// Not my usual topics of documenting traveling, life milestones, and happy engagement photos… but this topic keeps surfacing, and I’m drowning in dgaf emotion. If you’re going to take the time to even start reading this, I’d appreciate it if you read until the end. Maybe you’ll save yourself in the process. //
It seems we live in times where the dating pool is full of people who pee in the water and inconsiderately contaminate it for everyone else. These people are also known as checkmark-verified, self-identified fuckboys.
But you know what, it’s not their fault. They’re just seeking love from (usually self-inflicted, reckless) abandonment, and ladies (it’s always the ladies) we shouldn’t tread on their delicate egos.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do when you come across an unfortunate manufacturer’s error in your boytoy, insidiously disguised as a potential partner. I even added pictures so that, much like intention/perception, it’s not so black and white.
If he arrives at your house and you miss his text message that he’s ‘here’ because your phone is on silent, he might (a) try to call/ring doorbell to alternatively let you know he arrived or (b) text you 5 minutes later saying he’s going home.
In situation a, you should drop all hope that this will ever happen. In situation b, blow up his phone with calls so he sees how desperate excited you really were to see him, and apologize for making him wait an eternity. Don’t forget to remind him that you are still looking forward to the next time you see each other.
He probably won’t pick up any of those calls, but understand that it’s the ‘adult’ thing to do. He may even reassure you this wasn’t the first time he’s done this. Be grateful that you’re not the only one.
On Day 1 of dating, he may tell you that you’re soulmates.
He’s going to drunk text you weeks after letting you know he doesn’t see himself with you.
Hear the guy out, because maybe he sorted things through, despite all his mixed messaging. When you end up doing a post-mortem, he’ll confess that it seemed like you didn’t care about him.
Be as vulnerable as you can, and let your guard down. Explain yourself, your recovering heartache, how you notoriously jump into relationships given your track record of one-day boyfriends, and apologize. Win him back. Congrats, you’re talking again. I think.
He’ll ignore/not respond to you days on end, but at least he never fails to point out your assets when he comes back to life in your DMs.
This is his way of playing hard to get. Never point out the intervals or delays in his replies, but keep responding in a timely manner.
Share an article that’s personal to you. Let him be the first to know when it came out because you’re curious about what he thinks.
** crickets **
When you have a headache and he calls to ‘console’ you, but he ends up saying painfully direct things that dwarf the magnitude of your migraine, you can end the conversation to say you just need some rest. He may end up texting you ‘sorry’ for being so blunt.
Unlike you, he doesn’t say ‘sorry’ often. So embrace this moment! suck up how shitty you were feeling, and reply with ‘hugs’ because you actually mean it.
Week 4, 6, and 8 of dating, he’ll incessantly ask if you’ve fallen in love with him.
Show him your googley eyes. Let them twinkle so bright you can’t see the red flags anymore.
He may tell you he’s not really an empathic person. You may find yourself saying you’ve always been an empath, much to your merit demise. He may try to correct you that the word is ‘empathic’ and laugh in your face.
Understand that he’s all for self-improvement. Let him look up the definitions to realize it’s another way to say the same thing. Then be proud that he figured it out himself. Later, he may even tell you he’s an empath after all! Plot twist!
You (finally) tell your friends about a few of his questionable behaviors, and they’ll warn you against him.
Defend him because he’s misunderstood, and no one knows him like you do. Inflate the positive gains, and keep mentioning how he’s really attractive + multi-dimensional.
Some days he will let you know he is not in a good mood. This will prevent him from doing anything with you.
Thank him for being considerate. Don’t ever let him see your bad mood days, because you don’t want to burden him or conform to stereotypes of ‘moody’ / PMSing women.
He hasn’t really messaged you in awhile, but invite him to your company’s holiday party anyways. He says he’ll go since it’s a reason to not go to his own.
Get excited, because that’s basically a yes! But also leave it open in case he changes his mind. After all, it’s his choice, and you like building potential disappointment anticipation.
He’ll dump you because you’re both ‘square pegs’ trying to fit into a round hole. Then he ends up with someone a week later, engaged not too long after that, and she’ll obsess over your social media feeds, because she doesn’t know you can see her activity bubble up to the top of your traffic analytics.
He was a gentleman, maybe the best you’ve ever had. So date fuckboys to soften the blow.
He’ll say he changed his mind about going to your holiday party.
Look at you, good thing you gave him the option to opt-out!
If you follow any of this advice, you may end up working it out with your fuckboy for at least four months! And if it doesn’t work out, at least it’s just a third of a year in your life.
But in all honesty, I think more people are guilty of this than we care to admit. It’s easy to idealize the partner we want in someone who has so much potential.
The sad part is commiserating with other amazing friends who also fell prey to toxic people. They are who I write this for. Not for any direct shaming, but to call out an unfortunate culture that’s evolved from the lack of trust, integrity, and respect in ‘today’s dating landscape’.
I can’t wait to look back at this shit and be grateful for dodging a bullet bullets by recognizing the halo effect sooner.
The HALO EFFECT phenomenon - a type of cognitive bias when your physical attraction to someone blurs your rational judgement of their behavior.
Isn’t it ironic that the fuckboy most of this article is about showed me a video explaining this phenomenon? Consider yourself warned. Here are some examples of problematic movie moments that we might have considered romantic because the actor is fiiiiine af.
He’ll hang off the edge of a ferris wheel, threatening to kill himself unless you go on a date with him. (Ryan Gosling, The Notebook)
He’ll show up in your bedroom unannounced and admit to doing that behavior for months. (Robert Pattinson, Twilight)
He’s emotionally, physically, sexually abusive. (Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Gray)
These extreme scenarios were listed in this amazing rom-com analysis and are great examples of unacceptable behavior (obsession, stalking, abuse) that we end up excusing, BECAUSE HE’S HOT or the proverbially dismissive boys will be boys.
Whether we care to admit this or not, the Halo Effect disproportionately favors physically attractive people, people with lighter skin, british/aussie accents, lighter colored eyes, and straight teeth. Inversely, the horn effect villainizes people we are not attracted to. Funny how that works.
Before I let anyone off the hook, women can be this way, too. And yes, this was written in a heteronormative context. But obvs applies to pansexual/gender dynamics.
So ask yourself when you find yourself in a potential halo effect bind: Would you tolerate this behavior if that person were not attractive? See more prescriptions below.
Over-the-counter remedies for falling victim to a fuckboy/halo effect:
PSA: For my friends in healthy, long-term relationships, I love you and am grateful for your inadvertent reminders of what is possible.
But please don’t ever tell someone who is single (actively dating) that ‘you’re so glad you don’t have to deal with dating in this era’. You probably mean well, but just realize you’re putting salt on an already wounded soldier.
- evelyn, standing strong, still in the battlefield, and an optimistic cynic
p.s. anyone relate to any of the #s above or think of some 'halo effect’ examples in your life that i should add to the list? holla.