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Is He Mr. Right?

Everything You Need to Know Before You Commit

Is He Mr. Right? by Mira Kirshenbaum
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Wish you had a crystal ball that could tell you if your guy was Mr. Right? Tired of wasting time with one Mr. Wrong after another? You’re not alone. Too many of us make bad decisions about the men in our lives and end up committing to relationships that don’t bring us the happiness we deserve.

Now you can have that crystal ball you were wishing for. With this groundbreaking book, internationally recognized relationship expert and bestselling author Mira Kirshenbaum turns her attention to the most common relationship question women have: Is he the one I should commit to? This is the only guide you’ll ever need to answer that question once and for all.

Offering savvy, straightforward advice gleaned from helping thousands of women find lasting love, Kirshenbaum offers the only step-by-step strategy for determining whether or not you should commit. Is He Mr. Right? will help you:

• Decide if your guy is a keeper—or not

• Identify the Five Dimensions of Chemistry and how to tell if you and your man have it

• Understand the secret of women who find love: dump the duds fast

• Focus on what you need to make you happy—and get it

You will discover what you really want from a relationship, learn how to trust yourself again, and stop wasting time with guys who aren’t right for you. A must-have for any woman, Is He Mr. Right? provides the tools you need to find real happiness in love.

From the Hardcover edition.
Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony; Read online
Title: Is He Mr. Right?
Author: Mira Kirshenbaum

Looking into Your Future

At any point between your first date and your wedding night, your heart can be gripped by the question, Is this guy my dreamboat or my Titanic? The man I was always meant to be with or a big fat waste of time? A keeper or a loser?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could look into a crystal ball and know, like, today, “Will this guy make me happy? Is this love that will last? Or, if I keep going forward with him, am I just settling? Is there someone else out there who’s even better for me—I wouldn’t want to miss out on the love of my life! Or is this guy Mr. Right?”

There are two possibilities:

1.He might have great qualities and love you, but he’s just not the one. He won’t make you happy. If you commit to him, things will turn out badly. So you’ve got to say good-bye, shed a tear, and move on to someone better.

2.Even if your guy is a gap-toothed goofball, he’s your gap-toothed goofball. Somehow his being the way he is and your being the way you are feels right and works well. He will make you happy. And if you commit, you will have a great future together. So—you’ve got to move forward with him.

But which is true for you?

Figuring this out can easily make the smartest woman feel stupid. Your guy, of course, is a mixed bag. As far as you can tell, he’s not Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong. He’s Mr. Maybe. They say you can’t compare apples and oranges—well, he’s Carmen Miranda’s whole hat, and how do you add up a hatful of different fruit?

Kelly, 31, said, “Okay, let’s see. In favor of his being Mr. Right is the fact that we both like barbecues, baseball, and big dogs. We both hate to get up in the morning or go to sleep at night. We both went to John F. Kennedy Middle School, although in different cities! In favor of his being Mr. Wrong is the fact that we fight a lot over stupid things. I want three kids; he’s not sure he wants one. We rarely want to make love at the same time. We get on each other’s nerves when we’re both in the kitchen.”

Sigh. . . . If only relationships weren’t so confusing. And the early stages are the most confusing. Fears are churning. Hopes are peeping through like crocuses through the snow. Worst of all, solid information is hard to get. When friends ask how we feel about him, we respond with a stir-fry of contradictory feelings. All we know is that we’re searching for certainty, but we’re not sure how to find it. There’s so little to go on. He seems nice, but is he really Hannibal Lecter in sheep’s clothing? He seems distant—is he cold or is he just shy?

Even when you do grab hold of a clue, it can be hard to know what it means. Let’s say you’re a real beach bunny. Then you discover that your guy hates the beach. What do you do? Your friends have opinions (“But he makes so much money!” “But you live for the beach!”). Will he come around? you wonder. Will you get tired of the beach? (Never!) Will you find a way to work around this? Will it drive a wedge between you?

