I recently came across a survey on what we women want from a partner or a husband in the case of the study. Any guesses as to what came in at number one?
“Mutual attraction and love.” No surprises there.
It was number two, a “Dependable Character,” that got me thinking. What does it really mean to have a strong, solid partner? What makes some men so dependable while others seem allergic to stability?
So, I did some research of my own.
After talking to some happily married friends and reflecting on my own experiences, I’ve pinned down nine ways truly dependable and strong men show up differently.
If you’ve ever wondered if your partner could be “the one,” these traits are a good place to start. If he has them, he’s probably a keeper.
And guys, if you are reading this, please oh please, take note.
Let’s get into it.
1) They call when they say they will
Few things feel worse than waiting by the phone, wondering if he’ll actually follow through this time. But strong men don’t leave people hanging.
As my friend Cara put it after five blissfully predictable years with her husband: “His word has always been his bond. Even when we were just dating, if Roy said he would call at 8, the phone would be ringing at 8 pm sharp.”
Instead of empty promises and apologies after the fact, these guys make sure to keep their word. How dependable is that?!
2) They show up on time
Along the same lines, reliable men respect your schedule.
I once dated a guy who was late to everything. It made me feel like I wasn’t worth his time.
But the strong men I dated after him made sure to arrive when expected. It was like a night and day difference.
Pay attention to patterns – does your boyfriend run late or leave you waiting more often than not?
Chronic lateness signals complacency, not long-term dependability.
This next one is a biggie for both guys and gals.
3) They address problems head on
Rather than avoiding issues, self-assured men address them directly. If something is bothering them, they bring it up respectfully so the two of you can deal with it together.
And they make the effort to truly listen and understand your perspective, too.
Does your man typically communicate openly about disagreements? Or does he tend to shut down or get defensive instead?
Good communication is everything.
4) They encourage you to pursue your passions
After one too many guys seemed threatened by my love for creative pursuits, I’ve learned what a green flag it is when a man actively cheers on your personal journeys.
Strong and secure men don’t just “let” you do your thing – their encouragement gives you wind beneath your wings! Whether it’s a career move, a hobby, or a passion for the arts, he understands and respects that these pursuits are a vital part of your identity.
His encouragement, of course, is not permission; it’s an empowering force, giving you the confidence and freedom to chase your dreams.
5) They actually tell you how they feel
If a solid partner cares about you and sees a future together, he doesn’t sit on this crucial info waiting for some magical moment.
My friend Leila was so relieved when her now-husband Manuel openly shared his true feelings first, even though they’d only dated a few months. As she said, “It still feels like such a gift! He put himself out there without games or manipulation. Just honest care.”
Now, we all show love differently. Not every guy spells it all out in elaborate soliloquies! But reliable men find consistent ways, big and small, to communicate how they feel.
6) They apologize when needed
We all mess up sometimes, but reliable men own their mistakes with sincere apologies.
After one relationship where my ex refused to take accountability, I appreciate partners who make amends rather than defend bad behavior.
Reliable partners don’t dismiss tensions in the name of ego or avoid facing regrettable situations.
Instead, they handle conflicts with honesty. If their temper ever flares and words come out wrong, they calmly own their part after cooling down instead of blaming others. They apologize wholeheartedly when needed and take action to make things right instead of pretending no damage was done.
7) They stay fully present
So many guys seemed distracted with other priorities like work, friends, hobbies, or cough their phones.
So when Emily first dated Ethan, she felt pretty wowed by his consistent presence. As she told me, “Whether we’re chatting over dinner or taking a walk at the weekend, Ethan gives me his full focus. I never wonder if he’d rather be doing something else.”
Of course, we all multi-task sometimes! But reliable men make you feel like the most important thing in their world when you’re face-to-face.
As Emily said of Ethan, “Being heard so attentively makes me feel so securely connected, knowing my feelings matter to him.” What a comforting thing to build love on, right?
Guys, if you are reading this, take note. It’s such a small thing, but it makes such a big difference.
8) They handle conflict maturely
We’ve all dated people who get very…not pretty when tensions flare up. But men capable of healthy long-term connections step up when things get rocky.
They stay grounded in your bond when emotions run hot, handling disagreements with maturity. Even when frustrated, they are always respectful, listening to understand your perspective instead of just defense.
Dependable men also take ownership of their part in conflicts instead of pointing fingers. By leading with humility, they soften relationships instead of escalating tensions.
Walking the high road isn’t easy! But reliable partners make space for both people to feel heard. It’s a “we’re on the same team here. Let’s figure this out together” attitude.
And with that foundation, you do.
This final one might be a little controversial, but hear me out.
9) They include you in future dreams
My friend Cara still smiles every time she remembers Roy inviting her as his plus-one to his brother’s wedding – just a month after they started dating!
She always claims that she could tell by the way he automatically welcomed her into his family moments that he saw her by his side long-term. And she’s probably right; they are happily married, after all.
Why am I telling you this?
Because strong partners don’t hold back pieces of their world from you – they want you there front and center!
Whether meeting their loved ones or envisioning career moves, reliable men reveal their hearts by picturing you right alongside their biggest hopes and plans.
Maybe we can’t expect princes on white horses. But men who consistently step up do exist, and we all deserve someone genuine to count on.
And when you do spot those dependable green flags like the ones I mentioned?
It will just feel different.