This is article #53 to be published on the Get The Guy blog from my brother Stephen. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.
How do most guys feel about their past relationships?
Most guys will look into the distance wistfully, think “it was nice while it lasted”, and see those old girlfriends as little more than a faded memory.
But a few of his past loves will give him a violent, traumatic spasm upon their very mention.
Some relationships a man will carry around in his mind all his days, so harrowing are the memories of these soul-crushing experiences.
Every messy, traumatic, nasty relationship leaves an indelible mark on a man’s memory, each story carrying with it the same cautionary moral: “Never Again”.
Every guy out of his twenties has one or two of these bad relationships in the bank, those that make him shudder as he wonders: “How did I ever put up with that shit?” (The typical answer: He was young, naïve, inexperienced, and possibly horny).
He looks back and feels lucky to have escaped with a future and his optimism still in tact.
There are many types of traumatic relationship, but if you meet any man out of his twenties, he’s probably experienced of these women:
1. The Woman Who Made Him Her ‘Man-Project’
This girl wasn’t looking to find her perfect man, she was looking to build one.
By the third date, she was already telling him how to hold his knife and fork. She’d scrutinize his wardrobe, ‘advise’ him on which friends to hang out with, and wonder if he really needed that XBOX 360 in the apartment they shared.
Piece by piece, he watched the interests and personality he has built through his early twenties becoming slowly eroded and taken apart.
Then one day he snapped.
He broke out the house, jumped on a motorcycle, and belted down the freeway, the breeze on his brow, euphoric, as if he’d never tasted the sweet open air in his life.
2. The Boring Reserved Prude
He thought she was sweet. And she was.
He just hoped there was something else hiding underneath all that ‘niceness’. Something more dangerous, wild; a sex-kitten waiting to be brought out.
She wasn’t adventurous. She hated the idea of surprise. Everything had to be organized, to fit neatly together, EVERY FREAKING SECOND OF THE DAY.
The sex-life was a masterclass in missionary, and not much else.
She frowned at his sexual desires – she made him feel weird for wanting her physically. She made him feel uneasy about even kissing her neck when she chopped vegetables for dinner.
Man, was this girl cold.
This wasn’t the wild life he dreamt of.
He has a sudden urge to be in a sweaty nightclub with sticky floors, or a hot tub in Vegas with strippers.
Those things never appealed to him before, now he just wants a way to scrub the clean off him and be dirty again.
3. The Dreamy-Hippie-Idiot Girl
Directionless, thoughtless, and spontaneous in the worst way.
This is the girl that every guy initially thinks is his Zooey Deschanel-inspired nerdy comic book reading dream girl – except she turns out just to be needy, erratic, and utterly impossible to read when trying to figure out what mood she’s in at any given time.
She has no idea where she’s going, and latches on to him for her stability in life.
Every week she changes her mind about what her passion is, and the rest of the time she’s off in a dream world. She still thinks cigarettes make you look cool.
Luckily, he eventually comes to his senses and sneaks out of the relationship, but not without a lot of drama.
After the break-up, she starts posting moody black-and-white pictures of brick walls covered in graffiti on Facebook. Her profile pic is a photo of a random Baudelaire quote scrawled in red lipstick on the bathroom mirror.
He decides to block her and remembers to watch less Zooey Deschanel movies in his thirties.
4. The Ultra-Competitive Sparring Partner
This girl thought her sole job in life was to prove how little she needed him.
Every second was devoted to showing her independence, her strength, her intelligence and her success.
Did she even like him?
He doesn’t know.
She hates holding hands. Like it makes her seem weak.
He has no idea why she even wants a relationship with him. She said men were ‘intimidated’ by her, while she looked at them as little more than an accessory on her wrist.
Dating this girl was like running on a treadmill, constantly trying to prove a point that didn’t need to be made.
Now he’s just happy that these days he only competes with himself.
5. The One Who Knew He Was “The One”
This woman already had him placed in her ‘marriage box’ after a few dates.
She got him to meet her parents almost immediately. He felt unnerved because he wasn’t even sure whether he wanted a relationship or not.
Suddenly he’s in a relationship. He’s not sure how.
She’s annoyed because he hasn’t said he loves her, even though he has no idea what he feels yet.
She’s affectionate and completely loving, she tells him how she’s never met anyone like him. Ever. In her life. But now he’s scared. It’s like the relationship is on constant fast-forward.
She not-so-subtly reminds all her friends have already moved in with their partners. This is more than a hint.
He hits the pause button.
Ah, that’s better. Air. Breathe.
Now if he can’t just find where the rewind button is, so he can go back to his teens and warn himself about all the women he’ll never date again.