The Fork in the Road

Almost any woman in a developing relationship is hungry for certainty these days. Take Laura, 33. She’d been sitting next to me while we were waiting to board a plane. They’d announced a delay. Since we were going to be there for God knows how long, we started chatting.

She said she was at that stage where it was starting to feel like she and her boyfriend, Jack, should talk about making some kind of commitment. Maybe to move in together. “But I’m afraid Jack isn’t right for me,” Laura said with a queasy look I’ve seen thousands of times, a look you see on the faces of first-time skydivers. “We’ve gone out for five months and had lots of those phone calls where you talk for hours about everything and nothing. That’s the good part.”

Laura leaned toward me. “But I’m not nuts about Jack. I care about him, but shouldn’t I be feeling I’m crazy about him at this point? Something’s missing—I just don’t know what. Magic or something. But what am I, a teenager? Do you need magic and bells and birds singing? I’m afraid I have unrealistic expectations. He’s good. We’re good together. He got me a promise ring.” Laura was silent for a minute. “But what if this is something I’m just telling myself because, let’s face it, I want to get married? I’m at a real fork in the road. If Jack and I aren’t right for each other, I’d get out now if I were smart. Right?

“Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to just not care about the guy until he was totally in love with you and you’d totally checked him out? But women don’t work that way, do we? We put our heart on the line and . . . I don’t know—the whole thing makes you so vulnerable and I hate that. I mean, I really like falling in love, but I don’t like the feeling that the whole thing is so iffy.”

The Search for Certainty

Developing relationships are confusing, but we do our best. It gets frustrating when the things we do to gain certainty only make us more confused.

We’ve tried asking ourselves, “Do I love him?” After all, shouldn’t you just know? And if you do know, shouldn’t it make a difference? But after you roll this around in your head for a while . . . it’s so complicated. Sure, you love him, but the more you think about it, the less clear you are about what the word love even means. That you’re hot for him? That you have “feelings” for him? That you think about him a lot? That you miss the good things about him when he’s not around? (And what good does that do, if when he is around he drives you crazy?)

Let’s face it, thinking about love can be a very confusing way to figure out if he’s Mr. Right. Just think about some of the losers you’ve loved in the past.

Another thing we’ve tried is endlessly analyzing every detail about him and about the relationship. What’s up with his staring at you the way he does when you kiss or make love? What’s that whistling sound in his left nostril, and will it make you want to kill him one day? Why is it that every time the two of you get really close you end up having a fight?

It’s like trying to read tea leaves, except you’re looking for that one tiny tea leaf that tells all. But so far all you’ve gotten is a soggy mess of confusion.

The guy speaks: “I hate it when a woman goes on and on analyzing every detail of our relationship. It’s so discouraging, and honestly it makes me feel she doesn’t like me. I just keep feeling, if we were happy together, if we were meant to be, would we need to do all this overanalyzing?”*

*From time to time you’ll get comments from the guy’s point of view. These are taken from what the men I interviewed told me.

We’ve also tried endlessly analyzing our own motives. Why do you want to be with him? Is it low self-esteem? Pressure from family and friends? Fear you can’t do better? The problem is that if you lift up the top of your head, you find a whole jungle of motives in there, and how do you sort them out?

And of course we’ve tried searching for compatibility. You know, if you like dogs, it would be nice to be with someone who also likes dogs. The problem is that there may have been plenty of times when you found a guy who shared your values and tastes and yet you just didn’t connect at all. As it turns out, compatibility isn’t really much to go on when it comes to seeing if someone’s your Mr. Right.

What this adds up to is that you’ve been searching, searching, searching for a sign, like a safecracker turning the combination lock, turning, turning, hoping that suddenly the tumblers will fall into place and pop, the door will open. Maybe you’ll have that one perfect day with your guy that answers all your questions. Maybe you’ll have that one awful fight that shows you what a snake he really is. But you haven’t found that sign yet. And now you’re starting to wonder if it’s ever going to show up. It’s scary. What if you drift forever, never knowing?

