Dr. Romance on men and biological clocks:

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Yes, a man can feel the need to grow up and have a family, especially when he finds a woman who inspires those feelings in him.  The problem is, how can you be sure the match is a good one?

You’d think the positive signs in a date would be obvious, but with all the excitement, the most important clues can be overlooked.  What makes for a great date may not be all you need for a great relationship.   This checklist of positive signs will help you evaluate your date in a realistic manner.  If you get a lot of these positives, this date might be a good choice for marriage.

1. Sense of Humor

Of all the characteristics that are essential for getting through life successfully, a sense of humor has to be in the top ten.  But, what kind of a sense of humor? 

Joking at someone else’s expense or at inappropriate times can be counter-productive. Using jokes to avoid taking responsibility for one’s behavior can prevent you from solving problems.  The sense of humor you’re looking for is the generous, positive kind that makes life more fun and the tough times easier.

If your date can make your laugh, and lift your spirits, that talent may help you through some future difficulties. 

2. Cares What You Think

A date who asks for and listens to your opinions and feelings, and better yet, who remembers what you say and builds on it later, and who responds with empathy, sincerity and caring, is someone you can communicate with and therefore, more likely to be able to form a partnership with you.

If you pay attention, you can quickly notice the difference between the <ital> appearance <ital> of caring and real caring.  If your relationship is successful, you’ll have years of talking to each other, so find someone who is interesting to talk to and also interested in talking with you.  Your date should be able to carry on an interesting discussion on a variety of topics, and at least show interest, even if the topic is not something he or she is familiar with.

3.  Has An Opinion, Too

A truly good conversationalist not only listens to your words and responds, but also has ideas and opinions.  Your date should not hesitate to disagree with you or to bring up new topics. 

4. Can Work Things out with You

Recent research shows that the single most important quality which determines whether a relationship can succeed is how well the couple solves problems.

If you have a disagreement while dating, welcome it as an opportunity to see how well the two of work it out together.  If you can discuss your differences without becoming defensive or sarcastic, and you can listen to each other and work together toward a solution, your relationship has an excellent chance.

5.  Accepts Who You Are

A popular book asserts that “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus”, but I think it’s more that we’re all from different planets.  You and your date are unique, special and individual and need to be able to understand each other, and accept that you’ll perceive things very differently. 

Even when you and your date see things differently, you should be able to agree to disagree. 

Remember, the security and comfort in your relationship will come from where you and your partner are similar, and the excitement and growth in the relationship are generated from your differences. 

Different interests, opinions, attitudes and ideas will keep things fresh and alive between you. If your date does not become defensive or  threatened by your differences, you can be interesting to each other for a long time.

6. Openness: Discloses Self

The whole point of dating, as we said before, is to get to know each other.  While you both may want to take a little time before disclosing too much, your date should be comfortable talking about him or herself, and it should not be like tooth pulling to find out what you need to know.

7. A Together Life: Job, Friends, Family Relationships, Interests

A date who has a full, interesting life you would want to be a part of is more likely to be a healthy, balanced person. While it’s important to have some relaxation time, and time to meditate or think, a life that includes a good career, hobbies or sports, community service and friends and/or family is reassurance that your date is motivated, focused and able to relate.

8. Intelligence

Your date doesn’t need to be a member of Mensa or a mathematical genius, but look for enough intelligence that you can respect and admire each other.  There are several kinds of intelligence, from school learning to independent education by reading, working, traveling, and life experiences.

An “airhead” who looks good and may be fun to play with, will not keep you interested for long.  A date who is not interested in learning and growing intellectually may not be able to keep up over the long haul.

9. Modesty, Humility, Ego (In Balance)

As you learn about this new person you’re dating, observe his or her character and personality for signs of a balanced sense of self.  If your date can keep success and failure in perspective,  admit personal shortcomings, and rise above disappointments and losses, he or she does have a balanced personality, and the kind of resilience that can travel through life’s highs and lows and keep it all in perspective.

10.  Emotionally Mature

While it’s fun and charming to be able to be childlike when in a playful mood, it’s essential to be an adult whenever necessary.

A date who is responsible, self-regulating, emotionally responsive, motivated, and in control of his or her impulses, is capable of being a supportive, fully participating partner, no matter what joys and sorrows, successes and failures you may face in the course of a lifetime.

11. Healthy History of Relationships (Not Perfect, Just Normal)

Of course, if both of you are dating again, your relationship history will probably not be perfect.  What counts is whether your date has learned from the problems, confronted his or her own weaknesses and shortcomings, and grown as a result of the setbacks.

If your date is willing to talk openly about his or her past relationships, and can explain what went wrong and how he or she is learning to correct the problems, the difficulties in past relationships can be an asset rather than a liability. If your date expresses a  willingness to seek counseling in the event that problems should occur, score that in his or her favor.

Remember, a smart date will be watching for the same characteristics in you.To do well in a relationship, learn to be the partner you would like to be. 

Adapted from The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again 



For low-cost counseling, find me at LoveForever.com 

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.