When relationships start out, it’s easy to fall head over heels right away, thinking maybe he’s “the one.”
This phase, however, is not the ideal time to start planning a future together — especially because you’re only seeing the very best version of your partner. If you allow yourself to get blinded by this fantasy, you could miss the real signs that show what type of boyfriend (or husband) he’ll be later on in the relationship.
While we can’t predict the future, there are certain things we can pay attention to, early on, to determine if he’s a keeper.
How He Treats People
Being respectful to other people, especially the elderly, is an indication that he’s got good manners and good character, says marriage counselor Dr. Paul Hokemeyer. “If he’s only solicitous to young pretty women and ignores everyone else, that’s a sign he’s a complete narcissist who is only interested in people who can feed his ego.”
Aside from the elderly, it’s a plus if he’s also affectionate toward animals and babies. That can indicate he is relationship- and family-oriented.
How He Handles Work
Having a man with good work ethic can infer he will make a solid financial partner, notes psychotherapist Dr. Karen Ruskin. But, as author and dating coach Laurel House adds, there’s s fine line between “solid financial partner” and incurable workaholic. “If he puts work first all the time, cancels on you last minute, and is constantly emailing, texting and taking calls when you’re out, expect for his business to always come first.”
How He Deals With Stress
Real character emerges during times of stress and conflict. When things get rough at work or home, does he roll with the punches or become overly stressed and blame everyone and everything for his troubles, including you?
“If even waiting in lines is hard for him, that’s an indication he has low frustration tolerance and will be reluctant to tolerate any imperfections or challenges from you,” says Hokemeyer.
How He Supports You
Make sure he listens to you and supports your interests and choices, because a supportive man is positive, and a man who tries to control and downplay your hopes and dreams is dangerous and negative, says Ruskin.
It’s also important to be open about yourself — expose your vulnerabilities and red flags early on, says House. “Don’t let him be the one with the stories, charisma and personality. Dig deep, connect through stories, talk about your core values and let your guard down.”
If you don’t, you risk wasting your time, falling for a façade and even boredom due to a perception of perfection.
How You Met Him
Do you remember how the two of you met? Even this can indicate if the relationship will last, the experts say.
“If you meet him in a situation where he is the center of attention, unless you immediately level the playing field, he will always be the one on the pedestal,” says House.
A more mutual kind of meet-cute, Ruskin explains, will likely offer a more positive outcome. “Meeting through a friend, he will treat you nice [because] you are a direct connection. Through religious means, there is a spiritual connection. Meet at surf camp? Then you share a common interest.” (And if you met through one of those “hook up” apps or via a fling affair, don’t expect to be walking down the aisle anytime soon.)
Once you’ve determined that your guy might be all he’s cracked up to be, it’s still important to take things slow.
As Hokemeyer says, “As hard as it may be, don’t make any major relationship- or life-changing decisions for at least three months of a new relationship.”
Besides, if he’s really “the one,” he’ll be more than willing to take the time to show it.