If we all ended up with the dream guys we fantasized about in our diaries as little girls, we'd probably all be dating terrible, narcissistic hunks who look great, have tons of money, live in faraway castles, and have little to no time for us. The things you think you want when you're 8, 13, 22, or whatever change with time, and really, it's for the best. People talk about "settling" with someone who doesn't meet all your high standards like it's a terrible thing. But there are some things that it's OK to give a little on, because in the grand scheme of your perfect whirlwind romance, they just don't matter very much.
1. How much money he makes.
He doesn't need to be raking in the cash to take good care of you or be a good boyfriend. It's better to be with someone who's smart with their money than someone who just has endless amounts of it. Plus, sometimes the best dates are the ones that cost nothing at all.
2. How extroverted he is.
If he's not the life of the party every time you're in a room together, that's OK. And if people think he's rude because he's a little shy, that's their problem and their insecurity.
3. How hot he is.
It's easy to be drawn in by a chiseled face and a six-pack that seemingly goes on forever, but looks really do fade and a solid relationship is built on a solid backbone, not cheekbones. If he's right for you, you'll think he's hot anyway.
4. How tall he is.
It would be terrible to throw away the guy of your dreams just because you think you can't wear your favorite 5-inch pumps when you're out with him. You'll probably be too busy having a blast with him to care about how you look towering over him in public.
5. How much you like his family.
You're in a romantic relationship with him, not his family. If he supports you around his family, defends you when necessary, and doesn't expect you to hang out with them all the time, that's all that matters.
6. How "well-bred" he is.
Having a man with a country club membership and high-powered job at his dad's law firm is great, but don't let the fact that he hasn't appeared on any 30 under 30 lists keep you from giving him a shot.
7. How well-dressed he is.
Either he's been dressed by another girl without your taste for a while or he's had no one to help him shop except for maybe his mom or his sister. Take him shopping when the time is right. Once a guy experiences well-fitting jeans for the first time, he never wants to go back.
8. How different your tastes are.
You might wish you could just date a carbon copy of yourself, who likes all the same weird things as you and already has concert tickets to all the shows you wanted to see, but one of the best parts about dating new people is learning new things. Maybe he'll open you up to your new favorite movie or TV show, and it'll just be one more thing you love about him.
9. How textbook "exciting" he is.
If he's not exciting to your friends who like to go out in freakum dresses and get wasted four nights a week at ~da club~ because he prefers to snuggle with you at home, who cares? The most important thing is that you have fun when you're together, case closed.
10. How awkward he is.
So what if he's always tripping over his shoelaces or making a slight embarrassment of himself in front of your friends? The smooth guys are the ones you have to look out for anyway, because they're usually the ones with ulterior motives. His little quirks are endearing.
11. How old he is.
Hey, plenty of great romances have happened between people who aren't even in the same generation. Don't let some bullshit societal rule stop you from living all your dreams.
12. How many people he's been with.
He's not with those people anymore for a reason, and like it or not, they probably helped shape him into the dreamboat you ended up with. Numbers are just numbers and everyone has a past. Finding someone whose past fits with yours is the real key.
13. How good at romantic gestures he is.
A guy who's good at big gestures is usually a guy who's had to do a lot of apologizing in his time, and you don't want that in the long-term. He should be better at the everyday things, like listening to you and genuinely caring about how your day went. Those are what add up and make the difference between a fling and someone with serious marriage potential.
14. How many friends he has.
It's fun to date someone who comes with a posse and a traveling party everywhere they go, but a guy who doesn't have a crew might be a guy who's better with a few, very intimate friendships. He'll probably also be more attentive.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.