The Characteristics Of A Good Man

by Annie Kaszina on November 28, 2008

 A reader of my ezine who I have never met, but come to
love from what she writes, sent me the email that follows. Having written at such length in this blog about the nature of bad men and bad relationships, it seemed timely to include my reader's description
of a Good Man.  Knowing what the good looks like helps you to be clear about what is bad and why it falls short of being acceptable.

Siobhan writes:

As part of my
recovery I read a lot about how to spot an abuser. However, when I met my current partner there was nothing
available to tell me what most lucky people learn automatically i.e. what is a
GOOD MAN like. Well after nearly two years with a good man, I thought I'd share
with others what I feel a good man is like.

 

Maybe there is nobody who fits that description in your life
right now. Perhaps you don’t even want
to think about entertaining another man in your life at this point in
time. Perhaps you are struggling to
exorcise the memory of a bad man, or two.
Still it is worth knowing that somewhere, out there, something much, much better is available to you and, when you are sufficiently far advanced on your healing journey, it will be within your reach.

Siobhan writes:


“I left abuse
behind me many years ago, and it is still good to take credit for how far I
have come.

I was walking
around Marks and Spencer's a few weeks ago when this thought suddenly struck
me: 'My life is no longer defined by that (abusive) relationship. It is just
another chapter in my life like my school days, or certain jobs I've had'. I am
free. It is a great feeling.

I developed some
survival strategies when I was in an abusive relationship, like telling myself
I could survive completely alone and unsupported. The result was that I became very detached and numb. I only do
that on very rare occasions these days and I know now that that too will pass.

As part of my
recovery I read a lot about how to spot an abuser. However, when I met my current partner there was nothing
available to tell me what most lucky people learn automatically i.e. what is a
GOOD MAN like. Well after nearly two years with a good man, I thought I'd share
with others what I feel a good man is like.

Characteristics of
a Good Man


  • He listens to you.

  •  He accepts that he may not actually understand what you have gone
    through in the past, or what you are going through in order to enter the
    relationship with him, and he is well aware of its importance for you.
  • He is willing to meet your friends and family from time to time and to
    treat them with respect.

  • ·He can give you honest feedback but is not critical of you.

  •  He is patient and gives the relationship time to develop.

  •  He has self-respect and expects your respect as well as respecting you.

  •  He recognises your strengths and your courage.

  • He is supportive but does not want to rescue you or be your therapist.

  •  He can laugh at himself and at life.

  • ·He is kind and loving – he may have ‘off days’ but even then he is still
    respectful and caring.

  • He loves to be loved by you.

  • ·He expects that you both have individual lives and want some time apart.

  • ·He appreciates you exactly as you are NOW without any desire to make you
    change or improve.

  • ·He is committed to his own happiness in life and takes full
    responsibility for attaining his own goals.

  • ·He is committed to your happiness.

  • ·He appreciates your support and does not blame you for his shortcomings.

  • ·He is fun to be with, makes you laugh, and the relationship feels safe.

  • You can be yourself without effort, without having to prove anything,
    without having to earn affection and without fear of a BACKLASH.

(Annie’s note: I
would add to Siobhan’s list that the safety you have in the relationship
with a good man actually helps create the space for you to be your best – that
is most open, courageous, creative and, yes, also vulnerable – self.)

At the start of a
new relationship with a good man you may still feel fear or a mixture of fear
and excitement, trust and suspicion. Little words, gestures or a certain tone
of voice may trigger old associations and old hurts. Be patient with yourself,
keep talking to loving friends (and a therapist, if appropriate) and gradually
the fear will be replaced with greater self-love as well as the love of a good
man. A good man is very patient.

If your new man is
pressurising you to meet more often, meet your kids, become more sexually
intimate or to move in together and won't listen to your need to go slowly,
then he is not right for you now.

It is ok to be
alone. There is so much to be learned
and enjoyed alone.

When you are ready
there is so much joy and beauty, peace of mind and sheer pleasure to be shared
with a man who truly loves you as you love him.

Much love

Siobhan”

Whatever your current situation, Siobhan’s description is a
useful yardstick, for the past, the future and how you deserve to be treated;
by a partner certainly, but in many ways by friends also. 


Never, ever settle for less.

 

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