16 Things Your Boyfriend Should be Telling You

16 Things He Should Be Telling You

Mark Radcliffe reminds us of the importance of communicating love.


Dear Ladies Who Are On The Fence About Whether Or Not to Dump The Guy Who’s Taking You For Granted: here’s what you should be hearing from the guy who’s worthy of your time. Maybe not right away, but within, say, 3-6 months. Otherwise, hit the “next” button. For the sake of both you and all the guys out there who are waiting for you to be single again.

1) I adore you. This isn’t about sex, this isn’t about desire. This is about how you make me glow whenever you walk into a room, glad that you just exist, whether I’m the guy beside you or just someone admiring you from twenty feet away.

2) You inspire me. I love how you’re living your life, what you’re devoting yourself to, how you’re spending your time, what path you’ve chosen, how you deal with the people around you.

3) I respect you. You’re the first person I think of when I want a serious opinion on something. Anything. From topics like “Am I being an asshole here?” to “Which is better, MadMen or Breaking Bad?”

4) I just love kissing you. Ok, so, years from now, if by some awful paragliding accident we both end up paralyzed and have no use of our lower extremities and can never get it on again, I’ll still feel pretty good about it as long as I can just kiss you as much as I want.

5) I don’t want to change you. Yes, there are some things about you that I don’t get. That I don’t love. But you’re you. And all the other stuff that comes with you, I would never want to lose. So I don’t want to disturb the equation. I want to keep it intact. And just help it grow.

6) I accept your drama. Sure, you’ve got some anger issues with your mom. Or dad. Or sister. Or job that you’re trying to get out of. I can handle that, even when it’s a bit exhausting. I even support it. None of us is drama-free, me especially. I respect that you’re fighting against something.

7) I’ve totally got the hots for you. As in: seriously, can we get these clothes off already? I’m dying here. We should really find our way to the nearest bedroom. Or kitchen. Or rooftop.

8. I love that you tell me off sometimes. Seriously. I may not always admit it, but I respect it. I’m full of bullshit sometimes, and I like to know you won’t take it. If I’m gonna have someone by my side, I better know she didn’t just fall for the first guy that came along, and she’ll keep holding me to my higher standards. I don’t want a pushover.

9. You’re on my mind. Constantly. Especially when I’m supposed to be thinking about something else. When I’m at work, giving a presentation, watching a movie with my buds. There you are, all in the middle of my shit, outta nowhere. And yet, I can’t help but smile.

Next: “You captivate me.”

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About Mark Radcliffe

Mark Radcliffe is a writer living in New York City. He has a weakness for bourbon, jazz and girls who can drive stick. You can read more of his essays here: www.theradcliffescrolls.tumblr.com and http://markradcliffe.com.


  1. It would be nice to reverse genders;0)
    I’m a straight woman and I’d love to say all those things to my lover without sounding ‘too much’.
    Well, I do say them anyway;0))

  2. Where does “Whatever happens between us, you will not be the last woman I sleep with” rank?..

  3. Manolo_EHV says:

    Voxleo i agree!
    Neither a man or woman can ben this perfect!
    Girls keep dreamin’ and tellin’ you don’t want a badboy or whatever
    You wanna call That, every movie music clip or somekind you all get the
    Chills! Rollin’ from your chair at 50 shades! Please hahaha

    This is what i think both sides need with little differences
    Because your both in the relationship!

  4. And these are things that women should be telling their boyfriends! (Except the part about wearing that skirt…)

  5. This list is so dreamy. *-*
    And it is probably going to be the reason why I am going end up with 178 cats by the time I hit 60.
    Thanks, man, really. Thanks……not.

  6. Gives me hope :’)

  7. Samiksha Nagrare says:

    I consider myself lucky because of the presence of such a guy in my life who says all the sentences mentioned above. I love him.

  8. Perhaps this article would get a little less backlash if it had been titled “16 things to express to your partner to keep your relationship alive.” The point is that there is a lot to be said for what is listed here, and these are frequently things that don’t get expressed enough once people grow complacent in their partnerships, leading to doubt and frustration where there used to be appreciation and joy, Remembering to make sure that your partner knows that you feel these things goes a long way towards preventing them feeling taken for granted, and that means all the more secure when someone else might notice what a good thing you’ve got there and attempt to whisk them away.

    It is so often a feeling of lacking connection or perceived lack of appreciation at the heart oft matter when a partner chooses to leave for greener pastures, so it is to your own good to make sure your partner doesn’t get starved of hearing these things because they sound even sweeter from someone else if they have not been heard from you in a long while…

  9. Beautifully written list. Too bad all of those incredible feelings don’t last once the honeymoon phase is over.

  10. #17 — You’re out of tampons.

  11. “If you settle for les then you deserve, that is what you get”. I’ve me a man who gives me 10/10 on this list. I will never let him go as long as he’ll have me <3

  12. The most important one of all is missing.


  13. All checked on my list ! 10 on 10 ! 😀

    • Awesome list indeed! And the guy that does this will loose his girlfriend to the first bad boy that comes along. And the guy will not have a clue why.

      • The whole “bad boy” thing is a biological attraction to alpha males. By the time a woman is 25 or so, she usually gets tired of being disappointed by bad boys. I want a great guy who loves me and communicates it in words. Like the above. Good stuff.

      • Rubbish. I left a “bad boy” who constantly had eyes for others. He spoke a load of baloney but his actions said otherwise and he rarely walked his talk. Keep the “bad boys”, whatever bad boy really means. If boy means a man who ogles, verbally abuses, nitpicks over your appearance, takes your money and refuses to get off his lazy butt and work, give me a REAL man any day!

  14. Totally an Ideal condition…

  15. My man “copy pasted” the exact same 16 things n wrote it to me.. claiming to be his own words! I cant believe I stumbled upon this article today.

  16. William Cross says:

    Incredible article! I’d add the following:

    17. Sweetheart now that I’ve told the above, get down on your knees, open your mouth and let me send our future kids down that gorgeous throat of yours!

    • Lolabunny says:

      Yes, that is indeed all that matters for men. And no oral sex for her, to please her back after she pleased you, am I right? What good men America have! 😀

  17. DynamicDbytheC says:

    This is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I lost my soulmate to cancer. We had an amazing love just like this for 29 years. I can tell you that at the end he said he loved my all throughout they day. Say it now, say it often…

  18. My GF posted this on facebook and I read through it like a checklist. My immediate reaction was insecurity. Why did she post it? Is she trying to communicate with me about what im NOT doing? After calling her she told me I was reading too much into it, it was just a nice little romantic piece that she enjoyed. I think we as men get uptight about these articles because we like to fix things. I dont think you should read this like a checklist and feel insecure if you/your partner doesn’t do EVERYTHING on the list. If they do, fantastic, but If they don’t, then look into what you/partner is TRYING to do. Progress, not perfection.If your man is visibly trying and genuinely cares that is the important thing. Because he will not be perfect. Its obviously a great article, because it invoked an emotional response, positive or negative, that’s what good writers do.

    • It’s true. A man simply can not share his feelings with a woman (if he does, then it will only be a matter of time before he’s back on the market – single). Women are the worst at trying to give advice to men.

      The author of this article should not give men this type of advice. Women have proven time and time, again, that they’ll do one thing and say another. They’ll say what’s socially acceptable but what they find attractive is just the opposite.

