1. He appreciates the fact that you have a life outside of the relationship. It’s not threatening to him—in fact, he admires this about you. You’re not one to need a thousand reassurances that he’s still into you, and you definitely don’t have to spend every waking second with him to feel secure (although sometimes you just can’t get enough of each other).
2. He truly respects your other priorities, including your career, family, and friends. He’s not the jealous type and will never demand that you spend more time with him instead of devoting attention to something that’s important to you. You won’t find him checking your email, questioning who you went out with or making you feel guilty for not spending three nights in a row with him. He’s happy to be with someone who has her own things going on.
3. He shows up for you, even when you don’t ask him to. You mentioned that work related happy hour in passing because you didn’t think he’d want to come. You’re fine tackling it on your own, and yet, part of you wanted him there alongside you—and he sensed it. So he shows up, proud to stand by your side and watch you shine for the night.
4. He’s not offended when you suggest splitting the check. He considers it a thoughtful gesture when you reach for your wallet after dinner, not an affront to his manhood. He’s the type who really believes in equality between the sexes, as it applies to everything from domestic duties to finances and more.
5. But he’s not afraid to be chivalrous. He opens doors, offers to get you a drink at the bar, and walks you home at night. His overtures aren’t meant to establish his maleness, though. He’s just that well intentioned and enjoys being kind. And when you hold the door open for him, or offer to buy him a drink, or explain that you’d prefer to walk home alone, he gets it. He loves that you’re not the kind of girl who wants to be waited on constantly. You feel more comfortable taking care of yourself sometimes and he gives you the distance you crave, happy to the gentleman standing in the backdrop to your independent lifestyle.
6. It turns him on that you respect his need for a guys’ night out once in a while. He doesn’t have to spend hours strategizing how to break the news to you that he’s planning a night out without you because you’re never disappointed to get some time to yourself. You’re not the type to view such a thing as evidence of his dwindling interest. So he doesn’t have to worry that your “blessing” will soon be followed by an endless guilt trip. He doesn’t need your permission to go out because you’re not his parent. You have zero interest in keeping a leash on him.
7. He’s dated the insecure type, and he gets that you’re special. He genuinely wants a woman who’s confident in herself and in your growing relationship. Compared to his exes—the ones who became anxious and threw tantrums at the mere suggestion of spending time apart—you’re a breath of fresh air, a beacon of light in a sea of stage 5 clingers.
8. He loves that your day doesn’t start when he arrives, or end when he leaves. Your life continues, 24/7 with or without him. He doesn’t expect you to change your schedule to accommodate him, or envision you sitting by your phone waiting for him to text you back. He knows better. You enjoy his company, of course, but it doesn’t define you and you don’t depend on him to be happy necessarily.
9. He makes the most of his time with you, but he’s not trying to own or control you. Although you value his input, he understands that you’re not asking for his opinion or guidance all the time. You’re confident enough to march to the beat of your own drum, but truly enjoy being in a relationship with someone who appreciates your mindset and won’t feel threatened by your strengths.
10. He’s fine to sit shotgun while you drive. He knows that you love to be in the driver’s seat sometimes—both metaphorically, and literally—and he’s absolutely happy to let you take the wheel (proverbial and actual) so you can navigate. He realizes that women like you make excellent drivers and he’s happy to enjoy the ride alongside you.
11. He respects your need for “me” time. Balance is essential to your wellbeing, and sometimes that means prioritizing yourself above all else. You often crave time to work out, read, or catch up with friends. Being alone has never felt lonely to you. And he’s never felt threatened by your desire to isolate yourself a little because he recognizes that your independence is part of the reason he’s falling for you.
12. Since he gives you the space you need, your time together is authentically pleasurable. Since he lets you do what you need to on your own terms, you enjoy his company that much more. His ability to accept your independence attracts you to him. He celebrates you for being exactly who you are and his unconditional love and support make you want to spend more time with him than anyone else you’ve ever been with.
13. He never confuses your independence with coldness. He understands that you are someone who goes for the things that you want and he doesn’t misinterpret your independence as an attempt to hold him at arm’s length or to play some kind of game. Your significant other’s support in reaching your goals makes your relationship even stronger.
14. He loves that you are your own person, with continuously evolving interests, goals, and hobbies. He feels honored to be the guy you’ve opened up your world to, knowing that you don’t just do that for everyone. He knows that you are an incredible find—a warm, kindhearted, well balanced, exciting individual who will make a damn good long-term partner.
15. He’s excited to build a life with someone who wants to be with him—but doesn’t necessarily need to be. You’re secure with yourself and you know what works and doesn’t work for you. As a result of truly knowing yourself, you’re a better partner and he admires this about you. You’re choosing to be together with for the sheer joy you add to each other’s lives, and not because either of you is scared to be alone.