One of the things i do as a therapist is work with single women who are interested in finding lasting love and partnership—for many the holy grail of the dating quest. Of course, dating can be fun and rewarding, but my clients often describe it as an arduous experience that can go on for months—or years—leaving them no closer to their ultimate goal. (Please note that I’ve chosen to use the word “women” to describe partners in men, but it can be replaced to include all potential partners regardless of gender or sexual preference.)
What I’ve found in my work with women is this: Waiting for your man to appear can be a crapshoot. Settling with the wrong man breeds resentment, an urge to change that man or yourself, and the consequences of these choices strain true connection.
Conversely, women who actively say no to the men (and the characteristics in those men) they know they don’t want, rather than clinging in fear or insecurity or unconscious patterning, find what they are looking far more quickly and effectively.
Many articles have been written by women who describe how they should be loved, and the signs of a keeper.
Less has been written by men who understand the red flags of their gender.
The following includes a list of cautionary signs that, with the help of your “no,” can part the clouds and open the view to the whole partner you’ve been seeking.
To be clear, there is a difference between a man who can recognize and work on his shortcomings, and one mired in his own illusions, incapable of little change. Should a man take responsibility for his defects, making visible steps to improve, please exempt him from the following list—except in the case of abuse of any kind.
So here are 10 powerful signs its time to show your man the door. Choosing to ignore them is, in effect, choosing not to find the loving partner you are looking for.
- If he stops doing what he needs to create his own happiness and fulfillment and places that responsibility on you, you deserve to be more than a distraction. You deserve the joy he derives from his life which overflows toward you, of which there is most often an excess. Men who derive their complete happiness from their partner may be fun, even flattering for a short while, but in the long haul you will suffer his dependency.
- His personal time is consistently more important than your concerns and frustrations. He tries to downplay your grievances through avoidance. Men who seek their own space, with little room for yours, have deep-seated challenges with intimacy. This is not something you can fix for them. Granted, alone time is essential for healthy relationships, but not at the expense of being heard, validated, and considered.
- He is unable to take responsibility for his actions and blames you for his shortcomings and faults. He has chosen to be a victim, rather than a lover capable of spontaneous and creative change. Victims tend to do worse in life when they have someone to scapegoat and project their undesirable traits toward. Let them go so both of you can blossom.
- He disappears for periods of time. Whether it be on the weekends or evenings or while he’s in the house but emotionally removed. A man who is sincerely into his partner will go out of his way to let her know what he is doing. If he needs space to process, he asks for it, and returns when he’s had his fill. Unpredictable men are hard on your emotional life.
- He lives off your finances and becomes mean or removes love when you suggest he gets a job, finance himself, or at least contribute. There are exceptions, but in general, if a passionless man lives under your roof and he’s looking for excuses to work less and sloth more, chances are you are being leeched. Yes he’s had a hard life, a tough family, and he’s easy to feel sorry for, but you deserve to have a functioning teammate who thrives with you during the long haul of life.
- He spends more time with his family, or talks to them, more than with you. Often, in these cases, the family unconsciously or covertly undermines the relationship. A man who has not yet spread his wings won’t have the breadth to cover you in times of need.
- He tries to convince you that you could never be better off without him. A man’s actions and spirit should be enough to convince you to stay. You stay because you want to, not out of any sense of lack. Love is not a game of supply and demand; it is something else altogether. A good man wants you to stay if you compliment him, and builds his life intricately, giving himself an optimal chance of fulfillment. In such situations, staying is second nature. If you don’t, then he is confident you and he will find a better match.
- He enables your addictions, stays quiet when others disrespect you, or agrees to have children with you when he has stated that he doesn’t want them. A man worth keeping respects you by respecting himself. He knows that good relationships take two healthy partners and holds that standard until it falls. If he can’t stand by what is healthy for him, even if you test him, then what can he stand for?
- After several trial conversations, he still tries to fix rather than listen, or turns the conversation to his own struggles without first acknowledging yours.
- Physical abuse of any kind. Mental abuse of any kind (gaslighting). Emotional abuse of any kind.
Learn to say no to these constraints early on. Use them as a field guide. Celebrate them, because they are working with you. The more nos you give, the greater probability you’re providing for a yes to arrive. Try it out!