There are men who manage to go through their entire dating lives without stress, anxiety, failure, offending anyone or being offended, rejecting anyone or being rejected, without encountering even one dating dilemma or disaster. They, instead, have smooth, successful, joyous, passionate, love-filled, worry-free dating lives without incident. Do such men really exist? Yes! Do they truly have such idyllic dating lives? Indeed they do. Can you find them on JDate? Sadly, no. Then, who are these men? Well, as it turns out, they’re called — fictitious characters. You’ll find them in books, plays, TV shows and movies, but you certainly won’t find them in real life because they are fantasy figures, much like Zeus, Harry Potter, or a viable Presidential candidate.

Yes, all of us who date encounter, from time to time, bumps of one size or another on the Highway of Love. And there’s nothing said about traversing it in the Department of Motor Vehicles booklet. It’s part of the relationship package. Perhaps the positive aspect of these love bumps is that they serve to make us even more appreciative of the good dating experiences. Still, it never hurts to be on alert for any potential dating disasters that could be lurking around the corner. So, as a public service to my gender, here are three potential dating disasters for men, along with a suggestion or two about dealing with them.

Online Dating “Bait and Switch”

Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud, most commonly used in retail sales but also applicable to other contexts. First, customers are “baited” by advertising for a product or service at a low price; second, the customers discover that the advertised good is not available and are “switched” to a costlier product. Substitute “attractive dating prospect” for “low price,” and “less desirable dating prospect” for “costlier product,” and you have the form of bait and switch that frequently occurs in the online dating world. And to be fair, both women and men are perpetrators and victims. So, guys, don’t be surprised if that 35 year old single Pilates instructor with an average build and her own home turns out to be a 48 year old separated waitress with the physique of a linebacker, living with her mom, along with her three hyperactive kids and two cats with intestinal problems. Lesson: Ensure the photos are current and the information absolutely accurate. I speak from personal experience — I’m still trying to get those cat stains off my carpet.

Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make, She’ll Be Watching You

Why? Because she’s just so crazy about you that she wants to be with you every moment of every day, if not in person, then via phone or email. The truth? She’s just plain crazy! I actually had a girlfriend who thought it was strange that when we were together, I felt the need to close the bathroom door while I was using the bathroom. She felt that when you’re intimate with someone, you should share everything, including the sights and sounds of relieving yourself, grooming yourself, etc. Good lord, how about keeping a shred of mystery in the relationship?! How about an occasional evening to yourself? How about not feeling that the only way to gain a little independence and privacy is to take out a restraining order?! Explain it to her that way. She’ll understand. Then escort her gently out of the bathroom.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do – Well

The end of a romantic relationship is like a little death – with the exception that hopefully death is the end of pain, but breakup pain can last for seemingly an eternity, not unlike the movies “Showgirls” and “Battlefield Earth.” Which is why there’s a bit more to breaking up than deciding to leave a gym or not return to a restaurant. Ending a relationship well is almost an art form. That is assuming, of course, that your intention is to behave like a mensch, to honor the relationship, and to be considerate and respectful of your partner’s feelings.  Do not do it via phone, email, letter, or through a third party’s intervention – even if that third party is Dr. Phil.  All of those techniques are simply wimping out, hurtful, and just plain wrong.  You know it, I know it, Dr. Phil knows it. Sorry for bringing up the P-word.

Remember how kind and gentle, thoughtful and respectful you were going into the relationship?  Well, your exit strategy should involve those identical qualities.  But be forewarned — if you don’t use those qualities, the angry DKM – Dating Karma Monster may very well track you down and torment you in the EPR — Extreme Punishment Room for all eternity. And, no, there’s no WiFi there. Just some old onions, a rickety chair, and a copy of “Battlefield Earth.”

Mark Miller is a marketing specialist, current JDate member, Facebook fanatic and comedy writer who has performed stand-up comedy in nightclubs and on TV, written on numerous sit-com staffs, been a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and is a current humor columnist for The Huffington Post. But he says he’d trade all his success away in a minute for immortality, inner peace and limitless wealth.
  1. Loved your writing, and your advice does apply to both gendres.
    I actually went on a date with someone who described his ideal mate, as someone who “would respect & could live with the fact that sports & fitnness are a big part of my life”, a phrase which was supported by his pic.

    He turned out to be so fat, he had no neck (pic was from his Bar Mitzvah). I had to fight off the urge to tell him, that taking walks from the fridge to the TV, even if the olympics are on, does not count as exercise.

  2. How true about many people not being truthful on the Internet. You say check out the pictures and profiles for authenticity. Good advice. But how can this be done without agreeing to take the person out on at least one day? Can be a big let-down.

  3. So here is a shopping analogy and let’s face it this is what we are doing. What looks great on the hanger or on the manequin often looks horrible on you. And what looks so so on the hanger sometimes looks great on you. You just have to try on lots of stuff to get the right fit. I am getting tired of guys who are looking for the “show girl” type and they are in their 60’s and 70’s. Even if it is an age appropriate show girl, she is more than likely scanning the room for someone else rather than giving him her full attention. And these guys keep looking and looking and time that most precious commodity is passing them by. There, I have vented

  4. thank you, Mark, for enlightening tips, which can easily be applied to men as well…!
    could you share the funniest situation/story that you’ve encountered during your interactions with 150+ dates ??

