Is My Guy Shit Testing Me?

Pretty woman looking at his man on a date

I am currently seeing a guy, for just over a month now (we just recently slept together), and he’s been very disclosing about what he’s looking for. He’s also very up front with his past relationships, what he won’t tolerate in relationships, and so on and so forth. Charles is a Type A guy, successful businessman who demands a lot of things from the people around him. He does not take any crap from people, and is bluntly truthful. We have been very honest throughout our courtship, any questions he’s got, I’ll answer. I’m not one to pry normally, and perhaps that is to my detriment a little bit. I have been called confusing, and been told by this man that he does not know quite where he stands with me. We know a decent amount about our past relationships, my past engagements (yes, “s”, as in 2), and our recent dating history. He is very affectionate, even in front of his roommates/friends, introduces me to new people if we run into them, takes me on dates, usually calls every night, but is insanely busy overall.

In all of his honesty, Charles seems to be almost testing me, and seeing what my reaction will be to certain things. Here are a few examples: sharing about his exes (I realize there’s a reason they are exes, that’s not my concern), talking about past sexual experiences (again, not a jealousy issue), letting me know that he doesn’t find it “appropriate” to continue speaking with someone you previously dated, when he’s involved with someone, and that he will not tolerate anyone who does that. He also will lets me know if someone from his past pops up, FB messages him, texts him, what they want, etc., makes jokes about our future “60 years down the road” (exact quote), and asks me if anyone from my past has contacted me recently.

I have no issue being honest, but I wonder if I’m getting set up! There are others, and of course more details that I could share, but I’m beginning to think him sharing and letting me know that he is expecting these things is his way of testing me. Is this something that guys do? Is Charles testing me with these things?

Thanks, Donna

This is probably my confirmation bias as a male dating coach who listens to women all day long, or as a man who dated 300+ women, but this sounds a lot like the things that women do to test men. And, like you, I don’t like it one bit.

It’s in the asking of the question that the person issuing these shit tests ultimately fails.

No one wants to get hurt.
No one wants to waste his/her time.
No one wants to invest years of falling in love, only to find out that you’re ultimately incompatible.

So what do people do? Little shit tests like this to try to gather information in advance.

In addition to what you wrote above, I’ve heard all sorts of similar tests:

    1. So…where do you see yourself in five years? (To ensure he wants marriage and kids.)
    2. So…how many people have you slept with? (To ensure he’s not an immoral slut.)
    3. So…what kind of car do you drive? (To ensure he’s successful and stylish.)
    4. So…have you ever cheated on anyone before? (To ensure he’s not that kind of guy.)
    5. So…are you in touch with any of your exes? (To ensure he’s emotionally available.)

Understand, the ideas behind these questions are actually quite reasonable. It’s in the asking of the question that the person issuing these shit tests ultimately fails.

His answer will tell you far more than I can.

Because if you’re asking these questions, you’re only indicating that you’re afraid, insecure, and mistrustful that you can’t gather information organically over time. Which is why you resort to “interviewing” your date to find out if he/she gives the “right” answers to your questions.

The problem is that it’s awkward. It makes a partner feel like a piece of meat. He/she knows she’s being tested, and probably doesn’t enjoy it.

So I can’t speak to how other people handle things, but as a direct communicator, I’d come out and say it. “Hey, I’m getting the sense that you’re “testing” me on issues of communication and fidelity. Do you want to tell me about issues you’ve had in the past with women? Because these questions feel a bit uncomfortable and inorganic to me.” And then let him speak.

His answer will tell you far more than I can.

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  1. 1

    It seems he wants an open and honest relationship but it also seems like he’s going overboard to the point of trying to compensate for insecurity and mistrust. I can’t say whether or not he’s testing you but either way, Be careful with this guy because if you forget to tell him something he thinks he should know, you might not hear the end of it. Think about your own right to privacy as well. Does he really need to know the color of the sheets when you lost your virginity? It’s time to set *your* boundaries.

  2. 2
    [email protected]

    One can learn the same information by being a very keen listener and observer. No shit test necessary.

