Before I begin, let’s level with each other: I’ve only been involved with men, so can only speak to my own heteronormative experience. That being said, if you’re a heterosexual female looking for advice, I’ve basically dated a police lineup of caricature worst men you could expect to find. Here are some hard-earned lessons from a reluctant expert.
1. He has an endless list of privacy rules.
Privacy is great. So is trust. They are also just words. If your partner comes with a 10-commandments-of-trust rule set, it’s likely to end badly. Anyone rabidly protecting his potential need to hide something…is hiding something.
2. He keeps his phone closer to him than his own testicles.
Hate to say it, but the truth is if your partner is a pro, anything incriminating will be erased before you can get your little paws on it. If he’s not the world’s stealthiest person, however, he’ll begin to act like the Ambassador of Assholevania who needs his phone sewn to his body 24/7. Sure, we’re all guilty of taking our devices with us (because god forbid we should use the bathroom alone). This is different. I had an ex, for example, who kept his phone in his pillowcase while we slept. Really. Learn from my mistakes.
3. All of your friends have warned you.
I’ve been there. I’ve been there approximately nine thousand times, and ignored the mountains of evidence. Bad call. Your friends (or his friends, in my case) aren’t telling you painful information for their own health. They’re trying to look out for your best interests. If you’re ignoring this, you’re signing yourself up for a lot worse later on.
4. Things are all of a sudden TOO good.
If you’re dating a repeat offender, this rule’s for you: People don’t stop cheating, they just learn how to cheat better. (But hey, you’re different right?)
So. You forgave the infidelity? Prepare for a couple of months of extremely over-the-top niceties. Then things will inevitably get more or less back to normal, as you move into not wanting to kill him in the shower Psycho style. Ease back, but remain cautiously vigilant. The warning sign to look for is him all of a sudden turning extremely affectionate after you’ve gotten back into the rhythm of things. One random day you get roses AND chocolates AND a teddy bear AND a singing telegram? Eyebrows up.
5. He’s not interested in hanky panky anymore.
If you’re in a long distance relationship and he doesn’t want to sext, have phone sex or Skype sex, something’s off. And if he “just isn’t comfortable” with the aforementioned, you probably shouldn’t be dating each other from different cities.
If you’re not the masochistic type and he sees you on the regular and isn’t interested, something is really off. Look, people get in long-term relationships and trade their sex drives for comfort. Fair enough. But this is a surefire way to either induce or identify cheating. If you want to avoid problems you have two choices: 1) get yourself the eff out of a long-term relationship, or 2) start getting it on more regularly.
6. He has more plans with his female friends than he does with you.
I hate to speak from experience again, but real talk: At least one of those female friends is being penetrated by your boyfriend on the semi-regular.
7. He says you need to wait to contact him until he “wants to hear from you.”
Hey. I don’t know you. You may be channeling your inner Lisa Nowak. If so, dial it back. But in my experience, this is a pretty sure-fire indicator of tomfoolery when I’ve heard it. Especially if you’re in the beginning stages of a relationship, call this out early. Newsflash: People who love each other usually want to hear from each other. Cheating aside, he’s not really worth the trouble if you’re hearing this.
8. Your memories of his stories differ from his.
When I’m not telling a total crock of shit lie, my details usually line up. Your boyfriend should be the same. Either he was going to the city he said he was going to or he wasn’t. Either the girl is his friend from work or she isn’t. Spoiler alert: She isn’t.
9. He’s all of a sudden extremely quick to judge other relationships and wants to gossip (especially involving fidelity).
The amount your man is discussing how Danny put his spoon in Dianne’s mashed potatoes is directly proportional to the amount of mashed potatoes your man is getting on the side himself. This might be the most subtle yet most important one on this list. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
10. He has a flash change of taste or appearance.
Really any rapid changes at all are dangerous indicators. Is he all of a sudden super into Mozart? K-Pop? Some classic visual artist? You know your partner. Why is he all of a sudden wearing fedoras? Trust your gut when you come up with the answers to these questions or lack thereof. Also, if he wears fedoras, just ditch him in advance. He may not be cheating, but he is looking like an asshole. And that’s a lot harder to fix.
11. He calls you crazy.
This is the number one blam-oh way to separate the run-of-the-mill misfits from the sociopathic professionals. Nothing works better than this stealthily misogynistic crock of horse shit. So let’s back up: You are not hysterical. You are not crazy. And you deserve to say whatever you need to say.
This phenomenon is age-old. It’s called Gaslighting. Shut. It. Down. Ask the questions you want to ask to the full extent you need. If he has nothing to hide, he won’t have an issue with it.
12. He tells you this article is written by a bitter batshit-spinster feminazi who probably doesn’t get laid and stays up eating ice cream cakes and doesn’t have what you have and why are we even talking about this anyway?!
One of the clauses in this accusation is true, and it involves Carvel. Yum. Otherwise, send him regards from my own very healthy and monogamous relationship. Cheers.
Before we part, I leave you with the most important message: Trust your gut. If you’re feeling off, explore it until you feel better. I could go on, but you have a boyfriend to dump, right? Happy travels.