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How to identify a good man?

(30 Posts)
savemesally Tue 29-Dec-15 18:32:41

This is a serious question. I married a really abusive controlling arse & stayed with him for over two decades. Thankfully I eventually woke up & left him. I'm now in a totally different place & have met someone new who seems lovely but I wonder whether I'm getting it right. I'm very laid back & ended up losing my identity to my exdh. I don't want to make another mistake like last time. So what are the signs of a good man, how do you know when you've got it right?

Maminska Tue 29-Dec-15 18:37:44

Watching with interest smile

HappyGoLuckyGirl Tue 29-Dec-15 18:45:50

You can't. That's my humble opinion.

Obviously there are the complete weirdos who you can write off very quickly. But as a general rule, I don't think you can know if someone is a decent partner. You have to wait until they prove themselves decent or not.

goodriddance11 Tue 29-Dec-15 18:52:36

There's loads of red flags but half the time they can be mis read. So I don't think you can either. But walk at the first sign of bad character

BeaufortBelle Tue 29-Dec-15 18:55:09

You know it in your heart and there is no little voice of doubt to excuse or to ignore. It's about implicit trust. About the comfort of meeting his friends and family. .....dh's ex girlfriend came to our wedding and he sat next to her widowed mother in church and took to the dance floor with her for the first dance.

No secrets, no awkward relationships.

BeaufortBelle Tue 29-Dec-15 18:56:31

At her wedding a decade later I should have said. We were at her second wedding too.

JeepersMcoy Tue 29-Dec-15 19:02:06

I think actions speak louder then words and that it is the small things that really show someone's character.

I had an ex who would tell me he loved me and do big gestures but day to day he was an arse. He never did the small things that show you someone cares. Making you a cuppa when you come in after a crappy day, choosing a film they know you'll like even if they're not that into it, saying thank you when you do something for them, small intimacies like a touch when something upsets you.

It wasn't until I met my dh that I really got this.

VoyageOfDad Tue 29-Dec-15 19:07:07

Im sure i read on MN somewhere that someone they knew engineered a situation that potentially required a compassionate response from a potential dp.

Might have been something like a waitress dropping a plate or spilling water.... something sudden and on the spot.

But that to me at least ( im a man obviously ) sounded like it would actually give a fair impression.

You usually get a very good idea of who someone is during times of stress and / or away from all the home comforts.

I think it takes months though to get an incling of what someone is like. Any potential dp , man or woman, is probably going to be on best behaviour for a while, best underwear and perfume / aftershave etc etc.

But theres no certainty. Its always a good idea to remember where the exit is however loved up you are. Thats MO anyway.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Tue 29-Dec-15 19:11:08

I don't think you can know because people change as they get more comfortable and drop the mask. You just have to hope that you like what's underneath it!

magpie17 Tue 29-Dec-15 19:16:13

I think there are things which 'decent' people do - volunteer work, donating to charity, tipping waiting staff, being kind to animals and children etc etc etc but these things are no guarantee that a person is 'good' in a relationship or to their partner.

You have to rely on your judgement and I think there are clear red flags which are worth looking out for (like the opposite of my list above for example) and acting on. If you don't trust your own instincts just now then I would run a potential partner by a trusted friend or family member to see if they get a good vibe.

The problem is that people change. My ex H was very different at the end of our relationship than he was at the start. By the end he wasn't what I would have called a 'good husband' but I had no way of knowing that. I could have reacted quicker to red flags though and I think this is your key. Be vigilant about protecting your own self worth and be kind to yourself, look out for anyone who seeks to undermine or compromise that in any way.

crazyhead Tue 29-Dec-15 19:22:13

Someone who reflects positively and constructively on past relationships - I don't think you have to necessarily stay close friends with your exes but a mutually respectful relationship/ not casting yourself as a victim is a good sign.

Social context - pleasant, straightforward relationships with friends, family colleagues. (Obviously you can get unlucky with work or family)

General kindness means a lot - eg my DH would always offer to help the old lady carry her luggage up the stairs

After that you're into 'right for me' territory as we don't all suit the same types. Early relationships are nerve wracking - but a sense of ease and things not jarring, of being able to relax was a crucial sign for me

Qwebec Tue 29-Dec-15 19:42:34

A friend said she finds out when the first serious arguement comes up if it will work out or not. Little attentions are a good sign, self awareness would be an other. Can he see and admit him mistakes. I'd say takes things slowly and give youself time to heal from the past and learn to know the new man in your life. DP is my first decent partner and all is not roses and cake, but we talked a lot to learn to know earch other, shared our past painful experiences, and I knew I could trust him to be honest with me about how he feels and listen to me, that was essential. Sometimes shit hits the fan, but we know we can go back to this openess as soon and the first one of us cools down.

What is essential to you?

goodriddance11 Tue 29-Dec-15 19:47:32

the man who almost psychologically broke me was nice to waitresses, kind to children, helped old ladies with their luggage, never shouted, was attentive, was supportive, was nice to my Granny and would have given me the shirt off his back.

He was also a liar, manipulative, a cheat and capable of almost sociopathic ability to gaslight, blame shift and mentally abuse and I went 5 years before I knew it.