    1. 2.1


      YOU might. A guy? Quite honestly, not so much. Women are usually very good at doing what you describe; most of you read body language very well, you catch every expression and vocal inflection, and you usually have the skills honed to the point where you can do all that, with little to no conscious effort.

      By contrast, I’m a type A guy, with a personality not so different from the man in the question, and even though a lot of women over the years have told me I’m far more aware and intuitive in reading those things than most men they’ve known, the fact remains that compared to an average woman, I am usually pretty clueless when it comes to those subtle indicators, and I’m well aware of just how big the difference is.

      Now, if women can observe and read all those tea leaves, and STILL feel the need to shit test men (and most do), how likely do you think it is that a more masculine, analytical, and far less intuitive man, who frequently misses those subtle cues, might feel a need to correspondingly shit test women, to fill in the gaps, when what’s “obvious” to you, isn’t at all obvious to him? I mean, we see you do it, eventually we understand why you do it, so we figure it might be useful for us to do it too. Methinks in this case, your own example might have taught us more than you might have liked. 🙂

      1. 2.1.1

        Hi Buck,

        I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your kind words in the “ambition” comment thread.   I had to stop reading it because I was in a restaurant and started to cry, I was so touched by this encouragement coming from a stranger!   Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and suggestions with me.   I hope you had a wonderful holiday:)

        1. Buck25


          I’m glad that helped. We all have those moments in life , when what we need most is a word of reassurance. Now, no more imagining of lonely desert islands; go find your someone.

      2. 2.1.2

        Buck25, do you find yourself, being a Type A guy, being spread very thin in your personal life? Meaning, that beyond work taking up great deals of your time, that in your personal life your significant other feels as though you do not have time for them? Also, do you agree that when your significant other seems disappointed that it causes you to shut down from them? I’m curious, because this is an issue that I’m dealing with currently with Charles. He has limited time, very limited, and has all these ideas of plans and things we could do, like weekends away, but things keep coming up. Whenever I try to mention that I feel hurt or slightly disappointed, he shuts down and pulls away, saying that he doesn’t want to have this conversation again. I’m not sure what to do, and I figured while I have a Type A guy to reach out to, it might be worth asking.

        1. Buck25


          Short answer, yes; in your description of Charles, I can see some echoes of myself, forty years ago. Taking on too much,   multitasking too much, too many ideas and not enough time to fit them in are all pitfalls for a young, driven, ambitious, high energy man, and being spread way too thin is an occupational hazard, professionally and personally. The intentions are good; the results…sometimes, not so good.

          “A man’s got to know his limitations”; an old Clint Eastwood movie quote with a lot of truth in it. The problem is, when when we’re young , driven and competitive, we don’t believe in limitations. The word “can’t ” isn’t in our vocabulary; because we think, with enough drive and determination, we can do it all, and finish it all yesterday! The young guy who thinks that way can cut quite a swath, professionally…and leave quite a trail of destruction in his personal life (if he manages to have much of one.); weekend plans put on hold, vacations planned but never taken…sound familiar? I’m guessing it does. The intentions aren’t bad; we’re just trying to be the best we can be. When you act disappointed, we shut down…why are you upset? Can”t you see I’m trying to do the right thing? Don’t you know I’ll make it up to you later? Well, the truth is, that no, you don’t see that, and no, you don’t know that.

          What we’re missing, is some balance. Eventually, with time and experience, we start to figure that out. There   ARE limits; we can’t have it all, or get it all done, right now. A lot of the time, it takes a spectacular failure, a broken relationship or two, a failed marriage. We learn we can’t always head off every problem, or contingency plan for it, in a relationship (incidentally, that’s what I see Charles trying to do-“fix” the   “problems” in his relationship with you, that were there in his other relationships). That ends up   like “fighting the last war”, using yesterday’s strategy to fix yesterday’s problems, instead of dealing with the reality of the here and now (which may actually be quite different). In other words, in trying to be proactive, he ends up trying to solve a problem which may not even exist.

          One way or the other, he will, if he is lucky, come to understand this, in about…10 to 20 years. Whether you’re still around him to see it, is up to you, as is whatever you can do to help him learn sooner. You really can’t fix him, though; he’ll have to fix himself, if and when he realizes he needs to. I wish I could tell you something more encouraging, Donna, but the truth is, as an old proverb says,   “We grow too soon old, and too late smart”.

