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Daily Archives: February 23, 2012

The Foundation You Must Have for Happiness in Your Relationship and Your Life

If you were to ask me the purpose of life I would tell you equivocally, it is all about relationships. Our lives are meant to be lived within the context of how we relate to others; with our intimate relationships being the ones that potentially bring us the most love and joy. I used the word “potentially” because many intimate relationships are the ones that bring us the most pain and distress as well. When we enter into these relationships, we never think for a moment they will not live up to our expectations. When they don’t meet our expectations, we are sorely disappointed, and really really angry!

The mistake many of us make when it comes to how we relate to others, especially our partners, is we often forget the most important relationship of them all. No, it is not our relationship with our significant other, it is our relationship with our self!

Our relationship with our self is the foundation upon which all other relationships are built. Our partner will be capable of loving us only to the extent with which we love our self.  If you do not love yourself and accept yourself for who you are, how can you possibly expect anyone else to?  Seriously, if you believe you are “damaged goods”, so too will the people around you believe you are “damaged goods”. Who wants to buy damaged goods?

So this begs the question, “Where should you be looking for love?” The answer of course lies within us. We should be looking for love by looking in the mirror at our self.

Read the 6 questions below, and see if your reflection in the mirror reveals the foundation you must have for happiness in your relationship and your life.

  1. Does your reflection radiate happiness and joy?
  2. Do you accept yourself for who you are, not worrying about who you think you should be?
  3. Do you love yourself unconditionally? Are you your own best cheerleader? Or do you beat yourself up with every little perceived flaw and/or limitation?
  4. Are you filled with gratitude for your life and your special place within the world? Or do you focus on how unfairly life has treated you?
  5. Do you have an open mindset? Or are you closed to new possibilities and ways of thinking?
  6. Are you open to change? Or do you cling to the past?

The secret for looking for happiness in your relationship and your life is found by looking at yourself. What you see in your reflection is what the world will validate. Do you love yourself enough so that others, especially your significant other, will be willing to love you the way you want to be loved! Remember, if you are looking for love in all the wrong places, you will never find it. If you are looking for love by looking within yourself, happiness in your relationship and your life will be yours!

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

Avoid a Break-up with 3 Conflict Resolution Skills

Preparing for an unexpected winter storm got me thinking about all the couples I have worked with over the years whose relationships go into a deep freeze when conflicts arise. Why does this occur? Because these couples were left totally unprepared for conflict and lacked the necessary conflict resolution skills essential for handling these conflicts.

So many times I wish these couples would have been just a little more prepared for the difficulties and conflicts ALL relationships inevitably face – it is just a matter of time. Since “forewarned is forearmed” I decided to share with you in this week’s relationship advice ezine 3 Key Conflict Resolution Skills Necessary for avoiding a deep freeze in your relationship when conflict arises.

  1. Acknowledge the conflict exists. Sure, this might sound like common sense but believe me when I tell you how many couples I’ve helped over the years by showing one partner in a relationship that a specific issue is, in fact, a conflict. Many times it is just easier for one partner to be an ostrich and keep their head in the sand – the more difficult the conflict, the more tempting it is to avoid acknowledging it as one. Ladies, I know you can relate to this – how many times do you feel there is an issue in the relationship and your partner thinks you are just making a big deal out of nothing. If these false beliefs persist, the conflicts will never get worked through and will, most probably, just get worse.

It is imperative that both people acknowledge the fact that a specific conflict exists as the first step toward its resolution.

  1. Communication. Couples who are not “iced” out by conflict within their relationship know how to effectively communicate with each other. Many people mistakenly think happy couples do not experience conflict within their relationship. Nonsense. All couples experience conflict but it is the way the conflict is handled that will determines the happiness – and longevity of the relationship.

Communication is an essential relationship tool that holds the key for healthy conflict resolution.

  1. Prioritize your relationship over the conflicts within your relationship. You have the ability to make a conscious choice that whatever you and your partner are in conflict about is NOT more important than keeping your relationship together. You decide that your relationship is more important to you than proving yourself to be “right” to your partner. Do not dig your heels in and refuse to be reasoned with regarding the conflict at hand. Happy couples who are facing conflict on any given topic understand that whatever issue they are disagreeing about – this issue(s) is NOT more important than the relationship. This way, one partner in a relationship will not argue to the n-th degree to be “right” and “win” the argument at all costs – which might include losing the relationship.