  19. Whipped!

  20. “4) I just love kissing you. Ok, so, years from now, if by some awful paragliding accident we both end up paralyzed and have no use of our lower extremities and can never get it on again, I’ll still feel pretty good about it as long as I can just kiss you as much as I want.”

    I’ll still feel “pretty good.” Really??? How about feel fucking SPECTACULAR that both of you would survive such a horrific accident TOGETHER and be there side by side for each other for a long road of recovery and transformation. Oh wait, sorry, I forgot… that would take actual, true love, commitment, faith and hard work. But no, no one is ready for that!

    Also, it’s such a stupid misconception that people who are paralyzed or who are in wheelchairs can’t function sexually. This article is perpetuating stigmas with ignorance and presumptions. Even if a person couldn’t get hard for some reason… Do you truly need a cock, or a vagina to please your man? Are you really going to deduce and qualify yourself and your bodily worth as a orifice or sexual organ? As though you can’t satisfy and please your partner sexually without these things? UGH

  21. Anonymous says:

    I always said all the above to my gf’s with genuine affection and I single. Being kind, loyal decent and honest gets you nowhere it seems…

    • It’s true. A man simply can not share his feelings with a woman (if he does, then it will only be a matter of time before he’s back on the market – single). Women are the worst at trying to give advice to men.

      The author of this article should not give men this type of advice. Women have proven time and time, again, that they’ll do one thing and say another. They’ll say what’s socially acceptable but what they find attractive is just the opposite.

    • Lolabunny says:

      Because it is not only because you are good that your partner will be good for you back? You have to find someone compatible. And even with someone compatible, things can not work out… that is how relationships work. Of course it gets you to many wonderful places, you just have to be in the right place with the right person.

  22. paritosh says:

    the next thing is
    17) Honey, I must get a life apart from the above sixteen.

  23. Just one woman’s point of view: if I heard any of these besides the usual “I love you” as he’s heading out the door, my marriage wouldn’t be floundering right now. And if a man ever does start saying/demonstrating these things to me, my head and heart would be his. I’m not fickle, far from it… But to some women, these concepts go a very long way and carry a lot of weight. I thought this article was excellent.

  24. So you want a dog….. why don’t you said so ….
    No serriously, what are the 16 things for girls then … ?
    I am more interested in hearing female oppinions : )

    • Lolabunny says:

      The same things. And no, that would not make women dogs (nor bitches). It is just that you men believe respecting women and making them feel good is something bad, something that hurt you, something that humiliate you. We get it.

  25. I will be satisfied if a man says only 3, 5 and 12….

    Those are hard to find now days…

  26. Frustrated woman says:

    My husband used to say things like these but he doesn’t anymore. He says he doesn’t need to because he shows me but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to hear them! How do I get him to start saying these things again?! HELP!!

  27. What a great list – I have to take this as an instruction sheet, as none of them happen automatically anymore. Once sex stops, 4, 9 and 15 don’t’ work any more, and the the rest gets buried under a mass of resentment. So the list is a good reminder of how we should behave.

  28. I love, support, honor, protect, evolve, encourage, build a better us, inspire, aspire, uphold, exalt, believe, trust, value, soulfully belong and only want you. These are just a few things I feel all relationships need. Both people should have the aforementioned not only said, but shown…

  29. Mark…do you have a sister that helped you write this?
    You forgot the big one…”you don’t look fat, you look sexy.”

    • lol…nope. I’d have to answer if she asked…’yes, you are fat’.

      Fat shaming is the only way to get the obesity rate to fall (stop giving them a pass). Even a doctor will tell you it’s not a healthy choice (yes, sound medical advice). Man or woman.

  30. My boyfriend of 4 months must’ve read this list :-). I am one of the lucky ones who hears this from my bf nearly daily. Feeling thankful <3

  31. My only issue with this article is its entirely one-sided. Shouldn’t women be saying the same thing to their boyfriends?

    • Yes they should but this is from a man’s perspective so I think that’s why he wrote it this way. Also women have a tendency to sell themselves short and settle for less, probably because we have images of perfect women drilled into our minds every damn day and end up lacking in self-confidence because we are also told this is what men expect.

    • Anonymous says:

      I say these (or similar) things to my boyfriend all the time! If it’s one sided…it’s not the right relationship for you.

  32. Wonderful post, Thnks for sharing.

  33. I just got this off of a facebook post and decided to read it! I must say that this is something all men should memorize. I have been single now for almost 2 years and tried all types of dating. I have found as a women the quality of men out there is frightening. Maybe if they followed some of your ideas and advice on here they would become the stand up amazing men that us single women thrive for! Great read!

    • It truly is frightening. I just want people in my life who are like this! Where do you live? I’m in Australia and I can assure you, the idea of dating is not at all compelling with the kind of offers I have had. Actually, most weren’t even about dating because apparently people don’t date anymore.

    • oh boy…yes, men are always the problem (ever think that maybe women could be part of the problem as well?).

      And as a woman you should move to Australia. As a man, the women living there are worst than the U.S. …no thanks. Too much entitlement over the past 50 years has made plenty of women unhappy. That and the rise of social media (attention grabbing) that many are doing on it.

      • Lolabunny says:

        A xenophobic dude. How awesome! 😛
        I don’t know man, the most xenophobic comments I read online come from American men. The most sexist, homophobic and racist comments on international forums also come from straight white dudes from America. Many guys like you, ignorantly generalizing everyone.
        Are these women feeling entitled to be respected and treated like human beings? Because you know, they should be feeling like that. If they are feeling unhappy for not receiving respect that is a problem, but they should never feel happy with it to begin with.
        You guys are funny, you believe having rights, boundaries and desires (as long as they are reasonable and aren’t demeaning others) make women less desirable… I see your problem. You guys only want and dream about submissive burka-wearing females who will just serve you and never ask for anything in return.
        Now if we can be xenophobic and generalizing asses, just don’t complain with the fact that most foreign women just detest American men (unless you meet some desperate females willing to get with you for the money she will clearly never be able to get in her sexist country) and just despise your prejudices minds. 😛
        No, MEN are not the problem, just men like you, as I can see from the many idiotic comments.

  34. Talk about heteronormative.

    Men have boyfriends, too, you know….

  35. Thanks for the list. I’ll have it laminated and memorized to save time. On my way out the door, I can peck her on the cheek and then just say a number. It’ll be like calling an audible: “5, 5, Omaha, Omaha, hut hut!”

  36. My best friend is a male – we’ve been BFFs for a year and he has taken excellent care of me and our friendship. He did almost everything on this list before we became a couple. Once couple-hood was achieved, then he started with the I Love Yous and the romantic stuff like cuddles, but he always thanked me, always appreciated me, and said we would be friends forever.

    In a relationship with him, I shower him with affection & attention; I do everything I can for him because I adore him. (I even serve him his dinner and make 3 meals a day when I’m not at work – Yes, gentlemen, we exist.) In return, he does every damn thing on this list. Not even kidding. We end up in a perpetual loop of mutual appreciation.

    I found the comments on this article insightful and interesting. Having experienced polar opposites in the relationship department, I can assure you that men like those in the article can and do exist. And believe it or not, so do women like me.

    The trick is finding the right love language for your relationship, working with your partner on what type of affection THEY respond best to. My bf/bff and I happen to respond to the same things and it works.

