How do I know if he's right for me?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011
How do I know if he's right for me?
Wed, 07-17-2013 - 10:27pm

Hi everyone,

I need some help, advice, or reassurance... I'm not sure which though. I'm going to try to keep this as brief as possible but also give the whole story, so I appologize in advance for any excess length and thanks for reading!

I dated Nick since highschool. We got married in June of 2012, after almost 8 years of being together and 6 of them living together. I thought he was perfect for me, even though things weren't perfect between the two of us. We had a very unsatisfying sex life, and he did not want to show any type of affection towards me (ex-he would turn his head when I went to kiss him goodnight, so I'd kiss him on the cheek instead of lips). He was also unwilling to read or take the quiz for the 5 love languages-which I was reading because I was feeling unloved and felt like he may be feeling the same. This was all a few months before we got married. Anyway, I seriously thought about my life, and I thought about my future. I wanted a "forever" with Nick, even if he never changed. He was right for me.

The summer was great, but after school resumed again (I'm a teacher), he seemed grumpy. He never told me why though. He didn't talk to me much and started spending nights out with his co-workers drinking. In November, he told me he was unhappy, and we began marriage counseling. I moved out because the drinking and staying out late didn't cease. Fast forward to February, and he asked for a divorce.

Over New Years, my good friend invited me to her party. She had a close group of friends there, including her brother-in-law and his two best friends. The guys (including her husband) have all known each other since second grade. Austin (one of the guys) asked me if I was single, and I told him no, but that my husband and I were having issues. We didn't talk the rest of the night, I was missing my husband and avoided everyone...

In February, the day Nick asked for the divorce, Austin friended me on facebook. He talked to me a bit and invited me to his birthday party, where my friend would be with the same group of people. My friend and I showed up together. Austin was sitting really close to me and flirting with me. We went back to one of the other friend's house. He was holding my hand (very drunk) and kept asking my friend why she would bring such a beautiful girl to him on his birthday but who was married. I told him that things were looking bad and I thought he was going to ask for a divorce. I told him I was not wanting a relationship, but somehow insinuated that I did want to hook up. I was drunk too... It was time for my friend and her husband to leave and although Austin was begging me to stay with him, I left. He asked for a birthday kiss and so I leaned in but kissed him on the cheek and left.

We talked daily (he initiated) on facebook chat that week. I told him Nick asked for the divorce. My friend had a party at her house on the following Saturday. I went, with the expectation of hooking up with no strings attached. After a few drinks, he asked me for his real birthday kiss. I kissed him, and he used tounge. I was surprised because Nick and I hadn't kissed with tongue since the first few months we were together. I liked it though. We drank a lot, and I was nervous about sleeping with him. He told me we didn't have to do anything I didn't want to do, and reassured me. We did sleep together, and woke up cuddling. We spooned all morning and I was incredibly hungover. He had to go (his friends drove him to the party and were leaving), but didn't want to leave me. He was going to Las Vegas the next morning. Anyway, he texted me every day from his trip, and I picked him up from the airport when he got home on Friday (he came home early to see me aparently).

We've seen each other every weekend since then. He's been telling me he liked me since March. In June I was worried because we never had "the talk" about being exclusive or anything, and I was feeling love towards him. I wasn't sure what we were and didn't want to scare him off. This summer, because school has been out, I've been spending a lot of time at his house. We went to Florida together and stayed at his friend's beach house. We were outside with his friend and his friend's mom at their pool. He (drunkenly) asked me to marry him. He reassured me that I'd get a ring but he didn't have one then. I laughed at him and jumped in the pool. Later that night he was being SUPER SWEET and romantic. I decided I'd tell him I loved him. I was so nervous that I was shaking. I told him I was nervous and wanted to tell him something but it was not an easy thing to say. He said "how will you know if I feel the same way if you don't say it?" And so I told him, in a whisper. His friend walked outside as I said it, and Austin whispered back in my ear that he loved me too.

When we got home a few days later, he asked me to move in with him. We still have some issues to work through (mainly religion... I'm Jewish and he's Baptist and how we should raise our kids) and when I brought the cat for a week, we realized that he's too OCD and clean to have a cat roam his house. Our compromise would be to keep her in the bedroom where my bed and furniture would go. It's a small space though......  and I told him I was not ready to move in but to ask me again in December.

Anyway, sorry the background was so long. I really do love him, and he truly loves me too. He is so affectionate and it makes me feel SO lucky to be with someone like him. Of course, he isn't perfect. He has some quirks that I don't like. Mainly, a very short temper and he's selfish. I am pretty sure that if I really wanted something, he'd do it for me, but we haven't had anything like that come up. He's been working on his anger, and recently I was pretty sure he was going to get mad about something, and he didn't.

How do I know if he's right for me? I love how he treats me, and he is so affectionate and tells me how much he loves me and thinks I'm so pretty. All the things that I need in a relationship, he gives freely (unlike ex...) but I worry that these things stop, and if they do, do I still really love the person that doesn't do these things? With Nick, I did, and I knew it. I jumped head first into the relationship with him. But with Austin it's different. I was only mildly attracted to him in February, and wanted a friends with benefits type situation. I thought that becuase I didn't "like" him like that, I could easily do FWB without getting attached. Well, we're both attached now.... and he wants me to move in and eventually marry him. Anyway, how do I know if that's the right thing for me? I didn't spend much time being "single" and looking around, but I do feel that I had already grieved my marriage between November-February. He makes me happy but I don't feel the head over heels in love thing that I felt with Nick in the beginning. Any advice?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 12:33am

How do you know if he's right for you?  You don't!  You thought the first one was right for you, even though you knew there were problems.  There was no affection, he was distant, he wasn't happy, but you married him anyway!  Did you honestly think that saying "I do" was going to make everything wonderful?  Life isn't a fairy tale.  If there are problems BEFORE the marriage, they will only get worse after, and then you can't just walk away.  Then you need lawyers!

Now you're with this new one........and there are problems.  Religion, which can be a HUGE problem.  Your children will be considered Jewish no matter how you raise them!  And if you're at all religious, it's not going to mix very well with the Baptist religion. You have a cat, and he's OCD.  What does one have to do with the other?  And being OCD, are you prepared to keep a spotlessly clean and sparkling house 24/7?  That's what he'll expect.  He has an anger problem....and he's working on it?  Famous last words.  At one point you say you love him and he loves you too.  I think you love the "affection" that he gives you, that you didn't get in your marriage.  But how affectionate is he when he's angry?  He tells you how much he loves you?  It sounds like you are insecure, and you need that to make you feel that you are loveable, but words are cheap, and all guys talk that way to get what they want........but once they've got it, in most cases it stops for the most part.  Your own self esteem and security come from within yourself, no man can give you that.  You're also right that you didn't take any time to be "single" jumped from the frying pan right into the fire.  You got yourself into a FWB situation, and now you're trying to tell yourself that it's love.......and you know it's not.  You need to get on with your life, enjoy being single for a while, and LOOK AROUND........there are plenty of fish in the ocean, and you'll find one that you'll KNOW without asking if he's right for you.  Happy Hunting!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 10:14am

Hi, and thanks for the advice.

I was under no illusion that my first marriage would get better after the "wedding night." I wanted Nick, flaws and all. I was OK with our issues and the lack of affection. I'm not sure why I was OK with it, but I was. Things were easy and I wanted to be with him. Anyway, he left me.

I'm slightly religious, but more out of tradition and culture than the actual religion part of it. We'd both have to compromise a lot.

And the OCD/Cat thing didn't mix because Pumpkin (the cat) shed hair, meowed all night, climbed into his fireplace to hide, etc. She is very shy and likes to hide in a new place, like most cats, but he didn't want her hiding somewhere he couldn't clean.

As far as the clean house, we've talked about it. He knows I'm not sparkly clean 100% of the time, and I told him I hate vacuuming and sweeping. I told him I'd take care of laundry, counters, and dishes. He does the rest of the cleaning, and we share the bathroom responsibilities.

