How to spot a good man

Top tips from a relationship counsellor on how to assess if your partner is a good guy.


1. Reliability

Does he call when he says he will? Do his actions match his words? Does he deliver on promises? Remember that “talk is cheap” and that actions speak louder than words. A respectable, reliable man will show congruence between what he says and what he does. If you are important to him, he will want to make an effort to keep you important.

2. Consistency

Does he contradict himself? If you find him saying one thing and then changing his mind often or expressing opposing ideas/opinions regularly, it 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. It may be wise to ask, “do you enjoy your own company?”, “do you know what makes you happy?”. These answers could prove very insightful into their character.

3. Stability

It can be said that a decent man generally comes from a stable, happy family having had a loving childhood. This is not to say that if he had an unhappy childhood, he wouldn’t 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’s possible that he may still harbour issues from those early experiences. How he treats his mother can also be a good indicator of how he feels towards women in general. If a potential partner grew up with an authoritarian type father-figure who suppressed emotions, this may affect his ability to express his emotions and form intimate connections with others later in life.

4. Past relationships

Have his past relationships been stable and happy? Past relationships can sometimes show up patterns of behaviour. Has he had many unsuccessful relationships and what were the reasons for them being unsuccessful? Past relationships do need careful interpretation though as there are two individuals involved in emotional connections, often complicated to an outsider.

5. Personality

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 inner unhappiness and anger that can hinder the prospects of a happy relationship.

Everyone has moments when they are angry and irritated, 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 – an unacceptable situation. 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 and a comfortable balance.

7. Friends

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 female partners at home and encouraging unfaithfulness – there may be an element of this in him even if you’re unable to 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. Support

When life is challenging and you need someone to lean on, is he there for you? Does he help out or does he run for the hills? If you are important to him, 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.

9. Emotional capacity

Can he discuss his feelings? Is he interested in you and your life? It could be said that a man who avoids talking about feelings may be emotionally unavailable. This could include: being ambiguous about the state of the relationship, not giving away much about how he feels about you, a feeling of emptiness after you sleep with him or not knowing where you stand. You feel insecure as he doesn’t meet your emotional needs and he is resistant to involving himself in your life.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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