Some people have what I have come to call "broken pickers." They just can't seem to pick good partners for themselves. If this is something you're dealing with, here are some tips for making good choices when it comes to dating and mating.
1. People will tell you exactly who they are; it's up to you to listen. If someone says they're usually in a bad mood or don't know how to be monogamous, hear what they are saying and don't assume you can change them.
2. Take a test drive. Go for an eight-hour drive with your intended. Whatever difficulties you may have will make themselves painfully obvious. This test is not for the faint of heart.
3. Look for someone who is kind and loving. If you're really lucky, your partner will also have a family that taught him or her how to be that way. Having in-laws who treat you like a member of the family will make your life much nicer.
4. Make sure the person you're seeing doesn't smoke, even if you do. If he or she is a nonsmoker, it may get you to stop. Think of it this way: You're choosing happiness over death.
5. Find someone you can talk to. As time passes, this quality is more important than looks, money, or position. If you can't talk to your partner or cry on his or her shoulder, it's not going to be a good match.
6. Make sure you have the basics in common. For example, if one of you wants children and the other doesn't, it's probably a deal breaker. Spiritual and political differences can also be difficult to deal with — as we age, our feelings in these areas tend to intensify.
7. Make sure that you have enough differences that, if you are unable to go out, you can still entertain each other. If someone is just like you, it might get a little boring as time goes by.
8. Physical compatibility has more to do with touch than it does with sex. If you're a tactile person, you need to be with someone who shares that desire. People's desire for sex changes over a lifetime, but our need for touch remains fairly constant.
9. Beware of people who want to get married immediately. Engagements were created for a reason. They used to call them "handfasts," and they lasted for a year and a day. Things move much quicker these days, but it's wise to know someone for at least six months before getting engaged.
10. Find someone who makes you laugh. A sense of humor can help you overcome many of life's obstacles. If someone can make you smile when you don't feel like it, that's a great quality.
There are no guarantees in life. It isn't possible to be absolutely sure about anyone. Take your time; listen to your friends and to your intuition. Picking the right person for the right reasons at the right time is an art form.