Question: I'm a single mom who is looking...
Posted by Anonymous on July 4, 2012 at 7:59 PM
From the Expert: Jenn Clark
First off, I'd like to commend you for making your daughter your first priority. All to often, women will let their search for a man override their judgement and common sense. When the fear of being alone takes over, we often don't make the best choices when it comes to dating. So good for you for wanting to protect your child and yourself!
Here's some great news: The attributes that make a guy a solid choice for a relationship are pretty much identical whether you have children or not. Your question is applicable to both women with kids and those without them. So let's take a look at the main qualities women everywhere should use to determine whether or not a man is a quality guy.
The most important thing to look for is a man with integrity. This means that he keeps his word and is honest. If you pay attention, it is fairly easy to determine his character from the start. Does he call when he says he will? Does he keep his plans with you? If he tells you he will do something, does he do his best to follow through with that promise? If a guy is continually flaking on you or not doing what he says he will, he does not have the character necessary to sustain a healthy relationship. If his words and actions do not match, save yourself some heartache and move the heck on.
Next, you want to look for a man who is respectful toward women. How does he show that respect? By having good manners. By not treating you rudely or acting in inappropriate ways. If a man is ever insulting, demeaning, or degrading, that is disrespect. If he tries to get you to do things that you are not comfortable with or attempts to push your boundaries, that is disrespect, too. With a good man, you won't have to ask or demand him to respect you. He will give his respect freely.
Lastly, it is critical to find a man who has empathy. What is empathy exactly? It's the ability to identify with another's thoughts or feelings. A man who is empathetic will seek to understand you and see where you are coming from. How many women have beat their heads against a wall trying to get their man to be more empathetic? Most of us have dealt with a man who lacks empathy at least once in our lives, and it always causes a lot of grief. Empathy is not a quality you can teach; he either has it or he doesn't. So make sure he's a man who can listen to you and one who has the ability to say "I'm sorry" when he's done something wrong.
I'm a big believer that most people (and men in particular) will show you fairly early on the type of person they are. Our job is to pay attention to the signs. The best way to accomplish this is to go slowly with our relationships. If we take our time and don't get involved - either physically or emotionally - at a fast and furious pace, we are better able to assess a man's character. When we let a guy into our lives slowly and over time, we protect ourselves. So when you meet a new man, take your time getting to know him. Wait until you are sure of him before introducing him to your daughter. It's this patience, combined with the ability to analyze his character, that will ensure you hold out for a guy who will be the quality man you're looking for.
Jenn Clark is a relationship advice expert and author of the book “How to Be a Goddess (A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Woman Men Dream About…).” You can find it on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jennx30somethingandsingle
Or on amazon.com at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Goddess-Step--Becoming-About-ebook/dp/B006HBSWSS/r