What defines a man as a real man varies from person to person, but there are certain qualities that should hold true across the board. It's not about masculinity or bravado in the slightest, but rather authenticity, integrity, and respect. Not only does he have good character, but he also knows exactly what it means to be a good partner.
A real man . . .
1. Isn't threatened by his successful partner.
He doesn't think anything less of himself because his partner earns more money than him. Instead, he feels lucky to have such an ambitious partner and is proud of all their accomplishments. He takes it as motivation to push himself and isn't afraid to cheer on him or her along the way.
2. Would never treat his partner with anything but respect.
Even in the most heated of arguments, he'd never think to lay a hand on them or say anything demeaning. He doesn't resort to aggression to display dominance or power, because he believes that treating someone with the utmost respect says more about who he is.
3. Doesn't think he's better than his partner (or anyone else).
He is confident but values humility; he is self-assured but doesn't feel the need to prove himself. He sees his significant other as an equal and would never try to put him or her in "their place."
4. Isn't afraid to show love and affection.
When a real man cares about someone, he lets them know instead of hiding behind confusing texts or a tough persona. He doesn't have time for mind games and would rather be upfront and honest about his feelings than be misleading. He doesn't think showering his partner with kisses and hugs is being overly cheesy, either.
5. Still believes in chivalry.
He doesn't think opening doors or pulling chairs is old fashioned, because he's a gentleman. He's protective but never in a way that's overbearing; he makes sure his partner gets home safely and comforts them in times of need.
6. Doesn't feel "whipped."
When he's asked to help out with errands or to do a favor, he happily obliges without feeling effeminated by certain tasks. He doesn't believe in gender roles and rises to the occasion when needed. When others accuse him of being "whipped," he smiles about being a good teammate instead of being unnecessarily defensive about his manhood.
7. Backs up his words with actions.
He never makes promises he can't keep. If he says he's going to do something, he will do it, because he's a person of integrity. He takes pride in being reliable and trustworthy and does his best to maintain good character, because he knows he's also a reflection of the person he's with. He always come through on his end as a loving partner, friend, and man.