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How Can I Get a Man Who Treats Me Well?
How to Find a Great Guy
Instead of asking yourself, "How can I get a man?" try starting with your goal: "How can I get a man who will adore me and treat me well throughout our relationship?" After all, you don't want another bad relationship!
This article will provide the basic tools you need for finding your soul mate:
- The right attitude
- Plentiful opportunities
- An ability to spot problem men in a jiffy (and recognize the great ones)
- Steps for developing a healthy relationship and avoiding unhealthy patterns
Reading about finding your ideal partner isn't enough, though. It's up to you to do the work! Neglecting any of these areas will sabotage your efforts, so bookmark this page, read it often, and make these tips a daily part of your life.
Finding & Keeping a Good Man Requires a Good Attitude
If, like me, you came from a dysfunctional or abusive background, you may not have developed the relationship skills you'll need for sustaining a committed relationship. That's the bad news. The good news is that you're now an adult, free to focus your energy on learning and doing anything that's legal, enjoyable, and affordable, and an intimate relationship certainly qualifies on all levels.
That means you need to learn how to be a good, committed partner. Forget all the malarky you've heard about being "just fine the way you are." Yes, of course you're wonderful and unique, but so is the Eiffel Tower and it's still single. The difference between the way you are and the way a longtime, happily married person is boils down to one thing: relationship skills.
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It's easier said than done. We simply cannot perceive ourselves the way others see us. You may find it helpful to ask others, but they often won't be completely honest about your shortcomings because they don't want to hurt you. They do care, after all! A better method is to take out a piece of paper and pen and write down every criticism you remember hearing about yourself, whether it came from a lover, a family member, a friend, or a coworker. They may have said something during an argument and later apologized. Write it down. They may not have said it to you, but you heard about their unkind words through the proverbial grapevine. Write it down. They may have said it over and over again as a way to manipulate you. Write it down. It may be something you've said about yourself. Write it down.
Once you have your list, keep it handy as you read. If it touches even a little bit on anything you find here, let yourself believe that some people really do see you that way, and explore how to let them see you differently.
This article is written as if you've already met someone, even though you're searching now. That's because when you actually find that person, you can derail your blossoming friendship if you don't have the right attitude, so developing a healthy outlook now (and recognizing how it'll look) is vital. Steps for meeting others will be presented later.
How Women Sabotage Their Relationships
They refuse to "settle." If you've met a number of men but found none of them up to your standards, then your standards are way too high! Write out your list of requirements - what he "MUST" have, what you'd "LIKE" him to have, and what he "MUST NOT" have, and cross out one item for every five you listed. Then, when you meet new men, adhere to your list. If a trait you don't care for is not on the "must" or "must not" list, carefully consider whether it should be. If you decide that it should be added, fine, but cross off something else. Ideally, your list shouldn't have more than three or four items in each category.
Some traits to consider for your lists:
Likes same kind of humor
Has / Doesn't have children
Income Level above $_____
Certain religious beliefs
Certain hygiene level
High self esteem
Love of pets
Owns his own home
Likes to cook
Has good morals
These 30 items are all things that could potentially affect our judgment of someone, but it would be completely unrealistic to expect one person to fit the bill in every way, so select 3-4 "MUSTS," "MUST NOTS" and "WOULD LIKE" for own personal list (what's important to you might not be on the table above, so include the things that matter to you.) When you meet someone who meets those criteria, jump for joy instead of finding reasons to criticize.
Find out what your new man's list would contain if he wrote one out, and see if you pass his muster, too. Remember that nobody's perfect, including you, and we're all free to reject anyone who doesn't match our expectations. Be sure you meet his before investing too much into the relationship.
They seek attention. Naturally, everyone wants attention, especially from a loved one or someone we want to know better. Some women want, expect, or demand too much. In her mind, she's "just having fun" or "trying to spend quality time together." To outsiders (and to him) she may look clingy, controlling, or desperate. They may call her high-maintenance, which is rarely a compliment. If she can't get his attention, she may seek it elsewhere - flirting with other men, spending more time at work or with friends even when it hurts her relationship, or developing online relationships that may or may not be innocent.
