How to find out what someone is really like

Two thoughts enter my head every time I see my ex which, unfortunately, because we are in a ‘co-parenting relationship’ is at least twice a week.  These are:

Thank God I am not married to this man. 

In 6 years that we were together, yes, you read that correctly, we were together for 6 years, how on earth did I not see what an a******e he really is? 

Now that I am back on the dating scene again I am really worried that I won’t be able to spot the clues that will tell me that my future date, my future boyfriend, my future partner, or god forbid, my future fiancé or husband, is in fact controlling and self-obsessed like my ex.  I can’t risk entering another controlling relationship with a Prince Charming type.  I need to be able to find out what someone is really like. 

These, my friends, are some clues, and I for one, will be looking out for these clues as I continue my single mum on the dating scene adventures.    

what someone is really like

These are ways to find out what someone is really like:   

Observe how they treat waitresses

First dates are quite often in restaurants or bars.  Observe how your date treats the bar or waiting staff.  Does he dismiss them and look down on them, or is he polite and respectful ?  We are all people and just because we are paying doesn’t make us more important, more intelligent or superior.

Observe how they treat those who can do nothing for them

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (a 19th century German poet, novelist, playwright, natural philosopher, civil servant and all-round super impressive bloke)  is said to have written:

 “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”  

These words are so true, if your date doesn’t give others the time of day, and focusses his efforts on those who will reward him then steer clear.  Run a mile. 

Observe how they treat their mother

Read my blog post on why you should marry a man who loves his mother.  Ultimately a man will treat you the way he treats his mother.  She deserves love and respect, but your date should be able to stand up to his mother.

Observe how they cope with a set-back

This is a tough one because we all struggle with set-backs.  Whilst it is true that out of our greatest challenges come our greatest achievements, we can only see this with hindsight.  Stay clear of a man who blames others for his set-backs.  Steer clear of someone who makes his own light shine brighter by extinguishing the light of others. 

Break up with them

Sometimes, I’m afraid to say, that the only way to find out what someone is really like is to break up with them.  Your date may be a charmer and a master of façade.   You want the relationship to work, you want it to work so much that you are blind to the clues.  When the relationship ends your ex turns out to be a vile individual lacking in morals, integrity, compassion, empathy or a sense of fairness.

Sometimes, we only find out what someone is really like when a relationship ends.

If only we could break up with someone before we start dating them…


  1. November 4, 2016 / 7:03 pm

    This is very good advice – I’m glad I’m not the only one who has those thoughts each time they see their ex 😉

    • thesingleswan
      November 4, 2016 / 7:56 pm

      Haha, I am glad it is not just me either. Pen x

  2. November 6, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    Great advice! Shew, luckily I have a keeper 🙂 #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:25 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  3. November 6, 2016 / 2:50 pm

    My ex was a twat and I stupidly ignored all the signs even when all my friends told me to ditch him.
    My husband speaks to his mum everyday, treats pets like relatives, always happy to play taxi and pay for rounds in pubs etc.
    More to the point he tells me to spoil myself and when I say we can’t afford it, he tells me he’ll sort it and just go ahead.
    You’ll find yourself a keeper, I had to kiss a lot of frogs but if I can get there, everyone can!

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:25 pm

      It sounds like your husband is a wonderful man. Thank you for telling me your story. Pen x

  4. November 6, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    Great advice. We celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary next year so I don’t feel qualified to comment much on dating as I haven’t done it for such a long time! I do love the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote though! #KCACOLS
    Sharon Parry recently posted…The last day of summer – Rest Bay surfingMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:24 pm

      Thank you. Yes, Goethe was very insightful. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:24 pm

      True. Trust Goethe to come up with some wise words. Pen x

  5. November 7, 2016 / 2:48 pm

    Fab advice! It’s funny how you see a persons true colours after you break up with them. I met my first husband at 18 and divorced at 30, I look back now and wonder whether I really knew him at all! #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:22 pm

      This is very true. I now know that my ex is a vile individual with no integrity or sense of fairness. I can’t believe I never saw it. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:19 pm

      Ah yes, very true. If only I had read the signs… Pen x

  6. November 8, 2016 / 7:28 am

    I hugely agree on the how they treat others point. I would also add if I may, how (if) they value human life. This may seem like a weird thing to add. When I was at Uni there was a lad I was friends with, we went with a friend (as friends) to a movie one night, he drove. As we went through a 30mph school zone he laughingly joked ‘that’s a nice suggestion’ and sped up to about 60mph. My friend and I both protested and asked what he’d do if a child ran in front of him, his reply? ‘Their problem, not mine!’ and didn’t slow his speeding. Needless to say, I was disgusted and never got in a car with him again. xx #kcacols
    Claire recently posted…Matcha White Chocolate TrufflesMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:18 pm

      Goodness me, this is horrendous. As a mother this makes me really scared. I am glad you never got in the car with him again. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      November 10, 2016 / 11:17 pm


      I hope I don’t find Prince charming. Prince Charming’s are a facade. I hope to find a frog who will make me laugh, Pen x

      • November 24, 2016 / 8:31 am

        Love that response.

        A good post although I’m not with you on the mother one but that’s my baggage…

        • thesingleswan
          November 24, 2016 / 9:26 pm

          haha, thanks for your comment. Pen x

  7. May 24, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Excellent advice. I remember an ex once speaking so rudely to his mother, and I realised then that anyone who treats their own mother like that is not the man for me. Also the waitress one – spot on! #brillblogposts

    • thesingleswan
      May 25, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      Glad you think so. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge