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How to Succeed at Dating: 7 Toxic Habits That Women Should Ditch

Ms. Meyers sees single women making the same dating mistakes. She's sharing her insights for those with want to land a man and keep him.

7 Common Dating Behaviors That Repel Men

1. Asking for advice but never taking it.

2. Trying to change him.

3. Marinating in her problems.

4. Talking too much about feelings.

5. Being high-maintenance.

6. Giving the silent treatment.

7. Abandoning her own interests and hobbies.

Each of these habits that can drive men away is described fully below.

Men can get fed up with women who want guidance but never take it.

Men can get fed up with women who want guidance but never take it.

Can You Handle the Truth?

“Does this dress make me look fat?” It's a familiar question that a woman asks without really wanting a truthful answer. She asks it to get reassurance for her wardrobe choice or to fish for a compliment about her appearance.

The same is true when a single gal asks her girlfriends: “Why can't I keep a man? Why am I so bad at dating?" She's not wanting a well thought out, constructive reply. Instead, she's looking for unconditional support and comforting words from her posse: There's a lot of losers out there, It's them, not you, and Don't give up hope. Some day your prince will come.

As a confidant to many single ladies, though, I'd love to tell them what I really think without risking the loss of their friendship. I see so many of them making the same mistakes again and again. If they could accept the brutal truth and change their behaviors, these women would have guys entering their orbit and never leaving.

1. Asking for His Advice But Never Taking It

An astute woman knows that a man is flattered when she asks for his advice. She understands that most guys take such a request seriously and give it a lot of thought. Therefore, she’s careful to ask for his counsel only when she intends on listening intently and weighing it carefully. While certainly not obligated to take his recommendations, she’s respectful of his time, wisdom, and effort.

An oblivious woman, on the other hand, asks for her boyfriend’s advice willy nilly. Not mindful of the emotional energy that he’s invested, she ignores his suggestions time and time again. In the process, she insults, exhausts, and frustrates him. In fact, clueless gals such as this have even earned an unflattering moniker: askholes.

Today, savvy guys have caught on to these askholes and avoid them at all cost. They realize that they’re often drama queens who ask for guidance as a way to get attention. As Glenn Stok details in his article, “Five Reasons Why People Don’t Listen to Advice,” these folks who seek guidance but never take it can cause untold grief. A wise man knows that being in a relationship with an askhole will never bring him peace.

An askhole is basically a person who asks for your opinion or advice, yet never uses your advice and does the opposite of what you said to do. Askholes sometimes ask questions for the sake of asking questions or making conversation. They zone out when you supply an answer, and they always end up doing their own thing. They sometimes will even ask the advice of multiple different people so they will eventually come across an answer that best suits what they want to hear.

— Saskia Whitelock, blogger

2. Trying to Change Him

A secure woman accepts a man “as is” with no intentions of changing him to fit her needs. She’s confident in her ability to choose a partner who’s a suitable match. Moreover, she’s strong enough to walk away from a guy who’s not a good fit, even when it’s hard.

A less confident gal, though, gets attracted by a man’s potential. She dreams of molding him into what she desires. She might, for example, imagine turning a laid back dude into an ambitious businessman who'll earn big bucks. She might envision turning a guy’s guy into a sensitive soul who will talk for hours about his feelings. She might fantasize about transforming an extrovert, who loves to hang out at bars and go to parties, into a house-husband who only wants to be with his wife and kids.

This, however, is bound to fail for two significant reasons. One is the cliche that says you can only change yourself, not another person. Two is that a man wants to be loved and appreciated for who he is. When he discovers that his lady-love sees him as a fixer-upper, he understandably is wounded and insulted. Not wanting to be anyone’s pet project, he looks elsewhere for unconditional love and acceptance.

Therapist Terry Gaspard details these issues in “10 Reasons You Need to Stop Changing Someone.” She sums it up best in writing: “trying to change someone is deadly to an intimate relationship.” A shrewd man understands this and will walk away when realizing that his lady-love wants him to be different.

There is nothing wrong with encouraging someone to be the best they can be or helping them see other options. But no guy wants to have his 'mom' tell him what to do and what he’s doing wrong. Acting like his mother makes him feel like he’s not good enough.

— Jason Treu, blogger and life coach

3. Marinating in Her Problems

Many women have at least one girlfriend who has problems that never seem to get resolved. Her issues, in fact, may drag on for weeks, months, or even years. Whether she's engaged in an on-going battle with a coworker, an unending conflict with the landlord, or a festering dispute with the neighbor, she leaves everyone baffled because her ordeal never comes to a close.

