Relationship Must-Haves and Deal-Breakers

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!)

relationship wish list deal breakers
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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!

  1. Knows what love is.
  2. Is my best friend and lover.
  3. trustworthy/trusting
  4. honest
  5. financially independent (**I assume at 16 I meant “has a job”!)
  6. not a “mama’s boy”
  7. hopeless romantic
  8. spontaneously romantic
  9. spontaneous in general (funny, because this can sometimes drive me crazy as an adult)
  10. Loving, giving, caring, thoughtful
  11. Intelligent
  12. goal-oriented
  13. self-sufficient
  14. determined in life & relationships
  15. knows what he wants and takes it
  16. organized (but not obsessive/compulsive)
  17. sympathetic to my needs/wants/dreams
  18. not a slob!
  19. has aspirations/dreams (see #14)
  20. not a “cling on”/hemorrhoid, etc (**HAHAHAHA Even at 16 I was not about those stage 5 clingers!)
  21. doesn’t have shadow syndrome (**A.K.A Stage 5! )
  22. is supportive in good AND bad
  23. not looking for a quickie commitment
  24. not looking for a fling/one-night stand (**adult self is rolling her eyes)
  25. not a “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” buy (**again, see last note)
  26. brings/sends my favorite flowers without a reason, just out of the blue (but not every day).
  27. knows how to communicate openly and honestly
  28. doesn’t play mind games
  29. loves kids
  30. doesn’t have a criminal past
  31. no STD’s/ex-drug user/alcoholic
  32. isn’t insecure
  33. isn’t possessive
  34. isn’t conceited, overly confident (“big head”)
  35. knows how to “make love” not just have sex
  36. sense of humor
  37. knows the difference between love and sex (**I think I was getting as sex and intimacy here)
  38. takes care of me when I and sick without being asked
  39. knows what I need and caters to that
  40. knows when to get close and when to stay away
  41. knows me better than anyone else
  42. still wants to date even after we are “committed”
  43. knows my moods
  44. knows when I need to talk and when I need to be alone
  45. knows how to treat me
  46. can make me melt with one look
  47. writes me corny, romantic little poems and notes
  48. gives me a corny, romantic card for no reason
  49. acts like Valentine’s Day is every day
  50. is man enough to share the household chores
  51. can help me out with big and little things without being asked
  52. knows when I need a break or breakdown
  53. loves me endlessly and unconditionally
  54. sees me as the “love of his life” and not the “object of his affection”
  55. 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?

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