types of guys

As a single lady, I dated different types of guys who should come with a health and safety warning. Genuine men like my current partner exist, but as technology extends our social circle and offers more dating options than ever before, why is meeting a potential partner still such a challenge?

For single women over 30, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find an unattached male who isn’t: (A) 25 with older women fantasies; (B) 35 with post-divorce baggage; (C) 40 and so strange his own mother would advise you to run a mile.

A few years ago I borrowed a book called Marry Him – The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, which details the author’s search for a partner. She suggests too many women have unrealistic expectations for Mr. Right, which set them up for failure. While I believe some women’s standards are way too high, I think others just aren’t prepared to accept the lousy treatment from men that previous generations tolerated.

While reflecting on some of my own and my friends’ past dating failures, I compiled a list of 10 types of guys to avoid and the relationship lessons I learned from them. I hope my past dilemmas may resonate with other women in similar situations.

1. The Sleaze Bag

Like most women searching for love online, I received numerous sexual propositions and inappropriate pictures. Fortunately, on most occasions, I avoided ever having to meet the offending person offline. One guy appeared non-threatening while messaging, although was quite different in person. The 29-year-old date with an inflated sense of his own ego informed me within the first minute he had never had a serious relationship before because he spent his 20s “banging” as many girls as he could. Suffice to say, our conversation deteriorated from that point on. He asked me to guess the feature in the opposite sex that most men notice on the first impression while leering at my boobs. Soon after he suggested we skip dinner and head to my place to watch DVDs (pre-Netflix and chill).  I stood up mid-drink and made it obvious I was leaving on my own.

Relationship lesson:

Don’t put up with disrespectful creeps with one-track minds. One-night stands are fine if you are on the same page. If you seek a deeper connection, you deserve better than a moron who thinks that reciting a list of his former conquests will impress you.

2. The Lousy Guy

Participants who responded to a survey on the most annoying habits of a partner revealed what people couldn’t live with. The majority of respondents (71%) confessed they would feel uncomfortable having a partner who cared less about being clean and tidy than they did. With 53% each, lower intelligence came second, while having a more uptight partner ranked at number three.

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During an episode of Big Bang Theory, I had an epiphany about dating a super-nerd.  I don’t know if I expected love notes in Vulcan or marathon Games of Thrones reruns, however, I found myself a smart, nerdy guy whose encyclopedic knowledge made him a superb pub quiz team member.           I questioned his potential after discovering his cleaning aversion, obsession with 12-hour board games, and habit of asking waiters to replace salad with extra fries. Even though we shared many liberal views, these mutual interests were ultimately not enough to sustain a long-term partnership.

Relationship lesson:

Opposites attract but your differences can outweigh the commonalities. If you’re pessimistic when contemplating a future together, don’t prolong the inevitable. Instead, call it quits so you can both pursue other relationships.

3. The Player

I dated a guy who seemed perfect. He bought me lingerie, sent roses on Valentine’s Day, and showered me with compliments. Despite assurances, there was no one else, I noticed tell-tale signs. He was always “busy”. He never introduced me to his friends and stated I needed to leave his apartment before his roommate returned. If I questioned whether we were monogamous, he implied that I was over-analyzing things. Later I found out that his type of manipulation is called gaslighting when the other person is trying to convince you that you have interpreted the situation wrong.

Finally, he told me he didn’t have time for a girlfriend and we agreed to call it quits. Several months later through the wonders of Facebook, I discovered that he couldn’t ask me to be his girlfriend because he already had one.

Relationship lesson:

Trust your gut and your friends if they worry your latest beau is bad for your mental health. Betrayal hurts, but it’s better to admit that you are dating a player earlier than later when you have invested much more. You deserve better than being someone’s booty call, casual hook up, or unbeknownst to you the other woman.

4. The Married Man

I found myself in a similar predicament after receiving an email from a guy I met previously while traveling. After two years without contact, he raised my suspicions going from general chit-chat to requesting semi-naked selfies in his second email. Again, I took to Facebook! Although absent from my friends’ list, a quick search revealed his profile picture with a lovely wedding shot a year before. I asked why he never mentioned his change in relationship status and didn’t buy his lame excuse that he thought he’d told me. Apparently, wedded bliss wasn’t meeting his expectations. I suggested he focus on his wife rather than a girl in a distant land with who he had no future.

Relationship lesson:

Be wary of a former flame’s motive if he contacts you unexpectedly to rekindle a lost spark. Maybe he has come to his senses and realized what he lost, but approach the situation with caution.

5. The Guest From The Past

A former vacation fling who I heard from intermittently messaged me that he planned to visit and wanted company for a road trip. After six years apart, I naively assumed his visit was platonic and agreed to meet. He admitted he had romantic feelings for me and wanted a long-distance relationship. This idea filled me with fear comparable to a guy discovering his girlfriend bought them tickets to a Justin Bieber concert. I struggled to remember the qualities I previously liked in the guy and realized we had contrasting political and social views. It didn’t end well!

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Relationship lesson:

Recognize when the spark’s lacking and don’t try to make your past relationship work to avoid being alone. Being truthful is better than stringing the rejected person along and giving them false hope.

6. The Phantom

You swipe right on a potential match and when you meet in person sparks fly. The conversation flows easily and he texts asking you for a second date. Then after date number three or four he goes silent. You wonder what went wrong, and will ever know because you have been ghosted. Either he went MIA because he’s insensitive to your feelings, and you dodged a bullet, or he’s a coward who wants to avoid the awkwardness of admitting he’s not that into you. Whatever the reason, it’s bad manners and rejection hurts.

My friend met a Tinder date in a public place (as she should), and after a brief introduction, they agreed to drive separately to a local movie theater. She waited over an hour until concluding the creep had stood her up and blocked her on Facebook. Unfortunately for him, this dodgy dude hadn’t blocked me. Consequently, he received a message chastising his lack of social etiquette with words I won’t repeat here.

Relationship lesson:

Disappearing acts are irritating and can damage your self-esteem. Psychotherapist Diane Barth attributes ghosting with feelings of shame and insecurity as the ghosted person contemplates why they weren’t good enough. Instead of trying to find fault in yourself, remember that everyone has issues. Tell yourself that the jerk who ghosted you is missing out on a great catch through his shameful behavior.

7. The Pessimist

I dated Mr. Pessimist for a short time before moving abroad. I don’t recall his mindset being as gloomy as when I returned, and we remained platonic friends. By then he blamed others for his misfortunes and refused to take responsibility for relationship failures.

During our last conversation online, he was more negative than usual. On this occasion, rather than letting him vent, I tried a different approach. I guess informing him that he couldn’t change other people, only himself wasn’t the empathy he hoped for. He stated that I was no different to everyone else who dismissed his feelings. This was our last interaction. It probably didn’t help that I emailed his sister telling her I was worried and thought he might need to talk to someone regarding his unhealthy attitude.

Relationship lesson:

Playing the blame game is toxic, and you aren’t responsible for another person’s actions. You can provide support and a friendly ear, but it might be time to distance yourself once their negative energy impacts your life. If you want to remain on good terms, try to convince them to get professional help.

8. The Free Bird

Dating someone indecisive is frustrating and confusing. He obviously enjoys your company, but when you hint at commitment he’s too busy, too scared or says he likes things as they are. This may be fine if you actually knew your relationship status to begin with. My ex who fit this description caused me to fret over confessing my feelings for fear of losing him while wanting assurances we had longevity as a couple.

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Relationship lesson:

When you know what you want and your partner doesn’t or he wants NSA relationship, you should consider whether he’s worth the effort. Relationship Coach Dr. Diane Kirschner recommends clearly stating your expectations and giving him the chance to take appropriate actions. If he won’t commit or take your relationship to the next level, cut him loose rather than wait around for whatever crumbs he throws your way.

9. The Multitasker

A guy I had a brief rendezvous with messaged me every day for six weeks while away at army training. He ghosted me the weekend he returned until a Monday morning text informing me he had “hooked up” with a friend and wanted to date her. Ironically, I met him in a club called Dirty Little Secret. Neither of us had made a commitment, but I felt like the backup in case nothing eventuated with his “friend”.

Unfortunately, this disingenuous dating trend is common. In one study, 72.9% of singles and 55.6% of respondents with a partner admitted to maintaining contact with one or more back burner potentials.

Relationship lesson:

Forget time wasters and guys who don’t make you a priority. Don’t wait in the wings or simmer on the back burner if they seem commitment-phobic or only communicate through social media and digital devices and don’t make time to meet up.

10. The Freeloader

In my early 20s dating a creative type seemed glamorous. I moved in with this artsy guy and took responsibility for rent and bills, while he spent spare cash buying music equipment, and weed from an older man who home delivered. I respect talented individuals who earn their living as artists, musicians, or actors. Until the work dries up and they expect you to finance their lifestyle. I get that the daily grind of a job where you work to live can feel soul-destroying, however, the reality is you have bills to pay. My boyfriend’s freeloading caused a rift in our relationship and it ended up in a breakup.

Relationship lesson:

Your man should be capable of earning a living. Don’t let him manipulate you into supporting his dreams while forgetting your own. Subsequent to us parting ways, I spent my cash on travel, pursued some educational goals, and even started a singles group with over 1,000 members. I discovered that being unattached has its advantages, including the ability to make life-changing decisions without considering their impact on a partner.

Before meeting my latest boyfriend two years ago, I read Eat Pray Love and other motivational books and repeated self-affirmations. Eventually, as cliche as it sounds, I concluded that I needed to be happy with myself and my past baggage before I could move forward with someone new. Often, the best advice you can hope to get is your own.

Vanessa is from Wellington, New Zealand, and currently works for an online startup managing marketing and business planning. She has a business degree and a masters in human resources, but her real passion is travel. She enjoys yoga and taking part in activities to raise money for charities as a volunteer for Altrusa, a community service group.

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