Top 10 Things to Know Before Dating a Guy

10 Things to Know About a Guy Before Dating Him

When you first begin dating someone new, it’s all rainbows and butterflies. It seems like you may have finally found your soul mate – the person who will stick by your side through good times and bad times, through sickness and health. But is he really the one, or are you just being blinded by his good lucks or gentlemanly charm? As exciting as it is to begin falling for someone new, it’s important to stay grounded and keep an eye to reality. Before you start seriously dating someone, you need to take the time to figure out if he really is a good match for you, or if you have just been turning a blind eye to some tell-tale, ominous signs. Here are the top ten things that you should know about a guy before you start dating him. Consider it a research project. Your job is to collect all the data and come up with an informed decision based on your findings. To date or not to date? That is the question!

10. How Does He Treat Strangers?

No Marsha I don't want to hear about the 2 for 1 special!
No Marsha I don’t want to hear about the 2 for 1 special!

One of the quickest ways to gauge a man’s character is to see how he interacts with strangers. It doesn’t matter how much of a gentlemen he is towards you if he can’t be a decent human being to others. While it’s chivalrous that he pulls out your chair at dinner, stands up when you enter a room and helps you with your coat, this is less about noticing how he treats you and more about noticing how he treats others.

At a restaurant, does he berate the waiter for bringing him a regular cola instead of a diet one? Or does he say something jokingly like, “Oh, what the heck? It’s a special occasion, calories be damned!” Does he demand to speak to the manager when a waitress accidentally knocks his water glass over? Or perhaps he helps her clean up the spill while profusely telling her that it’s alright: no harm, no foul. If upon leaving the restaurant you walk by a homeless person, does your date pull out whatever spare change he has in his pocket, or does he mutter rude and condescending remarks under his breath?

CEO Bill Swanson has written much about this topic. He says that, “A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person.” He cautions people to be wary of those who can turn their charm on and off at the drop of a dime, depending on who they are talking to.
Be especially wary of men who use a power card, saying things like, “I know the owner of this place and I could have you fired.” This ridiculous statement tells you nothing about the person’s actual status, but everything about his character.

9. What is His Value System?


What's his value system... Clearly a boob guy. He values boobs.
What’s his value system?  Clearly a boob guy. He values boobs.

Everyone has a set of ingrained beliefs and values that help to guide their behavior and decisions. If a guy’s value system is vastly different from yours, then it could make for hardship down the road if your relationship becomes serious. In order to develop a healthy relationship, it’s important to have similar, or at least compatible, values. Therapist JoAnne White writes that core values are, “things about yourself that are not likely to change. They are the tenets you grew up believing and that deep down inside still seem to fit into your life no matter what else changes.”

A value system doesn’t necessarily have to do with religion, although that could play a part in the conversation. Unless it is a deal breaker for you personally, someone with a different religion than you could still be a great match. People from different religious backgrounds get married all the time and raise children with traditions taken from both religions. It’s also important to remember that the religion that someone grew up in is not necessarily representative of the beliefs that they currently hold. What’s often more important are the underlying values that people believe in.

Before you start seriously dating a guy, it’s a good idea to understand what he holds dear in his life. Find out what makes him happy, what he can’t live without, what motivates him, and what happiness looks like to him. Try to understand how he views the world and those around him. Does he believe he has a purpose in this life, and if so what is it? What guides him in making tough decisions?

To be a good match with someone, you don’t necessarily have to have exact same values. In fact, that might be boring. But you do have to be able to understand where the other person is coming from and see if you can relate to it. Morals, on the other hand, should be non-negotiable. If someone has unsavory morals and a shady sense of principles and ethics that don’t align with yours, then it’s probably best not to continue the relationship. After all, you want to be with someone who brings out the best in you, not the worst.

8. What Does He Think a Healthy Relationship Looks Like?


Are you on the same relationship page...
Are you on the same relationship page?

Before you start a relationship with a guy, you want to understand what he views as a great relationship. When he envisions himself in a relationship, what does it looks like? Does he envision a doting partner who puts his needs first? Does he picture a woman who has dinner ready on the table when he gets home and recognizes him as the head of the household? If so, he may not be the ideal match for you. Think about how you want to define your roles and find someone who complements that vision.

When he pictures a relationship, does he assume that it comes along with constant nagging and fighting? Or does he believe a relationship will be saddled with doubt and jealousy? Perhaps he believes that a loving relationship means never having a fight or a disagreement? Either way, if his vision doesn’t match up with yours, it could be a bad sign.

