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A few years ago I found myself perusing a friend’s Facebook photo album when I noticed one of her attractive sorority sisters. I did what most men do, I asked my friend to arrange an introduction. I thought nothing of it at the time, but a simple question, “Why is she single?” turned into the inevitable end of my interest. My friend explained that she had been in an on-and-off again situation with a man for the last two years. She ended with, “Thank God!” Her response raised a flag with me, I asked a few more questions until she shot back at me, “He was just very controlling and jealous.”

My reply: “That’s okay, not interested.”

I knew it was wrong to pass judgment on dating her because she spent two years in a relationship with an emotionally abusive partner, but I knew I’d always keep going back to that past experience of hers. I wasn’t able to understand what would make a person endure that behavior for so long. I concluded that she needed time to grow before I could ever consider dating her.

Now that the secret is out, I’ll admit to women that men definitely take into consideration the past of our potential partners. At times, it’s a good thing to know that you’re in good company and at other times, a questionable ex could be a sign of character flaws that are easily hidden during the courting phase. Below, I categorize a woman’s past partners into five categories and the negative impact it can have on you as as a potential partner.

1. The Control Freak feels a need to always exert control over their significant others.  As I stated above, I have never been able to understand why someone would endure this behavior. Perhaps, they have a secret desire to be submissive or fear being placed in the position of a decision maker. Men don’t ask their women to be combative or argumentative. We just like to know that she has her own wants and desires and the backbone to be heard.

2. The Doormat allows himself to be placed in the submissive position of his significant other, always electing her needs while compromising all of his. When a man notices a woman has The Doormat in her relationship history he recognizes her almost immediately as, “High Maintenance.” It makes you question the character of the woman who takes advantage of the weak. It’s the epitome of “kicking them while they’re down.”

3. The Greeks called Adonis, the god of Beauty and Desire. From head to toe, Adonis makes her mouth water. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all he brings to the table. Depending on how long you choose to stay with a man like Adonis, it can be an indicator of how many of your expectations you are willing to sacrifice for good looks. Men have been known to date airheads solely on the basis of looks. It’s never been good for them, it’s never going to be good for women either.

4. The Outlier is the man who resembles none of the men a woman dated in her past. The Outlier strikes everyone as odd, he’s the one her friends refer to as, “I don’t know what she was thinking with him.” However, The Outlier is almost always an act of desperation. Acts of desperation are strong indicators of a person’s propensity to quit when things get tough or seem impossible to accomplish. Men want women who identify goals and achieve them.

5. Men are taught to beware of the The One That Got Away. Chances are she’s still in love with him. All of these situations didn’t end in cheating or some huge blowout. Sometimes, it was just bad timing and looking back on it, she realizes she would have been better off if they had worked things out. Men fear The One That Got Away because he’ll likely be lingering around forever, causing us to wonder if he’ll ever reappear.

There is an outside chance that a woman’s ex does not fall into these categories. It makes men wonder why they still aren’t together anymore. If they don’t fall into these five categories, chances are they just weren’t compatible. That’s fair, I’ve always felt that it’s possible for two great people to meet, date, and later on realize that there is no emotional or romantic connection there. Those people typically part as friends, no harm, no foul. However, women must beware of the exes that reveal negative traits or flaws in their character. It’s an opportunity for growth and reflection, but unattended it’s a recipe for disaster in your next relationship.

Dr. J is a writer for the men’s blog Single Black Male. Dr. J’s inspiration and motivation for writing comes from a desire to provide real and honest advice to all. His approach is no nonsense and rarely sugarcoated.  Follow him on twitter @DrJayJack.

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