doesn’t play games. There’s no ‘forever person’ material in a person who constantly makes you feel like you’re the only one who cares while meanwhile she is “chill” about you. Even less so if you have an inkling that she’s making you feel this way on purpose. We want to get out of this what we’re putting into it, we want someone who can be a grown-ass adult about it.
12. She’s going to make you feel loved. Everyone builds up to a relationship at their own speed, but you can still very much tell the difference between a girl who’s slow to warm up and a girl who is never going to make you a priority. We don’t need everything right away, but we need a hint that it’s going to be there one day. No one wants to imagine having the kind of “roommate” relationship we’ve heard about having from our married friends. Men can be romantics too, we want the promise that what we’re feeling can last.