    • I second that.
      As I read the article, I realized my husband does all of those things!
      And I also realize now that if I had read this article before knowing my husband, I would have thought its a bit too fairytale-like what the author is describing. But no people/relationships as good as that are possible and we should all strive for it 🙂

  37. Um, I can drive stick AND a motorcycle. Because that’s clearly your main criterion for a mate, you should totally call me. 😀

  38. wellokaythen says:

    Silly question, but I think it’s very important:

    What if you don’t actually feel those things – should you say them just to make the other person feel good?

    This seems like one more list of “The Right Things to Say.” I’m assuming you should only say these things if you mean them.

  39. I love this article and it’s not because I’m here to brag, but my husband says all these things to me. It reminded me of all the reasons I married him. I just read aloud this article to him, because it reminded of everything he does for me and how much he loves me.And likewise, I think you need to equally spoil your spouse and let them know how much you appreciate them! Even if men don’t say it, they like to be complimented too! Everyone deserves this kind of love! I wish it for the whole world that you can share your life and your love with someone amazing like I have found in my husband!

  40. Could have done WITHOUT #7. That is so superficial to the rest of the points in the article! Respect should be a CRITICAL part of a relationship. If sex has to be part of it, then some other things might not prove as important as they should be!!!

    You’ve heard the saying ‘Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free’. Same here. If you want to test how solid your relationship is, hold up on the sex and see if either one leaves!

    • Natasha says:

      It’s not superficial. Sex is beautiful in love. Sex is more than just a physical need when you do it with a partner you love and care about. Even the most solid relationship will develop fault lines if the woman decides one day, no sex ever again. And it won’t be because the guy can’t keep in his pants, but because the woman if the woman is crazy enough to unreasonably go back on sex, then the relationship isn’t really making sense to her at all.

      And FYI, the author did mention that even if the guy can’t ever make love to his woman, (paragliding) he’ll be happy just to kiss her.

      I think it is important for us women, to know that our men find us sexy. That they have the hots for us. That there’s something about us that makes them go weak in the knees. It’s not a perverted thought.

  41. I don’t go out of my way to comment on bullshit very often, but sometimes I am compelled.

    I’ve been seeing a woman for approximately three months now and we get along quite well. We have great sex, enjoy hanging out, share quite a few interests and generally have fun when we are together. We are also still getting to know each other.

    I definitely hit some of your points: I respect her, I don’t want to change her, I like kissing her, sometimes just cuddles are great. However, there’s no way in hell I’m about to start fawning over her with “I love yous”, “I adore you”, or try and say with a straight face that I can’t stop thinking or talking about her. Even after six months these things may not be true. That’s not to say that I never talk about her, or that I never think about her, because I do. But I’m also a fairly quiet and reserved person and I don’t spend my free time with friends gushing about my girlfriend or ignoring what I’m doing while thinking about her.

    Without getting too deep into the other points, this is mostly stuff that is common sense style relationship filler and things that don’t necessarily need to be said. I mean, really, “Thank you for existing”? What. The. Fuck. If I said thanks for existing and I just need to hold you and lay near you, I think she’d laugh at me. This is a woman that’s an individual and so am I, and you can’t fit either of us in your cookie cutter mould of how a relationship is supposed to work.

    Frankly, this whole list feels like it was written based on fairy tale ideals. I can respect the intent behind it, but to expect reality to conform to it is patently naive and shows the author either is the one in a million man who goes through this rigamarole because he defines himself around pleasing a caricature of a woman or has never actually been in a real long term relationship.

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      Glad you weighed in. I think some of your misgivings with my piece might go away if you don’t read “should be telling you” quite so literally. Maybe I should have made this clearer, but there are countless ways to ‘tell her” these things without actually “saying them,” and it sounds like you demonstrate your feelings plenty yourself in your current relationship. You can “tell her” you’re thinking about her by a simple text or call when you’re out of town. Or “tell her” how much you appreciate her with they way you surprise her by getting her that book you heard her mention once. Or the surprise tickets to her favorite band. And I completely disagree that expecting your parter to feel these things about you is a fairy tale. It’s a series of high standards for sure, but a series I’ve seen met countless times. But only in truly wonderful relationships, which is what I think we should all hold out for. I’ve felt these things about every woman I’ve been in a long-term relationship with. Now, they haven’t all worked out for one reason or another, but that’s for another article. As for equating these actions with “going through the rigamarole,” it’s not a chore at all when you’re actually in love. You just demonstrate these feelings naturally in your day to day actions, verbal or not.

      • Agreed. I think sometimes people read these things too literally.

        There lots of ways to tell your significant other “I adore you, I respect you, I admire you” etc. without necessarily saying the words (although it never hurts to say them.) For instance, my best friend still recalls the first time her now-husband spent the night at her place, she apologized for the half-assembled bookshelves littering the living room that she had been trying, unsuccessfully, to put together. The next morning, she awoke to noises from downstairs, and found him assembling the bookshelves. As their relationship progressed, every time he came over he brought tools, identified a project, and worked on it while she cooked dinner (and since she lived in a ‘fixer-upper,’ there was never a shortage of projects.) At first she was a bit put out by his insistence on fixing things, but he wasn’t the most talkative, demonstrative guy, and she came to realize that fixing things for her was his way of taking care of her and telling her, “I adore you.”

        For my part, I am blessed to have a husband who regularly says and does all of these 16 things – in both words and deeds – and at first, I hated him for it. I felt like he was putting my on some sort of pedestal that I did not deserve to be on. It took awhile, but I eventually realized that the problem was not him, it was me; I believed I was unloved, unwanted, unlovable, and unworthy and respect, and thought others saw me the same way. Fortunately he saw past the thick walls I built around myself and had the patience to break them down, and help me learn to see myself as he saw me (or at least to abide with me as I went through therapy and worked through some serious life traumas. Still working through them, in fact.) Is he perfect? Hell no, and neither am I. We have some bad days. But the good days outweigh the bad.

        Good relationships take work; a lot of us don’t want to believe that. We want the simple, happily-ever-after fairy tales; we don’t think it’s worth the work, we don’t think we are worth the work, much less other people. But here is the thing: when you learn to see past your own bullshit and see that person who truly respects you and who sees you better than you see yourself, you are willing to do that work, because you get back everything you put in and then some.

        “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.”

      • Anonymous says:

        Dear guy who clearly likes men,
        It’s OK.
        Nobody cares.
        I’m sure you have lots of meaningful conversations with your “girlfriend” but women are not that needy, they don’t need to be smothered or reassured constantly, & if they do “Ain’t NOBODY Got Time For That!”
        P.S. try writing some fiction, you seem to have a knack for it

        • Samantha says:

          You are incredibly rude and any girlfriend you have will undoubtedly get tired of your misogynist arrogant and sarcastic attitude right quick. You don’t like the article or agree with it so you imply the author is gay and tell him to go write fiction? THAT’S constructive. Where’s your article on relationships bud? Would the title be “I’m not saying shit cuz I’m a selfish asshole?” Nobody said the words “constantly” and nobody implied that women are all “needy,” which, by the way, many if not most are, and most men are as well. People have needs. Deal with it. The point of this article is the implication that women should not settle for anything less than a man who makes it clear to them that he values and respects them, and that relationships are work and you have to make a point of getting these things across in one way or another. Maybe you should spend less time criticizing and more time reading between the lines.

