Q & A Wednesdays: Is He Being a Jerk or Just Being a Guy?
I have been dating Tod for three months. For the first time in years, I feel a very strong connection; physically, spiritually, and intellectually. I love talking to him. He is exciting, thoughtful and fun. He gets me and I get him. With this strong chemistry comes fire and passion, mostly positive and sometimes negative. Every once in a while, he says or does something that makes me concerned about his character. For example, when we first started dating, I sent him a serious email, something I shared from the bottom of my heart. He sent me back a stupid, insensitive, crass, sexually explicit email that shocked me. I responded with humor, thinking he was just being a guy, but it stayed in my mind. There are other things he’s done that have me concerned about his character. How do I know the difference between a character flaw and him just being a guy?
You’ve heard of the book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, by John Gray? If you’ve never read it, the title pretty much speaks for itself. Men and women communicate differently and have different core needs when it comes to relationships. The more you understand about him, the better your relationship can potentially be.
One of the key ways that men and women are different in the courtship phase of dating is how we see each other. Men come to dating to find sex, and that can lead to love. Women come to dating to find love, and sex happens along the way. That’s an important thing to know.
Once you really embrace that, you can understand that when he whispers sexually explicit sweet nothings in your ear on the second date, he’s just being a guy.
When he comments on your online profile by saying he finds you hot, he might seem crass or off-putting to you, like he’s only interested in sex. And you’re probably right. He is interested in sex. But he might also be interested in you as a person, which matters most to you.
I’ve outlined below some ways to differentiate whether he’s being a jerk or just a guy.
Signs that he’s possibly a jerk:
1. He consistently cancels dates at the last minute with a lame excuse.
2. He doesn’t pay attention to you on a date, talking only about himself.
3. He talks about how everyone has wronged him in his life, from his ex to his boss, his kids to his parents.
4. He doesn’t walk you to your car after the date, or drops you off at home and doesn’t walk you to your door.
5. He judges you and criticizes you.
Signs that he is just acting like a guy:
1. He refers to your boobs, your butt, some body part that he thinks is hot.
2. He makes sexual advances on you on the second date.
3. He says something silly, which you interpret as childish and annoying.
4. He comments on another woman’s beauty in front of you.
5. He tells a stupid joke (probably sexual).
Here’s the thing: If he’s acting like a jerk, dump him. He probably won’t change over time, his character is flawed, and he’s not someone who will be a good boyfriend or husband.
If he’s acting like a guy, take a breath! You have the right to say how you feel. Do it in a straightforward but light way. It helps if you add a little humor. No accusations. Just say how his words effected you.
If he makes sexual advances and you’re not ready for what he wants, you can say, “I’m very attracted to you, too. There will be plenty of time for us to do _________. But for now, as long as we’re not monogamous, we can have fun doing lots of other things.”
The important thing is that you don’t embarrass him or make him wrong for being a guy.
You have what he wants: your body, yourself.
He has what you want: his warmth, love, affection, attention, humor, oh yeah, and his body, too.
If you want a man to eventually be in an exclusive relationship with you, hold off on giving yourself sexually to him until you have the commitment you are looking for.
Women often bend to a man’s needs without listening to their own first.
Trust me, a quality guy, one who’s not a jerk, will stay with you and respect your needs if he’s really into you. He’ll soon realize that he feels amazing with you, and will eventually want to be your boyfriend. You’ll have your needs met, and then it’s time to meet his (and your) sexual needs as well.
So, Lola, make sure that the behaviors you are witnessing are ‘man’ behaviors, not ‘jerk’ behaviors. Hang onto him if he’s a great guy who slips up sometimes and becomes a man-boy.
Dump him if he’s a man whose character is flawed.
I hope that helps!