This blog post can be considered an extension of last month’s topic, ‘excusing bad behavior” which focuses on the fact that women make a lot of excuses for the guys they date in an attempt to ‘understand’ why their man isn’t more proactive in the relationship or why he doesn’t call, cancels dates, disappears, etc….  Women believe that if we are supportive and understanding, eventually the man will realize what a ‘catch’ he’s got and become the partner that we want him to be…a diamond-in-the-rough, if you will. Our hearts are in the right place, but we usually end up getting burned because it was never about the man needing nurturing and understanding; it was about him not being emotionally able to ‘show up’ and be a loving, giving, participatory partner.

(To read last month’s blog, click this link.)

If you want a man who is ready, willing, and able to help you build a mutually satisfying relationship, you need to be able to spot the guys who are never going to be that man. This blog details two of the main reasons why your partner may not be ‘stepping up’ in the relationship and what that looks like.

One cause of non-committal is the ‘there might be something better’ syndrome, which is fueled by the fact that at any given time, one can go to a myriad of dating sites and scroll through literally thousands of faces and bodies, all of which are only a mouse click away from contact. This makes it difficult for some guys to focus on only one woman and commit to one relationship. The problem is that if you don’t ring all his ‘bells and whistles’, he is haunted by the idea that the next pretty face might be a better ‘fit’, so they go from woman to woman (or profile to profile) thinking that maybe this one, is the right one – the one who will be EVERYTHING that they want. When these men run into challenges or conflict in their relationship, the belief that there is someone ‘better’ will cause them to walk away instead of working things out.

THE SIGNS: If you’ve been dating someone steadily for more than a month and you feel that things are moving in a serious direction, yet he is still an active member of dating sites, you need to have a conversation. Being serious about one relationship and maintaining an active dating profile are mutually exclusive; you cannot do both. If someone is serious about you, he will want to get off the dating sites as soon as possible…unless he’s a ‘player’ or caught in the ‘there might be something better’ illusion, and neither of those is going to provide you with the long-term relationship that you seek. A man who is always on the look-out for something better, will never be satisfied with what he has.

Another mixed-signal sender is the emotional manipulator. Ladies (and gents), I strongly believe that a person will show his/her true nature very early in the relationship and if he/she is a manipulator or emotionally disordered individual (think narcissist or sociopath), they will test your personal boundaries and self-esteem via small acts of crappy behavior – just to see how much you will take and how much you will allow. It’s very easy to test the boundaries of another person and to find out how much self-love and self-worth they possess.

THE SIGNS: How do you test someone’s self-esteem? Simply do and say things that a person with healthy levels of self-esteem and self-confidence would never put up with, and sit back and watch what happens. An emotionally healthy person will immediately react and inform their partner that the behavior is unacceptable and it must never be repeated. If it is repeated, the emotionally healthy person will walk away – no negotiation. This is a person who knows what he/she will and will not accept in a relationship and they have no problem maintaining their boundaries. If boundaries are crossed, they leave because their needs were ignored and discarded.

A needy person with low self-esteem is unable to maintain healthy boundaries and will cut their partner all kinds of ‘slack’ in an effort to hold on to the relationship – no matter how dysfunctional, and an unhealthy partner will take advantage of that. If you tell your partner that you will not tolerate lying, and your partner tells you a lie and gets caught. Do you forgive or do you walk away? You may forgive once, but if you continually forgive and stay, your partner quickly learns that your threats are empty and you are too ‘needy’ to walk away when your needs are disrespected. This throws the door to bad behavior wide open because all the manipulator has to do is feed you some lame excuse and beg you to stay, or promise to ‘change’, and you will continue to take the abuse because you don’t have enough self-love and self-esteem to leave. Boundaries are crucial to a healthy relationship and both of you must respect the boundaries of the other.

The simple truth is that if you want a long-term, healthy, and stable relationship, you must walk away from anyone who does not meet you at that starting line with that same goal. It doesn’t matter why they are unable to be emotionally and physically there for you; the ‘why’ is irrelevant and it has nothing to do with you. You know what you want and need – don’t settle for anything less.