          • skippy22 says:

            So you calling him a selfish asshole is constructive ? He is labeled a misogynist because he doesn’t want to kiss a woman’s butt every chance he gets. But articles likes these and there are ALOT of them which tell men / women that men should be waiting hand and foot on women are not feminist and are just “normal” and “wonderful”. This is why women heads are so screwed up because they constantly read this load of crap and are raised from childhood with people telling them that they are princesses and beautiful etc.. Then they grow up with false expectations. So they decide to put on a pound of make up the older they get to cover up what they consider “faults” and constantly critique themselves. Believe me, i know a few. I”m not saying that women should not be treated with respect but holy crap, this article is not reality , deal with it. Btw, people having needs and being NEEDY are TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

            • Chantel says:

              Dear Skippy22,

              You are an idiot 🙂 Well at least with this you are. I have been married for about a year now and my Husband does every single one of these things. No he is not whipped because I also do every single one of these things to him.
              Women are princesses and they are beautiful, in this day and age women need to hear that more then ever. This article is definitely reality because I and many other women who are in respectful relationships are living that reality.

            • “Women are princesses and they are beautiful, in this day and age women need to hear that more then ever.”

              Conceited much?

      • FrustratedToMmy says:

        I know that this silly article was not intended on being taken literally, but now the girl I’ve been dating for two months thinks that THIS is how I should be treating her 24/7…I’m not the “touchy-feely” type, I am the “upfront and honest” type of person. Now thanks to this crap…I’m ready to say “fuck it” and end our relationship, because I refuse to be someone I’m not. Thanks a whole lot!!!

  42. The only one of these my boyfriend says vocally is “I love you.” He’s not very vocal with affection, but he does seem to show all the rest of these points with his actions. It certainly makes a girl feel good when she catches that look in her boyfriend’s eye that means more than the words would have.

  43. 6) I accept your drama. Sure, you’ve got some anger issues with your mom. Or dad. Or sister. Or job that you’re trying to get out of. I can handle that, even when it’s a bit exhausting. I even support it. None of us is drama-free, me especially. I respect that you’re fighting against something.

    Two different authors I realise, but this made me think back to Alyssa’s Geeks vs Jocks article.

    Where the genders were flipped, and it was apparently entirely fine to get rid of a guy because drama.

    Drama is not worth putting up with forever, if it never stops, or no attempt is made to fix it.

  44. I didn’t read this like a checklist. I think it’s about the underlying theme of love, desire, respect and admiration that should be the foundation of a happy partnership. Yes, some of it’s over the top, but he’s a writer so accept this is meant to entertain as well as lay out how the author feels about love. Personally, I think that many women settle for less and less. I married a man who ended up being gay, dated a guy who cheated and carried on a whole life with someone else, and the reason I ended up there twice was I ignored the missing, crucial pieces of a love relationship that the author outlines. Love, desire, respect, admiration–when you feel these for someone, you’ll express them whether you intend to or not.

    • Don Draper says:

      Remember, it does say, BOYfriend…it’s not a bad list, and worth doing…but it reads a little bit more like infatuation, rather than LOVE. “I think about you all the time.” Been there, done that — it felt good. I discovered, too late, that it was INFATUATION. True love is passion, but its markers are more in the line of patience and endurance, than of kissing and dreaming about how perfect our life is going to be.

    • Are we talking about men here? This list is pretty ridiculous. Women have “the check list” before a woman will even go out on a date (or consider him a bf) and now you want men give me , yet, another list to follow?

      Women aren’t settling for less and less…it’s men that’s putting up with more and more. Too many entitled women (at least here in the states) who constantly complain about what they don’t have…even though they are getting much more versus the earlier generations.

      When does the complaining ever stop? lol….these are not men (if you’re saying this stuff and staying in the relationship). If you are staying…then you are not a man.

      • Lolabunny says:

        What the heck, dude? 😀
        Women can have all the lists they want, as much as men can have it too. Some lists will make it more difficult, some lists better… you have to be wise.

        And let me correct you: You don’t get to tell women what their experiences are. Now that you know that, let me correct you once again: yes, many times women settle for less. And it seems like women are in fact settling for less and less. If men are putting up with more and more, that is your opinion and I respect. Now, let me ask you: whar are they putting up with? And why should women stop talking and fighting for (even complain, whatever) about the many things that are still complicated for them only because they have it easier than the last generations? That makes no sense dude. Even men should be fighting for better lives as men, too.
        I think the “complaining” stops when equality reached their lives.

  45. Amazingly my boyfriend, who I have been with for 9 months, does absolutely ever single thing you listed. Didn’t think guys like that existed until I met him. 🙂

  46. Have to agree with a couple of these comments, this did read JUST like the drivel on the cover of Cosmo, especially the headline. Not to say that the list doesn’t have great things we might say to our girlfriends, but to produce a numerical list is a little over the top. What if I say only 10 of them, in so many words? 11? I guess I don’t measure up? She should hit the “next” button?

    To me, this reads like something written by a guy who is tired of seeing the other guys getting all the good women, and is doing whatever it takes to cock-block everybody else out there. I have to admit, in my earlier years when I was out on the prowl all the time, putting the bugs in women’s ears about what is wrong with their boyfriends, or other men (except me!) in general, and it was a fruitful strategy on occasion. Destroy the competition by exposing their ‘shortcomings.’

    You know which women read this stuff and say how much they love it and share it on Facebook, et al? Women who just got dumped or hurt by someone, or are in a failing relationship with an asshole. But the reality is, they are with the guys any way, and probably will be with similar guys again, with whatever the shortcoming might be.

    The bottom line is, if two people want to be together, they’ll be together. I know many very happy couples and I am sure the “he” in those relationships hasn’t managed to hit all these 16 points, and is NO less the good boyfriend or husband because of it.

    In any case, I find it annoying to read a definitive “list”, written by a man, no less, telling me the things I SHOULD be saying to my girlfriend. And if I’m not, she should be hitting the “next” button. A bit arrogant to me, thank you Mr. Perfect Boyfriend.

  47. Respect, saying I love you, wanting to be in the presence of your partner, physical intimacy, forgiveness, helping one another grow, being understanding of each other’s issues. Wouldn’t an emotionally mature person who is not afraid of intimacy want this from a partner? I do not understand why there is so much over-analyzing going on here. When I was still dealing with my own intimacy issues, if a man had any of these qualities I would run for the hills. I lacked self love, didn’t believe I deserved love so I always found myself in relationships with men who were just as unavailable as I was. Now that I have done the work and I am in a good place, I have attracted a man that could have written this list verbatim (we’re going on a year together). I read the entire article with a huge grin on my face because I feel truly blessed to have a partner who demonstrates all of this each and every day and it never gets old. Yes, it goes both ways but this is a site geared towards men so I can see why this was written from the perspective of a man. For the people who are now questioning their own relationships…GOOD! That is the point! If we are unhappy in a relationship, articles like this one can help us to see where exactly we may be settling for less than we deserve. Thanks so much, Mark, I really enjoy your writing.

  48. I agree that you can’t generalize like this. Many, many men I know very much love the women they are with but never said these things. I also know from my experience that virtually every person I was in a relationship with, I thought or at least hoped I could fall in love with, or thought I was in love with, but we turned out not being right for each other. It takes longer than three to six months to get to know someone. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t be saying some of these things, and certainly you should be feeling them. But people show and communicate love in a lot of ways, not just these.

