Freudian Quips

Bringing things to a head

Men (and Women) Who Will Never Marry You—and Why

Know the warning signs.

***PLEASE NOTE: None of these "types" are unique to men. Women can also manifest every one of these traits and behaviors . . . I have used "he" for convenience, but these signs are not gender specific.

S/He’s Still in Love with his Ex. You can spot this one a mile away, Everything reminds him of her . . . and everything will, until he moves past that fantasied relationship. In the meantime, keep moving yourself.

S/He’s Commitment-Phobic. This one prizes freedom above all else. He sees commitment as a dirty word, and relationships as a net loss. He balks at having to share his space, his plans, his money, or his life. Never mind the pleasures of coming home to someone who loves him and whom he loves. The thought of having to be accountable or share decisions is more than he can handle. He’s hoping you won’t leave even a toothbrush at his place, so definitely don’t leave your heart here.

S/He Wants Perfection. He falls in love . . . often, with one woman after another, but inevitably finds a flaw and is disappointed. Deep down, he’s always on the lookout for a better option, feeling any commitment he makes to you, is a lost opportunity to find someone taller, thinner, smarter, blonder, younger, you-name-it. You’ll never be something enough as long as he’s looking for you to fill a hole in his self-esteem, which you can’t. While he’s eternally hopeful that some bigger, better deal will come along, you’ll be spending eternity waiting. Don’t.

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The Too-Devoted Dad (or Mom). Some men literally hide behind their child(ren) as a way of avoiding intimacy. His steadfast devotion to his kids may throw you off at first, as it is a desirable trait, right? Right. Unless and until you realize there’s no room for you in his life. If the kids always come first and you never do, it’s actually a distancing maneuver to keep you at bay. Get out of that bay; there are other fish in the sea.

The Forever Adolescent Party Boy (or Girl). He may be pushing 60, but he looks and acts 40 . He’s out clubbing all night with his (often much younger) friends, defying all adult stereotypes. He actually believes that the 20 year olds he meets are interested in his boyish charm and impetuous youth. And he’s flattered rather than alarmed by it all, but bells should be going off for you.

His/Her Heart Belongs to Mom (or Dad). Ordinarily, a good relationship with Mom bodes well, because it sets the stage for him to love a woman of his own as an adult. But, if he’s never separated from her apron strings, he doesn’t own enough of himself to give to any woman. Don’t think that you’ll be that special one-in-a-million who’s going to make him want to break that tie. I mean, stranglehold. And if Mama holds the purse strings, grab yours and run.

S/He’s a Bar Fly. This one ostensibly just needs a drink to loosen up before he can talk to women because he’s so shy. He may need a drink to loosen up more than his social skills, however; he may be an alcoholic waiting to happen. Don’t drink his Kool-Aid.

S/He Loves the Chase. These men are totally into you as long as you’re not into them. They are often smooth and romantic, right up until the moment they win your heart. In fact, he’s perfected the art of seduction. But as soon as you reciprocate his love, admiration, and attraction, it all fizzles. Puzzling? Yes, but put the pieces together and move on.

It’s All About Him (Her). This man may be a lively conversationalist, as long as we’re on his favorite topic: himself. He’s so busy impressing you with fascinating (to him) stories and tidbits about himself, he never gets around to expressing the slightest curiosity about you! Don’t miss this big red flag, just wave him goodbye.

The bottom line is that, If you’ve run into one of these types, you needn’t despair. There are many good men and women out there still. Just move forward, breathe a sigh of relief, and know you’ve dodged a bullet. Whew!

 

Valerie Golden, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Medical School and Clinical Psychology Program.

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