At first blush, they both look the same – a guy who has the potential to be a loyal boyfriend or husband and a guy who has the potential to extract sex and run for the hills.
They both pick up the phone, ask you out to dinner or a movie and they both claim to want to be in a relationship.
But a man’s desire to be a boyfriend and his ability to actually make a commitment are two different things. If the rule in consumerism is “buyer beware,” then the rule in the dating world is “babes beware.”
So where do you start? It’s the oldest dilemma in human history. How does a woman tell if she’s risking her bloodstream and her heart on a Casanova? The good news is that there are clear signs that he’s commitment oriented.
Does He Sacrifice For You?
The biggest one goes back to ancient history and it relates to sacrifice. If a man sacrifices his time, his money and his talents to make your life better, then he’s probably trying to send you a message that he’s in it for the long haul.
He thinks of you as an investment not a short-term opportunity. Traditional courtship rituals were designed to showcase that sacrifice – elegant dinners, driving you in flashy cars, fine wine and expensive flowers etc.
But more and more, couples meet at parties, share checks from the beginning, and have sex way too soon. As traditional courting rituals are being abandoned, the dating market is packed with a blurry cast of players and good guys. So, it’s downright confusing for women.
Old forms of courtship may not seem hip today, but they were certainly valuable because they gave women necessary information.
In the old courting traditions, if a guy sacrificed a lot of time, energy, and money, he was probably looking for a long-term relationship.
Sadly, most women today don’t wait this long to see a man’s intentions. In our post-modern culture the women’s newfound economic freedom has caused many people to reject the old traditions and hop in the sack with no information. Think about it.
Some women exchange body fluids with a guy they wouldn’t leave to water their plants in they were out of town.
In my new book The 30-Day Love Detox (Rodale, Feb 2013,) I explain how to set up some new rituals. It’s a way to create some space for men to display their intentions.
Modern commitment oriented men may not signal their intentions with traditional sacrifices like expensive flowers and candle-lit restaurants, but they will find new ways to tell you that you are important.
A potential commitment oriented guy may respond to you kindly – and publicly — when you place a comment on his Facebook wall, or he might call you when he’d prefer to text.
He might take the time to cab with you to an event rather than have you meet him there. He might pick up his cell phone when he’s with other people and call you by name, rather than simply say “hey.”
Signs that He’s Commitment Oriented
But there are also some statistics to help you tell the good guys from the bad boys, the cads from the dads. Research shows us that if a man has more than six of these traits, there’s a good chance he’s commitment oriented.
1. His parents are still married.
If his parents have not divorced, loyalty is the mental model he carries in his mind. He probably learned from witnessing the ups and downs of their relationship that long- term monogamy takes, work, commitment and has some fabulous rewards.
2. He’s Over the Age of 26
The average age of first marriage for a man is age twenty-seven. If he’s younger than that, not only is he probably not ready, you and he will have a higher chance of breaking up. Marriages that happen before the age of twenty-three have very high divorce rates.
3. His Friends are Getting Married
This is a good sign. Just as divorce is contagious in peer groups and among families, so is marriage. If his peer group is getting married, you can be sure he’s thinking about the idea of commitment too.
4. He is College Educated
College educated men are more likely to get married and to cheat less. Monogamy is an intellectual decision and highly intelligent men tend to grow the “muscles of monogamy.”
5. He is Religious
All religions teach important lessons about monogamy and healthy families. If he was raised in a religion, there’s a good chance he heard some of those messages and believes them.
6. He lives in a “so called” Red State
Conservative political values make people more likely to marry. Funnily enough, conservatives have more divorces but liberals marry later in life, so they have less time to get married so often.
7. He has a Secure Job
A financial state-of-readiness is very important to many men. They play around and don’t get romantically serious until they feel they have the means to win their version of a high status woman. If he’s still in the early stages of career building or figuring out what he wants to do, he may not be ready to commit.
8. He has had at least one long-term girlfriend (more than a year)
Men who have a secure attachment style and who can be monogamous also tend to have fewer ex-girlfriends and lengthy commitments to each. If he hasn’t been in many relationships and he seems to have a long stream of women he calls “ex’s,” be leery.
9. He has a good relationship with his mother (but not too close)
Men with mothers who were abusive or neglectful often have a hard time trusting women in their adult romantic life. They may carry some residual anger that is hard to overcome and it makes commitment unlikely.
On the other hand, men who are a little too close with Mom — the adult males who still involve their mothers in every aspect of their lives — have a hard time breaking away from this kind of emotional fusion.
Sex may be the only aspect of a relationship they can’t get from Mom, so their relationships with women are superficial and highly sexual.
10. He Refers to you as his Girlfriend Rather than “The girl I’m dating right now.”
Pay attention to his language. The tiny references to level of commitment and time frame are big clues to his attention. In fact, be wary of a man who refers to his ex-girlfriends as women I “dated.” Plenty of men think “dating” is a stand-alone sport rather than a stepping stone to a relationship.
About the author
Dr Wendy Walsh is the co-host of The Doctors TV Show and Expert for DatingAdvice.com. Her new book, THE 30 DAY LOVE DETOX (Rodale) will be published on Valentines Day, 2013.[wps_custom_form id=1]
Powered by Facebook Comments