When you’re in your mid-20s, you come to a sudden realization—there’s no such thing as the perfect relationship. While the ultimate goal is to find your match and drive off into the sunset together, every couple will face a couple bumps in the road—even if their Instagram feed tells you differently.
While having faults and flaws is simply part of being human, there are still a couple traits that every man wants from a woman. If you’re a woman, you should be yourself and not try to morph into someone else for a relationship. But part of life is growing and evolving as an individual, and part of any good relationship is learning from the other person, challenging each other, and being the best person you can be for your partner and for yourself.
If you want to know what really makes a difference in relationships and what the things a man really wants from the women he’s with are, here are some universal traits that most men are looking for.
A sense of humor.
Guys like to laugh, and it’s important to them that you’re able to find some of life’s silly situations as funny as he does. By cracking a joke (even if it’s a bad one) it’ll show you’ve got an entertaining personality and can think outside the box when it comes to fun future date ideas. Just make sure your humor is positive—a study conducted by Sara Caird and Rod A. Martin found that out of 136 undergraduate students, affiliative humor—which is all about anecdotes and jokes about life that a varied group of people can enjoy—positively predicted satisfaction within a relationship. Humor that was self-deprecating (which, we all do from time to time) made relationships less satisfying.
A positive attitude.
It’s so easy to be negative—and it’s even easier to get into a negative spiral. While it happens from time to time, being able to identify it will help you get out of that hole. You should try to start every date (and every day) with happy thoughts. Sure, you didn’t get that job promotion — but you still got a ton of positive compliments on your last project. And even though that last guy you dated was a dud, this one seems to have interests that better compliment your own. Guys want someone who can look on the bright side of things, even on the gloomiest day. Honestly, this is a great trait to have even if you’re currently digging the single life.
Whether your career-oriented or plan on staying home to raise a family in the future, guys want to know that you’re always trying your best. For a career outside the home, they want you to realize your own potential and keep striving for the rank you deserve. Even if a guy isn’t completely sure of what you do during the 8-5 shift, they love seeing someone who’s proud of their own work and confident in their chosen industry.
A passion for adventure.
There’s nothing wrong with binging Orange Is The New Black on Netflix for a weekend or two. But if you switch to a different series immediately when you’re done, you might want to give your idea of fun a brief makeover. Take advantage of the weather when it’s nice and try going for a hike, or even consider taking a long drive with no immediate destination. Schedules and predictability are important sometimes, but not as much in the early stages of dating when there’s likely no kids in the mix. Guys like the idea of creating lasting memories with you, so it’s a good idea to give your couch a rest every once in awhile to do something spontaneous.
A sense of understanding when things get stressful.
When you’re cohabitating with someone, your relationship really goes to the next level. Prior to, all you thought about was fun dates and the thrill of being gifted some drawer space in his room for your pajamas and personal items.
Now, your stuff is equally cramming up the bedroom and things are just a mess. Sharing responsibilities is so important, but so is a sense of understanding. If a guy’s had a particularly tough day, it might not be the best move to yell at him the second he comes home about that weird pile of soda cans he’s accumulated in the bathroom. Yes, it’s annoying. But a little bit of space will show him you know he’s had a stressful day already.
Knowing he’s human and needs a few minutes to destress and refocus will go a long way. If you flip perspectives, you’d probably ask for that same chill time before jumping into chores and other life responsibilities.
Someone who’s thoughtful.
Thanks to television, ads are quick to showcase the gifts that men get for women on holidays—but what types of gifts have you gotten him recently? Guys want someone who’ll always keep them in mind, even if it’s just buying him a bag of his favorite candy while out at the grocery store. Small gestures like this will make him feel like you’re always thinking about him and his happiness, which is a healthy boost to his ego. It’s also a good trait to have if a guy is thinking hard about settling down. Small gestures like this show you’re a loving person who strives to take care of the people who mean a lot to you.
In general, guys want women who know how to be happy and don’t let obstacles prevent them from living their lives. Not only are traits like drive and a sense of adventure positive traits to have, but they’ll help boost your self-confidence and make you more interesting. Remember, the best stories happen when you leave the house.
Whether it’s traveling or simply taking a scenic hike, any guy will be happy to be with someone who has a love of life — and they’ll be proud to accompany you on your journey.