A few weeks ago, a friend of mine (MissO) and I were reflecting on some of the lessons we’ve learned from previous relationships. Surprisingly, a lot of our lessons learned were similar, almost as if we’d been involved with the same type of men. We thought it would be great if we could share our lessons learned with Scribbles & Tostitos readers. We brainstormed ideas via Skype, exchanged e-mails and GTalk messages and here’s the final product: 10 signs that men had given us throughout the course of our relationships that made us realize that he was not The One.
1. He says “I’m afraid of commitment.”
Women naturally gravitate toward relationships. Most of us don’t do well dating multiple people and we’d rather have that one guy who has our heart forever. When a man says, “I’m afraid of commitment,” we’ll think “Oh he doesn’t mean it. Surely, I can change it.” The reality is we couldn’t be more wrong. People change with their own consent and not by what you do.
I (Yaa Yaa) was once interested in a guy who was honest with me about his commitment phobia. He even shared with me that his phobia had been the culprit for three failed relationships. He had cheated on former girlfriends numerous times before. Can we say red flags popping up all over the place?! This guy was telling me who he was and I didn’t want to believe him. I was so caught up in his nice physique, deep voice, sharp expensive clothes, powerful position, and luxurious vehicles to know this is not the type of guy I should be dating. Lucky for me, I soon moved out of the city where we met and though he promised we’d keep in touch, two years have passed by and I never heard from him. Ladies, if the writing is on the wall, please save yourself from the heartache and take a man at his word.
2. He never states the intent of the relationship. (Unclear intentions usually mean bad intentions.)
I’ve (Yaa Yaa) noticed a striking difference between men who wanted to be my boyfriend and those who just wanted to be my friend with benefits. The men who just wanted to be my friend with benefits were evasive during conversations where I inquired, “Where is this relationship going? Do you like me?” They’re response would range anywhere from:
- We’re friends.
- We’re just chillin / We’re kickin it.
- Let’s just see where it goes.
- What do you mean?
- Maybe you’ll be my a girl… uhhhh, you know, friend. I guess? Maybe later? I don’t know…
But the men who were potential keepers were honest in their emotions and their intentions. Many told me on a first date or first phone conversation, “I found you attractive when we first met, so I wanted to get to know you better. I’d like to become your friend and ultimately develop a relationship, possibly a marriage later.” It was shocking to me at first, cause we just met one week ago and already he’s discussing a relationship?! But now, I’ve matured and acknowledged that that real men who have positive intentions for you will usually lead with clear intentions. Remember Steve Harvey’s advice: men who are ready to be good to you for the long run will lead with good intentions and act on them like a marathon.
3. He consistently calls after 11pm.
My (Yaa Yaa) grandmother always said, “There is nothing open after midnight except your legs.” I never knew what she meant by that, especially since I am a night owl. MissO and I have come to realize that late-night conversations almost always turn into a deeply personal conversation where we share intimate details too quickly. Some men in our past have tried to be slick, asking if they could come over and “chill” at 2am. We are almost certain they wanted to do more than “chill.”
Forget the topic of conversations after 11pm- it’s rude to call a girl (or anyone for that matter) after a certain time. It says to the girl, “I only want one thing.” The gentlemen who are truly interested in a committed, healthy relationship with me will either ask when is best time to call or they’ll call at a decent hour. In that timeframe, we can converse about interests, hobbies, careers or opinions on current events. A man who is considerate enough to do these things to gain my trust, are saying to me that they respect me.
4. He doesn’t listen to you.
I (Yaa Yaa) pride myself on being a good listener, so you can understand my frustration with people who do not listen. If I tell a man what my boundaries are and why they are – no phone conversations after 11pm, not kissing on a first date, discomfort with spending the night at his apartment – and he still tries to convince me to do otherwise, know that I have already crossed him off my list of dateable men.
That said, we should all have things we expect in a partners. These expectations ought to be in two categories: negotiable and non-negotiable. Good listening skills is a bare minimum requirement and should be a non-negotiable. Your thoughts and contributions are valuable, so seek men who understand that. You can’t possibly value a woman as a person if you constantly ignore them. Never forget that YOU set the bar on how you should be treated!
