4 Things I Need From You in a Relationship

1. Be true to me.

Honesty is the best policy. There is no need to lie to me or yourself about the way you’re feeling at any given moment about any given thing. If something is bothering you, let me know so we can work together to fix it. And if you don’t want my help fixing whatever problem is on your mind, let me know that, too. I will gladly step aside if you need your space.

If I’m doing something that upsets or annoys you, ask me to stop. I sometimes struggle with criticism, but I’d rather you tell me the truth than fill up to the brim with emotions and eventually explode when I say I don’t want to see that Zac Efron DJ movie with you.

I won’t hide anything from you regardless of what happens, so you shouldn’t feel like you need to hide anything from me. And if you do feel like you need to hide things, there better be some sort of scavenger hunt going on. Otherwise, you’ll be on a scavenger hunt of your own.

For a new boyfriend.

2. Be true to yourself.

Don’t be insecure about anything. Don’t worry about me judging you based on your words and actions because — chances are — I already have judged you. And if we’re in a relationship of any kind, I probably like you. In other words, I’m not going to pick apart every little thing you say and do, so you should just be yourself. Do you.

That being said, don’t talk or act like an idiot. I already know you’re not an idiot because we are in a relationship, so I will hold you to some sort of behavioral standard. Obviously, I cannot control the way you act, but if I like who you are, then be that person. There is no need for you to try to act “cool” in front of friends or strangers, and there will never be a reason for you to pretend.

I will never worry about you “embarrassing” me in front of my family, my friends, or complete strangers, because if that was something I had to worry about, I wouldn’t be in a relationship with you in the first place. And if I understand and like who you really are, the only reason I would have to worry about that sort of thing is if you are trying to be somebody else. That’s what would truly be embarrassing.

I might even tell you I think you are perfect, but don’t be panicked by that statement. If I say it, I mean it. And what I mean is that your “imperfections” are what make you unique, and they are exactly why I like you. Embrace those characteristics because they construct the proverbial you.

3. Let me be myself.

I am a complicated person. Difficult, stubborn, and intense. I’m going to say and do things that make you uncomfortable. I do things that make myself uncomfortable. All I ask is that you allow me to say and do these things, for the sake of my progress as a person. Allow me to make mistakes, but also give me some time to learn from them and right my wrongs.

Support the things I do, the things I am passionate about. You might not agree with everything I believe, but at least encourage me to stand behind my beliefs and stay true to myself. Push me to grow as a person by talking things out with me and brainstorming ways I can improve the world around me.

Don’t suggest I change who I am because of my fear of failure. Urge me to keep going, to stay persistent when I’m trying to solve a problem. Assure me that I can do it, whatever it may be, but be there to comfort me when I realize I can’t. Help me answer all of the questions I have about the way the world works, but remind me there are some answers I will never find. Listen when I need to talk and respond accordingly.

4. Save me from myself.

Talk when I need to listen. Shut me up when I’m not making sense. Tell me when I’m wrong, and call me out when I’m being a hypocrite. I mentioned above not to suggest that I change as a person, but also don’t let me fear the concept of change altogether. Encourage me to try new things and expand my horizons. Force me to go on adventures, to experience different ways of life — to journey out of my comfort zone.

Remind me that nobody’s perfect. Making mistakes is okay, but don’t allow me to keep making the same ones. Allow me to grow as a person, but if I’m being stubborn, make me grow.

Convince me to let go once in awhile, to throw caution to the wind. Sometimes, I tend to overanalyze situations, resulting in apparent pessimism. When I call this feeling “realism,” push me to be optimistic. Push me to dream a little bigger and get caught up in my dreams. And when I stray too far from the ground, pull me back down to Earth and remind me I’m only human.

You can find more of Ryan’s work in Human Parts, The Coffeelicious, Absurdist, and The Bigger Picture. You can follow him on Twitter here or check out his website here. He’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading!