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Men Behaving Badly: When to Put Your Foot Down
The beginning of my misadventure...
I once agreed to go out on a date with a man I had met at my local library. When I first met him, he seemed rather sweet and he wasn't bad looking either, though he was by no means handsome. He had a “blue collar” look about him which wasn't particularly impressive; nevertheless, since I am more interested in a man's heart than anything else, I decided to consider the idea of dating him.
He mentioned that he had been a military man and that he often visited this particular library after looking in on his aging mother. He seemed like a truly genuine person. Prior to leaving the library, after our first meeting, he handed me a folded note asking me out to lunch or dinner. He included his phone number. Three days later, I called him with the hope that he might be a nice man to get to know.
I felt an inner twinge that this guy was trouble.
The first time I called---No answer. When I first heard his voice mail message, I remember feeling a twinge of something "weird." All it said was, “Leave a message,” spoken somewhat gruffly. No name. No phone number---nada. "Okay," I thought, maybe he’s the private type or the strong silent type. No need for concern. I’m not into strong silent types in general, as I much prefer men who are open and friendly. But hey, why not keep an open mind, right?
He called me back later that day. We had a truly nice conversation. He seemed like a decent guy, but....there was one thing that was “off.” He mentioned how he believes that partnerships are 50/50 and how the last woman he had dated, long-term, was “selfish.” “Uh, Okay," I said. I figured we could explore this “50/50 selfish thing" another time, once we got together for lunch. I made the decision to tuck this nugget of information away for future reference since there was something about his bringing up selfishness that bugged me. In any event, we made plans to speak again the following Tuesday at noon, since I had family plans until then.
I didn’t have to wait long before more clues into this guy’s true personality came to light.
He didn't call when he said he would.
Remember---he had promised to call Tuesday, at noon, to make lunch plans. Instead, I saw him at the library just before noon. He smiled, but left soon afterward without saying goodbye. Hmmm. He then called me later that day, at 2:30 pm, yet he did not leave a message. Strange. I chose not to call him back. After all, he hadn’t left a message about our having lunch.
Nevertheless, because I am a reasonable person, the next time he called I decided to communicate my feelings about his not calling at noon, nor leaving a message when he called at 2:30. I simply told that it is important to me that he call when he says he will call and that I view calling "on time" a form of respect. He agreed, but further stated that he had called earlier on that Tuesday, but that his calls do not always connect when he uses his cell phone at the VA, where he had an appointment for his weekly physical therapy that day.
I then replied that there were no missed calls on my cell phone, reminded him that he had seen me at the library and that he could have said something to me at that time. I left it at that. I decided not to throw in the towel even though my instincts were telling me that this man was not reliable. I told him we could make plans for another day.
He called a few days later. During the course of the phone call, he revealed that he is a very affectionate person who loves to hold hands and kiss. Once again, I began wondering why he was telling me this before we’d even had a date. I had an uneasy feeling in my gut, which was further amplified by his asking me if I’d like to have dinner with him at a casino in a nearby town. He said he would pick me up at 6 p.m. I told him that I always drive my own car on first dates and that I preferred to have lunch--not dinner.
This was another red flag. I had already mentioned to him during our very first phone conversation...and quite clearly at that, that I always drive my own vehicle on first dates. Nevertheless, he had chosen to ignore this information (which most people understand to be a basic rule of thumb for first dates). My other concern was that the casino was a good 40 minutes away from my home.
By this time, I figured he was hoping to make a late night of it at the casino and “why drive home all that way when we could just spend the night.“ Of course he didn’t say so, but my gut told me this was his plan. Also, in an earlier conversation, he happened to mention that he had coupons for free meals and hotel stays at the casino. I put two and two together and figured where he was going with this and thus decided that there was no way I was going to be his cheap date, much less his sexual partner at this early juncture.
He wanted me to be his cheap date? I don't think so!
But once again, I gave him another chance to redeem himself. (I KNOW! Shoot Me!) After all, he hadn’t done anything absolutely awful, though his dinner suggestion showed a lack of awareness or something..... Anyway, I decided to give this guy one more chance to act like a gentleman instead of someone who was only interested in taking me for a “test drive.” By now, I had serious doubts about this guy and was basically “turned off.” However, for the sake of thoroughness, I decided to communicate my feelings even more clearly (that is not to say that I hadn't already tried). Anyway, I figured further clarification on my part might be the way to get this man to get a clue. I gave it my best shot. We practically had a knock down, drag out fight---verbal, of course. (No, I did not resort to foul language.)
