What women want and what’s good for us are often two different things. Too often, men with these destructive habits make the cut when they should be out on the curb.
My friends and I used to chat endlessly about what women want and how infuriating it is that guys don’t have a clue. Looking back, I realized it was us without the clue. I was in this on-again off-again relationship with a guy I knew was also seeing someone else, my BFF was with this total slacker who was still living with his mom, and my other friend was clearly with her boyfriend because of his fancy car, ginormous house and his talent for picking up her (expensive) bar tab.
Does any of the above also describes yourself and your friends? There are times when what women want in a guy ends up vastly contradicted by who we’re ultimately attracted to, and I can’t figure it out. If guys came complete with a list of destructive habits on their lapel, we’d probably steer clear. But often what initially attracts us to a man will be the undoing of a relationship.
“I like a man to be a man, and I guess a lot of those qualities could (and do) fall under ‘destructive,'”says Forbes writer Larissa Faw. “There definitely has to be some edge.” It’s hard to know when to draw the line – you know, especially since we keep moving it. What women want and what we sometimes settle for are two totally different things. Not to pull a Bradshaw, but I can’t help but wonder: How much edge should one woman take?
Below are 9 of the most common destructive habits known to man (literally). How many have you fallen for?
He’s good-looking, flirty, charming – and he’s dated all of your friends. “He seems attractive to you because he’s ‘unavailable’ and always keeps you guessing,” says psychotherapist and relationship expert Kimberly Moffit, who warns his destructive habits will catch up with him eventually. “He won’t enjoy the satisfaction that a long-term relationship can give.”
Employment is hot and so is he. He’s successful, popular, and those suits – sigh. “Yet, he won’t really have time for relationships or families in the way you’re probably hoping,” says relationship expert April Masini. In other words, work is his wife, and you’re kind of… well, the mistress.
The Big Spender
When it comes to what women want, financial security can be a red herring. Big spenders seem great on the outside, but are usually a lot less wealthy than they appear. I mean seriously, what are they trying to prove (or hide) with all that stuff? If your big spender’s not a big earner, just think: When you get married, you’ll inherit half his debt. Isn’t that adorable?
He’s gorgeous, but the problem is he knows it. Between fluffing his hair and checking his angles in every mirror he passes, it’s amazing he even knows what you look like. He’s even less likely to compliment you on it.
The Energizer Bunny
He’s the fast-driving, cliff-diving, plane-jumping risk-taker who has an annoying amount of energy. While this is attractive at first, as he gets older, his need for speed won’t ease up. “At the age of 50, this guy will still be trying to find his fun ‘fix,’” says Moffit. Not only will you never find a sense of stability with him, you’ll end up napping more than your cat.
The Control Freak
“He might seem manly and in charge, but if he’s checking your e-mails, voicemails and making you change your clothes because you didn’t wear what he picked out for you, buckle up,” says Masini, “This isn’t going to get better for you.”
You justify his douchey behavior because he’s been through a lot and doesn’t know any better. Plus, when he turns back into Dr. Jekyll he’s so sweet and you have the most amazing time together. Barf. “Rather than him being gushy with or rude to you all the time, the random positive attention keeps you interested in the relationship,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness.
Paging Chandler Bing: “This guy’s perfectly fine with being in a ‘sorta’ relationship with you, but when it comes to doing anything suggesting a long-term commitment, he flies the coop,” says Moffit. The is one of the destructive habits women always like to think they’ll be able to change–though it’s rarely true. This guy always finds a way to bail on occasions like Valentine’s Day and family get-togethers – even Christmas. (So why is it you’re not the one running again?)
Once known as the high school pot head, he’ll one day be living in a van down by the river – until then, he’s living at home with his parents and working temp jobs to pay for the latest video games. “You like him because he’s laisse-faire and easy-going,” says Moffit, “But as a result has nothing to bring to a relationship, and chances are he never will.” Oy.
What women want: Are we looking for too much yet not asking for enough? Tell us in the comments.
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25 Dating Dealbreakers and How to Spot Them
Image: Pedro Ribeiro Simões