  49. Mark,

    Well written and thought provoking. One year ago I would have thought these 16 things were only to be found in a romantic comedy starring Jude Law or Hugh Grant; basically, a pipe dream. Today I am in an amazing relationship with an incredible man. We have each said these 16 things to each other in the course of our relationship. Haters can puke now if you want. I don’t blame you, I used to be that person too.

    I am in a healthy partnership for the first time in my life because *I* am healthy–emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. As is he. I feel blessed and grateful everyday for what we have together, and I do not take any of it for granted. And it’s not all perfect and covered in cute puppies and lollipops. I think if it were, it would get boring. I believe we are all works in progress.

    Thank you for solidifying the reasons and making it clear to me why I want to be with my man for the rest of our lives (I have never said that about any other man in the past).

    I look forward to your next article.

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      Thanks for saying, Michelle. And glad you found that someone. Congrats to you two, and feel free to encourage any friends who aren’t getting these things that they are realistic to expect–when you’ve met the right person.

  50. I think if I said all this to my wife of 20 years she would puke. Can you say “saccharin overdose”? Not everyone wants it laid on with a trowel.

    I also doubt it is good advice for someone 3-6 months into a relationship. It sounds sappy. It sounds needy. It sounds like someone with a bad case of pedestal-itis. From what I remember back in the day, those things aren’t exactly turn-ons for a lot of young women. According to what I read, today’s young women are more commitment phobic than ever and are even more adverse to premature proposals of undying adoration.

    • Claran, you might be wrong. My husband of two decades and I have drifted so far apart –he was never much into showing his love or his desire. He claims I should have ‘known’ he loved me. But he took me for granted. I kept trying to tell him how alone I felt, and how I missed being close. He thought those things were for courtship, not marriage. And it hurt, badly. And now we’re so far apart–I have no desire for him at all. In therapy, I told him I need him to desire me, make me know I am desired, by telling me, in order to regain feelings of desire for him. He said and I quote, “that seems so trite.” He may love me. We are still working on figuring out whether anything’s left for us. But if he’d done some of these things…if I’d known how much I needed them, and asked before we drifted so far apart…we would be in a better place. (This is not to say it’s ‘his fault’–it’s mine, too…but I think making ‘adoration’ a part of your relationship, for both men and women, would help keep the fires burning…)

      • erain,

        The behavior recommended by the article strikes me as overly demonstrative. Your husband’s behavior strikes me as not nearly demonstrative enough. There’s someplace in between where you can convey how important someone is to you without smothering them in an emotional avalanche!

  51. Well I agreed 100% with Christian after reading the article 3 times, so I need to be told how we’re misunderstanding the article, Iben. It reads to me like a recipe for creating an unbalanced relationship, with a woman who sees her man in terms of his ability to boost her ego rather than respecting him as an individual.

    In 99% of situations, if someone reaches the stage of being genuinely on the fence about continuing a relationship, then they should end it. They should not feel “I need to hear that you adore me in order to feel that you are just about acceptable.”

    • Hi ayahush

      I think Mark explains well how he thinks in all his comments to this article. And it is impossible for me to do it better. All I can say is that I wish my parents had given me advice like this when I was 15-16-17 years old. Boys need the same kind of advice.

      And if you as a man wonder if you shall bring your relationship with a woman to a higher lever, to a more committed relationship , I think you shall ask yourself if she expresses love for you like Mark talks about here. So many of us go into relationships that have only 50%, 75% love. Some marry persons they don’t love 100%. Some marry persons they do not have much sexual interest in….and so on.

      We waste our time and our life, when we settle for relationship with little love.
      And if you feel deep love for a person you are with,then why not express it? There are more ways to express love than to have sex.

      If you are satiesfied and happy sharing your life with a person that see no need to express his or her feelings of love for you, then you are lucky. Most of us need it once in a while and it makes wonders when it given out of a honest feelings of love and not as a way to boost the others ego.
      Falsh flattery and lying will not get you anywhere.

      When there is never any expression love, well maybe there is no love.
      Lots of persons stay together without much love between them,unfortunately. Just look at the statistic for domestic violence .

      • Sorry, Iben. I think you missed the point of my comment. Being able to love and express that love freely is awesome. Being loved is awesome too. No argument there. In fact, I’m not arguing with any specific statement made in the article. All I’m saying is that writers need to be aware that when they write articles like this, directed at one gender but really about another gender, there are an infinite number of ways a reader could interpret what the author is saying, and they may be interpreting it in a way that the author did not intend. The author should have been more careful about taking a one-sided position in his argument. Rather than writing an article about how men need to be better boyfriends, with only a few changes the article could have been about how all people can be better partners. This could prevent a reader like myself from feeling singled-out or blamed, which I don’t think the author intended.

        • Hi Christian

          We can agree 100% on that.

          And I know when I feel that way about a man, the way Mark describes here , then it is serious.
          I am not ” in love”, I love .
          I has only happened once in my lifetime that we both felt that. And this article reminded me of those feelings, and how you feel at peace, relax and think :” I am finally home”. We used to call it “the symptoms of love”
          The article is written by a man that has loved, that is why I like it.

  52. Christian says:

    I think this article is problematic because it assumes and implies too much. In fact, red flags shoot straight up in my mind whenever I see the word ‘should’ italicised. You should not be telling anyone what they should be doing (wait, can I say that?). Okay, rather you should be more careful about what you tell people they should be doing. Here’s a list of concepts that I deduced from your writing that, if anyone else noticed them and I’m not alone here, are problematic:
    1. That there is an ideal boyfriend, husband, partner, etc. OR that all straight women are looking for the same man. Everybody’s different, right?
    2. If you are a boyfriend, husband, partner, etc. and you don’t conform to this list of rules you are doing something wrong. OR that if pleasing his woman is not the most important thing in a man’s life, that he is somehow less of a man or a bad person. I resent any implication that a man’s worth depends in large part upon how he treats the woman in his life. Let’s look at the same idea with the genders reversed: how would people like it if I implied that a woman’s worth depends upon how she treats her man? See the problem here?
    3. That a man’s wants and needs when it comes to his relationships are irrelevant, OR that a woman’s feelings and emotional needs always come first. It takes two to tango.
    4. That if there are problems in a relationship, it is probably the man’s fault, and it should be on him to fix those problems. OR that any woman, with her wide range personality traits, all her endearing qualities or annoying habits, is fundamentally perfect and should be treated as such, and that all men are flawed and require the help of writers on the internet in order to better themselves. Duh.
    I admire any effort to encourage people to treat each other better. I’m sure you did not intend to imply any of these things in your article. My point is that when addressing a topic like this one, of which gender and gender roles are a part, you need to be very careful in the unwritten implications of what you are saying. I think the problem of careless word choices leads to confusion and misguided responses, which ultimately create another barrier between the average reader and the network of feminists out there doing good work to make the world a better place. I was going to suggest that maybe a companion article listing what women can do to be better partners would be beneficial, but on second thought I don’t really believe that’s true. Encourage people to communicate, stand up for themselves and not tolerate abuse, but please don’t tell them what their relationships should look like, how they should function, or how people should express themselves.

