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?
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?
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?
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?
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 byYourTango.com 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?
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.”