No, you haven’t stumbled upon an outtake from Glamour magazine, or Cosmopolitan. It’s just me doing what I do best: doling out more romantic advice.
For someone who has such a terrible track record with men, I certainly know how to call them when I’m on the outside looking in. Last year, during a casual conversation with a friend about his boyfriend, something dawned on me: “He’s cheating on you!” I’m not sure what it was that tipped me off, but I was certain I wasn’t wrong.
I wasn’t. “Everything you said that day was right,” my friend told me when I saw him less than a month later, before regaling me with his sordid tale of secrets and lies. To this day, every time he introduces me to someone, it’s always as “Jeremy, the friend who knew my ex was cheating on me before I did.” If only I could use my intuitive power for the greater good — my own.
Well, at least someone benefits. That’s what I told myself yesterday while I was counseling another friend about what to do about an inconsistent boyfriend with severe intimacy issues. As a chronically single guy who hasn’t been in a relationship since 2011, who has been on exactly two dates since my birthday (May 7), and whose last bad romance ended so disastrously, I’m always surprised that anyone would come to me for the truth about boys. But there was my friend, eager for my guidance.
“Dump him,” I insisted. I’m pretty sure he won’t. Not now. But in a few weeks, he’ll no doubt be calling me up to tell me that he should have listened to me. For future reference, friends, here’s a checklist. If he exhibits any of the following tell-tale signs, throw your hands up and step away from the relationship.
1. He’s hot and cold. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or Katy Perry, to know that love with an inconsistent guy never goes anywhere good. As I told my friend yesterday, if you find yourself spending hours griping to your friends, analyzing all the minutiae of your daily interactions with your man, looking for clues that he cares, he probably doesn’t — or not enough.
A good relationship should relieve your neuroses, not feed them. Aren’t there enough outside forces challenging our sense of security every day? Do we really need the one who claims to love us leaving us questioning our value? Has anyone picking petals off a flower saying, “He loves me, he loves me not,” ever ended on the right one? If you have to ask, here’s your answer: He loves you not.
2. He skips your first date. Would you ever forget about a big date with a guy you really like? Of course not. You’re probably too busy thinking about him to forget that you have a date with him, right? Right. But hey, it’s happened to the best of us: We get all dressed up and ready for a guy who doesn’t bother to show up.
It’s happened to me more times than I care to admit. The first guy to do it to me was my second boyfriend, who slept through our first date. “I’ll make it up to you. I promise,” he promised when he finally called me, interrupting my rebound date with my ex-boyfriend. He never did. They rarely do.
3. He can’t keep his sucky taste in music to himself. I realize that not every guy can truly appreciate the best of the Smiths and R.E.M., but I’ve been forced to sit through enough boring YouTube videos to know a bad date when I hear one. There’ll be plenty of horrible movies and terrible TV shows to sit through. Must afterglow be marred by cheesy romantic ballads or Argentine cabaret tunes on the soundtrack?
4. He’s got itchy fingers. Would you whip out your lap top and start reading and sending emails while you’re on a hot date? No? So how is receiving and answering one text after another any different?
One of the things I appreciated most about my last boyfriend was that in all the time we spent together, I can only remember three instances in which he answered his phone or read a text message while we were together. The only time he ever looked at the thing was when he was setting the alarm at night and pressing snooze the next morning. Flattery will get you everywhere, and there’s no form of flattery more potent than undivided attention.
5. You meet him when he’s on a date with someone else. I’ve got to admit, I’ve been on all three sides of this one. I’ve been the flirtatious date, the jilted date, and the guy sandwiched between two dates. The view from neither angle was particularly pretty.
It just dawned on me that a friend of mine met her ex husband while he was on a blind date that wasn’t going well. At the time, I thought it was cute and kind of endearing. Now I just see it as terrible timing. If you’re going to make a move on me, at least have the decency not to be on a date while you’re doing it.