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· abusive boyfriend,new boyfriend,toxic masculinity,pack mentality,healthy love

Today marks the magical Sunday when Americans gather to consume corn and bean products while critiquing TV commercials. It also features a football game, which offers an opportunity for women to assess whether a potential new love has the emotional qualities a happy and healthy relationship requires.

I've always maintained that football season is a good time to meet new men, especially if a woman finds a bar where she feels comfortable (different bars attract different crowds), brings along a friend, and hits Monday Night Football on a regular basis. This practice can expose her to lots of new fellows. It lets her observe how they drink, treat other people, and behave when their team wins or loses. All of this is important information.

Over the years, I received several emails protesting this advice; the senders argued you can only meet drunks in bars, which is absolutely not true (although you'll definitely meet a couple of them). They wanted me to tell women to meet men at church, which is something I don't necessarily advocate. Here's why: People are on their best behavior at church. People are more likely to be themselves in a bar. When it comes to men, what you see is what you get is always the way to go.

Now, tonight marks the climax of football season. You may be dating someone newish, and he's passionate about one team or another. That team will win or lose tonight, and it's incumbent upon you to watch what he does when that happens. If his team loses, does he sulk? Is the night ruined for him (and, by extension, for you)? Or does he take it in stride like a fully formed adult? If his team does happen to win, does he tease the opposition in an endearing way, or does he rub their nose in it?

During the game, does he enjoy a couple of beers? (Fun, normal.) Or does he get increasingly vicious with every sip? (Not fun, not normal.) How does he relate to other men? Does he enjoy their company, or does he have to be the smartest, most macho, coolest guy in the room? How does he relate to women? Is he friendly and respectful, or does he eye them up and down like beef specimens? Or does he just flat-out ignore them?

How does he react to things onscreen? If he makes stupid lascivious comments about attractive women in car commercials, that's a red flag. (Dump him. He's not going to get better with age.) If he hits the ceiling when his team makes a bad play, think twice, lest you end up wasting your precious life with a bad-tempered guy.

Most important, if he had a few beers, did he stop after a while? If he's driving, can he get you home safely? If not, say sayonara and get an Uber.

Make it your goal to have a great time tonight. But if things don't go as you planned, don't talk yourself out of seeing signs. This is your life we're talking about.