How to know if he’s marriage material

Dr. Wendy Walsh, a dating expert and psychologist, drew from personal dating disasters to create a relationship rule book called “The Boyfriend Test.”

Her aim was to help women understand men and better stick to their guns when it came to dating. She found that dating happens in phases, and at any point during the first three months, women should be hyper-sensitive to where the relationship is headed. Here’s how they find out:

Step 1: The Girlfriend Test

The first step to having any healthy relationship is to take a look at yourself. You have to understand your own issues and desires before you can subject someone else to them. In order to have some kind of intimate connection, you can’t fantasize about how things could be. We have to learn to be really clear about what we want, what is achievable, and to be able to communicate that in a kind way. After passing the Girlfriend Test, you can move into dating.

Step 2: The Telephone Test

When you’re out there in the world meeting people – sometimes online, sometimes in person, you’re eventually going to get asked for your number. At that point, if he interests you, you have an opportunity to do some telephone screening.

There are things to look for during a phone conversation that can help you decide if someone is worth promoting to a first date. Is he calling at an appropriate time of day considering he doesn’t really have any idea about your schedule? Does he seem hyper focused or touchy about any subjects – his ex, his mom, his work, money? Is he telling you all about himself or is he showing interest in you too?

The little tidbits that people leave in conversations can tell you a lot about who they are and whether you should accept a date with them.

Step 3: The First Date Test

Wendy said women should expect a guy to be a gentleman and use old-fashioned manners on the first date. But it’s also important to recognize the difference between good manners and a controlling personality.

“Put your ears up and listen for the social cues,” she said. “Manners are designed to help people feel more comfortable around you, but if someone makes you feel controlled or put down, end it after the first date.”

Step 4: The 5-Date Consistency Test

After five dates, we’re looking to see if this is building into a relationship, if he’s boyfriend material. It’s enough time to gauge his consistency and to see if his early actions were based on character or based on the thrill of the hunt.

Does he play phone tag? How does he use e-mail? Is he still making and consistently keeping plans? Has he followed up on the little promises he’s made? Has he displayed any anger yet?

If it’s not working after five dates, women think that means they should try harder. No! Pay attention. Men don’t speak with words. They speak with actions. Five dates into it he’s telling you if he’s worth keeping around.

Step 5: The 90-Day Consistency Test

At three months in, you should be somewhat associated with his life. Do his acquaintances – his concierge, his mechanic, the people that are a part of his practical daily life – know you by name? Where does he keep your toothbrush? If it’s stuffed in a drawer somewhere, you know he has other people over in between.

Does he always reserve Saturday nights for you? Has he begun to reveal any of his addictions? “Let’s face it, we’re all addicted to something, and it’s gonna come out within 90 days,” Wendy said. “What you have to do is figure out if you can live with it.”

The #1 Question

Of all the questions on The Boyfriend Test, the most revealing one is, according to Wendy, how is his relationships with his mother.

“If he’s really angry with Mom, I promise you, it’s only a matter of time before he replaces Mom with you in his head,” she said. “If he’s a little too close to Mom, sorry, girls, he’s already got a wife. You’ll only ever be the mistress.”

The Boyfriend Test is ultimately about boundaries for women. Wendy said many women have so few boundaries in dating that they spend their time selling themselves rather than realizing that they’re the one taking applications.


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