However, when her close girlfriends take a step back, they realize that these problems have become central to her identity. She discusses them with anyone and everyone who will lend an ear. They make her feel special because others are investing in her and her dilemma. They understand this and, therefore, will continue to listen and empathize.

Many men, on the other hand, don't get this at all. They're problem-solvers who strive to eradicate issues from their lives and the lives of others. Therefore, listening to someone discuss a complication that never gets fixed is beyond maddening to them.

In "How Gender Differences Make Decision-Making Difficulties," Dr. Susan Heitler warns that a woman's on-going predicaments can frustrate the man in her life. She writes, "when men address a problem, they tend to head straight for the finish line. They view success as finding a solution, preferably asap." When their gal's difficulties never go away, guys see this as a personal failure. They eventually get discouraged, give up hope, and look for a different situation where they can be of more use.

Men are problem-solvers who want to eradicate conflicts, not embrace them.

Men are problem-solvers who want to eradicate conflicts, not embrace them.

4. Talking Too Much About Feelings

Many women love talking about feelings, whether their own or others. Their delight in speaking about the inner world is unsurprising given that research shows how skilled they are at doing it. According to a University of Montreal study, females have a superior ability to understand emotions and read facial expressions compared to their male counterparts.

Therefore, a sensitive and enlightened woman knows that she’s at an advantage in this arena but doesn’t lord it over her man. If her boyfriend can’t go toe-to-toe with her in this arena, she doesn’t think any less of him. Instead, she accepts his limitations and saves these conversations for her girlfriends, mom, and sisters.

A foolish woman, on the other hand, weaponizes her advantage. She pummels her guy with emotional insights, leaving him battered and defeated. It’s a miserable experience for him, one he can’t imagine enduring for a lifetime with her.

5. Being High-Maintenance

Being high-maintenance is the surest way for a woman to scare away a suitor and end a budding relationship. While initially attracted to such a gal with her perfectly manicured nails, coiffed hair, and exquisite wardrobe, he quickly discovers that she’s way too demanding and way too much work. He knows that he’ll never live up to her lofty expectations. Moreover, he knows that he’ll never make her happy and, quite frankly, doesn’t want to try.

Kara Oh is the author of a book that I highly recommend to any woman who’s struggling to keep a fella. It’s entitled: Men Made Easy: How to Capture His Heart Forever. I’ve even given it as a gift to girlfriends who’ve expressed their desire to find a life partner but don’t know what they’re doing wrong.

Oh says that guys see a high-maintenance woman as a bottomless pit. They’d much rather be with someone who’s down-to-earth, easy-going, and flexible...even if she’s not nearly as stunning. She advises these women to abandon their rigidity and their need for things to be perfect. Instead, she encourages them to become more spontaneous. While guys find high-maintenance women exhausting, a gal who acts on the spur-of-the-moment is invigorating and fun.

In this video, a relationship expert explains how a demanding, high-maintenance woman scares off a man.

6. Giving the Silent Treatment

An insightful man knows that a woman giving him the silent treatment is a huge red flag. In a best case scenario, she’s merely immature and lacking self-confidence. Her communication skills are weak so she clams up, not wanting to say the wrong thing and make matters worse. Without an open and honest dialogue between them, the guy knows that the relationship is doomed.

In a worst case scenario, though, the gal is not a lousy communicator. Rather, she’s using the silent treatment as a weapon to punish her man. Andrea Schneider, a licensed clinical social worker, says that refusing to speak is a form of emotional abuse that’s frequently used by those with narcissistic tendencies. They shut up in order to manipulate, control, and demoralize their partners, leaving them confused, off-balance, and isolated. A clear-sighted guy knows that a narcissistic woman who weaponizes the silent treatment needs professional help and is someone incapable of being in a healthy relationship.

At best the silent treatment is an immature behavior used by spoiled brats and manipulative individuals.  At worst, it is a weapon used by abusers to punish their victims...Whether the person in your life is using the silent treatment immaturely or abusively, one thing is for sure, it is infuriating to receive; problems cannot be dealt with, conflicts remain unresolved, simple conversations are thwarted, and in the end, relationships employing this tactic become either toxic on nonexistent.

— Dr. Sharie Stines, counselor and educator

7. Abandoning Your Own Interests and Hobbies

When dating a guy, some women make the mistake of letting their interests and hobbies slip away as they become overly focused on the relationship. This, however, can result in them seeming less appealing, too clingy, and not as independent and interesting as they initially appeared to their guy.

