Relationship Quiz: 9 Questions To Know If He’s Right For You

Stephen Hussey

How do you tell if you’re compatible with someone? At Get The Guy we often give the advice “never, ever, ever, ever, ever settle”, but what does that really mean? How do you know what your standards are? And beyond that, if a guy has met them?

In this week’s article, Steve poses 9 probing questions to see if your guy is right for you. If you’re currently unsure about the guy you’re with, this can be used as an incredibly powerful reflective tool. Enjoy!

(Photo: Quinn Dombrowski)

Enter Stephen

Should you always stick to your standards?

Do you even know when a guy is violating your standards?

The idea of ‘sticking to your standards’ is common advice in relationships, and Matt and myself have championed it many times on this blog.

I’m always afraid, however, that people could get the wrong message.

It’s easy for us to say: If he doesn’t meet your standards, then walk away.

But the story of any good relationship is more complex than that. Relationships are full of pros and cons. Sometimes a guy will do one or two things you can’t stand, but at the same time he’ll do things that make him irreplaceable and make you want to hold him tight forever.

People think when we talk about standards, we mean: Don’t settle for anything less than perfect. But that would be crazy. Anyone could see that such a formula would be disastrous, if by perfect we mean ‘someone who will make me happy ALL the time, believe exactly what I believe, and do what I would do in every situation’.

Anyone who has been in a serious relationship knows that relationships are not about eliminating conflict, but about managing it.

How do you decide then, whether your partner is meeting the standards of the person you should be with in the long-term? What if you’re not really sure what standards you should take on right now?

9 Easy Questions To Test Whether Your Partner Meets Your Standards

There are unconscious standards we have for every area of our lives.

Some of the areas that affect our relationships are our standards for Lifestyle, Friendship, Generosity, Closeness, Sexual/Physical Affection, Loyalty, Health, Work, and Family.

I want to target these nine areas now and lay out a general diagnostic approach for figuring out how to apply these standards in the form of some simple “Yes” or “No” questions.

In any great relationship you’ll be able to say YES to at least eighty percent of these.

If on the other hand, you’re answering NO to more than half of them, then you are probably looking at a partnership that is going to crumble in the long-term.

This is a pet theory – so it’s not exactly (or in any sense) scientific.

But these nine questions are meant to highlight general areas of dissatisfaction – and your answers will help pinpoint potential problems that are a common source of conflict for you. If you’re single right now use them to acquire greater understanding of the standards you should look for in a potential partner when you meet one:

Question 1: Do I like the way my partner chooses to spend their free time? (Lifestyle)

Believe it or not, this matters.

Not because it’s your business to know every single minute of how your partner spends his day, but because a good deal of his free time is going to be spent with you. That means if his idea of a relaxing Saturday is to go to a sports bar and get drunk on a weekly basis, or sit home and play Xbox all weekend, when all you want to do is read books and go to the gym, after a while this conflict will grate on you (or him).

The point is: Your lifestyles don’t have to be the same, but they do have to be compatible.

If either of you feels like spending time with the other person means constantly doing things you don’t want to do, that’s going to build resentment pretty quickly.

Question 2: Does my partner have a healthy way of communicating a problem in our relationship? Does he ever show signs of remorse for bad/unreasonable behaviour? (Friendship/Communication)

Arguments are fine, and many studies have shown them to be a sign of a healthy relationship.

Too many arguments though mean either you or your partner probably have an unreasonable way of communicating problems. Moreover, when you do argue, notice how your partner approaches conflict. Does he fight dirty and call you names? Does he get furious and become impossible to reason with? Does he just run away and ignore the problem?

All of these are big warning signs. Look instead for the guy who wants to understand your point of view, even if he disagrees or finds that view ridiculous. Find the partner who is naturally inclined towards teamwork, and you won’t feel like you are having to solve every difficulty alone.

Also, when tensions have finally been quelled, see if your partner (a) shows signs of wanting to make amends and (b) is willing to admit some fault.

If he never does either, be very very wary.

Question 3: Does he ever do something just to please you and not also himself? (Generosity)

One great sign of investment is willingness to put himself out. If he can give you a gift, or spend time on something that is meaningful to you, or go out of his way to help you with your work, that’s a huge positive.

But if he only ever does things for you when it benefits him, re-consider how much he values generosity.

Question 4: Does he show signs that he has thought about ways to make your relationship better/stronger/closer in some way? Is he interested in understanding you better? (Closeness)

People who value a relationship want to make it better and better. This can be in the tiniest ways, like simply trying to learn more about what interests you, or trying to involve himself in your life.

Both of these are great signs that a guy has the standard of closeness.

Another thing to look for is any inclination that your partner wants to help you succeed as an individual – not in the sense of pointing out your flaws – but in wanting you to achieve your potential.

Question 5: Do you feel a unique sexual attraction to your partner? Do you regularly feel unsatisfied sexually by him, or feel a lack of physical intimacy? (Sexual/ Physical Affection)

You need similar standards for intimacy. I once went out with a girl who couldn’t bear the idea of holding hands in public and it immediately made me uneasy – I realised right at that moment that we had radically different views on physical affection.

Touching, kissing, hugging, or having sex – choose someone who wants them as frequently (or infrequently) as you do.

