Annoying, dealbreaker-level things women do in relationships
October 22, 2006 5:16 PM   Subscribe

RelationshipFilter, for a female friend who's writing about this sort of thing: What annoying things do women do in relationships?

More from her: "I realized, while I could write a laundry list of toxic things men do to sour a relationship, I have basically no idea what sets off men. I'm not talking about the petty stuff; I'm talking about the dealbreakers. The things that make it impossible to continue with a person."

I gave some examples, but, if it's not too chatfiltery, figured I'd submit it here for more ideas.
posted by ibmcginty to Human Relations (82 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Dismiss as frivolous the things that are important to the man. They might in fact be frivolous, but they mean the world to us.
posted by jbickers at 5:23 PM on October 22, 2006 [3 favorites]

posted by BorgLove at 5:25 PM on October 22, 2006

I had a past girlfriend that took a lot of innocent things way too personally. If she wanted to do something and I didn't want to go out that night because I was tired from work, she would think that she did something wrong and I was secretly mad at her.
posted by Diskeater at 5:29 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Constantly interrupting when you speak.
posted by bingo at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

Deny sex (as punishment, &c).

Disapprove of (lots of) friends (ie., no, you can't hang out with Bob the lacross player anymore. And Bill? He's really wierd, I don't want him coming over anymore.).

When going out in a group, someone she doesn't like shows up, then chronically pretends to have a headache or something and, "I want to go home now. No, you have to come with me, too."
posted by porpoise at 5:34 PM on October 22, 2006

Always be right. Even when she's clearly not. And when you tell her she's not right you're being "rude".
posted by davy at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2006

Passive aggresive behavior in general. This is the worst in the
long term really.

Any deliberate attempt to use guilt as a means of conflict resolution. Seriously, unless their are serious circumstances any use of the phrase "if you really loved me" should be met with an immediate dumping and changing of the locks / phone number.
posted by Riemann at 5:39 PM on October 22, 2006

The biological clock is a killer. Suddenly, you stop being married to your girlfriend and find yourself married to someone else's mother.
posted by FYKshun at 5:39 PM on October 22, 2006

This goes for both men and women, but being super picky about food drives me nuts and would probably be a deal-breaker.
posted by heresiarch at 5:40 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

davy is right on. Forgot about that one. A variation on the theme is when she is wrong and refuses to change her opinion when presented with evidence to the contrary.
posted by Riemann at 5:40 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Not tell you when something you do upsets her at the time, and instead making a mental list for use during the next (unrelated) arguement.
posted by shanevsevil at 5:43 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

When she gets angry at me for forgetting to take my telepathy pills. Acting like I'm a large, hairy, slightly slow child who has to be told what to do. Oh, and trying to take control of the relationship by continually initiating trivial housework, projects, chores, and so forth, then acting as if life or death depends on them.
posted by adipocere at 5:44 PM on October 22, 2006 [4 favorites]

The expectation of mind-reading thing. If you don't tell me why you are angry, or what you want, or what you think, I am not going to know.

Taking intellectual disagreements personally.
posted by LarryC at 5:45 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

LarryC has it right on. The biggest dealbreaker for me is not being honest in terms of anger or other emotions.
posted by number9dream at 5:50 PM on October 22, 2006

I find it most troubling when someone just can't let go. we ll fuck up every now and then. say sorry, mean it, move on.

women seem to have a very special talent for making things more complicated than they have to be.
posted by krautland at 5:55 PM on October 22, 2006

My ex would never say she was sorry. Even if we got in a fight over something and I was able to PROVE that I was right!

If that was the case, then she just didn't want to talk about it.
posted by keep it tight at 5:59 PM on October 22, 2006

  1. Decline being given affection/love (because it's never a good time) then blame bad mood on not receiving enough affection/love -- affection/love can be hugs, kisses or more. Happened to me regularily with different girlfriends. Why they do that is beyond me.
  2. That incredible way of bagging absolutely everything you like personally in one sentence that 1) describes it and 2) tells that she will NEVER like it ever and 3) you shouldn't do it anymore.
  3. Compare current partner with past partners. The comparison can be explicit on implicit. That one just sinks my heart.
  4. Appear to deny affection/sexual favors, clearly indicating that others were granted them, and for a good reason at that -- might not be the case, but that one sinks my hear too. They can deny as much as they want but please don't indicate it was OK with others.
  5. Publicaly criticize personal choices in a tone that clearly indicates that I have no clue (I might have no clue, but I'm entitled personal choices, especially when I don't throw them at people.)
  6. Subtle way of constantly reminding you that you might not be the best choice. Sinks my heart too.

posted by NewBornHippy at 6:03 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

The number one, utter, indisputable deal-breaker beyond all is Lie About Whether You Want To Have Children. Whether you do want children but are pretending you don't, or you don't want children but will say you do to get your man, this lie will destroy a relationship as soon as it's exposed.
posted by Hogshead at 6:06 PM on October 22, 2006