    • Hi Christian
      I think you should read the article one more time.
      It looks like you misunderstood the message.

    • Hi Christian

      ✺. “I resent any implication that a man’s worth depends in large part upon how he treats the woman in his life. Let’s look at the same idea with the genders reversed: how would people like it if I implied that a woman’s worth depends upon how she treats her man? See the problem here?”✺
      No I do not see the problem here, and wonder if you see woman as a privileged human beings that can treat others without love and respect. Weird.

      Actually my respect for a woman friend drop to below zero when I see her be with a parter she does not love , and never express any love for. And I will expect others to loose all respect in me if they see me treat my parter without love,

      Let me give an example. I have my mother in a good nursing home. Last Sunday in a pre-Cristmas party I met a man that has his wife in the nursing home. She is 55 and in the late stages of Altzheimer,can not communicate in any way, has to be spoon fed…
      I watched how her husband all through the evening was by her side, touching her, tenderly stroke her arms and back. He was there for her,communicating without words. My respect for this man is sky high.
      How a man treats his woman tells lots about who he is a human being, and it does give him value. I value that man highly. He is well educated, good looking and can pick and choose between women. But he is by his wife’s side full of love. And he expresses his love in the huge crowd of people he had never met. Maybe he is shy, but it does not let it stop him expressing love for his wife in a way he think will reach her emotionally.
      So you and I disagree .

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      Hi Christian

      Glad you joined the conversation. I always respect someone putting their two cents out there, which is all I was trying to do with this piece.

      But sorry, I think you’re projecting a bit here. The things you’re accusing my piece are certainly not in my prose. I never said/ implied “pleasing a woman is the most important thing in a man’s life,” that’s all you, or “a man’s wants and needs are irrelevant” or that any problem in a relationship must be the man’s fault. I think you’re putting 2 and 2 together and getting 7. I firmly believe a man has not only a right, but a moral obligation to find his own purpose and sense of meaning in life that doesn’t center around a woman. But that if he chooses to have a woman in his life, and wants her to be a pivotal part of it (being a full and complete “boyfriend” in good standing) then he has a certain level of commitment to uphold, and I see an awful lot of men in today’s society not upholding much of a standard at all, and an awful lot of women tolerating it when they shouldn’t. Of course I feel a woman has an identical obligation to uphold levels of integrity, commitment and bringing value to the relationship, but most of the time, she’s doing that way more than her mate, and I encourage her to walk away to wake his ass up if he won’t respond to subtler measures. This is a site about “men” (and how to be a better one), so I’m focusing on their roles in the equation, not women’s. But GMP is all about discussion, and I welcome you to write your own piece on the matter. Cheers.

      • Hi Mark,

        Of course I feel a woman has an identical obligation to uphold levels of integrity, commitment and bringing value to the relationship, but most of the time, she’s doing that way more than her mate

        Granted we come from different circumstances and environment/social circles.
        But do women really do that, on the level “way more than” their partners? Or is that just the message we are spoon fed by media and popular culture?
        (Because that’s really what I see Christian reacting to.)

      • I’m going to have to agree with Christian to some extent. Even the title of this article made me think of a Cosmo article explaining to women why their man isn’t up to par. What are you trying to teach men with this article? I can see that in some ways it’s empowering to women. But what does it teach men? Try harder? You’re not doing it right? She loves you more than you love her? If you aren’t doing these things you don’t really love her?

        Unless, I’m a straight guy who’s hitting all of these points already, I probably would walk away feeling pretty inaccurate.

        We’ve got to stop telling people how to love each other. Bottom line, if it feels good to both of you and no one is (genuinely) getting hurt, then what else is there? What you’ve done here is reinforce one type of White, Western, hetero-normative relationship. Maybe it works for you and some others. But Christian’s right, when you start an article with “should” you’ve assumed your way is the right way.

        • Mark Radcliffe says:

          To address your question, it’s written more to women, but about the actions of men. I’m saying, if you’re looking for a rewarding, committed relationship, and you’re putting more into it than you’re getting out (if you’re feeling/ demonstrating many/ most of these things yourself and he’s not), then yes, walk away, whether you’re a man or a woman. If verbalizing your unsatisfaction doesn’t provoke the desired change, hit the “next” button. My experience (both as a family counselor for a few years and just observing thousands of relationships over the years) is too many women wait around too long, tolerating a man who, yes, is not trying hard enough, and they end up feeling neglected, becoming depressed, sometimes even descending into an abyss of alcoholism or some other form of coping. Yes, this is own own subjective list of “shoulds” and should be simply read as one guy’s opinion. As I said to Christian, the Good Men Project would welcome a retort to this piece if you’d care to write one, and I hope you consider it. Thx for commenting.

  53. Oh I wish I had read this a month ago. Number 13 or lack of number 13 should have been my dead give away I was about to have my heart broken.

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      Wow. Thank you for this comment. Makes me all the more glad I included this one in the list. Yes, I swear, there’re all crucial to hear. They don’t all need to be “said,” since we can certainly communicate without words. And maybe not all 16 need to be there. But if the general spirit of these things isn’t present in your lover–and you’re bringing plenty of commitment to the table yourself–there are other fish in the sea. Jump, and a net shall appear.

  54. Thank you Mark for another great article and as Leo pointed out, thanks also for your comments in this thread. I have not read all of the other commentary by here is mine: I interpret your words telling us all, men and women, not to settle for less than love, and if and when you do find it, communitate that love with your whole heart and being in ways that can be heard and received without any shadow of a doubt. Thank you for sharing your words and thoughts and putting language to what many may feel but struggle to articulate.

  55. I love this article, and Mark’s comments in the thread.

    It’s so, so easy to be critical naysayers, and there appear to be plenty of them commenting. But it takes a lot more to do the best we can, even if we repeatedly fall back and don’t come up to our expectations. In my experience it takes a certain courage and sometimes sheer guts to truly love another.

    Does this article refer to the first 3-6 months, as some have suggested? No way. In my view and experience Mark’s points are for us men to listen to, and commit to, and do all we can to live up to this high benchmark through the years that follow, including especially those difficult and challenging times.

    I know did not always tell my beloved all these things. I did not always tell her in so many ways just how much I cared for her, adored her, valued her. Just for who she was. I kinda assumed she knew all that for far too much of our time together.

    And by the time I realised what is really important to tell her, it was too late. Cancer took her last year. I told her how much I loved her before she died. I told her I was sorry for all the hurtful words I said to her. That was something I can look back on with gratitude that I was able and had the opportunity to do that. But wouldn’t it have been better to do tell her – in so many ways – a long time before life threw Reality in my face?

    I know that if I am blessed to be loved by another woman I will surely do all I can to communicate my love in as many of these 16 ways as I can. Thank you Mark.

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      Big ups, sir. Very much appreciated. And believe me, I haven’t always been this guy myself. And occasionally, I’ve gotten dumped for having failed to be this guy. And I think those women absolutely did the right thing. 😉

  56. Sorry, the truth is many people do not deserve to be told half of these things. “I love how you’re living your life, what you’re devoting yourself to, how you’re spending your time, what path you’ve chosen, how you deal with the people around you.” Seriously? Most people are wasting their life, probably including many of us here. Yes, you should be receiving some of this somewhere. But, making people think they should hear all of this all the time no matter who they are or what they are doing is idiotic, naive, romantic drek. Might as well just go watch the latest hollywood industry product!

