Navigating the dating world at any age is difficult. We come into our own as teenagers, when many of us experience the first taste of what it is to go on a date. Perhaps your parents pick your date up and drop you two off at the movies. You hold hands and share popcorn. Maybe even share a smooch at the theater door before walking back to the parental units acting as chauffeurs. From there you blossom, each woman at her own rate, discovering what dating means to them. For the few lucky women out there, maybe college age or shortly after college, they meet their soulmate and begin a family and everything works out. Living in their version of happily ever after.
But what happens to the rest? Those who don’t find themselves in that picture-perfect narrative? Often women grow out of their college relationships once they move on to their adult life. Or they find themselves so wrapped up in their budding careers as young professionals that they forget to think about dating until their mid-to-late twenties. What about those who marry young, only to find themselves under the age of 40, divorced and newly single, having been out of the dating world for some time? Finding the right guy can feel like an impossibility. OK, so let’s manage our expectations. Maybe we should stop searching for Mr. Right, and search more for the right type of guys.
At the age of 25, I found myself single for the first time in years, living in the big city. I had no idea how to even begin dating, especially since everyone in my group of friends was either coupled-up or just that: a friend. I started to wade through the water of the land sharks that live in Charlotte, North Carolina, the type of sharks that can be found in pretty much any city in the world. So from my personal experiences, those of my girlfriends, and what my mama warned me about, here is a list of a few guys to avoid right off the bat:
1. The Bar Star
Ladies, you know hundreds of these guys. The guy who spends nearly every night of the week at the bar. Charlotte is a banking city, and most of the men work in the wealth management/financial industry, so they are likely making six figures and spending five of them on booze. The problem is that they are usually dressed in a pretty packaging, with false advertising. They offer to buy you drinks, shots, whatever. Make you feel like the queen of the party. All just to try to get you to come home with them. They usually have their go-to watering hole, but also bounce around from bar to bar to meet new prey! Beware! Most of the time these guys are non-committal, and are even possibly on their way to becoming alcoholics. It will be hard to change the bar-hopping ways of the Bar Star to a comfy couch potato who will want to cuddle more nights than not.
2. The Dating App Prowler
These guys are super easy to find. Download Bumble, Tinder, or whatever those apps are called nowadays, and there they are. The sad thing is that there might actually be some guys in this group who are worth consideration, but those few are hard to find because they are in mixed company. Most of these guys peruse these websites looking for hookups and really are not after much more than that. Sure, they might take you out on a date or two, but from what my friends tell me who use these kinds of apps to meet guys—they usually end up expecting a physical relationship pretty quickly. You may choose to steer clear of these kinds of situations altogether if you are looking for something meaningful. A healthy organic meeting of a significant other is a much better story to tell anyway! If you choose to swipe, listen to this episode of This Grit and Grace Life podcast first: Single? How to Thrive in the Online Dating World with Kristin Fry – 037
3. The Red Flag Guy
You start dating a guy and mostly everything about him is great… but there is just something off about him. Maybe you can’t put your finger on it. Maybe you get a glimpse of a short fuse that hides a real temper and you didn’t realize it until you are further into dating him. Maybe it’s the way he talks to his family. Or the way he takes care of his house or car. Whatever it is, trust your gut. There is usually a reason that we women get those feelings. If something feels off, it probably is. Why wait around and deal with the fallout? There are plenty of great guys out there. Don’t wait to find out what you didn’t want to know.
4. The Magic Man
A lot of young women fall victim to this type of guy. He’s exactly what he sounds like: made of magic. He comes in, sweeps you off your feet, and you feel like a fairy tale princess. Most of the time in this scenario, he can show you a side of life you have never seen before. There is an old Fleetwood Mac song, “Magic Man”, that comes to mind when I think of this guy. He’s usually nothing but trouble, and flashes money, social status, and a lavish lifestyle (all merely smoke signals in your face) to throw you off to the fact that those things are about all he is made up of. But just like the illusion of magic, this relationship is never what it seems and will likely end before you realize it, because Magic Men are often easily bored and will move on to their next unknowing victim.
5. The Flake
I dated this guy in Charlotte. Seems like a dream come true. Great family and career. Treats you like a million bucks. Opens the doors. Pulls out chairs at dinner. Introduces you to his friends. Always has his hand on the small of your back to make you feel comforted and secure. But then he disappears for a few days! Only to reappear for a few wonderful days… just to disappear again! Ladies, this guy is seeing someone else. I’m sorry. It’s the truth. As great as he may seem when he is with you, if he goes a few days without speaking to you, and offers no sort of explanation as to why he will be disappearing, he probably has someone else sitting in his dating dugout who comes out to round the bases every now and then. This guy has commitment issues and is not ready for a real relationship, as great as he may appear to be.
I know you are probably sitting out there, scratching your head, trying to think of a guy you know that doesn’t fit into one of these categories, especially if you are involved in the dating/social scene in a big city. Take comfort—there are some wonderful guys out there. Some of these guys who have glimmers of the types I warn you of will grow out of being bar stars and dating app prowlers and mature into amazing men. So for those who are still out there in the dating world looking for good men—Godspeed, ladies—and steer clear of those men your mama warned you about!
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You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Dating? What to Look for in a Man – 073