"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Book Review --- Red Flags – How To Know When You’re Dating a Loser

Yesterday I was shopping post Xmas at Barnes and Noble for some gifts for my brother and his fiancé and happened upon the book “Red Flags – How To Know When You’re Dating a Loser” by Gary S. Aumiller PhD and Daniel A. Goldfarb PhD. Of course there was no way I was going to leave the store without taking a peak inside. Usually I find that these books are filled with silly common sense dribble and are a waste of my hard earned money. However this one I actually bought.

The authors are psychologists who specialize in the techniques used by police to profile criminals. The book lists 25 loser profiles and gives clear details and examples of conversations you will probably have with these types of men. The authors show you how to look a bit deeper at what you are being told rather than just taking it for face value.

Aumiller and Goldfarb give you tips on what to look for over the course of three dates and after each profile they give you a checklist with a point system. I am finding it quite interesting and useful.

They explain that some of the details in and of themself doesn't necessarily make the man sitting in front of you a loser and differentiate between yellow flag and red flag signs. And their book suggests giving a guy three dates and offering suggestions on what to say to see if the behavior will adjust or stay the same over the course of those three dates.

What I like most about this book is that the authors teach you how to analyze how you interact with these men and hopefully inspire you to see repeat interactions of your own in new ways thereby enabling you to break your own patterns.

As I stood there in the aisle with my my mouth covered, so that passers by wouldn't see how far my jaw had dropped while I read some of this book, I realized that I had recently dated The Neglecter, The Sex Guzzler, and The Quiet Man all wrapped up into one. With the Neglecter he was TEXTBOOK to the T!
(my comments)

  • On page 22 the authors write: “Every guy knows that a woman wants a phone call after a date to be told how marvelous she was and how he’ll remember her forever. If a guy doesn’t call he is either not interested or he is choosing to be a jerk."
  • Once in a relationship with this man, when you don’t receive the communication in a reasonable amount of time and state so upon the next exchange, "he will feel like you are in too much of a rush, overexaggerate, and blow everything out of proportion. ”
  • The Neglector learned sometime in his youth that he didn’t have to function on other people’s time schedules. This could have come about for many reasons. Therefore commitments aren’t taken seriously. Now as an adult he is discourteous about time with others even going so far as to feel that if his actions hurt others it is their own problem. (if I had a quarter for everytime I heard "there are no victims")
  • The Neglector understands that the one place it is important to stick to obligations is at work. (this is usually a very confusing issue for the women who date this man, and is a strong place they can use emotionally manipulative tactics to play on your insecurities, allowing them to make you think it is you and not them because they can use work as their example of keeping obligations therefore it must be something you did to make them behave this way to you)
  • This type of guy is usually pleasant to be around and those not close to him view him in this way because he doesn’t get bogged down in societal norms that “precipitate personality problems” and they are often good-looking because “less-engaging individuals couldn’t be this way and maintain a social life”. (read the earlier post where I list his admittance in his own words of his recent weight loss being key to be allowed quantity not quality.)
  • You will always be on their time schedule regardless of what was planned.
  • they believe you should take things as they come, which is fine in moderation but there won’t be with this man.
  • People in his life work around him or just don’t expect anything of him at all and he LOVES this because with such low expectations whenever he comes through with anything there is such a fuss about whatever it is that he did becoming the center of attention.
  • He controls by refusal.

The further I get away from this last relationship the more I realize just how smart I was this time around. It affirms the very detailed things I said to him about his behaviors – letting him know I was not just some stupid ignorant woman who didn’t see right through his crap!

I highly recommend this book to any woman who is single at any age. Let’s face it, single men cannot get away with what we do not let them pull on us. Much like the following quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.


Perplexio said...

Let’s face it, single men cannot get away with what we do not let them pull on us.

I just wanted to respond to this little bit... That comment implies that men realize that they're engaging in some of these negative behaviours and while some men DO realize it, not all of us do.

The thing I don't like about the book you're referring to (and others like it) is that it paints the dating scene in an "us vs. them" mold. And I don't believe that mentality serves anyone.

