Most guys are generally pretty great. But after a few negative experiences, you may be facing your next dating encounter in a more defensive posture.
Nice guys are out there. But contrary to what you may see in pop culture and the media, a guy who whisks you away on fancy vacations, or asks on your first date how many children you want to have is not necessarily one of the “nice” ones. The over-eager vacationer or father-to-be listed above are showing signs of poor personal boundaries at best, or of pursuing you for the thrill of the chase at worst.
Nice guys exhibit other personality traits and behaviors as evidence, such as compassion, honesty, respect, steadfastness, and communication skills—all of which, incidentally, are foundational aspects of a healthy romantic relationship as well. These traits and behaviors can serve as evidence that you’ve met a decent guy. Take notice if you observe these six common “signals.”
People certainly process and handle conflicts in different ways, and that’s okay. Some people deal with conflicts by drawing emotional reassurance from talking through things, while others need to step back and decompress before they come back to handle the situation.
It isn’t a bad thing for him to require space. But it’s important to articulate that need. Telling you something along the lines of, “I need some time to recover and get settled” is far better than leaving you to look at your phone every half hour wondering when he’s going to reach out, and hearing nothing but crickets. If he also returns after a disagreement and sticks around to “talk things through,” that’s even better. This shows that he understands that no relationship is perfect, and he’s willing to negotiate.
Our role in the situation is to recognize that his request for time or space doesn’t automatically mean that he doesn’t like you. Respect his needs and focus one-escalating the situation. Storming out and slamming the door to test if he’ll come running after you to prove his love to you is not an effective way to react. Be patient. If you want to express love, talk things through with him.
If he acts all secretive about his past, acts evasive about his plans for the long weekend with his friends, or he’s not able to admit when he’s at fault, he’s not living up to the “nice guy” standards.
Far better is a guy who’s willing to hold up his hands and say, “I’m sorry I messed up,” or, “Our relationship ended because I wasn’t prepared and I felt pressured.” This shows he’s willing to accept responsibility, and is secure enough in himself to open up to you. Emotional intimacy is crucial in a healthy relationship. Be wary if he’s keeping his life secret from you.
You’re your own person and so is he, so you won’t agree on everything. It’s okay to have different opinions or varying preferences about the way you like to do things. The important thing is that you respect each other and accept the fact that your positions won’t always be the same.
A guy who’s able to compromise is showing that he understands that you have your own life and opinions. For example, if one of you wants to spend more time together than the other, compromising may mean that you meet halfway. Or if he wants to try something new in bed, he checks with you beforehand that you’re okay with it, and if you’re not, he doesn’t force you. A man who proceeds with things but doesn’t make sure you’re on board with every step, or who pouts if you don’t agree with him, is bad news. Here’s a virtual high-five to guys who stop to check, “Is this okay with you?”
Concern is an admirable quality. His concern will be evident when he finds out that you’re ill, so he brings you a comforting dinner. Or when you have an awkward sexual issue because you haven’t been together very long, so he sticks around afterward to offer emotional support. Or when you have an important meeting coming up at work, he remembers and doesn’t expect you to go out on the town the night before. Or when you tell him you’re tired and need some extra rest, so he tells you to call him when you wake up instead of calling you first. The only red flag in situations like these is when his concern is simply an attempt to hide his possessive tentacles If he wants to be with you all the time, keeps tabs on you online, and doesn’t want you to spend time with your friends, he’s not concerned about you. His true motive is to control you. If you think this is what’s going on, refer back to tip 3 above and tell him what you need. Try telling him your friends are important to you and you need to spend a night or two every week with them, and see how he reacts to that.
Dependability suggests consistency and strength of character. It’s evidenced by regular messaging, scheduling time together multiple times a week, and investing more time and effort in your relationship as time passes. Getting swept off your feet is exciting for a while, but it takes time to build trust, respect, and love. Likewise, you can’t know if he’s dependable until after you’ve been together for a while. So, pace yourself and give things time to work out before you center your entire life around him. Show some respect for yourself by enforcing your personal boundaries, and see if he respects them, too.
“Good guys” and “bad guys” exist mainly in fiction. Most people aren’t actually all good or all bad. And all new relationships by their nature require a leap of faith. But these guidelines can help make sure that your leap is as small as it can be!