But the rewind button is missing. This tape just keeps on playing.
It finally dawns on him. In this world, the only way out is forward. Climbing out of your mistakes doesn’t mean reversing them. It’s much more messy than that. They accumulate and become a part of your ever expanding MP3 file.
But at least he knows he’ll never make those errors again. Or at least, that’s what he always hopes.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
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33 Replies to “5 Types Of Women In Relationships That Scar Men In Their Twenties”
I think this applies to women too… after all we all have scars from past relationships. If not, how can we learn?
Good article Steve.
Quite right Laura. I’m sure women could share a few horror stories of men from their twenties!
Thanks for commenting :)
Well.,iv met nice guys all along and just not quite right,or wrong timing,i love holding hands and guys kissing my neck when im doing dishes etc.but its just understanding men thats hard some need to become men and girls will hv quiet times too which can be romantic.xx
Sounds like the problem is the guy here. Nothing is quite perfect for him. “This one is boring. This one is too kookie. This one is clean. This one is a smoker. Ugh, now she wants a relationship?? But this one is so cold and likes her space. Wait, this one is super needy. And this one doesn’t need me at all!” what do you want, Stephen?
I thought this article would be about actual explosive realtionships. Things I’ve seen in real life that leave people running for a shrink or end engagements. You know, real devastations. But if a clean girl or a career driven girl is enough to “scar” a man these days… Then we really have no hope. Or this guy needs to live more and stop expecting a Stepford Girlfriend.
Also, with all the mentions of taking his motorcycle, running off to Vegas and partying with strippers, I can’t imagine this guy being quite the catch himself.
Women can’t be perfect, and it’s quite a burden when we are told we have to be everything for a specific Guy. Because we will date several guys in our life and none of them will be the same person. They will all want different things. Some don’t know what they want at all! It’s exhausting trying to be somebody else. To try really hard to please someone, do your best, and still be labeled as “scarring”. And here Stephen, your article sends mixed messages and even gets a little insulting. I think you should be grateful for every single girl who took a chance on you, not knowing that she was never good enough for you. “Omg she cleans?! Omg she LOVES me?? Run for the hills and party with strippers that I have to pay to talk to me!”
I’ve met guys who go from one extreme to another, calling girls everything from prude, crazy, slutty, needy, and you know what happens? One morning they wake up alone pushing 40 with no one to date, and even the casual sex they so desperately value is becoming more and more scarce.
The article emphasizes extreme behaviors that can be highly unpleasant. In moderation, each of the five traits is fine. In extreme, they are annoying not only for male partners but also for other women.
I don’t think Steve has experiences all FIVE or even most of such relationships himself. He and Matt work with thousands of men and women and get a fairly comprehensive picture of what works and what does not from each side’s point of view.
Great to hear from you Victoria – and spot on with your comment! I like to highlight extreme examples in articles like this, even if people only recognise a tiny part of themselves (or people they know) in these caricatures. You’re quite right: in small doses, none of these behaviours are v bad at all.
Hope you’re well,
I find that articles like this often get a response like this: “Nobody is perfect. Why do you get so picky about these tiny faults? Why don’t you just be grateful?”
First off, to your question: “What do you want, Stephen?”, I should say: the hypothetical guy in the article is not me, lol.
Sometimes in these blogs I write stories about me (and always point out when it’s from my own life). In pieces like this though, I am writing from a generic guy’s perspective and act as a mouthpiece for the stories I hear guys tell me about their relationship woes and complaints about different behaviours in women. I don’t judge them, I just like to share what guys say with you in my writing and not sugarcoat the truth. I doubt people would find this blog interesting if Matt and I just said what we thought people wanted to hear.
I hope it’s clear the article is not saying “You MUST be perfect to attract any guy”. Rather it just says “these behaviours/personality types taken to an extreme can send great guys running a mile”.
Like most great women I know who are a catch, great guys tend to be very picky about relationships. Great guys are turned off by both needy, overbearing women AND cold, prudish girls who don’t show them any affection. It’s true, this can make it difficult to know how to strike a balance. Luckily, there is a happy medium – the high value woman Matt talks about in his seminars and books and various programs – i.e. the women who is strong and independent, but also knows how to make her man feel wanted and be warm and loving. She can fall for a guy, but he has to earn his place in her life first. I think this is realistic – and I’ve certainly dated amazing high-value women who achieved this balance without being as you say ‘Stepford Girlfriends’.
