So you’ve read his profile, and he seems like a great catch…but how can you be sure? I’m sure you’ve heard that in order to find love, you should throw out your “checklist” – you know, that laundry list of items in the back of your mind that describe your ideal man. Maybe you’ve also heard the opposite: That you SHOULD have a detailed breakdown of what’s important to you so that you can attract such a man into your life…and keep out the guys who’ll eventually let you down.
What I’m going to offer you here is something a little different – a few key items that will help you determine if the guy sitting across from you on a date is a quality man who is capable of a commitment.
HIS MATURITY LEVEL
What I’m referring to here is “emotional” maturity. You can find out about this rather quickly when you meet a guy simply by observing how he reacts to things and how he treats the people around him. If you’re at a restaurant, for example, and they’re taking a bit longer to get you your table, does he take it in stride, or does he start to lose his temper? Even when people are on their best behavior, it’s hard to hide long-standing habits, so watch what he does in a variety of situations.
You can also get a good read on his emotional maturity level by seeing how he responds to stress. Does it overwhelm him to the point that he shuts you out? Or is he able to take care of what’s going on and communicate what he needs?
HIS LIFE STAGE
An easy way to find out about this is to ask a man questions about his career. How does he feel about it? Does he talk with excitement about his job, or does he seem worn down and unmotivated?
Many men, as you probably know, derive a big chunk of their identity from what they do for a living. If a man is creating, producing, or contributing in some way, he’s more likely to feel satisfied in his life. As a result, he’s able to be a better partner…and he’ll have the focus and energy to give what a relationship requires.
Is he in service to things bigger than himself in the world? What is he committed to outside of you?
Whether it’s being part of a sports team, volunteering, or doing something artistic, ask yourself if a man’s interests are in line with your personal values. The fact that he can give of himself to something is a good indication that he’ll be giving inside a relationship, too.
Did you know that the majority of guys who get married had a friend who got married within the last year?
You really can learn so much about a man by who he spends time with. So ask him about them. Does he have mature people around him who share your values and are committed to his growth? Does he keep relationships, and does he care about others? If he has good friendships, he’s going to love telling you about them.
As you may have sadly found out, “single” does not always mean “available.” He could be holding ties to an ex-partner, be so consumed with work that he has no room in his life for someone else, or he’s not really looking for a serious relationship.
The best way to find out? Simply ask him. It’s a lot less scary to do this when you’re just getting to know a guy – and a lot less painful than finding out later.
YOUR GUT FEELING
I’m willing to bet you have a gut feeling that tells you intuitively where a guy’s at with all of the above, but the “connection” you feel might make you think, “Well, yeah, but that’s okay. He makes me feel great right now.” Well, right now he does. But what happens after you’ve invested your heart and your time in him only to finally realize that he simply can’t meet what you need? Which brings me to…
The best qualifier if you want a great relationship is communicating your own needs and desires. It’s not your job to get into his head when you meet a man. So communicating your needs is the most powerful qualifier, as well as continuing to respect yourself so that a man respects those needs, listens to them, and understands you.
An easy way to practice this – and you can say it in a casual way, is: “I know I need to be in a relationship where…” And then say what’s important to you, whether it’s exclusivity, or a relationship that is moving toward commitment. Men respond very well to this. This isn’t being needy or throwing down the gauntlet. You’re just stating your needs. The reason this is such a powerful qualifier is that you’ll get to see how a man responds to this – if he even understands and cares what you’re talking about.
When you communicate your needs rather than try to fit into his, YOU become the creator of your love life rather than sitting back and passively try to read his mind. And the man who respects you for it is a quality man.
There are critical moments that define your relationship with a man, from the moment you meet him all the way through commitment – and they can either break you apart or bring you even closer together. To learn how to handle them, subscribe to Christian’s free e-newsletter. He’ll tell you what a man is really thinking while he’s dating you, and how you can create a solid foundation for a lasting, connected relationship.