immature manDear Sandy,

I’ve been dating Alan¬†for three months. For the first time in years, I feel a very strong connection. I love talking to him. He is exciting, thoughtful, and fun. He “gets” me and I “get” him. With this strong chemistry comes fire and passion. But every once in a while, he says or does something that makes me concerned about his character.

For example, I recently sent him an email in which I shared something very important to me. Instead of responding with thought and kindness, he sent back a stupid, insensitive, crass, sexually explicit email that shocked me.

I responded with humor, thinking he was probably just being a guy, but it stayed in my mind. There are other things he‚Äôs done that have me concerned about his character. How do I know¬†if I’m dating a jerk, or a man¬†who’s just being a guy?

Thank you,


Dear Lily,

Men and women generally approach relationships very differently (note: my comments are general, but there are always exceptions to the rule). During the courtship phase of dating, men lead with physical/sexual interest. They want to know if a woman will be a good sex partner, and that physical connection can sometimes lead to love. Women usually date with the intention to find love, and sex is a byproduct of that union. That’s important to understand.

So¬†when he whispers sexually explicit sweet nothings in your ear on the second date, he‚Äôs probably just being a guy, not necessarily a jerk. When he comments on your online profile by saying that he thinks you’re¬†hot, it might seem like he’s only¬†interested in you as a sex object. And you‚Äôre probably right – to some degree. He is interested in sex. But he might also be interested in your personality, your intelligence, and your good nature. That¬†matters more¬†to you, right? Following are some clear signs that he’s either a jerk or just a guy behaving badly.

Is he a jerk or just a guy?

5 signs that he’s probably a jerk

1. He consistently cancels dates at the last minute with a lame excuse.

2. He doesn’t pay much attention to you and talks only about himself.

3. He’s a blamer. He whines¬†about how everyone has wronged him in his life, from his ex to his boss, to his kids and his parents.

4. He is curt or cruel to the waitstaff.

5. He judges and criticizes you, even in a joking manner.

5 signs that he’s just being a guy

1. He tells you that he likes your boobs, butt, or another body part.

2. He makes sexual advances on the second date.

3. He forgets something that’s important to you once in a while.

4. He flirts with other women in front of you (in a playful asexual way).

5. He tells a sexual or crass joke.

If he’s acting like a jerk, dump him. He probably won’t change over time, because his character is flawed. He’s not someone who will be a good boyfriend or husband.

However, if his character is stellar in most ways, but he slips up and occasionally says something “jerky”, chances are he‚Äôs just being¬†a guy. Give him a break. Do address the issue if it bothers you. Say how you feel about what he did or said. Do it in a straightforward but lighthearted way. Don’t make¬†accusations or assumptions – check things out. Tell him¬†how his words or actions affected you.

How to talk to men when your feelings are hurt

For example, if he makes sexual advances and you‚Äôre not ready for what he wants, you can say, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm very attracted to you, too. If and when the relationship progresses and we become exclusive, I’d look forward to us doing ¬†_________. But for now, we can have fun doing lots of other things (wink, wink).‚ÄĚ

It’s¬†important that you don‚Äôt embarrass him, give him the cold shoulder, or make him wrong for being attracted to you. It’s good that he’s attracted to you! You have what he wants: your sexiness, warmth, and personality. He has what you want: his affection, attention, humor, and – oh yeah – his sexiness, too!

When to have sex?

If you want a man to eventually be in an exclusive relationship with you, hold off on giving yourself sexually to him until you have the commitment you are looking for. Women often bend to a man’s needs without listening to their own first.

A¬†quality guy, one who‚Äôs not a jerk, will stay with you and respect your sexual timeline if he‚Äôs really into you. He‚Äôll soon realize that he feels amazing when he’s with you, and he’ll eventually want to be your boyfriend.

So, make sure that the behaviors you are witnessing are “guy” behaviors, not “jerk” behaviors. Hang onto him if he‚Äôs a great guy who slips up sometimes and becomes a man-boy. Dump him if he‚Äôs a man whose character is flawed.

* Have you ever dated a good guy who sometimes behaved like a jerk? Please share your thoughts below.

Grab a copy of Sandy’s free guide to discover the top 3 mistakes midlife daters make (and how to easily turn them around to find a loving partnership). The guide is yours absolutely FREE by clicking here.

Dating at this age can be confusing. That’s why Sandy helps you take the guesswork out of dating and relationships after 50. She helps¬†you stay focused and positive towards your goal of attracting the¬†love you deserve. Click to learn more about¬†the¬†Inner Circle coaching group.


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