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)
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 Replies to “Relationship Quiz: 9 Questions To Know If He’s Right For You”
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.
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 .
Spectacular. A masterpiece of verbal art! :-) Thanks your the best.
As always, making me use my noggin instead of going into relationships with rose colored glasses! Thanks for this, perfect timing as usual :)
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 either.lol,(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 ups.it 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 ;)
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?
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.
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.
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,
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
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!
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!
Yes! Yes! Yes! I have found a keeper! :)))))
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.
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 ;)
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 :)
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
Stephen, clearly your articles are timeless. “Annee après annee”
This article is awesome…Thanks Stephen… ;)
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?
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!
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?
As usual — excellent relationship material. Wish I had this guide ten years ago!
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