Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Important Questions to ask in a potential relationship

(31 Posts)
Destinysdaughter Sun 24-Feb-13 22:39:02

I seem to have really poor judgement when it comes to choosing partners. For example, I was with someone who was unfaithful to me the whole 3 years we were together ( only admitted it by letter after I finally ended it with him), men who are controlling, critical, vaguely autistic, pedantic and the last one was with a man who told me he had been divorced for 3 years, but after many months, confessed he was still married, but said he was in a loveless marriage, said he saw his future with me, bla bla, usual script and of course it never worked out

So now I am feeling somewhat phobic about men and relationships and so my question to all you lovely wise women out there is, what questions would you ask of a potential new man in your life to establish he is a decent man and not a jerk...? ( equally, what would you do/not to to try and ascertain this?) I know I am probably asking for the impossible, but am hoping for some guidance or for something people have tried, and worked....

CailinDana Sun 24-Feb-13 22:45:15

Focus on yourself first and foremost. Develop your self esteem so that you establish healthy boundaries. Once those boundaries are in place, and are stable, it'll be very hard for another wanker to breach them. You will automatically "ask the right questions" because you will know what you will put up with and what you won't - the first sign of wankerishness and you'll be out the door.

kalidanger Sun 24-Feb-13 22:45:34

This might be a case that the defining factor in all these awful relationships is you, not the string of shitbags.

Good upbringing? Healthy self-esteem? Healthy friendships?

Destinysdaughter Sun 24-Feb-13 22:53:34

Ha ha very astute! Brought up by a dad who was a bully and a mum who was a passive aggressive doormat,a home environment that was loveless, critical and unsupportive. Am currently seeing a counsellor in Relate to work on those issues, but is easier said than done....Also read 'Women who Love too Much', which helped me greatly, so I am trying, I have a professional career, great friends, am attractive but when it comes to men my bullshit radar seems to ber defective!

glitternanny Sun 24-Feb-13 22:55:44

Just marking my place

happyAvocado Sun 24-Feb-13 22:56:42

Perhaps look for friendship first?

lubeybooby Sun 24-Feb-13 22:57:41

I don't think it's about the questions you ask, it's honing your twat radar, and have enough self worth to drop them when you know it isn't right. Good luck with the counselling etc

lubeybooby Sun 24-Feb-13 22:57:59

Oh and meant to say trusting instinct too.

kalidanger Sun 24-Feb-13 23:05:46

Counselling is good. Gotta be, right? grin

I'm recently out of a crap relationship. I knew it was crap from the start, saw all the flags but I was bored of being single so carried on for the attention (and sex) for a while... It did go a bit too far and I did fuck up though. So now I'm having a break from it all. No dates, infrequent friendly evenings with FWB. No dating until I've finished thinking about the stupid thing I did and why I did it. I'd like counselling too, I think, as things aren't going the way I assumed they would hmm

Sorry, just musing on myself grin You hoping to do the counselling and see what happens? So what's the hurry?

carefulobserver Sun 24-Feb-13 23:15:38

I'm highly risk averse when it comes to men after an abusive relationship in my late teens. For me, whether or not someone is a good person is something I try to suss out before I've even worked out if I'm attracted to them. I agree you have to be happy in yourself before you will be in the right place to have a healthy relationship but I think there are things to look out for in a man.

Personally, I think one of the biggest things to look out for is how a man talks about his previous relationships and exes. Does he talk about his exes with respect? Is there fondness there? Does he have much in the way of reflection on why things didn't work out? Does he have any contact with exes and if so what kind? I think it's a good sign when someone has some degree of contact with his exes because it suggests they both must have treated each other reasonably well. Obviously it's perfectly possible for him to say all his exes were bitches, and in some cases they actually all were bitches. But I'm wary and I would want to know more about the situations. I'd also want to know about how things panned out at the point of breaking up and if there was any major fall out. If someone can behave with decency and respect when they've had their feelings hurt or even if they have just decided they don't see a future with their other half I think that's a good sign.

I'm also hyper aware of how a man talks about other people in general and how he treats others in general. Does he make fun of people over things they can't help (appearance, class, education level etc)? How does he look at people who are not doing well in life? Those that haven't succeeded in things?

