It's easy to dismiss the f*ckboys who toy with our hearts because, well, look who we're dealing with. We should know better, right?
But when a guy who we've assessed as nice or serious boyfriend material commits the offending behavior, it leaves us scratching our heads and dialing up the crazy. Even the tried-and-true good guys struggle on a daily basis to figure out how not to inadvertently upset or offend us.
It has been said over and over again that women are complicated, and I wholeheartedly agree with this. We are wonderfully complex and difficult to figure out. But it's so worth it.
It's important to remember that when you stick two humans together -- each with a completely different set of dating histories, hormone balances, expectations and experiences -- and throw them into a blossoming relationship, there are going to be some kinks to work out. When it comes to the dating game, the thing that separates the men from the boys is their ability to recover from and make up for the inevitable blunders that will occur during the course of your romance.
Here are five things men do that confuse the crap out of us:
1. They forget their manners.
If only I had a dollar for every time I've heard a girlfriend of mine tell me how hurt she was that her guy didn't introduce her when they ran into someone he knew while they were out on a date. This very scenario happened to me recently, while I was grabbing brunch with a love interest.
A friend of my date's came up to say hi to him, and they proceeded to carry on a very stimulating conversation about CrossFit while I silently and awkwardly stood by. At a natural break in the conversation, I interjected with my hand and my name, effectively picking up my date's slack.
When the friend had walked away, I asked my guy why he hadn't introduced me. Apparently, he had blanked out on the friend's name, and thus didn't know how to facilitate the introduction.
Moral of the story: Guys can be socially dumb, and may need your help. It doesn't mean they don't care. Don't be afraid to take the lead and introduce yourself if a guy fumbles on this move.
2. They repeat bad behavior.
Bonus points to the dudes who repeat the bad behavior they have already apologized profusely for. When guys apologize, the majority of the time, they genuinely mean it. It's not like they intend to piss you off.
It's important to remember that making you mad is definitely not their end game. They will continue to make mistakes during your time together, whether that time is a few weeks or years. They will continue to apologize for them.
Moral of the story: If he's making an honest effort to prioritize your happiness, don't let him go.
3. They mess up the pace.
They move the relationship too fast. They don't move it fast enough. They bring you close, and then they push you away.
I once dated a nice guy who was my polar opposite with regard to two of the most important relationship fronts: intimacy and status. He wanted to define the relationship right away by making me his girlfriend, but our physical closeness and progress moved at a snail's pace.
It was simultaneously too fast and too slow for me. Who knew that was even possible? I was confused.
It's important to talk to your partner about your expectations and what you would like to see happen in the relationship. It's not his job to figure out what is too fast or too slow for the both of you, and he certainly isn't a mind reader.
Moral of the story: Don't get lost in an awkward turtle dance. Talk like adults, and set the pace together.
4. They don't always know what they want.
My most recent dating experiment took me down the winding and adventurous road of being with someone who had no idea what type of relationship he wanted or was willing to commit to. The best — or worst, since we are on the subject — part was that he had no idea he didn't know any of these things when he proclaimed his intent to date me.
Luckily, I know exactly what I want. I escaped from that ride with only a few bumps and bruises. Men don't always know what they're ready for.
Don't forget that you might not, either. But the good ones will recognize the value of your relationship and hold on tight.
Moral of the story: When you know what you want, don't shy away from asserting it and sticking to your guns. The right guy will be by your side, rather than left in the dust.
5. They walk away.
Then, there are the cases where -- despite your every effort to be an all-around kickass and minimally psycho girlfriend -- the dude opts out. This is especially painful because you have opened up and allowed yourself to be vulnerable with someone.
The timing may be off. You two may be in different places, on different pages and looking for something the other cannot give. Not being able to make the relationship work doesn't make him a jerk (although sometimes, he is), and it doesn't make you unworthy of love.
Moral of the story: You can't control another person, and you deserve better than to argue your way into a relationship. In reality, he just liberated you for the real game-changer who was already on his way to you.
As Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Life gives you lots of chances to screw up, which means you have just as many chances to get it right.” Amen to that.