Oh teenage love. With Valentine's day next week romance has been a theme at our house. I have two teenage daughters. They are beautiful and bold and have broken a few hearts for sure. But that also means they've had their heart broken a time or two as well.
What I'm hoping for through all these teenage heart aches, is that they are learning what they like and what they don't like in a companion. It has sparked a few discussions in our house and I've been thinking of a list of qualities that make a great boyfriend or girlfriend. For my list below I've used he/boyfriend, but the list is easily reversed to she/girlfriend.
#1 He communicates. A great boyfriend loves talking to his girlfriend. He has interesting things to talk about even when there’s nothing new. He wants to understand you and he wants you to understand him. And most importantly he listens to you. He'll keep in touch with you over FaceTime, text or snapchat. And do his very best to never "leave you on open". He doesn't lie to you or keep things from you creating a trusting relationship. And maybe he doesn't tell his friends everything about your relationship.
#2 He’s exciting and fun. He’s active and has a fun life of his own. A great boyfriend is almost always a great guy too. He has an active social life, and gets along with people easily. He’s likable and has a warm aura about him that draws people to him. He takes you on dates even after you're officially dating. He balances time with his friends and you and respects when you do the same. He brings you around his friends too.
#3 He’s interested in your life. Does your boyfriend ask you about your life every day? A good boyfriend is always interested to hear about the things you do every day. Does he notice your new haircut or a new dress when you wear one? Does he ask you about your activities, teams, hobbies. Does he ask how practice was, how your tournament went, or how you did on your big test.
#4 He respects you. He doesn’t check out other girls in front of you. He never speaks about you in bad light to his friends or your friends. He should think highly of you.
#5 He doesn’t force you into anything. He doesn’t pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. He may advice you and may try to convince you about why he believes something is right, but he won’t try to manipulate you or threaten you into doing something he wants you to do. (Insert sex, drugs, alcohol and anything else you don't want to do here.)
#6 He's kind to your friends and family. A good boyfriend would always try to impress your friends and your family, even if he can’t get along with a few of them, because he wants them to believe he’s a great guy worthy enough of dating a sweet girl like you.
#7 He makes time for you. No matter how busy he is or how occupied he is, he always makes time for you. He could sacrifice his sleep or stay up longer, but he’d want to be with you at least for a few minutes or hours. Being super busy is part of life. But we pretty much all carry around a small communication device with us that allows us to let someone know we're thinking of them and miss them.
#8 He tries to make you a better person and accepts you for you. When two people love each other, they can’t help but try to bring out the best sides in each other. If your boyfriend is a good catch, he’ll constantly try to support and motivate you and help you achieve your full potential and your goals instead of holding you back. And you should be doing the same. You should lift each other up not hold each other back.
#9 He has goals in life. A great boyfriend is one who has goals in life and works towards achieving them. He doesn’t bitch and moan about how unfair life is. Instead, he grabs life by the horns and tries to make something great out of it. (and they should be vaguely similar to your goals).
#10 He compromises for you. He’d be willing to do something with you even if he doesn't like it, if only to make you happy, especially if it means a lot to you. A guy may be stubborn when it comes to his ambition and his determination, but he should never be stubborn when it comes to making decisions or making life plans with his girlfriend. Compromises and sacrifices are a part of making a relationship work in the long run.
#11 He does the little things. He should always treat you well. He goes out of his way to make you feel loved, by indulging in romantic gestures and words. He shows his love for you in little ways. Tiny gestures go a long way in making someone feel secure and loved in a relationship. Good morning texts, notes on your car, chicken soup when you're sick.
#12 He’s a man of principles. He doesn’t backtrack on his words. He makes promises and keeps them. He’s in control of his life, and has firm principles in life. He doesn't cancel on you at the last minute because something better came up. He doesn't have any addictions.
#13 He helps you trust him. Insecurities and doubts always have a way of cropping up in a relationship when there are secrets or lies. A great boyfriend doesn’t give you any opportunity to doubt him, and communicates with you frankly and avoids lying or keeping secrets that may affect the relationship.
#14 He doesn’t try to control you. A guy may seem like a great boyfriend initially. But as the months pass by, he may start to subtly and deviously control you one step at a time. If you notice even the slightest signs of controlling behavior in him, speak with him about it so he can change before it’s too late.
Obviously the list could go on and on. And of course no man (or especially teenage boys) or relationship is perfect. We are always learning and evolving and we have to be strong enough for ourselves to speak up when we're hurt, angry, or upset or even happy.
One of the most important lessons I want my daughters to learn is their happiness is up to them. It should never be dependent on a boyfriend.
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