One of the ways that we view relationships is based on what we witnessed from our parents. That is not to say that people who grew up in unhappy homes won’t be capable of having a healthy relationship. In fact, many people grow up clearly wanting the exact opposite type of relationship that their parents had. On the other hand, some people were lucky enough to grow up with two parents who shared an amazing love together, and they want to emulate that in their own life.

A man’s past girlfriends will also play a part in shaping his outlook on relationships. If he dated a girl who was unfaithful, he may think that it’s normal to be jealous and distrusting. If he dated a girl who couldn’t commit, then he may feel that a relationship should be emotionally distant.

7. Does he Fight Fair?


Never go to bed angry or concussed.
Never go to bed angry or concussed.

Good conflict resolution skills can be the cornerstone of a good relationship. Every relationship is going to have its ups and downs, and problems will arise as your courtship progresses. According to a survey conducted which polled 100 mental health professionals, it was found that 43 percent of couples cited their inability to resolve conflict as the factor that led to divorce. If your partner isn’t able to fight fair, then it might be better to avoid the fights altogether by ending the relationship early.

It can be difficult to understand someone’s conflict resolution skills if you haven’t had a fight yet, and if you are just beginning your courtship then you hopefully haven’t had anything to argue about yet. However, you can learn about how he has handled conflict in the past and try to gauge how he deals with arguments. Is he the type to scream and shout at the top of his lungs to get his point across? Does he belittle or berate during an argument? Does he lie when his back is up against the wall? Does he become defensive? Does he go for low blows when he’s angry? Does he storm off in a huff? Does he become fragile and insecure? Does he become cruel or aggressive? Is he quick to apologize? Does he try to keep the peace at all costs?

Clearly there are many ways to fight, but some tactics lead to more productive outcomes than others. You don’t necessarily both have to have the same conflict resolution skills, but you should have ones that are compatible. For instance, if you are a fiery woman known to fly off the handle at the slightest thing, then you might respond well to someone who is slow to anger and quick to apologize.

6. How Does He Spend his Free Time?


Ugh... A renaissance faire guy.  Run.
Ugh… A renaissance faire guy. Run.

Razvan Bucur /

If you want to find a compatible match, then it’s important to have some shared interests. If you have a severe case of wanderlust, then you might be perfectly suited with a guy who spends his summers traveling. If you are an athlete at heart, you might find some friendly competition with another athletically-inclined guy. If you love the fresh mountain air, then dating a guy who enjoys hiking or skiing might be just up your alley. Or if you’re a homebody who loves nothing more than curling up with a good book, then your perfect match might be someone who loves spending time at home reading the newspaper, front to back.

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find someone who doesn’t necessarily have the exact same interests and hobbies, but rather has ones that complement the things that you love to do. If you love to eat and try new culinary creations, you’d have a great time dating a guy who loves to cook. If you are in school part time and need to devote significant time to studying, then a guy who devotes a night every week to his bowling league might be the perfect person to keep from causing distraction at home. If you have a passion for volunteering and he spends a lot of his time at networking events, you could leverage your social circles to make a difference in your community.

You may also find someone who is passionate about something that is new and exciting to you. He could introduce you to a new hobby that could become a favorite of yours. Perhaps your guy has a motorcycle and you fall in love with feeling of the open road. Or perhaps he’s a surfer who teaches you to enjoy long hours out on the water. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, new experiences can, “activate the brain’s reward system, flooding it with powerful neurochemicals related to pleasure and bonding—the same circuits triggered when a person first falls in love.”

5. What are His Physical Expectations?


Ok, I think we covered this one earlier.  Some guys are boob guys.
Ok, I think we covered this one earlier. Some guys are boob guys.

If you can figure out what a guy’s physical expectations are early on, you can save yourself from a lot of confusion and embarrassment later. Everyone has a different mindset and comfort level in terms of how fast a relationship should move physically. If you are a gal who plans to wait until marriage to give yourself to a man, then you might not be compatible with a guy who sees sex as an important part of getting to know someone. Similarly, if one of you is ready to have sex after the first date and the other won’t be ready until they are in love, then the situation could get awkward.

Find out what a guy’s physical expectations are, and relate your own as well. If you are both on the same page and know where each other stands, then you can avoid a situation where one party is putting themselves out there only to be rejected. While it is not a good feeling to be rejected, it’s equally uncomfortable being the one doing the rejecting. It’s a delicate balancing act turning someone away while still ensuring them that you do like them and find them desirable. By negotiating boundaries early on, you can tackle the issue before it becomes a problem.

A Business Insider Poll asked 1,660 single American men and women about their views on sex and dating. One of their questions asked, “How many dates do you need to wait before you sleep with someone?” Perhaps not surprisingly, men overwhelmingly responded with fewer dates than women did. Since there is such an obvious discrepancy between expectations, learning them early on is important.

