Why I Wouldn’t Date Him…

Guys, listen in (and learn) as women reveal why they decided to stop seeing their suitors.

By Dave Singleton

hen it comes to sizing up our dates, don’t we all feel a little Seinfeld-ian from time to time? When I interviewed women for this article, I heard many, many complaints—from the universal, easily understood to the mystifyingly personal. Let me give you some samples: “He smoked.” “He wasn’t nice to
Cheapness is the kiss of death for me.
the waiter.” “He put ketchup on his eggs—gross!” “His shoes were too pointy.” “His nose hair needed grooming.” “He looked like he’d be a slobbery kisser.” During those early dates, many of us turn into Jerry, Elaine and George, and nitpick our dates into obscurity.

But after you’ve made it through the first few obstacles and dated him for a few months, what are the next series of “should we continue or not” hurdles you face? I discovered there are some common themes when it comes to why women give a guy a chance… and then give him the old heave-ho. Listen in as women share what turns Mr. Maybe into Mr. Not-If-You-Were-the-Last-Man-on-Earth:

Mr. Bad Manners.
“While eating spaghetti, he practically buried his face in the bowl and slurped the noodles, then tried to talk to me with noodles dangling from his mouth,” says Jenny, 29, of Washington, D.C., who dated Todd, 32, for three months. “I wish I had seen his bad manners earlier,” says Jenny. “What I learned is that people can stay on their best behavior for a few weeks, or even months, but eventually, the truth comes out. I guess that Todd was on his best behavior the first month or so. He didn’t show such poor table manners at first. But after asking him repeatedly and politely to stop chewing with his mouth open, I finally gave up. He wouldn’t listen to me and was very defensive about the whole subject. I learned one thing about myself. Bad table manners are my deal-breaker.”

Lesson learned: Stay on your best manners—until they become your everyday manners.

Mr. Cheapo.
“Barry, the man I was seeing for five months, is cute, but I hate that he’s cheap,” says Linda, 37, of Norfolk, VA. “He’s my age and makes a good living as a lawyer. So he has no excuse, really. Cheapness is the kiss of death for me. I hate when a man you’re seeing turns into an accountant at the end of a meal or event. Barry would turn to me and say, ‘And your half comes to…,’ until it finally drove me crazy. The final straw was when, on my birthday, he gave me a tacky “re-gift” out of his closet. To top it off, he never wanted to spend money going to plays or cultural events. I’m not saying a guy needs to spend a mint on me, but I believe money should be used in moderation to create great shared experiences and convey affection. It wasn’t about the money as much as it was his attitude.”

Lesson to learn: Be open to spending some money on shared experiences that bond the two of you and create great memories. Also know that there are plenty of women out there who expect a guy to pay until the relationship is rock-solid (not saying it’s fair, just that’s the way it is).

Mr. Zero Ambition.
“We had fun at first,” says Stacy, 35, of Pasadena, CA, about her short-term boyfriend Allan, 36. “But I had to leave him after six months. Yes, he was a nice guy. It just didn't feel right with him because he has no future ambition, like getting married or wanting to have a stable career. He works at a video store, which
It got boring to be with a guy who never wanted to do anything but watch TV.
would have been fine, but he just doesn’t seem to care about what he does or have any plan for his life (hey, he usually didn’t even have a plan for the weekend!). Eventually, I want to buy a home and fix it up with my husband. I also want to have kids, which costs a lot of money these days, so I need a guy who cares at least a little about finances. I enjoyed his company for the months we were together, but his passive approach to just watching his life go by got to me. It got boring to be with a guy who never wanted to do anything but watch TV.”

Lesson learned: Think about where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, and take steps to go after it. Take a small risk, show some initiative. And if your job doesn’t thrill you, try sharing something else that you are passionate about — Mexican food, kayaking, whatever — with your date so she can learn from you and feel a deeper connection and an excitement about being with you.

Mr. Neglectful.
“Once we got into the comfort zone of dating regularly, he started ignoring me and I couldn’t take it anymore,” says Sharon, 39, of Hartford, CT, about Lou, 42, her boyfriend of four months. “What started out as an exciting relationship turned into such a lonely affair. When we first met, he surprised me with calls during the day, funny emails, and nights out on the town. But little by little, he stopped doing all of that. He made excuses for not spending as much time with me. He either saw his friends alone several nights a week or wanted to, in his words, ‘chill out from the long work day.’ The funny thing is that I don’t think he was planning to break up with me. Even though I’d been telling him for a few weeks that I wasn’t happy with the lack of time and energy going into our relationship, he seemed surprised when I broke up with him. It’s like he wooed me and then once he got me, he didn’t want to make an effort anymore. Lack of connection seemed fine with him, but it didn’t work for me.”

Lesson learned: You don’t have to be with her 24/7, but do know that there’s the expectation by many women to see their guy once during the week and on the weekend—once they get into a dating groove, that is. If you can’t spend that much time with her, let her know you’re thinking of her with a quick email or text message now and then, or just a voicemail saying that you’re heading out to hockey practice with the guys but are thinking of how much fun it will be to see her on the weekend.

Mr. Independence.
“What happens when you realize you’re dating someone who isn’t sure he wants to be dating?” asks New Yorker Diane, 32. “I met Tom through friends and really liked him… but as we began dating regularly — three or four times a week — I noticed that he kept joking about how he’d never marry until he was 50, how he was thinking of going on a guys-only vacation over the summer… it was as if he wanted me to know, don’t get too serious about this guy. He still treated me well, but I couldn’t ignore the signals he was so clearly sending about his priorities, and broke things off.”

Lesson learned: Not looking to get serious? Send those signals out from day one. Don’t start seeing someone and then back-pedal like crazy. It’s much better to find someone who’s also looking for something casual, too.

For the other side of this story, read Why I Dumped Her….

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Send your dating questions and comments to him at
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