However, even after all of that, this man apparently understood nothing about basic manners and decency, even though he claimed to understand fully!
In total, we had about a dozen conversations, many of which were pleasant enough. For example, he told me that he attended church twice a week and that he visited a local "holy" site every three months. He further stated, "I've thought about you every day since the first time I first saw you." “I believe we have so much in common.” "I find you very attractive.” "I like everything about you." Yet, in reading between the lines and noting that he almost always failed to call when he said he would, my only choice was to surmise that "talk is cheap," and that he'd rather bed me than properly date me.
Right around his fifth call, he actually asked me if I would be interested in going to a bed and breakfast with him for the weekend!! Huh? I couldn't believe it!! I told him in no uncertain terms that I do not have sex with men I hardly know, much less on first dates and that, "I respect myself too much to do so." He assured me that he understood and that he “doesn't sleep around either”
The guy was clueless.
"Excuse me? You want me to do what?"
Never before had I encountered a man who was so blatantly disrespectful of my feelings—not since I was in my 20’s (a long time ago). Apparently, this man honestly felt that he was entitled to sex on a first date. I can honestly say that I believe he was still carrying around some serious baggage from the last woman who was supposedly “selfish” and who allegedly didn’t understand the meaning of 50/50. This guy was beyond ridiculous. Seriously.
By this time, you may be wondering why I even gave this man a chance in the first place, and I can’t say I blame you. In truth, I usually have good instincts. In fact, I did have misgivings about this man, beginning with our first telephone conversation, when he stated, “This is 2014 and everything is 50/50." I deduced this may be code for “It’s OK to have sex right away, since we are no longer stuck in a 50’s mentality and therefore, women no longer require being courted, besides which, I am not into taking the time to pursue women.”
Believe it or not, I did have this thought or something similar early on, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt anyway.
As it turned out, I my gut had been dead right all along. This man had no basic sense of reality, not to mention etiquette or decency. None whatsoever! Furthermore, he couldn't have been more wrong about the whole 50/50 thing. I mean, how can a couple even begin to keep count of who is doing what? Are they supposed to make a list of Do's and check then them off until they reach the required number? How unromantic. Real life just doesn't work that way.
This man, whom I almost dated, was not at all a good man. He hid behind a thin, albeit very thin veneer of altruism and goodness which was entirely manufactured.
Just say "No."
Honestly, with very few exceptions, I have always made a habit of saying "No thanks" to men who act like idiots right off the bat. I can only surmise that something in me wondered whether I had always been too hasty to pass judgment on men in the past, and so I thought I would give polite and clear communication a chance---even with this apparently clueless man. However, I learned that my graciousness made no difference with this man. If anything, he was further emboldened to ask for more! In fact, this unbelievable man actually called one last time to say that he “realized what kind of person I am and that he was no longer interested."
His message was almost laughable. Here was a man who was so self-centered that he seriously thought I was the one with the problem. What a creep.
I can see why so many women suffer from discouragement in the world of dating. If you spend enough time around enough men like that, you will most certainly begin feeling badly about yourself. Egocentric men are highly manipulative. They can make you feel as if you are not doing your part, unless of course, you are willing to compensate them with "uncomplicated" sex.
Make no mistake; a selfish man will erode your self-esteem even if you had entered into the relationship with a secure sense of self worth. Within a short amount of time, it's as if his egoism steals a bit of your spirit---and that is exactly why these men need to be avoided like the plague. Your spirit isn't up for sale and no one has the right to tamper with it.
To pay or not to pay?
Three-quarters of men say they feel guilty taking a woman’s money when she offers to chip in for a date, and about one half of women think the man should pay if his income is higher.
Researchers found that 16 percent of men say a woman owes him sexual activity in return for paying for dates, but this climbs higher in the case of younger men; 21 percent under the age of 25 believe in this kind of sexual quid pro quo. The less a man earns, the more likely he is to think that sex should be a payment for a date.
Roughly one third of women say that chipping in for a date lessens the pressure they feel to have sex with the man, although only 22 percent of women under the age of 25 feel that way.
Confident women are no more immune to being fooled (initially) than anyone else.
While I was thankful for the experience I gained in dealing with this horrible man (because it helped me to understand what so many women are experiencing in dating these days), at the same time, I felt discouraged. Something about this experience had poked a little hole in my self-esteem and I hated the way it felt.