      3. 2.1.3

        If women have such great “intuition” why do they have such a hard time finding the right guys?

        Women have control of the sexual selection process after all.

        1. Strangely Rational

          Intuition does not make good, available men in the right age range suddenly appear in our lives. And that’s BS about women having control over sexual selection. Men are just as capable of making choices about their sex partners as we are. If some choose not to be as discriminating as some women are, that’s THEIR choice.

          Outside of force, you don’t get a couple without BOTH people choosing to be together.

  3. 3

    This guy sounds majorly controlling. A month into a relationship, you should be talking about your favorite movie, not intimate details of your past love life. You’re still getting to know each other, which takes time. Plus, who wants to hear someone drone on endlessly about an ex?

    1. 3.1

      That is more or less how I perceived it, Emily.   As in “I won’t allow you to have any contact with exes.”   Which, to me, is simply fear.   Which can manifest as control and insecurity.    I don’t think it is appropriate to carry on with exes if one or both parties still have even a glimmer of hope or wishing that a reconciliation might be in the future.   But, if both parties are truly long past that, I don’t see the harm in casual, occasional, platonic communication.   This guy seems like that would not ever be okay.   And, with that kind of insecurity, I, personally, would run for the hills.

  4. 4

    Three questions:

    1 – Was this guy cheated on / told he needed to commit more in his last relationship? The behavior mentioned seems like a typical “fix – it” thinking of trying to  solve the issues from his last relationship  (ie making his expectations overt, being clear about his intentions).

    2 – Is it possible you have an avoidant attachment style? You mention I have been called confusing, and been told by this man that he does not know quite where he stands with me. We know a decent amount about our past relationships, my past engagements.

    When someone tells you clearly that you are confusing, it is possible that you are sending mixed messages and he is responding to that.  If you hear that from more than one person, it  becomes a more likely explanation. For example,  in the past you have TWICE gotten to the point of being engaged without it having worked out (unless they actually resulted in a marriage but the wording implies that it didn’t). To me, that implies that you either have the tendency to “go along” with the other person to avoid conflict as long as possible, or don’t know what you want. Both are problematic.

    3 – Have you been in other relationships with men you would call controlling? More so than his ‘tests’, you have characterized this man as less than sensitive. Be aware that you may soon be on the receiving end of this same behavior – ‘taking no crap’ from you, ‘being blunt’ with you, telling you what is ‘appropriate’ and ‘intolerable’. That doesn’t sound fun, easy or trusting….which are unlikely to make you  feel safe, heard and understood.  Just sayin’.

  5. 5

    Something about your letter makes me uncomfortable, this part ” letting me know that he doesn’t find it “appropriate” to continue speaking with someone you previously dated, when he’s involved with someone, and that he will not tolerate anyone who does that.”   Then you say he goes on to tell you when any of his exes contact him etc as if he is doing that to try to be some sort of stand up great guy, I don’t see it that way at all.       He is type A something else you mention. I think you are dating a controlling man and I see a lot of red flags.      Someone who does not tolerate or permit any contact whatsoever with your exes is a red flag.      And this man is not telling you when his exes contact him to be a good guy, he is doing so to encourage or show you that he wants you to do the same, in fact I wonder if the exes are even contacting him at all, or if he is just making that up to have a reason to discuss this issue with   you.    Now, if he had just said something to you like my ex cheating on me with one of her exes and it makes me really uncomfortable when a girl I am seeing talks to her ex boyfriends or fiances etc and I would like it if you did not do that or if you did if you were open with me about it that would be different, but to say it is inappropriate and that he will not tolerate it is controlling behavior.      It is also unrealistic. I am a very blunt person as well and I do not think what he is doing is being blunt, it is being controlling.      No you likely won’t be in regular contact with your exes, hanging out with them, emailing or texting them on a regular basis unless you share children, but should you see them on the street, or wish to tell them happy birthday, you should be able to do so without facing his wrath.   There is a level of healthy contact that you may decide to have with your exes, but the point is whatever that contact is, you get to decide not him.       This guy is giving you a weird feeling and you don’t know why, your gut is telling you something is off and you may not have put it into words, and I don’t think Evan read the words the way I did being a man, or not dating this man.   Because I have dated a man like this and I have felt what you are feeling.       You are correct he is testing you. He is not offering this information to show that he is trustworthy, he is offering this information to see if you will fit his mold or allow you to be put into it.   And I guess if you are okay with never talking to your exes again then no worries.   But remember someone who wishes to control your ability to talk to your exes likely will down the road wish to control your ability to talk to or do something else.   We have all been hurt, but he needs to trust that whether you talk to your exes or not you want him.

