1. They treat you as an equal in every way. It does not matter if your relationship is “more traditional” or “modern,” – whatever that even means anymore. All good boyfriends do not see you as less than. (Sorry active misogynists, you are automatically disqualified.)
2. They see you as a partner rather than someone to either depend on or your dependent. This means that the two of you are equals, even if there are different parts of life, where one person might be ahead of the other.
3. They accept that you are a human being with flaws. They don’t put you on an unattainable pedestal only to be disappointed. Nor do they treat you like a sum-total of your imperfections.
4. They respect you in every sense of the word. Meaning that they acknowledge the essence of the things that make you, you. Even when they might not entirely grasp or even agree with those things.
5. They are forthcoming about their financial situation and expectations. They find no use in pretending to be something they are not regardless of where they are on the financial spectrum. You both have a general understanding of each other’s financial status.
6. They respect your space and the private details of your life – whether they know every last specific one or have a general idea. And in connection with that, they know how to keep what is between the two of you, between the two of you.
7. They know how to find a good balance between spending time with you, and spending time with other loved ones. In this way, they ensure that you both enjoy each other’s company without being attached to each other.
8. They don’t talk badly about their exes. Certainly, the odd comment here and there about former relationships is not unusual. But a great boyfriend is a good man, and good men do not keep re-telling stories about all their crazy exes (whose common denominator is said man).
9. They know how to have arguments or debates in a calm and clear manner. This means they avoid yelling, nasty comments, and/or passive aggressive behavior when trying to communicate.
10. They are ambitious about their own personal life goals, and are genuinely working towards achieving them. And no matter where they are in the process, they are always looking to learn, grow, and do better.
11. They respect the work you do. This means that they support your ambitions in whatever career path you’re in, and don’t try to steal your sunshine or belittle how you earn a living.
12. They value your opinion. In that when they ask for it, they actually are interested in taking what you have to say into consideration, rather than just going through the motions of hearing another person speak.
13. They are generous with who they are, the time they use, and what they have. The latter two are particularly important because they say a lot about what a person values. And even if those values do not perfectly mirror your own, you can respect them.
14. They have a strong sense of self and do not rely on you or anyone else to define who they are, or what they want, or their happiness. They see you as part of their reason for being happy but not the entirety of their happiness.
15. They uplift you and make you want to be better just because you’re around them. They don’t put you down for any reason and are always your greatest supporter when you need a pick me up.
16. They know how to sacrifice, and they know that means sometimes having to suffer in small or big ways. And they see you as someone that they can suffer through things with. Rather than leave you to your burdens or deal with their own without you.
17. Above all, they are genuinely a kind person. Kindness manifests itself differently in different people. Some people are kind and “nice.” Some people are “in your face” and kind. But whatever kind of kind they are, they make you proud even just to know them.