In Melissa McCarthy’s film “Tammy,” actress Kathy Bates has a small part in which she talks some sense into a down-on-her-luck McCarthy. In her monologue, Bates explains succinctly that, as people, “We aren’t all that mysterious.” Her character is right! This truism relates to dating in that finding a good man isn’t that mysterious either. There are some basic behaviors that any good man should engage in to keep you. Take a look at the list below and see if any bells (or sonic booms) go off for you!
1. He asks for your input when planning dates.
Most people would assume that every man is going to ask his date what she feels like doing or where she feels like going on a date, but some guys are too selfish for their own good. While it’s occasionally a welcome treat if he sets the plans himself or surprises you with an evening out, it’s important for you to feel like you have a say in what the two of you do together. The movies, restaurants, and so on that the two of you enjoy together should be chosen together. The point is that asking for your input shows that he values your feelings – an imperative for any good relationship.
2. He is interested in and respectful of your family members.
If a man makes it as far as meeting your family, he should feel extremely flattered. (Just think for a moment about the number of men that have never made it that far!) When he meets your family, you should see him act in the most polite and respectful manner. You want to see him show interest in your family members by asking them questions about their life and interests. If you take your date to a family member’s house, it should be expected that he compliment their home and show deep appreciation for any food or drinks that are prepared, even if only a bag of chips and soda!
3. He never pushes you in regards to intimacy.
Seeking sex has everything to do with one’s personal boundaries, and men who push women in that area have little to no boundaries at all. Anytime you’re asked to be sexual but don’t quite feel in the mood, the only reaction you get should be this one: “Okay,” as he backs away. Among selfish men with poor boundaries, they often try to induce guilty feelings in you if you say “no.” One of the most manipulative tactics: “Is it me? Are you not attracted to me?” If your guy can’t act like a grownup when you say “no,” set a very clear boundary: “I am allowed to say “no,” right?” Unless he’s a sociopath, he better take the hint.
4. He says something supportive, when he could just as easily say something critical or negative.
If you find a man with a reasonably good self-esteem, it means that he feels pretty good about himself overall. Similarly, a man with a good self-esteem will generally say nice, supportive things to you instead of critical ones. Say, for example, that you share details about an upsetting interaction with your boss. In general, your guy should focus on your feelings and identify with you as he hears about the situation. He should say something to the effect of, “I’m sorry that happened,” as opposed to questioning your actions or reactions. A good man will always try to empathize with your side of the situation; if he doesn’t, I’m not sure that he can be supportive enough to keep you.
5. He spends time h-a-p-p-i-l-y with your friends.
A selfish man tends to want to call the shots, which often includes deciding with whom he wants to socialize. Yet a relationship calls for ongoing compromise when it comes to socializing. Even if spending time with your friends doesn’t top his wish list for weekend plans, a good guy ought to be willing to hang out with your friends. Some guys will go through the motions and hang out with their girlfriend’s friends, but they do so begrudgingly: they moan in advance about the plans; they sulk in the corner at the event, or they look bored out of their mind every chance they get. This is the adolescent behavior of selfish men, so remember that a good man will go with the flow and play like a big boy with the group when you need him to do so.
6. He shows interest in your past life.
If a man truly likes and cares about you in a healthy, adult way, he will also be curious about your life before you met him. He won’t focus on past boyfriends – because that speaks to insecurity and jealousy – but he will show genuine interest in your old friends, silly childhood memories, and defining moments as you grew into an adult. A recent client, for example, shared that her boyfriend was never interested in looking at her old photos and didn’t seem to enjoy hearing stories about her from her old friends. With this guy, he was more interested in the attention being focused on him. A good guy, on the other hand, understands that getting to know your past is another part of falling in love with you today.
Though no man is perfect, the world is full of good guys who know how to treat a woman and how to meet her emotional needs on a consistent basis. If you encounter a guy who passes the test of this list, you have probably met someone who is a kind and sturdy person, one who just might make it to the next round as long as his good behavior continues.
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He 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.