This won't come as news to women: Men aren't all that good about breaking up. Sometimes a man will half-heartedly try ("things just aren't clicking"). Sometimes a man will force you to make the first move ("well, if you think things aren't working out then"). Sometimes a man will stew in a bad relationship for years before actually having the guts to break it off. Why? For lots of reasons -- one of them being that many men, even if they don't like the relationship anymore, don't want to be immortalized (to you and all your friends) as The Bad Guy. Not an excuse, but it's what men tend to do. When you consider a recent national survey showing 21 percent of men say they're on the lookout for a better relationship while they're in a relationship -- then it's all the more important that women know the signs of a guy who's looking for the exit before he's even in the room.
Dump-worthy: He ignores
Not dump-worthy: He doesn't listen
There is a difference. The way I see it, the guy who doesn't listen is the guy who spaces out on TV when a woman is asking if he liked that night's chili. A guy who doesn't listen is a guy who forgets to cap the toothpaste despite the fact he's been told 12 times in the last six days. Annoying? Sure. Deal-breakers? No. On the other hand, a guy who ignores is the kind of guy who always puts himself first by ignoring the things that are important to you-like chronically forgetting an anniversary or birthday, or not asking how a doctor's appointment went, or choosing his golf game over her family get-together. Once in a while may be fine, but when it happens all the time, it means that his priorities don't include you.
Dump-worthy: He has two cell phones (one of which you didn't know about)
Not dump-worthy: He won't tell you his password
Oh, if I had the surefire formula for catching a cheater, I'd be using 100-dollar bills as napkins. While cheating is, in many cases, the obvious relationship-ender, the trickier issue is gathering up the signs that a guy is indeed borrowing sugar from the neighbor. I will tell you this: A guy who's protecting his e-mail password isn't necessarily cheating; he just thinks that there still should be some semblance of his privacy (plus, he's not too keen on you seeing the internet photos his co-worker buddy may have sent over). But when a guy hasn't told you about an extra cell phone, it's a pretty likely sign that there's somebody calling it who darn well shouldn't be.
Dump-worthy: He won't apologize
Not dump-worthy: He goes silent
A man who clams up during a fight or a discussion isn't necessarily just trying to make you mad (though some are). He's thinking, he's debating, and he's being cautious about what he says -- because he knows you're listening (and perhaps ready to pounce on his arguments). A guy will eventually open up, if you can give the issue some time to settle down, or even approach him in a setting where he's more comfortable talking (like the car). The real power play comes not from the silent treatment, but from a man who can't utter a "sorry"; that's not only a sign of stubbornness, but a sign he's not ready to give any ground. If he's not willing to show a little weakness early in the relationship, chances are it'll only grow worse as the relationship grows -- if it even gets that far.
-- as posted David Zinczenko
on Tue, Mar 20, 2007, 11:39 am PDT