Btw – the “scarring” thing is just tongue-in-cheek really. Very few relationships (except for the ones with actual HUGE real-life problems) are actually scarring for a guy. But for men and women, I think the mistakes you make in your early relationships do sort of stay with you. They give you a big reality check about what you definitely *don’t* want in a future partner, and inform your future choices. Everyone of course has different traits they instinctively run from and will be different. This article just covers a sample of the top few I’ve heard guys’ experience.
Hope that makes my thoughts clearer. Thank you for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts on the piece.
I immigrated to the U.S. as an adult, and for a long time I was dating only men with the same background as mine. My understanding of American men came mostly from films and women’s talk. I thought that most American men were “projects” of their wives. I was annoyed by the sense of moral superiority that some of these “project managers” displayed without having deserved it.
As I am discovering a fuller picture of men (American, English, and others), I am realizing that the things that annoy me annoy others, too. This article has put the end on my assumptions about “men-projects.”
Thank you, Steve,
Very nice..I njoy a man who has the balls to spell this out and in your face stuff..
to be honest I saw myself in most of the Post, if I don’t like it, obvious I have some changes to make..
If only I had access to this info as a spring chicky babe things might have been different..never mind Live for Today
Never too old to learn and be told theTruth
Well Done Stephen..big Smiles from Me
Thanks so much Venus. Glad you enjoyed it!
This article had me chuckling throughout, Stephen!! Unfortunately I know a few guys in their 30s and close to forty who are either currently dating or were recently involved in the above mentioned relationships! And I just shake my head in disbelief, when they tell me about feeling “smothered”, “bored” or “emasculated”! Of course we women have a list of relationship types in the “what was I thinking” or “never again”!
Also a good refresher on how not to be in a relationship!!! Or ” did I really behave like that” uncomfortable sensations for some – Not me, of course! ;)
Thanks again for the interesting article!
Thanks so much Shev! Yep, everyone has at least ONE horror story I find – men and women both. You wouldn’t believe the things i’ve heard.
hi i need some help..i’ve been dating this guy for a week and his telling me he likes me, he wants to see me, but i have been waiting for his invitation and until now i haven’t receive anything yet…hes also asking me always whats wrong in him… i tried to ask him whats wrong but then i didnt receive any response from him….
Could you guys make a video or write a story about how to let someone know that you are not interested. I meet many people and often after 2 dates i understand that i am not really into them. By that time they are often interested in me and I dont know a good way how to finish the dating. It always ends up weird and i feel guilty. Especially complicated are the situations when I would like to have this person just as a friend.
I’ll look into doing a future post on this issue – thanks Nelly!
Here @ the confession room:
guilty of sin #5 ;) or i could have been all of that in different seasons:) In any way, would i still be forgiven?lol- Father stephen, would i still be? :) i gotta confess that i did something crazy this week, ahmmm…it’s like- this guy needs help in his page of gaining more likes-so what i did? I used my mom’s fb account (which she barely noticed ;) she’s not using it anyway.lol-just to add up let’s say 20-25 likes in my connections and hit the target for the night.(bluntly a hint of who i am ;) ) in eve’s language-Helping is the new sexy ;)i never thought of it as too-fast, introducing him or something.lol
And another thing,when we say “you’re the man!#cool” does that literally mean he is the one? Come on!we use it to address someone who has done something really great ;)
Anyway Father Stephen :) thanks listening..and this article is a hit-drives everyone really crazy!.lol
Haha It certainly did! I’ve heard your confession and I absolve you lol
*thanks for listening ;)and sharing
this husseys.probably breaks the ice ;)
The word “scar” is not in my relationship dictionary. Neither is “mistake”. I thought people get scars only when they are deceived by someone whom they fully trust. Even then, I only acknowledge that it is harder to heal, not impossible.
There are different types of people in the world: controlling, crazy, emotionally impulsive-but I don’t see how personality differences could “scar” someone. At the end of the day, if you are still staying in the relationship even though you know what you have, then you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself.
I have no scars from my past. Only lessons. Because, I chose those people myself. No one forced me to be with them or to stay in a relationship that I didn’t want to stay. You have a choice even when you are married. It sounds like he was passive aggressive and wasn’t open about his feelings until his love faded away.
I never even think back and say “oh no why did I go out with this guy?” I did what I felt like doing at the time. That is it. I always believe that disrespecting your past is disrespecting yourself, because your choices of partners reflects your own character at the time.
That #5 girl. How come so much compliment and affection scar a guy? I heard similar stuff from guys. I can’t even imagine myself thinking “oh no, his telling me that he never met anyone like me in his life before is so suffocating.” How is that even possible? I’m humbled by every single compliment I get. It sounds like he is full of himself.