Having these 3 conflict resolution skills will go a long way in preparing you for the conflicts that will inevitably arise in your relationship.

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

Money Fights: Signs of Financial Infidelity and Practical Tips

The numbers are staggering – depending on what research poll you use – at least 50% of all couples have a partner engaged in financial infidelity. Therefore, there is at least a 50% chance that you can personally relate to the issue of financial infidelity in your relationship – or you know someone who can (if so, send them the link to this article). So what’s the big deal? I hide a new pair of shoes I bought from my partner. Or maybe I don’t tell them the truth about how much money I spent on a new sweater; or maybe I don’t even let him know I bought a new sweater – I hide it in my closet and when I do wear it – I tell him I had it for a while – I just haven’t been wearing it. Perhaps you are one of the many people who have a credit card your partner doesn’t know about; these credit cards might be plunging you into debt your partner knows absolutely nothing about! If any of these situations apply to you – beware – your financial infidelity is about to wreak havoc on your relationship. It might even lead you to a divorce.

Why?

Financial infidelity is extremely damaging to a relationship because it represents a very serious issue at to the very heart of a relationship. Intimate relationships are built upon trust, honesty, commitment and the ability to compromise. Financial infidelity is a serious breach of ALL these relationship pillars. More so than the actual lie about the money spent or hidden from your partner is the lack of trust and commitment to the relationship the lie represents. This breach of trust and commitment is a deception that acts like an invisible cancer that slowly but surely eats away at the very heart of your relationship.

All healthy, happy relationships are built on trust. The trust of your relationship is in peril as the lies build upon themselves; because let’s be honest – one small little white lie about how much money you spent on a sweater eventually leads to bigger lies. This erosion of trust is disastrous for both your financial security and emotional security in your relationship.

Financial infidelity is a death knells for a healthy relationship because it represents a lack of commitment to the shared goals and vision of your relationship. Wait – did I hear you say you and your partner have never created a common goal and vision for your financial security? Big mistake – make sure you and your partner talk about what your financial goals and visions are for your relationship. Many couples make the grave mistake of thinking their financial future will just take care of itself. Nothing could be further from the truth. Communication is a key component to keeping a relationship on solid ground when it comes to all things – especially money. Communicate effectively to develop your financial goals and budget accordingly. Discuss what is important to both of you from a financial perspective and then plan a strategy based upon mutual respect and compromise.

Finally, each partner in a relationship should have their own money to use at their discretion. Agree upon a number and once you have this agreed upon amount of money – one rule applies: “No questions asked”. You and your partner will both be able to make individual purchases from your discretationary fund the other may think is frivolous or a waste of money. In this situation it doesn’t matter what your partner thinks about how you spend your money – it’s yours to use as you see fit – and it doesn’t jeopardize your agreed upon financial goals.

So next time you want to hide a purchase from your partner, or tell a little white lie about how much money something costs, remember financial infidelity puts your relationship in the danger zone just as much as physical and/or emotional infidelity! Take the necessary actions described above to avoid financial infidelity from causing the break-up of your relationship!

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

Laugh it up like the Irish for a Great Relationship (and you will be Lucky in Love)

Nobody loves to laugh like the Irish!  Maybe this ability to laugh is what brings the Irish all their luck.  When it comes to our committed relationships, the ability to laugh at ourselves and each other is necessary to keep relationship challenges in perspective so we can keep the flames of passion burning bright.

If laughter is what makes the Irish lucky – let’s take a page out of their book and inject laughter into our relationships! It is this ability to laugh – at ourselves, and our lives that will bring the luck of the Irish into our relationship.

Below are 3 great benefits of laughter – based on scientific research – and they are guaranteed to have you and your partner laughing your way into years of love and  happiness!

