Sabotaging Your Love Life

Are you a dating disaster? Here are the top 7 signs that you may be sabotaging your own love life.

By Bob Strauss

hen it comes to relationships, some guys are like Wile E. Coyote from the “Road Runner” cartoons: The instant they’re within sight of finally getting what they want, they strap their ACME rocket boots on backward and slam into a cliff. Here are the top 7 signs that you may be unintentionally (or perhaps not so unintentionally) sabotaging your long-term romantic prospects:

1. Flirting, flirting and more flirting
Your girlfriend probably won’t mind that you banter with the waitress; after all, it’s to her credit that she’s chosen such an outgoing,
Guys tend to be the first to slack off when it comes to keeping up appearances.
funny, confident guy. It’s when you start making google eyes at friends, coworkers and random women in grocery stores that she might start getting the idea you’re looking for a way out.

2. Hiding behind your beeper
With the ubiquity of cell phones, answering machines and the Internet, it’s harder not to keep in touch with a gal than to (even grudgingly) acknowledge her existence. If you find yourself sitting on heaps of unanswered emails or unreturned phone calls from your beloved, your passive-aggressiveness has officially exceeded the legal limit.

3. Refusing to compromise
It’s an old story: You like loud, stupid movies bursting with giant bugs and spaceships, and your girlfriend prefers delicate, molasses-slow weepies without even a single exploding car. Look, it’s only two hours out of your life, and for every ten weepies with your gal, you get to see at least one dumb action flick starring The Rock. By yourself.

4. Dressing like a flood victim
Guys tend to be the first to slack off when it comes to keeping up
There’s a certain stage in a relationship where total honesty is a good thing.
appearances—it’s genetic or something. But it’s one thing to dress in torn jeans and a T-shirt when you’re five years into the marriage and expecting your second kid; it’s another thing to show up like that on your third or fourth (or even fifteenth or sixteenth) date.

5. Suddenly deciding to cultivate a hobby
If the phrase “I’d love to spend the night at your apartment, but I have to prepare for the big comic-book convention tomorrow” has ever crossed your lips, you’re probably beyond the help of this column. It’s okay to pursue your own interests, within reason, but no woman wants to take second place to racquetball, speed chess or the World Break-Dancing Championships.

6. Not talking, ever
Sometimes you just have to make the effort to open up, even if you don’t particularly feel like it—that’s one of the tradeoffs of being in a relationship. You’re entitled to (very occasionally) just sit there like a doorknob, but pull this act more than once a week and your gal will start thinking you simply don’t like her. The only thing worse than not talking is…

7. Talking too much about the wrong things
There’s a certain stage in a relationship where total honesty is a good thing—and if you’re reading this, you’re not there yet. Old girlfriends, obscure medical conditions and extreme political views are best avoided. And if you ever find yourself babbling about “personal space” or any other Oprah-worthy cliché, you’d better clam up and think about what you’re really trying to say—because your date will be assuming the absolute worst.

Bob Strauss is a freelance writer and children’s book author who lives in New York City. He’s also written the Dinosaur guide on, the online information network owned by the New York Times.
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