As I recently confessed, I have a new boyfriend — and a few weeks ago, we hit a major bump in the road. So major, in fact, that in the heat of the moment I thought, Well, that's it. This thing is over!
Then I spent a couple of days thinking about it, trying to psych myself up for it ... and crying a lot. And I talked things out with a few friends — all of whom think Mr. Tea is pretty great. All of whom know I am not necessarily the best at working through difficult things in relationships. (I prefer to flee and tell myself I'm better off on my own rather than confront anyone — and risk the kind of emotionally devastating fights I used to have whenever I argued with my father.) My adorable hairdresser, Garrett, said: "Maura, are you just making this into an excuse to break up with him?" My BFF Daisy Milliner said: "You're crazy, sweetie! You guys have been so happy together lately!" And another of my buddies — let's call him Sam Frisco — said, "Maura, dear, I myself am no expert at finding lasting and true love, but I think that any man who meets a few basic criteria is someone to hold on to."
Sam advised that I assess Mr. Tea using the following keeper-criteria:
1. He should do no harm.
"Call it the Hippocratic Rule of Dating," says Sam. "But he must not be harmful to you emotionally or in any other way."
2. He has to be worthy of your respect.
Probably self-explanatory, but just in case: It's hard to seriously consider sharing your life with someone if you don't admire the life choices he makes, and the way he conducts himself — not to mention the way he treats other people (and himself).
3. He has to love you and totally accept you.
This should be a no-brainer. But in this day and age, it can be hard to remember that relationships are supposed to be about mutual affection and tenderness — because so many of us have to deal with so many sub-par dalliances.
Of course, "total acceptance" doesn't mean you should never want each other to change one iota, ever. But before you make a serious commitment to anyone — or before you even so much as decide to move forward with him — ask yourself if the things you hope he'll change are crucial to his personality or not. If the answer is yes, you might be with the wrong guy. Additionally, determine if it's possible for him to change whatever habit or quality you want him to change. Talk to him about those things, making it clear you are talking about them because you care about him and the relationship — not because you want to attack him or belittle him in any way.
And ask yourself, also, if you feel like he is completely in your corner and deeply into you. If you have any uncertainty about the answer to that question, this may not be a relationship that's worth hanging on to.
"All the rest, a mon avis, is just filler and what friends are for," says Sam.
Which has left me wondering: What the hell does a mon avis mean?
But also, does Sam have this right? Is he missing anything?
Because I was thinking that a crucial question to ask yourself about a person, if you're trying to determine if he's The One is this: "Would I be friends with him if we weren't dating?" And if the answer is no, maybe, then, you shouldn't be dating.