    1. 5.1

      I agree with every word of this

  6. 6

    In my opinion, the only mistake this guy has made is going over his expectations too soon. They’ve been dating one month. I think the conversations they’re having should be reserved for a committed relationship.

    If I were her, I would be uncomfortable too. I dated someone like this when I was 20. (He was 27). Laying out all of his expectations early on, made me feel like I had to ‘perform’ in order to be worthy. However, if he would have just let things happen naturally, it would have been much more enjoyable and relaxing getting to know each other in those early days. At a certain point, (after commitment), I think it’s entirely appropriate to state what your expectations are.

  7. 7

    I am a bit concerned about this guy.   I think Evan should have more concerns as well.

    Here are the warning signs I identified:

    “I have been called confusing, and been told by this man that he does not know quite where he stands with me. We know a decent amount about our past relationships, my past engagements (yes, “s”, as in 2), and our recent dating history. “

    It’s been one month of dating, she has been totally receptive of his advances and even slept with him.   What in the world is “confusing” about her responses?   These questions seem to be a sign of a controlling, insecure attachment style.

    Then Charles goes on to tell her: “he doesn’t find it “appropriate” to continue speaking with someone you previously dated, when he’s involved with someone, and that he will not tolerate anyone who does that.”   

    Alarm bells went off for me here.   I’d pass on this guy.     

  8. 8

    Oh jees. I can SO relate to the OP in this post. Hate would be a strong word, but I really dislike being shit-tested. I think what I dislike most about it is that the person who is interviewing you likes to take the moral high ground, as if they have every right to ask these questions, and you are the one who is dodgey for being hesitant to ask them. I have had this experience numerous times with guys I have met online, with men conducting gestapo-type investigations, before we’ve even met!! I know right then that it’s not going to go well, because I can’t handle this level of insecurity. But mostly I can’t handle that squirmy feeling that I feel where your hesitation to answer is taken as evidence that you are hiding something, rather than that you object to being put on the spot so by a virtual stranger.


    It’s one thing to ask “so what are you looking for in a relationship” or even “so why did your last relationship not work out?” It is another thing to try and test the mettle of someone’s character before you’ve even got to know them or to try and pry confessions out of someone that are none of your business.

  9. 9

    * hesitant to answer them

  10. 10

    Oh, I dated someone similar, after some time I was a nervous wreck because if I forgot to tell him something, he would just blame me of dishonesty, I felt like under interrogation all the time, I was afraid that some old friend will ask me “How are you?” on FB or send a text and I will forget to tell my bf and he will make a scene again. I stopped talking to all my guy friends because it was just easier than to repeat after every word of the conversion and explain that there was no underlying meaning in anything. He would want to know all the details about my sexual experiences and if I told he that I don’t want to talk about it, he would make me feel bad and would tell me I am not open and cannot be trusted. I would delete all conversation even with girlfriends because it could mean sleepless night trying to explain what I meant in this sentence.


  11. 11

    Sorry, but I see red flags here! I’ve seriously dated 2 “Charles-type” men and casually dated at least 3 others like-minded. Trust me when I tell you, THIS guy has some serious control issues. Whether or not he is testing you is irrelevant…. He is setting the script for you that he is going to expect you to follow precisely as your relationship progresses! I can almost guarantee that as things progress, who you have as friends on Facebook, you you talk on the phone with, you you hang out with, what you do with your “me time” will slowly become more and more scrutinized. Eventually, anyone that HE views as a threat to “his investment” (you) will be off limits. Don’t be surprised if he eventually starts treating you and your relationship like he’s running his business. I urge you to go back and re-read your letter….he is already, early on in the relationship, telling you what isn’t “appropriate” in a relationship and “he will not accept”? So, he’s the “Boss” and you’re his “employee”??   A healthy relationship should not be run as a business, where the prospective mate is instructed and screened as if you were a new hire!! If you choose to proceed with this relationship, please, please keep your eyes wide open and pay attention to the signs…..Evan Marc Katz, do you agree?

