I’ve allowed men to take advantage of me before, but it wasn’t because I was a total idiot. It was because I perceived “normal” dating habits as acceptable, with little consideration for how these habits would actually play out in a stable, long-term relationship.
The following eight widely-accepted dating habits usually don’t play out so well. Run — don’t walk — if your new beau engages in these typical and highly unhealthy dating behaviors.
1. Bad-mouthing his exes
A man who bad-mouths his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend is giving you a window into his soul. First, his verbal slander demonstrates that he takes little to no responsibility for the demise of the relationship, which is seldom the case. Second, he shows you that he’s still emotionally invested with his exes. A man who is over his ex won’t slander her because he’s not emotionally intertwined with her.
2. Romantic gifts
I’m all about thoughtful gestures at the beginning of a relationship because it indicates a guy is thinking about you. Romantic gifts, though? Those are more about his ego and how he plans to win you as a prize. Flowers, chocolates, jewelry and lingerie are an ego stroke, and they’ll drop off quickly once he perceives he’s won you over. Thoughtful gifts, like your favorite Starbucks coffee or a funny key chain that reminds him of you, are gifts that show he’s paid attention to your preferences and your personality rather than his own ego.
You’re beautiful. You’re funny. You’re kind. A guy who can’t stop raving about your wonderful characteristics, however, is exploiting your desire to feel desirable and setting you up for harm. Think about it — do good men flatter you with their words, or do they demonstrate respect for you with their actions? Usually, it’s the latter.
Call me nuts, but spontaneity lost some of its charm when I hit my mid-twenties. Surprises are great. Spontaneity while on a date is great. But a spontaneous date, where a dude calls you at 8 p.m. on a Friday to see what you’re doing? That’s a call that demonstrates he couldn’t find anything better to do and has little respect for your schedule. That’s called being inconsiderate.
5. Too much, too soon
A fresh relationship is often marked by lots of dates and googly eyes. It’s fun! You should be pretty skeptical, however, of any guy who wants to spend more than two nights a week with you when the relationship is still new. He’s edging in on your life too quickly, and demonstrating that he doesn’t have much of a life of his own. That’s concerning for a long-term relationship.
It can feel exhilarating when a guy first exhibits jealousy for you because it indicates that he’s into you. What his jealousy should do, however, is compel him to have a DTR if he wants to date you exclusively. That’s it. And if you’re not willing to get exclusive with him, he should deal with it or move on rather than escalating into increasing levels of jealousy — which is toxic and a huge indicator of emotional or physical abuse.
7. Dating “at home”
This, my friends, isn’t a romantic night in. It’s a booty call. He can get away with it once or twice, but if a guy isn’t willing to take you out on a real date, then he’s likely using you.
8. The “L” word
No, not like the television show. There’s not much that can sabotage a relationship as quickly as a premature “I love you.” When you’re newly dating, a man can’t possibly love you. He might like you, and might lust for you — but it certainly isn’t love because he doesn’t even know you yet. I call ulterior motives if a guy drops the L-word before he’s seen you with a stomach virus.
This post was sponsored by The Boy Next Door.