Choosing a Boyfriend is NOT The Same as Choosing a Husband

Choosing a Boyfriend is NOT The Same as Choosing a Husband
My client, Leslie, asked me recently, “When did you ‘just know’ that it was right with your wife? When were you able to tell for sure that she was ‘the one’?”

After a brief pause, I said, in all seriousness:

“Six months after we were married.”

Leslie was stunned.

After all, she comes from a culture that is all about undeniable feelings, Hollywood fantasies, and powerful mythology surrounding the notion of love.

You probably do, too.

Like it or not, dating is ALWAYS an extended audition, with both parties consistently gathering information and assessing their futures, up until they reach the altar.

Right now, I’m going to blow your notion away – not because I feel like killing your dreams, but because your dreams are holding you back from finding true happiness.

Look back on your life.

How many times did you “just know” that a man was “the one?”

How many times did he actually turn out to BE “the one?”

The defense rests, your honor.

So if we can be wildly misguided in our feelings, what do our feelings actually teach us?

Nothing.

Literally every single woman reading this has had a feeling that felt true, but turned out to be false.

Maybe he freaked out after three intense months together.

Maybe he enjoyed your company but never actually saw himself marrying you.

Maybe he turned out to be a liar, drug addict, or serial cheater.

These are things that you couldn’t have known on date one.

The only way you could have learned them was to keep your eyes open and keep open to the possibility that you don’t “just know” anything.

There’s always new information pouring in that should inform your decisions.

And if it comes as a shock when a guy suddenly dumps you, it shouldn’t. Because YOU also reserve the right to change your mind as time goes by.

You don’t fall in love with every guy you meet.

You may determine that he’s financially irresponsible or not a good father figure.

You may determine that the attraction isn’t there and that you need to feel more.

The point is that you can only figure this stuff out over the course of TIME.

Which is why, like it or not, dating is ALWAYS an extended audition, with both parties consistently gathering information and assessing their futures, up until they reach the altar.

This is not a crime. This is not selfish. This is smart. This is practical. This is what prevents us from making huge mistakes and marrying the wrong people.

If a man dumps you after two years, it’s because he felt it would be a mistake to marry you and THEN want to dump you. That’s a GOOD decision.

And vice versa. Whether you break up with a man after a week or a year, you’ve come to the conclusion that he’s not the right guy for you, which frees him up to find the woman of his dreams. Another good decision.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is that every day I talk to private clients who make two colossal mistakes when it comes to assessing men.

I’m guessing you do the same.

1) You fall in love with a guy within a few weeks, then spend 6 months trying to preserve that feeling, EVEN WHEN HE TREATS YOU LIKE CRAP.

This is a classic case of “you just know” being really misleading. All you know is that you’re intoxicated by him – what you seem to ignore is that he’s a terrible partner who doesn’t treat you with kindness or consistency and has absolutely no desire for a future with you.

2) You think that you MUST know in a short period of time whether he’s the one. And if you don’t have that “feeling,” you move on.

Bad call.

Here’s why.

Choosing a boyfriend is NOT the same as choosing a husband.

And you need to stop making it feel that way right now.

If you take your profile down to focus on a promising new man – even if you don’t have butterflies – it’s not a mistake.

You’re giving a new relationship a chance to grow and breathe.

If you give it a chance and it doesn’t feel right after a month or two or three, you move on, gracefully.

But if you refuse to give any new relationship a chance unless you have that “you just know” feeling, you will find yourself devastated over and over, because clearly you DON’T just know…

Stop thinking that just because you call a man your boyfriend that he HAS to be your husband.

Plus, you’ll never get to see what it’s like to enjoy the act of discovery that comes with merely committing to try on a new relationship.

You Can't Build Anything if you're always movingI’ve often said, “If you’re always moving, you can’t build anything.”

And if you never give a guy a shot unless he takes your breath away, you are destroying your chances for lasting love.

It’s no secret. I wasn’t blown away by my wife. She wasn’t blown away either.

The entire time we were dating I was happy, but I questioned the relationship because it wasn’t what I thought it was supposed to look like.

When I finally proposed, I made an educated guess: I’d learned so much from my dating coaching practice, that I felt I’d be making a huge mistake if I let her go… just to find someone a few years younger with a similar background.

So was I SURE that we were “meant to be” and “soulmates” and all that?

No.

But I was sure about this:

Every relationship where I was sure in the past blew up in my face.

This relationship was, by far, the easiest, healthiest, warmest one I’d ever had.

And if it didn’t meet what I THOUGHT it was supposed to feel like, that just meant that my EXPECTATIONS were WRONG.

Not the relationship.

My expectations.

Your expectations.

Of how it’s “supposed” to feel.

