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Is there a way to determine early on whether one man in particular is worth continuing to invest your heart in? Don’t you wish there was a magic “sorting hat” that would tell you from the beginning whether or not he’s a keeper?

Guess what? There is.

It’s all in being able to separate the essentials from the non-essentials; being able to quickly identify the must-haves and the would-be-nice-to-haves. Which brings me to my first question…

Do you know what YOU want in a man?

Sometimes we default to sitting around and waiting for a guy to tell us what he wants so that we can vote “yes” or “no.” At best, that’s lazy; at worst, it can get your heart well and truly broken.

Before you can determine whether a man is “The One” you have to know what YOU want in a man and a relationship. And no, I’m not talking about that awful 283-item checklist titled “My Perfect Man” that you scribbled in the back of your 10th-grade algebra notebook. (Don’t deny you made that list, I’ll know you’re lying. I made one, too, and I bet it was even longer and more sickeningly-adorable than yours.)

What things are absolutely critical to you? You should be able to rattle these things off pretty quickly and easily, and not continue the list through the next three martinis.

Here’s a good start:

  • He makes you feel great
  • You have similar foundational values
  • You trust him completely
  • The people most important to you like him
  • He wants what’s good for you
  • He’s financially solid (or getting there)

Jackie writes…

Claire, I have been seeing someone for about a month and we do a lot of things together. He has introduced me to family, friends and co-workers. He talks about doing all sorts of things together in the future. He’s great in bed. But he is also under a HUGE amount of stress right now with his life and his kids.

But he isn’t very affectionate with me and I am a really affectionate person. We don’t hold hands or touch much and he only kisses me occasionally and not in public. I keep going back and forth between telling myself to be patient and let him come around and deal with his stresses and thinking I should walk away or say we should just be friends. – Jackie

Dear Jackie – Sounds to me like this guy has a lot going for him! After only a month he’s introducing you to family and friends, wowing you in bed, and talking about a future with you (even with all his stress). Is “more public affection” really a deal breaker? Because it’s perfectly fine to initiate a little touch on your own. Reach out and take his hand, lean over his shoulder from behind and kiss him lightly when the two of you are at dinner. Doesn’t sound to me like you have any reason yet to walk away. Give it some time, girlfriend! Xoxo Claire

Is this particular guy worth your love?

You’re putting a lot of time, energy, and emotion into this relationship, but are you wasting your time? Really this is just another way of getting at the same thing we talked about above.

Again, I’m going to give you a super-short list to help you decide. You may have a few things to add (be sure to leave me a comment below and share them), but most things more detailed than this are frosting on the cake.

Evaluate your man on the following questions and see how he fares:

  • You are a top priority in his life
  • He is profoundly attracted to you (too many women love men who don’t love them back)
  • He’s willing to prove himself trustworthy (you don’t feel like he’s hiding something)
  • He is mature and willing to grow

Marta writes…

Hey Claire. I have been sleeping with this guy for about six months, but I want to step the relationship up a notch, because right now we’re just friends with benefits. He’s a super gamer, but he’s hot and good in bed. Never ever leaves his room, so all interactions happen either on FB or in his room.

At first we did talk about being in a relationship and dating and he said that he wasn’t ready and that he knew if we did start anything, it’d end up badly.

Six months later, the sex is still great and we enjoy each others company. But a lot of the time, he’s more interested in his video games than having a conversation with me.  I’m ready for something more, but I’m afraid to ask and run the risk of losing what we already have.  – Marta

Hi, Marta – First, be sure to check out the article I wrote on this (“Can a Best Friend with Benefits Be Your Forever Man?”). The short answer is that he’s already told you how this is gonna go, and he’s probably right. He’s in it for one thing, even after six months.

But go ahead and tell him that you’re interested in a real relationship. The only thing you stand to lose is a few romps in the sack, and you want MORE than that in a man. And – this is key! – start dating other guys, beginning now. Xoxo Claire

Your turn

How did you start to figure out what was important to you in a man? Leave me a comment below!

Claire Casey

Claire Casey devotes her writing to empower women; to help you attract the kind of man who will treasure your heart like the rare gem it is.

Take the Love Number Quiz (free) and make this YOUR year for love. Complete guide to skyrocketing your Love Number *included* with the Quiz!

What Do You Think?

5 Comments | Join the discussion

  • Deb Nov 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I would add the question, does he add to my happiness?

  • michelle Feb 15, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I’m not sure if I’m doing this right although I have a few questions I have Ben talking and texting to this one guy who I met on a dating site we have a lot of things in common we had already talked about living together and our do’s and dont’s we even express our love for one another he wants me to move in with him an hour away from were I currently live he’s very respectful never asks me for nude dirty pictures which is a big plus for me he likes my kids he’s a great listener and he loves to laugh just like me we even share the same birth month I don’t know what to do if I do move with him I’ll disappoint some family members we talk text allot idk I need some advice

    • Dynamite   michelle May 23, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      Michelle– I was trying to meet guys on dating sites for 3 yrs or so and discovered that many if not most weren’t even real people…it is important to have your friends and family meet this guy if things seem to be moving along…also, what about “in his world” does he want to introduce you to his friends and family? You really need to give this situation a little more time to determine if it is right for you. Let the people you have known for years and who know and love you–help you to sort through this stuff. Many people have been sorry they jumped into a relationship/commitment way too fast. If he is pressuring you and you are not sure–because your decision about moving, etc. is going to effect you and your children, too–don’t take making a decision lightly–if he really cares about you, he will work with this and you will come to see what path you should take and/or if he is for real. ‘Hope that helps. I wish you all the best. 🙂

  • audrey Oct 9, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Elizabeth. Sounds like it is to late sweet sorry.

  • Elizabeth Nov 25, 2013 at 1:22 am


    This wonderful man who demonstrated 5 years of commitment to me is leaving for a recent women he just met.

    I have been with a man who came into my life in 2009 – 2013 (October). I was very sick. He has stayed with me through my darkest nightmare all the while asking me to marry… but I made mistakes by pushing him away. I don’t understand why he has wanted to move on, as he would have left much sooner. I was with him for 5 years.

    I have grown to love him through his commitment to me and I have tried to convince him in the process. I desire him to be my partner in marriage. Furthermore, he has recently proposed to a woman he recently met. What am i to do…how am I have him focus back on me?

    How do I make him see that I am the right one??




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