Terrible Things Men Do That Aren’t Personal
If you and your friends have been dating for about a decade out of college, you’ve probably experienced—either firsthand or through your network—some pretty shocking relationship events. I’m talking about soap opera worthy, gossip-provoking, make you wonder how the person will ever move on events. Make no mistake about it: even though people may look like they have their life together by their 30s, with their 401 (k)’s and their cars that they’ve paid off, a lot of individuals do not have their emotional life in order until well into their 40s. Or 50s. Okay let’s admit it: some people never get that part of their life in order. Which is why you can see some rather appalling behavior from apparent adults. But people usually only do terrible things out of fear and insecurities. Here are terrible things men do that are never personal.
If a man cheats on you, don’t dive into the thought process of, “What’s wrong with me? How could I be more desirable?” People don’t cheat because their partners aren’t desirable: they cheat out of severe insecurity, abandonment issues, or a tremendous need for attention (more than they can possibly get from one person).
Leaving you at the altar
This one can sting for years. But if a man leaves you at the altar, it’s because he was never fully committed to this relationship—nothing you do leading up to the big day (barring cheating or homicide) could make a man who was 100% committed to you bail at the altar. This man had emotional issues for a long time, that drove him to A) Choose the wrong partner for himself and B) Put on a wonderful act of pretending that partner was perfect for him for a long time.
Wait years to propose
We all have that girlfriend we pity because she’s been dating her boyfriend for eight years, living with him for five, and he has not popped the question. There’s nothing she can do differently—he knows at this point whether or not she’s the one. When men take years to propose, it’s due to their own fears. Those could be fears about marriage (perhaps their parents divorced) or fears about their adequacy as a life partner.
Unless you displayed some Single White Female traits a-la Jennifer Jason Leigh, the guy just ghosted you because he’s immature. Growing up, his parents let him throw tantrums or go on a silent strike for a week rather than encouraged him to use his words when he was discontent.
Dating your best friend
You have an ex and a best friend to be angry at here. As much as it hurts (and really, reconsider that best friend) your ex couldn’t help it if he just fell in love with the third person who was always hanging around. There is nothing wrong with you; he just thought your friend was right for him.
Make you feel excluded
Some men call you their girlfriend, but you’d swear you were a booty call based on the way they never include you in social plans, and only ask you to come over after. If a guy just likes to hang with his boys and see his partner separately, he is still a little boy himself. He isn’t comfortable with the romantic, affectionate side of him and the more masculine side of him commingling in the same room. But that’s just a part of growing up.
You know if you’re provoking jealousy. But if you’re not, then your partner’s paranoia and insistence of checking your phone come from his own issues. So don’t stop hanging out with your male friends and don’t start checking in every 15 minutes via text. Your partner needs to go to therapy.
Try to incite jealousy
When men try to incite jealousy they are just feeling jealous, and when they are feeling jealous but you didn’t do anything wrong, see above.
Making you a rebound
It’s rather frustrating to think things are going well with a guy only to find out he’s getting back with his ex. But you didn’t drive him to his ex; he was never over her. He was just doing a very good job pretending to be over her (and pretending to be very into you) because he wanted to be over her. You just got trapped in the middle of it.
Wanting you back, then leaving again
We’ve all had this happen: we’ve left a guy because he just wasn’t giving us what we needed. Then, a few weeks or months later we get the phone call, “You were right. I can be a better man. Give me another chance.” So we do. And he makes all the same mistakes again. He wasn’t trying to trick you; he just experienced that initial pang of loneliness a few weeks into the breakup and mistook it for wanting to get back together. Sometimes, men just aren’t as emotionally intuitive as women are. We know what that pang is! We grab some girlfriends and wine and we push past it!
Leading you on
How about that guy who is flirting with you so hard that your friends wonder if they should give you two some space at the bar? But he never makes a move. He invites you to Ikea, and as his plus one to a wedding. But no move. This guy is probably a bit of an egomaniac, plain and simple. He likes all the attention that comes from flirting but doesn’t want any of the responsibility that comes with making a move.
Sleeping with you and bailing
The true predators out there who claim they don’t want love and just want lots of sex with lots of women—those are the most insecure men ever. Deep, deep down they know they wouldn’t make good partners. So rather than put themselves in a position to be rejected, they just pre-reject everybody.
Hiding you in public
Having a man clearly hide you from his friends is rather painful. But if a man isn’t secure in his choice in a partner, and willing to share her with the world, that’s because he isn’t secure in himself. If a guy is still caught up in whether or not his friends would think his partner is hot or approve of her, he’s still caught up in high school. That’s his problem.
Be hot and cold
He’s in, he’s out. He wants to hang out every night of the week and then not at all for two weeks. What’s up with this guy? It could be a number of things. He could be really into you, but has a reputation as a serial bachelor so when he feels things are getting close, he bails. He could be dating other women. None of these things are your fault. But maybe don’t date that guy—he isn’t right with himself.
Criticize your appearance
If a man is sleeping with you, he loves the way you look. End of story. So if he suggests you change the way you look, that’s him caring about what other people think. And that man has insecurities that run so deep you cannot help him.
Fail to appreciate you
You know the guy: he stops planning date nights, he barely listens when you talk, and he clearly has stopped seeing how amazing you are. But he still wants to be together? This guy hasn’t learned a very important lesson most men have to learn before they end up in a happy relationship: that you can’t take your partner for granted. Almost every guy out there has to lose a wonderful woman he took for granted before learning this lesson. You simply cannot date a man who hasn’t learned yet.
Suggest you need a man
The man who suggests you need a man to get by in this life is the man who desperately needs a woman to get by. This guy has abandonment issues, is severely insecure and wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he were single. Rather than admit that (because that’s scary) he turns it around, and implies you need a man so you’ll stay with him.
Men emotionally cheat for a number of reasons but a big one is an ego. Most men who do this require a lot of attention (like the ones who physically cheat) because of some insecurity they haven’t addressed. Rather than face that insecurity, they just cover it up with female attention.
Keep you from his family
There are a lot of reasons a man might keep you from his family. He could be afraid they’ll embarrass him in front of you, which is not your fault. He could also be worried they won’t approve of something about you. But he is a grown man who needs to be willing to tell his parents that they need to respect his choices. And he needs to realize his unwillingness to do that is hurting you.
Become extremely needy
If it seems like no amount of time spent with him, phone calls made, affection given or compliments paid are enough, then you’re not a bad partner—you just have a needy man on your hands. Give of yourself what you’re comfortable giving. Don’t bend over backward trying to satisfy a needy man because the more they get, the more they want.