| || || | Every woman seems perfect at first because she is on her best behavior. Sure, she has a couple of glitches in her programming, but nothing that’s cause for concern. Recently, though, she’s been exhibiting some red-flag behavior. From showing up places uninvited to getting a little punchy during minor arguments, your girlfriend is displaying some scary character flaws that have you wondering if she is stable or even safe to be around.
- She won't let you break up with her
It's not going well (and that's putting it nicely). The relationship is a nightmare. It's time to pull the plug. Only problem: She won't let you. You've tried countless times, but she doesn't get the hint. She won't let you break up with her and every time you think she has understood the hint, she is back in your house, hanging with your mom and showing up at your work to go to lunch.
How to handle it: It's time to disappear. Don’t return phone calls or e-mails, and cut off all contact with her. Tell your friends and family to do the same, but explain the situation.
- She threatens to hurt/kill herself
She is on to the fact that you aren’t happy and might be looking for a way out. She realizes that only drastic measures will keep you around. She starts making crazy statements in the middle of arguments, like,“If you leave, I’d probably kill myself” and other threats of bodily harm. Is she serious? You don’t really want to test her but you can’t keep up like this.
How to handle it: The other scary behaviors should have raised enough red flags. This is beyond typical and moving into serious emotional issues that need to be addressed. Even if she really wouldn’t kill herself and is just using it as a ploy to keep you around, it’s a serious issue that needs to be discussed by a professional. Bring up the subject of getting her help. If she accepts, you might have just saved a life. If she declines, you can at least say that you tried. That leaves only one last course of action: You have to break up.
- She gets physical when arguing
Couples fight. The minor disagreement has turned into a major shouting match. If you don't walk away, punches could be thrown. While you'd never hit a woman, your partner has cocked back and let one loose on you on more than one occasion
How to handle it: Whether it's just a jab to the arm or a shot straight to your mush, any type of aggressive skin contact is cause for concern. It could be something much deeper that you might not want to touch upon, so don’t bother asking because she will deny being physical at all. If you’re going to disagree, make sure to stand far enough away so she can’t make an easy lunge for your jugular.
- She stops taking birth control without telling you
As crazy as she's been acting, the sex is still porn-movie material. It makes sense because the crazy ones are always phenomenal in the sack. You ditched the love glove weeks ago because she is on the pill. At least you think she is on the pill. You haven’t see her take it, she hasn’t had to stop at the pharmacy for a refill and, now that you think about it, you can’t recall the last time she had a monthly visit from “Aunt Flo.”
How to handle it: You could just be imagining things, but come right out and ask her if she is still on birth control. Ask to see proof. Make up an excuse, like a friend who just found out his girlfriend is unexpectedly expecting, and it made you realize that you’re in no way ready to be a dad. She’ll want to ease your fears and show that she still pops the pill daily. If she can’t show proof, you’ll need to make a pit stop at the pharmacy for a new stock of rubber raincoats and a home pregnancy test.
- She made a key to your house without asking
A brutal week at work has you dreaming of a night full of cold beers and hours of Xbox until your fingers cramp. You get home to find your partner sitting on the couch, waiting to go out. Not only is your weekend shot, but you can't figure out how the hell she got into your place. She made her own key. How she did it isn’t important right now because you should be much more concerned with why she did it and what you’re going to have to say to get it back.
How to handle it: She isn’t giving the key back and lord knows how many replicas she actually made at the store. It’s time to get creative. Accidentally lock yourself out of your place. You need her spare key to get back in. Plan accordingly and pick a time when she can’t accompany you to get back in the house. You go to her place to pick it up and never give the key back. Get the locks changed. Sleep with your keys around your neck. Invest in a guard dog.
- She shows up in places unexpectedly
There are times when you just want to hang with friends or even just be alone. She doesn’t care about either. She shows up at the bar as if she were the guest of honor and knocks on your door before calling to see if you're home. She appears at work, at the gym and at the bookstore. Check your pockets -- she might be having you tracked.
How to handle it: Be blunt. Tell her you’re not a fan of the unexpected arrival. You might have to go so far as to flat-out tell her not to show up places. Another option is to just not tell her where you’re going or give fake plans. If she confronts you about not being where you said you would be, tell her that the stalking needs to end.
- She has all your passwords without you having given them to her
There is something odd going on: You have e-mails in your deleted items folder that you don’t remember reading, phone messages from friends that aren't making it onto your voicemail and text messages are disappearing off your cell phone. The only explanation is that your girlfriend has figured out your passwords. (Not like it was all that difficult, considering every password was “HelloKitty.”)
How to handle it: You could just change the passwords and pretend it never happened, but that wouldn’t solve the problem or prevent her from trying to crack the code another time. Confront her. If she fesses up, you’re going to have to keep your passwords safe and will probably not trust her for a long time (if ever). If she denies it, she’s lying, but at least she won’t try it again because you’re on to her game.
- She responds to messages on your behalf
The obligations never end. If it’s not an out-of-town wedding this weekend, it’s a birthday party for a friend you haven’t said a word to in months. You’ll RSVP on your own time and on your own terms -- unless she has already made the calls and penciled in everything on your social calendar. She has become your social secretary, making sure to respond to every invitation with a “plus-one.”
How to handle it: As much as you’d love a personal secretary to handle your affairs, she is ruining your life by saying "yes" to everything on your social calendar. What’s worse, she is inviting herself to events you planned on attending solo. Let her know that you are the only person who can respond to social obligations and that getting invited to functions doesn’t automatically make it a plus-one. If she wants to play secretary, have her save it for the bedroom.
- She introduces herself to your family & friends behind your back
You've hesitated to introduce her to your friends and family because the relationship is new or you just might not be sure it's something that is going to the next level. Suddenly, your mom is asking questions about her and your friends want to know when she is coming out for drinks. She has found a way to skip your introductions and connect with the people in your life behind your back.
How to handle it: There is little you can do now that she has met everyone. The most important thing is to make sure the exposure to family and friends is limited. She probably won’t be honest about how much time she spends chatting with them via e-mail or over the phone, so you’ll have to ask them personally. If she gets in good with the ones you trust, it will be much harder to give her the eventual heave-ho.
- She knows things about you that you haven't told her
Especially in the early stages of a relationship, men keep secrets; sexual escapades, yearly income and the amount of hair that is real (and fake) on their thinning domes. It will all be revealed in due time, but for now this is personal information. If she starts mentioning little secrets that you don’t remember revealing about your personal life, you'd better check your underwear drawer for your journal.
How to handle it: Ask her how she came to find out such information. Maybe you did tell her and you just don’t remember. Maybe she hired a personal detective. Whatever the case, let her know that you’d appreciate her just asking you anything she wants to know and not going behind your back to play private dick.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA