When my business partner (and twin brother) and I first started giving relationship talks, we noticed an interesting pattern. At every talk, without fail, a female audience member would ask, “why do I always fall for jerks?”
Soon, other women were volunteering their own “I dated a jerk”stories. It’s not surprising since most women have dated a jerk at least once in their past, and some are currently enduring the heartache that comes from being with one.
Since most jerks don’t openly announce their tendency towards bad behavior, many women fall for them before their true nature emerges. And, by the time she finally wakes up to reality, she might be connected to the guy through marriage and children (or even a shared prison sentence).
So, for women who think they’ve found the man of their dreams…
Here are three early warning signs that show, beneath the amazing exterior, you might be dating a jerk:
1. First, watch how he treats other people.
Especially in the early phases of the relationship, you’ll be seeing his best side. He wants something from you, and will be extra charming to get it.
However, you can get an indication of his true colors by watching how he treats others.
Is he nice to his family?
Does he even have a lot of friends?
If he’s in charge of something, do his underlings like him?
Does he treat hired help with respect?
How does he treat your friends?
These are all indicators of how he really interacts with others. Eventually, the “in love”feeling he has toward you will pass, and he’ll stop trying to impress you and treat you like everyone else. Make sure that treatment is positive.
2. Second, pay attention to red flags.
When humans are “in love”with another person, brain scans show that our brains’critical judgment centers become much less active. We literally are unable to see the flaws in our partner, a phenomenon called the “halo effect.” Take charge of your brain and look out for warning signs a guy might be a jerk.
If he seems to get caught in lies, brushes aside genuine questions about his past, treats you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared, even briefly, don’t ignore it. While you shouldn’t overreact, rationally address the red flags. They might be nothing. Or they might be your gut instinct telling you this guy is really bad news.
3. The third warning sign is to lookout for signs your partner has a tendency towards being controlling (and not the bedroom kind).
Most jerks are control freaks. In the beginning, he’ll likely downplay his controlling side, but, as with the other signs, he won’t hide it perfectly.
Usually it starts with requests like getting rid of your friends (girls and guys) and spending more time exclusively with him. While that might be a normal progression of dating, if he’s demanding you stop being friends with someone or insisting that you can’t hang out with other people, that’s a big warning sign.
Jerks will make it sound like you’re being controlled for your own good or his. For example, he might say a friend of yours is a “bad influence”or make you feel guilty by “leaving him all alone on a Friday night.”Don’t buy into this manipulation.
So, I advise you to examine your relationships to see if your boyfriend or that guy you are “falling for”is exhibiting any of these behaviors. While an attractive “bad boy”is fun and exciting at times, too much of that can be a problem, especially after a while. Being connected to a genuine jerk long-term is only a recipe for constant heartache and misery.