Committing to a relationship is a big deal, with life-altering consequences. No one wants to make the wrong choice, but how do you know whether or not he’s the right one? Here are three telltale signs that he’s the one.
1. You respect him. – Respect is the opposite of contempt. If you roll your eyes at him, feel embarrassed to be out with him in public, or feel like he’s not capable of making decisions for himself, you don’t respect him. It’s not the right relationship. But if you’re proud to be with him in public, if you’re confident that he can make good decisions about his life, and are happy to humor his idiosyncrasies, you’re in the right relationship.
Part of respecting him is not wanting or needing to change him. All men need to be trained in some ways – all women need to be trained too. Part of what we do in a relationship is adapt to the other person’s needs, but you can’t make someone change, they have to do it voluntarily. If you need your man to change, you need a different man.
2. He respects you. – You know a man respects you when he’s happy for your successes, rather than feeling competitive or jealous or condescending. You know he respects you when he notices that you feel unhappy and asks what he can do to help. A man respects you when he takes your concerns seriously and he’s ready to compromise a little piece of his own happiness for yours.
Relationships last when each person holds the other person’s happiness equal to their own. A relationship in which a man can’t or won’t make compromises is the wrong relationship.
Peaceful conflict resolution is another sign of respect in a relationship. You should leave immediately if he ever hits you – ever, even once. This is for your own protection, and it also sends clear message to this asshole that that sort of behavior will not be tolerated by women. You leave a relationships with man who abuses you as a small step toward making all women safer.
3. Your best friend likes him. – I deliberately didn’t say, “your family likes him.” There are some families who will never like anyone you bring home, and other families that are so desperate to see you in a relationship that it hardly matters who it’s with.
Your best friend, though, loves you for who you are and wants what’s best for you without having any investment in the outcome. If she loves the way he treats you, loves what he brings to your life, loves the way you look and sound when you talk about him, those are all signs that it’s the right relationship.
But if she grimaces when you mention his name, there might be an important reason why she doesn’t like him. Does he seem untrustworthy to her? Does she know something you don’t? A best friend can be like a canary in a mineshaft – she’ll probably notice the red flags long before you do. Pay attention to her opinion.