How to Spot a Good Man
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Mandy Kloppers BA(UNISA); Dip Psych(Open);Dip LC(LC Inst);MCS(Acc)
1. Is he reliable? Does he call when he says he will? Do his actions match his words? Remember that “talk is cheap” and that actions speak louder than words. A decent, reliable man will show congruence between what he says and what he does. If you are important he will want to make a good impression!
2. How consistent is he? Does he contradict himself? If you find him saying one thing and then changing his mind often or expressing opposing ideas/opinions regularly – be aware. This can be a sign of a fickle personality or of someone who does not know himself well. Someone who lacks personal insight will find it harder to contribute in a meaningful way to a relationship. If he doesn’t seem to know what he wants or doesn’t seem to know how to make himself happy without constant external help it could lead to an insecure relationship. Ask him questions such as “do you enjoy your own company?”, “do you know what makes you happy?” The answers could prove very insightful into their character.
3. A decent man generally comes from a stable, happy family life. This is not to say that if he had an unhappy childhood that he definitely will not make a good partner but a happy childhood often confers a stable, well adjusted man. He will have grown up feeling loved and cared for and will have learned that the world is generally a safe place where most people can be trusted. If he was unfortunate enough to grow up in a home where his parents did not show regular love, support and encouragement it is possible that he will still be harbouring issues from those early experiences. How he treats his mother can also be a good indicator of how he feels towards women in general. Also be aware that if he had an authoritarian type father-figure who made him suppress his emotions, this might also affect his ability to express his emotions and form intimate connections with others later in life.
4. Have his past relationships been stable and happy? Past relationships can sometimes show up patterns of behaviour. Has he had many failed relationships? More importantly, what were the reasons for them being unsuccessful? Past relationships do need careful interpretation though as there are two people involved and it might be that he has just been unlucky in love. Despite this, his past relationships can add another useful piece to the puzzle.
5. What is his general demeanour? Does he get angry with staff in restaurants? Is he sarcastic and critical of others? This type of behaviour can indicate an inner unhappiness and anger that can hinder the prospects of a happy relationship. Everyone has moments when they are angry and irritated with the world but if he displays these characteristics on a regular basis, it could be a ‘red flag’. Ultimately he may end up projecting his anger and frustration onto you – a situation that is unacceptable. You need to be with someone who supports you and champions your cause, not someone who criticises you and puts you down to help make themselves feel better.
6. Good morals and values. Is he kind to animals and children? Is he respectful and empathic where others are concerned? Does he take into consideration your feelings and needs? Be mindful of whether he wishes to make you happy and whether he does things that he knows will please you. This is a sign of a caring man. All good relationships involve give-and-take but be careful that it’s not you doing all the giving.
7. His friends. A man’s friends can provide useful clues as well. Does he surround himself with good friends? The old saying “Birds of a feather flock together” has some truth in it and his friends should generally be similar to him in values. If they are all ‘womanisers’ who enjoy leaving their women at home and encourage unfaithfulness – there may be an element of this in him even if you don’t see it. If his friends seem loyal to their partners, good fun and possess balanced views about the world this is a good sign that your man will be similar. Once again – this is only a guide and cannot definitively indicate a suitable/unsuitable partner.
8. Is he supportive? When life is challenging and you need someone to lean on, is he there for you? When the chips are down does he help out or does he run for the hills? If you are important, a man will find the time to help you out and do whatever he can to assist – whether it be emotional support or help with physical tasks. Obviously, if you are prone to daily crises his patience may wear thin but a reliable guy will want to show you his support and care.
9. Can he discuss his feelings? Is he interested in you and your life? A man who avoids talking about feelings might be “emotionally unavailable”. Signs are being ambiguous about the state of the relationship. Not giving away much about how he feels about you. You feel empty after you sleep with him. You often don’t know where you stand. You feel insecure as he doesn’t meet your emotional needs. He is resistant to involving himself in your life.
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