4 Types of Dates to Avoid - dummies

By Pepper Schwartz

Copyright © 2014 AARP All rights reserved.

If you’re dating after 50, and you’ve been out of the dating market for a long time, you may not recognize some of the pitfalls that certain types of people present. This isn’t intended to scare you, but being aware of a few red flags can help you save time and energy so that you can move on to more promising dates.

Don’t jump to conclusions about anyone, but if you recognize any of these kinds of people on a date, you might want to back off.

Most people are what they seem to be, so don’t be so wary that you don’t give people a fair chance. Dating success requires a combination of having an open mind and an open heart but not sacrificing your good judgment in the process.

Avoid dating narcissists

Everybody can be selfish — that’s only human. But narcissists are always selfish. It’s all about them, 24/7. Narcissists are only nice to get what they want, and they have no larger principles of fairness or responsibility.

Their promises mean nothing; they only make such promises if they think you need to hear them. And they only make good on those promises if doing so helps them get what they want.

Narcissists are extremely charming. The clever ones mirror you and tell you exactly what you want to hear. Others talk only about themselves, and at the end of the date, they probably don’t know one thing more about you than they started with. They make a lot of “I” statements and even tell you about you — before you do.

They think they know more about everything than you do. They break dates carelessly or court you with passion and then disappear mysteriously. They change plans on you without taking your needs or expectations into consideration.

If you’ve had enough of this kind of treatment (and the hope is you will get fed up), then you may want to end the relationship and look for someone who has the capacity to love someone besides herself.

A note of caution here: Narcissists often have a very fragile ego (which is one of the reasons they protect it all the time), so you want to break up with one carefully. You don’t want this person in a rage because you’ve punctured her egocentric bubble.

People with borderline personality disorder

People with borderline personality disorder are completely self-absorbed — to the degree that it’s a clinical diagnosis. These people have such deep needs for attention that they can’t stand anyone else getting it. They may fly into a rage if their ego is threatened, and they never, ever feel responsible for anything that goes wrong. Someone else is always at fault.

They’ll have you walking on eggshells, apologizing, trying not to get them angry, and catering to their every need. How did they get you to this place? It didn’t happen suddenly — they were charming in the beginning, perhaps smart, and maybe very handsome, successful, or beautiful.

But as time goes on, you notice that they’re manipulative. They may play you against someone else and make you insecure and jealous. It only gets worse, so if this description starts to sound familiar, date elsewhere.

If your date talks often about past lovers and partners and starts comparing you unfavorably to them, this may be a sign that you’re with someone who is at the very least a narcissist and possibly has borderline personality disorder.

Avoid dating players (ludic lovers)

If you’re dating just to date and not looking for a partner, then by all means date what psychologist John Lee has called “ludic lovers” and what others often refer to as “players.” Whatever you call them, these people adore the challenge of falling in love and winning over someone’s heart before losing interest. They like the “game” of love, not the deeper processes of commitment and attachment.

Some players are obviously manipulative, but not all of them know what they’re doing. Sooner or later (usually sooner), they find fault with everyone they’ve ever been with or loved because some trait emerged that “destroyed” the relationship. They have many hopeful beginnings, but somehow, nothing is ever quite right.

Recognizing players isn’t always easy because your relationship with them begins in the way your dream first date would begin. They’re totally taken with you. They come on strong, and they’re amazed at how perfect you are and what a great fit the two of you are.

Your only cue may be how quickly and deeply they fall for you. So be cautious and follow the old adage about something being too good to be true.

If you meet someone you suspect is a player, delicately find out how long he has been on the dating circuit, how many relationships he has had in the last few years, and how long the relationships lasted. It’s easy to ask whether he was ever married and for how long. In general (though not always), you can predict the future from the past.

Avoid dating money scammers

Who wants to have to buy someone’s affections? Don’t kid yourself about someone who asks you for money or gifts or manipulates you so that you offer these things. For such a person, the money is the most important thing about you.

Men and women who want access to your bank account can be difficult to recognize right away. They know that you may be sensitive about such things, so they probably won’t come right out and ask you your net worth.

But they will ask you questions designed to find out how well you live. They may hint at things they’d love you to buy them or have a story (perhaps true) of an economic hardship, hoping you’ll jump in and help them out. You have to decide whether you like being a sugar daddy or momma. If your generous nature overcomes your caution, remember that this person’s love for you may only go pocket-deep.