Dating can be exciting. You are meeting men, getting to know interesting things about them and imagining a potential relationship. Because most of us try to present ourselves in the most positive light, it is not easy to recognize a man who is emotionally unhealthy. Failing to recognize that a man has emotional issues can have long-term consequences. It’s important to take your time to get to know someone and not overlook the subtle or obvious signs of an emotionally unhealthy man.
One important indication of emotional health is mood stability. Alternating between sad and very happy moods or feeling sad most of the time is evidence of mood instability. A man who loses his temper with little or no provocation is emotionally unhealthy. There are stressful life events that everyone deals with that may result in a temporary shift in mood. However, HelpGuide.org points out that emotionally healthy people are able to cope effectively with most stressors or adverse situations.
Relationships with Others
Pay attention to what you learn about his relationships with others. Emotionally healthy individuals are able to maintain fulfilling long-term relationships with family and friends. With an extremely dysfunctional family, it may be vital to a man’s emotional well-being to disconnect from them. But most often, estrangement from the immediate family is a red flag. He should have a least a few long-term close friendships. Another alert is a history of short-lived intimate relationships. Short-term intimate relationships may indicate that once a partner gets to know the man well, something undesirable is revealed.
The ability to sustain employment is a good indication of emotional well-being. A history of many jobs for short periods of time may indicate that the man has difficulty getting along with others. On the other hand, being consumed with work or working too much can also be a problem. HelpGuide.org states that an emotionally healthy man should be able to maintain a balance between work and play.
A sign of emotional health is taking responsibility for one’s own behavior. An emotionally unhealthy man is likely to make excuses or blame others for his actions. Lying is more of an attempt to avoid responsibility. These are forms of emotional manipulation.
Sense of Self
A man who has an accurate perception of his strengths and weaknesses and maintains his sense of worth or esteem is someone is in a good place emotionally. A man who has very low self-esteem or low confidence in his abilities may be a nice guy but prone to depression.
Relationship with You
One of the most obvious signs of a man who has emotional issues is one who treats you with disrespect. A subtle sign may be a man who always wants to spend time with you. If this feels uncomfortable, you may be perceiving that he is clingy or controlling. Domestic violence expert Lundy Bancroft points out in the book "Why Does He Do That?" that emotional manipulation, disrespect and controlling behaviors are indications of an abusive man. It is important to pay attention to even subtle signs of these characteristics.
Sonya Lott, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, who offers online and in office counseling to individuals struggling with grief, loss or a life transition. She also facilitates mental health workshops for educational, professional, and community groups and maintains a blog on her website www.drsonyalott.com.
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