  57. The guy in the picture looks like Ahmadinejad.

  58. My husband rarely said any of this when we met , but he showed it in how he looked at me, spoke to me, talked about me to his friends, made me a priority, protected and respected my feelings, and was always present when I needed him most. While words are awesome…actions are better. I think the author is saying that men should be feeling, saying, and/or showing these things to a woman if he’s serious about her.

  59. Mark, I really appreciated your list and I wish more relationships met those criteria! I wanted to give you a little insight on #4. Despite being paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident in 1989 I have been “getting it on” for the past 24 years. So, paraglide with impunity!!! Wink.

  60. I bet we could get a consensus that almost everyone wants to feel loved, appreciated, and respected by the person he or she is in a committed romantic relationship with. Isn’t everything on the list some permutation of one of those three. Doesn’t 16 items create a more complicated picture of something that’s already complicated enough?

    In addition, if someone is “on the fence”, could he or she possibly be acing the little test here? Those fences are by definition on the boundary line of a good relationship, and if you’re on that line, you’re not much in the relationship yourself.

    And, obsequious much?

  61. …and a partridge in a pear tree

  62. I would agree that (1) this shouldn’t be taken literally, you can’t expect people to actually say some of these phrases, it sounds too much like a cheesy rom com moment. BUT, I think all of these things should be expressed through actions in some way in any relationship that you are expecting to last and be a committed relationship. And (2) it should go both ways. Any solid relationship needs to involve a mixture of appreciating all that is best in a person and accepting that they have certain flaws, and making sure the other person knows it. You do have to know what your limits are though, and not accept truly bad behaviour from another.

    • Hi Ron

      ✺”I would agree that (1) this shouldn’t be taken literally, you can’t expect people to actually say
      some of these phrases”✺

      I disagree.
      A person that can say things like Mark’s examples are persons good at expressing emotions and good at intimacy.
      It works wonders in relationships if you can express your feelings like this….

      It has to be an honest expression of feelings, but it is important for many of us to hear it expressed in words. It is lovely,and I never forget love expressed this way.
      They are gifts worth more than material things for many of us,especially for us romantic people of both gender.

  63. You my man, are infatuated. This is the language of anyone in the 3-6 month range.

    I have used these words and meant every one and even said I loved him but it was chemistry, simply lust speaking. These words I used to create beautiful feelings, a beautiful atmosphere. But I did not love him after all and this realization hit me about a year into it. Lust did not turn to love. Like Delta Rae’s song called ‘If I loved you’ hits home for me. A woman knows deep down inside within the first year if there is more to this lust than meets the body. I tell ya, anyone can affirm they mean it during this period but give it time.

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      But in my experience, this isn’t actually even the language of most men in the 3-6 month range. The language is usually, “Sorry, can’t meet up tonight, gotta hang w/ my bros” or there’s just an absence of communication whatsoever. Sure, the flame perhaps burns brightest at the beginning, but ladies, if there isn’t a huge goddamn flame in the early phases (and what you desire is a serious interest), it’s probably not gonna be there later. Yes, things blossom later on down the road sometimes, but what I’ve seen more often than not, is that if a guy isn’t head over heels for you in the first 6 months of serious dating, it’s usually because he “isn’t that into you.” Now, he might be batsh*t crazy for not being into you, and the rest of us might know it clear as day, but if he isn’t, you’re better off leaving the door open for the guy who is. Because the one thing I know about guys is: there’s a million of us who are in love with a girl who’s dating a guy who we feel isn’t worthy of her.

  64. I think this list has a lot of truth to it when it comes to truly loving someone. My boyfriend and I adore each other and are on each others minds constantly despite a busy adult lifestyle full of responsibilities and commitments. We also put each other in eachothers places and argue because frankly, we give a damn. This article doesn’t have to be taken so literally because it’s unnatural to say “you captivate me” but it’s the random long loving quiet stares where you kind of feel you’re falling in love all over again coming from a place of genuine love and interest for the other. I used to be in a relationship that didn’t tick most of those boxes though we had love for each other, all those things above that were missing made me realize he wasn’t the one despite all the positive things about him as a person. I ended that relationship and met the person I want to spend the rest of my life with because we can make eachother happy and get through the tough times because we all of the above is there. So maybe this list should be 16 Things Your Life Partner should feel, not just any boyfriend or girlfriend.

  65. I read this article aloud at a party as a joke. The women laughed the loudest.

  66. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Really, really nice! And I’m one of the sourpusses here, so if I say it, it’s gotta be true.

  67. A prescribed list, even!

  68. Honestly (and ideally), I think these things should be said by both parties. But, that’s just me. I was in a relationship where I said – and meant – everything on this list (starting around the 6 month mark), but she never said any of them (even after a year of being together). It drove me insane that I felt like I was guessing, or assuming, how she felt towards me.

    • Hi Steve

      You are right. Women should also express our love with words.

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      Agreed, Steven, completely. I just seem to find (in my own experience) that, more often than not, women are saying these things all the time to their BFs, but the guys are too busy playing XBox or “working late” or just plain cheating on their GFs to say these things. Again: not “all guys,” just too many.

      • FlyingKal says:

        Hi Mark,
        Yes, I think you’re right in that women are saying these things all the time to their BF’s.
        But in my experience, they are often too busy saying it so that they don’t even reflect about the meaning of it, that there should be some kind of action to back it up and not just a stream of words.
        Like “If I take you out to a restaurant for dinner, will you dance with me then?”, – “No, because you don’t dance good enough.”

  69. To be honest, I think I’d be running for the hills if my (incredibly loving and adoring, of course!) boyfriend, looked me deep in the eyes and told me I inspired him and that he was captivated by me!

    This article actually has a slight sense of humor injected into it, which means it comes in very slightly above all the other awful list articles out there which make you question everything about your life… But not by much.

  70. I suppose you are implying we men should tell a woman what she wants to hear?

    If I do not believe these things to be so, I am not going to lie!

    I have a girlfriend. We have been together almost a year. She gets about 11 out of your 16 things I supposedly should be saying. I think she is happy with me, for now.

    Since I do not do casual relationships, these things are for serious or real relationships. But, she has to step up her game and be good enough to get all of these. In other words, she has to earn some of these things.

    • If you don’t think she’s earned 100% of your love, respect, and acceptance, than why are you with her? Why is she with you??

    • If she has to step up her game in order to “be good enough” then she is already not ever going to be good enough. When love is conditional, there is nothing she can do which will change that.
      We either love someone as they are, or we don’t. A zebra cannot become a giraffe, no matter how much she cranes her neck. Do the girl a favor, and recognize that you are holding her to an impossible standard, or cut her loose so that she can find someone who actually can love her. Everyone deserves that.

      • @Kelly,

        I think you misunderstood me.

        I was speaking in a general sense not specifically about my girlfriend. The fact that we are dating means she is ALREADY good enough for me. If a woman wants all 16 of these things from me, some of them she is going to have to earn.

  71. my boyfriend and I have been together just over 2 years. I’m fairly sure he has only said 4 of those things. Is that really bad?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      If you’re happy and satisfied, then no list can ever tell you what’s good or bad.

    • Mike Russo says:

      See? This is what Christian is talking about. Becca is now not sure if this is good or not. No one should tell you what you should do to make you happy.