Women that have low self-esteem that expresses itself in constant, continuous self-deprecating comments/behavior (I'm so fat!), lack of trust (I'm so awful, I know you'll cheat on me.) and flinging compliments back (You look beautiful. No, I don't! I'm so fat!) Maybe limited instances of these things aren't dealbreakers, but over time, will be unbearable to live with.
posted by bluemoonegg at 6:13 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

I'm with Riemann on the Passive-Aggressiveness thing. That drives me totally nuts.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 6:13 PM on October 22, 2006

I think your friend should be aware that it is not gender-specific traits that destroy relationships, but people-specific traits. For instance, I know girls who are driven crazy by their passive-aggressive boyfriends, and in my own relationship my boyfriend is more likely to read too much into my facial expressions or attempt to probe what I'm thinking at any moment than I am to do that to him.

Um, hopefully this thread won't turn into a dumping ground for bitter ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands.
posted by Anonymous at 6:14 PM on October 22, 2006

"Constantly interrupting when you speak"

And I would add to this, interrupting what we say as an excuse to talk about yourself, and then not going back to what we were originally talking about. Instead, just prattling on endlessly until you run out of things to say about that particular subject.

This may seem petty, but if it's indicative of a wider trend of selfish, self-absorbed behaviour, that can definitely be a dealbreaker.
posted by Idiot Mittens at 6:15 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

I agree with schroedinger, most of the above could be male or female. Well, maybe except the withholding sex one.

But anyway: women who talk too much. I know its a stereotype, but some women (and some men, but I am not in that relationsip pool) just plain won't shut up and won't respond to normal cues. This forces the issue and then they want to talk about why you don't like it when they talk. And so on, and so forth.
posted by Rumple at 6:22 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

One of the greatest shortcomings I have found with alot of women is that they simply cannot understand that men are different than them.

My wife and I get along wonderfully, and while alot of that has to do with other factors, a huge part of that is that we both respect the differences of our genders and don't try to change the other person. She understands I do certain things because I'm a guy and I undertand she does certain things because she's a girl. It goes a long way towards harmony.

Now while I can't speak for all mankind (though I will anyway) here is -my- personal list of deal breakers.

- Not knowing how to take care of yourself. I went all my adult life cooking my own meals, changing my own tires, fixing my own problems, and getting by just fine on my own. I don't want a daughter I have to take care of I want a wife who can manage whatever life throws at her.

- Being fundamentally unable to communicate your wants and needs. I don't want a 3 hour fight over something stupid... I want a clear statement of "That hurt me." or "I don't want to move to Tuscany." Clear communication is a must.

- Nagging. Nagging is for mothers, not for girlfriends/women. If you have to nag the guy you are with don't even bother. Dump him. If he is irresponsible enough that he must be nagged to do something he isn't worth being with. If he is getting along just fine in life without the nagging that just means you're a shrew and you should dump him anyway to save him from you.

- Using sex as a method of manipulation/punishment. Such behaviour is childish and a sign the woman in question will never- (and I do mean -never-) be a good wife. Never.

- Not trusting the man you're with. I don't mean not trusting him after he actually does a horrible trust destroying thing... I mean simply not trusting him because you yourself aren't very good at trusting men. I learned to quickly ditch any girl who had trust issues. Nothing but heartaches and "daddy didn't love me" there.

- Don't argue with your man. This isn't necessarily to mean that you shouldn't disagree with him... but don't argue with him. A relationship is meant to be a sanctuary from the harshness of real life. When a man comes home from work he doesn't want to continue to compete and argue his points. He wants to have a secure place to rest and recover. My wife and I can have rational discussions and disagreements about anything and everything without it turning into the fights and bouts I see other couples go through.

I suppose it boils down to... don't give the person you're with a reason to resent you and not be around you. I see it -every- day... both men and women giving the people they are with a good reason to -not- want to be with them.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 6:22 PM on October 22, 2006 [7 favorites]

Using period/cramps as excuse to get out of things (not sex, but going out or helping around the house) or why she took her anger out on you.

Pulling the females are superior because we deal with monthly pain and can bear children attitude.

Thinking that you should pay for EVERYTHING 'cause you're the man.

Getting pissed off/jealous 'cause you look at porn. Hello, why don't you JOIN me?!

Getting irrationally jealous over female friends. A little bit is understandable, but let's be adults.

Trying to change you into something you're not. This kinda goes with the next one.

Attempting to emasculate you. Guys do guy things with other guys. Deal.

Refusing to learn new things because "guys do that". Hello, come LEARN something about your car/computer/lawnmower so maybe you can do it yourself without a guys help.