  1. Laughter releases endorphins from your brain.  These endorphins make you feel energetic and breathe new and invigorating energy into your life while simultaneously reducing stress. Endorphins are also nicknamed the “attachment” hormone – as they are released from your brain they increase your ability to feel attached to your partner (no joke folks – this is for real)!
  1. Laughter provides a sense of physical and emotional release. If we can laugh at life’s difficulties – including conflict in our relationships – which all relationships experience, (even healthy ones), we reduce our stress level and experience an emotional release from the conflict.  In other words, laughter in the face of stress provides a much needed release of tension.  Laughter doesn’t solve the conflict, but it makes dealing with it a hell of a lot of easier.Laughter – and humor – tend to put things in a positive perspective.  So if you and your partner can laugh about a difficult situation – you are much more likely to work together to solve it – instead of fighting about it.
  1. Laughter prevents you from focusing on guilt and other negative emotions in a much more beneficial way than other distractions can.  Many times we need to take a step back from a situation which is creating negativity in our relationships and distract ourselves from it – laughter is the greatest distraction of all!

Do what the Irish do in your relationship! Laugh! It is why they are such a happy people! Laugh and laugh it up with your partner.  Approach your difficulties with a sense of humor and keep it in perspective. Laughter is free and it is contagious – it spreads like wild-fire!

So laugh it up and you will bring the luck of the Irish into your relationship. Let’s get this party started for years of smiles, love and laughter throughout your lives!

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

Spring Your Relationship into Happiness: 3 Simple Secrets Happy Couples Know

A happy marriage (or intimate relationship) is a lot like a garden – plant the seeds in healthy soil and provide the appropriate nutrients: water and sunlight – and watch your garden grow. Tending to your garden every day, in the smallest ways, allows it to grow and bloom. This holds true for your relationship – doing little things every day keeps your relationship happy and healthy.

Below are 3 Simple Secrets every Happy Couple Knows – and now you will know them too!

Happy Couple Secret #1: Communicate. Couples who communicate on a daily basis are the happiest. Communicating about life’s little things – not just trying to solve big “problems” – helps keep the spark alive in a marriage. Why? Because communication is the only way couples can keep their emotional connection charged in a positive way! Happy couples make the time to talk on a daily basis about the incidentals of life – they share stories about their day and tell jokes to each other.

The way we communicate with our partner is the single most important variable which determines the overall quality of our relationship!

Happy Couple Secret #2: Laugh. Happy couples do not take all the curves life throws at them so seriously. They’ve learned to prioritize what is really important so they don’t sweat the small stuff. When life throws these couples a curveball, if they strike out – they laugh it off. It is not seen as the end of the world! So lighten up on yourself and your partner, and laugh at your problems. Becoming angry when you are faced with adversity doesn’t change the situation – so you have a choice – laugh or cry.

Couples who are the happiest tell us their ability to laugh – at themselves and their problems – helps keep their relationship in a positive place – even in the face of adversity!

Happy Couple Secret #3: Healthy Conflict Resolution Skills. Happy couples know each conflict that comes up in their relationship is not a deal-breaker; therefore most conflicts are negotiable. Happy couples know the presence of conflict does not mean their relationship is in trouble. Many people mistakenly think happy couples do not have conflict – nothing couple be further from the truth. The difference between happy couples and unhappy couples is based on how conflict is handled! Happy couples effectively communicate (see happy couple secret#1) when conflict arises in their relationships – preventing the build-up of anger and resentment.

As you spring into the season of new life and renewal, use these 3 Simple Secrets every day to reap the rewards of a relationship every happy couple knows!!

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

 

The Secret for the Royal Couple to “live happily ever after”

Prince William certainly cannot look to his parent’s marriage for “The Secret” of “living happily ever after.” As a matter of fact, the Royal family in general does not have such a great track record for happy marriages – we can go back to King Henry XIII to attest to this abysmal marriage record (and Kate certainly wouldn’t want to go there – lol). The stats show that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. This begs the question: “Don’t you wonder what the other 50% of the happily married couples are doing right?” Here is“The Secret” Prince William & Kate Middletown – and all other couples need to know for “living happily ever after”.

“The Secret” Prince William and Kate Middletown need to know for creating a “happily ever after” marriage is the ability to focus on the positive aspects of their relationship. All marriages have their ups and downs. Couples in happy marriages have learned to focus on the “up” or positive aspects of their relationships and not the “down” – the negative aspects. Happy couples understand all relationships go through difficult phases, some which may last for more than a day or two – but they are able to get through these difficult phases by acknowledging the fact that “this too shall pass.”