And so you get stuck in ambivalence. Limbo. You drift. Maybe, you wonder, if you just stop thinking, just go with the flow, clarity will come to you. But of course clarity doesn’t come this way. Drifting is what comes from drifting. It’s like a narcotic—it’s hard to break the habit.

The truth is that wasting time up in the air feels miserable. It drains your energy and your emotions. And it can lead to trouble. You can drift into a committed relationship you never really wanted. You can drift out of a relationship with a guy you’ll later realize was Mr. Right.

But what if we’ve been going about this all wrong? Sure, your guy is a mixed bag, but what if we’ve been looking at the wrong things in trying to figure out if he is Mr. Right? That would be huge. It would explain why we’ve been so stuck in the search for certainty.

What if there were a way to look at your guy right now that will show you what your future together will look like? There is. Stay tuned.

Oops, Wrong Guy

Certainty is something we desperately need. The fact that we often don’t know what’s important to look at before we commit can cause us a lot of problems in our lives. Let me get personal. It caused me a lot of problems in my life.

My mother’s great, but she had the same trouble knowing who was right for her that most of us have. My mother was a farm girl. When she met the man who would become my father, she thought he was very cool. Tall, handsome, romantic, artistic, and from a good family, he was also a rebel without a cause.

But were they right for each other? Tragically, all they had in common was that they both belonged to the same species. He was a trophy husband for her. For him, she was someone he thought he could dominate (boy, was he wrong!). Result? They got divorced when I was four and I didn’t see him again until I was sixteen. My mother’s little oops, wrong guy meant I never had a father.

My mother made another mistake when she got involved with my stepfather. By this time, she was a single mom working in a dress factory. She wasn’t interested in handsome, artistic rebels anymore—she just wanted a guy who could take care of her and her kids.

Now picture the scene. I’m five and a half, playing on the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and I want a father like all the other kids. Down the street comes this guy wearing a Panama hat, a light tan suit, and brown-and-white shoes, making him the best-dressed man I’d ever seen.

I rolled into action. Acting all cute and everything, I charmed him and made him go and talk to my mother. I was basically pimping my mother to him, and I guess because I’d gotten him in a good mood he was very nice to her. He showed off, the way guys do, because my mom was pretty, and he made it seem as if he was more successful than he really was. So she glommed on to him. A few weeks later they stunned me by telling me they’d gotten married.

Again my mother had done what millions of us do—gotten involved with a guy because he had one good thing going for him, the very thing her previous guy lacked. I don’t know if she ever asked herself how it felt to be with him. In fact, they got along horribly. The result was that basically my life from then on was all about hearing them scream at each other.

Now you can see one of the reasons I care so much. Why should you put yourself and your future children through what my mother and I went through?

If You’re Willing to See the Truth

If you’re looking for real love, I can help. And I’m sure real love is what you want. So okay—no more stupid mistakes, no more wasted time, no more heartache. All you need is to be willing to see the truth and to act on it.

The guy speaks: “I have to say I totally agree—love matters to me, too, and I want to get it right, too. Yeah, when I was younger I was happy to just screw around. But then suddenly you’re in your thirties and you start thinking about having a family and guys you know have already gotten divorced. The one thing I want right now is to be in a relationship with someone where we’re both right for each other. Where it feels right, so you just know it.”

I’m going to show you if your guy is Mr. Right. If you do your part, you’ll never again get stuck in a dead-end relationship. I’ll show you how to look into the future with him. You’ll know if difficulties you’ve been having are meaningful. You’ll know if the good things you have together are enough. You’ll know if you have that magic glue that keeps love alive. You’ll feel certain, and you’ll be right.

If it turns out that he isn’t Mr. Right, at least you’ll know it, and you’ll be freed up to find real love with a better guy. But if he is Mr. Right, your search and your suspense will be over. You’ll be free to enjoy the love you’ve found.

From the Hardcover edition.
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