ï»¿So you’ve read all the women’s magazines and even a few self help books. I’ve been married well over 20 years, and I can tell you that the single quality that matters the most in a man (make that a human being) is kindness.
If the person you are dating is fundamentally a decent, thoughtful, kind, loving, loyal, compassionate, empathetic, giving, respectful and caring individual, that person is a keeper. In other words, kindness matters more than any other quality a potential boyfriend can bring to a relationship with you.
Do you need to be attracted to him? Of course you do. You can’t build a genuinely romantic (and potentially lasting) relationship upon kindness and friendship alone. However, if you are attracted to a man who is, at the very core of his being, an unkind or selfish or "emotionally stingy" person, then in the long run it will not matter that you find him cute today, in the here and now. Cuteness (even John Hamm-level handsomeness) can only take a person so far if that same handsome guy is a total jerk (or even just a partial jerk).
What matters most when times get tough (and inevitably times get tough in every person’s life at one time or another) is that the person you have chosen to spend your life with is a high quality person of great integrity.
Sometimes love can be "blind" (and it can make some people downright foolish). If you feel smitten with a guy, but everyone around you is telling you to proceed with caution, please be sure to listen to the people who love you the most. They will not steer you wrong. They want what is best for you. And sometimes, even though it might be hard for you to hear, they might tell you to keep your distance from one emotionally dangerous or unkind guy or another.
If you trust your loved ones' judgment, and if you know that they truly have your best interest at heart, please listen to what they have to say. Pay extra close attention if your parents or siblings or your dearest friends or other family members have voiced concerns about the person you are dating. They only want to protect you. (Remember, at the beginning of intense romantic relationships, people don’t always keep their wits about them, and those who love you are only trying to get you to think with your head as well as your heart.)
Also, pay attention to your own innate warning system. If you feel there are any "red flags" or if any "warning bells" are going off in your head about a potential dating partner, that is usually your own common sense telling you to steer clear and look elsewhere for love.