But what if you just have different sex drives?

If they’re radically different, someone will be unhappy. But small differences can be made up for by two people who want to please each other and understand how they can make the other happy sexually.

Most minor imbalances can be solved if both partners value teamwork and want to please each other.

Question 6: Is your partner proud to be with you, and do they defend you when you need defending? (Loyalty)

A guy can take time to introduce you to his friends, but once he does, he should support and defend you, and should want to involve you in other parts of his life.

Question 7: Does your partner value their vitality and exercise as much as you do? (Health)

It’s exhausting to deal with someone who doesn’t care about their health as much as you do. If you can encourage and inspire them to adopt a better standard, all the better. If they’re not interested and would rather stick pins in their eyes than see the inside of a gym, it’s a long struggle ahead.

This doesn’t mean you if you’re a hardcore vegan you should enforce your precise standards for eating with your partner. It just means having someone who, like you, values health, even if their methods are different.

Question 8: Do you and your partner value drive and ambition similarly? (Work)

You don’t need the same level of success, but you do need to both have a compatible approach to work. It’s hard enough keeping yourself motivated and driven, let alone trying to do it with a partner who doesn’t see why you bother working so hard.

Remember though that two people can be ambitious in different ways. Not everyone needs to be a hotshot, and very often there are people who are better supporters than they are leaders, and that’s what makes them work well together, just like in a company.

But if one person ‘values’ ambition and the other doesn’t, it will be an issue later on. (Trust me on this one).

Question 9: Do you value being close to family? (Family)

You don’t both have to be close to your actual families (since many people may have very good and healthy reasons for not being close to their parents), but you do need to share a similar love and fulfillment from family life.

This may just be indicated by his desire to create his own family, or in him looking out for your parents or siblings in small ways.

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The questions above are by no means exhaustive, but just listed for reference as something to think about when approaching a long-term relationship.

Some will be easily met by your partner. Others you’ll have to work on. In a future post I’ll address how to deal with a partner if you want them to be better at meeting certain standards.

If your guy currently falls short of these, and you think you can at least educate him on how to better meet some of your standards, then go by all means go nuts. Some guys just need to know what your standards are so they can strive to meet them.

But as I said earlier, if he fails on 4 or 5 of these, then forget about it – changing someone else’s fundamental outlook is hard work, and you’ll save time by just looking for someone else who shares more of your standards already.

As ever, the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself early on and choose your partner well to begin with. It will save you a thousand arguments in years to come.

Or you can always try to perform a reverse Eliza Dolittle – just take a lazy, selfish, stingy, flakey guy with no prospects or values, make him your full-time project and tell your friends you’re going to ‘change’ him. Good luck with that.

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72 Responses to Relationship Quiz: 9 Questions To Know If He’s Right For You

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  1. Sasha says:

    It’s a good one. Yes was my answers

  2. Jamie says:

    Excellent list. I am impressed by how your content is ever increasing in quality.

  3. Banshee says:

    Omg I answered “yes” to all of them. I’m kind of scared now he wouldn’t say “yes” to those questions.

  4. Bri says:

    Thank you for this article. I showed my boyfriend of 4 years and father of my 2 year daughter and sadly got a response I hoped would be different but it was the same as always; no response to it. I even acknowledged myself and said I as well as him need to look at these questions and ask how many we agreed or disagreed with and try to work on it not just for us but for our daughter so she doesn’t ever doubt our love or think it’s how you should treat others or feel yourself. He was my best friend until we had our daughter and now we don’t talk, don’t have sex (and when we do it’s different it’s more aggressive then passionate), I get the response “here we go again, the doors there leave then” even if I bring it up in a way that won’t make him feel attacked and truly from my heart, I can’t remember the last time we kissed or cuddled and I could go on and on. I didn’t grow in a broken home and parents were married 28 years (until my mom cheated) and I don’t want my daughter to live in one nor do I want to miss out on time with her when she’d be at her dads if we separated (I would do 50/50 because he’s a great father). I know it’s not working and what it most likely will end like but I can’t let go of the hope it can change or it’s just a phase since we have a child now and those things happen. I need blunt advice on how to approach this so I can figure out the next steps. PLEASE!

  5. emma says:

    what about religion? he is Protestant and i am non religious. otherwise all 9 above he has the same values as mine

  6. Lisa Turney says:

    As usual — excellent relationship material. Wish I had this guide ten years ago!

  7. Katlego says:

    I met someone 3 weeks ago am really happy him and we both love each other.The only thing am scared about when we started making love we didnt use condoms and we are even staying together,who do everything together watch movies we go out alot even with his friends and he introduce me as his woman should I be worried about this relationship or what?

  8. Jane says:

    This is one of my favourite ever posts from you Stephen. I return back to this again and again while I try and understand what my own standards are and what I will/wont accept from others. working out what my standards are has been one of the toughest parts of this process for me.

    Now I’m learning them, I just need to learn how to communicate better when they are broken!

    Thanks again. Honestly, this is one of the most useful articles I have come across!