If this is you, learn to enjoy quiet. When you're feeling caged or lonely, turn to meditation or writing in a journal. Spend time on a hobby that you can do alone. By finding serenity when you'd otherwise feel bored, you give your man a chance to come to you. That means a lot to him. Instead of feeling like you're another task on his to-do list, you're his refuge from the demands he's been meeting all day. Suddenly, the attention you crave is all yours.
- Confessions of a Drama Queen
Being a drama queen / attention whore has its benefits. It also has some drawbacks. Here's what I have learned....
They pick poorly. If you follow the recommendations above for creating a list, using it actively, and verifying that you meet your partner's expectations, you will immediately reduce your chances of having a bad relationship. However, my experience in the mental health field has shown me that people have an amazing resilience that will keep their bad habits and beliefs intact.
You actually have to commit to the idea of only accepting good partners into your life! The whole idea of commitment is fuzzy for many people. Simply being present and aware doesn't count as commitment. Thinking about applying for a new job isn't a commitment to getting a new job. The person who's dedicated to reaching that goal takes extra steps - updating and submitting their resume, networking with others who may know about positions that are hiring, searching for opportunities online and in newspapers.
Relationship commitment is similar. Merely being half of a couple won't leave either of you happy for very long, so begin your commitment before you meet them. Committing yourself to the wrong person is just as destructive as not committing at all. Rule out people who don't meet your criteria, and fully devote your efforts toward making a great relationship when you find someone who meets your criteria and is compatible.
The link below, "Making Less of Herself Won't Make Him More," reveals how women with the wrong partner have self-defeating beliefs that keep them agonizing over the wrong guy instead of finding their Mr. Right. "The Five Pillars of Compatibility" explains what compatibility really is, and how to evaluate it.
- Making Less of Herself Won't Make Him More
Three common mistakes women make to improve their relationships can sabotage them instead.
- The Five Pillars of Compatibility
Is your relationship compatible enough to last forever? This article provides helpful guidance on how to evaluate the five pillars of compatibility: sexual, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and financial.
They carry their baggage everywhere they go. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and several other self-help books, claims that 80% of our relationship problems are caused by 20% of our experiences. A single betrayal can lead to ongoing suspicion for months or years afterward!
Identify your emotional baggage. Everyone has some, and by unpacking it and looking through it, you'll find better ways to relate to your partner as long as you accept complete responsibility for what's there. No matter how it got there, you're the one who controls how much it means to you and how to wear it.
In other words, it's fine to say, "My first husband called me fat and criticized my weight sometimes. Now I feel insecure when I'm around other women." A good partner will feel concerned, but it's your problem, not his. He may limit his comments about weight because he feels a duty to protect your feelings, but it would be unfair to expect him to avoid other women because you feel bad about yourself. To accept responsibility, you could say, "I feel worried that other women may be more attractive to you, so I'd rather not go to your company party." Even then, it's a slippery slope. If your partner hasn't harmed you, your insecurities may accuse and find him guilty of someone else's wrongdoing - a sure way to erode a relationship.
I've found it beneficial to recognize my baggage and when an event triggers it, I simply tell my husband, "I'm not ready to talk about it." It may take days for me to come to terms with whether he has wronged me or whether it's my emotional baggage clamoring for power, but once I know the difference, I can calmly tell him what I experienced. "When this happened, I felt angry because I thought it meant you hurt me. Now I know that you weren't trying to hurt me, and that my feelings come from my past experiences." When he's actually done something wrong, I still avoid blame by waiting it out. "The other day, I felt hurt because you did this. I know you weren't trying to hurt me, but I'd like to ask you not to do that again." It's simple and it works.
They think it's ok to have unspoken expectations. This dangerous belief wreaks havoc on relationships. The only thing a woman can reasonably expect is something her partner has explicitly, verbally agreed to. Period.
Expectations and standards are two different things. Standards are the things on your list. They generally apply to character traits, not behaviors. If you have a standard of only dating honest men, then your unspoken expectations are more likely to be met, but there's no guarantee. Your definition of honesty may be different from his. Make sure he meets your standards, but when he doesn't meet your expectations, recognize that you didn't have a right to expect or predict his behavior.
"Shouldn't he care about what I want?" is an example of an expectation. Certainly he cares, but how he expresses that is entirely his choice. He may show people that he cares by doing what he thinks they want him to do, or he might show caring by doing the opposite - leaving them alone so they can figure out how to solve their own problems.