    1. 11.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I do agree. And as I said in the first line, this is something that I think women do even more to avoid getting hurt/wasting time on the wrong men.

      But yes, this is a foundational principle of my coaching and of my Love U course – you are not interviewing for your future partner, and if you do, you can’t be too surprised if he/she doesn’t like the interview process.

      1. 11.1.1

        I am the writer of this letter. I am thrilled to get some insight from people who are objective. Thank you Evan! I do appreciate everyone’s comments. I have been through a lot of different things with several kinds of men. Let me clear a few things up:

        1) He and I are still dating, and this type of behavior has actually stopped. The organic process has picked up, and it is very natural now. I’m not sure when that happened, but I do know that things are progressing slowly and the way that I’d like for now.

        2) At the time of this letter, he and I had not slept together.

        3) Yes, though he is successful, he is young. He is in his mid-20’s. (Don’t ask what he does, because I can’t even tell you properly!) Yes, he enjoys having friends around still, therefore, lives with one of his best friends. He has lived by himself, owned his own home, etc., and simply found this to be the best situation for him and his friend financially. Frankly, for the amount of time he’s at home, it makes sense. I’m fine with that, as it gives him time with his friends, and gives me the opportunity to get to know him around others, without it being forced or pressured.

        4) As far as the testing goes, he had been cheated on in the past by a girl who was “just friends” with another guy. He had asked me if I had ever cheated on anyone before, and my answer was “technically, no”. So, he does have an issue there, no argument, but I was being honest. The way I see it, he is just being up front. I do believe that there is always testing that goes on in relationships however, whether we realize it or not. Girls do it far more often then men do, so to see so many women jump on this one is interesting to me.

        5) These conversations were never presented or felt like an interrogation. They were very natural. Though he and I did get into some more serious conversation topics quicker than I have before, I find it refreshing the honesty between the two of us. I think that relationship let downs are based 75% on expectations not being met, and the other 25% of them being that you don’t know what the expectations even were to begin with. I think this carries over into all situations of life though, not just interpersonal relationships. This is now a non issue for him and I, as it’s been laid out very clearly what the expectations are.

        6) Type A people are generally inhabit more of a “control freak” mentality than the typical Type B personality. My best friend is very Type A, and exhibits a lot of similar personality traits. I find nothing wrong with it as long as I or whoever is able to voice their opinion when it really matters.

        These things are all based on what I’ve learned over the course of my life, so I could be wrong. I also appreciate the men who have commented here. I’d love to hear more from Type A guys, and their explanation of this.

        1. Stacy

          I am sorry, but Type A is associated with confidence. Controlling behavior is a sign of insecurity (the opposite. You don’t need to justify negative traits by positive labels (and i am not even sure that Type A is a positive label to begin with).

        2. Nissa

          Thanks for the update, OP. Just the info that this guy is mid 20’s clears up a lot.

        3. alice

          And one things ,I think you need to let him know to let you have space sometimes,Coz based on my character im basically a too friendly,but because some betrayal i feel like butt too much in others space and forget to gave them theirs.

          This is not good coz it makes it an unhealthy relationship(just becareful,again,wheter he’s abusive or not)

          You should be clear about having your own space sometimes

    2. 11.2

      I fully agree. The traits in what he apparently did say to Donna are clear and controlling. The fact that he might have backed off if she confronted him with it is also a sign. It is a cycle. If this was an initial one time thing, then there is hope. But only time will tell.

  12. 12

    P.s. I just want to add, there is a difference between testing or “screening” a new dating partner to see if you are compatible, and out-and-out interrogation. What I read in your letter, Donna, falls more into the latter category. Telling you that he “will not accept” something in a relationship, without provocation to do so ( I am assuming you were not talking to an ex of yours, that he knows of) is a WARNING. Best of luck to you!