I think the main rule I follow is this: If someone wants to be with you then chances are they will treat you like a princess irrespective of what kind of person they are, bad or good. Look at how they treat the people they don't get or want anything from. That will tell you what they are actually like. On the other hand, if they aren't treating you with total kindness and decency then run for the hills, there's no point in sticking around.

Destinysdaughter Sun 24-Feb-13 23:21:04

whats the hurry? Just feel like I am gonna be single forever and feel like time's running out. Am lonely and bored and currently looking after my dad who has dementia. I know I COULD be a great partner to someone and dont understand why it always goes wrong. TBH I don't even know what a boundary IS!!!

Destinysdaughter Sun 24-Feb-13 23:27:44

Thanks for all the great advice so far. I know I make excuses for people when I have invested in them emotionally and get sexual with someone way too quick, I guess because I feel that I don't have a lot else to offer but I would like to think that I now know you can't keep a man just through sex....(but what do you do instead??)

jynier Sun 24-Feb-13 23:27:57

Sort of agree with careful observer although who wants to listen to a lot about a man's exes.

I always found it a good idea to ask fellers about their favourite sexual fantasies so that they could quickly be given the elbow if said fantasies were unsavoury.

Unfortunately, I omitted to follow my own advice which led to an eleven-year relationship which ended in tears on my part!

Good luck!

kalidanger Sun 24-Feb-13 23:29:24

Good stuff carefulobserver Solid basics.

PuddingWhine Sun 24-Feb-13 23:31:10

all but my most recent boyfriends have been disastrous but i think I knew they weren't great and I pushed my radar to the back of my head. did you ignore your instincts or did you really not know they were dead losses?

deedotty Sun 24-Feb-13 23:35:20

EXCELLENT post carefulobserver thanks.

Liked and agreed strongly - based on experience - with the point about the treatment of those who weren't "in their circle".

kalidanger Sun 24-Feb-13 23:36:38

How old are you, OP? You know we'll say "You have plenty of time!" don't you?! I'm nearly 39 <vom> so not so much, but I dont want children so it's different but I do want someone on my team.

Tell me about the counselling? What type? Do you go in with a 'goal'? And is it expensive?

PuddingWhine Sun 24-Feb-13 23:37:12

ps, another thing that is quite strange when it happens is, you meet somebody who treats you with respect, is affectionate, decent, good humoured, wants to meet your needs and it feels almost invasive or something, like somebody has downloaded your soul. No. That sounds stupid. I had a panic three weeks in and nearly dumped such a nice guy. We ended 7 months later anyway but not because I couldn't deal with the weirdness of somebody being really nice to me. I hope that makes sense.

PuddingWhine Sun 24-Feb-13 23:39:15

I had psychotherapy. It was really good. It made me see that despite what I thought, I didn't have confidence. I am an extrovert but not a confident one. it makes sense but still was an eye-opener.

OP, search for the red flags thread, it's a crash course of signals wankers give out in the early stages of dating.
Boundaries are the lines we draw (metaphorically) on regards to a) how we let people treat us and b) how we interact with people, such as my sister only really talks to me when she wants to bitch about something, so nowadays I don't really join in the conversation, just nod and wait for it to be over.
A boundary with a dating partner would be waiting a certain time before having sex, until you feel comfortable with them.
A blurred/ unhealthy boundary would be allowing a guy to pressure you into moving to a sexual relationship before you felt ready.
If a guy starts doing that, 'the healthy thing to do is walk away.

kalidanger Sun 24-Feb-13 23:50:26

I sort of think my boundaries are OK. you can't mess with me. Unless I let you hmm For instance; I had a two man crew deliver a wardrobe this weekend. The little assistant guy asked if I had a husband?! I said Nuh? Then he asked for my number. So I said No. Then he said Just as friends... So I said Yeah, you can go now. Out. So he had to wait on the step while his boss finished straightening the wardrobe doors. I've been dying to tell people this as an example of not taking any shit. Might sound a bit harsh if you tend to think people are just being friendly but he was smirking. My house, my rules.

mcmooncup Sun 24-Feb-13 23:55:54

"have enough self worth to drop them when you know it isn't right"

It's this

I have struggled with this all my life but have started practising it in the last 6 months. I can't tell you how hard it was the first time dropping a guy I could see 'potential' in despite the masses of red flags. It went against everything I've ever learned and was how I'd always behaved. But somehow learning to separate your emotions from the facts is the way I started it.....cold hard facts vs. warm overly optimistic dreaming and wishing.
It is so hard, but honestly it makes you feel epic.

