When you start dating a guy that you really like, you feel like you’re supposed to ask yourself the big questions: Could I see myself with him forever? Is he ready to commit? Does he want a family?
It’s because you’ve been conditioned to think that, as a woman, your biggest job in life is to find a husband. And as long as he is willing to get married and have children with you, you should consider yourself lucky. You don’t have to worry about too much else, you don’t have to consider whether or not your qualities are compatible – just find someone! Someone who wants the things that indicate you’re worthy of the one thing that matters most for women – to be wanted.
First of all, your sense of self-worth should not come from the ability to “acquire” a husband (or anything external, for that matter.) Second of all, finding the person you want to be with forever should not just involve searching out a semi-normal man with a pulse. There are so many little questions you need to ask yourself too. You’re an intelligent, hard-working, respectable human being, and you should expect the person you end up with to treat you as such. Here are 15 questions you have to truthfully answer about the guy you’re dating:
1. Does he actually listen to you when you speak?
If he remains silent with his eyes glazed-over while you are talking to him, it doesn’t count. There are plenty of men out there who think “listening” just means allowing their significant other to “bitch about work and other stuff” for a little while, and that as long as they don’t interrupt, they’re doing their job. If this is the case for you, end it. Because there are plenty of guys out there who actually want to hear what you have to say. They know you’re intelligent and they know they can benefit from hearing your take on something. Find the one who listens – because “being quiet while you talk” is not the same thing.
2. Does he help you clean up?
Being in a relationship means sharing the work, because relationships are a LOT of work. Sometimes you make him dinner and clean up afterwards, because you want him to relax and know you’re there to take care of him. That’s okay. But he should be doing the same thing. Look for the guy who’s going to join you at the sink and do the dishes, without you having to ask or passive aggressively push him into it. In the long run, you’re going to appreciate that a lot more than someone who is just charming.
3. Does he treat strangers with respect?
He treats his boss with respect and he’s well-behaved around your parents, sure. But the most telling thing is how he treats the strangers working the jobs that most people consider menial. Pay attention to how he interacts with the pizza delivery guy, or your waitress, or the taxi driver. That will tell you way more about his character than you could ever expect.
4. Does he care about something?
I don’t care what it is – geology, Game of Thrones, books, March Madness, Oprah. (Yes, that last one is a long shot). But whatever it is, just make sure that he can get excited about something. You want to be with someone who is passionate and who invokes passion in you, or you’re in for a very boring life.
5. Does he tell you he’s proud of you, and not in a patronizing way?
You should never, ever feel like you’re not good enough. You should be with someone who thinks you’re great. You should be with someone who tells you you’re great. Life is long and it can be shitty, so you need someone by your side who’s cheering you on when things start to suck. You need someone to remind you that you are an impressive person and you can do anything that you decide to put your effort and time and dedication into (and you need someone who wants to be there for the ride as well.)
6. Does he call you out when you’re being unreasonable?
Dating a guy who thinks the sun shines out of your ass is just as dangerous as dating a jerk. It’s important to be with someone who’s not afraid to tell you when you’re being crazy or selfish or stubborn. It’s important to be with someone who respects you, but it’s just as important to be with someone who will stand up to you and call you out on your shit.
7. Does he have a life outside of work?
“Yeah… me!” is not a good answer. People need balance in their lives – friends, family members, hobbies, continued education, kickball leagues (not my cup of tea, but GO SPORTS!) If a couple gets too wrapped up in each other and has nothing else going on, they’ll get sick of each other really quickly. It might be all you want to do in the beginning, but you’ll thank yourself later when the two of you have actual lives and don’t want to punch each other in the face.
8. Does he think he can learn things from you?
He should. If he doesn’t, kiss him goodbye. Any guy you date should know that you have a lot to say and a lot you can teach him. He should appreciate your thoughts and intelligence and ideas. And you should feel the same about him!
9. Is It 50/50 or 60/40? Or worse?
My parents once told me that they measure all relationships against a 50/50 ratio. If you’re both putting in equal effort, and you both have equal say, and you both speak up and share your thoughts with one another, it’s 50/50. Anything close to that range is good. But once you start letting that other person take control, or you try to be too controlling, it’s not going to work. It’s just not. Relationships have to be fair and both people have to feel and have to act like they have an equal say in the relationship. A relationship doesn’t mean that one person dictates everything and the other follows. So seriously think about how close you are to 50/50.
10. Does he know all the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song?
11. Does he look you in the eye when you’re trying to talk to him about something?
One of the most important parts of a relationship is feeling like you have someone to turn to when you need to talk through something, when you need advice, or when you just need to be heard. So make sure the guy you’re dating isn’t afraid to look you in the eye and give you an honest, helpful, and encouraging response to whatever you need to talk about.
12. Does he put his phone away when he’s out to dinner with you?
Nothing says “I don’t care about what you have to say” more than someone who is scrolling through their phone when you’re in the middle conversation with them. If he thinks Twitter or a text or Candy Crush is more interesting than you, you’re in trouble. Of course everyone is going to check their phone several times in an hour because we’re all helpless and addicted (another problem for another day), but if this guy can’t put the damn phone down for a second to have a real-life conversation with you, get out.
13. Does he treat his mom well?
If the answer is anything but “yes” then just chalk this one up to a good effort and let it die.
14. Does he know what’s going on in the world around him?
Does he read or watch the news? It’s not fun to be with someone who’s completely wrapped up in their own life. Obviously most of us could do a lot better about keeping up with current events, but most of us have some semblance of an idea of what’s going on. If he has no clue what is happening in the world and only cares about himself, it’s a telling sign of how much effort he’s going to put into your relationship.
15. Does he take your life goals seriously?
I don’t care if you want to be a stay-at-home mom or the CEO of a huge corporation or a clown. He should support your goals 100% and be willing to do anything he can to help you get there. Any guy that can’t support you is just afraid of a woman being more successful than him. But, like, please don’t actually be a clown.