I dreamed about the type of guy I would end up with from the time I was a little girl. For me, marriage and children were always on the table. Today, it’s not as common to discuss future goals as they relate to family life. Careers and other personal ambitions have taken over center stage (which is fantastic.) But despite everything that’s changed in our society, it’s still part of the plan for many women.
But in this age of Tinder, “just talking” relationships, and “Netflix and Chill,” the world of dating and building relationships has been vastly re-landscaped. So how do you know what to look for in a long-term partner? It can be a little awkward to just come right out and ask guys about their thoughts on fatherhood (and let’s face it, it may send him running). So, when meeting and dating 20-something men, how can you tell if he would be suitable family man someday?
When I met the man I ended up marrying, it was pretty clear to me right away that he would make an amazing father someday. It can be hard to navigate dating with your eyes on the future but there are 10 things you can look for that can mean your man will make a great dad one day.
- He’s patient.
He doesn’t lash out at your shortcomings. He’s kind to others no matter how frustrated he gets. He can keep his temper in check and he’s more likely to offer help than judge others for what they don’t do well.
- He takes responsibility at home.
- He has goals.
He’s a go-getter when it comes to his career. He knows what he wants and he’s making smart moves towards getting there. He values his accomplishments in all areas. He’s also concerned with his emotional and mental development. He strives to be more in touch with himself and others. He seeks knowledge and wants to be the best he can be.
- He recognizes his own faults.
If he’s late all the time, he knows. If he has a tendency to jump to conclusions, he knows. And he’s comfortable enough with himself and you to admit it. He also actively tries to better himself and work on his issues.
- He wants kids someday.
This might seem obvious but a lot of people don’t discuss this. Does he even want kids? If he doesn’t and you do, this could be a huge deal breaker. No one should be forced to compromise on an issue as big as this. It’s also important that he’s willing to discuss this topic of the future with you without thinking you’re “crazy.” If you guys aren’t on the same page, issues are going to arise. You really don’t want the father of your children to only have the kids to please you because you can’t possibly expect him to be a good dad if it’s never something he wanted.
- He’s good with other people’s kids.
He is his nieces and nephews favorite uncle. Anytime you’re at family functions, he happily plays with the kids and they all adore him. It seems to come naturally to him and isn’t forced at all. Kids are insane. They’re a lot of energy and constantly need attention. If he actually enjoys spending time around them and doesn’t simply tolerate them, he’s a keeper.
- He comes from a good family.
I’m not saying someone who had a rough upbringing can’t take that and turn it into something wonderful but generally speaking, it’s helpful if he comes from a good family. He’s close with his family, gets along with his siblings, and respects his parents. He was raised with examples of how a husband and wife should be with each other and their kids.
- He’s mature.
He’s moved out of his parents’ basement and works for a living (or is getting an education, whatever works). He’s financially responsible and good with time management. He’s more concerned with taking care of his responsibilities and planning for the future than parties.
- He has a sense of humor.
He makes you happy. You guys laugh and have fun together. He’s not easily offended by every little thing and knows how to balance the seriousness of life with enjoyment of it as well. Kids are challenging and raising them is a huge job. Things will never be easy or perfect. If you can never have any fun and can’t laugh at yourself, it’ll be nearly impossible.
- He loves and respects you.
Of course, the biggest piece of the puzzle is how he treats you. If he loves you and treats you with the respect you deserve, that’s the key. If he’s kind, caring, and strives to understand you, that’s an important building block of any relationship, kids or not.
There’s no shame in wanting to think about your future and you should be able to comfortably search for a partner whose goals and lifestyle line up with yours. Being upfront is the key to building a healthy long-term relationship with someone who can stand by your side as your partner. Finding a man who will be a good father is important if you see children as a part of your future. But perhaps the most important detail of all is that you find a man who you are in love with. After all, the best thing a mother will ever do for her kids is to love their daddy.