  13. 13

    I think women do this but its weird if a man does. I’ve done this to men but it’s all how you ask it. I just dont think its the best use of anyone’s time waste even a month if you both are not in agreeable to certain things.Yes most people have been hurt in the past and dont want to repeat that hurt but by waiting months for shit to just come out vs.doing a shit test in a fun sort of way then I dont see the harm. Just saying!

  14. 14

    I agree that this man sounds controlling. As far as being “confusing”, while you may not be an easy person to read, you are not going to be an open book to anyone after one month.


    There is a difference between asking, “So…have you ever cheated on anyone before?”, and telling someone, after one month of dating, that you will not tolerate dating anyone who as much as speaks to an ex, even as just a friend.   It also sounds like it’s okay for him to talk about his past exploits, but how would he react if you did that? Talking about your sexual history with someone, but then demanding that they never speak to any previous partners sounds a bit like it’s okay for to relive his past, but your past is not supposed to exist at all.


    It’s also been said that cheaters are hyper-sensitive to their partner’s behavior. They don’t trust you, because they are not to be trusted themselves. I don’t know this man’s history, but it is something to consider. In any case, I’d pass on this guy, his controlling behavior, and his double standards.

  15. 15
    Morgan Hill

    This man is simply a control freak – alarmingly so.

    And he is a successful business man but he lives with his roommates?


  16. 16

    I have to agree with the consensus here. Charles (the letter writer’s guy) doesn’t come across as a “Type A” guy at all really. In fact he comes across as a classic Type B guy masquerading as a Type A guy: his behavior reeks of classic controlling and insecurity. Meh. Next.
    Regarding the Shit Test I find it’s such an awful dating tactic that I can’t believe people think they can do it if they’re just “really subtle” about it. In fact, passing the shit test is one of the easiest tactics that players use to bed women: all they have to do is give the answers that the woman is looking for and then he’s in.
    “1. So…where do you see yourself in five years?”
    His answer: Well, if I met the right person I guess I’d like to, um, maybe consider starting a family.
    Her interpretation: If he considers me the right person we might have a future together.
    The truth: I’ve no idea what I actually want, but she seems to be sussing out my long-term intentions so I’d better say what I think she’s looking for so that she doesn’t cut me off unnecessarily. I might even get some sex too if I say it just right. But, one day, some day, maybe, I would like to consider starting a family. So technically I’m not lying.
    “2. So…how many people have you slept with? (To ensure he’s not an immoral slut.)”
    His answer: well, out of respect to my previous partners I’m not very comfortable talking about previous relationships,  yet.
    Her interpretation: ah he’s sweet; he doesn’t like to talk bad of his exes.
    The truth: he hasn’t a clue what the number is himself, but doesn’t want to look like an indiscriminate slut.
    “3. So…what kind of car do you drive? (To ensure he’s successful and stylish.)”
    His answer: whatever type of car he drives. There’s little room for ambiguity on this one.
    Her interpretation: this will depend on the woman and what motivates her.
    The truth: interestingly, I find that this can be an inverse shit test. Guys pick their car for a reason and it can often say a lot about a guy. Some guys like nice cars for the pseudo-status/self-aggrandizement it can give, whereas other guys intentionally drive rubbish cars as if sticking two-fingers to societal expectations/status.
    I find that there can often be a connection between the car a guy drives and his outlook on life, and even what type of woman he likes. He will be closely observing her reaction to his car in an attempt to suss out her values.
    “4. So…have you ever cheated on anyone before? (To ensure he’s not that kind of guy.)”
    His answer: No never. If I ever felt the need to sleep with anyone else it would only be fair to break-up with my partner first.
    Her interpretation: This guy has good morals and therefore is less likely to cheat on me.
    The truth: Well, it wasn’t reaaaally cheating, that time was it? I mean, we weren’t exclusive at the time. Or…we were on a break. So technically I’m not lying.
    “5. So…are you in touch with any of your exes? (To ensure he’s emotionally available.)”
    His answer: No, I believe when one is involved with someone that it’s best to leave exes alone.
    Her interpretation: Great. There will be no troublesome exes hanging about.
    The truth: Well looking up exes on the internet/Facebook doesn’t count does it? “Bumping” into them regularly doesn’t count does it? So I better say I don’t keep in touch, as technically I’m not lying.
    Why would a guy sabotage his chances with a woman  by saying the wrong things?
    I find that subtle observation, interpretation and inference, and “heuristics” are a far more effective way of assessing one’s values and character: that is what the dating period is for.

