Hot Topic: How to find Mr Right, not Mr Time-waster
I’ve just answered a question for my Closer column from a woman with a history of choosing not-so-great men, wanting a checklist on what to look for in the next guy to increase her chances of a successful relationship. Course, if I could come up with an absolute no-fail ‘spot the guy who’s not a loser’ checklist, I could close my laptop and be forever sitting by a pool, book in hand and perfect man by my side peeling me grapes. There are always exceptions - but I did take a fairly good stab at it and stand firmly by the results even though I’m sure I’ll get a good lashing by the boys. (Don’t worry - I’ll do one for you next week!)
As I said, there are always cases where you should make exceptions. Also bear in mind the poor guy isn’t even in control of a lot of these factors. But it still won’t stop me telling you them. Don't go on another date without this checklist!
As a general rule choose:
A guy who has or had a good relationship with his mother. Sounds like a cliché but believe me, it sooooooo isn’t. Think about it. His first relationship with a woman is with his mother. If that experience is good, he’ll grow up liking woman. If it’s not, he’ll be deeply mistrustful. If he talks about her with affection, breathe a sigh of relief.
A guy who has cut the apron strings. You want him to like his mother, not behave like a five-year-old, phoning Mummy every five minutes and still desperately seeking approval. If the guy hasn’t separated from his mother, he is still dependent. If he’s clued up even slightly, he’ll recognize this isn’t a good look. Little boys run away from their mothers and this is what big boys who are still little boys do as well. But it’s a big bad world out there if you’re all on your own without your Mummy to look after you and most run back when the going gets tough. (Translation: He’ll leave her to be with you but go running back the minute you aren’t quite as forgiving and wonderful as Mummy is.)
A guy whose parents were happy together. One of the most important influences on the romantic relationships we all have now is the relationship our parents had. We learn how men treat women, how women treat men and how a relationship functions by the way our parents behaved towards each other. Scary thought isn’t it. If his parents enjoyed a long, happy marriage, this is what he expects from life and from you. This is obviously a good thing (unless of course he’s completely idealized their relationship and now no-one will ever measure up, but that’s another blog…). If his parent’s are divorced, someone cheated or had an affair, he’s learnt lessons from that. Don’t run for the hills but do be aware he’s scarred by the experience. Ask lots of questions and check he also understands the effect it had on him.
A guy who likes women. I mean really likes women, doesn’t just pretend he does. Does he have any female friends? Does he get on equally as well with the partners of his mates? Do women like him?
A guy who has lots of friends, both old and new. Beware the person who only seems to hang with friends he’s known for years: it’s often a sign the person is stuck and can’t move forward. He needs to be able to move forward if he’s going to develop a relationship with you.
A guy who takes responsibility. Watch out for men who blame others for everything in their life that has gone pear-shaped, rather than take responsibility for their own mistakes.
A guy who doesn’t bag his exes. If he says all his ex-girlfriends are nutters, he’s likely to be the nutter. Not them. He doesn’t have to gush about them but at least admit that the break-up of a relationship is generally caused by fault on both sides.
A guy who’s nice to people. Beware the man who treats the waiter or waitress like second-class citizens. Or orders the cab driver around. Or isn’t polite to your friends.
A guy who’s been potty-trained. If he’s post mid 20s he’d ideally have at least one decent long-term relationships under his belt. If he’s 30 or over and hasn’t had a relationship that’s lasted more than a few months, it’s a red flag. (Sorry guys, I know you hate me saying this but sadly it is a good indicator or commitment problems. As I said, there are always exceptions and if there’s a good reason why you don’t fit this criteria, make sure she knows it pretty soon.)
A guy who’s renting a decent flat that’s in decent shape. I went out with a guy once who’s entire house was crammed with moving boxes that hadn’t been unpacked for a year. Hmmm. What does that say, do you think? It was also so filthy I couldn’t even stay the night. A bit of chaos and general scruffiness if normal. Mayhem and tables groaning under piles of unpaid bills is not. Get out of there fast.
Avoid any guy who’s addicted to something or isn’t available. (NB. ‘Available’ means no wife, no girlfriend, no ex who’s still living with him but hasn’t moved out yet, regular sex buddies who are ‘just mates’.) Also avoid men who get angry easily, have extreme mood swings or lose patience easily.
Remember to pay more attention to actions than words. Does he call when he says he will? Is he courteous and polite? Does he turn up on time? If he’s constantly letting you down but has the gift of the gab and talks you around, forget it.
Judge him by what he does, not what he says.