Are you wondering if the guy you’re with is good for you? Perhaps you want to be sure that he is honest and genuine?
If so, this article is for you! I’ll explain the things you want to look for and what you should avoid.
1) He speaks well about others
When you are first dating someone new, how can you tell if they are genuinely good and caring?
One important way is to notice how he speaks about people in his life. This could be his mom, siblings, his friends, his exes or even random strangers.
Not everyone has a good relationship with their parents, so how he views his mom and pop might be a tricky one. The same can go for exes and siblings. But if you know that he has some good relationships, and yet he speaks dismissively of them, it could be a sign of a problem.
The secret is this: Not to judge him by his relationship with just one person, but instead the overall tone of how he speaks of his relationships with others.
On the whole – if he is mostly positive in his talk about his friends, exes and family, then he is probably authentic and respectful.
That said, it’s also normal for him to express concerns and issues with people close to him, and this can be a sign that he trusts you.
Context is key.
Does he bring up issues with empathy and an understanding of the other person’s point of view? Or is it all one sided?
Because the chances are that one day he’ll be speaking about you that way.
This leads on to a related point:
2) He treats people well
I once dated a guy that was quiet and a bit mysterious. He had a good relationship with his teenage daughter and I took that as a good sign.
However, after spending more time together, I noticed that he was quick to anger. Not with me… at first.
I remember noticing how small things that people did would make him angry, and that he could be unkind to people like taxi drivers when he was stressed.
Foolishly, I told myself that as long as he was nice to me, it would all be ok.
What do you think happened next? You guessed it! In time, he began to treat me as he had treated others, getting insanely angry over things that were very minor.
I could never question or criticize him. At all.
To give you a (crazy but true!) example… I once left his hotel room, late at night, in Bangkok. He insisted that the way back to my hotel was to go left. Now I’m bad at directions, but I knew he was wrong. But I also knew he would be furious if I showed him that I didn’t believe him.
So what did I do? I had to walk the wrong way until he was inside and then turn back!
It sounds ridiculous I know, but this is why it’s very important to take note of this sign from an early stage in your relationship.
Ultimately how he treats others will be how he treats you.
3) You can agree to disagree
With my ex, we could never agree to disagree, it was his way or no way. When I did express that I had my own opinion about something his feelings would range from mild frustration to outright anger.
As he was older than me, he once told me that I should agree with his (frankly wacky) beliefs, simply because I should respect the age difference.
My response? I asked him if I found someone older than him, with differing views, should he automatically agree with them?
Of course he had nothing to say to that!
It’s normal to have differing perspectives on certain things whether it’s to do with politics, world views or other types of beliefs. If you can have an interesting debate and then agree to disagree, this is a great sign.
4) He respects your boundaries
Accepting and respecting that you have different beliefs, is just one part of respecting boundaries.
According to Dr. Carolina Raeburn, there are 5 main types of boundaries:
- Intellectual boundaries (like the example above)
- Emotional boundaries
- Physical boundaries
- Time boundaries
- Financial boundaries
Intellectual boundaries allow you to assert your thoughts and opinions while respecting differing viewpoints.
Emotional boundaries relate to recognizing and expressing your own feelings independently, without being overly influenced by your partner.
Physical boundaries involve setting limits for your body and personal space, like refusing unwanted physical contact (including touch or sex) or having alone time.
Time boundaries highlight the limited nature of time and the need to be aware of your time constraints to ensure timely completion of tasks and important things in your life.
Financial boundaries emphasize that your money is your responsibility, and you must make choices about spending and managing finances.
I would add another boundary here: ‘Non-negotiable boundaries’. These are the things which are deal-breakers for you. They could involve fidelity, drug use or boundaries with exes.
Physical and emotional abuse should be a non-negotiable boundary for everyone, no excuses!
If you are dating a man that is willing to discuss and respect boundaries then this is an excellent sign that he is authentic and respectful.
5) He’s open with you
Mysterious guys like my ex can seem exciting. But in my experience, it’s usually just a sign of either insecurity or dishonesty. Two qualities that are far from authenticity and respect.
A good guy should be clear with you about what he wants from life and a relationship, so that you can tell if your values and dreams are compatible.
And you shouldn’t feel like you are left in the dark, wondering whether he really likes you, or when you’ll next get to see him again.
Don’t get me wrong – a little bit of mystery can be a good thing very early on in a relationship, but leaving you hanging on, and being inconsistent, is not a great sign.
No-one is perfect and it’s normal that he may have some insecurities, but if he can open up about them with you, then this is a great sign.
6) He says and does sweet things for you
Not all men are romantic. And for many people that is ok.
That said: Showing love and affection at times is an important part of a relationship, and an authentic and kind man will do this for you.
Some men may choose to do this with ‘I love yous’, compliments and romantic gifts. Others prefer to show it by taking care of you – perhaps making sure you have a nice meal when you get home from work. Or getting your medications and looking after you when you are sick.
It can also be about recognising the things you struggle with and helping you with that.
For example: My boyfriend knows that packing is very stressful for me (and I travel a lot!). So when I have a journey to make, he will ‘body double’ for me, keeping me company, doing certain tasks to free up my time, and taking my mind away from anxious thoughts.
7) He’s not afraid to be himself
Most of us have things we are less confident about. And it’s normal to try to present our best selves in a new relationship.
But if you want to know if a man is very authentic then look out for someone who is unashamedly themselves!
Note: Being authentic isn’t the same as doing whatever. If he is truly respectful then he will also be committed to self development and working on himself where necessary.
And let’s face it, none of us are perfect!
8) You feel safe, happy and authentic
So far, everything on this list has been about him.
But now ask yourself, how do YOU feel in the relationship?
If the answer is that you regularly feel disappointed, frustrated, hurt, filled with doubt and confusion or even resentful, then the chances are that this man is not a keeper.
If on the other hand, you feel safe, (mostly) content and that you can be yourself, then it sounds like you are dating an undeniably authentic and respectful man!