      These listed articles are just like “Top 25 hottest female athletes” or “top 10 best engines of 2013.” They have bold statement titles that at best tell no one anything they didn’t already know, and just get traffic in to view advertisements, or at worst they get people thinking some other aspect of their life is not ENOUGH. They aren’t good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, their love life is not interesting enough- something is NOT ENOUGH. The typical corporate culture phrase.

      • I don’t take this article to mean you should LITERALLY be hearing these phrases, verbatim. If you don’t get the sense that your boyfriend is enamored with you, then why stick around when it’s not likely to happen?? There are several means of communication, and there is nothing unreasonable on this list. Like #15, I wouldn’t expect a man to *literally* say this, but I’d also hope that he would enjoy being near me, and not *just* approaching me physically because he has a need to satisfy himself! And for the men, it seems like a waste of time to be with women you aren’t 100% in love with! If you want to change your girlfriend, why not accept that she will not change and let her find someone who loves her as she is??

        • Mark Radcliffe says:

          Thank you, Deborah. I’m just catching up on comments here, but yes, this is not meant as a “these words should be coming out of his mouth” essay so much as “you should generally get the sense this is what he feels.” Because there are many ways we can “tell” someone how we feel. If a guy kisses you in a certain way, you can tell he adores you. If he looks at you a certain way, you can tell he’s captivated by you. If he texts you while he’s at a business conference, he’s thinking about you, if he changes his mind on something and admits you were right, he respects you. Etc, etc, etc. There are many ways of communicating these arbitrary 16 things. Each person should make their own list and measure their current amant agaist it. Here’s to setting our own standards and sticking to them.

          • So, you know, I married him. I’ve BEEN married to him for seven years. We were together for almost 15 before this. and, you know, I hear very little of this. He’s never been emotional, but his friends and family kept telling me “He DOES love you, he’s just not good at showing it.” I though maybe I would adapt to his way. But his way, it seems, is NO way. He barely touches me. He never tells me anything about love, or loving me. He doesn’t cuddle. There are days we hardly talk, or all I can get is one word responses.

            He does stuff for me once in a blue moon. I try to constantly tell him I love him, ask about his day, make him dinner. I used to do more: get him coffee every morning, pack a lunch,send him notes, call him. He never responded in kind, or hardly at all. A counselor told me to stop doing so much for him so he had space to step up, so I backed off. He didn’t step up to me, he just left a bigger gap.

            This year, for our anniversary, he didn’t get me even a card. I called him at work on the day, got him something he’d been telling me he wanted, and made a special dinner the day of. Then we went out for dinner on the weekend. He later told me that was my anniversary gift. When we got home from dinner, he played video games. I waited, then went to bed.

            I realize now that he feels the way he shows me his love is enough. It just isn’t what I need. I’m independent, and I don’t want to baby him. But for me, I need more. I need to feel cherished, and this isn’t doing it for me. I love him, but I don’t know what to do or where to turn. It’s like having a room mate. He’s fine with it. I’m not. I’m tired of giving and then being left in the cold.

            But I don’t know what to do.

            • Hi Diana

              You say you don’t know what to do.

              Why not start trusting your own feelings instead of listening to his relatives telling you how he feels?
              What do they know about his capacity to love ?
              Always trust your own feelings,even when they run contrary to the logic of the situation .

            • Mark Radcliffe says:

              I don’t know you (though wish I did), but yes, I get a sense you deserve what you feel is missing from this relationship. I know tons of people who are unhappy in their relationships & marriages (though I know way more women that feel this way than men), and generally urge that something needs to change. One: address the problem and make it clear that you want more (as well as making sure that you’re delivering as much or more to them so you don’t have a double standard), two: repeat multiple times, since some people don’t respond right away, three: if there are no kids involved, and he doesn’t seem like he’ll miss you a ton if you’re gone, move on and get out. It’s a terrifying thought to plunge into the single unknown, and your situation might be way more complicated than I’m aware, but almost every woman I’ve known who’s eventually dared to get divorced has said the same thing: “Thank God I finally moved on.” As another commenter above said, “Don’t settle.” Best of luck, and make sure you’re getting a helluva a lot more perspectives than mine in the matter. After all, I’m just some damn writer in New York… 😉

        • @Deborah,
          And for the men, it seems like a waste of time to be with women you aren’t 100% in love with! If you want to change your girlfriend, why not accept that she will not change and let her find someone who loves her as she is??

          I think, I thing isn’t whether I’m 100% in love with the woman or not, but what she is feeling for me, and what ways, if any, she chooses to express that.
          Am I supposed to fulfill these 16 “commandments”, and then be happy and satisfied by her just gracing me with her (occassional) presence and attention?

  72. Katherine says:

    This is sort of nice, but it’s definitely unrealistic for most ladies to expect these 16 things. Many women (not all) would consider them an ideal, but a guy shouldn’t be saying these things unless they’re true.

    • Mark Radcliffe says:

      My point is to simply urge women to demand a lot from the guy you’re spending time with. If you’re putting a lot into it, he should be, too. You can take or leave what you want from this list, or just make up your own. But have some high expectations, and don’t settle for someone you think is taking you for granted. These are all things I’ve felt about the women in my life many times. It hasn’t always worked out, for a variety of reasons, but when I’ve truly been in love, as in “Jesus I can’t get this girl out of my head,” these are the things I’ve felt about her. And yes, for the record, sometimes she hasn’t felt the same way, and walked away. So it goes. 😉

      • …and furthermore, if it isn’t true, shouldn’t both parties hit the next button. I’ve been with my wife for 19 years now and can still check off all of these. If I couldn’t add a few more to my own list I think I would feel like we stalled out.
        What this article says to me is “don’t settle.”

  73. I lived 5 years with a woman who seemed uncapable of being present, just here and now.
    She would go on a business trip for 5 days, come home friday and head out for After-work beer with her co-workers. Then she had scheduled a shopping day with her mother that turned into a family evening dinner. Sunday was church, cofffee and choir practice, coming home just in time to start packing for next week’s business trip. If she was scheduled to come home Thursday, I had cleaned the house, bought her flowers and prepared dinner, she would hug and kiss me for maybe a full minute. Then she’d start talking about her job…

    • @FlyingKal,

      I think this woman was just a narcissist. While I do not know her, everything seemed to revolve around her needs, only. She was not capable of sensing your feelings and emotions. She lacked empathy for you. Classic narcissism.

      • FlyingKal says:

        Hi Jules.
        Naah, I don’t think so.
        I think that she just wasn’t sexually attracted to me. And in order to avoid/prevent/prohibit any kind of sexually charged situation betwenen us, she kept on changing subject. And putting whatever things she could come up with, higher on the priority list.

  74. What exactly was the point of this article? Does anyone benefit from being told what their relationships should look like? Isn’t that something that people should figure-out on their own? Is this article implying that all women want the same things from their partners? Is this article implying that a man who does not conform to these rules isn’t worth being with? Are the man’s personal qualities not a factor?

    • I’m pretty sure the majority of women want to be told they are loved and respected! And yes, we all need reminders of the good things out there to expect. I settled for someone who didn’t even offer the first thing on this list. 99% of the time, no, he did not seem happy to see me there, existing. If I had seen this list, I would have left him immediately. No one should settle for less love than they deserve.


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