Is He a Good Catch?

Mark Goulston, MD


Have you been unlucky in love? Had more than your share of Mr. or Ms. Wrongs? How do you tell a good catch from a bad one?

Good catches have a positive attitude and are not blamers when something goes wrong. They get upset when they're disappointed or hurt, but don't dwell on their upset; they cut their losses and move on. They are passionate and have strong opinions, but stop short of being opinionated.

Bad catches are negative thinkers, blame others whenever they're upset and hold grudges. They are "know-it-alls" who need to have the last word. They are "high maintenance," being easy to disappoint and difficult to please.

Because even some of the worst people can make a good first impression and lull you into a false sense of security, you may want to make use of some ways to identify a person that you should "just say no" to -- and say it early. It's better to end your relationship with these people sooner rather than later because the longer you are with them, the harder it is to get away from them. This is due to two distinct traits they have that can make your life miserable. First, they can't stand to be controlled and will fight you if you try to persuade them to do anything. Second, they can't tolerate being abandoned and will become hostile, threatening and manipulative at any attempt to move away from them.

One of the best ways to tell a good catch from a bad one is to get into a difference of opinion on your first date and see how the person reacts. Look for someone who has strong beliefs, but is able to listen and change his mind if new, contradictory facts make sense to him. Look out for the person who reacts to a disagreement as a personal attack on his intelligence. This type of person will become defensive, snap back at you and need to have the last word. This kind of behavior should sound the alarm that you should end the relationship with this person.

Meeting the friends and family of the person you are dating is another way to determine character. As the proverb says, people can often be judged by the company they keep. People of good character usually avoid others that are not. And if your new guy or gal is hesitant to introduce you to friends or family, you're very likely dealing with a devious person.

If your date is nasty to people in service professions who cannot always defend themselves -- such as valet parking attendants, waitresses and bank tellers -- that's another warning sign. If your date is nasty to them, that's how he will treat you months down the road if you disappoint or inconvenience him.

These self-protective maneuvers might dampen the romance a little; but being spared the "relationship from Hell" will more than make up for it.

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