According to blogger, Melissa Dixon, men find some hobbies that women do more attractive than others. These more desirable ones include running, fishing, archery, cooking, photography, and gaming. They like their ladies to partake of activities that keep them physically fit and promote their overall well-being.

What do you think?

Questions & Answers

Question: Why does he keep saying he wants it to work and then the next day says he's done with me?

Answer: There are many reasons why he may do this: he's emotionally immature and not ready for a relationship, he fears commitment and wants to keep his options open, he's impulsive and speaks before thinking, he enjoys playing with your emotions because it makes him feel in charge. The real question, though, that you should be asking is: Why do I put up with it?

It's always easier (and more enjoyable) to look at another person's “stuff” rather than shining the light on ourselves. It's a distraction from making the tough choices and doing the hard work that's necessary to build a meaningful life. Focusing on someone else stops you from starting the next part of your journey toward self-discovery.

Do you enjoy the emotional roller-coaster ride that you're on together? A lot of women do and would find their lives too boring without the drama. Are you consciously or unconsciously with this guy because you fear commitment/marriage? Is this man's erratic behavior emblematic of a pattern you have in romantic relationships? Are you choosing men to fix the past with your father?

These are some heavy-duty questions to ask yourself as you reflect on why you tolerate this behavior. If you want a commitment, it seems like you're wasting time with this man and need to move on from him. You certainly wouldn't want to be married to someone who behaves like this.

It's a good time to take a break from relationships and work on yourself so you'll be ready for someone who's more reliable. Focus on yourself. Take classes, read, study, exercise, and challenge yourself in new areas. Figure out what you want in a man and what you won't tolerate.

Question: Is it OK to see a guy who is already seeing someone because I believe it might work out in the long run?

Answer: No. Romantic relationships come and go, but your character, integrity, and reputation last a lifetime. You never want to sacrifice those for a guy. Whether it works out with him or not, it's too high of a price to pay.

Besides, why do you want to date a man who's willing to date two women at once? What does that say about him? What does it say about you? Perhaps, it would only be okay if he made it perfectly clear to both women that he was dating the other one and was not interested in an exclusive relationship. However, that doesn't show a lot of maturity or depth of emotion.

With that being said, there's no harm in being perfectly straightforward with this guy. You could say, “If you ever find yourself single, I'd very much like to go out with you.” He would be very flattered and appreciate your frankness. You could also add a few sentences about why you think the two of you would work as a couple.

Then, back off and see what happens. In the meantime, put your focus on meeting other guys. This one may seem especially desirable to you because he's unavailable. It's human nature that we covet what we can't have.

The former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, famously stated “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.” The older I get, the more this rings true to me. Dating a guy who's seeing another woman is not classy and not at all respectful of her. It teaches men the wrong thing about women.

© 2017 McKenna Meyers


Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on August 31, 2017:

You present a very good list of behaviors we all should try to avoid. They not only apply to boyfriends, but to all aspects of life. Even men can learn something from this list.

McKenna Meyers (author) on August 31, 2017:

Thanks, Bill. I think the women who need to read this the most won't. A person really needs to be in the right place - mentally and emotionally - to see their negative behaviors and change. It's not easy.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 30, 2017:

Well that was a fascinating read. Truthfully, I was going to skim through it, but you hooked me early on and then I couldn't stop. I love your blunt honesty. I wonder how many will take it to heart? Sometimes the hardest person to face is ourselves.

McKenna Meyers (author) on August 27, 2017:

dashingscorpio, you are the relationship guru and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. You're so right. One needs to be a strong, confident person in their own right so they can attract a similar mate. Don't go into a relationship thinking you'll change your partner or your partner will change you.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on August 27, 2017:

Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

The number one reason why relationships fail is because people (choose) the wrong mate for themselves!

Everyone has their own mate selection process/must haves list.

The goal is to find someone where you both can "be yourselves" and be love and appreciated for it.

Compatibility trumps compromise.

Most men initially look for three things.

1. Physical attributes (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder)

2. Easy going/approachable personality not standoffish.

3. Similar sense of humor.

Everyone has their own boundaries and "deal breakers".

Without a doubt there are women with one or a few of the traits mentioned who managed to not only hold onto a boyfriend but to have the man marry them!

There is no such thing as a "universal deal breaker".

Whatever you or I could come up with there are people living in relationships under those conditions who have no plans to go anywhere!

In a world with over (7 Billion) people maybe there really is someone for everyone! The challenge is to find them! :)

When we change our circumstances change.

However we must really want to change and not use "bait and switch" tactics to win someone over only to later reveal our true selves. That's another way to lose a mate!