Thank god I don't have to put with that crap.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 PM on October 22, 2006

I am a woman, but I have mostly male friends (because, well... I can't stand most women, go figure). The biggest dealbreakers I've heard in bitch sessions from my guy friends are:

- nagging. tip: the majority of men I know take the approach that the more they get nagged, the more they're going to blow off doing whatever. yes I agree it's totally juvenile, but hell I do it too. bitch at me, and you're going to the bottom of the list, sweetheart. it's not that they 'forgot' the third time, its that a) it was something trivial in the first place and b) now that you choose to make a Big Deal out of it, I'd rather drink beer and watch you work yourself into a tizzy for the sheer perversity of it all.

- inability to communicate without taking everything personally and then turning even the smallest request into a pitched battle.

- having to get a 'hall pass' everytime they want to go do something without the spousal unit / gf (trust issues much? how about getting your own life you codependent leech!)

- the shallow assumption that men entering a relationship need a 'mother', because they 'have no ability to groom, feed, clothe... themselves', blah blah, etcetera. it's not that they can't handle this stuff hon, they do. probably better than you in many instances. they JUST DON'T GIVE A FUCK. A caring guy will pretend to give a fuck for commitment's sake and sanity. but really? you're kidding yourself if you think the vast majority of men care whether their towels match.

- last but not least: the whole silly 'battle of the sexes' theme? for hell's sake, let it go, with all its attendant drama. All this does is fuel endless horrible sitcom storylines and give rise to bullshit like Sex and the City (the contempt and loathing in which I hold this show hath no bounds) I personally know plenty of guys who are awesome cooks and better at pulling a wardrobe together than I am, and they don't have frat-house couch decor or bong stains on their coffee tables either. Granted boys and girls are socialised differently, but bright ones with well-adjusted parents won't buy into this mainstream gender roles 'men are from mars... bla bla' bullshit.
posted by lonefrontranger at 6:26 PM on October 22, 2006 [6 favorites]

I'm all woman, but I had 14 female roommates before I finally got my first own place. It really helped make me more aware of the shitty things women do:

- A big one was bursting into tears during fights. I had one roommate who did this in every fight we ever had. No, I was not being mean to her. It predictably happened at a certain point in the fight - the point at which she felt she had lost the upper hand. As long as she could feel self-righteous and make all the accusations, she was tear-free. If I countered by, say, proving that she had done the very things she said I had done and so I therefore quite reasonably thought it was fine for me to do them, she turned on the waterworks. Couldn't I understand that she was stressed out from having to work five hours overtime that week?

- Expecting me to listen to every precious pearl that fell out of her mouth. For heaven's sake, I'm not the only person in the world and I don't feel like talking right now. Pick up the phone and call someone else or try me again later. And maybe you do need to think about whether it's fair to expect ANYONE to really be interested in your 20 minute rant about how abrupt the cashier at the drugstore was to you.

- Those 10-page letters attacking me for my supposed sins. And that whole attack style of issue raising in general. You need to realize that you are quite possibly making the person think, "Why would I even want to bother with this person?" That is not the way to approach someone no matter how upset you are with them. Approach the person calmly at a time when he or she isn't hungry, exhausted, sick, or twenty minutes late for something. Be reasonable and tactful. And be prepared to listen to his or her side. Sure, you've cooked up a whole prosecuting case in your mind, but even criminals get to speak in court. Make sure you understand the other person's viewpoint.

- Thinking you can comment on/criticize everything the other person does. Some things are not your business.

- Not being able to keep a confidence, and talking/bitching about your partner behind his/her back.

- Acting like the house is yours alone and insisting on decorating/arranging/running it your way.

- Asking for reassurance all the time. Look in the mirror and make up your own mind about how your hair or outfit looks, or how fat you are or aren't.
posted by orange swan at 6:47 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Nagging you about something that's not really any of their business ("you eat too much fast food" etc), then, after being asked to stop, saying things like "Are you eating fast food again? Oh, sorry, I forgot I'm not allowed to talk about that".
posted by claudius at 6:48 PM on October 22, 2006

Being controlling and overly needy. Either one is bad, but if you put the two together it will make a man miserable.

Also women have a huge problem with accountability, in or out of a relationship. They do something wrong and act as if it's not an issue or at least not their fault. Yeah, it's cute when you drive the car for two days with the oil light on. Hee hee.
posted by Willie0248 at 7:02 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Re-interpreting whatever a man says, for the most part men are pretty straightforward and mean what they say. When I am talking to a woman I can sometimes see that look in her eye that tells me she is doing this.
posted by Iron Rat at 7:04 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Saying "I don't care" when clearly they do.
Saying "It doesn't matter" when clearly it does.
Saying "That's okay" when clearly it isn't.

In summary, giving mixed signals (or no signals) about something, which the man then interprets literally, leading to a shitfight.