  9. VIcky vaga says:

    Hi STEPHAN!!!I have a question for you. I have a friend that wanted to get married and have kids . She hided for her boyfriend .When she asked her she said “No I don’t feel like it”(lie ) Now, after 5 years she is pregnant and married to him. She advices me to do the same . She is pound of that . She says that she is resourceful and I’m not . Do you agree with these tactic?

  10. Julie MacKenzie says:

    This article is awesome…Thanks Stephen… ;)

  11. Sydney says:

    Stephen, clearly your articles are timeless. “Annee après annee”

  12. leanne says:

    I fo really like this Stephen as what I have just read some of the answers was like my ex but when I kept reading u can now see that I was stupid even going with him but now I have got a new boyfriend we all ways tell each other what is on our minds and we have so much in common now I know that I am with the right man and that is all thanks to you

  13. Lindsey says:

    I really like this Stephen! I liked how values isn’t part of the checklist – I think differences in values helps couples grow, as long as couples can openly communicate and are accepting of one another and manage conflict well. I like that I don’t sit stagnantly believing the same things, but we constantly challenge each other and our own beliefs and grow together.

    What I’ve learned from this discussion is that standards and criteria are very different. You’ve defined great standards, or basic compatibilities, above. To me, criteria are things you can give up – like he has to have a graduate degree, he has to speak French, etc. I feel like if a person clings to the more superficial criteria – even income or potential income, it’s possible they are compromising on the intensity of the connection to be with someone they view as the right person for them. For me, I never gave up my standards but gave up my unrealistic criteria and I love that I’m not dating myself but someone very different. It was unexpected, but it’s much more fun to disagree :)

  14. kristi says:

    i love this refresher :) and yeah, the guy gets the nine plus one…he always seem to know the next thing to do to connect…i am attracted to the little things about him that made me think during my day even after a message or signal he sent (which perhaps,only both of us knows and no one must know yet…lol)
    and i must admit i am falling everyday, though the challenge of not meeting him and being with him yet is still at the corner, but i am enjoying how he drives this journey…i feel relaxed that finally, someone knows how to tame the wild side of me and keep me coming everyday…there might be uncertainties,but man,this is the best! i have never been so alive than being here today at the present.i could not ask for more ;)

  15. Michelle Clarke says:

    Super deep thoughts. Much more useful than saying we have a lot in common or he makes me laugh. Thanks Stephen. There a few other things that are important to me too, but I’m so glad I saw this and now have some specific language for these essentials too.

  16. Manjit says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I have found a keeper! :)))))

  17. Rebecca says:

    Just did this test and got 8 definite yes’s and 1 mostly, so feel a bit reassured as I sometimes have doubts, but I guess that is normal.

    I can also see why previous relationships didn’t work out as they wouldn’t do very well against these questions!

  18. Jane says:

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read on compatability and made me realise why my last relationship didn’t work out. Question #1 has really been rattling around in my head the last week or so when I have been on dates and I’m taking much more notice of the answer to this question. Thanks so much, love it!

  19. mina says:

    it’s interesting for me .. all answers for 9 questions were YES… it means i have a great relationship and partner.. thank you so much matthew.. you learned me a lot

  20. Lori says:

    Thank you for another great post. I really liked the piece about narcissists, but this was even better. These categories are simple but important ones that do lead to a fulfilling life. I appreciated the nonjudgemental scenarios. It can be so difficult to differentiate between having faith in someone else and sticking up for your own sense of well-being.

    Stephen, I’m enjoying the perspective you bring to this endeavor. You aren’t giving advice so much as allowing me (us) to think about being true to myself and needs.

    Looking forward to the next one,

  21. LittleMissHoop says:

    Thank you for this great piece. Here’s one for you Stephen (Would greatly appreciate any input you might have):
    What about socioeconomic status?

    It’s a somewhat uncomfortable factor to bring up, but right now it’s very real for me. I am 43 years old, never married, and recently began dating a 39-year-ol guy who pretty much checks off all of the items on your list for me! However, I’m an MD in an ivy league university, with a very rich interesting life and fulfilling career, whereas here is in ‘product development’ in the culinary world (makes about a quarter of my salary), grow up poor (though worked hard to get to where he is), has a very simple studio apartment, few clothes, and is overall not exactly multi-dimensional …
    But again, he checks off all the boxes for me and treats me like a queen, is into me in a ridiculous (and genuine) way, is kind, Christian like me, and the chemistry is off the charts (though we are only 5 dates in, I’ve rarely experienced this feeling before. Also, we are both at an age where we are looking for something serious- I am confident he is not playing around.

    You did state at the end that the list is not exhaustive (though this may fall into ‘lifestyle’)– how important do you think status and ‘multidimensionality’ is if almost everything else is darn near perfect and you’re beyond ready to be with someone?

    Thank you!

    • Darla says:

      Dear LittleMissHoop,

      We are the same age and both Christian women- I thought I would comment on your post even though you didn’t ask me. I’ll comment in hope that this helps you. It sounds like there are some really solid things about this simple great guy as you described him. I would love to meet someone as you have described. He sounds amazing. I may be wrong but It sounds like you put a high value on status and money. That is honest and brave to be so open with us on the blog. As you have mentioned that you are an MD and have a Ivy league education and a rich and interesting life. It seems like you value so many other things more that have absolutely nothing to do with status and money. Shared values, chemistry, genuine acts of kindness to name a few. If you have only the two areas of concern at this point in dating, I would get to know him better. Perhaps, he also has a rich and interesting life you don’t know about yet. You said you are a Christ follower and as Christians, Jesus gave us a standard in which we can gauge our actions.

