Wednesday, I had the opportunity to pre-screen “About Last Night”, the new comedy starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, and Joy Bryant. First, let me say that this movie is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS! The entire theater seemed to enjoy. In my opinion, this is Kevin Harts’ best big screen performance. If you’re looking for a movie for your V-Day date, this is the one.

After watching the movie, there were so many things I wanted to discuss. Especially how it addresses common mistakes both men and women make in dating and relationships. However, I don’t want to spoil the movie for you guys. One thing I MUST discuss is the reality that women, often times, are not really sure if their “new guy” is ready to be in a serious committed relationship. I get it. You’re ready! You’re over the club scenes. Your friends are getting married. You hate sleeping alone. Dare I say…your clock is ticking. The problem is we sometimes end up in unhappy, unsuccessful, relationships because HE is not as ready as YOU. He likes you. He makes you laugh. He’s a gentleman. Heck, he MIGHT even love you…BUT, is he ready for the commitment, for marriage, for a family? I’ve listed five ways for you to know if he’s really ready.

1.     He’ll tell you. Believe it or not, most men are honest when you ask them what they’re looking for in a relationship. The problem is we either don’t ask, don’t listen, or believe that we can change their mind. You should never be afraid to ask a guy what he is looking for at this point in life. When should you ask? I suggest the first date. If he does not ask you out on a second date, you already know the answer. When he answers your question, listen. Responses like, “I’m focused on my career right now”, “I ‘m looking for a friend”, or “I haven’t really thought about it” translates to “I’m NOT ready.” Accept it. Move On. If he doesn’t give you a response that clearly (meaning you don’t have to read between the lines) states he’s ready, don’t waste your time being his friend or “bed buddy”. You’re ready and you won’t be happy until you’re with someone that feels the same way.  We all have that one friend who dated her now husband for years and years, he finally changed, and they lived happily ever after. Yes, it does happen. However, that is the exception. C’mon, we’ve all seen the movie.

2.     You’ll meet his team. If he is ready and he has chosen you, you’ll meet his team. No, not the recreational team he plays basketball with on the weekends. You’ll meet his real team. His parents, his siblings, his friends AND more importantly his friends’ girlfriends or wives. I think we all know the importance of meeting his parents, siblings, and friends. However, we often underestimate the value of meeting his friends’ significant others. If you pay attention, you’ll know who you are to him based on your interactions with his friends’ girlfriends and wives. Most women don’t like when their man’s friend brings around different women all the time. No woman wants their guy to be friends with men who play women. It just automatically opens up the idea that her man does the same thing when she’s not around. A lot of times, you’ll know your value by how she treats you. Is she friendly? Does she act like she wants to know you, your interest, things you have in common? Does she remember your name? Or does she speak just to be polite then pretend you are no longer in the room? If she is in fact the “main chick” herself, and she seems to have interest in having a friendly relationship with you, you might be someone special. If she sees no value in getting to know you, this may mean you’re just another woman and she knows you won’t be around long. She’s met plenty of you. Now, if he never invites you along with him to his friends’ family barbecue and you’ve never even had the chance to meet his friends’ wives, he hasn’t “chosen” you. He’s not ready.

3.     He’ll make you a priority. I know its cliché, but its true. People make time for whatever they want to make time for even if they’re busy. You see him once a week, but he manages to make it to football practice 3 times a week. There are times in a relationship when you have to work on spending more time together, but this is something you both should want to work on together. For example, you may mention to him your concern of spending too little time together. Pay attention to how he responds. Is he annoyed with your concern? Or does he work with you to come up with a plan. Do you feel like you’re his mother telling him to clean up his room b/c you’re forcing him to do things he clearly doesn’t want to do? Or does he recognize that your lack of time is causing a problem with the growth of your relationship. Now ladies, I’m not saying he should spend his every available moment with you. I know how we can get when we’re really into someone lol. I’m saying you can recognize when someone is actively working on the relationship and when they’re just going with the flow.

4.     You’ll be the only one. It is very common for a man to date multiple women when he is officially single. However, when he’s ready he’ll be confident in his decision to focus specifically on you. This won’t happen overnight but after a few months he should know if he wants to pursue a relationship with you. When a man is ready, he knows what he is looking for in a woman. Just as you have a list. So does he. He may not have written it down on a scale from 1-10, but he knows when she’s in his presence. If you know about each other’s goals, how many kids you want, your five year plan, what you value, your morals and he is STILL holding on to other women, he’s not ready. What’s going to change about you in 6 months? Sure, there is a chance that he may later learn things about you that makes him realize you’re not the one, but is he at least willing to try? Making the decision to focus on one woman is not asking for her hand in marriage. It’s simply saying, “let’s try this thing out.” If he is ready, he knows what he wants. If you are the type of woman he wants, he’ll focus on pursuing things with you and only you. If he knows you well but is not willing to let go of the other women, he’s not ready…or at least not with you.

5.     He’ll discuss the future. When a man is ready for a serious commitment, a relationship that is preparing for marriage, he’ll be comfortable discussing marriage, children, finances, goals. Pay attention to how he reacts when these topics come up. Does he cringe? Does he completely avoid the conversation or change the subject? Or is he ok discussing how many children he wants, goals he’d like to achieve, what a successful marriage looks like to him? Remember, you’re ready. If he has no vision of what he would like his future to be, it’s likely because he hasn’t thought about it. It doesn’t make him a bad person. It simply means he’s not at the same point in life as you. I remember having a conversation with a group of friends at dinner. One of the friends, who is in a committed relationship, was asked the far too common and sometimes rude question, “When are you guys getting married?” The woman’s eyes brightened while the man looked with complete disgust. His eyes looked like he was saying “I’m not even thinking about marriage.” I felt for her. Since she is my friend, I know that she wants marriage and children in the NEAR future. I couldn’t help but wonder how long it might take before he is ready. Will it be too late? Truth is, we can’t predict the future but we can prepare ourselves as much as possible. So, before you give him an ultimatum to “be in a relationship”, make sure he’s really ready. He may care for you enough to commit to a relationship with you. However, if you eventually want a relationship that is preparing for a family, he needs to want that as well…for himself…without the ultimatum.