Ah, the holy grail of dating! Relationships can be a minefield and especially in these days of dating apps and websites which dramatically increase your pool of potential dates. But having more people doesn’t necessarily equal having more nice people, so it’s important to keep on your dating toes if you’re about to plunder the field of singles. Which actually is the first risk. How do you know if they are single? There’s no straightforward answer to that one, there are some hoops that you have to jump through.
Firstly, check out their social media. You don’t need to go all stalkerish, but a quick look at their Facebook page or Insta or LinkedIn if they’re claiming to be professional won’t do any harm. If their social media accounts are tightly locked down……well, it could just be personal preference – or it could be a sign that things are not as they might seem. Their availability is another huge clue as to whether they are who they say they are, or whether they secretly have a partner and children at home. Look for patterns of behaviour and whether they’re equally available during the week and at weekends. Someone who is never free in the evenings or at weekends is probably someone who needs a bit more investigation. Anyway, enough negativity! Let’s go on to how to work out if the person you’ve met is The One for you.
The right person will be happy with the relationship progression – or non-progression if that’s how you’re playing things. Sometimes it takes a while to go from casual dating to committed relationship and it’s important that you’re both on the same page with that. If one or the other thinks that things are moving too fast or too slowly, then that could be a clue that you both want different things. The One won’t be putting pressure on you to conform to their preferences.
The right person will be respectful to you and especially around your boundaries, whether those are sexual or practical ones, or both. You might have children that you want to keep separate from your new relationship for the moment, and your potential/actual partner needs to recognize and respect that. This is especially important as far as contraception goes. Never let a new sexual partner refuse to use a condom – no bag, no shag as they say in the Navy. Stock up in advance, and there’s nothing wrong with having a bulk pack so you can both try out some different things if that’s where the evening is headed……
The right person won’t love bomb and then ghost you. Sadly, this is an all too familiar routine for some people. They promise the earth and dazzle you with their generosity and affection and then at a point when they perceive either they’ve got what they want, or they’ve realised that they aren’t going to get it, they disappear without a word. It’s not uncommon for these ghost-ers to come back to their ghost-ees with apologies and promises of it never happening again (watch out for tales about sick grannies or sudden extended work abroad), so be vigilant. The best advice is to run a mile from these people, you’ll never be able to truly rely on them.
The right person will treat you decently. That doesn’t necessarily mean champagne and flowers every week (although that wouldn’t be something to complain about!), it might mean regular contact during the day, not changing plans at the last minute and ruining your long-anticipated date or accepting difficult circumstances. The classic one is needing childcare and not having it on tap. The One won’t be moaning at you to sort something out because they want to see you, they’ll be understanding of your situation and be supportive.
The right person will introduce you to their family and friends. Being accepted into their social circle and meeting their family is a huge clue that they are serious about you. It doesn’t have to happen on the second date, but they should be keen to introduce you as their partner once the relationship has been cemented. You have to ask questions about someone who never wants you around their nearest and dearest.
And ultimately – they have to make you happy. Happiness means different things for different people, there’s no precise recipe and you’re the only one who can say what it means to you. The One will be everything that you want in a partner (or almost, anyway!) and give you the security that they’re there for the long haul – through good and bad.