By the way guys, when a girl wants a committed relationship with you, you might choose to be humbled by it rather than putting yourselves on a pedestal. At the end of the day, it IS a compliment. Think about it. And you can hold her hand and explain her nicely like a real gentleman “You are a wonderful person, that is why I am with you, but I think we need to get to know each other better. We need to build trust first and it takes time.” Something like that. I am sure no woman is too stupid to understand that. Communication is the key to everything! If it doesn’t work, then you leave.
I always appreciate and encourage your work in this blog. I even sent an email to Steve a while ago to show my appreciation. But this one …the tone in this article is condescending and belittling to women. As a woman, I couldn’t sit back and say nothing.
I see what you are saying: but I used the word “scar” in the article purposely as a humorous bit of exaggerated hyperbole. I’m not really imagining guys have suffered an irreparable trauma through a couple of unpleasant relationships, I’m just saying that these are the ones a guy remembers, looks back on and says “What the hell was I thinking?!” (as I’m sure many women do when they think of some of the sub-standard men they put up with in their twenties!)
It’s really quite a tongue-in-cheek article. I’m taking the piss out of the guy as much as I’m criticising these types of women and the over-dramatic way he sees everything. I’m not endorsing the guy’s behaviour – i’m just showing how a guy thinks.
Also, I understand when you say: “When a girl wants a committed relationship with you, you might choose to be humbled by it rather than putting yourselves on a pedestal.”
But this is only true when you actually feel you have earned that level of commitment – not if she wants it after a week or two! At that point it’s usually a warning sign of someone who is too needy and desperate to rush a connection that doesn’t exist yet (which freaks both men and women out and is a *big* red flag in my book).
It’s like me saying you should be humbled and flattered by a man who says he wants to sleep with you in the first five minutes of conversation. Far from feeling flattered, you’d probably rightly feel like he was being a creep!
Thanks for commenting, always fun to discuss things! (even if we politely disagree at times) :p
Thank you for the explanation and clarifying some things, Steve. I didn’t realize you used the word ‘scar’ in a somewhat humorous way. No wonder. No one can be that sensitive, right?
I can’t put up with controlling people even as a friend. That sounds like the most annoying character to me among all. I know a couple who got divorced recently, because the lady was treating the guy like he was her puppy dog. He finally had enough. It is far too common.
Anyways, yes, we disagree sometimes,but it is impossible to agree on everything 100%, right? :) Honest critics make people think.
Hope you are having a nice week! xx
I am currently reading George Orwell’s ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ and thought your poor guy in his twenties was like the chap in the Bistro telling the few who were there to listen all about his experience of true love. “Alas, messieurs et dames, women have been my ruin, beyond all hope my ruin. At twenty-two I am utterly worn out and finished.” And I’m reminded this week of the idea of memory, what we choose to forget and what to remember and take forward with us in life. It always struck me in Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes were Watching God’ of one of the protagonists carrying around his awful memories in the form of a metaphorical open wound. After watching a very moving programme to commemorate the awful atrocities we are remembering from seventy years ago I was stuck by how these now elderly people had remembered what happened in their lives as children. And how it has informed the intervening years. All featured had gone on to have families, future generations and lead full and happy lives. It was how the remembering differed that struck me. One man chose to erase the worst from his mind. (He didn’t forget). But he chose to remember the kindness shown to him by one adult guard and it has informed his life to be one predominantly of kindness, to show kindness.
It’s not so extreme and the girls you might choose to forget in your twenties will not need inform the ones you are with in your thirties. Because I will never stop marvelling at the human spirit. For love to endure and that we can actually choose how to feel.
We can choose to be kind to one another. Not use a relationship so you can come home after a bad day and off-load all your negative emotions. Not use another person to fix your flaws, live your life through or be there as an emotional battering ram. But to choose to be kind, supportive. To want to love because of beautiful physical union and not because of what you can take. I think what I’m trying to say is that your ‘teaching’ on Get The Guy enables us to think how to be. Not to go into a default mode but think about our actions, our decisions to make good choices. I have previously made some bad choices but I have decided not to let them inform my future unions. The human heart has such a propensity to love again and again, and I choose kindness to inform my life.
Have a good week Stephen, Kathryn x
I loved your comment, Kathryn – I found you and followed you on, Twitter because reading your comments, on here, you have a way of seeing that resonates with me.
The idea that we can choose the ‘take away’ messages from significant past experiences would have blown my mind, had I read this in my 20’s. Looking at my life, now, I can see how dearly I have clung to ideologies imposed on me, as a child and how the decision to see the world in this limited way, has, to some degree, defined my self image. It’s not easy to change but if a survivor of the Holocaust can choose to remember the kindness of one guard, then it’s not impossible.
