Recently I've been noticing a spate of breakups amongst my female friends.
Just last week I was having dinner with Katie on her birthday. She was coming off a 6-year relationship with her boyfriend Dustin. Katie's 30; he was 41.
The breakup was still stinging three months after the fact. But if a guy's 41 and still doesn't marry you after 6 years, he's clearly the wrong guy for the job -- fire him so you can make room for the right one.
But this argument did not wash with Katie. She still thought she wanted him.
Well, I was never really convinced about this Dustin guy anyway. Y'know why? Because Katie's a pretty social person, but not once did I see him accompanying her to a function.
So where the hell is he if not by her side? Only a fool would let a woman like Katie roam alone.
But I digress. The point is that I needed to impress upon Katie that this breakup was a Good Thing.
So I asked her, "On a scale of 1-10, how often did he give you backrubs and how good were they?"
She thought about it for a sec, and said '4'. He didn't really do much of that at all. The 4 was probably pretty generous.
"And how often did he cook for you?" That got a 3.
"And how good was the sex -- quality and frequency?" To his credit, that was an 8.
"And how often did he say 'I love you' or genuinely appreciate you?" That was a 5.
"So what you're telling me, Katie, is that out of a possible 40 points this guy scores a measly 20 -- and you still want him because...?"
That got her thinking.
And thus was born the Deadbeat Boyfriend Test, aka the Dude-O-Meter.
As you may know, I wrote The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible partially out of the frustration of seeing so many of my fabulous female friends who were dating lame duds, not great dudes.
I just get sick and tired of that -- and it's still happening all around me. Heck, it could even be you or a friend of yours that it's happening to.
So here are some signs that you're in a relationship with a dud:
1. You often find yourself making excuses for his behavior, either to others or to yourself:
"Oh, but he's really busy at work."
"Boys will be boys."
You know what I'm talking about?
2. You are doing most of the calling, initiating of contact and making of plans. Almost all of it. He'll do stuff with you if you prompt him, but otherwise it's on you.
Love is action -- especially for a guy. What kind of action is he taking to seek you out and demonstrate that he values you?
3. He's not with you when you're out at various social events, and many of your friends haven't met him.
4. Most (or all) of your friends quietly or vociferously disapprove of him, and you're often saying things like, "But you don't know him like I know him."
Your friends care for you and see things more clearly than you do, so listen to them.
5. He has said something mean-spirited and nasty to you at any point in time.
You may think that this is okay if it's happened rarely. But you have to understand that in good relationships, this never happens. Not once in 5 decades. That's the standard of comparison.
6. He has ever raised his voice with you.
Again, there's no place for this in a trusting, loving, supportive relationship.
7. He has ever hit you.
I'd like to make it clear that if items 5-7 have happened EVEN ONCE -- and I really do mean even just once -- you have a duty to yourself, to your friends, to your family and to the world to get out of this relationship, like, now. Immediately. Pronto. No delay, no time to deliberate about it. This is an emergency. If you're having a hard time doing it, get some help.
Items 1-4 are pretty clear warning signs that you are wasting your life on this guy.
The problem isn't that the guy you're with is necessarily an ogre but that there's so much left to be desired. It's like you've been eating at Subway every day and thinking, "Well, this is alright -- what do I have to complain about?"
The problem is that 'alright' is simply not good enough (cue Sarah MacLachlan song). I want you to go for amazing. For the kind of guy who sees the goddess in you every day and is a catalyst for your becoming the best version of yourself.
(Of course, ideally, you're doing the same for him -- right? You lead with love and offer it first. We're assuming that you've read my book and gotten your own house in order first).
So the point is this:
Since most women are 'nice,' they're not very assertive when it comes to asking for what they want, even when they're not fulfilled. So they'll stay in a relationship so long as there's not something grossly wrong with it.
They also have a scarcity mindset, thinking, "I know he's a lout, but if I let him go, then I'm all alone -- aiiieeeeeee..." Well, call me crazy, but I just like to think that among the 3.2 billion (BILLION!) dudes out there, you can do one better. And if you're better off alone, that's what you should be instead of being with him.
Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to shake her up and realize they're wasting their time (which is the stuff life is made of, incidentally). Sometimes it takes a caring friend determined to wake her up. Sometimes it takes a random guy reaching out of the ether of the internet with a wake-up call in the shape of an email.
If this article resonates with you, I wish you courage in taking decisive action.
And just for kicks, why don't you apply the Deadbeat Boyfriend Test to your current squeeze and see how he does.
Oh, and if you have a friend with a questionable boyfriend, you definitely want to do it for her. It may not be entirely scientific, but there's a more than a grain of truth in it.
I mean, if he's getting a low score, why isn't he cooking for you and giving you backrubs? Why is he miserable in the sack? Whether it's because you're not doing your homework, either, or that he's not that kind of guy, there's a lesson worth learning here.
So here are the 4 questions of the quick-and-dirty Deadbeat Boyfriend Test, scored on a scale of 0-10, ten being the highest rating:
1. How often does he give you backrubs? Rate on frequency and quality.
Backrub is a general idea of liking to serve you and make you feel great.
2. How often does he cook for you? Rate on frequency and quality.
Taking you out to dinner is an acceptable substitute -- he can get a maximum score of 7 on that.
3. How satisfied are you with the sex?
4. How often does he tell you he loves you or otherwise lavish you with praise?
Until we have more scientific guidelines, here's what I suggest:
Score of 34-40: A keeper! Good job. Now make him feel like the man he's always wanted to be, and he'll never leave you.
Score of 29-33: This guy has potential but needs some brushing up. Maybe he's gotten too caught up in work, or just needs some encouragement from you. Give him some hints and see if he rises to the occasion.
Score of 25-28: Borderline. Neglect has already become a habit here, and unless he really steps up and starts making you a priority in his life, not an option, you need to dump his ass in about a week.
Score less than 25: Dump him. This is not a decision that needs to be delayed or regretted. Why? Because you deserve better, that's why. It's not about him -- it's about you. And my job is to make sure you're happy and fulfilled.
So ladies -- be honest with yourself when you take the test. And if you have a friend who needs to take the test, be sure to share it with them. It could be the beginning of a very important conversation.
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