      Matthew 7:12
      So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

      The Golden Rule is actively treating others the way you would want to be treated. Even someone who doesn’t believe can follow this wise standard. So, evaluate your actions to the standard.

      He also needs to get to know you better as well. I’m excited for you! Go have fun and get to really know him better.
      xx Darla

  22. kristi says:

    Wow… this kept me reading until the last word ;) yiih…full of reflective points. This article is worth sharing ;) the “one” on the corner i am amused with (for several weeks) got all the eight, but i am not sure bout the 5th-frequency?i have no idea yet:)what his standards are into this, though his surrounded with many gorgeous women, just by looking at him…there could be something in common, too picky i guess :) or if he ain’t like that,then adjustment would have to be made the coming days -i don’t know the right words to ask,(awkward.)sex would be for marriage, and i hope that sweet guy would settle into that,could there be someone who’s still willing to take that challenge head on?lol..anyways :) thanks Steve for this relevant write reflects your good standard too. You and your brother sounded like you have been mentored by “John Gray”(my favorite writer of Men are from Mars) :) i’ll get back to you as long as early as i got his answer ;)

  23. Tiffany says:

    As always, making me use my noggin instead of going into relationships with rose colored glasses! Thanks for this, perfect timing as usual :)


  24. Trenda says:

    Spectacular. A masterpiece of verbal art! :-) Thanks your the best.

  25. Cierra says:

    Hey. I need some advice. I thought this was the best place to post it to get a reply. Okay. So I’ve known this guy that’s my brothers friend for a while now. Like 6 or 7 years. But this past year, we’ve really been talking more. Okay so this one time he came over and he came in my room a couple if times. And we kinda messed around. And I really started liking him them. And i asked my brother if he thought he liked me, and he said he didn’t want to get involved because if we were to date, and possibly breakup, it’d be awkward for him. So I asked my friend who had his number to ask him if he would ever go out with me and he said no. So I kinda just gave up on him for awhile. But he came back from his summer trip, and he came over. And me and my brother and his watched netflix for awhile. And my brother was on the floor and we were in the bed together. And we joked and messed around (nothing dirty btw). And I kinda started liking him. But like, my friend said he didn’t like me. She even screenshoted the conversation. But my mom said she thinks he really likes me. And my brother went down stairs one time, and told my mom that it was the first time he felt unwanted in his own room. And he told my aunt that he never left the room while I was in there. And he hasn’t even gave me his number or anything. But my family keeps telling me they think he does. But like I got someone to ask and he flat out just said no. And idk what to think. It really hurt me the first time when my friend told me that he didn’t. And
    Idk if he’s worth possibly getting hurt again because it seems like he likes me, but I just don’t know because he said know. And idk what to think anymore. Like I think if he liked me remotely, he would Atleast give me his number?? Please help! Idk what to do or think.

    • fatemeh says:

      I’d say start looking somewhere else , if he’s rejected you in conversation with other people , then he’s probably not worthy of a good girl like you , and also , there are different bro-codes between men than women . Maybe he doesn’t want to get involved with you cause he’s not that serious about you and he takes it as a risk to his friendship with your brother . Besides , he’s known you for years now , if he fancies you , he has no reason to not take action .
      One last word of advice , don’t listen to things what your family thinks or etc. Pay attention to your own individual interactions with him . I think the fact that he comes and goes to your house regularly , and that even your friends have his number , and he hasn’t asked for your number so far , is enough .
      There are plenty of guys out there for a great girl like you, don’t close yourself to them .

  26. PS says:

    Good summary of what matters, I think #8 is well said. In our society, it’s obvious women being more career oriented has undermined traditional dating dynamics of men being the providers. Women often still get caught up in men earning more than them, which unnecessarily shrinks their dating pool if a successful career women. Currently being in the medical field, I’ve found dating someone who appreciates and understands my motivation is the most important factor/isn’t intimidated by it. The guy has to be as passionate as you are about their craft. When people ask me what the most important thing is a guy has to have…I say ambition because job/money isn’t a precise way of describing what I’m actually attracted to.

  27. TM says:

    Uh, wow.

    You just blew my mind.

    There was a guy I had given up on completely, but going through this list I can say ‘yes’ to most of these. Its given me perspective into what wasn’t working with him and why.

    I’m still not sure if the relationship can be saved. However last time we were out his friends kept approaching me asking about things I hadn’t told them and I realized he had been telling them about my accomplishments. People were acting like I saved an orphanage while curing cancer. When he did it within earshot, he sounded so proud of me.

    Building each other up and supporting each other has always been something we do well.

    It makes it a little sadder its not working out between us.

  28. JJ says:

    I have a client/ friend who has all the right qualities. Had a crush on him and he has shown interest in me but has been very respectful of his marriage….Known him for 7 years. Friends with his friends & teammates. He just emailed me yesterday to tell me he got divorced this May of 2014. It was his wife that wanted out. He is over it now and says he’s very happy. “Haven’t had time to start dating yet ;)” (puts a winkie face at the end of it. Is he trying to tell me something? Been friends for so long it may be hard for him to ask me out.)

