Couple fighting
 Photo: © 2010 Jupiterimages Corporation
A quick pop quiz to ensure you've found a Prince Charming, not a Prince Harming!
Are you seeking your Prince Charming and getting lured in by Prince Harmings? A Prince Harming is a guy who turns out to be either trouble or troubled, although he never starts out this way. He lures you in with superficial lures like sexiness, funniness or wealth and then—WHACK!

In the same way there's "bait and switch" in advertising, Prince Harmings pull a "date and switch." I recognize the appeal of Prince Harming because I've been there, dated him. There's always something terrific you can find about a Prince Harming. Every jerk has his silver lining.

Admittedly, trying to differentiate between a Prince Harming and Prince Charming can be as daunting as those visual games in magazines where you're shown two almost-identical drawings, then challenged to identify what's different. Eventually, as you look closer, you'll see: "Ooh—unlike a Prince Charming, this prince has two faces, not one. Aha!"

Trust me. You don't want to date a two-faced prince. He'll be a royal pain in your heart.

In order to make sure you are able to quickly assess how many faces your prince is sporting, here are 10 of the 50 questions you should ask your prince and/or yourself, excerpted from my book Prince Harming Syndrome. If you want your prince to "pop the question," you must pop these questions up front.

1. Ask your Prince Crush if he feels he could live a happy life if he never got married. It will be a fun way to find out his views on marriage without being frighteningly direct.

2. Ask your Prince Crush if he has happily married friends or unhappily married friends. Again, this conversation will get him to reveal his views and readiness when it comes to marriage.

3. Ask your Prince Crush how he has grown in the last few years. Does he talk about how he'd like to grow in any specific areas?

4. Good looks fade. But a bad personality is forever. Does your partner titillate your mind as much as your body? Do you respect your partner's beliefs and knowledge and insights? Your ideal partner should feel lust, love and like for you and vice versa. A good royal coupling is a passionate best friendship.

5. Ask you Prince Crush if he feels partners should be honest about everything, and if not, what shouldn't they be honest about? Remember: It's relaxing to love someone you trust. Someone you know will not hide parts of his life and will happily offer up the truth, without you feeling as if you are yanking it out of him.

Karen says in order to be happy, you have to live happy
Couple getting engaged
Photo: © 2010 Jupiterimages Corporation
6. Size does matter. You must look for a partner with a really big heart. Have you seen evidence that your Prince Crush is intrinsically warm, open and kind, or the opposite? Have you witnessed your Prince Crush doing small acts of kindness like leaving a very big tip or helping someone with their shopping bags?

7. Has your Prince Crush talked with you about lessons he's learned about pain and disappointment? Does he show signs of empathy for your pain and disappointment? Does he express nurturing and supporting behaviors?

8. What's one of the sexiest qualities to look for in a partner? The ability to listen and compromise! Why? Because listening plus compromising keeps you feeling appreciated and connected, even over small things, like which movie to see or what place to eat. Have you experienced your Prince Crush being able to listen and compromise? Have you heard him utter the four sexiest words ever: "I'm sorry. You're right!"

9. Do you know the dirtiest of details about your partner's mental health history? Is he bipolar or on medication? Has he ever had a meltdown? Does he have anger management issues? Drug or alcohol addictions? Ask your man directly to explain why and how he broke up with his last relationship. Listen for long-term anger and Drama King stories.

10. If you want to live happily ever after, your man has to be happy. If he's unhappy all the time, he will view you through non-rosy life glasses! You need a man who embraces character values that help him be emotionally stable, even-tempered, addiction-free and full of high self-esteem. It's corny but true—it's hard for someone to love you happily if he's not happy with himself first. Do you sense your Prince Crush feels proud of who he is in his life? Does he allow people to walk all over him? Does he treat himself with self-nurturing and self-respect?

Karen Salmansohn is a best-selling author known for creating self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading self-help. Get more information on finding a loving, happier-ever-after relationship in her book Prince Harming Syndrome.

The opinions expressed by contributors are strictly their own.


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