All couples have their disagreements and disillusionments with each other andcouples who remain happy tend to view their overall relationship through a positive lens – framing issues, even conflict, from a positive perspective. These positive aspects of the relationship are then viewed as the most essential parts of their relationship – making the negative aspects (conflict) appear to be less important.

Along with focusing on the positive, couples in long-term happy relationships view their partner’s imperfections (all those annoying little habits everyone has) in a manner that neutralizes its impact on their relationship. For example, a husband might understand his wife’s need for orderliness as a way of dealing with stress in her life instead of viewing it as her nagging him. This type of positive thinking about annoying behavior keeps the relationship framed within a supportive and loving perspective, turning a potential negative of the relationship into a positive.

In the final analysis, the secret to a happy marriage is, to a large extent, based upon the couple focusing and approaching each other from a positive place. If the relationship is viewed from an overall positive place, the couple will be able to sustain a supportive, loving and understanding relationship toward each other – ensuring a “happily ever after” marriage. Therefore, Prince William and Kate Middletown, stay positive!

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

Is Your Mom Dating Your Man?

There is actually a mother out there that started a whole matchmaking web site just for her son. This is probably one of the most talked about situations ever. Mom must really be in a hurry! This is the case for this guy, but for a lot of us women, it might feel like your mom or even his mom might be into the relationship more than they really should be. If this applies to you, read on…

The type of mother who puts out a dating site for her son is most likely going to be the mother in law in charge, or ‘monster in law’ who is going to meddle and have her own way in the relationship. The poor guys dating life is going to be ruined. She probably wants to be in control of the situation, and every situation there after which is going to cause a serious problem in the relationship. A lot of times they will be right with you during every step in your relationship with her son. She might think she is doing what is right, but in reality; she is sabotaging the relationship that you’re trying to work on.

A lot of women out there, myself included, have moms that stay out of the way when it comes to relationships and we should all take the time to say thanks mom. Having them back off and let you do your own thing will only make you stronger and not to mention; less irritated.

A mother that allows you to make your own relationship choices is basically teaching you the responsibility of being in control of the failures and happiness that you get in those relationships. Having this space when it comes to dating or becoming serious can help you become your own individual person, and not to mention more independent. Having your mom create a dating site for you only shows that you are not capable of doing this on your own.

When you have the freedom to choose who you would like to date, and who you would rather not it helps your self-esteem by knowing that you have the judgment you need to choose the right person for yourself. You can trust the guy you choose to date and his intentions for yourself. Being able to choose the one that treats you with the most respect shows a whole different way to love yourself. No one should be pressured to live their life the way someone else wants, you should have the freedom to decide how you want to live.

3 Simple Ways for Keeping Respect Alive & Well in Your Relationship

Showing respect for your partner is at the heart of every healthy happy relationship. Respect for your partner is at the heart of effective communication because it creates the foundation necessary to develop mutual understanding – especially when you are not seeing eye-to-eye on a topic. Without respect for each other, problems can crop up fast and are incredibly difficult to resolve. Respect will keep civility in the manner in which you talk to each other, allowing you to avoid harsh tones or an “attitude” in your voice.

For many couples, it is really easy to have respect go out the window without even being aware of it. It’s not always easy to recognize when you are beginning to slip up in the respect area, but here are some situations that may present themselves. Recently your partner has been getting defensive about topics they wouldn’t normally get defensive over, you’ve been having a normal conversation with them but out of no where they go off the deep end about such and such, or they randomly blow up after you comment on something. Sound familiar? Let me put on my TV show voice because…. “If you answered yes to any of the above situations, this article is just for YOU! What’s the solution? It’s simple! There are 3 easy ways to keep respect alive and well in your relationship so you can keep the love growing for years!

1. Ditch the “tude” or “attitude” in your voice. Yes ladies, we all know our words can have an “attitude” and the attitude your words take on says just as much about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking as your actions do! Your “attitude” is shown by the way you speak your words – not in the words themselves. Remember, you can say just about anything to anybody – without hurting their feelings – as long as you say it the correct way. And the correct way includes the correct “attitude” in both your verbal and non-verbal communication.

If you maintain a respectful attitude, even in the midst of a disagreement, your relationship will stay strong.