    I don’t know how to reply. I want to let him know I am interested. How can I drop “a Hankercheif” and let him know without asking him out or if he is interested in me. How can I make him feel safe to pursue me?…

    HELP… I need to respond to his email ASAP! Its been since Sunday at 2pm he sent it. Any one liners I can use in my email back to him?

    There is so much I want to ask him about his divorce, So much to say. BTW He is a pro athlete and travels on the road. Right now is stationed with a team in Canada. I am in Los Angeles.
    Please Help Matthew. I don’t want to mess this up. He’s a great catch. We already know each other pretty well. He is a descent nice, respectful guy. A little shy but not a total wimp since he is a superstar athlete. HELP>>>
    For the love of God please…. What’s a gal to do?

    • JJ says:

      Sorry, Stephen , I meant to ask you for advice. So use to asking Matthew. No disrespect. Thank so much. Great article BTW.

      • Jacqueline says:

        Hi JJ,
        This is my perception; I’m not an expert. I would NOT!!!! speak to him AT ALL about his marriage/divorce. That’s to intense…to soon. And this is not the best way to begin with any man…no matter what the circumstances. I don’t like that he showed you he had a crush on you when he was married; RED FLAG. (my opinion, only)

        Based on his confusing wink; I think he’s checking out to see if you’re interesed in going out with him. I’m thinking of Matthew and how he encourages being PLAYFUL in your response and encourages ‘meeting’ with an activity facing something and turning to each other to respond, but NOT Dinner..because it can turn into the loooonnng conversation about his marriage. If he needs a therapist, he can get one. Don’t become that. Your his friend. Have fun. Don’t try to fix or rescue him. That’s not respectful to yourself.

        Perhaps, e-mail him back and with something like ‘Yes, I’ve been busy with catching all the great movies out now (or whatever your passions in life are and crave a walk in the park with the beautiful summer breeze and sky.’ ‘Let me know when you’re back in town and I’ll reserve the summer breeze and sky just for you!’

        Then, when you are CASUALLY walking, be playful, touch him, flirt and see how he responds. Remember to stay away from marriage, divorce conversation like the bubonic plague. It will hurt the beginning of your relationship with him in numerous ways.

        AND, take this man off YOUR pedistal. PLEASE stay centerned on all the vibracy, qualities and gifts that you are and bring to all people. Stay centered. Only give power to yourself; noone else….EVER.

        Ok, time to go and have fun and see where this new open avenue may take you.

        Wishing you all the best!!!!

        • Jacqueline says:

          I meant to write (or whatever your passions in life are) and crave a walk in the park with the beautiful summer breeze and sky.’ ‘

        • JJ says:

          Thanks so much for your reply Jacqueline.
          I agree with much of what you said.

          He has emailed me 4 times since I posted this. I am guessing he is showing interest in pursuing me. Even asked me to help him pick his new Jersey team number since his old number is already taken. Cute. :)

          • Jacqueline says:

            Hi JJ,
            Wow!!!!! He’s definitely interested if he wants you to pick out his new team #. And also having e-mailed you already 4 times.

            I’d watch or read Matthews ideas on how to create sexual tension.

            Have fun!!!!!

            I am so HAPPY for you!

  29. Jacqueline says:

    Exceptional, precise and exquisite insighful information! I eagerly await your future posts on how to deal with these ‘standards.’ It’s so easy to become confused in the beginning when hope is high and this article is the ‘go to’ resource/guide; if there is any confusion. Thank you, Stephen.

  30. amoun meena says:

    this is an amazing article stephen . recently i have been reading my dairy of the last four years to figure out what was going wrong in my love life and some of these points were in one way or another ,the reason why i broke up.
    anyways , reading all of these points gives me hope cause now things are even more clear to me.

    ps)i highly admire you and Matt cause both of you have a rare and awesome concept which is sharing your knowledge with kindness …. so thank you :)

  31. AspieCatholicgirl says:

    My male best friend who is starting to show a new type of interest in me :) checks all these boxes except number 7. Heck, he values my health more than his own.

    We have some interests in common, and some that are different, but even in the ones that are different, there are underlying shared values (as described in Matthew’s radio message “Is he the ying to your yang). Awesome guy. Whether he will turn into my future boyfriend or remain my friend, in either case he brings/will bring something great to my life.

    • AspieCatholicgirl says:

      P:S: Actually, theoretically he values his health, he just hasn’t been doing so in practice. Although he’d like to improve in that area.

  32. Viki says:

    Hi Matt,
    I would need your help sooo much. So the situation is that I have an awesome boyfriend (who I met using your suggestions). We are moving together in about 3 weeks cause I am almost 5 months pregnant. He is all happy and I am too I’m just scared cause I wasn’t planning kids in the next 5 years. So far he already has paid the deposit for the flat but more than 2000 pounds needs to be paid in about two weeks. I’ve been saving for this in the last 4 months but let’s just say that with being sick all the time I can only keep on working part time because of the nature of my job. My question is should I just come up with my card at the agency to split it in half (would it make him feel bad?) or should I ask him first? or should I just tell him that I need his account number? Because I’ll be honest I would feel terrible if he paid the whole amount even that I had to support my family and I’ve only been working for a year I still would like to take the resposibility but let him be the man at the same time… can you help me, please?