4. What Kind of Future does He Want?


Is he just looking for a fling.
Is he just looking for a fling?

If you are going to spend your time dating someone, you should know what the desired outcome is. If you are only interested in a summer fling, this may not be important. But if you are interested in finding someone to spend your life with, then it’s important to know what that life would look like down the line. The first step is to have a clear understanding of what kind of future you want for yourself. Then you can learn what he wants and see if the two align.

Find out what kind of future your guy wants. Does he want to be in an exclusive relationship, or does he enjoy casual dating? Does he ever see himself getting married, or is he afraid of making a commitment like that? If you have been dreaming about your wedding since you were a little girl, you likely won’t be happy dating someone who never wants to be married.

Find out what he wants out of his life. Does he desire a fast-tracked career where he will work tirelessly to climb up the corporate ranks? Does he gauge his success by how much money he makes or how many things he owns? If his life’s focus will be on his career and not his family, then he may not be the ideal match for you. Or perhaps you’ve found a guy who can’t wait to get married and start a family. Maybe he grew up with 10 siblings and wants to raise a family just as large. If that’s not something that is in the cards for you, then it’s best to find out early.

3. Who are the People He Surrounds Himself With?

If your guy is service organization volunteer, you've found a keeper
If your guy is a service organization volunteer, you’ve found a keeper

Oftentimes, you can tell the most about a person by the company he keeps. The type of friends that your guy hangs with can give you a ton of insight into the type of person he is. Most people have a few close friends who each serve different purposes in their life.

For instance, he may always go to one particular friend when he needs advice. Figure out whatever you can about their relationship to find out why. Is this friend mature and wise and capable of dishing out practical advice? Are they a simply a good listener who lets him talk it out and figure out the answer on his own? Do they give advice in a tough-love fashion, or do they coddle and indulge? In this way, you can learn what type of person he values and trusts.

Similarly, learn what you can about the friends he hangs out with most, and look for what attracts him to them. Does he love the familiarity and comfort of friends he’s had since elementary school? Does he hang out with energetic people who are the life of the party? Are his friends intellectuals who love nothing more than debating the latest in politics or art? Are his friends witty and funny, constantly cracking jokes to keep everyone laughing?

By finding out the type of company your guy keeps, you’ll have a better understanding of what personality traits he values and what type of people he likes to be around. If you share some of these personality traits then you two are likely to hit it off too. And if you can see yourself being friends with his friends, then you are likely a great match.

2. Does He have an Ex-Wife or Kids?


Does he have a crazy ex... Is he the crazy ex...
Does he have a crazy ex? Is he the crazy ex?

If a guy has an ex-wife, there might be a lot of baggage that comes along with it. It’s important to know what type of relationship they currently have, especially if there are children involved. If he is able to co-parent with his ex in a healthy and constructive way, then it’s a good clue that he is mature and good at handling conflict. If he turns red in the face and gets agitated at the mere mention of his ex-wife’s name, then he may still be harboring a lot of anger and frustration which could spill over into your relationship.

If your guy does have children, and you love children, then it might be an advantage of dating him. Still, there is a lot that goes into dating a man with kids. If you always dreamed of experiencing the magic of a first pregnancy and first child with someone who was equally new to the process, then this might not be the perfect someone for you.

1. How does He Handle his Money?


This guy's portfolio looks dangerously undiversified.
This guy’s portfolio looks dangerously un-diversified.

Arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce, according to a researcher at Kansas State University. She found that those who argue about money early in their relationship were at a greater risk for divorce, regardless of the couples’ income, debt or net worth. So before you start seriously dating a guy, it’s important to know his views on finances and how he handles his money.

Find out if your guys is a spender or a saver. Does he aspire to keep up with the Joneses, or is he content to live a more simple life. Is financial security important to him, or does he prefer to live in the moment rather than save for the future? Does he value the pursuit of wealth, or would he rather donate his money to charity?

Also figure out what he tends to spend his money on, and see if it matches up with your spending style and goals. Would he rather spend his money on things or on experiences? For instance, if he received a bonus at work, would he rather buy an expensive watch or get tickets to the big game? Would he rather update his car with all the bells and whistles, or spend that money on a trip to Europe? Does he spend freely on smaller purchases like lattes, lunches and gifts, or does he pinch pennies and keep his wallet shut? If someone’s spending habits don’t match yours, you can expect a lot of arguments over money to pop up.

Follow these tips and learn what you can about a guy before you start seriously dating, and you will have a better chance of success in the long term. By figuring out the answers to these questions, you can decide if someone is just a date or a true soul mate.