"Honey, is it okay if I go meet Mike down at the pub for an hour?"
"Sure, go ahead." day...
"Why did you go to the pub with Mike? You knew I didn't want you to! I told you 18 months ago what I think about Mike, and that pub!"
posted by Jimbob at 7:06 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:13 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Taking perfectly legitimate discussions into metatalk.
posted by horsewithnoname at 7:15 PM on October 22, 2006 [20 favorites]

Major one:Accusing me of "really" meaning something other than what I say. I have broken off a multiple year relationship over this, and I would do it again.

Being intolerant of guys being guys.
I've never had the misfortune to meet someone who would use tears or sex as a weapon, but that would be one.

less serious, but annoying:
Having no sense of direction(I'm not being sexist, an ex-girlfriend ended up in the 'hood once trying to find St.
Charles Ave., after having lived in the city for over a year.)
I think it's cute the first time I get asked to change a tire, hang a picture, or put music on her mp3 player, but at some point the cuteness wears off.
Eating noisily.

Overusing the color pink, in any form.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:37 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

I haven't been in all that many serious relationships, but even still, I can't think of any problems common to all of them. So I dispute the idea of "deal-breaker things women do" if the idea is that this applies to all women. If it doesn't, and applies only to some, we need to know what kind of woman the friend is.
posted by adamrice at 7:38 PM on October 22, 2006

Not fight fair. If there's an issue, fine. Dragging the kitchen sink in from left field is not fighting fair. Neither is taking unilateral action, then handing over the results and saying "broken, please fix."

I happen to be raw about these since I broke up with a secondary partner over just those issues.

There are women who don't do things like this, for example my primary partner. She does -none- of the things up above. I used to do some of them, and she taught me not to.
posted by jet_silver at 7:41 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

You have primary and secondary partners?
posted by claudius at 7:43 PM on October 22, 2006

Tell her to make a list of all the annoying things men do in relationships and then change the gender of the pronouns.
posted by dobbs at 7:49 PM on October 22, 2006 [5 favorites]

Doll or stuffed animal collections.
posted by orange swan at 7:52 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

One of the things that ended up bothering me in my recently-ended relationship was that my SO would often assume my behavior would be a product of various neuroses. I've got a _bit_ of OCD (diagnosed, I mean -- not just "Oh, sometimes I think I left the oven on!"), for example, but to hear her tell it, I was basically a complete wreck who couldn't do anything. That got a bit much. A lot of it seemed to be nagging in the guise of "helping me with my problems". For example, I told her about one of my irrational fears, and she would KEEP BRINGING IT UP, and I kept thinking to myself, "you know, I've gotten through 26 years being inexplicably afraid of that, and I think I've done pretty well for myself since it typically doesn't really come up a whole lot. You know talking about the item in general tends to digust/bother me, so WHY DO YOU KEEP BRINGING IT UP? Sure, I suppose it might be better if I didn't have said irrational fear, but it's not exactly keeping me from leaving the house or anything, so why not LET ME BE?"

The relationship ended because of other issues -- and I know that none of these issues are quintessentially "girl-v-boy" issues, because, well, as dobbs above brings up, I'm not necessarily a person who really buys that whole kind of stuff (and gets REAL irritated by pretty much anything that smacks of that -- sidebar: One of the few times I watched the West Wing, some lady was talking about needing daycare during work (good idea) because she NEEDS TO TAKE CARE OF HER SISTERS!!!!!! Sorry, just because you happen to share genetalia doesn't mean that you're All Related On A Cosmic Plane or what the fuck ever. Ditto with TV Men and "Bros" and whatnot. The whole "Bros before hoes" thing? Aside from being icky misogynistic it's just, well, um, silly. Why not "Friends before aquaintances" or, um, just being with WHO YOU WANT TO BE WITH AT THE TIME regardless of what's expected? If the other party doesn't understand (be it the "bros" or the, ugh, "hoes", rrrgh), it's their problem, not yours.)

Sorry for the sidebar tangent.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 7:58 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

...and for what it's worth, I like dolls and stuffed animals. I'd never give mine away!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 8:00 PM on October 22, 2006

claudius, cf. polyamory.

My primary partner and I both have secondary partners.
posted by jet_silver at 8:01 PM on October 22, 2006

Fixing me. Fucking fixing me. In my dating years, it was a standard pattern. I was the fun guy, not so serious all the time. I always had something fun to do. I was emotionally available, too. I didn't watch sports. Then she'd get to know me, find out that I was pretty great, a good father, pretty stable, good job, all that, except...something. It was always something. I'd be perfect, if only she could fix that something. Better job, better shape, better housekeeping skills, for god's sake. Something.

I married the woman who didn't try to fix me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:02 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Fair enough, just the label startled me...
posted by claudius at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2006

I am a woman, but I have mostly male friends (because, well... I can't stand most women, go figure). The biggest dealbreakers I've heard in bitch sessions from my guy friends are...
last but not least: the whole silly 'battle of the sexes' theme? for hell's sake, let it go, with all its attendant drama.

the whole silly battle of the sexes that you just laid out?

