While it can sometimes feel like meeting a guy who actually treats you like a human being who deserves to be loved and appreciated is impossible, there are some rare exceptions walking among us. A good boyfriend is hard—but possible—to find. To provide some proof that these men do, in fact, exist, Cosmopolitan.com spoke with seven guys about what makes them great boyfriends, and what they do to make their girlfriends fall more in love with them every day.
1. "A simple 'I love you :)' text at lunch goes a long way because she knows I am very focused when at my job."
"It's definitely a combination of the big and little things. I do my best to be my girlfriend's sounding board. She doesn't need me to give her the answer, just to ask her the right questions to help her organize her thoughts. Being there for her in that way has helped her choose a career path and prioritize friends to keep in touch with, to name a few. I benefit selfishly from this too—I have a more confident, purposeful, and happy woman in my life!
I think guys tend to struggle most with the small things—this was definitely me—and the key is to make them habits. She loves little things that show her I'm thinking about her and not taking our relationship for granted. We have a jar we fill up with memories of all of our funny moments and good times written on scraps of paper. At the end of every month, we lie on our bed and read through them together and replay those great times. This consistently brings us back to reflecting on how good life is together. Our Wednesday nights are sacred: we try a new restaurant in our neighborhood in San Francisco and make a point of having great quality time together. Even a simple 'I love you :)' text at lunch goes a long way because she knows I am very focused when at my job." —Alex, 25
2. "I work out all the time to make her feel comfortable to be seen with me in public."
"Where do I even begin? All that follows is 100 percent real. Yesterday, I woke up at my girlfriend's house and ran to Whole Foods to buy a dozen roses and French pastries. I took her to brunch, where we both had unlimited mimosas and breakfast tacos. Brunch was followed by a visit to a cat café, where we spent about an hour playing with kittens. When one kitten scratched my beloved, I took her on a shopping spree to cheer her up. After a few margaritas at her favorite bar in the area, we walked home and we had sex. We had pizza and wine for dinner, watched some movies, and removed stubborn blackheads before cuddling to sleep in a loving embrace.
Bigger picture stuff: I think I am pretty in tune with her emotions and I am good with her body. I make her come all the time and sometimes in less than 30 seconds. Yeah, I'm that good. I work out all the time to make her feel comfortable to be seen with me in public. I try to be as supportive as possible, whether that means helping her study, providing her with crucial supplies like coffee and food, or cleaning her room." —Shane, 23
3. "She always gets the last slice of pizza, or the first sip of our drink on a hot day."
"I'm a good boyfriend because I always put her first (when I can). She always gets the last slice of pizza, or the first sip of our drink on a hot day. I always try to make her days better, and I make sure she laughs every day. The last words we say in every conversation are always 'I love you.' That will never change. But the biggest thing is that we bring out the best in each other. I'm a good boyfriend because she's a good girlfriend. I make her less stressed about the serious things, and she makes me focus on what's important. I love the changes she makes me go through, and I know that she makes me better.
The only example I can really give on this is that she made me switch my major from engineering to business. I wasn't happy with what I was doing, but I knew I needed to make a decision: To drop out and work, stay where I was unhappy, or move forward. I had awful grades and felt like a failure. I wanted to quit school. But I knew that I needed to do better to help support her, and to build a family with her. I changed my major, tried harder in classes, and made better connections. I'm graduating in seven months now, because she made me truly feel like I could become the man I wanted to be." —Cory, 23
4. "I try to be sympathetic to a girlfriend's (or anyone's) issues, even if I don't really understand them."
"I'm generally a pretty good listener, and I try to be sympathetic to a girlfriend's (or anyone's) issues, even if I don't really understand them. The best story I have is from a V-Day date I had my sophomore year of college. I went to this little Greek cafe with a girl I had just started dating, and there was an old couple leaving the cafe. These people were really old, to the point where they had trouble opening the door. I saw them as we were eating, and then I opened the door and walked them back to their car. I guess that doesn't make me a good boyfriend, but it makes me a good person while on a date? But the girl thought it was really cute, so there's that." —Eric, 24
5. "I know for a fact I am a good boyfriend because I put effort into our relationship, which, if you look around, not many guys do."
"Little things can make the world of a difference when your girlfriend has had a rough day. When she walks in the door from a 16-hour work shift and wants to come home to relax, you make sure that everything is in line. House cleaned up, animals taken care of, light some candles and throw on a good Netflix show or movie. Don't forget about the popcorn and pajamas you get out for her either. Make it to where she doesn't have to worry about anything but relaxing and spending time with you.
She really loves yoga and someday wants to own her own studio. One time—not a special occasion, just a rough day—I took an old piece of wood and reconditioned it at my work and had it custom cut, branded, and stained. I ended up making it into a yoga mat holder in the shape of a heart with a message on the back from me to her to motivate her each and every day to push for her goals and dreams. She walked in the door and that was the first thing she found. Her face just lit up with joy and she loved it (thank god). After that, I told her I had cleaned the bathroom and to go look at it and tell me what she thinks. She walked into that bathroom and there were candles lining the entire bathroom, I had her favorite music playing soft in the background, I poured her a big glass of wine, and flipped her book to where she left off last. Needless to say, she had a great night and it took all of the bullshit from her day away. —Skyler, 22
6. "Providing an honest place for my girlfriend to call home is what I consider to be the most important part of being a good boyfriend."
"There's no laundry list of things that will magically make any guy a good boyfriend. So I try to examine my inner self and figure out what it is that makes me insecure. What I find is my insecurities end up getting cast on girlfriends without me realizing it, so I try to be honest with myself and my girlfriend in a way that fosters trust.
Being able to confide in someone and be emotionally, physically, and spiritually intimate is one of the most important hallmarks of a good relationship to me, and providing an honest place for my girlfriend to call home is what I consider to be the most important part of being a good boyfriend. Sure, I still leave little "I <3 u" notes in hidden places, surprise her at work, buy her flowers, and the little things like that. And sure, I try to make good impressions and personal relationships with her friends and family. That's important too, as is being a good listener and on and on and on. But, as cliché as it may be, the longest, most fulfilling, most enduring, and healthiest relationships I have ever had happened when I focused on being honest with myself." —Michael, 23
7. "If she says she doesn't want dessert at the end of dinner, I order dessert. She wants dessert."
"I grew up with two older sisters and am extremely close with my mom, so I pride myself on being a good boyfriend. They have really taught me how to treat girls, and stress that thoughtful, little cliché things count. Whether it's making sure to open the Uber door for them, or leaving them cheesy notes between book pages or around their room (I have really done this), I think I do a pretty good job. She always says, 'Is this one of your tricks?' when I do something out of the ordinary that other guys might not think to do.
After we were dating for quite a bit, she said randomly in conversation she wanted to read a book called The Husband's Secret. I think I pretended like I didn't care very much or changed the subject. I waited about a month and got the book delivered to her door. It was awesome because we hadn't even talked about the book since the initial conversation. She was really surprised I remembered.
If she says she doesn't want dessert at the end of dinner, I order dessert. She wants dessert. Surprises are very good and there are a bunch of different ways you can go in terms of the size, price, or thought of the surprise. But I think it really just shows your girlfriend you were thinking about them." —Ethan, 23
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.