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hi Viki,

      Obviously it is a big situation – but I think if you at least offer to split then he can see that you want to pitch in. If the problem is that you can’t really pay at all, I would be completely up front and honest and have the conversation as soon as possible about your financial situation. If you’re going to live together then you should have as much transparency about these things as possible. But if he says he wants to pay the full amount and is ok with that, then by all means allow him to help you out in this difficult period.

      Ultimately you know his financial situation better so only you know if that is something that is difficult or easy for him to do. I would be completely honest and offer to help in whatever way you can, and let him make a decision from there.

      Thanks, and congratulations on your baby!

      Stephen x

  33. Sunny says:

    Stephen, I really love how you point out these important things (that we don’t want to see when we are in love). Think I am going to print this one and keep it somewhere I can see it, so that I don’t get too carried away when I meet new guys.. I also like the fact that every blog post is empowering, honest and without game playing.

    I have a question, I don’t know if it goes under communication or closeness, but here it goes:

    I’ve learnt that its not always the things that happen in life that matter, but the way you deal with it – and in this case communicate it.
    I have CFS, and I think this goes for every “invisible” illness: how do I communicate this to my dates?
    I still want to be vulnerable, strong and me – not my illness. I know it’s a strength, or at least it has given me so much to be grateful for, even though it has taken away a lot. But I get so scared communicating it that I come off as harsh.
    I’ve seen people present their vulnerabilities in a way that makes me think of them even higher than before I knew, and again others presenting things in a way that makes them radiate trouble.

    I understand you are busy, but I would really appreciate your thoughts on this one, it would make a big difference for me.


    • Kathryn says:

      I’m sure Stephen will reply to you, he is lovely. I know exactly what you mean about ‘invisible illness’ and I completely understand it is unique. To live with it gives you a very special and unique quality and a strength that I think a very special person will find beautiful because you will radiate it from within you, even if you cannot speak it.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hi Sunny,

      I think you kind of answered your own question in your comment – it’s all about how you communicate your illness, rather than the fact you have it. One thing men are very scared of is learning early on that a woman comes with a heap of problems/anxieties/baggage, but they usually only think that if you bring them up in away that says you are not comfortable with them. So, for example, a guy doesn’t really care if you have been cheated on and had your heartbroken in the past, he cares if you start talking about it in an overly emotional way that says “i’m a broken woman and can’t trust men anymore” or specifically that says ‘I’m very fragile’.

      Many people have pain or vulnerabilities, or a phobia, or in your case, an illness that affects them in some way. And that’s ok. To be honest, if it doesn’t have to be brought up on the very first date, I wouldn’t bother unless it becomes necessary for some reason. If you are too eager to keep talking about it, it kind of just makes it a bigger problem in his mind than it needs to be, and is a high-pressure conversation for a first date. That being said, you will want to talk about it at some point, and if you do the key is to (a) be very unemotional and matter of fact when you tell him about it, (b) don’t ask anything about whether he’s ok with it or not, just let him process it and think about it himself, and (c) return the conversation to somewhere fun or positive i.e. don’t dwell on it and make it sound like the only concern in your life (which I’m sure it’s not). Having any kind of disability is all about just showing that you move forward and are positive in spite of it – even if someone is initially surprised or shocked or acts worried when you tell them about it, YOU decide where to lead the mood. Just show you’re ok with it, and move on to another topic. It can be a two-minute conversation. There is some more stuff on this in the GTG book in the section on how to handle different insecurities.

      Hope that helps, and thank you for the kind comments in your post.

      Stephen x

      • Sunny says:

        Thank you Stephen, you lifted a weight off my shoulders. Have to admit that I shed a couple of tears in relief there… Keep on the good work, you help us become the best of ourselves.

  34. Laura says:

    I could not help but compare my current boyfriend to all of these points and he passed all of them. Hurrah! But I knew this already. I believe Stephen made many very mature (as in not your usual glossy magazine dribble), important points that we all need to be honest and concious of when thinking about committing to someone exclusively. Far too much women setlle for men who fall below these standards, thinking they can change or influence them in someway. We should look at our potential partners as they are in the present, and of course people grow and develop overtime, but we should ask ourselves if they were to stay pretty much the same today that we are prepared to accept them in the long term.

    Thanks Stephen for this article!


    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Thanks Laura! Love that question at the end: “We should ask ourselves: If they were to stay pretty much the same as they are today would we be prepared to accept them in the long term?” – That’s a perfect way to put it, and a big eye-opener for most people I bet!

      Glad to hear your boyfriend ticks all the boxes ;)


  35. kish says:

    That’s a really nice list Stephen. I would add financial compatibility and healthy power dynamic as well. These are some of the leading causes of divorce.

    Personally, when I go through lists, it becomes very tiresome and clinical and I am never sure how to really measure compatibility because these factors do not add up linearly nor do they all carry the same weight. Someone who doesn’t share my interests is a lot less worse than someone who is not loyal (and faithful) which is a huge deal breaker for me.

