When two people first start dating, they put on their best sides. They reveal only snippets of information to each other, leaving the full story for when the person really gets to know them. Basically, we wait until we have them tangled in our web of niceties to crush them with the sad truth that we are really an awful, despicable person.
All kidding aside, there are some serious issues you need to figure out before you make the plunge and change your Facebook status from “Single” to “In a Relationship.” Here’s a look at 5 potential dealbreakers, and how to spot them.
When I was a kid, my idea of a fun weekend was making fake wedding invitations and giving fake birth to my baby doll. That might make me extremely weird, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve wanted a family of my own since I could remember, and there’s no point in me being with someone if they don’t want the same thing one day.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR: Next time you’re out to dinner or laying in bed, ask him where he envisions himself in 10 years. Does he see himself being married with kids? If he says no and you know this is something you absolutely want, now is the time to think long and hard about the future of this relationship.
2. ANNOYING HABITS
When you’re only seeing someone a few days a week in the beginning of a relationship, it’s hard to see what annoying habits or hobbies they have. When he casually says “I love to play golf” or “I’m a bit messy”, you might think it’s just a cute part of his personality. What he might really be trying to tell you is that he plays golf every weekend all weekend, and the only way his apartment looks clean is when he shoves everything under the couch before you come over.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR: Ask him what some of his favorite things to do are when he’s not with you, and how often he does them. Unless you’re okay with being a Sports Widow you should know what you’re getting into. As far as the cleanliness issue goes, give his apartment a good look through next time you’re over. If it’s a pig sty, chances are it will be that way when or if you decide to move in together. This isn’t a huge issue, but unless cleaning turns you on, you should put a housekeeper on speed dial.
3. FIGHTING STYLE
For most couples, the first fight doesn’t happen until a few months in. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a good, clean fight. After all, there would be no make-up sex if it wasn’t for that fight about you taking three hours to get ready. When you do have your “first,” pay special attention to how your man verbally brawls. Does his face turn bright red as he overreacts and yells at you, or does he have a few lukewarm moments and then rationally discusses the situation?
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR: If your boyfriend blows up during each argument, take this as a major red flag. Next time it happens, sit him down afterward and tell him that you are not comfortable with the way he handled himself. If it happens again, you should take a step back and evaluate if he’s really the best man for you.
4. HIS MOTHER
You’ve heard that you should always date a man who loves and respects his mother, because that’s the way he’ll inevitably treat you. But sometimes a man’s relationship with his mother can reveal that you’re not dating a man, but a man-child. These are men who can’t open a bottle of aspirin without complaining to their mommies that their “head hurwtz.” What’s even worse is the mother who can’t let go of her overgrown baby. She’ll do everything in her power to let you know that she’s the main woman in her son’s life.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR: Does he seem to put his mom on a weird pedestal, where she can do no wrong? Does he talk about her incessantly? When you’re with him does she call him more than three times a day? If so, you might want to ask him how his exes got along with mother, or even how he views his relationship with her. Unless you’re cool with being with a man who still has his umbilical cord, the answer should give you some valuable insight.
Dating culture tells us that men should treat women to dinner, drinks, movies, and whatever the hell else they want for at least the first few dates. But what about after?
I’m definitely into sharing, and that includes the tab, but I have to admit there’s nothing nicer than being treated to dinner once in awhile after you’re in a relationship. Your guy should demonstrate this same generosity when he’s out with your family and close friends. Buying a beer/dinner for your family or best gal pal can go a long way. If he doesn’t, it might mean that he’ll be nickel-and-diming your entire relationship.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Does he offer to pick up the tab more times than not? When he does pay, does he leave a decent tip? If your parents have taken him out to dinner, has he done something nice for them in return? Do yourself a favor and find out. Once you discover you’re with a cheap-skate you can pretty much kiss your libido goodbye.
Previously: The Relationship Novice: When To Go Dutch