That said, I would have noticed, had I been a little wiser that he had many "red flags".

1. He said he loved me after 1 date
2. He was desperate to move in with me as fast as possible
3. He did not know why he got divorced from his first wife
4. He never argued with anyone or said or did anything bad

All of it could have told me he was hiding a dark side, but I was on a pedestal and didn;t see it.

I am just saying...trust your gut to a degree, but don't be looking for Mr Perfect. Mr Perfect can be the wolf in sheeps clothing

Sn0tnose Tue 29-Dec-15 19:50:40

I think kindness in a man is very much underrated and is usually a sign of a decent fella. Not the flashy type of kindness, where they film themselves buying a cup of tea for a homeless person then brag about how wonderful they are on social media, but the quiet type of kindness, the sort you wouldn't necessarily notice if you weren't looking for it.

HippyPottyMouth Tue 29-Dec-15 19:55:28

You can never be sure, but these were good signs when I met DH:
He had a good relationship with his parents and brother, and they were nice people
He visited his elderly nan regularly
The first time we went away together, he rang his nan to tell her we were there safely
He has a solid group of likeable friends, acquired from childhood to the present day
They were pleased that he had a new girlfriend
He had been on his own for a while - not on the rebound
He was working very hard to find a job after redundancy
He was happy to meet my friends and family and they liked him
He was keen to see me and keep in touch but didn't pressurise me or try to rush things
When my cat was ill he came round straight away
We had a calm sensible chat about life plans
We had a calm sensible chat about finances before he moved in

Not all of these are necessary, for example some lovely people have horrible family members, but the whole package was of someone who was stable, reliable, grounded and loyal.

HippyPottyMouth Tue 29-Dec-15 19:56:38

Also, he had had a few long term relationships and was clear about why they'd ended without slagging off his exes.

JeepersMcoy Tue 29-Dec-15 20:00:16

I'm glad you put that but in the end hippy as I couldn't manage quite a few of those! blush

BeaufortBelle Tue 29-Dec-15 20:50:26

Another thing. My mum and my gran always said if a man lifts a finger or is unkind it's his fault not yours and whatever you've done, whatever mistake you know you've made, you come straight home first time. There's nothing that can't be put right whatever mistake you make.

I think that knowledge and the utter belief that men should not hurt women (or vice versa) gives one the security to think twice and say no to arse holes that might hurt you. It stops you taking risks for love because you have it anyway. IYSWIM.

Good luck - get to know them before they suck you in.

LionHearty Tue 29-Dec-15 21:51:01

Lots of good advice. I would say in addition, going slowly into a relationship, having and maintaining good boundaries, even (especially) once the initial honeymoon phase is over.
*Its always a good idea to remember where the exit is however loved up you are.*<----like the way you phased this VoD

LionHearty Tue 29-Dec-15 22:02:21

*phrased.

mulledwineofcup Wed 30-Dec-15 01:44:22

I don't really agree with the "good to waitresses" thing, I agree explicitly bad behaviour is a no-no but overly "nice in public" men can be arses.

I think there is sometimes a danger and one can go from one abusive arse to another if one goes from Mr Dangerboy arse to Mr Passive-Aggressive arse.

My number one tip would be to focus on knowing YOURSELF rather than thinking too much about the man.

What makes you tick? What is your comfortable routine/commmunication level?

If you had to plan a whole weekend just for yourself, what would it look like in terms of chat/social activities?

What makes you think "yup this is relaxing"?

When have you felt safest in your life?

What are your financial goals and what are you working towards?

What are you socially comfortable with?

Are you looking to include a lot more people in your life or not? (a man is one thing, but you will also potentially be taking on his friends, family - if he is nice but hangs out with a bunch of creepy misogynist losers or his mother is clingy and controlling, THEY WILL BE IN YOUR LIFE TOO)

When you know what you yourself want, then you can see if a man is fitting well into this, or how he reacts if you assert yourself.

Do you have a solid group of normal friends (MN can act as stopgap) who will reset your radar?

If you have a mother and best friends who thrive off menz-drama and go on about how "all men are b****ds or like this or let you down" to excuse their own terrible taste in men, they might be influencing you negatively with their drama.

Learn to see what a good, working relationship looks like (and not lots of hearts and kisses and "My Man Is the Best" updates on Facebook, but two people who are friends and work well as a team together).

Also, know what your "triggers" are in terms of "things that might encourage you to overlook flaws".

So maybe you "have a weakness" for a Spanish accent/a man in uniform/someone from X town . Fair enough, but remember character comes above all.

Remember, there is nothing "silly" about dating someone then thinking "nah", ignore any social pressure to Keep a Relationship Going just so you can say you have a boyfriend.

BeaufortBelle Wed 30-Dec-15 07:38:40

ignore any social pressure to keep a relationship going just so you can say you have a boyfriend

If that was engraved on every woman's heart wouldn't the world be a better place.

wintersocks Wed 30-Dec-15 08:50:33

great post mulledwine smile

PitPatKitKat Wed 30-Dec-15 09:40:16

They learn from their mistakes.

Jw35 Wed 30-Dec-15 09:51:28

The one who makes you feel good about yourself.

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