Women’s magazines slip us the kind of information that we wouldn’t find elsewhere; they reveal a female perspective that most men just aren’t privy to. How they read into our behaviour, how they perceive our actions, what their true expectations are… there’s plenty to be learned from a glimpse into the other side.
I will be providing you with just this kind of gender intelligence — without the embarrassment that comes with retrieving it from your girlfriend’s magazine rack. I’ll be publishing a series of features from iVillage.com; articles originally written by women for women, but with insight that’s invaluable to men. Of course, in exchange, I had to offer up some intelligence of our own… all the more reason for you to get on the inside track as soon as you can.
Many women believe that all the good guys are taken, but you know that’s simply not true. iVillage.com is telling women exactly how to spot a great guy, so you best read on to see what qualities she’s looking for in her dream man.
Finding Mr. Right
We all want to find a great guy. But let’s face it: How many of your exes seemed fantastic at first, only for you to find out that they were Mr. Wrongs? Well, no more bad boys, mama’s boys or anything of the sort! Dr. Bethany Marshall shares her shopping list for a healthy man in this excerpt from her book, Deal Breakers.
When you first meet a man, whether it’s online, at the grocery store, at a bar, at school or at your job, you should feel that he wants you.
It may be conveyed by a look, a touch, a compliment, curiosity or attention to detail. And it must, within a short amount of time, be conveyed in person — not online, through a text message or on the phone. And definitely, it should be backed up by his willingness to make a plan and move the relationship forward. If he’s not interested enough to call in advance and make a plan, he’s not interested enough to invest his emotions in a relationship. Conversely, constant calling, e-mailing and text-messaging is not true contact. He cannot touch you, see you, adore you or get to know you through words on a screen or over the phone.
Soon after meeting him, you should discover that he has appropriately achieved in at least one area of his life.
For instance, if he went to college he now has a good job. Or a decent car. If he inherited his parents’ business, he has learned how to successfully manage it. Or if he is a member of a baseball team, he has learned to become a team player. His efforts continue to generate new opportunities, new skills, new challenges, or new possessions. Thus, he is progressing and not degenerating.
If he’s a healthy man, he will never make plans for the future that he does not intend to back up.
And he will certainly not say, “I’m not sure where this relationship is going,” and then continue to call you and have sex with you. He will not send messages that are confusing and difficult to decipher. A healthy man says what he means and means what he says. And the words that he speaks are backed up by action that coincides. Even if he cannot give a guarantee, the relationship is always moving forward. Thus, you will never find yourself drunk-dialing at two in the morning because you fear that he is out with another girl. Or find yourself in a situation where he claims to want to get married , but you are the only one who is planning the wedding and paying for the caterer.
If you are in the right relationship, it will feel reciprocal and mutual.
When you offer emotional support, is he appreciative? Does he give back by surprising you with a special little something? Or remembering your favourite drink? Do you feel that what he gives is as valuable and meaningful as what you offer? For instance, if you set aside a Saturday night, will he make an entertainment plan that is enjoyable for both of you? If your car breaks down, will he come and get you? If you have a problem, will he help you? Is he as devoted to you as you are to him? Healthy relationships are based upon mutual give-and-take. And what is given and received should feel of equal value. If the only thing that you are getting out of this relationship is text messages or e-mails, occasional plans or the assurance that you won’t be alone on a Saturday night, you are not getting what you need.
If he’s the right guy for you, he will have good friends and you will like who he is when he’s with them.
Whether he’s at the bar, at a tailgate party or running for political office, you are confident that he is the man you know and love, both with you or apart from you. When he’s out of sight, he does not turn into somebody else. For instance, a player. Or a jerk. Conversely, when you include him with your friends, you know who he will be: charming and engaging, enhancing instead of detracting.
If he’s a healthy man, he will like you for who you are.
Even if you have a bad day or say something that he does not like, his adoration will remain steady and his view of you will remain the same. Beware of the guy whose perception changes whenever you deviate from his expectations. For instance, you dress a certain way and he refuses to hold you or compliment you. Or you gain weight and he stops having sex with you. Does he take pleasure in you, whether you look sexy in your low-rider jeans or have just gotten out of bed? Does he spend time with your family because he knows that you are a part of them? Is he interested in your spirituality? Or do you feel that you must suppress your personality in order to hold on to his approval? Even when it comes to your sexual preferences, you should feel free to reveal yourself without fear of losing his affection.
A healthy man will never view you as unconditionally bad or make you feel terrible about yourself.
Even in the midst of an argument, he will be able to see both the good and the bad in you. For instance, he will not stay mad at you once the argument is over. And he will move on instead of clinging to bad feelings or suspicions. He loves you and sees you as a good person, no matter what. And he would never refuse to call, refuse to be nice, or walk out the door without quickly returning simply because you shared your concerns with him.
A healthy man has a learning curve.
For instance, if you tell him that you need more time together or need him to stop doing something that is obnoxious, he will shift his behavior because he loves you and does not want to lose you. He is willing to learn from his mistakes and modify his actions. For instance, if he begins a friendship with a flirtatious girl and you let him know that this is creating a problem, he will be concerned about your feelings and come up with a solution. When you discuss relationship obstacles, he works on them. He would never admit to a substance abuse problem and then refuse to address it. Or agree to appropriately separate from his mother (who dislikes you), but then go running back to the nest.
If he is healthy, he will seek his own solutions.
For instance, if he has a problem, he will reach out to others for help, find resources, have a conversation, go to therapy, attend a 12-step program — anything that will move him closer to making the changes that he needs to make. (You could do worse than give him this book. No, wait — make him buy his own damn copy!) Petty pride, laziness or stubbornness will not keep him from taking the steps that he needs to take to have a full relationship with you.
A healthy man will not try to have power over you.
He won’t leave you wondering where he is and what he is doing. Or leave you hanging just to prove a point. Or make you feel that you have to disappear for a few days to recover the power you once had. Even if he has more money, status and power, he will not make you feel that you would be nothing without him. A healthy man is willing to take you into account instead of pushing you away. He is willing to listen, meet your needs, and include you in mutual decision-making. Because you matter, he does not want to have undue influence or control over you. And he can trust that he is loved, even when he is not in charge. When it comes to who takes care of whom, and who makes the decisions, and who gets the last say, he is willing to negotiate (because, really, all of life is a little like Let’s Make a Deal).