  17. 17

    I’ve always thought these questions should come up at the right time and when they feel natural. By that I mean when the conversation topic naturally comes up and not just out of the blue asking the question. I’m not conscious of having done this sort of thing to men I’ve dated. I actually have the opposite problem of not asking the right questions early on to determine that the guy is definitely on the same page as me. It’s how you ask the questions as well. You can be direct, but polite. You can also avoid being indirect or asking a question in expectation of a particular answer. In the early stages, I think asking very serious questions can take a lot of the fun out of a budding relationship. Also I agree with Tom10.

  18. 18

    There’s a difference between type A/upfront and controlling/insecure and this guys strikes me as the latter. I dated a guy like that, with a lot of similarities and it ended badly for me.   One month in its none of his business whether somebody contacted you or not. Be warned that what starts as “cute” interest in who contacts you on facebook may one day end in him embarrassing you in front of your clients at a business dinner or something.

    Also, Tupe A successful businessmen do not have roommates (by definition). Just saying. I would cut this guy loose.

    That said, I do find this concept of shit testing fascinating. I was recently given a male version of “the talk” as in “how do you see us?” by a guy I have been dating for a few months, and it is really amazing to me that he wanted to ask that rather than stating his own intentions. Oh well. I guess nobody wants to get hurt and as we get older we get more apprehensive.


  19. 19
    Karl S

    I am sorry, but Type A is associated with confidence. Controlling behavior is a sign of insecurity (the opposite. You don’t need to justify negative traits by positive labels (and i am not even sure that Type A is a positive label to begin with).”

    “I have to agree with the consensus here. Charles (the letter writer’s guy) doesn’t come across as a “Type A” guy at all really. In fact he comes across as a classic Type B guy masquerading as a Type A guy: his behavior reeks of classic controlling and insecurity. Meh. Next.”

    According to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge that is true and verifiable (lol), we have this description –
    The types
    Type A
    The theory describes Type A individuals as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics“, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.[4]

    In his 1996 book dealing with extreme Type A behavior, Type A Behavior: Its Diagnosis and Treatment, Friedman suggests that dangerous Type A behavior is expressed through three major symptoms: (1) free-floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents; (2) time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation usually described as being “short-fused“; and (3) a competitive drive, which causes stress and an achievement-driven mentality. The first of these symptoms is believed to be covert and therefore less observable, while the other two are more overt. [5]
    Type B
    The theory describes Type B individuals as a contrast to those of Type A. Type B personality, by definition, are noted to live at lower stress levels. They typically work steadily, and may enjoy achievement, although they have a greater tendency to disregard physical or mental stress when they do not achieve. When faced with competition, they may focus less on winning or losing than their Type A counterparts, and more on enjoying the game regardless of winning or losing. Unlike the Type A personality’s rhythm of multi-tasked careers, Type B individuals are sometimes attracted to careers of creativity: writer, counselor, therapist, actor or actress. However, network and computer systems managers, professors, and judges are more likely to be Type B individuals as well. Their personal character may enjoy exploring ideas and concepts. They are often reflective, and think of the “outer and inner world”.

    Regarding shit tests, I think a lot of what happens in the asking of these questions is a matter of intention and projection. For instance, I love asking partners about their dating history and their sex lives because I find the subject fascinating and people often have a lot of interesting stories that end up shaping their views and values about love. I ask that kind of question from a place of openness, however somebody might easily hear that question as though I were testing them and judging them. That’s a case of them projecting their own baggage onto me which might arise from bad experiences they’ve had with partners labeling them for their behaviour.

    However, maybe I am still shit testing them in a different sense. Maybe I want to see if they themselves have trouble talking about sex or if they’ll have negative judgements about all the one night stands and flings that I’ve had in the past.