Every healthy relationship is glued together by mutual respect – so if the attitude in your voice is oozing acid – your partner will more than likely only “hear” your “attitude” and differences will not only not get resolved, but more fights and problems will be created.

2. Listen to yourself and the non-verbal messages you are sending. Next time you feel your words are falling on deaf ears, or that you are not clearly communicating your message to your partner – pause for a moment and listento yourself. Are you saying what you want to say in a way that you would be able to hear your message? Are you talking down to your partner? Coming across a little snappish? Unintentionally intimidating them? Your partner will pick up on these non-verbal messages- and will hear them loud and clear even if you don’t hear them. No one wants to be talked down to so be aware of your non-verbal communications and pay careful attention to them – make sure these communications are respectful and consistent with your verbal messages to insure your partner does not feel disrespected and spoken down to in the relationship.

3. Remember the Golden Rule. That childhood rule of treating others and speaking to others how we’d like to be treated and spoken to is back. If you’d be upset at being snapped at for not remembering to start the washing machine, then you can bet your partner doesn’t appreciate it either. Speaking to others how we’d like to be spoken to seems like such a simple concept, and yet frequently we don’t do it.

In the words of Aretha Franklin, “All I’m asking is for a little respect when you come home.” Try these three simple ways to keep respect in your relationship when communicating with your partner – you will watch the unexplainable fights disappear in your relationship.

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

Relationship Advice for Setting Realistic Expectations

We all enter into our relationships with high expectations. Why shouldn’t we? This is a very positive aspect of human nature. It makes no sense to have low expectations for our relationship; in fact, that would be counterproductive. Unrealistically high expectations, on the other hand, set our relationship up for failure. They set our partner up for not being able to deliver on a promise they either have not made or are incapable of delivering on.

Having unrealistic expectations for your relationship practically guarantees disappointment, anger, bitterness and ultimately failure.

After a relationship has lost its novelty, and the honeymoon phase is long gone, deep feelings of resentment, disappointment and anger towards our partner often emerge if you or your partner has set up unrealistic expectations for each other and your relationship.

Unrealistic expectations leave a trail of broken promises and an array of negative feelings between partners.

In order to avoid this disastrous situation, you must remember one thing. When you are setting up expectations for your relationship, it is imperative that you have a realistic understanding of what you are most likely to receive based upon a true assessment of who your partner really is – not who you want them to be! This will allow you to create realistic goals for your relationship based on solid and healthy expectations. It is great to set high expectations, as long as these expectations are grounded in a realistic framework. We do not aspire to become a biologist if we are not good in science. We do not aspire to have a singing career if we cannot hold a musical note. And we cannot expect from our partner a lifestyle or behavior of which they are just not capable of providing.

Remember, when setting expectations for your relationship, you must be realistic. Your partner’s innate qualities and capabilities will not change because you set unrealistic expectations for them. Realistic expectations will help to create a lifetime of love and happiness in your relationship and avoid unnecessary disappointment and resentment.

 

Have a question about Dating, Relationships, or Sex for us? Submit it here

Dr. Patty Ann is a world renowned relationship expert and a licensed psychotherapist who has helped hundreds of people learn how to increase romance and happiness in their relationships. She can be found at www.drpattyann.comwww.twitter.com/drpattyannwww.facebook.com/drpattyann.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly About Being Friends with Exes

Friendship when it comes to your bestest of best friends can be one of the best things a girl can ask for, but when it comes to being best friends with your ex is another thing, and can be very tricky. I have tried this with my ex, and let me tell you; it is probably one of the trickiest things that you can attempt.

Of course, there are the good things, the bad things, and then the downright ugly things about this whole scenario. The golden rule of this entire situation however, would be to NOT attempt to go straight from the relationship, right into being friends with one another. You need to be able to give yourself time to cool off and deal with the situation. This period is crucial to the whole moving on stage. You both also need to be on neutral emotional ground in order to be friends.

The Good

He knows all about you, why you have your emotional and physical scars, why you dislike parts of your family, and all about your childhood. Since there is so much going on within the world now with social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, we might think people know us, but they do not actually know who we are as a person. Very few people know the ins and outs about you. Since he knows so much about you, it might be nice to have him around since he might be able to help get you through things like only your best friend could.

