|Nice shirt, buddy.|
I had a boyfriend around the holidays that I thought was fantastic. Joe* saw me out one night and after badgering our mutual friend for a few days to get my number, he asked me out. He was incredibly sweet, charming, and told me right away how strongly he felt about me. My friends (who, like me, are tough critics) loved him. He shared a lot of stories with me of how girls from his past had cheated on him and broken his heart, and how happy he was to be with a “great girl”…
like me. We were quickly inseparable and he immediately introduced me to his family. In fact, unless I told him I had plans with friends, whenever he wasn’t working, he was spending time with me.
Then, after New Years I got a panicked message from him telling me his crazy ex-girlfriend (who he claimed cheated on him) was 3 months pregnant with his baby. Over the next week or so, except for a few vague texts, he basically fell off the face of the earth. I tried to call and check on him and then eventually confront him, he couldn’t even be bothered to answer me. Then, after another week of silence, I got a phone call from him. “I’m so sorry Lauren, I just freaked out about this pregnancy, I didn’t know how to handle it, I’ve never had anybody care about me like you do.” I seriously half expected violins to begin playing in the background with this sob story. “She called me today and said she miscarried, and you were the first person I had to call. You have to believe that I never wanted us to break up; I just needed time to figure things out and didn’t want to drag you into it. But I really miss you Lauren, and I really want to see you. You mean more to me than you’ll ever know.”
I didn’t know what to say. I told him how he acted really hurt and that I needed time to figure out where to go from here. After a couple days I decided that I could agree to going to dinner to learn about what really happened. “I’m off from work tomorrow =)” he texted, and we made our plans.
That afternoon, I received a text from him saying he didn’t know if he’d be back in time for dinner because “he had to pay bills and get a haircut.” Seriously?! I knew it was all bullshit. In fact, I didn’t hear from him again until he found out I bounced back quickly and was in love and happy in a relationship with an amazing guy. “Guess you don’t waste any time” was the lovely text I received at 2am from him. Classy. I later found out through mutual friends who Joe really was. He had cheated on many ex-girlfriends, slept with girlfriends of co-workers, even lied about sleeping with his straight-edged manager (who is happily in a relationship), and got her in serious trouble.
I was lucky to get out as early as I did. My friend Misty* unfortunately was not as lucky. Misty met her boyfriend (who we’ll call Blake*) back in October. They went to college together but he was getting ready to graduate and move a few hours away back home in December. Her friends loved him; he was caring and attentive. He was respectful to Misty, always saying how very much in love he was. He spent a lot of time with her entire family as well, and they were very welcoming to him. Even though a good portion of their relationship was long distance, they still stayed close by talking constantly, visiting, and spending holidays together, even going on vacation. After they had a wonderful Easter weekend together, Misty was in her room and heard a beeping noise coming from her computer, the sound of a Gchat message. She walked over to her computer and saw a message from a girl named Macy*. She thought it must have been someone from class, maybe someone she sent notes to. Then she saw the title of the chat. “I want to be on you.” Blake left his Gmail account open, and with it, MONTHS of chat script between him and Macy, including a plane ticket confirmation to Illinois.
She began to read, and found out that he had been involved with this girl for months. Not only did this girl live halfway across the country, but he had also gone to visit her when he told Misty he was going to Chicago for a wedding!
Misty then began the awful task of confronting him. He began trying to talk his way out of the situation, claiming that him and Macy were just friends. But as luck would have it, he tried Gmail messaging Macy saying “tell Misty we’re just friends and nothing happened!” and Misty was able to see the whole thing live on her computer screen. She then reached out to Macy to find out the truth.
She found out he had met Macy while on a trip abroad over 3 months ago. After she called Blake out, he took the lowest possible defense ever. He began to tell Misty her and her family were anti-Semitic (Blake is Jewish). Now I’m going to butt in on this one- really Blake? Misty has the most loving and non-judgmental family around. Her family not only paid for him to come on an amazing vacation with them, but also even offered him use of an extra family car when Blake needed one. Realizing he wasn’t going to be able to put the blame on Misty, he resorted to frantic phone calls before finally giving up.
Comparing our stories made us realize how many similarities there were in their personalities. In fact, we were able to guess things about each other’s exes, even though neither of us had ever met them. It made me realize a pattern, which I feel necessary to share. Misty and I are confident and smart, but neither of us even suspected foul play until it blew up in our faces. I put together this list below in hopes it sparks a red flag for someone out there that is unknowingly dating a member of this sick breed. Of course, I realize just because a guy fits one of these signs it doesn’t mean he’s a complete sociopath. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. When you meet his family, they don’t seem super interested in getting to know you. We both experienced this. Wonder why his mom doesn’t want to know about your career plans? Wonder why his siblings barely introduce themselves to you? If your guy is a rat, they’re used to seeing girls in and out of his life. They’re not going to go out of their way to get to know you because they know you probably won’t be around long. Not only that, but they probably know about his cheating ways. They’re not going to want to get attached to you and then have to deal with keeping his infidelities a secret.
2- He describes his ex-girlfriends as crazy, or claims he’s been cheated on a lot. I’m not saying that if a guy says he’s been cheated on he’s lying. But generally, if he claims his exes are crazy cheaters, it’s safe to assume he’s referring to himself. He’s also trying to manipulate your trust. If he tells you how against cheating he is because of all the times it’s happened to him, he knows you’ll never suspect him.
3- He doesn’t have any sort of online profile (Facebook), or if he does, he makes an excuse for not wanting to say he’s “in a relationship” on it. Joe told me that a “bad experience with a crazy ex” was the reason he didn’t have one. Blake told Misty he had a “crazy ex with a restraining order” so he felt that (for her safety, of course) it’d be best to take down their relationship status from Facebook.
4- He comes on SUPER strong, very quickly. A guy like this will say things like “I’ve never met anyone like you,” “I’ve never felt like this about anyone,” and “You make me so nervous — a girl has never done that.” Sound innocent? Not if he’s saying this to you after the first date.
5- He seems overly concerned about impressing your friends and family. A few of Misty’s family members later said they noticed that Blake seemed to be a little over the top when it came to trying to win them over. This kind of behavior screams insecurity. It may seem sweet to you that he cares so much what your family thinks, but I’m telling you, it’s a red flag. There’s a line between him sharing information about his job and him whipping out his photo album of hunting achievements the first time your family and him meet.
6- He plays the victim. This is especially true if he is getting caught or when they’re doing something wrong. They are testing your insecurity, because a girl who is insecure would be manipulated and start to blame herself. Blake, for example, told Misty that he found comfort in Macy because of how ashamed her family made him feel and tried to turn it on her. After Misty called him out on it and continued to stand her ground, he then began saying, “I know you’re so right, I was so wrong!” in a last stitch effort to salvage the relationship.
7- He has a lot of enemies. This one is pretty obvious. He may make up clever excuses for why half his co- workers hate him (“This crazy girl I was dating lied and told everyone I hooked up with her sister because I wouldn’t buy her a car!”) but trust me, if a lot of people don’t associate with him, it’s for good reason.
So there you have it — your very own guide to keep yourself from being manipulated by a complete jerk. But if you ever do end up getting hurt by someone like this, remember this above anything: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Guys like this are on a whole other level then the average bed-hopping asshole. They not only had Misty and I completely fooled, but our family and friends as well. Once you find out the truth, cut them out and never look back. You will undoubtedly bounce back quickly and be so much better off. Misty and I sure are. =)
*Names changed for privacy
♥AUTHOR: LAUREN JOHNSON