What dobbs said. People are people, and will do annoying things. By this list, women are annoying because they tell you what's wrong (nag) and because they don't (passive aggressive, 'you should have known') - guess what, men aren't always perfect communicators either. It takes practice to be able to get your point of view across clearly, especially because people will often not really hear what you say, but make assumptions based on expectations and stereotypes.

as for the biological clock & pms, can those really be blamed on individual people? aren't they just facts of nature? If a woman wants to have a child, she has to face the deadline of that decision about 15 years earlier than a man. that is just how it is... if she wants to spread her seed, she has to take action on it at a younger age, whereas a guy can still get the baby bug in his 40s or even 50s.
posted by mdn at 8:19 PM on October 22, 2006 [3 favorites]

The slightest hint of trying to "fix me" surfaces and any potential Mrs. resin experiences a While E. Coyote-esque cloud of dong-shaped dust where I was standing only a half moment before.
posted by dong_resin at 8:52 PM on October 22, 2006

Jeez, for me the big dealbreaker is "won't give head". If nobody else has mentioned it, I gotta be unluckier than I thought.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:52 PM on October 22, 2006 [3 favorites]

Handle the fire; drown; do whatever. It wouldn't reach you if you didn't care.

Mercy is the only gift that I can grant myself; I must carry it to you, show you how I escaped, and set you free also.

Only love endures; the rest is dust, rust and the icky residue of grudges abandoned out of sheer disgust or fatigue. Just point in any direction and start walking, drop your fears by the side of the trail like they are toxic waste; no harm will come to the earth, but you, you must throw your weapons down.

It is difficult.
posted by attackthetaxi at 8:55 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

People may be people, but generally it's a woman who tries to strongly encourage her (male) partner to give up all his non-couple-or-family-related acquaintances.

That's one annoying thing. When men do the same with their girlfriends they are considered "suspiciously jealous" and thought to be over-possessive.
posted by clevershark at 9:08 PM on October 22, 2006

(caveat-I have not read any prior comments in this thread)

What do women do? Jeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzz! What does anyone do? We all piss each other off.

This is not a gender thing. People need to respect each other, see the world through each other's eyes and most importantly listen to what the other person says is important. It may seem silly at the time - don't dismiss it. Treat your SO like you treat your friends (i.e. don't take their love for granted) and give as much if not more than you get and all will be roses.
posted by caddis at 9:13 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

Generally, to pick up on clevershark's gripe, I'd say that a lot of the things women do to men get called "abusive" and/or "misogynistic" when men do it to women. The double-standard bullshit makes the annoyance even worse.
posted by davy at 9:17 PM on October 22, 2006

- A big one was bursting into tears during fights.

God, I really didn't want to post in this thread, but I'm going to have to agree with you on this one. Crying during an argument is a dirty, dirty tactic.

I've also seen women cry at work, and that's really unacceptable. When I see a girl cry at work, I don't think, "aaaw, poor baby." I think "WTF is wrong with her?"
posted by kenoshakid at 9:18 PM on October 22, 2006

I guess I just don't generally think very much of someone -- be it a man or a woman -- who wants a couple to become like one person. Granted I'm not a young man and this may color my opinion, but if each partner has gone 20-30 years before meeting the other one should be able to assume that he/she has his/her own interests, friends, opinions, etc. and that they aren't going to just disappear because you've started sleeping with the other person. Yes, a relationship is going to mean certain changes, but it shouldn't mean some sort of personality-ectomy. A woman wouldn't give a man a second thought if he had no friends, so why is it that she should want him to give up his friends once the two of them are going steady?
posted by clevershark at 9:26 PM on October 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Amen exactly on the first poster. Complete denial of the things important to the guy as preposterously frivolous. That's like a guy calling a girl a crybaby for being emotional -- it's that level of crime.

I think a lot of problems involving communication are based on answering styles. Women tend to ask each other emotional questions and respond thus in emotional answers. Men tend to ask each other yes/no questions and thus answer in yes/no or true/false terms. The problem comes when women aren't sure whether the question is simply yes/no or is beckoning an emotional response, or vise versa for guys. For instance, the "Does this dress make me look fat?" question requires an emotional response, ("Regardless of the way you look, or whether you feel unattractive on a certain day for whatever reason, I will always be wicked crazy in love with you." or something like that) not yes/no, although the phrasing makes it seem like it would. Similarly, "How do you feel about eating at [restaurant]?" is more multiple choice than essay ("Not really, no.").

