by Dr. Seth Meyers
Though dating isn’t necessarily easy for everyone, dating should get easier over time. If you’ve learned your lessons along the road to finding a compatible partner, you’ve probably found that the people you date over time have been getting better: They’re more appropriate and they treat you better than ones in the past. Looking at the big picture, there are several signs to indicate that you might have found a real keeper. I have selected the ones that lead to longevity in love, which we all know is no easy feat!
I can’t emphasize how important reliability with time is. It’s not that a new date should always be on time to the minute, but that he should usually be on time and he should be sure to notify you ASAP in the instances when he will be late. Why is being on time so important in a new relationship? Because it shows that he is thinking about your feelings, not wanting to keep you waiting or guessing about where he is. Most importantly, being on time shows that he is deeply invested in not doing anything to upset or disrespect you.
Being reliable with commitments is similar to honoring time, but commitments are more about honoring obligations and doing what needs to be done, despite not necessarily wanting to do it. A man who honors his commitments (e.g., “I said I’d help my friend move, so I’m going to do it, even though I really don’t want to”) is someone who can be a responsible boyfriend, partner, husband, or father. What you need is someone you can count on, and it all starts with honoring time and commitments.
2. He has never lied to you about anything significant.
Some people argue that everyone tells little white lies. Looking for someone who will never, ever lie to you will set you up for major disappointment. The point is to find someone who won’t lie to you about something that matters to you, which means something that could hurt your feelings. For example, a guy lying about having completed an errand that you asked him to help with isn’t that serious. After all, he’s only lying to avoid confrontation, and there are far worse things he could do. A white lie is something to blow off – because you’re probably guilty of the occasional lie, too – but his lying about something that makes you anxious or upset is a serious warning sign that your relationship does not have the foundation to stand the test of time. If he lies about something big, he will probably do it again.
If your new guy hasn’t lied about the big stuff, you can trust that your relationship has at least one factor that makes for a strong, intact romantic foundation. In other words, keep dating!
3. He does not have an impulsive personality.
If a guy has an impulsive personality, he will initiate behavior on impulse, including making decisions immediately without thinking about the consequences. Impulsive personalities are more likely to be substance abusers, to have a bad temper, or to be unreliable. With someone new, try to get a sense of the way he makes decisions. Does he use rational thought and consider the issue from multiple angles, or does he make hasty decisions that later don’t turn out so well? One of the safest decisions you can make in dating is to avoid shacking up with an impulsive guy. Sure, he can be exciting and fun, but it always ends the same way: You’re single again.
4. He doesn’t flirt with other women or look over his shoulder when he’s with you.
A mild degree of flirting is normal and even healthy, but flirting in front of the person you’re dating is downright nasty. This rule is so basic that we don’t need to focus on it. When you’re with your date, if you sense that he is looking around at other women or flirting with someone in front of you, you need a serious reality check. The stripe on this tiger is not going to change, period.
If your date is respectful of you when the two of you are around other women, it’s safe to say that this man has boundaries, knows how to treat a date, and just might be a keeper.
5. He has never lashed out at you, lost his temper on you, or blamed you.
The last factor to consider when determining whether your new love interest is a keeper is to evaluate how he reacts when things go wrong. Does he lose his temper, lash out, or blame you? If a man engages in any of these behaviors toward the beginning of the relationship, believe me when I say it will only get worse over time.
When things go wrong, your new guy should handle himself like a grownup, meaning that he focuses more on solutions than blaming or treating someone badly. If your new guy has dealt with problems but has never turned the tables on you or lashed out, you can rest assured that another key to your romantic foundation is intact.
I hope you find these factors helpful and that you use this list as a sort of mental note about whom to consider – and not consider – for a relationship. I see true love in your future if you make smart romantic decisions!
Dr. Seth Meyers has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.