How Do I Avoid Wasting Time on Players and Narcissists?

How Do I Avoid Wasting Time on Players and Narcissists?

Dear Evan,

I think your male point of view may help women spot the good guys. You advise us to be careful with the alphas and Mr. Know-it-all types. Well, it’s not always easy to spot them for women, especially for the attractive ones. It’s easier for men to know other men, you can easily say if such guy is a player or not; but it’s sometimes difficult for women due to the mixed signals. I’m physically a very attractive woman, and this is sometimes a real curse since a lot of men compete for my attention, and they all seem nice, compassionate, chivalrous, and generous at the beginning, even the alphas and know-it-alls. They keep a low profile, at least for a while. I never know their real faces until I’m invested.

I wish there was a way — a kind of test for women to figure out who can walk their talks, who is genuinely compassionate and kind, before we got emotionally invested. I’m an observant person. I observe how they treat waiters etc., yet some of men are really good at hiding their true selves for a long time (until they’re sure of you). It’s a very frustrating experience for me. I wish women could have practical tools to measure up men before they got involved and eliminate the narcissists/players.

I’m looking forward for your advice from the male perspective.


Dear Ashley,

You didn’t ask me a question. You made a statement:

“It’s hard to tell if a man is a good guy. I would love to have a magic wand that would let me know if I’m wasting my time.”

Well, you’re in luck, my friend.

If your biggest concern is that everyone puts on his best face for a long time, then the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and observe him.

You asked for a “test” that women can give to men to figure out which ones are truly kind and compassionate, instead of selfish players.

I’m not sure if you were looking for a physical object (like the aforementioned magic wand), a personality test (like the 436 questions on eHarmony’s profile), or maybe just a subtle series of questions that you can drop into every day conversation (ex. “Are you a player or are you a genuinely sincere guy?”)

If it sounds like I’m teasing you, Ashley, well, I am.

Because, no matter how important such “tests” are (and they are), and how much women want them (a lot), they all pale in comparison to the one test that I can offer that’s close to foolproof.

Yes, this is a test that everybody knows about and it’s FAR more effective than “So, where do you see yourself in five years?”. And yet somehow, it’s not considered very popular in the female community.

You ready for it?

It’s called “the test of time”.

If your biggest concern is that everyone puts on his best face for a long time, then the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and observe him.

Literally ANYTHING else you try to do to “weed him out” is going to be obvious, tone-deaf, and likely ineffective.

How do I know this? Because, by your logic, my wife would have weeded me out really early on. Check out these red flags.

– We hooked up (without sleeping together) for a month before I became her boyfriend.
– I didn’t see her six times a week; closer to 3 times.
– I was never “whipped” and never had the “you just know” feeling.
– I didn’t tell her I loved her for six months.
– I had never had a girlfriend for longer than 8 months before.
– She wasn’t my “type” — liberal, Ivy League, ambitious, East Coast.
– I was open about my confusion and ambivalence. After 16 months, I was either going to propose or break up and I didn’t know which.

So why did my wife keep me around?

Because she could tell that I was 100% authentic.

If a man wants to get married and start a family one day, he’ll bring it up. If he never brings it up, he probably doesn’t want it.

That I kept absolutely no secrets.

That I really did want to settle down and start a family.

That my moral code and integrity were my most valued traits.

So even though she could tell that I had a wide alpha-male, know-it-all streak, it was always tempered by the fact that I was sensitive, open and honest with her — even when I was confused about our future.

If she had pressed me after one month or three months as to whether I intended on marrying her, it would have been a mistake.

After six months, as I said, I loved her, but I didn’t KNOW anything for sure.

And that, to me, Ashley, is your blind spot. You seem to think that a man is a player if he doesn’t want to marry you. I’d say that there are definitely some bad apples out there, but that EVERY man is a player until he finds the woman with whom he wants to stop playing.

Who is that woman going to be?

Most likely, it’s going to be the one who is confident enough in herself and her judgment to not have to administer “tests” to her boyfriend, no matter how fearful you are about wasting your time.

So, to come full circle, let’s give you something you can take away from this article — apart from the concept of being cool and patient and letting the man reveal himself over time.

Pay attention to whether your boyfriend shares the same life goals as you. If a man wants to get married and start a family one day, he’ll bring it up. If he never brings it up, he probably doesn’t want it. And that will probably mean that you’re wasting your time.

But IF he wants to one day get married and start a family, literally the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and watch him for two years to determine if you think HE’S worth of being your husband for the next FORTY years. If he passes that test, he may be worth your time.

