In the 2003 movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Kate Hudson’s character Andie strings along Matthew McConaughey’s Ben in order to gain experience for an article she’s writing based on the movie’s title. Andie in turn takes Ben to romantic comedies against his will, gives him a “love fern,” and creates a very rough draft of what their future children would look like through the miracle of Photoshop — all in 10 days time, mind you.
While How to Lose a Guy is exactly the type of movie most men would groan throughout (and some hip-to-it women too!), the movie holds some truth about the female mystique. Women do a lot of things that drive men away, even when sometimes they are just being their high-strung, neurotic selves. The solution is for these women to find the right kind of man who will put up with these little idiosyncracies, and vice versa.
However, sometimes the things women do that bother men are signs that the relationship is doomed. Fear of change and ignorance often prevent men from speaking up for themselves, from raising their hand and saying, “Enough already.” Men and women alike will turn their heads at things their significant others do in order to pretend everything’s fine, when really they are settling for something they may not want in the long run (like an unreliable car that won’t get you to California when you have dreams of the West Coast). There are red flags a man shouldn’t ignore when thinking about whether both he or she is in it for the long haul.
1. She treats your pet(s) poorly.
She doesn’t have to be a dog or cat lover, but she should at least respect them as friends to you, just as she should respect your human friends. As “Man’s Best Friend,” your pet or dog was probably there for you long before the girlfriend entered the picture. If she has problems with your dog, she probably has problems with your friends as well. At some point, the discussion will come up: “Me or the dog?” The fact that she even will bring this point up is enough of a red flag to choose the dog because the next question she’ll ask you will inevitably be, “Me or your friends?”
If you do choose the girl over the dog, consider yourself officially neutered. Another good thing to remember is the way a woman cares for a pet or dog often simulates how she might treat your prospective children.
2. Sometimes, you just really hate her.
Sometimes all it takes is one little straw in a tornado to break through a brick. Suddenly, the little things she’s said and done all along bother you to the point where you can’t believe you are actually with this person. It could be a casual dinner outing where she talks down to your waiter as if he were invisible. Perhaps she treats people in the service industry so poorly that you get embarrassed any time you are out with her. If little things like this bother you, there could be more to these feelings of misgiving than simple irritation.
Maybe her beliefs and morals are just completely different than yours. While opposites attract, sometimes it’s backbone convictions and differences in being brought up that affect whether two people can make it work.
3. She doesn’t respect the rules of “Guys’ Night.”
You’re never allowed to do anything without a phone call from her or without you “checking in.” If she won’t let you hang out with your friends, then she obviously doesn’t trust you or respect your independence. You might be a part of a “couple,” but you are still a person, an individual who can do what he likes to do. If it’s cheating on said girlfriend, then that is on your shoulders.
However, anything other than cheating or criminal activity should be respected.
4. You still hold a torch for someone else.
If you enjoy your time with her, but still wish she was someone else (someone you used to be in love with), then you are definitely dating the wrong girl. And you shouldn’t wait another minute before letting this girl down gently and moving on. The worst thing you can do is lead this person on to the point where she thinks of your relationship as “serious” while you think of it as a holdover until the next one comes along (or the right one comes back). Listen to Patsy Cline’s “Why Can’t He Be You?” for further consultation on the subject.
5. She doesn’t abide by the rules in the following “car” scenario.
One simple trick will tell you whether she’s “the one” or not. All it takes is a car, two people, and one locked door. While automatic locks and car alarms might vary results of this test, it’s still a good litmus for a person’s worth. First, the man should open the passenger door for the woman, unlocking the door and helping her into the seat. Then, he should head over to his driver’s side door, fumbling with his keys to open his door. The man should struggle for a few seconds, whether it’s dropping his keys or losing track of which key unlocks the door (again, this test would work better on an older vehicle). If the woman unlocks the door for the man from the passenger side, she’s a keeper. If she sits there and plays with her cell phone, throw this one back.
At the end of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, it only takes a bad karaoke rendition of “You’re So Vain” and one cliched motorcycle chase to the airport for Andie and Ben to realize that they are meant for one another (after 10 days, nonethless).
Unfortunately, real life doesn’t always have endings like this, wrapped with a cute little bow and a Sixpence None the Richer soundtrack. In the sequel that never made it to theaters, Andie realizes she can’t stand Ben’s southern drawl and naked late-night bongo-playing, while Ben realizes Andie has a habit of making really bad romantic comedies.
Don’t ignore the signs, and instead listen to your gut instinct. If you are not completely feeling the relationship and would rather be alone than with the person you’re dating, then your instinct is probably right. You, above anyone else, knows what you need and desire. No one else can tell you exactly how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking. Once you are confident and strong enough to realize this, then you are one step closer to meeting someone who does understand you and can make you happy.