The Perfect Man: When Good on Paper Isn't Good Enough

Photo by egorr/iStock / Getty Images

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who seemed perfect for you on paper, but something was just off? He's educated, has a prestigious job, your parents would love him and he's even really good looking, but there's still something missing. These are the moments you may start to doubt your sanity or wonder if you're waiting for a fairy tale that doesn't exist. Maybe you should just settle for good enough and hope that a logic-based decision will eventually lead to an emotional connection and a satisfying relationship. But what if it doesn't? While career outlook and financial stability are definitely important when you're looking for a mate, that's not all you need. Here are three aspects you want to think about when you're evaluating a potential life partner.

1. A Solid Mental and Emotional Fit

Humans are complex creatures, and it's important to evaluate a potential mate on how well his personality works with yours. The bottom line is that you're going to (hopefully) be spending the rest of your lives together, and that's a long time. If you can't engage in interesting conversations, support each other in your goals and have fun, it's not going to be a fulfilling relationship. So how do you judge this? First, try to take anything physical out of the equation. Looks are nice, but do you have fun together just doing random things like grocery shopping or watching TV? Do you feel like you can talk to him about your feelings and insecurities without being judged or blown off? Think about the last time you had a rough day at work or were upset about something in your life. If he wasn't able to be there as a support -- even if it was just asking "How can I help?" -- it's a red flag.

2. Strong Moral Character and Integrity

It doesn't matter how great a guy is on paper; if you don't respect him and you can't trust him, it will be nearly impossible to sustain a relationship. Look for how he treats others, particularly women and those in lower work positions. Is he nice to his mom and sisters? Is he a man of faith? Does he practice, what he preaches? Or, Does he have a string of ex-girlfriends who swear he was a liar and cheater? Does he constantly talk about how people under him at work are lazy or that his salary and status make him better than others? These are all serious warning signs that are definitely worthy of a second look.

3. That Undeniable Chemistry

Having chemistry with a guy doesn't just mean that you're physically compatible. It also means that you feel like you "get" each other. It's a really great feeling when you just click with someone, and you know you've found this in a guy when keeping the conversation going is easy and you genuinely enjoy spending time just hanging out. Chemistry is pretty much impossible to fake or "fix." You either have it or you don't, and if you don't, that's not a good sign.

So what's a girl to do when you have a guy that meets the "paper" checklist but doesn't match up in these three categories? Give it a good long think -- we're talking days if not weeks here, not just an hour -- and run through your needs and wants again. Pray on it. If you're still sure something is missing, it's OK, even recommended, to walk away. Your family and friends may not understand your decision -- and may even make it clear they think you're making the wrong one -- but the bottom line is that you get to modify your standards and your must-have list as you see fit. After all, it's your life, and you're the one who gets to decide what happily ever after looks like.