The Game Changer Guy: How to Tell When You've Met Mr. Right

Logic plus experience tells us that there is no such thing as Mr. Perfect... but intuition keeps us optimistic about the existence of our very own Mr. Right. In dating life, we as women are constantly evaluating the guy, analyzing the relationship as it is now, and trying to envision what it will become ("Where is this going?"). More often than not, even when we feel "head over heels" for him, the question persists -- "Is he The One?" Some of us are reluctant to really examine this question, because we may have been burned by someone we thought was a keeper, or changed or minds when the person we loved turned out to be someone different than we thought. In some cases where a relationship may be going really well, we may fear that answering this question will somehow change the nature of the partnership and we'd really like to keep it cruising along. In this case, don't force the issue until you really feel that sense of wanting to take it to the next level and move forward.

Here's how you know when you have a potential game changer guy on your hands:

He treats you with respect. From gentlemanly efforts like opening a door to asking you how you are, respect comes in many forms. The role of Mr. Right is an important position that has to be earned.

He values your opinion. Men who really trust their women ask for their thoughts and guidance on many different aspects of life, from job issues to big life decisions. It doesn't necessarily mean that he has to take your advice, but considering what you think about certain situations shows that he sees you as intelligent, capable, and wise.

He is invested in your happiness. We all know by now that expecting a man to make us happy is a dead-end street, and that we have to create our own happiness. But having a man around who offers support and compassion when you are down can really make a difference and make the bumps of life seem less bumpy.

He makes you feel special. Your game changer guy will go out of his way to let you know you are appreciated, adored, and wanted. Now, he doesn't have to be the most romantic guy in the world, or remember every birthday or anniversary, but he does have to consistently show you why you are the one he has chosen to spend his time with. Some women prefer signs of affection, communication, romantic gestures, or a combination of things. Make sure you define what this means to you and let him know.

He gives you space. A strong man does not need to have you by his side 24-7 and understands that you need time for your passions and for yourself.

He is neither jealous nor controlling. While jealousy is a normal human emotion, a man who is secure will not let jealousy get the best of him or threaten your relationship, and he doesn't feel the need to make you fit into his idea of who you should be.

You can be yourself around him. This is an important one. I can't tell you how many women I know change in some subtle and obvious ways when they get around their man. If he knows and loves you when you're at your best and your worst, and he's comfortable with all your imperfections, chances are he's willing to ride out any challenges you will face together.

He's not afraid to talk about the future. It can be tricky knowing the right time to bring up the subject of a future together, but your Mr. Right should be open and even excited about the possibilities of going the distance with you.

He spends time with your family and friends -- willingly. A man who is truly into you, who wants to be a permanent fixture in your life, understands your need to stay close to your loved ones and is interested in establishing real relationships with people you care about.

He is consistently kind. Kindness holds the top spot on my list -- a characteristic I simply cannot live without. Kindness and respect go hand-in-hand, and a good man won't let these values fall by the wayside, even in times of anger or frustration.

As I type this up, I don't believe I have met my Game Changer Guy yet, but I have spent the last few years really honing in on what qualities I envision, or now demand, from the man who will be worthy of truly committing to. Although somewhat idealistic, I know it is possible to have all of these elements in a relationship from observing happy couples and discerning the differences between true commitment and codependence.

If you're wondering whether or not you've met Mr. Right, make a list of all of the things you need and deserve from a lifetime partner -- and don't settle for anything less than the total package. He doesn't have to be perfect, but he does have to be perfect for you.