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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....

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 25-Feb-13 00:30:09

Can you try to work on shifting your mindset from "How can I be good enough for a decent man?" to "What is it about this man that makes him good enough for me?" Because you sound like a smart, nice woman who any man would be lucky to be with, you need to see if they're matching up to YOUR list of needs. Have you tried actually writing a list? Start with easy things like "must have a pulse" grin and move on to important stuff - maybe opposites of what has gone wrong in previous relationships e.g. "must be kind", "must make me feel appreciated for myself". Because this: "you can't keep a man just through sex....(but what do you do instead??)" is honestly so sad. You shouldn't have to even THINK about working hard at "keeping a man" - they're not magical unicorns who poo out gold, they're people just like you. Ask not what you can do to keep a man but what any man who catches your eye is doing to deserve YOU.

Destinysdaughter Mon 25-Feb-13 00:48:24

ElephantsAndMiasmas -
thank you so much for that, your phrase "they're not magical unicorns who poo out gold" made me laugh so much! And making a list of what MY needs are in a relationship is exactly what my Relate counsellor told me. Funny how I'd never thought of doing that before, I've always just kind of fallen into relationships if someone has nice eyes or makes me laugh. Not enough really, is it?

BertieBotts Mon 25-Feb-13 02:15:53

To build/boost your self esteem you need to do things which you appreciate, things which make you feel you've achieved something. It could be something small, like getting up half an hour earlier and making yourself a coffee in the morning, or something big like going for a promotion which you'd normally think "I wouldn't be any good at that". Or a long term project like learning how to knit or something.

At the end of every day think about all of the things you've achieved in that day. That might be as simple as having a shower and washing your hair. It might be something like caring for your dad, which is a big thing.

If you can get over the awkwardness, ask your friends what things they admire or like about you - you might see a different perspective of yourself! You can offer to do it for them in return, if you like.

Lavenderhoney Mon 25-Feb-13 05:24:19

Thinking back to when I dated, I used to just see the guy as friend, lots of talking over coffee and walks - if they just want dinner and drinking and don't have time for you otherwise it's a pretty safe bet they just see you as a shag.

Keep busy with things that interest you, keep fit for yourself, all helping you be stronger and less likely to go out with someone just to get out! I suppose that's building self esteem.

I do, however, wish mn had been about when I was dating, I might have escaped some dreadful boyfriend who really weren't that bothered about me, or were happily dating lots of ladies looking for ms right, only didn't tell me " so I didn't get upset"

SilverOldie Mon 25-Feb-13 15:30:08

I would like to suggest a book by Louise M Hay which helped me enormously in my life.

Loving yourself is crucial IMO to finding the right person to be with.

I'm at an age when I no longer want a man in my life, but if I did, I would re-read the book to ensure I wasn't sending out the wrong signals.

Anna1976 Mon 25-Feb-13 20:05:56

Destinysdaughter I second those who say you need to be comfortable with yourself first, and you need to develop your own self-esteem.

How you do that is going to depend a bit on your caring responsibilities - does your Dad live with you, do you have respite care opportunities, etc?

What sort of person do you think is good, cool, worthy of admiration and respect? Who do you secretly want to be, and why? That's not "what do you want to have", but "what things do you admire in other people?"
This doesn't have to be solely about relationships - work out where you say to yourself "oh, how awesome" about anything that someone does - mountain climbing, football, zoo keeping, politics...

Once you've worked out who you'd like to be, then think about what it is that you respect in those people. This is often stuff like determination, working hard & consistently, resilience, kindness, empathy, imagination and resourcefulness, self-efficacy.... i.e. all the things you're already showing by caring for your Dad.

Caring duties can be overwhelming at times, so perhaps rather than thinking about dating in any spare time, can you use that time to do something that challenges you a bit and requires you to use all the skills you respect? It could be anything - I took up long-distance running and climbing mountains at the time I realised I was bored and unhappy in my career (which had stalled) and that my relationship had broken (because all my exP respected about me was the outward appearance of my successful career). Exercise is good because it's good for you and requires relatively little thought once you get over the initial barriers, but it has to be something you really want to do, and preferably something you didn't think you'd ever do.

Work on that for a year or two, keep thinking about who you want to be and what you'd accept in terms of appropriate boundaries and kindness, keep reading Mumsnet (AIBU and Relationships)... and a few years down the line you may discover you actually have a very good radar for acceptable relationships, and healthy self-esteem. smile

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