On the other hand, it was encouraging to know that being “nice” to men who aren’t particularly nice themselves is not only a waste of time, it is also demeaning. Thus, the point was driven home to me how important it is to keep listening to my gut and to continue to use a man’s actions as a barometer for understanding who he really is, rather than who he claims to be.
I further learned that no amount of graciousness will help you when communicating with a self-centered man. The only thing these men "get" is your firmly putting your foot down by either calling them on their bad behavior or by simply letting them know that you know where this is going and that you're not even remotely interested. In every instance, women must walk away from disrespectful men.
All too often, when the arrogant man says he is into equal rights, what he is really saying is that he believes sex should come easily to him (that's his version of equality) and that women who insist on being treated like real ladies suffer from feelings of entitlement. That's pure garbage. The truth is the exact opposite---courtesy is always required for any healthy relationship.
The following is a list of four important pieces of information to keep in mind if you are dealing with a man who disrespects women:
1) Nip his sexual innuendos in the bud.
To my credit, I did ask this man to clarify himself when he began talking about his “affectionate nature.” Needless to say, he denied that he gets physical on first dates. Yet the truth was that sex was the only thing on his mind. Consequently, if a man begins talking about affection and/or sexual matters right away, just know---he will be a problem. Such men do not respect women’s feelings. Frankly, they just don't get it. You must put your foot down with them and let them know you are not interested in discussing these matters so early on in the game. Frankly, he has no business “going there.” If he is more interested in your body parts than the whole of you—that is not OK.
2) Do not ignore your feelings of anger if he does not call when he said he would.
Your feelings are telling you that something is wrong. Since you've done nothing but expect to receive a call in a timely fashion, LIKE HE SAID HE WOULD DO, you are right to feel miffed. In saying or doing nothing, you are allowing this man to do more of the same. At this juncture, you have every right to let him know that his not keeping his word is a deal-breaker.
3) A real man does what he says he is going to do.
If he fails to utilize even the most basic manners in his dealings with you, then you are free to move on. You are not required to “talk” or “be reasonable.” He doesn’t understand reason. He only understands getting what he wants—namely sex, and with very little effort at that. If you encounter such a man, just say goodbye. If you have already given him your phone number, ask him not to call again.
4) Always put your foot down when men act badly.
No woman should allow herself to be compartmentalized into nothing more than a few body parts. Women are so much more and we must never be afraid to say so. In dating, it is always smart not to have sex until you are ready. A man who isn't interested in taking the time to know you will not stick around anyway. He is too lazy, tired, or self-centered to take the time to actually date you, much less treat you like a lady. Just like the man I almost dated, he will do the disappearing act as soon as he realizes he is not going to get what he wants. That's fine. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Frankly, if more women would say, "No" more often, men might begin to realize that they have to put some effort into dating. And by the way, forget the 3-date sex rule. That's just some random rule someone created which has no merit whatsoever.
Have you ever had a man you hardly knew ask you to spend the night on a first date?
Let him know and let him go.
My point is this: If you get a bad feeling about someone you are dating or have just met, do not ignore your feelings. Your intuition is there to help you. And again, I cannot stress how important it is for women to wait before having sex with a new partner. Waiting to have sex is the single most effective way to determine whether a man really cares about you or not. The man I almost dated realized he wasn’t going to get anything from me, so he left of his own accord. He showed me who he was—a weak man who is has no idea how to treat a woman.
No one should excuse the man who acts badly. If a man refuses to treat you well, he is not worth your time or your graciousness. Of course, not all men act this badly, but if you encounter a man who behaves like an idiot, your responsibility is to "let him know and let him go." He has, in effect, forfeited his right to enjoy your body---ever. Furthermore, you have every right to let him know that.
The truth is, selfish men usually remain selfish unless a dramatic life changing event occurs in their lives to possibly knock some sense into them---but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. Your reason for speaking up (if you choose) and letting him know a thing or two is for your benefit, not his, since he has little or no understanding of basic decency. In putting your foot down and speaking clearly and articulately, you are restoring to yourself that bit of self-esteem that he stole from you. After all, every woman is responsible for nourishing her soul and this is most easily accomplished by saying something, anything, even a simple, firm "goodbye and don't call again."
Honor yourself. Honor your gut feelings. Read between the lines. His actions will tell you everything you need to know. Always remember that if he is respectful, then and only then does he have the right to spend time with the special woman that is you!
© 2014 Yves