    Do you have a simpler rule of thumb? I have been thinking about this a lot lately and this is what I have come up with.

    1) Shared/similar values and compatible goals/direction–especially CORE values in all major areas of life. But it is easy to get deceived in this area because guys often SAY one thing but do another. So it has to be values that are EXPRESSED, defined by ACTION not just those in your head or through words. e.g. theoretically believing that protecting the environment is a good thing but never recycling.

    On an instinctive level, I know it is there when I get a sense of comfort –not through familiarity but through this feeling of “coming home”. When this is absent I feel this discomfort in my gut and tend to withdraw from them.

    2) Value-addition. I am not talking about filling needs or a void. But when someone comes along who is so amazing that he adds something wonderful to your already full life that you really want them in your life, you welcome them. They bring out the best in your rather than cause problems and tear away your self-esteem. It is the *real* magic and romance of life not the fairy tale type. This is what makes people grow. Sometimes it may not appear as something “attractive” but something very frustrating in a person. But the end result is fantastic because it opens you up to something new–that is positive and good for you.

    On an instinctive level, I can feel this from feeling really really good overall inside and becoming an even better version of myself, energized and more mature, having that glow from within long after the initial infatuation and excitement has settled down. I don’t worry about HOW or through what particular qualities it comes about because that list can be exhaustive.

    3) Yin-Yang balance–complementary traits and power dynamic. We don’t need anyone to “complete” us but having someone who has complementary but not opposite traits ensures balance and compatibility. It is like a dance where two people are doing different things but overall they are moving harmoniously together and contribute equally. Neither partner overpowers the other although they each may take charge in individual areas of their life together. They are not the same but they are both equal.

    On an instinctive level–this is what I see as chemistry. Not the physical passion that most people talk about but this energy between two people that is both harmonious and keeps them strongly attracted to each other. It includes the physical, mental, emotion–everything. Everything just “clicks”.

    I once dated a guy who hit all/most of the points on your list but something was terribly missing. You have mentioned “unique sexual attraction” and “sexual compatibility” in your list. We had similar physical needs/patterns but somehow I felt nothing for him–nothing DEEP for him in any area. It might have developed over time because women can manage to sleep with fat bald guys and he wasn’t bad looking. There was no chemistry- not just sexual but there was no mental/emotional/physical buzz. You know, the tension, fireworks. Somehow it was absent.
    I never felt a spring in my step or any excitement to see him. Somehow everything was very dull and boring–even when we had differences of opinion or fights, there was no fire whatsoever. Although he did many “useful” and “helpful” things for me–somehow there was no real value addition either. I never felt rejuvenated/refreshed. Somehow I did not care whether he stayed in my life or not.

    I never understood why I did not feel anything for someone who was almost perfect according to the list.
    I do not date bad boys or have unhealthy emotional patters so it wasn’t that I missed the whole bad boy roller coaster ride.

    That is why I am distrustful of lists because we can deceive ourselves. We might think something is good to have, attractive but it may not be good for us in the long run. Some qualities may not even appear attractive or only show up over a long period of time. On the other hand, someone can look perfect on paper and even be perfect but something doesn’t quite add up–as in my case. Sometimes we don’t understand exactly how these qualities work together–it is not a precise science. It also opens one to people whom we may not have considered who are outside of a pre-determined list but might still be a good match.

    I am not so much hung up on lifestyle per se because as long as the couple give each other space they can work it out and make adjustments. Unless the lifestyles are extremely different, which usually is a reflection of values.

    Some common interests and space to pursue those that are not common is also important. Usually couples come together through some common interests so this is not hard. As long as they can find a few key things to do together and enjoy it, that is enough. More important is the space that people give each other to do their own thing. That is what keeps things spicy and interesting and gives the space to miss each other.

    So when I’m dating a guy I just ask myself and try to feel
    –Do we have a similar value system? Do I feel like I have “come home” when I’m with this person?
    –Do he add real value to my life? Who was I before and who I am now that he is in my life-has he make a positive difference to me that he would be too precious to let go?
    –Is he the Yang to my Yin? Do have real chemistry -not just physical passion? Does it flow when we dance together? Of course it not always, perfect or pleasant but overall–are we in tune?

    Just 3 simple questions.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Thanks for these kish! As ever, you make an awesome addition to these pieces with your thoughtful and very insightful comments.

      As you know, Matt and I are really passionate about the idea of “adding value” to someone’s life, so I’m really glad to see it makes your list of 3 essential questions. I LOVE the idea of asking whether the relationship made you a better person than you were before – if only everyone looked at it like that, instead of just looking at whether their immediate desires were being fulfilled.

      I also think it’s great you mention how values *have* to be EXPRESSED, instead of just being abstract ideas in our heads about who we are. There’s nothing worse than someone who think they are really ambitious or generous or kind and then NEVER shows any signs of being that kind of person in their actions.

      These are amazing, stimulating comments as ever. Glad you’re hear to offer your thoughts each week :)

      Stephen x

  36. Jill says:

    I was just thinking a few minutes ago how grateful I am for my housemate he’s a good bit older then me but he has given such a great example of what I’m looking for in a companion. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Then when not get with him” To be frank I’m just not into dating men my mothers age. Thanks so much for giving me a place to share that. Seriously I got on here thinking maybe they have posted something I could share that specific thought :)

  37. K~ says:

    Hi Stephen~~ thanks! This is really very clear n easy to read, and easy to absorb. IT’s so very useful!!~~~x Thank you!!!