Well, thanks for the advice. I'm going to think more about what you said, and see if I can disengage myself from the situation in order to reflect more on my life.



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 11:46am

My advice is slow way, way down.  You say in Feb. your DH asked to get divorced--are you even divorced yet?  That's the first thing that you need to take care of.  Then you've basically been dating A for a few months at most and you're talking about marriage and moving in togeteher?  How about you live on your own for at least a year and get used to being single before you move in with another man.  There was a board leader on the 2nd marriage board on IV--she was older & had kids but before she would let her eventual 2nd DH marry her she insisted that he live on his own after his divorce was final and that he also should go to counseling for 6 months--once he started he ended up going for a lot longer cause he learned he had big issues.  I thought that was a brilliant idea and I'd also recommend it for you.

first of all, did you know that 2nd marriages have about an 85% failure rate?  (I'm divorced twice so it's not like I am judgmental.)  I think the major reason is that people dont' really think about what led to their first divorce and go on to make the same mistakes again--they don't really get to know themslves.  Now anyone who objectively read your statement that your 1st DH & you had a bad sex life & he wasn't affectionate and didn't even want to kiss you would know right away that it was a bad choice.  You said you accepted him the way he was but my question to you is why a woman in her 20's would choose to be with a man who is not affectionate and settle for a bad sex life for the rest of your life?  It's not like you're so old that you should be desperate to get married or you're like 39 and you're thinking this is it or you'll never have a baby--why did you not realize that you deserved and should only get married to someone who was compatible with you physically and emotionally?  You said he was right for you but he obviously was not.

Then you really gloss over the problems with the new guy.  Basically you say romantic stuff to each other when you're drunk.  I'll bet the sex is better and he's more affectionate so that part is definitely an improvement--but before you start thinking about marriage, think about the serious things.  You have different religions--ok you say that you're not that religious, but what do you know about the Baptist religion?  Is he very religious?  Does he go to church every Sunday?  You really do have to decide how important religion is going to be in the marriage and how you are going to raise your kids.  Do you remember the Sex & the city episode where Charlotte was going to convert to Judaism for her new DH and she was all gung-ho about it until she realized he didn't want her to celebrate Christmas any more:?  It was like she'd learn the prayers and go to temple but it didn't sink in about what religious conversion meant--so if neither one of you converts, is one parent going to take the kids to church or temple alone all the time, would the other person go -- that's something really important to think about and I bet that you're so busy having fun times that you haven't really discussed anything deep yet.

But I think even bigger than religion is the anger issue.  why would you ever want to marry someone who has a short temper and is selfish?  My 2nd DH had a short temper because he has bipolar disorder and believe me, it was no fun at all being married to someone who got angry about stupid things.  I used to dread coming home from work cause I never knew what kind of mood he'd be in or what silly thing would set him off--that's why we ended up getting a divorce.

I think you need some time to be on your own before you even think about dating and then date different guys.  Since you met your ex so young, you probably have very little experience with dating.  You need to date a variety of guys and when you meet someone who doesn't have issues, it will be such a shock to you that there are actually decent, nice guys out there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Thu, 07-18-2013 - 9:08pm

My advice is the same as the other posters. Take some time to be single, without a steady bf. A year is a good amount of time, long enough to really start thinking about yourself and men and relationships. You've been with a guy constantly for the past 9 years. Now you're getting serious with someone who has traits that you don't like, and not easy ones to live with either. In that "single year" you can explore why you felt like Nick was right for you even though he was lacking in an area that is clearly important to you; if and why you would be willing to put up with Austin's faults (and how it would be to raise a child exposed to those faults); and what exactly you want and need from a partner to have a fulfilling mature relationship.

Could it be that the fact that you're asking how you know if he's right indicates that deep down you sense that he's not right? I get that you like the affection after so long without it, but you seem to know that its just one part of a relationship. Lots of guys are fairly demonstrative so remember that Austin is not the only guy who will treat you like that.

Good luck!