Another good aspect is that you will have male advice all the time since, well he is a male. It is nice to hear from a guy that you’re not actually involved with, and knowing the reality of what you’re asking might be just what you need. You do not want his answers to you to be sugarcoated, and this is something that every woman can appreciate.

The Bad

He might be bringing in extra baggage that you would not necessarily need. If you cannot sit down and talk about non-mundane things over a coffee, or if you keep bringing up old arguments or other negative aspects of the relationship that once was, then let’s face it, it is not going to work out. His ‘quirks’ might still make you mad as well, these things you just might want to stay away from for good, and not try to be friends in the long run.

The Ugly

He might want to win you back, and become just a bit more than friends. There is a reason you broke up in the first place, why try it again? If he meets your new boyfriend, is he going to try to scare him off, maybe seem like he is more than just a friend to you to the new boyfriend? These are things you do not want, I repeat, YOU DO NOT WANT. When the time comes, you have enough to worry about; you do not want to worry about this as well.

All in all, some exes might make great friends while others will weigh you down even more so than when you were in a relationship with them. You might want to find out which type your ex is before committing to being friends with them.

Three Ways to Tell if a Man is Marriage Material

A guy who’s fun, attractive and easy to talk to makes a great boyfriend, but if you are considering him as marriage material, the stakes are a bit higher. You’ll have to look below the surface at his character – the inner qualities that will determine if he is truly dedicated to the relationship for the long haul.

He acts like a grown up.

He has a job or a business, is going to school, and is engaged in social, philanthropic or creative activities If he has a  busy life, he’s a keeper. If he’s always hanging out with friends, at the bar, or at the ball game with no rhyme or reason to his life, he isn’t grounded enough for marriage and the commitment it entails.  A responsible man will have his own apartment, house or pay to share living space. If a guy’s still living with his Mom or family, that may not necessarily be a bad thing– he may be doing so to save money or take care of an elderly or sick relative.  Always survey the situation before striking a guy like this off your list. A guy who’s casually sleeping on a friend’s couch rent-free doesn’t have his own life together yet, so building a life with a woman may be difficult for him. And pay attention to the way he talks – word choice as well as subject matter. We all use slang or swear once in awhile, if he’s liberally dropping “dawg” or the “F” word even in business or formal social situations, he still has a lot of growing up to do.

He treats you and others with respect. 

A mature man is always cognizant of others around him. He respects people’s space, and is compassionate and courteous to everyone he meets. He treats people with respect, whether they are a millionaire business associate or busboys.  He tips well, and resolves problems without resorting to threats or bullying. If he’s sweet to you, but treats store clerks like dirt, that brusque attitude will one day cause stress in your relationship, whether it’s aimed directly at you or at other people.

He listens to what you say and responds to it thoughtfully. Guys who brush off their girlfriends’ opinions as less than a man’s are better left to pursue bimbos – that’s probably what they want anyway. He will discuss options with you, not blindly assume you will do what he says. A man who is ready for marriage is able to talk things over and compromise if necessary. 

He is generous with time, money and affection.

Marriage is a partnership and not suited for guys who won’t share their time, money or affection.  A man who is always too busy at work to take a trip with you or have a quick drink is obviously too concerned with his career to focus on marriage. Even people with demanding jobs can find time off now and then. And by affection, I mean kissing, tender words, hand-holding, compliments. Let’s face it, guys will always find time for sex, but affection may be a nonentity for some men. Sure, some guys are more macho and reserved than others, but if he never shows tenderness, that’s a problem. Do you really want to enter a marriage with a guy who won’t snuggle with you once in awhile? And if a guy always insists on buying you the cheapest item on the sale rack and never opts for pricier items, he either needs a better job or a change of attitude about money. As my friend Tony used to say about some miserly relatives of mine “What? Are they gonna take their money to the grave with them?” It’s the thought that counts, of course – a guy with a low-wage job can choose a present that you’ll treasure, one that has real meaning for you, while a rich guy may buy you something that’s ugly but expensive.

If a guy is marriage material, he’ll have a good attitude about money and know its value, regardless of how much he earns. He’ll know what material items are worth buying and investing in, and what to forego. And he’ll know how to balance a checkbook. He won’t leave all the accounting up to you.