I will reflect on what you’ve written. Thank you.
Stephen, this is a well observed piece. Although I don’t personally identify with any of those types, it is refreshing to have insight into how men can be seriously affected by bad relationships. It reminded me of an acquaintance of mine who would openly brag about how she controlled the amount of sex her fiance (at the time) had. The entire wedding prep. was all about her – she even spent the first hour and a half (!) as newly weds, on the phone to her mother, discussing the interior design of the honeymoon suite, whilst her new husband sat around, on his own, waiting for her. Their marriage lasted 3 months. I think he made the right decision, albeit a little longer down the line than most would have.
Too often we read of men being afraid to commit which is just not true. Men commit to women who make them feel loved and valued and necessary – I learned that, here.
Thank you for your lovely comment Heather, I very much enjoy reading your comments too. I noticed and also follow you on Twitter. You are obviously a great business woman and definitely high-value. x
This is so different from many of your other articles. You present an interesting problem. Thank you for sharing a man’s perspective. Surely those are not the only kind of women out there. I feel that for me, as useful as it is to know what sort of behavior to be aware of and avoid, it would be even more helpful to know what 5 types of girls go aspire to, if there are any. I remember recently you wrote an article about something you wish for in a partner. Is there a “type” or are there types that correspond with that?
From reading this, I am getting instructions to never try to change a guy, be adventurous and spontaneous, yet ambitious and driven. And with that ambition, to be easy going when I am rendered powerless in a situation. Not to try to compete with a guy, and to not be needy/clingy.
Are there any types of girls or role models for us to look up to? Ones that perhaps had these difficulties but overcame them?
Thank you as always for your point of view. :)
I really get your comment. Looking forward to a reply. I like that…”ones that perhaps had these difficulties and overcame them” Maybe, it’s just a journey…finding out what qualities you like in a partner. What’s the saying…you have to kiss a bunch of frogs to get to prince charming.
Hahahah Amen brotha! This is exactly what scares men. You also forgot to add the “Shady girlfriend”. The one that acts like the player: dishonest, flirty, charming, the one that wants her cake and eat it too.
Can the guy be the shady one and the girl be the player? I mean if it means the same thing it doesn’t matter right…?
That’s a funny one Steve! Makes me think of a couple of horror-stories of mine ;) Now I can laugh about it! It would be cool to make a list of types of men that scare women off ;)
My ex left me two month ago cause I was the boring type of person. I never realized that until we broke up. Now I know I need to change, not only for him, but also for me. But to be honest, I still want him back. But I dont know if he would give me a second chance since he had already thought I am a boring person. Could you please tell me is there any possibility I could change that?? Thank you!!
This article is both funny because it’s true and sad because it’s not at all accurate. I’m pretty sure I’ve embodied each one of those “types” at some point in both of my long term relationships, which is actually pretty amusing in a sad way. But I put “types” in quotations because I’m not any one “type” of woman. And, therein lies the inaccuracy.
I’m guessing you created these 5 “types” more for dramatic effect than because you think women actually come in neatly packaged types. But I’ve found that straight men, especially, like to put me in a box, label that box then treat me as if I actually conform to whatever “type” they’ve decided I am. And it’s always a huge, HUGE shock to them when I don’t conform to their idea of who I am. I can’t tell you how tired I am of having to fight through someone’s misperception of me just so that I can be treated with a modicum of courtesy and respect. Or left alone, which is often the best resolution from my point of view.
But I will confess to falling into the trap so many women walk right into of trying to make a guy a better man. I did it with the best of intentions. But if there was one thing I could go back and tell myself about romance, it’s this: he is not going to change.
I think guys are much, much better at simply walking away from a woman they don’t think is right for them. They’re often hysterical children about it and don’t even need a red flag — if they see a spot of red dust sitting in the corner that’s often enough to get them running out the door. But I wish I’d learned the lesson much earlier that trying to change a guy into who I think he could be is a gigantic waste of time. He won’t appreciate it. And I’ll just exhaust myself doing it, with nothing to show for it in the end except two unhappy and extremely resentful people.
The reminder to accept a man for who he is can only do me good. And, I’ll keep all of your types in mind if I ever do meet a man who I can accept, respect, and love exactly as he is. Hopefully, he’ll do the same for me.
Aha! Boom, word for word I feel EXACTLY the same, not one bit different. Great post. X
Lol. This reads like an I hate women page. You should have done this post on the men that are like this, it would feel less insulting. Particularly the boring girl who the guy needed to Scrub the clean off himself, I feel like this article is a little vulgar. Sorry! You guys have written better stuff. :-)
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