I remember how lost I felt when I was still "out there" in the dating pool. And while some men have malice in their hearts and act on it. I daresay such men are the minority. I believe most single guys are just as lost as their female counterparts. Many of them are just as committed to finding that special someone as their female counterparts...

I think the problem lies in that the right guys aren't finding the right girls (and vice versa). People get locked into certain bad habits and those habits keep them looking for who they believe is their type, NOT who actually IS their type. Because the wrong partners keep turning up, it not only creates but also perpetuates the negative stereotype(s) many people have of the opposite gender.

Lauren said...

Very thoughtful comments. However I'd like to clarify some points.

These types of men listed in the book realize what they are doing, not all men and not all men are these types of men. That is why the authors suggest a yellow flag red flag scenario and give suggestions on how to change your behavior throughout the following two dates to determine if the man's behavior will adjust as well.

The book was written by two men. I specifically decided that it was important to read from a man's POV. These two happen to also be psychologists as well. I don't see the us vs them in this book at all. What I see is the inner workings of certain clear-cut personalities. I also see them pointing out womens mistakes in choosing these types of men over and over thereby getting us to look at what we as women are doing wrong and then boohooing about it later on. For me, I see it as forcing us to look at ourselves and take responsibility. But I can see your point as well.

You seem to be a very different type of man, who is more thoughtful and more mature and I wish to find that for myself. Unfortunately by a certain age I don't think these men they write about are the minority. I think Barbara might have some agreement with me on this point.

I also don't think there is malice but I do think these men know what they are doing and just don't care.

I hate to keep using my latest ex as an example but lets take a brief moment to dissect his last comments about nothing inspires less desire to start another relationship than the ending of the last relationship. On the surface it sounds thoughtful. TSK TSK. He still thinks his bad habits are the who of the dating not the him. He can't stand what he heard from me about himself and that is stopping him from going out there again. Nowhere in his thought process did he stop to think about the affect of those behaviors on me and how hurtful they were to experience. No where was he regretful that he hurt another human being. No where does he write how he has been thinking about those behaviors and their affect on the other party. Only that the ending was so hurtful to hear that he can't bear to get out there again and be vulnerable to hearing more bad things about himself.

So yes, I am sure he is just as frustrated and wants to find his female counterpart and feels just as committed to it but he is also just as committed to blaming others and this isn't going to suddenly change after 37 years.

So it is up to us to look at our own patterns of choosing men and change our own bad habits to be with the type of mate we should be with as you said.

I do believe that good wonderful guy is out there for me. I read your comments and your blog and I have a wonderful guy friend (Darklord) who shows me he exists.

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

I am so glad I have time today to read your post, Darrin's comments and your reply.

I would not spend my money on a typical dating book either - I could write one! But this book DOES sound different and helpful in recognizing red flag guys. I have a friend who is an intelligent, succesful business woman but when it comes to guys she is clue-less. Understanding the opposite sex is important.

I agree with Darrin about how sometimes there seems to be an us and them mentality. I even found myself thinking along those lines for the FIRST TIME EVER after some recent dates. And yes, I do agree that there are good men out there as counterparts to good women...


(you knew there was a but coming!) I think what Darrin is missing is that the pool of available GOOD men gets awfully small as each year passes, its just a fact. The good men who want to be married and have a family set that goal and usually accomplish it by the time they are in their mid-30's if not younger. That leaves what leftover - the players, the weirdos, the jerks.

Its a very complex issue!

Perplexio said...

I don't know the answer (heck if I did, I could make millions)... but maybe a solution (not "the" solution mind you) could be to date younger men.

As you said yourself, a 37 year old man is not going to change his ways, he's pretty much set. And I also know that this would be easier said than done as most single men do prefer younger women.... But in a younger man you'd have someone who isn't or wouldn't necessarily be stuck in his ways.

Also keep in mind, a younger "good" man hasn't yet been snatched up by someone else. By the time he reaches your age either he's turned into one of the types mentioned in the book you're referring to or he ends up married to someone else. I guess the key is to go after the younger fish in the sea.

But what do I know, I'm a married man, my theory is probably all swiss cheese. I just wanted to put it out there for consideration.