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Boyfriend Material Meaning: How do we Define it?

by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

Often when guys are in a slump between relationships or perpetually stuck in the casual stage of dating, they may look at themselves and wonder, am I boyfriend material, meaning to say, what am I doing wrong?

But what is boyfriend material and its mean value in the diverse dating scene that exists today? We explore how the concept has evolved over time, popular misconceptions and how any guy can be boyfriend material if they’re willing to put in the effort.

What does boyfriend material mean?

People often conflate the meaning of boyfriend material with their ability to attract women. However, while the Venn diagram of these concepts does overlap, they can also often have a negative interaction. Sexual attractiveness speaks to immediacy whereas long-term relationships speak to stability.

What women often ask themselves when they say ‘Is he the one?’ is not whether they’re attracted to you but whether you’d still be a good boyfriend once the fires of passion dampen with time. And they’re often just as confused to boyfriend material meaning as you are.

In truth, when you look at what does boyfriend material mean, the real answer varies from person to person. But we will explore some of the traits that women tend to agree on and how easy it can be to adapt to these qualities without compromising your identity.       

Misconceptions and stereotypes

People often confuse attraction with romantic viability. But sensible exercise habits and an eye for style don’t make you a good boyfriend, nor will they count for much if the rest of you doesn’t add up. 

Another trend is guys associating it with the idea of masculinity. While masculinity can be on some women’s checklist, it may not be a big factor for others. Pushing the idea too far and incorporating outdated gender role stereotypes into your dating perspective can often be a red flag for many single women.

Sometimes when looking at boyfriend material’s meaning and its place in a relationship, we have too wide a scope. Women seeking relationships often aren’t looking for an immediate answer to questions like ‘would he provide for a household?’ or ‘Would he be a good father?’, so try not to get ahead of yourself or miss the mark entirely either.  

A contemporary look at ‘boyfriend material’ and its meaning

When women consider what is boyfriend material they often consider whether someone would be a good long-term partner. These traits don’t really differ from what anyone would look for from a relationship, regardless of gender or sexuality.

The need for your partner to be dependable, communicative, trustworthy, have compatible qualities and remain a source of emotional and practical support are relationship concepts most of us can identify with. So let’s explore these in more depth.

If you’ve been unlucky with long-term boyfriends you may be interested in widening your search or considering the viability of your relationship, particularly as you start looking further into the future.

Ensure your relationship is a two-way street

Communication tops most people’s list of what’s important in a relationship. Strong two-way communication lets partners guide each other through conflicts and adjust as they build intimacy. It’s essential in getting past the surface to the real person.

Empathy is a required trait. Not just listening but hearing. Are you seeing the situation through their eyes and how a rational person may react? Empathy tends to be the driving force behind successful relationships.

It was previously thought that empathy was largely innate. However recent studies have shown empathy to also be a learned behavior1. You could try active listening, a technique that involves reading people’s reactions and being more present in conversations.

The importance of trust in relationship

You can never be a good partner to someone if they can’t rely on you. If you want to understand the meaning of boyfriend material, you have to show up, regardless of the excuses, in good times and bad. Reliability is also about consistency. You can’t let those good qualities slip as the relationship progresses. Your partner needs to know you’ll be a source of support as well as love.

Trust is the foundation of all human relationships, not just romantic ones. But it plays a significant role in the latter with a recent user survey from eharmony Labs showing honesty as the most important trait in attracting a partner2.

Compatibility’s crucial role

This is something we often ignore early in a relationship. It may initially come down to communicating your feelings in different ways, but small differences can become chasms when you’re with someone for a while.

Your incompatibilities will be apparent quite early in the relationship. You can recognize them easily and they often result in low attraction levels. So that kind of solves itself. But deeper incompatibilities and can be easy to shake off as mere quirks or something you can change in the person later. Relationships involve lots of compromise but they aren’t projects. The base ingredients need to come with the initial package. 

Be a source of comfort and safety for your partner

When you ask, what does boyfriend material mean, this is a crucial component. And it’s no surprise that kindness and respect were the direct runners-up when eharmony users rated their most valued traits in a partner.

You can get past a lot of problems in your relationships if, when conflict arises, it’s handled with respect, kindness and support. It’s these qualities that will keep your relationship together through the hard times. You also want your partner to see you as someone they can always come to with problems, because you can help shoulder the burden.

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Be your own brand of boyfriend material

When you’re looking at boyfriend material meaning, the components are almost indistinguishable from what makes a good person in any kind of relationship. Romantic relationships are less about gender roles than about two people who enrich each other’s lives.

You might not be able to affect the compatibility part but that’s where we come in. eharmony has a psychological approach to compatibility, in all its various facets, to connect singles that incorporate 32 distinct Compatibility Dimensions. So while it’s up to you be boyfriend material, you can at least be sure you’re on the right track when you’re on eharmony. So join free today.  

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