Last Sunday I settled into a chair on the balcony with a new book to read. It was around 5 o’clock and still incredibly warm out. I was excited to read my new book, the sequel to Caroline Kepnes’ 2016 novel, Hidden Bodies. I’m ready for you, Joe Goldberg! Bring on the crazy.
Moments later, my phone started buzzing — my mom was calling — she doesn’t usually call on Sundays. I picked up thinking I’d probably need a glass of wine for this.
I was right.
Our conversation turned into a 2+ hour-long discussion. My mom is fresh out of a 6+ year relationship. We managed to get lost in the topic of what attracts individuals to partners they know are simply not suitable for them and what it is that we should look for when ready for a serious relationship.
In the end, we came up with five types of individuals to avoid when single and ready to mingle.
The one who still doesn’t have their act together.
“He’s perfect, literally such a great guy, he’s planning on moving out of his parents’ house this fall . . . and then getting a job as an engineer. How awesome is that? I mean, he still obviously has to learn just how to be an engineer, but he’s so smart I think he will pick up on it quickly.” — Single friend looking for love.
How often have you fell for someone who has an excellent resume, but then you get to know them and realize it’s 85–95% inaccurate?
It’s easy to fall for someone who is a “work in progress.” You fall for them because you don’t see anything wrong with spending your time helping them achieve their goals. They just need a little help, you tell yourself.
A few years ago, I fell for a guy who seemed like he had his life together. He was a bartender at the restaurant I worked at, but he was also in college working towards his degree. He seemed great.
We started spending more time together, and then the inevitable happened. I found out he still lived with his parents, driving his father’s car, and that incredible degree he was so close to getting? It was just his AA. Nothing wrong with that, except that he made it seem like he was months away from becoming a neurosurgeon.
The late-night study sessions were gaming sessions with his buddies, and the reason he worked at the restaurant was because of the deal he made with his parents — free-rent in exchange for going to college and having a part-time job.
If you’re looking for something serious, go for the one who actually has their life together and is ready for the real deal. Stop wasting your time and let people that are a “work in progress” fix themselves.
The inconsistent one.
Consistency is my love language.
I love a man who says he’s going to do something and then follows through immediately. And not just that, but he continuously follows through with everything.
You know when you meet someone nice, you get to know them a little and everything about them seems great — they have good values, they’re ambitious, they have goals they’re striving towards, they dote on you, give you love and attention, etc. — but then as soon as you start dating, things start to slip?
Your partner who was so set on living a healthy lifestyle suddenly stops exercising, doesn’t give a second thought to their diet, calls out of work on a regular basis, bails on you to hang out with their friends, and when you asked them to do that one little thing they swore they’d always do they say yes of course baby, and then it never gets done?
If you’re looking for something serious, choose a partner that you know is going to be consistent. The way they go through their day-to-day life will give you a good viewpoint on that.
Having an inconsistent partner will only leave you in a perpetual loop of frustration. You know what they’re capable of, you know they’re great because you’ve seen it.
However, there’s only so little of it being offered to you that it drives you crazy. Avoid people like that, otherwise, you will literally spend the rest of your life wondering and wishing you didn’t open up that can of worms in the first place.
Inconsistency gets you nowhere, and the more time you spend with inconsistent individuals — the more it will rub off on you.
The “lost” one.
I met Jamie when I first moved to Los Angeles, he was handsome, and he complimented me on the book I was reading. Sometimes, I bring Jane Austen to cafes with me to see if this exact scenario will happen.
I wouldn’t say I was looking when I met Jamie, but I also wasn’t avoiding all eye contact, if you know what I mean. Jamie was charming, charismatic, and had many friends in show business he introduced me to, and I was new to town. I wanted friends.
The problem with Jamie was that despite being in his early-30s, he was extremely lost in life. He would rather walk the streets aimlessly instead of asking for help or check the GPS on his phone.
Being lost isn’t a bad thing; everybody needs time and space to understand who they are and what they want out of life.