5. His actions say your dreams eat up all your time, energy, and emotional investment.
MissO and I have dated men who had amazing dreams and ambitions to change the world in a major way. We were both impressed and attracted to the dreams they shared with us but, being the ambitious women that we are, we had our own dream, which presented a point of concern. Often after dating that man, we had to come to the realization that the sacrifice that we were making to bring their dream to fruition did not match the sacrifices that they were making to bring our dreams into fruition. Plainly, a compromise was nearly impossible and we’d likely end up resenting them for that.
Nowadays I (MissO) want to feel that the relationship is balanced. I want my man to remember my dream to encourage me when I forget my purpose. I want him to do whatever is possible to make sure I’m becoming the woman that God has created me to be. More so, I want to be able to do the same for him as we build our future together. MissO and I are more than happy to have a strong, ambitious man in our lives, but we strongly believe that with the right person it will not feel like a sacrifice but a compromise.
6. He’s a Drama King.
Everyone has someone in her life that attracts drama. Dramatic men always encounter some great obstacle that hardly anyone else ever faces. Take some time to think about it and you’ll probably discover that you know someone like this: he’ll tell you they were an hour late to your birthday gathering because I-75S shut down and just as they exited to take 41/Cobb Parkway, a horse ran loose and was blocking traffic. In reality, he might be easily distracted, underprepared, and lacks responsibility. This kind of man is always running out of gas, always asking for money because he fell behind with bills, always in a bind with his ex, always providing excuses, and most definitely better off single. Now, I don’t know why these people attract the same bad situations and it may sound harsh to avoid them, but I’m a drama-free, happy-go-lucky, and peaceful person and I want someone like me who makes a decent effort to eliminate drama and unnecessary stress from his life. If you see a guy like this, you’re probably better off deciding he is simply not the one.
7. He comments excessively on your outward appearance.
Ask a guy why he likes you and if all he can says it’s because you’re “fine,” “sexy,” “beautiful,” or “hot.” Then, know that he may not be a keeper. Don’t get me wrong, he may say these things along with some other positive personality attributes, such as intelligent, down-to-earth, easy-going. But if he is overly focused on your appearance, then it is not a good sign. Looks are fleeting and a true connection beyond surface-level stuff is what we ought to go after.
8. He asks you out at a strip club on a first date.
Where a guy offers to take you on a first date says a lot about (a) the type of person he is (b) what his intentions are. While some people swoon for adventurous and “unconventional” men, the way a guy spends his time is a clear indication of what your future with him will be like. If he offers to take you to a strip club, that can’t be a good thing and you have to wonder why he thinks that’s actually a date at any stage of the relationship. Now, if a guy offers to take you to take you an upscale soul food restaurant because you mention your love for soul food, then that’s a good sign. People usually cannot hide who they are for long so don’t let just the first impression sweep you off your feet, but take our advice and study your interest to see where his head is.
9. He tries to cut you off from friends and family.
We understand that any relationship takes time and effort, but if that time is solely with your potential partner then that is a red flag. Some men may not ask about your family and may even pull you away from them to avoid accountability. Though it takes time to build approval from family and friends about your relationship, take it is a serious sign of a unhealthy partnership if your boo tries to tear those relationships down. When a man asks you to cut off friends and family, beware of manipulative and jealous intentions. We women often misunderstand control as a sign that the man he loves you but love is actually more giving than selfish. Ladies, it’s really important for us to stay connected to our friends and families while in relationship. Don’t be that girl that cuts everyone off and only hangs out when she is single. Your friends and family are actually in the best position to spot red flags even before you can.
10. He never asks about your family.
A few years ago MissO told me about a litmus test to gives the men she’s dating: does he ask about my family? Granted, she is a family-oriented individual; she is dedicated, and puts her family at the top of her list of her priorities. If while dating someone, you notice your man never asks about your family that you love so much, be wary about pursuing a relationship with him. If you are not a family person, consider how much your guy asks for updates about things you do share a passion for.
If I’m casually dating someone and I mention things about my family – my brother who’s a graduating college senior, my niece who’s the Star Student of her class, my nephew who asks his mom to go to the store to buy a little sister – and he never asks follow-up questions, then I am immediately alarmed. I start to wonder if he’s even listening or compassionate enough to care about the things and people I care about. Not everyone is a family person but your guy should at least try to identify with the things that are important to you. This is a sign that he is not only into you, but he also cares about the things that impact your happiness.