Patty Newbold is a marriage educator and the author of the blog, www.AssumeLove.com. She gave such a kick-arse response to my HARO request for this series it’s going in–AS IS.
1. Check what you RESPECT about him. The success of a marriage or life partnership depends in good part on your respect for your guy. If what you respect him for now includes anything you expect to outgrow by the time you have money in the bank, a career you love, or babies, he is probably not your best choice.
2. Make sure he can measure up. The success of a marriage or life partnership can be predicted by the ratio of positive to negative interactions between the two of you. Every snarky comment, a refusal to join you in something that matters to you, teasing, a raised voice, must be matched with at least five good things. When you first meet, the positives surely outweigh the negatives, so watch his interactions with his good friends and respected female relatives if you notice any negatives. Do the positives come even more easily to him than the negatives?
3. Save the fixer-upper project for your home. No matter which guy you choose, he will not love you the way you expect to be loved. You will need to watch and learn, appreciate what you get, find other ways to meet your needs that he cannot fill. But you have your limits. Some things will never be OK for you. It might be almost impossible to love anyone who gets in the way of including your twin sister in your daily life, continuing your education, taking risks to have fun, being yourself with your clients, or stopping to smell the roses instead of answering to the clock. Get to know what these are, and reject anyone who brings them.
4. Don’t let your hormones choose. Sex, even kissing and touching, release chemicals in your bloodstream that lower your guard and bond you in spite of your better judgement. Delay them until you know more about a guy, or learn to walk away from them and suffer the letdown the moment you learn you are with a lousy guy for you. He’s driving off the ones who could give you real affection and years of good times together.
[Chris jumping in here: in the internet universe, I would say that faulty hormone wiring can happen before you even meet, so watch out for folks who come on super strong and want to fast-forward the natural course of a relationship. Just cuz it’s there doesn’t mean you have to bite and chew.]