Kick your expectations to the curb. Uphold your standards only for character traits.
Where to Find Men
You've got your list. You understand what your own shortcomings are, and you've been working on them in your daily life - at work, with friends and family, and in your own thoughts. You're ready to get out and meet some men.
You've heard plenty of traditional recommendations: taking a class, online dating, in membership organizations, at work, at bars, in singles groups. Sure, you can do all these things or none of them.
Truth: Studies show that a majority of married (not just dating) couples met through a mutual acquaintance.
The fastest way to find a good man to date is to ask your friends, family, or coworkers to introduce you to single men that they know. If you don't know what to say, practice these suggestions while imagining a specific person you know:
"I was thinking of going to the movies this weekend, but I don't really want to go alone. Know any single men who might be available to go with me?"
"Remember that story you told me about your friend's horrible date? Is he still single?"
"I'd like to start dating again, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Do you happen to know any single men who might be up for a cup of coffee?"
Because you're asking someone who cares about you, they'll be more motivated to help you out, and they can put in a good word about you before your date.
Now Throw a Few Back into the Sea
You know that old cliché about fish in the sea, right? That little nugget of wisdom is a girl's best friend. (And it doesn't cost nearly as much as diamonds.)
If you waste time with people who aren't good for you, you might miss the one who's meant to be as cozy and comfortable as your favorite blanket. Forget all the hooey you ever heard about relationships being hard work. That's only true about the bad ones. The good ones do involve some work, but it hardly ever feels like work.
A guy can be a terrific person and still not be right for you. He may not be compatible with you over the long run, or might not commit because you don't have enough of what he is looking for in a woman.
If you read the link above, you've probably caught onto the fact that I don't encourage women to sacrifice who they are or what they want from life in order to keep a man. If it worked, I'd tell them to do those things, but it doesn't. (That's why your attitude before you start dating is so critical. If you set off in the wrong direction, you will never reach the destination you're looking for.)
No matter who you are or what you believe in, you can find someone who treasures you just the way you are.
I once met a man who was genuinely happy in his marriage of 16 years - to a schizophrenic woman. I recently read a woman's story about her boyfriend of three years, who cried because he'd just heard her voice for the first time. She has selective mutism. Many people with sexually transmitted diseases, addictions, and personal hangups find enduring relationships that meet their needs well. But you must be available when that person who is meant for you comes into your life by ruling out the ones who aren't.
How Do I Know He's Wrong?
It took me years to figure out how to tell the difference between a convenient relationship and a fabulous, committed one. Hopefully, you'll learn faster than I did by looking at these clues:
- One of you invests more (time, money, attention, effort) in the relationship than the other.
- Future plans somehow always stay in the future or are vague dreams that don't happen.
- You get mixed messages. What he says doesn't seem to match what he does.
- Blame, criticism, or resentment crop up often. (Arguments are ok, but these things aren't.)
- You find yourself defending him to the people who know you best.
- He treats other people better than he treats you.
- Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse leave you feeling bad.
- He often doesn't seem to understand you.
- He doesn't try to understand.
- He often does something that leaves you feeling hurt or insecure.
- You find yourself wondering "how much" he loves you.
That's not a complete list, but it's a good start. A soul-mate quality relationship looks more like these characteristics:
- He lets you know that you're irreplaceable to him in his actions and/or words.
- He finds a way to connect with you even during disagreements.
- You both treat the relationship as if it's more important than your own wants or needs.
- He usually considers your opinions, and often changes his mind because of them.
- You do the same for him.
- You have many positive things to say and few negative - to and about each other.
- The relationship feels easy, comfortable, and above all, fun.
Can You Spot Signs of Trouble?
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What Your Score Means
If you scored above 70%, you have a good grasp of what makes relationships last and the skills to make yours last.
If you scored between 40% and 70%, you'd benefit from learning the difference between a good man and a compatible one. You stand a high chance of sticking with the wrong guy only to find yourself at a painful breakup later on.
If you scored less than 40%, you frequently allow that personal baggage to interfere with your relationships. Until you change your own attitude, you probably will have trouble keeping a relationship for longer than a year.