Monday, August 11, 2008

How to get guys to settle part 5: Narcissists

It’s hard to spot stringers at the start of a relationship because you need to find out a lot about a guy’s character before you can make a judgment call. But there are some guys that are obvious stringers, or worse, nightmare partners even if you marry them.

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve heard some pretty tragic stories.
Guy dates a girl for years then goes and gets someone else pregnant, and won’t pay for the abortion. Guy gets drunk and smacks his girl around like a punching bag. Guy convinces reluctant girlfriend to get into a threesome with him and another girl, and when she walks out of the room, he doesn’t chase her down but does it with the other girl.

When I bring up these stories most people will probably have a few questions or comments to make, and I’ll address the most likely questions.

"How often does this stuff happen? It would never happen to me!": Tragic stories happen more often than people realize. That’s mainly because they happen behind closed doors and so we hear very few stories. In Hong Kong, about 20% of families face some sort of domestic violence in the household, either directed at the wife, or parents at the kids. So a large number of men have anger issues. Also, lots of men cheat, we know that. It’s just rarer for men to get caught in such an uncaring manner.

"Why would a girl put up with any of the above situations, is she crazy?": Most people have counseled friends that have stuck with boyfriends or even girlfriends that were obviously not a good partner, and the relationship was pretty toxic. Yet the person that was hurting would always seem to go back to their nightmare boyfriend and girlfriend, as if they were a drug addict that could not pull away from something obviously unhealthy.

But these people are not crazy. What’s happened is they were being controlled by strong feelings due to the pair bonding they’ve had with their partner. There’s usually various ways in which such strong pair bonding occurs. But the most common is strong sexual attraction, and I’m not trying to be shallow here by bring it back to sex. This is the truth.

If you want a guy to go crazy about a girl you don’t find him a caring girlfriend, you find him a very attractive woman that’s at the top of the range of what he can get. If you want to drive a girl crazy, you get her a guy that can make her cum real hard, through good sex. This behavior is even examined in the recent Ang Lee movie "Lust Caution", where a woman falls in love with the man she’s meant to kill.

The sex or physical appearance isn’t necessarily what the person will consciously think about all the time when they think of their partner. The good sex just serves as the pair bonding mechanism. What the girl will end up thinking about when a relationship sours and the guy turns out to be a jerk is the good memories they had together, hopes of the future they could have together and a focus on the good aspects of her problematic man. On the other hand, if she thinks about breaking up with the man it only brings heartache.

When someone is confronted with strong attraction for a partner, and pain at the thought of leaving them, then no matter how badly their partner screws up, as long as they say sorry they will be able to string the infatuated person along. So it’s important to identify which guys are going to be bad partners before a girl falls for the guy hard, and then has a problem leaving the man.

"What’s wrong with these guys?" Well if a guy is violent then obviously he’s got anger management issues. But I think the uncaring way in which these guys act is tied to a character flaw both men and women may have.

These people are egocentric and narcissists and only care about themselves, their own needs and affairs. Even though they want their partners, they will only care about them when their partner’s wellbeing doesn’t conflict with their own desires. If they have desires that would significantly hurt the interests of their partner, they will go and do it anyway.

No one starts off as a nightmare boyfriend, the guy will be great then slowly shows his true colors. But if you ever find someone that consistently shows a serious lack of respect for your feelings and interests, then no matter how much you care about him, and no matter how many times he says sorry, warning bells should sound in your head. Early signs can be shown from as early as a few weeks into a relationship to a few months. Avoid egocentric people, because things will only get worse with them.

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