    In that sense, the only way to avoid making things a shit test is to be mindful of what you’re trying to get when asking a question or offering information about yourself to others. The only way to avoid being shit tested is to find a partner whose personal baggage and projections seem to sync up with your own, so there’s no judgement. If you feel like you’re being judged or your partner is trying to tell you who YOU are, you’re not in sync.

    As the OP stated in her later response, her boyfriend had been cheated on in the past. Being able to admit that, maybe now they can work on his baggage so she doesn’t feel like she’s being shit tested. However, if he can’t move past that and stop projecting onto her, she’s going to continue feeling like he’s judging her.


  20. 20


    He IS testing you! Go with your original question. You wouldn’t have asked it if you didn’t already mistrust his motives. You should mistrust them. He IS setting you up. To be his supply source. The following is why I think so, and I offer it humbly as I don’t know you, him or your relationship anymore than what you’ve shared. I hope I am completely wrong!

    This guy’s characteristics jumped off the page at me. I was in exactly the same place a month into my past relationship. I recognize the traits. Controller, that can and probably will lead to emotional or verbal abuse. Even though he may have the traits of an outward “alpha male”, what you described screams insecure and emotionally immature to me.

    Evan’s advice is great if your guy was asking you the questions he addressed in his response. But I think Evan missed some really big RED flags of a controller:

    First, telling you he won’t “tolerate” you talking to ex’s, but he can.

    Second, telling you what is and is not “appropriate” for you to do, so early into a relationship when he doesn’t even really know much about you.

    Future tripping. Talking about 60 years down the road? He’s feeding you the dream. Getting you hooked on his promises. How would either of you even have a clue after a month?

    Grilling you about who contacts you.

    Talking about his ex’s. This may be a yellow flag if he talks about it neutrally. But if there is any emotion, it is a red flag. Especially if he talks negatively or blaming. It’s a sign he’ll start blaming you too. For everything. Big controller symptom to break you down. Ask him if his past relationships were “contentious” or if there was a lot of fighting, or if he felt “he” was abused.

    This is just the beginning.

    You need to be very, very strong with this kind of person. You need to never self-doubt or make excuses for him (there is no shame about being engaged twice, neither do you need to go out of your way to appease him, show him YOU are not jealous, etc). Never defend or explain yourself or your actions to him! I am not saying to be critical of him or grill him or play his games or his crazy making, gas lighting, etc. I’m saying be observant, neutral (say “Sorry you feel that way”, or “oh well”) and do not give up what makes you happy, such as your friends, activities, etc. Try telling him that you are going out with friends next weekend and can’t be with him, but would like to see him on Sunday instead. See how he reacts.   A good guy would be fine with it, as he would understand that friends are good for you and he would want that for you, because he would be emotionally mature enough to know that you know what’s best for you, not him. Duh! Tell him an old male friend contacted you. He wants you to, right? See how he reacts. Any, I mean any sign of anger, questioning or criticism…RUN. I was lucky I wasn’t hurt physically, even though the emotional scars are worse.

    YOU need to take control of this relationship now, not let him steer it. Don’t wait for him to call because he’s busy. Don’t be fooled by his little actions of kindness or what seems to be the signs he’s a genuine boyfriend. As Evan repeatedly says, pay attention to the negative red flags! Be aware of any cycles of him wooing you, then testing you. Being “nice”, then grilling you. Promising you something, then either forgetting it, or taking it away.

    Go slow! Guard your emotions like a mama bear would her cubs. Limited your time with him and limit or abstain from sex. Learn to be strong by yourself and not expose yourself to too much endorphin that tend to create the smokescreen he wants so you don’t pay attention to your gut. Don’t offer information at this point that is vulnerable to you. Honesty is fine, but don’t offer anything you may feel sad or hurt about. Talk in an empowering, positive way about yourself with him.

    Also know that you can do nothing to change a controller. Nothing you say or do, and no matter how much you love them will easily change them. It takes them admitting to it. It takes therapy with a trained counselor. If you are anything like me, a “helper” or rescuer, go to the shelter and adopt a pet. A wildcat can’t be tamed.

    Finally, as you already know, this relationship already has mistrust on both sides. That can be overcome, if he is not what I think he is. I so hope he’s not. All my best to you…

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