Are All the People You Date Jerks? Or Is Something Else Going On?

These 3 tendencies might explain why you keep — supposedly — meeting dirtbags.

Lee Bidoski


A woman in a black dress sits alone at a restaurant table
Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

It’s a classic scene: A woman puts on her cute, new dress, curls her hair, then waits at the restaurant for her date to show up. Alas, the guy stands her up.

What a dirtbag.

Do you keep picking people to date only to find out that all of them are dirtbags?

What if…they’re not all dirtbags? What if…you have a tendency that might explain why you — supposedly — keep meeting dirtbags in dating?

Read here to learn about three such tendencies and, if this applies to you, what to do differently.

Tendency 1: You catastrophize.

My friend was excited about a woman he met online. They agreed to go on a fifth date on a Saturday, but the plans weren’t firmed up. She had to work and wasn’t sure when she’d get off work.

That day, he kept waiting for her to text or call him to say “I’m off work now. Ready to meet up” so they could then decide on a meeting time. In the meantime, he kept busy.

That afternoon, he helped a friend move some furniture. He texted his date a picture of a big, antique wardrobe, saying “My friend owes me some cold ones. I’m helping him move. Very heavy stuff!”

(I teased him, saying he was unconsciously trying to advertise to her “I’m a very virile 52-year-old!”)

After helping his friend, he visited with his daughter. He texted his date a silly picture of him and his daughter captioned “My youngest dropped by unexpectedly— she’s amazing!”

(I teased him about that too, saying he humble bragged “I’m such a cool dad that my daughter actually wants to hang out with me.”)

My friend didn’t hear back from his date that day.

The next day, his date finally answered one of his phone calls and then chewed him out. Ripped him a new one. Called him a dick.

“You blew me off,” she accused. She’d gotten home from work, spent a lot of time getting dressed in a cute outfit and fixing her hair, then waited for him to be…



Lee Bidoski

I’m a psychology professor trying to understand and improve our lives. Relationships | Dating | Health | Careers | Sports | Law Enforcement | Military