The Relationship Checklist

26 04 2010

In an article in yesterday’s Times of London, reporter Shane Watson gives young single women a little dating advice so as to avoid the kind of predicament that has befallen Elin Nordegren, whose husband, as we all know, has cheated on her approximately a dozen times.  Watson’s main argument is that women should stick to a rigid “shopping list” of qualities a man has to have in order to be considered for life partnership.

Her suggested checklist:

“1. Must genuinely like women (as in all women, not just fit under-thirties). You can test this. Your fat single best friend will help. Also, he should totally get Sue Perkins, Miranda Hart and scary Sue in Glee.
2. Must have some men friends from way back (and, no, footballers do not count).
3. Must be kind. Without exceptions. Mean cracks about SuBo or Patsy Kensit or Rebecca Adlington are a giveaway.
4. Must not be gay. (Seriously. I know at least three people who married gay men thinking they were just artistic. It doesn’t end happily, ever). Can be almost gay and should genuinely enjoy Mamma Mia! and Alan Carr.
5. Must be capable of equating love with responsibility. Owning a dog is a start.
6. Must have a passion besides you (his work would be a good one).
7. Must have the same attitude as you to sex, money and family. (How much of each is desirable. The best use of it, and so on.) Shopping together and agreeing on what the word “holiday” means is a bonus.
8. Must have some pride.  Note: infidelity is not a deal-breaker for everyone (see Jude and Sienna). But being willing to sell your last ounce of self-respect definitely is.”

Now, I think this is a decent checklist.  With the exception of the man having to genuinely enjoy Glee and Mamma Mia! (we’d all be single forever), these qualities are all definitely necessary for a successful relationship.  Problem is, these qualities are pretty broad and definitely wouldn’t guarantee against infidelity as the article suggests. It’s very possible that when Elin met Tiger, he genuinely liked women, had man-friends from way back, was kind (from what Elin could tell), was clearly not gay, owned a dog, was passionate about golf, had the same attitude as her about sex, money and family at the time, and had plenty of pride.  Maybe there were some warning signs that she overlooked because he was a rich, famous golfer, but it’s also possible that he completely pulled the wool over her eyes.

I’m not sure that a universal “shopping list” can ever fully cover what we are supposed to look for in a life partner. Sure, you want a man that’s kind and not gay, but that still allows for any manner of psychological problems and relationship incompatibilities.  So I would add to my personal checklist:

9. Makes a strong effort to bond with my friends and family, male and female.
10. Deals with conflicts in a mature, rational, problem-solving sort of way.
11. Doesn’t take himself too seriously (i.e. can both dish it and take it).
12. Is adventurous and open to trying new things (food-wise, travel-wise, etc.).
13. Is genuinely compassionate towards people who are less fortunate than him (this goes beyond simple kindness)
14. Is emotionally available (i.e. can be affectionate and express his feelings towards me without difficulty)
15. Takes pride in executing certain basic house maintenance issues, such as changing lightbulbs, opening that stubborn jar of pickles, plunging/trouble-shooting non-functional toilets and shoveling snow off the steps.
And finally:
16. Has great taste in music, because I’m just not sure I could respect someone who didn’t.

Tiger may have sailed through the first checklist, but you can bet your ass he didn’t make the cut on mine.

What’s on your list?




7 responses

26 04 2010

I don’t even like that guy’s list. half of it is dumb and beside the point. your list is much better. I dont even care about taking ‘pride’ in doing home maintenance-just being capable of doing it and recognizing that no matter how annoying the task, responsibility dictates that it get done, because his mom or dad isnt going to do it for him.

I would add to these lists (and this is nothing about infidelity because I don’t think there is anything one can do to definitively guard against infidelity. it’s an unfortunate fact of life and relationships and isnt going away just because someone is kind and not gay. I like to think of steve cheating on miranda (sex and the city) as a great example of cheating where you really couldnt fault either party and the guy met all those criteria the author listed).

1. not receiving allowances for life expenses from mom and dad (this is for employed people out of school). when you have a job, you should be able to live within your means, whatever they are. relying on parents past the age of say, 30 is simply unattractive and I am not into perma-adolescence.

2. matching furniture. when a guy has a nice set of furniture, it means he is settled at home. settled and calm at home=settled and calm in the mind=ready for a real relationship. trust me, this arithmetic may seem simple, but in my experience, having a livingroom or bedroom set signals something good.

3. totally agree with LB’s #10, but I would go further and make it ‘willing to fight.’ arguments can be really constructive for relationships. I like to fight but that is because its amusing to me. some people dont really like it. but fighting is necessary for growth. never confronting anything and letting things fester is a recipe for disaster. so is disengaging from a fight when they do happen and not listening. being open to criticism and willing to dish it out when appropriate seems important. Avoidance is probably something that really does lead to infidelity in the long run.

26 04 2010

Poor hygiene, unmotivated, and substance abuse are must haves for me

26 04 2010

More math to add to Bros #2 … a man who treats his mom respectfully = a man who will probably treat you respectfully. He learned that respect from childhood, observing his parents interact.

26 04 2010

agreed, but things about mothers always verge on my #1 point above, which is the umbilical cord issue. A guy should be respectful sure, but he should also be able to stand up to his parents (and mother) and not be completely deferential as he would if he were still 7 years old. a man who can’t stand up to his mom is a man who probably won’t stand up for you to his mother, should the need arise, and is a man who might have problems taking sides if there were ever problems between his wife and her MIL. cutting financial strings is an element of this.

26 04 2010

Good point. Nobody wants a momma’s boy. But I’m talking about basic respect of women…viewing them as equals. A guy like Tiger, who is married but habitually picks up women anyway just because he can, obviously has no respect for his marriage. He also has some sort of warped sense of entitlement, and probably no amount of therapy will truly change his mindset on how he views his wife and women in general, because that mindset is formed in childhood.

27 04 2010

Seriously, has a checklist ever worked for anything dating or relationship related? Whenever I see a list like this, it makes me think that it’s one step away from being renamed “Things to feign if you’re a guy wanting to get into any girl’s pants” and put in an issue of Maxim.

27 04 2010

hahaha good point!

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