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Between high school sweethearts, when it’s perfectly okay to text each other from across the room and say “I love you” within one month, and the dating challenges of your late twenties, a lot changes. Those young adult years are a crash course on men for most women. Most of us walk out of our twenties with these understandings about these very interesting creatures:

Some actually do want relationships

Women are taught to always be on the defense and assume every guy is trying to sleep with them. But, throughout our twenties, we all come across a guy or three who are sweet to us, take us on nice dates, and don’t play games. When that happens, we begin to be more careful before we spew some venom at the guy trying to buy us a drink—we realize, maybe he’s nice. Hey, at least he’s not barking at you on the street with his pants hanging off of his behind…!

If they say it, they mean it

We learn to stop waiting around for a guy to change. In your twenties, if a guy says he isn’t really looking for a relationship, and a girl sticks around to see if she can change that, it’s all bad news. Does he ever really change? Rarely (and only after you’ve given up and moved on). You end up learning to walk away from a guy who says, “I’m not into monogamy.” Word on the street is, he means it.

They move slower

It happens time and time again in your twenties. You think things are going great. The guy seems totally into you. He wants to hang out all the time and then, suddenly, you ask him to be your date to a wedding, to meet your parents, or to go away for the weekend, and he freaks out. You learn that, a guy can be totally into you but that isn’t a sign he’s ready to make things serious as of yet.

A lot of them are just trying to sleep with you

Yes, some of them do want a relationship, but while some pleasantly surprise us in our twenties, a lot of them let us down. That’s just how the dating game can go sometimes. We learn that there are a lot of charmers out there, who are great at making it seem like they really like you, when in reality, they’re just after what’s in your pants. With this reality, we learn to withhold sex until at least a few proper dates or months.

They disappear at work

Women are better at multitasking. And even though women know that, it takes them a few years to understand why men can go off to start their work day, and somehow not text or call allll day. Eventually, we learn that when men get to work, they get in the zone and they really can’t jerk their attention out of there to focus on a text until the day is done. There are way too many other distractions and requests in the workplace, so it’s not that surprising that your text to him at 1 p.m. didn’t receive a response until 9 p.m.

The serious ones take you on a date
You stop rationalizing “well, maybe he just wants me to meet his friends,” or “well, that’s nice that, he invited me out at all,” when a guy asks you to meet him and his buddies at a bar. As you get older, you learn that the guys who can’t just get it together and ask you on a proper date are also the ones who are flaky, undependable and aren’t really looking for anything serious.

Ambition matters

We all date bartenders, bouncers and guys who work at gyms in our early twenties. We don’t think too much about where these guys are going with their life. But, towards the end of your twenties, if a guy isn’t pursuing a career yet—not just a job, but a career—you can no longer turn a blind eye. If he is pushing 30 and is still just a bouncer at a bar, it’s not cute anymore. It’s concerning.

Midnight texts are bad news

You get a drunk, midnight text from a guy you like in your early twenties, and you get kind of excited or giddy. Some people do what they really want and say what they really think when they’re drunk. After a while, after a few times of going to see that guy at midnight and realizing in the morning (while you pull out your spare pair of underwear from your purse) that he isn’t trying to date you, you learn that a real man calls you, soberly, mid day and plans a date.

PDA takes longer

When you’re young, and you’re drunk, and you like someone who you’ve been out with a few times or have even slept with, you think it’s perfectly okay to start hugging and kissing them in public. But, as they awkwardly move and look away, you learn that just because a guy has been affectionate with you in private doesn’t mean he’s ready to do so in public yet. Guys wait until more of a relationship phase for that.

Some men have less sex drive

You become used to being sexual prey in college and in your early twenties. But, by your late twenties, most women have dated at least one guy with, well, trouble in that department. Men who either couldn’t or didn’t want to have sex as often as you did for emotional or physical reasons.

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