When I was sixteen, I thought I had love and relationships all figured out. I thought my high school boyfriend was the love of my life, that what we had was perfect, and that we’d be together forever and have a bunch of babies (OK, maybe not a BUNCH). Fast forward a few months after graduation and my perfect pipe dream romance became an epic shit storm! It’s amazing what 300-miles and insecurity can do to a person, whether 16 or 60. So, my 16-year-old self sat down and created a list of “requirements”. Essentially, a list of relationship must-haves and deal-breakers.
Must-Haves at 16?
During this crazy fucking COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to be an adult by cleaning, decluttering, and organizing my house. I know. I lead such a glamourous life, right? During one of my cleaning sprees, I found a stack of folders and notebooks from high school. Pages upon pages of poetry, song lyrics, letters, lists, and teenage angst soon encircled me, littering my floor with ghosts of my teenage past. (I was a moody, emotional, passionate bitch back then, too!)
While thumbing through a blue single subject notebook with a serene ocean world and orca whales on the cover, I found it. On the final two pages of this jam-packed notebook was a list of “requirements”. My 16-year-old list of relationship must-haves. All 55 of them! It’s essentially a build-a boyfriend list.
List of Relationship Must-Haves
So, what qualities, must-haves, and deal breakers did my 16-year-old self want to dump into the build-a-boyfriend machine? I have to admit, I laughed at some of these and some made me realize that my 16-year-old self would likely kick my adult self’s ass for breaking my own deal breakers!
Alright, grab some snacks, a glass of wine, and get ready!
- Knows what love is.
- Is my best friend and lover.
- financially independent (**I assume at 16 I meant “has a job”!)
- not a “mama’s boy”
- hopeless romantic
- spontaneously romantic
- spontaneous in general (funny, because this can sometimes drive me crazy as an adult)
- Loving, giving, caring, thoughtful
- determined in life & relationships
- knows what he wants and takes it
- organized (but not obsessive/compulsive)
- sympathetic to my needs/wants/dreams
- not a slob!
- has aspirations/dreams (see #14)
- not a “cling on”/hemorrhoid, etc (**HAHAHAHA Even at 16 I was not about those stage 5 clingers!)
- doesn’t have shadow syndrome (**A.K.A Stage 5! )
- is supportive in good AND bad
- not looking for a quickie commitment
- not looking for a fling/one-night stand (**adult self is rolling her eyes)
- not a “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” buy (**again, see last note)
- brings/sends my favorite flowers without a reason, just out of the blue (but not every day).
- knows how to communicate openly and honestly
- doesn’t play mind games
- loves kids
- doesn’t have a criminal past
- no STD’s/ex-drug user/alcoholic
- isn’t insecure
- isn’t possessive
- isn’t conceited, overly confident (“big head”)
- knows how to “make love” not just have sex
- sense of humor
- knows the difference between love and sex (**I think I was getting as sex and intimacy here)
- takes care of me when I and sick without being asked
- knows what I need and caters to that
- knows when to get close and when to stay away
- knows me better than anyone else
- still wants to date even after we are “committed”
- knows my moods
- knows when I need to talk and when I need to be alone
- knows how to treat me
- can make me melt with one look
- writes me corny, romantic little poems and notes
- gives me a corny, romantic card for no reason
- acts like Valentine’s Day is every day
- is man enough to share the household chores
- can help me out with big and little things without being asked
- knows when I need a break or breakdown
- loves me endlessly and unconditionally
- sees me as the “love of his life” and not the “object of his affection”
- knows the difference between the last two phrases
Must-Haves and Deal Breakers
I’ve had some great relationships and some really shitty ones in my life. Looking back at this list, I don’t think I’ve ever had a relationship that met this list of “requirements”. It’s amazing to me, though, how much of this still rings true for me today. Obviously, I would condense a lot of this if I were to write a list as an adult.
Do you have a list of relationship must-haves? What’s on it? What are you relationship deal breakers?