  38. Anna says:

    I really liked this article!!!

  39. Teresa says:

    Amen, brother! These things are so important, and you express them clearly and logically. I’m gonna pass this on to my friends – good job!

  40. ann says:

    good job Stephen. clear and concise and well-thoughtout article

  41. Beth says:

    Great article. One thing I learned in life is that if someone is set in they’re ideas and beliefs it almost impossible to change them. Its better to be with someone who for the most part shares what you share but I don’t expect them to share everything beside its kind of nice to have someone who brings some different things to the table.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Your point brings up a good distinction Beth: it’s not about having the same personality, but it IS about having the same standards. Someone can bring something very different to the table, which can be complementary to your own personality, but they still need to have similar values.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Steve x

  42. Arianna says:

    I love how this article fits right in with the turn-offs I was listing in the comments of the last article. I would say that these questions are extremely important. It is interesting to look back on past relationships and analyze them based on them. It is easy to see where things went wrong.

    … and Matt is always saying, “If you pay attention, people are always showing you who there are.”

    I love that.

    So next time, things should be a bit easier, I hope. :)

    Thanks for the article, Stephen!

    *~ Arianna ~*

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Hi Arianna,

      Thanks so much. Yea this list actually really helped me look at issues in past relationships too! And Matt’s right – from the very first date you can easily get a hint of someone’s standards in certain areas, though it takes time to know them fully.

      Stephen x

  43. Heather says:

    Loyalty is a big one… I found this a painful read. It highlighted why some relationships in the past, were bound to fail. In particular, one where an ex boyfriend never stood up for me, even when I was once groped, quite aggressively, in Egypt. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, to keep walking and ditch that guy. Instead, I finally ended it a year later and pined after him for the next 5 YEARS!> Oy vey…

    I agree, with Kerly and Kathryn: this is an excellent post. God, I wish I had this information 18 years ago. How different would my life be, now?

    Thank you.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Really appreciate it Heather – thanks!

      Don’t worry – we all spend time on people who aren’t worth it in the end – it’s par for the course it seems. ;) At least you will have thought about your standards and what you need much more than most people do, and have a clear idea of what is worth putting up with from someone else.

      Take care,

      Steve x

  44. Kerly says:

    Hi Stephen,
    This is such a good article!
    And it’s 100% true!
    Im so happy I found someone who has it all and that
    I never settled for anyone less than amazing!;)))
    I owe so so much for Matthew !!!
    Love you guys!
    Keep up the good work!;)

  45. Kathryn Green says:

    Good Afternoon Stephen,
    I think this is your best article yet.
    We all have ideas in our head of what our minimum standards and values are. But it’s not until they are written in black and white that you really think about what they mean.
    I’m glad you put point 2 near the very top as I think that’s where it ranks in importance.
    If I met someone with whom I could tick at least eighty percent of this list I would be very happy. I’ve had such a tough day, to be still optimistic at all is a testament to my tenacity. I’d have to have my own personal point 10, they would have to be a strong person! I was sent a silly quiz on-line recently. Which character in Game of Thrones would you be? I would so be Daenerys Targaryen, lol.
    Take care,
    Kathryn x

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Thank you Kathryn!

      Yea, I’ve heard ‘standards’ used so much without anyone spelling out what they could mean, so I was compelled to write this piece and get more specific! Really glad it paid off for you. I agree – I think meeting 80% of the list is a solid expectation for someone amazing.

      Wow, Daenerys – she would be awesome and strong but quite high-maintenance I imagine too. Tough one. But you’re right – there should be one for strength as well – maybe on how good your partner is at dealing with problems and complaining.


      Stephen x

      • Linda says:


        Took the same test – here is tyrion lannister :)

        GREAT ARTICLE! Values are pretty much all we got!

        Being strong! definitely also very important! Dedication to personal growth or ambition to cope well with any problem and to be mature! I am currently thinking about turning things around with my fling, cause I am so much drawn to this man (after 6 months of great sex – who would have thought!? :) )… but… I don’t like the way he deals with difficult situations (like a five-year-old!).

        Additionally he would get 2-4 NOs on this list – but if you asked him, he would see himself as totally generous. or interested in closeness. or in a family of his own and list good examples… BUT: I feel he doesn’t go out of his way enough, I feel I don’t have enough space to express myself so he could get to know me better, because he is so expressive, and he only rarely has contact to any member of his family, even his teenage kid.

        Things have been similar with other men before, so I am wondering… maybe it is me? Maybe I should accept the fact that every guy is a little messed up in some ways? And be happier? Maybe some are having a bad time going out of their way as an example. Maybe I should be more like “well at least he does it sometimes”

        The thing is… I used some of the stuff I learned here on him and it is working. For example I talked about loving generosity and I can see now how he tries to be that more.

        But where to draw the line? Between just expressing what you expect and wanting to manipulate/change a guy you are not even sure he meets your standards?

        2-4 NOs – does that mean, it is time to move on?

        Thank you!

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