Viva logo

Your Awful Boyfriend Isn’t the Problem — Your Low Standards Are

by Kate Feathers 4 months ago in relationships

Ladies, don’t settle for anything less than this

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

“My boyfriend was awful,” she told me. “He came home, sat down in his boxers, opened a can of beer, and watched football all day. He didn’t even want to go exploring places with me. I had to break up with him.”

“That sucks,” I typed on my phone. “Good riddance.” I proceeded to describe my boyfriend to her, to which she replied: “What the hell?! He sounds so perfect. Did you make him in a factory or something?!”

No, I didn’t take him to a factory. I met him on a dating app, actually. He’s as human as anyone, with wonderful qualities that made me fall in love with him as well as those that drive me up the wall regularly.

The difference between my partner and my friend’s ex-boyfriend (let’s call him Dave) is a wall between them — a wall called standards.

Standards, anyone?

The reason I’ve managed to cherry-pick an amazing boyfriend who tries hard to make me happy is that I was on the lookout for him for years. I got screwed over by men as a teenager, and ever since then, I decided I would have certain standards my man would have to uphold.

If you don’t pass the test, you’re out. I don’t have time to wait around and hold onto the hope that one day, you might likely maybe change. By that point, the ship would have sailed.

We live in a world where women put up with lots of crap from men daily simply because they can’t believe their situation could get any better.

“That’s what men are like,” they say.

“That’s not what men are supposed to be,” I answer. “And some aren’t. So I search for the needles in the hay until I find one.”

And wouldn’t you believe, after four years of seeing through red flags and living a single life, I’ve found someone who fits my requirements almost perfectly. It almost is necessary there because when you get mad at your otherwise amazing boyfriend, it’s good to remind yourself he’s a flawed human as much as you.

He still surpasses all the other men I’ve ever encountered, though.

So, what does my boyfriend do so well? What are the standards he upholds, the tests he passed? Funnily enough, it’s not even anything special. It’s what you would shelve under the label of being a capable and kind adult.

Somehow, this is an exhausting task for men like Dave.

Ladies, here’s the real truth: If your man can’t do these four simple things, your standards might be too low.

To raise them. You deserve a man who makes you happy. Don’t settle for anything less.

He lets you keep your autonomy

Actually, scratch that. Using the word “let” in that subheading is the epitome of irony. A man doesn’t let you do anything. He either accepts your actions, or he doesn’t.

His choice.

Your choice to ditch him if he doesn’t let you breathe in the relationship. Simple as that.

“I couldn’t go outside braless,” my friend complained. “I wasn’t allowed to go to the pub with my male friends. Now I’m finally free to do whatever the hell I want.”

“Let those nipples shine, girl. Have as many male friends as you want as long as you adhere to the healthy boundaries of the relationship,” is what I’d say.

Kate’s boyfriend: *nods his head solemnly* I second that.

I want a man who understands my body is mine to do whatever I want with. Who understands I can be friends with men and not want to fuck them. It sounds like common sense, but many men still can’t wrap their heads around the concept.

Maybe because they’d like to bang all their female friends? Maybe because they’d already cheated on you, to begin with, just like Dave did? Maybe because they’re immature and can’t handle their own emotions?

Hmmm… it sounds like they are the problem, not you.

Trust is an elemental part of every relationship. Trust and autonomy. Don’t let any man take that away from you.

He isn’t a man-child

Ah, that infamous syndrome of thinking your wife is basically your mother. Where would this world be without men who throw their socks in the middle of the living room and expect a house-elf to clean them away in the night mysteriously?

I’ll tell you where. Somewhere better and cleaner, that’s for sure.

I can’t stand men who pretend they aren’t adults capable of cleaning their own house and cooking their own food so that they can do less work in a day. Do you know where your lack of work disappears off to?

Your wife. Who might just as well slowly grow to despise you because of it.

Cleaning and cooking aren’t tasks that require you to own a pair of boobs to execute them. Ladies, let’s remind ourselves it’s his house too. Housework should be equally divided based on factors such as time management. Not gender.

If he expects you to cook all his food, do his laundry, tidy up after him, and on top of that, go to work for the same amount of time he does, an alarm should go off in your head immediately.

Steer away. There’s a cliff right in front of you. Turn the wheel whilst you can. Don’t fall off.

He makes you grow, not stagnate

It matters who you surround yourself with. It probably matters more than you dare to acknowledge.

My friend is twenty-two years old. Dave is twenty-five. If he refuses to get out of the house and go on an adventure at such a young age, what’s he going to turn into when he grows older? When he has children? When he gets even more bored of life?

Men who make you stagnate are a no-no. A partner is someone you potentially want to spend the rest of your life with — if your man doesn’t support your growth, what’s he even doing there? Scratching his balls while drinking Budweiser every day of the week?

Daves of the world makes most women miserable. I speak from experience — as a woman, I’ve had more female confidants than I can count. My mum’s incessant complaining about my dad probably tops them all. He is a Dave, but a super upgraded boomer version. He believes ironing his own shirts is his daughters’ job.

There goes another sexist dream unfulfilled. Sorry dad, your daughter is a feminist. No ironed shirts for you, sir.

Here’s the boyfriend we should all aspire to have: He supports your goals, he inspires you to do better in at least one area, he’s up for doing all kinds of various activities that let you explore the world and spend quality time together.

He loves life. And he loves discovering what life has to offer with you by his side.

Ditch Dave and find a guy like that. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. I can attest to that.

He doesn’t get lazy

A woman once told me, “even good men can get lazy. They stop paying attention to you. They get bored.”

One of the main things I love about my boyfriend is that he always makes me feel loved. He kisses me, cuddles me, gives me compliments. He expresses how much he loves me.

Simply put, he doesn’t get lazy with the relationship, doesn’t take me for granted, doesn’t pull away from my love. He keeps on giving and giving because he understands love isn’t just a noun, love is a verb, love is effort, and love is practice.

Love is how you treat each other every day of your life. So make sure your partner treats you well. Make sure he gives you the affection you need. He listens to you, respects your opinions, loves having you close to him.

Make sure his actions prove his love.

Final Thoughts

I could go on and on about how great my boyfriend is, but I need to stop for now — before his head overflows with pride (because he proofreads every single article I show to him, have I mentioned that?).

Relationships are complicated. Even my relationship can be very hard at times. But guess what, if there’s something you don’t need on top of the whole relationship drama, it’s definitely an over-possessive man-child who doesn’t make you grow and doesn’t show his appreciation.

It sounds like an absolute nightmare, yet it’s what many women still settle for.

So, go ahead and think about your standards. If you deem them too low, raise the bar. It might take longer to find a great boyfriend, but it will also add immense value to your life in the end.

And for fuck’s sake, ditch Dave. My friend did just that, and she’s now road-tripping across Italy, drinking cocktails, walking braless, and doing whatever the hell she wants.

Many men in the world make for awful boyfriends. Remember you’re in charge of your own life, though — and if you raise your standards, better boyfriends will follow.


Kate Feathers

Student of Literature & Languages, I write about relationships, self-improvement, feminism, writing and mental health. Contact me: [email protected]

Discover more of my work:

Receive stories by Kate Feathers in your feed
Kate Feathers
Read next: 10 Rights That Women Don't Have But Men Do

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2021 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.