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Dating After Divorce: 8 Traits of a Good Man

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I started dating at 15 — which was an average age to start when I was growing up. So, when my abuela heard (it was big news in my family when the daughters or granddaughters began dating), she sat me down and said, "don't ever let boys be mean to you." I thought she was going to tell me go to the teen clinic for birth control or something like that. That valuable advice came later, but during our first "boy talk," she filled me in on traits that are important when looking for a good man.

It took me more than 20 years to realize that these traits my abuela described to me are valuable pieces of information for any woman when looking for a new partner after divorce as well.

My abuelita's list is a powerful reminder that we should choose wisely in a mate. To be sure, no one is perfect; but the next man in your life should have at least three of these traits if he's worthy of your love.

1. Legacy

A man who fights to be the best he can be and stay on a path to leadership has the legacy trait. The legacy trait is what drives a good man to always want to better himself so his family will be proud of the man he is. The man who strives to become a leader for his family first is a key trait of a good partner.

2. Style

A man who cares how he looks but is not obsessed with his appearance is a good trait for a man to possess. Knowing how to dress for special occasions or a casual one is a plus. Being able to dress confidently and appropriately for any occasion shows maturity and personal pride. If he dresses like a hood rat, you can almost always be certain you will be treated like a hood rat.

3. Bond

When a man makes a promise, he should keep his promise. The bond trait is the most important trait in a man as far as I'm concerned. The days when men would spit in their hand to seal their deal with another man are a thing of the past, so when you find a man who believes in his word — no matter how small — and will bend over backwards to honor it, he's a keeper.

4. Fortune

A man who creates his own fortune is a man of great character. It's not important how big or small of a fortune he may have; it is that he has made his life his own through hard work and dedication. A man who would rather be independent in his growth is a sign of a good family man. He will choose a partner that will be an equal contributor so his family can move forward to build a strong foundation for a life together.

5. Focus

The focus trait is important to find in a man. He who has focus in the direction in which he's going and where he wants to be won't be found playing video games or watching novelas. If his focus is strong enough for him to pass on a few nights out with the guys, you can be sure his priorities are where they needs to be for a solid future.

6. Defender

No one wants a man who picks a fight at the first sign of a conflict. However, you do want a man who can defend his beliefs through dialog and debate when he is challenged. The defender trait exercises a man's ability to control anger. It also demonstrates his ability to negotiate things that may affect his life and that of his family's without force or physical conflict. A peaceful defender of home and self is a sign of strength.

7. Role model

A man who respects himself enough to strive to be a model for other young men is the most classic trait of a good man. When he acts irresponsibly or recklessly, he becomes a joke to his peers. Perception is everything; a real man knows what path is best to take to begin to build family, trust and take responsibility for his actions to set the most solid example for his children.

8. Chivalry

A man who runs around a car to open his lady's door in sub-zero weather is a kind man. We all love a real gentleman, but holding a door for any lady in his in his presence not only shows he's a gentleman, it also shows a man of respect. The chivalrous man can usually be counted on to act with patience and kindness in the most stressful situations.

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