excerpt

1. Trust your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. I once spent an entire day feeling sick to my stomach and having no idea why. Then I came to find out that my boyfriend at the time was spending the entire day flirting with an attractive lady who had given him her number and invited him to her hotel room to fuck. He never told her he had a girlfriend and it took him the entire day to figure out that he wasn’t going to cheat on me. It’s great that he didn’t cheat on me, but the point was that it took him that long to figure it out and that he never even told the girl he already had a girlfriend…and then he expected me to be “thankful” that he didn’t cheat on me in the first place. Nope, not okay.

2. Once trust is lost, it will never be gained back.
I found out a year after the fact that my boyfriend at the time had gone to a Dave Matthews Band concert with another girl he had met in one of his classes, while I was away at college. The fact that he felt so wrong about going that he didn’t tell me about it is in itself a sign that he shouldn’t have gone.

3. The way he treats his mother will eventually be the way he treats you.
My first boyfriend would go over to his mother’s house and she would dote on him in all ways; fix him food, clean up after him, etc. etc. And you could tell he respected her in a son/mother way but not in a way that was indicative of the strong woman his mother was. When I started living with him it became clear that I was meant to “fill in” for his mother…in fact it was such a slow process that I never even realized it until I broke up with him and dated a few men afterwards. When one man that I was dating started emptying his dishwasher while cooking himself dinner I was literally shocked.

4. The way his father treats his mother will eventually be the way your man treats you.
My first boyfriend’s father would constantly ridicule and put down his mother. He had been divorced once before and everything he said about women was derogatory, whether he was calling them stupid or slutty. Men, of course, could do no wrong; if he checked out another woman that was just a man being a man but if I ever got hit on it was obviously because I asked for it and was going to leave him.

5. His friends are kind of a big deal.
Be aware if you don’t like his friends –- people are shaped and molded by the people they spend the most time with. If you don’t like his friends or they never do anything that you’re interested in, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re probably not going to want to spend the rest of your life with them.

6. On that note, when you marry a man you’re also marrying his family, his friends, his past and his future.
Do you really want to spend the rest of your life and raise your children with a family that talks about you behind your back or with a group of friends whose only ambition in life is to play video games for the next 5 hours?

7. If he says “I love you” after only 2 weeks of hanging out…
He doesn’t actually love you.

8. Jealousy is not okay.
There’s a difference between teasing you about another guy who has the hots for you (and in reality just being proud that you’re his) and teasing you about another guy who has the hots for you (and in reality making it seem like it’s your fault, getting pissed and ruining what could have been a perfectly good evening).

9. Don’t make excuses for him.
If he’s 23 and still living in his parents’ house, it’s because he’s lazy or possibly makes poor life decisions, not because he “just hasn’t figured out what what to do” with his life. If he’s making excuses for himself, that’s a blatant red flag. A real man knows that his future is in his hands, not anybody else’s, and that blaming others for where he is in his life is both useless and immature.

10. If he wants be in your life, he will put himself there.
A man who takes hours to text you and constantly flakes out on plans does NOT want to be with you. A man who does want to be with you will text you back in a decent amount of time (within an hour or so, of course depending on work and other extenuated circumstances), will make plans with you (rather than the other way around) and will then follow through on said plans. You shouldn’t have to worry that you’ll be stood up just because you haven’t yet heard from him on the day of your planned date.

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