There is also largely the issue of styles of how men and women change their mind about their original perception. For instance if I were to say, "Let's get something to eat," but a guy friend heard, "Go get me something to eat." He'd react perplexed at first, but after me repeating it, he'd dismiss the original mishearing as erroneous. In my experience, women tend not to be able to let go from the original perception and have difficulty accepting the new information -- but because the original offense was emotional and guys tend to have ease of compartmentalizing emotion. However, guys are guilty of not being able to let go when it comes to the visual or sensual, if I lady were innocently trying to wave him over just to change a lightbulb or something, his mind would tend to get caught up in the whole come-hither aspect when that wasn't the purpose in the first place, while women can easily discard whether it was or wasn't sensual in nature because they tend to easily compartmentalize such ideas.
posted by vanoakenfold at 9:39 PM on October 22, 2006 [8 favorites]

I'm not going to get caught up in a bunch of "women do X, men do Y," because that's the schtick of bad stand-up comedians everywhere, and not my style at all.

My personal dealbreakers?

Shouting. Crying.

If a woman can't manage a certain level of emotional stability, we have no future.

That is all.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:41 PM on October 22, 2006

I once was involved with a woman who cried during arguments; after the first couple times I took to laughing in her face. So then she started wanting to have my baby. Eventually I dumped her for cheating on me, lying about it, and then blaming it on me -- as if him being taller, leaner, richer, more musically talented and "soulful" than I was couldn't possibly be the real reason. (Guffaw, guffaw.)

clevershark said "I guess I just don't generally think very much of someone -- be it a man or a woman -- who wants a couple to become like one person." I agree, though I understand that that may be more of problem in lesbian relationships. I Googled for "+lesbian +fusion" and got over a million hits -- clearly I need a better search string -- but I did get quite a few links to PDFs I'd've needed to pay to read.
posted by davy at 9:44 PM on October 22, 2006

Some people smile and laugh when they're uncomfortable. Some people cry when they are angry...but having been subjected to female crocodile tears --and not knowing the previous posters exes or roommates--I say this depends on the individual.
posted by brujita at 10:02 PM on October 22, 2006

I do not appreciate alternate arrangements of furniture, or people that suggest them. Feng shui this, darlin'

I will sleep when I'm tired, where I would like to sleep. On that topic, the difference between me and a 400 pound gorilla is hair.

My TV, my remote.

I can dress myself. I can feed myself. You can bring me a beer, if you're up. You remembered beer from the store, right?

It's not dinner if there's no meat. I may eat your (tofu/eggplant/pasta) magic anyway, but I'm tellin' you now, I'm gettin' dinner later.

There's a lock on my toolbox for a reason.

This is my razor. Don't even think about it.

I am not having any more kids, and I am not adopting any either, as there is a good chance they'd be younger than my grandkids, and that would be confusing for everybody every Thanksgiving.

I do like Christmas, I don't like Christmas shopping. Hell, I don't like shopping, period.

I don't mind if you cry, if you don't mind when I won't say a word. Do not ask questions to which you do not want answers, and just answer what I asked, dammit. Please.

If you wanted me to drive, you should have been ready when I left.

I have a healthy respect for my own good taste, and I know you're the most beautiful woman on the planet. Let's not argue about those silly pants.

I'm OK, and you're terriffic, and you don't look a day older than when I met you. What'd I get you for your birthday?

You don't ask me to bring home "C" batteries, and I won't ask you for dollar bills when I go out.
posted by paulsc at 10:23 PM on October 22, 2006 [3 favorites]

Here are some things females have been known to do that completely piss me off:

1. Pretending to ignore something new and unknown that was brought into the living space for mutual benefit, rather than asking about it and learning how to use it, because they don't want to be "told" how to use it. Then if you ask them if they'd like to learn to use ___, because you know they'd like to use it, but can't, they just kind of demur.

2. Knocking things over in the shower, on the sink, or in the living space in general and then not picking them up. Dropping ice cubes on the floor. Leaving trash everywhere. Throwing things into the open trash can, rather than taking two seconds to first put in a bag. Knowingly doing all of these things repeatedly and maliciously.

3. Leading people (friends, acquaintainces, flirtations) on so you can get things from them. Basic using behavior.

4. Within two sentences of being told facts about a person, place or thing, forgetting the specifics of those facts, and acting like they're the most uninteresting thing in the world and/or getting annoyed if you correct her. I.e. she'll forget your name, what you want to do with your life, and everything else you told her in the past day and then wonder why you're upset—and if you seem upset enough she'll make fun of you to her friends. As in, "Man, limeonaire really got pissed the other day. I don't know what's up with her—it's just, like, chill out, man."

5. Making a point of talking about how good everyone else's cooking is while I'm cooking a meal I know she'd like, then suspiciously sniffing at/avoiding my perfectly good, praised-by-friends-and-acquaintances cooking.

6. Getting tired of very expensive things, such as computers and refrigerators, and just giving or throwing them away. It may be her money, but if she's that careless with it, I don't want her getting anywhere near my stuff.

7. Helplessly asking me to do things for her like untangling her unnecessarily dangly beaded necklaces, or tell her what looks good on her, or refill the ice cube tray for her, or give her advice that she specifically asks for and then subsequently ignores, or get food for her that she subsequently says is "gross" and doesn't eat. Neediness without an object or point or reason, and subsequent dismissal.