Were wrong.

I took a leap of faith based on my knowledge as a dating coach.

But you don’t have to. You can learn from what I’m sharing here.

I’m now 39 and happily married.

We own a big house in the San Fernando Valley.

We have a ten-month old daughter who makes us smile every day.

We’re having a New Year’s Eve karaoke party for couples in a few days.

And we both giggle when we think how easy it would have been to pass each other up, merely because we didn’t meet each other’s preconceived image of perfection.

Starting today:

• Stop falling in love with men you barely know. You need YEARS to really assess his worthiness as a life partner.

• Stop giving a free pass to men who give you that FEELING. Chances are, that FEELING allows you to ignore a TON of red flags.

• Stop thinking that just because you call a man your boyfriend that he HAS to be your husband. Dating is a 2-3 year audition – and at any point, either party has the right to break it off if he/she feels that the next 30 years would be a mistake.

• Stop thinking that you have to “just know.” Your gut has led you astray every single time. Maybe this is a good time to use your head a little bit.

Please let me know what you think of this post in the comments section below.

And if I don’t hear from you – if you’re one of the readers who lurks, but never posts – thanks for making this blog into the success it’s been.

Over 1 million people have visited in 2011 to learn more about dating, relationships, and the opposite sex, and I’m honored to be a part of the conversation.

Warmest wishes and a very Happy New Year.

Evan

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Emily Neto

    This is by far your best blog!

    Thank you….Emily 

  2. 2
    Fawn

    Evan, I have learned so much from you.   Thank you.  I didn’t “just know” that my guy would someday be my husband.  I wasn’t “blown away” by him when we first met.  He reminded me more of a long lost friend.  I often joke that we were separated at birth – twin souls so to speak.  I am beyond happy with this man and it’s because I took the time to get to know him without the usual expectations,  I didn’t place him in the prospective husband box until we dated for a year and a half.  He proposed to me in October (a little over two years after we started dating) and I am over the moon.  Ladies, Evan knows what he is talking about.  My experience with my soon to be husband confirms that fact everyday.  Listen to him and follow his advice closely.  His advice will save yourself a lot of heartache.

  3. 3
    Maya

    Oh, again one excellent blog Evan. You never disappoint :).
    Thanks for your work. Happy New Year to you and your family.
     

  4. 4
    Heidi

    Gosh… Evan, I really wish I had found your blog YEARS ago!

  5. 5
    SS

    I agree with Fawn (and Evan)… except I did start to “know” by the six-month mark. But I wasn’t close to madly in  love with him at first sight, second sight, third sight or fourth sight! In fact the day after our first date, I went out with a girlfriend and she asked how it went. I said, “it was nice, he was cool,” and that’s it!

    Now, I can’t imagine living without him! We married 17 months after that first date.

  6. 6
    Laura

    Happy New Year Evan! I’m learning. Thanks for being a good teacher.

  7. 7
    Chris

    This blog has helped me focus back onto how to slow down and build something. Thanks Evan for all your help and advice here and in the Focus Coaching.
    2012 here I come!
     

  8. 8
    nathan

    Agree with everyone above. There is some important stuff in this post. One thing to consider, though, is that most of us don’t actually know how to read “our gut feelings” very well. They’ve become obscured with all the artificial rules and fairy tale crap that Evan points out. I’d argue that at a core level, we each can access a knowing about whether someone is right for us or not. But that knowing isn’t going to happen overnight; you need to spend significant time with someone. And you also have to repeatedly question all those stories about how it’s “supposed to be” until you see what actually is.

  9. 9
    La Miss

    OK Evan, it worked. You’ve coaxed me out of the woodwork. I’ve been one of your regular lurkers since the summer… and I’m now officially addicted to your blog! My parents taught me good manners, so if nothing else I’d like to say thank you thank you thank you. For offering me a perspective on relationships that I otherwise would not have access to. And thank you too to the intelligent and passionate regular commentators that you attract. I love a good debate… and this blog definitely delivers on that front. For what it’s worth, I also voted for you for the iDate Awards - all the best with that.

    A Happy New Year to you and yours.
     

  10. 10
    Stacy

    I love your advice, Evan! This was a great post! Happy New Year!!! 

  11. 11
    Diana

    This post is absolutely accurate! I am now in a loving relationship of almost two years with a truly exceptional man-one I did not have that “you just know” feeling for when we first started dating. For me, the time I have spent with him can be likened more to a sweet, old-fashioned courtship, and I LOVE it! had I not purchased Evan’s book and stopped making the same silly mistakes repeatedly, I would have NEVER reached this point. I am an attorney in my late thirties so, yes, I was disproportionately attracted to Alpha men. Once I realized the profundity of the lessons Evan imparts, I stopped making the same mistake with different men. On Christmas day, my guy asked me to please send him pictures of my idea engagement ring. The funny thing is that I feel so blessed to have him that I would marry him with a cigar band on my finger. All of this love, and yet I did NOT have the butterflies or a case of the “you just knows”. Ladies, listen to Evan.

