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Sex + Relationships

My 5 Oddly Specific Relationship Requirements

No, it’s not all about height

For most of my life, any romantic relationships I had were typically extremely rocky, with on-and-off flings, complicated “situationships,” miscommunication and pretty much anything else that could go wrong. I always seemed to pick the wrong person to obsess over and ended up wasting my time (and my friends seemed to consistently have the same issue). Consequently, it took me by surprise when I fell into a real relationship with a fantastic guy last year – one that lacked the chaos and complications of my past entanglements. And while I have no intention of getting into another relationship any time soon, my current one has set many standards that I now view as essential to a healthy relationship, even if they’re a bit unconventional.

1. Going grocery shopping

This may sound odd, but grocery shopping is a non-negotiable for me. I’ve had flings with certain guys who would make me cringe if I ever thought about them grocery shopping alone, much less going together. To me, it speaks to a boy’s ability to navigate and fit in the “real world.” Can he provide food for himself? Does he know what to look for? Does he look stupid carrying that little plastic basket, or rather is it endearing? It’s just an adult requirement to be able to go grocery shopping and not have it be awkward or embarrassing.

2. Having relationships with other women

This may be controversial, but I appreciate a man who can talk to and be friends with other women. To me, it signifies that he values women without having a romantic or sexual attraction to them. I have for sure dealt with men who had very few female friends and would never hold a genuine conversation with a girl if not for an ulterior motive. And while stereotypes about the “girl best friend” are valid, I believe it’s more important that they respect women beyond any attraction to them.

3. Listening to my “gossip”

While many guys will scoff and tune out girls while they rant about their friends, family, or other people they encounter, I appreciate a man who genuinely engages in conversation about all the juicy gossip. I love feeling like he actually cares what’s going on in my life and with the people around me, and cares about how it makes me feel. It’s also endearing when they remember details from the last gossip sesh, demonstrating genuine thought about what I say, even if it’s rather trivial.

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4. Investing in self-care

Self-care is something that lots of men refrain from, either because of a lack of interest, fear, or appearing “feminine.” I love when men like lots of hair, body and face products, and really put time into how they present themselves. My boyfriend loves when I give him facials and enjoys getting his eyebrows done or even a pedicure. I think it’s important for everyone to invest in themselves, and it’s attractive when a man isn’t afraid of something because it is viewed as more “feminine” (plus, they smell and look so much better).

mel?/kyris/kinlò

5. Respecting his mom, without being a “mama’s boy”

Not to give Freud credit, but it is concerning how many boys have questionable relationships with their mothers. It’s far too common that a guy’s mom will be hyper-controlling and nearly jealous when he gets a girlfriend, and they think no one is good enough for their perfect son. If a boy lets his mom heavily influence his romantic life, it is clear he can’t think for himself about your relationship, and plays into the narrative his mother wants. That being said, it should be noted this is different from a boy respecting and being close to his mom – it’s important for men to realize how much the women in their life do for them, especially their mothers. However, a mom should never get in the way of an adult romantic relationship. Ever.

While there are about 20 more requirements I could list, these five easily top my list. And while it’s difficult to have standards when you feel desperate to find someone, it is well worth it to wait for the right person. I’ve made the mistake too many times of ignoring red flags just so I wasn’t alone. However, being in my first real relationship has opened my eyes to how many things I overlooked in the past, and I could’ve saved myself a lot of time and heartbreak if I knew what to look for.

Angie Bloechl

Wisconsin '25

I'm a freshman at UW-Madison this year studying economics and political science. I love listening to podcasts, reading & painting!
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