1. Paul, 29
My current girlfriend is beautiful, smart, and generous. I’d be crazy to have let her go but I’d convinced myself when we started hooking up that I didn’t want a relationship. One day I was at my buddies house and his wife was putting on this princess act, like he had to be her servant. It made me realize that my girl was rare and a catch and that I wanted to lock that down.
2. Andy, 23
Usually in the morning I can’t wait to get up and go home. I want to be in my own space. But with the girl I’m dating now I found myself wanting to stay for awhile. We would stay in bed for a long time and just talk and laugh. She was kind of acting like a girlfriend already, and I liked it, so I went with it.
3. Jon, 26
I had a health scare. I realized that life is short and I want someone to be there for me when I’m going through rough times.
4. Mike, 30
There was no difference for me. I’ve always wanted a relationship. I took a hookup if that is all I could get, but I’ve always wanted more.
5. Ryan, 25
We’d been hooking up for awhile and she’d brought up a few times that she wanted more but I wasn’t interested. Finally, she ended it because she wanted to focus on finding someone who wanted more. I thought I was fine with it but then I started looking for someone new and I realized other girls weren’t as fun to be around, they just didn’t interest me as much — and she was already dating someone else. I thought, maybe I’d underestimated what I was getting vs. “giving up.” I admitted to her that I made a mistake and luckily, she took me back.
6. Chris, 31
I’d been dating for a long time but always very casually. One girl I was seeing really had her life together — she was classy, she owned a home on her own and was responsible with her life. It kind of elevated her in my eyes because I’d never dated someone like that before. Maybe I just got to an age where that’s more normal but I realized that she’d add to my life instead of being someone that was always requiring things from me.
7. Brian, 27
She always listened when I talked about my day instead of having that glazed over look. It was nice to have someone really care a lot about me, even the boring stuff.
8. Marcus, 32
She was the first girl I really wanted more from. I’m trying to put my finger on the exact quality… she was just different. She was wife material.
9. Jason, 24
For me it was when I met her coworkers. I caught her at the tail end of a work happy hour and we were going to hang out that night, but I ended up staying and talking to a lot of them. It was clear from all their conversations that she was very well-liked and respected. I’m not sure why, but hearing it from other people cemented that she was something special.
10. Karson, 25
I’m a nerd at heart and I really like the game Settlers of Catan. Most girls chide me about how dorky that is and laugh, which hurts even if they are well-intentioned. My current gf wanted to learn why I like it so she played it with me. It was such a genuinely nice thing to do.
11. Joe, 28
The sax was REALLY GOOD.
12. Nathan, 30
One day I was out with friends and I told a girl I had a girlfriend. I didn’t, officially at least. But that’s when I realized I pretty much considered her one so I might as well go for it.
13. TJ, 31
I just got to know her better. I’m never closed to the idea of a relationship but over the course of hooking up you get to know someone and sometimes you get to a point where you know that’s all you want and sometimes you get to a point where you want to make sure this person sticks around — so you tell them that.
14. Cole, 33
She put up with me while I was working full-time and getting my MBA at night. I couldn’t focus much on the relationship then, but she stuck with me.
15. Mark, 28
Honestly, when I was younger I was in a lot of casual relationships but it wasn’t like those were “bad” girls. I liked all of them. I just wanted to have fun before I grew up and got serious. The “quality” that changed was pretty much just my age.