8. Borrowing things from me and not returning them/paying me back for them.

9. Seeming generally bored by what's happening around her, and starting things only to lose interest halfway through. E.g. the girl who lived with me and started to cook an artichoke and gave up, then just left the pot with the artichoke sitting in it on the stove for the entire next day.

10. Regularly being too lazy to finish words or sentences or trains of thought, and instead just trailing off and acting like she doesn't know what you're talking about or saying she forgot when you ask her what she started to say. As though whatever she was starting to murmur was so important that it can't be repeated now that the moment is lost, and she's pissed at you for not catching her partial sentence in the first place.
posted by limeonaire at 11:06 PM on October 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

Not eating chilli is an absolute dealbreaker. Vegetarianism and veganism are also to be avoided like the plague, but usually those kinds of maladies are too difficult for the woman in question to keep hidden, whereas it is surprisingly easy for her to disguise an aversion to chilli until it is too late.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:30 AM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

"I realized, while I could write a laundry list of toxic things men do to sour a relationship, I have basically no idea what sets off men."

How does someone sour a relationship? How about having lived long enough in this world to call yourself an adult, and yet be so lacking in self-awareness; so certain of the correctness and justifiability of your behaviour and reactions that, when they have a negative effect on the people close to you, you look not within but without for an explanation; so closed to the possibility that you might have to change sometimes; that you can draw up a list at a drop of a hat of the bad things that others might inflict on you -- but are unable to conjure up even one solitary thing that you might likely do to sour a relationship.
posted by chrismear at 12:38 AM on October 23, 2006 [3 favorites]

The top dealbreakers would be trying to change me or otherwise trying to control me. Everyone has a little bit of a tendency to want to do those things occasionally, but if she's using jealousy to manipulate me (see NewBornHippy's comments) I'm straight out of there.
posted by teleskiving at 1:06 AM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you (a woman) don't want to talk to me anymore, just say “I don't want to talk to you anymore.”

That's what I have to assume the silent treatment is for, because you don't want to talk to me.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 2:13 AM on October 23, 2006

I'm surprised no-one here has mentioned jealousy of other women in your life, be it sisters, mothers or friends...
posted by badlydubbedboy at 2:21 AM on October 23, 2006

I hate it when 'they' perpetuate negative stereotypes about the opposite gender because to constantly be evaluated against a type or a generalization is tiresome.
posted by safetyfork at 3:55 AM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Also surprised at the lack of mention of jealousy. For me, it's jealousy when I talk to any other women. Mention a female co-worker at work? Suddenly she has a new rival, "that damn woman at your office". Have a conversation with one of *her* friends when we're on a night out? I'm being too flirty, clearly I like that friend more than I like her, and I'm planning on having an affair. Gaaaah!

See also: insecurity. This is generally directly related to the above, but direct insecurity drives me crazy too. Ie: "You're too good for me. Why are you with me? I'm so ugly/fat. You could be with a 10, and I'm only a 3. Why are you with me? You should be with someone that isn't as crazy as me." etc etc etc. Constantly fishing for compliments like this is a surefire way to drive me away.
posted by antifuse at 4:29 AM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

Dump me.
posted by Captaintripps at 4:35 AM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

I saw my son go through this one recently with a girlfriend:
Start breaking-up even as they are beginning to grow together.
Even as they were starting to date and spend time together, she would would barrage him with scenario after scenario as to why they would eventually break-up. At the same time, insisting that they spend more time together.
Sort of like watching an engineer predicting the trainwreck even as he was pouring more coal on the fire.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:36 AM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

Actually, everything on my list was done by one woman/girl/demon over the course of this past summer. ;)
posted by limeonaire at 5:41 AM on October 23, 2006

Ok, you asked about dealbreakers, so I'll cut out any simply annoying stuff. I'll also not restrict it to things that only women do since that's not what you asked. So please interpret my answers as: "Things that, were a woman to do them, would be dealbreakers," because that is what my intention is.

i) chronic dishonesty -- dealbreaker for either sex, I would guess. Lying about the small stuff at least if not more important than lying about big stuff, since it's an indicator of character.

ii) social blindness -- the particular manifestation here is where every guy she knows is hitting on her and "they're all just friends" to her. Makes for an impossible situation where other guys move in and you cannot say a word because it makes you look like a jealous asshole, so you either sit there and take it or be the asshole. No win situation.

iii) refusal to take responsibility -- arguments are normal, and everyone is wrong some of the time. Personal dealbreaker: an inability to admit that something is your fault without deflecting the blame on circumstances.

iv) basic lack of maturity -- I lump in here all the "mind-reading" stuff, the "constantly prove to me that I'm important" stuff... basically the kind of stuff that young girls seem to grow out of fairly quickly -- but not always (and definitely have some gender-role connections, so not evenly distributed I think).