  5. Most guys don’t have a clue that “I am going to call you,” actually means that. If you can get that point across, you’ll be our hero. Whe a guy KNOWS he will not call, I suggest a man says, I do not think we are a match, or, It was nice to meet you, I wish you luck in your search, or something like that. Woman want truth. We like to believe you.Who cares if books and movies have been written about this. This is real life. Be a gentleman. Do the right thing.

  6. I am really a little afraid to even attempt to have a date with some of these men. I really think they lie a lot and so many are divorced and that is something that I cannot understand. They show pictures of themselves when they were in either the army, highschool or somewhere when they were VERY YOUNG and expect one to believe they still look like that. I am not that trusting of a person and I detest a liar, cheat and someone who loves themselves more than they can love or even care about anybody else. I see some pictures of these men on JDate that look like they belong in a nursing home and want a young “chick”, unless they are a billionaire without children, who would want them.

    I like your article. It is so true.

  7. Not a very useful item. Hell, all of the tidbits are apparent very quickly to anyone on an internet dating site. We don’t need a thesis to realize that someone who expects you to keep the bathroom door open for all bodily functions is in her own orbit….

    More useful would be the more subtle and oft-missed situations, although I cannot bring any to mind at the moment.

    Because, what is on my mind is the fact that I can write perfectly nice emails to dozens of women (over a period of time) and not get a single response, not even to say “no thanks.” Not a single one.

    So, all of Mark’s points are moot, if you can’t even come up to bat, let alone get to first base.

    Address THAT one Mr. Miller; we’ll worry about the “potential disasters” AFTER we get to meet a woman!

  8. Thanks for the article. How about educating men about manners and proper etiquette? It is such a turn off when being approached by ” hi sexy” and then if you reply that it’s not an appropriate greeting, you are being accused of either being one or not. huh?

  9. Wonderfully put Mr. Miller. I actually dated a man who seemed SO great at first & was itching to move things along.. I actually had to slow things down because it seemed too good to be true. I even called him ‘superman’. Which was a big mistake because it inflated his already gigantic ego. Slowly but surely I noticed that he certainly was not Superman, and not even a ‘man’ at that. We could never even have a ‘real’ conversation as he was hardly ever available & acted all aloof. He called it off after a few weeks with a text!! Loser. It is not normal to go from so hot to so cold. I’m sure he has done this to several women before. Fortunately I’m dating someone really genuine now who doesn’t hide behind a million ridiculous masks.

    People have to know that the truth is always the best way to go. It does take time to get to really know somebody & to get over your initial fears of trusting someone. A little effort & patience is required from both parties. People want instant results nowadays & it’s just not healthy or cool how people behave. It surely is well worth it afterwards if you put in the time & effort & are GENUINE.

  10. Nice article.

    I’d take issue with one point though. I don’t think it’s necessarily “wrong” to break up via email.. my last relationship had problems, at least I had problems, I talked to her about it many times and she just wasn’t getting it. Things came to an end, she left my home in a huff and after several days went by I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I intentionally wanted to avoid an emotionally drawn out hurtful conversation that would be nonproductive so I emailed her a long letter that I modified and redrafted several times to get it exactly right.. I sent it and I messaged her that I had sent her an email.

    She called the next morning very emotional but accepting and we ended it like that.

    I don’t think it was wrong, I think it was the least hurtful, most effective way to handle that particular situation. I’ve ended my last 3 long term relationships, some by phone.. so it’s not like I’m a coward.

    Every situation is different.

  11. I know you’re a comic writer but I guess it’s the holiday time and it’s hard to celebrate this time of year without a mate. Perhaps in your next column you can address some positive experiences that are funny. Some goofy stories that show nobody was worse off for meeting the other person. It just wasn’t a match. Maybe being subtle isn’t a bad thing. This column was extreme. It’s not kind enough to women nor the men who date them. People who are single need comic relief but also some encouragement. I don’t know how often you write but sarcasm isn’t always the ticket.

  12. Very insightful and funny column. Can’t wait to see more of your writing.

  13. As a guy in his 50s….I find that women in that age range still think they are the belle of the ball and are waiting for mel gibson to call at any time now.

  14. Very funny. As an older divorced guy 55 doing his second round of dating years I have found internet or not it is the same game. If a friend in the old days set you up based on “I would hit on her” and you took a chance it is the same as an internet I do not know what she really looks like or is like.

    If your are divorced and so is she, baggage galore. If she says she does not have much baggage, has children and your game is a woman in denial..go for it.

    Have some fun. I have met some really good women through JDATE if you take the chance of going out. Just don’t make it a 2 hour first date dinner. Escape hatches are needed for both.

  15. This seems to be a great site. I liked reading the above. Now, I have to go because it is time for me to eat my dinner. Judy Cohen Wilson.

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