Friday, August 17, 2012

Meanness in Dating

There are several articles online, in newspapers, even in Reader’s Digest magazine, describing Americans’ incivility to one another. Have you ever tried to buy something at a store and had the salesclerk ignore you? Driving is a perfect time to see the Me-first attitude while drivers run red lights, tailgate, steal right-of-ways, and pass you with a one-finger salute because you were doing the speed limit. Stealing is another example of this selfish attitude whether it comes to merchandise, time, or even romantic partners.

Somewhere an attitude developed that there is no consideration for the other party’s feeling or needs. We all want what we want. I was amused at first to read one woman’s profile list of all the things a man must do to date her. Everything from what he could wear to how much money he had to spend on her, even to conversation topics. As long and outrageous as her list was, I heard one more that up the meanness in dating concept.  A man I knew had to stop in a specified location so his future date could see him before entering the restaurant. Her goal in doing this was not to date men she deemed unattractive.

Amazing he did such a thing, but he didn’t do it twice, nor did he go out with the woman again. Short story was he married someone who didn’t have to do a visual try-on of her dates. I imagine if the rude female didn’t like how he looked, she just wouldn’t show up.

 Dating experts advise you to date many people to find that one special one, but that’s easier said than done. Often people will make dates and not show up, call up later with vague excuses, or not call up at all. Other times they will show up woefully late signaling they’ve forgotten about the date. At least they could have called even if to cancel.

If you’re lucky and your date shows up, or you may even been dating this person for a while, he or she talks about other dates fondly. Hearing the guy, I am with talk lovingly about his ex-wife, comment on how cute the waitress is, or how he prefers blonds like the one in the corner is enough to make me sick. My first thought is to wonder why is he out with me if he feels this way. If a person continues to date a person who behaves in such a manner then he or she must prefer to be treated with total disrespect.

Some people expect to be treated rudely. When the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident made the news about Chris slapping Rihanna around enough to send her to the hospital, my female students’ response surprised me. The majority told me that Rihanna had it coming. Men abuse women that is what they do. She shouldn’t have made a big fuss about it. Chris on the other hand, should have hit her where it didn’t show since she’s a celebrity. They showed no outrage that the behavior wasn’t acceptable.

Popular songs reflect our attitudes too. If you listen to older songs, you’ll hear tales of heartbreak and the person suffering quietly over a breakup.  We now enjoy women who take revenge by killing Earl, or at least destroying a cheating boyfriend’s prized SUV. A flurry of videos has popped up on YouTube where women take revenge on their boyfriends for various misdeeds. One woman destroys her man’s elaborate Star Wars figurine collection because he may have gone to a strip club. The fact she put it on the Internet will it make it handy when he sues. Her hopes of getting the engagement ring she talked about on the video disappeared when she sawed the Darth Vader figure in half.

When did we forget how to act appropriately? Women and men often stalk exes showing up at their work, home or favorite haunts. They also send texts, Facebook messages, and threatening emails. As reprehensible as this behavior is the fact they expect their ex to take them back after behaving this way is downright disgusting.

How do you avoid the dating spiral of meanness?

1.       Look past the surface. Beautiful people know they do not have to play nice, develop manners or even a conscience. There’s a reason bad boys are called that

2.       First time, you feel you’ve been devalued. Say something. Set a precedent that you won’t tolerate rudeness. Leave if your date persists in this behavior. It will not get better with time.

3.       Avoid people who resemble your last bad relationship, or the one before it. We are attracted to the familiar, not necessarily the good.

4.       Fear of being alone allows people to tolerate physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Do things you’ve always wanted to do with friends or groups instead of a dating a mean person.

5.       Avoid anyone who attempts to exercise control over you from telling you what color to dye your hair to regulating when your children can visit.

6.       Some relationships can’t be changed. If you’re currently in an abusive relationship, you can’t change it with a simple suggestions or self-help books.

7.       Avoid dating anyone who may be mentally unstable (extreme mood swings, paranoia, jealousy, bizarre fetishes and obsessions, and strong preoccupation with violence and death.)

8.        Don’t move people you don’t know into your house (six dates does not constitute a relationship.)

9.       Listen to talk about your date, especially if it is all bad; there is a reason for this.

10.   Anytime you feel in danger, scammed, or uneasy, break off the relationship, you don’t owe the other person closure. (This is the term they use to prolong your time together, which allows them to get what they want from you.)

11.   Most importantly respect yourself and your instincts. Hindsight is amazing, but comes too late.

 People can remember feeling uncomfortable on their first date, or even on the day, they got married. They chose not to act on their feelings, which would have saved them heartache.

Finally, you should value niceness, manners, and civility. Do not be quick to throw that away for a man with sweet biceps and a smooth line. Not only will you be guilty of meanness in dating, but you’ll have the mixed joy of being disrespected as you spend the next twenty-four hours with a man who can’t even remember your name, so he just calls you, “babe.”

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