  12. 12
    melie

    Yes, Evan!  You are so right!  Feelings can’t be trusted and neither can the initial “turn on” factor.  Try telling that to the male population.  There are very few wise men out there.  I want a man to get how I think and I want to get him.  Why is it that people think you will just meet up and know?  What a load of crap!  I am still listening and waiting for the right one.  In the mean time I am playing with someone else.  We know we are not in love, but seriously enjoy one anothers company and if it lasts, that’s a good thing; if not, I think we will both be okay with that too.

    God bless you and your little family!
     

  13. 13
    Carol

    Thank you Evan for all of your good advice.  Every article keeps me on track and getting over a breakup that wasn’t right.  I am learning so much as a senior citizen looking for love.  My New Years resolution is to finish getting my profile done and actively pursue meeting my soulmate.  Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year.

  14. 14
    Casey

    This was Excellent, I read everything you write but for some reason had an ah ha moment with this one…..two of the best and most long term relationships I know are those that started with the women being less than “struck” by the men but both men ended up being absolutely wonderful boyfriends and the ultimately husbands.
    Thank you!!! 

  15. 15
    Lenny

    Thank you so much Evan! Since I knew your blog I’ve been addicted reading all your blogs. Keep it up! It’s very informative and educational. It comforts me and save me from  deep heartaches. It gives me more knowledge on how to understand, love and keep a man/partner/boyfriend. You’re the best dating coach man! Wish I knew your website 5 years ago… 
    May you have many more clients to come and God bless you more!

  16. 16
    Gina

    Spot on Evan!! This is most definitely your best blog ever!! I listened to and followed your advice and am now in a relationship with a wonderful man. I am 49, and since I have been married twice before, I do not feel the need to get married again. I am simply living in the moment and enjoying this relationship for as long as it lasts.

  17. 17
    CK @ GodMenandMoney.com

    This was a good one.

    I just wish the “you just don’t know message” was embedded in our culture more.

    I’ve seen so many friends hold on to relationships because they ‘felt’ a guy, boyfriend, dude they were dating was their ‘husband’…only to find out he wasn’t.  It is quite empowering to approach a relationship/new beau with the mindset that he isn’t my husband until he is…

     

  18. 18
    Daphne

    Hi Evan, that column really made me think.
    So, two or three years- but not longer ?

  19. 19
    Jeanne

    Evan, this is such a refreshing article!  There is so much common sense that people need to apply from reading it.  I think every single person should read this article if they want to find long-lasting success in a relationship.  

    Good for you for waiting 6 months to decide if your current wife was “the one” and for making the decision for all of the right reasons.

    I have always enjoyed your blogs, but this is the first one that I want to share with single friends and my fellow DivorceCare facilitators. 

  20. 20
    starthrower68

    All good reminders Evan, and ones that I’ve needed very much.  

  21. 21
    Addai

    Right on as usual, Evan! I love hearing your advice because you’re always on point! I think I’m definitely one of those woman waiting for the butterfly feeling all the time and have passed up some good guys because of that!

  22. 22
    Brenda

    HI Evan, this column rocked!  I feel as though Diana @11 and I are sisters, (i.e. attorneys going for the alpha male) except you know I am in my mid-50s, divorced after many years, with two sons with special needs and you helped me with my online dating profile and also coached me.

    I have been following your advice and your blog steadily over the past few years since our coaching finished and I am happy to say I took a leap of faith and started to date men who I was not immediately attracted to. None of my “I just knew………” dating situations had ever panned out so I decided to try what you asked me to do.

    I allowed my relationships to grow over time……There were a number of men I dated where I thought something might develop and it did not. I just kept putting myself out there in the dating world and felt that if I learned at least one thing from each man I dated, even if we only saw each other once, I became a better person because of it.  

    Enter my fiancé………he is my age, lives 1/2 hr away from me, and I am happy to say, has expanded my horizons by NOT meeting my old list of “expectations”.  He is such a wonderful man, loves me and loves my sons, and has made my life better in so many ways.  He proposed to me on Christmas night with a ring in hand, and I have you to thank for it, Evan!

    I shudder to think what I would have missed if I had insisted that the man had to meet my long list of “expectations”.
     

  23. 23
    Margaret

    I think Evan’s advice here is fabulous.  Only, not for people over, say 40.  I am 50.  I was 28 when I got divorced, for all of the wrong reasons.  If only Evan had been around when I was 30, I think my whole life would have turned out differently.