v) lack of ability to think rationally/logically -- not a female thing, just a not-with-me thing, because that kind of thing doesn't improve over time.

vi) what bluemoonegg said way above -- endless self-put-downs.

vii) immature/puritan view of sex. I mean, if so, fine, then let's be friends.

viii) taking the cue from innumerable television ads and sitcoms -- that anything that makes guys different is at worst repulsive and at best quaint if wrongheaded.

ix) using sex or anything else as a reward/punishment. Indicates a critical lack of respect.

x) abject helplessness, either real or feigned. Obviously doesn't apply to most if even many women, but some women seem to specialize in the helpless routine, and have done so for so long, they genuinely are. "Capable" is a word that should be at least attachable to the woman in question. So you don't know how to change a tire/drill a hole in a wall/solder a wire. That's no crime. Intend to go your whole life that way? That's a dealbreaker.
posted by dreamsign at 6:28 AM on October 23, 2006 [3 favorites]

Jealousy is indeed a pretty bad one, but there are plenty of jealous men out there as well.

Funny thing -- a girlfriend once accused me of being jealous... and ten minutes into that argument admitted that she had made the accusation to "compensate" for her own jealousy of a common friend. I really don't have a clue what that "compensation" system is like, but it's got to be seriously messed-up.
posted by clevershark at 7:10 AM on October 23, 2006

OK, I hate the "What are you thinking about question?" because I'm totally ADD or something and the honest answer will always be something totally off the wall that you probably don't want to hear about. That's totally a non-gendered thing, though.

Ooh! One thing I had a suitemate do that I'd be surprised if any guys did: she lost her blue bucket that was kept in our shared bathroom, and her response was this page-long typed single space note in multicolor fancy font about how whoever took her blue bucket better return it because she payed for etc.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:24 AM on October 23, 2006

No one needs to change a tire or solder a wire, male or female, anyway. You 1) get AAA, unless living in an extreme rural area, I guess, especially given the ridiculous excuse for jacks that auto companies give us these days--I used one a couple of years ago late at night and would just call AAA and wait instead, thanks, or call a taxi via cell and call AAA the next day; 2) ... Why would anyone ever need to solder a wire? Can all men do these things? I seriously doubt it. I don't know how to solder a wire, haven't a clue, and I've made it to age 40 just fine.

The only certain dealbreaker for me is nagging. There's no excuse for it.
posted by raysmj at 8:05 AM on October 23, 2006

When they won't agree to a Cleveland Steamer.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:13 AM on October 23, 2006

Expecting your relationship to be like the ones she sees in movies and tv shows... and I second the Cleveland Steamer.
posted by comatose at 9:39 AM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Anything financial. Why pay 26% on a credit card purchase that was on sale for 10% off? WTF?
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 12:15 PM on October 23, 2006

Women are much less likely to choose their battles in a relationship. Broadly speaking, there is no issue so small a woman won't bring it up. And said issue to them is in fact a big deal. For all our lives we have heard the stupid criticism of men that we don't put the toilet seat down. See, we just don't care. When we as men get exorcised enough to confront an issue in a relationship, then that issue is serious, trust me. When women bring up an issue in a relationship, it must be a Tuesday. Or a Thursday. Or another day that ends in "Y".

Choose your battles.
posted by vito90 at 12:18 PM on October 23, 2006

They force you do that which you originally wanted to do.

I want to watch "Movie A." She wants to watch "Movie B." She argues that I always get what I want. She wins the argument. Then, since she has the upper hand, she forces me to do that which I originally wanted to do: watch "Movie A." This way she gets to win the argument and she still gets to play the pity card in the future for not being able to watch her movie.

posted by JPowers at 1:41 PM on October 23, 2006

When won't they agree to a Cleveland Steamer.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:47 PM on October 23, 2006

Y'know, I'd have to say that I've done most of these things listed -- denying sex as a punishment and general passive-aggresiveness, expecting others to know how I feel on issues, taking everything too personally, constant need for approval, not communicating my wants or needs, even occassionally breaking down and crying when I'm losing an argument ... most everything, really, excepting interrupting people and blaming things on PMS.

'Cause, y'know, I'm a dude.

I have nothing against the question, here, but I don't know how I feel about how involved people are getting with their responses. We should keep in mind that these are all things anyone could do. Maybe I should've just taken this to the open MeTa thread.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:49 PM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

I'm going to favourite this thread so I can remember that many of these are things that I need to work on.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:50 PM on October 23, 2006

You dudes ought to read this thread as a cautionary tale of everything you do not want to be. All the losers have explained to you here exactly why they are losers. Do not pattern your life after these guys.


Respect your SO and she will respect you and you will be happy, and you will stop posting shit about her here you pathetic loser.
posted by caddis at 8:12 PM on October 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

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