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women find it difficult finding Mr. Right. They may be jumping into the
relationship too quickly.
These strategies may save a lot of disappointment and hurt:
if this should even get started:
whatever reason, men of limited virtue seem to have radar for vulnerable women.
So the first question is, ďAre you singleĒ. If not, donít even bother to
ask anything else, just run. Developing rapport with a married man or a man
living with another woman is just asking for trouble.
out if he is still licking old wounds:
the fellow is separated, find out how long the separation has been. If too
short, he may still be carrying a torch for the other woman. Not long enough and
he may not have looked at himself to figure out his own contribution to the
demise. Somewhere in the middle and he may just be sexually hungry. In any
event, it can take six months to well over a year to get past a prior
relationship and be ready for another. Be careful not to be his transitional
relationship or just the answer to his pent up sexual frustration. These
relationships tend not to last.
a drinking inventory:
more the booze, the greater likelihood of problems. Ask him how much he drinks.
You arenít looking for his assessment of his drinking, but actual numbers. So,
if he says he is a social drinker, ask him how often he socializes, with whom
and how many alcoholic beverages per occasion. More than six drinks a week or
more than 4 per occasion and the risk of problems begin to escalate. It would be
wise to take a pass. As for drugs, totally out of the question.
out his respect for you:
the fellow is unattached, not licking old wounds, and not drinking more than a
little, start slow and get to know him. Emotional attachment clouds rational
judgement, so use your head before your heart. As you get to know each other
through dating, make your own preferences known. See if you share in decisions
and if your input is accepted and valued. If decision-making is all one-sided
there is a big clue that you do not have a voice in the relationship. Further,
if values and goals are different or if there are behaviours at issue, discuss
them. If they cannot be resolved now, sex, marriage, cohabiting or having
children will not make them any better. You might be better off leaving now and
starting the process again.
your health first:
indeed you are ready for sex, the fellow must wear a condom. There simply is no
other device that can reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.
While you are at it, practice another form of contraception at the same time. No
one contraceptive is 100% foolproof. Combining a contraceptive with a condom
will greatly reduce the risk of both contraception and STDs. If the fellow
refuses to wear a condom or one is not available, then no intercourse. If the
fellow objects, he is telling you that your health is secondary to his sexual
gratification. This is not the basis of a caring relationship and signals an
to get to know each other:
you have gotten this far and now think this relationship has substance, continue
to court for at least a year before cohabiting or marriage. People are often on
their best behaviour in the beginning of relationships. A period of courtship
allows the couple to get comfortable with each other such that their true self
emerges. See if you like him then. If so, then consider formalizing your
Just like it takes time and effort to churn milk into butter, it takes time to determine the goodness of fit in relationships. Slow the process down and take the above strategies as steps along the way. The goal is a stable, healthy and sustainable relationship to truly meet your needs rather than a quick jump into the pool, holding your nose, hoping the water isnít polluted. Finding Mr. Right requires choices.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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