I used to be embarrassed about how much I’ve dated in my life. I used to wish I could learn lessons a different way—through reading a book, or talking to a mentor, or watching a friend do really dumb things. But no, I learned things the hard way, trying and failing, and trying again at the whole dating thing, hoping that at some point I’d get something right.
But I think there’s something beautiful to this, something brave and refining about trying and getting it wrong, and getting up the nerve to try again. Because as we try, and as we fail, we learn things we wouldn’t have known otherwise. We learn things about ourselves, we grow, and we begin to figure out what works, and also what doesn’t.
So while my experiences won’t eliminate your need for trial and error, I’m hoping today that they can help even just a little bit.
From my experience, here are the 5 guys you might not want to date:
1. The one who won’t commit
You’re talking to a guy, acting like you’re dating even, but no matter how much time passes, or what happens, it seems like he’s never willing to fully commit. Every time you talk about it, trying to super gently bring it up, he talks around it. He has reasons why you shouldn’t be exclusive, or even better, reasons why titles totally don’t matter.
And because you like the guy so much, or because you want the relationship to work so badly, you continue to wait. You wait, and you hope, and you settle for this weird middle ground where no promises have been made, and no accountability exists.
But it’s fine. Right?
The truth is that if a guy wants to be your boyfriend, he will be your boyfriend. People who want to commit generally do. Not only that, but you deserve someone who wants to be with you. You deserve someone who wants you to be theirs, who wants to make a commitment to you, who wants to be exclusive. You deserve to be chosen. Bottom line.
2. The one who your parents/friends hate
When we’re in love, we overlook truth, and bad behaviors, and red flags all over the place—we’re too busy looking forward to the next kiss, or the next date, or into his sweet blue eyes. But your friends and your family aren’t blinded by his smile or his baby blues, and so they probably have a more unbiased view of your beau and your relationship.
If your family and friends have some serious concerns, it’s worth looking into what they are and why. Chances are they might be right.
3. The Band Aid
Rebound relationships, in-between boyfriends, the guy you call when you’re feeling lonely—whoever he is, I call them all “the Band Aid boyfriend.” This guy is a great distraction from a broken or a lonely heart. He’s the one that makes us feel like we’re not alone, even if just super late at night when he comes over to cuddle.
Having a broken heart is brutal, and being single can hurt just as much, but neither of those problems are solved by having a Band Aid boyfriend. Because just like a bandage to a wound, it just covers up that broken place, it doesn’t actually heal it.
Instead of covering up your broken heart or your loneliness, dig into it. Allow it to teach you, grow you, help you become a better version of yourself. That way when a guy comes along you really do want to be with, you’ll be at a good place to do so.
4. The fixer-upper
A lot of us get caught up in this cycle:
We meet a guy and he’s great, but that statement is always followed by a “but.”
– He’s great but we don’t have the same beliefs.
– He’s great, but he’s not that nice to me.
– He’s great but, but, but…
Something my dad always told me growing up is that we should never date someone based on their potential, or our potential to change them. We need to date people based on who they are, right now, today.
Yes, people change. Yes, people grow. But nobody wants to be treated like a project, and you should be pouring your time and energy into someone you love as they are, not someone you could love if they were different.
5. The one who plays games
I can’t even write that phrase without the Backstreet Boys song coming into my head. But really, if someone is messing with your heart, or playing games with you, or dragging your heart around telling you one thing and then doing another and switching it up all over again, you truly deserve better.
The thing that caught my attention about my husband first was that he didn’t mess with me. He didn’t play games with me. He liked me and so he asked me out, and then he asked me out again, and again. There was no fear, no confusion. He was honest and direct about how he felt about me—you deserve that too.
So what if you are dating one of these guys?
If you’re dating one of these guys, my hope isn’t that you break up with them and feel heaps of shame that you did something wrong. Because I really don’t believe that’s true. Instead I hope you consider the relationship again, think about whether you’re dating one of these guys. If you are, take some time to consider if this guy is really best for you.
But as you consider this, remind “shame” that it doesn’t have a seat at this table. You haven’t done something wrong, you’re still learning—we all are.
Relationships are a life long adventure, and we learn something new every single day. If you learn the lessons this relationship can teach you, your future relationships will be so much better as a result.
P.S. Not long ago, a girlfriend asked me a question that I just can’t stop thinking about. She asked, “Having been married for two years, if you could go back and tell your single self a few things, what would you tell her?” I didn’t even have to think about it. I instantly knew the advice I’d give her — the advice that would have made that season so much easier and happier for me. And I would love to share that advice with you too!
Click right here, pop in your info, and I’ll send you the letters I wrote for myself when I was: In the worst breakup of my life, feeling totally unseen and unlovable, totally confused about a guy I liked, and wanting my single life to end so my real life could start.
I can’t wait to share these with you sweet friend. I hope they’re as encouraging, and as good for your heart as I know they would have been for mine!
P.S. Have a girlfriend you think would be encouraged by these too? Send her this link! The more the merrier!