    Even though I look way younger than what I am, I know that my odds for finding someone I am interested in are slim to none.  More likely, I will find a beaten-down old badger, looking for a nurse or a purse.  I know that my odds of finding someone my age or thereabouts , that is reasonably attractive and wants a woman over 30, are slim to none.  God, I am so depressed today, because I know that it would take a miracle for me to find a man even remotely attractive.

    Evan, I know you are an atheist and I respect that, but I am grateful I am a good Catholic girl who will hopefully find better in the afterlife.

  24. 24
    Margaret

    I meant to say, I married for all of the wrong reasons.

  25. 25
    Mmmmmm

    Excellent post!  I’m in a one year relationship and still don’t know…

  26. 26
    nom de plume

    18 months max for a proposal or I’m off its simple. In fact i think i’ll probably kill my own chances with any date because i start as i mean to go on. Either your both feet in or out. I don’t have time for waisting mine or anyone else’s time especially in matters of the heart, yet if i don’t get that feeling of sparks… i don’t care how nice they are i won’t be putting out, thats not to say i wouldn’t give someone i felt attraction for who didn’t make me swoon a chance, in fact i’d agree that it had more of a chance as you wouldn’t be so blinded by the superficial cover of a parcel. 2-3 years though no chance… More like a few months for me I don’t think guys like starving for water for 2 – 3 years and i’m not putting out till there is a ring on my finger with a man at my feet begging for it, after all i am a man magnet and he’s a man or a horse thats been drinking piss and dying for some water, when women realise that they are the fountain, they won’t take crap from no one. A horse who’s had piss and had water but traded in water for piss and went starving for a while will fall over him self to be with a lovely fountain. Gosh i wish that people would just get over the idea that its about trying and just get on living and enjoying them selves. Its horrible when i see people trading them selves in for piss and not water. By water i mean good o’l fashioned love. Where the guy can’t do enough for you and you love him for it and let him no without all of these stupid games. Just tell the hangers on or the piss drinkers to go somewhere else and just tell them that there is only love on tap here so they either get on with it or piss off.  At least by the 3rd date know for gods sake where you are both from where you’re going to and what you’d like out of life. Don’t give him a sip from your cup until you know… Save yourself the flaming heartache, its not worth it, regardless of how much like David flaming Beckham he looks or Keanu or who ever you built a picture of as a good looking = fantastic dream boat…. 

    1. 26.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Nom de Plume – I would suggest that your 18 months max rule is based on your needs, not men’s needs, and, as such, bears little weight in the reality-based community.

      Then again, given all the “crap” and “piss” in your post, I think that your stance on marriage is the least of your issues.

  27. 27
    Beth

    Evan – I’m a loyal reader of your blog, but a very infrequent commenter.  However, I just had to respond to this blog because it is so spot on.  I am currently in a relationship with the most wonderful man, who I definitely wasn’t “wowed” by on our first, second, third dates.  But, I was determined to do things differently this time and I stuck to your lessons in “Why he Disappeared” and “Finding the One Online” and saw this one through.  Why?  Because he did everything you said a quality boyfriend does – followed up immediately after our first date saying he wanted to see me again, wanted to be exclusive after a month, makes me and my needs a priority, is easy (I’m the one with the more “difficult” personality – I LOVED your blog post addressing that concept, by the way), etc., etc…..  It’s almost 8 months later and we’re talking marriage and a future – a place I NEVER thought I would be.  Like many of the other commenters here, a million thank you’s for all that you have done.  You have truly made a huge difference in my life.
    Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy 2012!

  28. 28
    nom de plume

    @Evan Marc Katz if a guy isn’t interested in providing for your needs i guess he better get his needs met else where without trying to make a fountain a place to piss. Either he respects her as a fountain of love or he pisses off. Its really simple, you state, he states, either you do or you don’t why should it be any skin off of anyones noses now that you have told everyone what men are really all about?

    and of course its reality for what is real for one is real or haven’t men worked that out yet? 

  29. 29
    Honey

    My husband Jake proposed after almost five years (though we eloped right away) – I knew he was different from other guys on our first date but I don’t think I really felt secure until six months after we’d been married, either.  I think he knew after 2 years (which is when we moved in together, he didn’t want to live with anyone else until he knew he’d marry them) but waiting for confirmation didn’t hurt anyone.

  30. 30
    still looking

    NDP@27&29 –
     
    A woman can be a man magnet but don’t forget that magnets can repel as well as they attract.  When I meet a woman who thinks so highly of herself and expects me to be “begging for it” one word comes to mind — NEXT! 

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