11 Ways to Know if He’s the One

How do you know if he's a potential long-term partner? Here are all the warning signs you need to know before committing

Dear Monica, After reading your post “20 Signs She’s a Keeper,” I was wondering if you could offer some tips for women, too. How do we know if he’s worth it? — N.M. Bridgeport

Women need to be just as discerning as men when choosing a potential partner. Determining if your guy has what it takes is a challenging task—especially if it is the second time around. Here is a checklist of things women should look at before beginning a committed relationship.

  • Take note of how he treats people. How does he interact with you and the people around you? Is he gruff and dismissive or is he engaging? How he speaks to you and treats you is how he will always be. Also take notice of how he speaks to those with whom he comes in contact with. Is he condescending or does he treat people with dignity?
  • Pay attention to his decision-making skills. Can he make the call? It is nice to be the one in charge of planning Saturday nights and weekend getaways, but not all the time. Taking the lead should be a two way street. If he can’t come up with ideas and people to socialize with you might eventually bore of him.
  • Listen to how he speaks about his previous partners. It is never one person’s fault when a couple gets a divorce. Don’t believe him when he says his ex-wife is crazy and she has manipulated the kids against him. It takes two to tousle. Find people who know his ex-wife and try to figure out just how nuts she (or he) really is.
  • Understand that commitment is key. Is he true to you? Has he told you that he wants to be in an exclusive committed relationship? If he ever mentions needing to feel his oats or wanting exposure to other people, run for the hills. He can’t commit.
  • Find out about his past. What is his past relationship history? Does he have a string of ex-girlfriends that he dated for a year and then dropped? Or is he a long-term oriented person? Those who can’t date for more than a few months or a year at a time are serial daters and will eventually leave you high and dry.
  • Watch how he treats his family. If he has kids how often does he see them and what does he consider his responsibilities to be? A father should want to see his kids as much as he can and also support them as best as he can (both financially and emotionally). If he would rather be spending his money on expensive restaurants, then he is not the real deal. A man who does not prioritize his kids will never prioritize the woman in his life.
  • Remember that money matters. Financial success is not everything, but can he afford to be in a relationship? When you are in a restaurant does his credit card get declined? Is he always coming up with excuses as to why he is short on cash? Look for the warning signs early on and unless you want to support yourself and him, make sure you are with somebody who can work toward making you financially secure.
  • Use stressful situations as a barometer of his temperament. Is he calm or a total hot head? Has he ever shared stories with you that have made you cringe such as a cruel remarks that he made at the office? How does he choose to punish his children? The way in which he handles his emotions and stress in a tricky situation will be a a good test for what you are in for in the future.
  • Make sure you’re actually having fun together. Do you share the same basic interests? Sports, movies, theater, long walks in the woods, pets? It is nice to spend your free time with people who like to do what you like to do. Whether it is hiking, training for a triathlon or shopping at the mall, a key aspect to relationships is enjoying time together.
  • Talk about the future of your families. Does he have the same aspirations that you do regarding future family plans?  Should both of you have kids, can these families be melded into a unit? How the kids treat each other can make or break a relationship. A couple is only as happy as their children and stepchildren are and these issues must be ironed out early in order for a relationship to succeed.
  • Make sure he is someone that you feel totally comfortable with. You should be able to have messy hair, no make up and sweat pants on and still feel 100 percent at ease.

Deciding on a significant other or life-mate is truly one of the most important choices that you will have to make. Break ups are painful and divorce is torture. There is nothing better than a best friend, soul mate and lover all rolled into one person. Hopefully going into a relationship with your eyes wide open will help you identify Mr. Right from Mr. Wrong.

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles. Please send your questions to: [email protected]