BertieBotts Sun 24-Feb-13 23:56:19

Stop thinking about men/a relationship being some kind of prize for a start smile

You say you feel like you could be a good partner to someone, but then you say you don't feel you have a lot to offer apart from sex - which is it?

Also it might be looking at what you mean by "being a good partner" - for ages I thought I was some kind of amazing girlfriend because I didn't play mind games (like saying "I'm fine, go out" when I really meant "no stay at home with me") and because I was really accepting and willing to see the reason behind someone's actions even if those actions were flawed (excessive jealousy etc). It's only later than I've come to realise that most people don't play mind games in relationships and also that it's not great to keep excusing/trying to fix people, because it doesn't work.

Have you done the Freedom Programme? This is fantastic if you've had a history of relationships with "wrong'uns", because it shows you the patterns that you've repeated in those relationships and also opens your eyes to red flags etc, and also perhaps why you find yourself attracted to people who have these traits.

What do you want/expect to gain from a relationship, aside from companionship? (and sex grin) I'm guessing it's something along the lines of being validated, being appreciated, having someone to plan the future with, someone to love and accept you for who you are. But to be in a place that you're able to accept all of these things from somebody else you have to believe/gain them from yourself first. Appreciate you, find self-worth from yourself and the things that you do. I expect you have a lot on your plate at the moment with caring for your dad, but if you can find the time to do things which make you feel like you've accomplished something, that helps a lot. Make plans for your own future and take steps to achieve them, etc. If you're happy in yourself then you're much more likely to attract people who are happy and well-balanced too. And you'll be happier in the meantime rather than constantly feeling like there's something missing. Find the missing part within yourself first smile

Read this. And forget everything you've ever learned/read/thought about men and women being fundamentally different. There may be differences between men and women, but there are far, far more differences between individuals than anything on a gender based level. You'll meet millions of men in your lifetime - don't hold on to the notion that "finding the right man" is something rare, because it's not. You've probably already met plenty of people who you'd be a good match in a relationship with, and you will meet plenty more, it's just about it being the right time and the right context. Don't settle for anything less than someone who you feel absolutely at home with, and don't be afraid of ending something which isn't quite right because you're afraid nothing better will ever come along - that isn't how it works. Every day you spend in a relationship with someone who's nice but not quite right you're preventing that person who is right from coming along and showing you that.

OP you mentioned feeling bored and lonely. The bad ones out there will prey on that, maybe that would make you more eager to please. Its just one example of how you need to concentrate on yourself before you get involved.

Destinysdaughter Mon 25-Feb-13 00:01:53

Focus on yourself first and foremost. Develop your self esteem so that you establish healthy boundaries. Once those boundaries are in place, and are stable, it'll be very hard for another wanker to breach them. You will automatically "ask the right questions" because you will know what you will put up with and what you won't - the first sign of wankerishness and you'll be out the door.

I agree but the problem is I don't know how to 'develop my self esteem', what do I DO? Buy myself flowers? Run a marathon? I've been trying to do this my whole life and if a guy is nice to me, I'll still fall for his charm.If you were never given praise by your parents, how do you believe you are worth anything? For example, when I was 15 and trying to decide whether to stay on at school to do A Levels, my dad said to my mum ( who kindly then told me) that he didn't care what I did, cos as far as he was concerned I'd 'never be anything better than a shopgirl in Woolworths'. In fact the only praise I ever got from him was 3 years ago when my mum had to go into a home following a severe stroke, I had cooked him a lovely Sunday roast and he said what a nice dinner it was and how I'd 'make someone a good wife one day'|!!!! No wonder I've never got married....Sorry for the rant but I feel so handicapped by my upbringing and it doesnt seem to get better as I get older.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now