However, if you’re spending all of your time waiting for an opportunity to fall from the sky, you’re not really lost, you’re just being lazy and wasting your time.
Being with someone who doesn’t have any clear-cut goals or aspirations can lead to relationship problems down the line.
If you’re thriving and your partner is struggling, you’ll be forced to constantly neglect your responsibilities to help them, which will result in a lot of pressure on you.
If you’re 100+ steps ahead in life, you shouldn’t spend the bulk of your time with people who haven’t even made the first step. It’ll only set you back.
The one who literally says they’re not looking for anything serious.
Save yourself the time and energy because if someone says they’re not interested right off the bat, they’re usually not lying.
You typically avoid this red flag because you think they’re just being closed off or they need time to warm up to you. Maybe they just got out of a relationship, you tell yourself.
In an article written by Ari Eastman on Thought Catalog, she interviewed 15 men on what they actually mean when they say they’re not looking for anything serious. The majority of the responses were something like this:
“I like you enough to occasionally get drunk and naked together. But I’m not telling my mom about you.” — Frank, 27
“It’s pretty simple. He’s not that into you. I’ve never understood why girls try to analyze something so clear. If he liked you enough, he’d want to be with you. He wouldn’t put up stipulations.” — Tristan, 31
“He wants to have sex with you but doesn’t imagine taking you home for the holidays. I’ve said this before (and had it said to me), and it’s the softest way of telling someone, ‘I don’t like you enough to want an actual relationship with you.’” — Dwight, 28
“He doesn’t want a future with you. Do yourself a favor and move on. It’ll end up as this never-ending cycle of wanting more, and him not willing to give more.” — Joe, 33
If you’re ready for a serious relationship, why on earth go for someone who tells you, they’re looking for the opposite? If you told yourself you wanted to lose weight and start a diet, would you go out and buy soda and burgers for meal prep? Probably not.
You want a serious relationship because you’re ready. You’re done playing games, you’ve got your life together, and you’re ready for The One to come into your life and sweep you off your feet.
If you’re with someone or interested in someone who is telling you they don’t want the same things that you do, believe them.
It’s okay; it’s not a lost opportunity — there’s plenty more fish in the sea.
The one who is out and about with everyone but you.
One thing I’ve dealt with and told myself I would never deal with again is my partner choosing other people over me, more specifically, choosing friends over me.
Everybody has a different relationship style when it boils down to it. You might spend every day with your friends while your partner is doing their thing, and that works for the two of you. Splendid.
If that’s not you, you might be more like me. I’m pretty introverted; I’m down for a good time with friends on the weekends, but I have work to do during the week, and as does my partner, so I would prefer whatever free time is left to be spent together without other people being involved.
In past relationships, I often felt left out because my partners never understood or liked that. My ex would often choose game night over date night, and if it was a group thing, I would still be excluded because I wasn’t a friend; I was just the girlfriend.
When you first start dating someone, the majority of the time their attention is fully devoted to you, and as time goes by — sure, they might spread that attention over to other things, but they should never make you feel neglected or in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place. A person’s actions will always show you where their priorities lay.
Bonus: The one who is over-controlling.
My best friend got out of a nearly 2-year relationship recently. In essence, she lived under his thumb. He refused to let her go anywhere without him, and when she did, it felt like she would come home to world war 3.
This happened extremely slowly; at first, it was texts and a few phone calls while she was out with dinner with friends. Next came the angry texts and the unending phone calls.
Eventually, it got so bad that even when she would visit her parents, he would show up unannounced and ask why he wasn’t included.
This is the type of person you need to run from immediately and avoid at all costs. This type of person does not love you nor respect you. Save yourself the stress, frustration and don’t even give this one a chance.
You’re ready for love right now, and that’s incredible. You’re done dating casually, you want to feel real and authentic love with someone.
Don’t let yourself be drawn to the wrong individuals simply because you’re eager for it to happen.
It’s better to be alone and wait for the right person to come along rather than try to force something good to happen with the wrong one.