If you are single and looking for Mr. Right, you’ve probably at least entertained the idea of online dating. After all, it’s a whole new way to meet people that didn’t exist a few decades ago. Profiles and photos to sift through, personality details to stew over. Ideally, you can vet a guy without ever having to meet him. What could go wrong?
You already know the answer: he could be a rat in disguise.
There are lots of wonderful men online every day, and the rats out there try to blend in with them, even mimic them. An anonymous, remote place like the internet makes it easy for them to hide. They know we’re trusting them to be who they say they are. Misleading photos and descriptions of themselves can fool the unwary dating candidate, but you don’t have to fall into their traps like so many others do.
Most rats believe they’ve thought of everything when they try to create the perfect (in their opinion) online profiles. But they often don’t think of or know how to conceal certain common blunders. If a man seems to exhibit or abuse some of the following characteristics, it doesn’t always mean you need to completely rule him out, but it does mean you need to investigate further before committing your heart.
1. Is he superficial? In other words, is he only interested in chatting about things that have no substance; what’s cool, what’s happening, what he’s been doing lately, etc. Shallow, surface stuff. It’s normal to talk about fairly simple or benign things as you get to know each other online, but if a man persists in superficial chat and refuses to delve into deeper subjects, that’s a red flag. Be wary.
2. Is he a self-promoter? Does he talk about himself all the time; what he’s done that’s amazing, what he’s going to accomplish, and how wonderful he is? Too much of this is actually more of a sign of insecurity—possibly even arrogance or low self-esteem—than the sign of a great guy. Even if he really is as incredible as he says he is, finding the need to brag is not a great sign.
3. What are his attitudes about right and wrong, good and evil? Does he have a moral code that he lives by, and do you feel it’s a good one? Understanding his level (or lack) of spirituality will aid you here. Being spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean he is religious, and just because someone is religious doesn’t mean they are spiritual. If he’s spiritual, he believes in some power higher than himself. He believes his life has both meaning and accountability. This one you should be very careful of because you might need to know a guy for a while before you understand what he believes in this area. Spirituality is intensely personal but extremely important. Even if this just boils down to him keeping his word and not hurting others, it’s important to be aware of his behavior here.
4. Does he talk graphically about sex? This is a definite red flag. It tends to indicate more of a focus on sex rather than any interest in an actual relationship with you. The fact that you’re reading this article tells me you’re interested in a good relationship. Check into this danger signal for sure.
5. Does he constantly flatter you? Does he tell you often how “hot” you are? This indicates more often the same thing as #4 does; a preoccupation with sex and getting you into bed rather than getting to know you and love you for who you are. This one is especially dangerous for those females who have felt less desired by men, because being told you’re attractive gives a definite boost to your morale. Keep your eyes open for other warning signs, just to be safe.
6. Does he sneer at personal growth? What does he do to improve his life, his body, his situation? You can tell a lot about a man by the way he plans his future. Ask him questions about that, about his aspirations and goals. Pay close attention to the way he answers. A lack of motivation to improve himself could be a problem down the road.
7. Does he have a sense of entitlement? You can spot this one if he complains a lot and expects things on his terms, or if he says he shouldn’t have to work too hard to succeed in life. He wants big payoffs with minimal effort. The world owes him. If you bind yourself to him, you’ll end up owing him too. And he will never see what you give him as enough.
8. Is he inconsistent in his moods? Is he even-tempered and rational sometimes but moody, anxious, and grumpy at other times for no apparent reason? Do these changes sometimes happen very quickly? Does he excuse bad or rude behavior by saying “I’m in a bad mood”? Or is he even tempered and positive (unless something obviously tragic has happened)? It’s hard to mask mood swings, and these might evidence themselves as outbursts or long periods of sullen silence, for example. Be careful developing relationships with men who swing back and forth, especially if these swings occur frequently or with great speed.
Even the cleverest of poseurs on the internet will, in all probability, not be able to mask everything. It takes a lot of arrogance to pursue women for selfish and nefarious reasons, and arrogance is nearly impossible to hide. The truth will leak out as you communicate with online rats, and they will be left scratching their heads when you don’t fall for their schemes.
Good men are out there. Finding them can be difficult, especially when rats masquerade as nice guys and pollute the dating environment. They make it very difficult for the men out there who have good intentions. You wouldn’t want your Mr.Right to give up looking for YOU simply because a careless female rat (those exist too!) destroyed HIS trust in women. Study and learn to understand men (read the chapter about that in my Timeless book) so that you can sift through the options and find yourself a real keeper. You deserve a great guy that you can develop a lifelong love affair with. Not a rat in chivalrous clothing.