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  1. 241

    Well this is interesting. I met what I believed to be the most wonderful man ever. After four months, he brought up marriage and even took me to a mall where he had me give him ideas of what I like. We were very happy for three years until he started acting strange. It became so bizarre as he started withdrawing. Counseling didn’t help either. I figured he had been through a bad divorce and was getting cold feet. He knew I expected a proposal after that amount of time. I finally left. He watched me walk out the door. Prior to leaving, I found the ring paperwork. He had planned to propose during our trip 4 months prior. However he let me walk out the door. Never heard from him again. I say this because I would NEVER waste 2 years of my time again. Guys can give all indicators of their intentions and then still pull nonsense. To suggest a woman over 35 sit around for 2 years waiting on a man is a big mistake. If they know you are the one, they won’t string you along for two years or more. Period.

  2. 242

    This is very difficult.   There are some men that you know immediately are just players and will never committ to anyone.   They are dishonest and don’t respect other women.   While other men may be good guys looking for a serious relationship just not with you.   Both men and women evaluate whether a person is a good potential future spouse   and sometimes we say no that’s okay.   Attractive women like this writer have it a bit harder.   First they attract more attractive men who tend to be the narcissists and the players.   Not necessarily because that’s who the women want, but because these are the only men bold enough to pursue them and/or confident enough to continue to date them.   Attractive women rarely get approached by average guys and if they do the men are almost always insecure in the relationship or never get there due to lack of confidence.   But the second and less obvious issue is the desire of most men to acquire a very attractive female.   This means getting her into bed and conquering her.   This is not just an alpha male thing it’s a most male thing.   Many men become so focused on this and so enamoured with the lust that they never consider compatibility issues.   They often have no idea they are doing it.   So you as an attractivesee   female think you are holding out on sleeping with the man for one, two even three months to see if he’s a good fit and evaluating him as a long term mate, such as what do we have in common, etc all the man is focused on is getting you into bed.   The man you see is romantic and wining and dining you, he gives you tons of attention makes you feel secure, he commits he talks about a future together, follows all of Evan’s rules and so you have sex.   Then things gradually change.   Make no mistake he wants to continue having sex he’s into that but suddenly he discovers he does not like the person you are.   He says you are not compatible, he wants less of a career woman, he wants a Christian girl, whatever the case may be, except he knew you were none of these three months ago! Sometimes he’s just a jerk but not a lot of men will waste that much time and effort trying to get a woman into bed, it’s just they cannot see clearly until they do.   Most of these men say well the sex is great we can still do that if you want and 90% try to hook up with you later on years later on if they are single.   But truth be told most men are not going to turn down the chance to court and sleep with a very attractive woman if given the chance.   And before you say oh pretty people have nothing more to offer, again the attractive person is being upfront from day one as to who they are, so even assuming this is true, the man would know who she was long before that.   My game plan after having this happen to me far too often and only figuring it out years later was to be very selective with whom I dated even if that meant long periods of being single.   Then, sleep with the men earlier rather than later.   That way if you are dealing with these men you can figure it out early on.   Sure there are downfalls and you can get hurt but doing it the other way causes more pain.

  3. 243

    What do you mean by “hooked up w/out sleeping together”?

  4. 244
    Debbie Scott

    I don’t think every man is a playah until he finds someone he wants to settle down with. Maybe most of them, but there is a book published on adultery and a psychologists reported that adultery happens mostly in happy marriages. Also, look at the effect single sites have now on the situation. Easier to see what’s out there. If a guy knows you are not the one, he shouldn’t move in with you. He shouldn’t verbalize eternal love, and he shouldn’t leave cards, gifts, etc. on his way to the computer to see what else it there. He should stay in his own house, and date around. But they want security. Wish I knew the name of the book.

  5. 245

    I have several friends that met and married within 6 months to one year. Each couple are happily married with 15-20 year marriages


    this two year window is ridiculous . When you know you know. If something awful happens it can happen at any point

    1. 245.1

      EMK has acknowledged that it’s possible to have a happy life with someone you marry within 6 months to a year.   However, it’s more probable that you’ll have a lasting union if you wait at least 2 years.   Just look at the statistics.

  6. 246
    Phyllis Evan

      Well in my case the test of time wasted 6 1/2 years of my life       I fell head over heels in love and committed myself 100%. We got married   after 2 1/2 years.    I thought I was marrying a nearly perfect man    But he was never what he appeared to be.    After the marriage I discovered that there was Mr. Hyde to his doctor Jekyll        And untangling myself has been incredibly painful      

  7. 247

    What helped me was to start making a list and writing down everything that was f-ed up that he said or did, and in the second column, everything f-ed up that I said or did, which was actually contributing to a toxic pattern. Thanks to this list I was able to end a situation early because my mind did not override or forgive or excuse things like it tends to happen sometimes. WRITE IT DOWN…. keep this list private but the list will reveal the pattern. You can always work on your own stuff and be smarter next time around.

  8. 248

    My simple solution to all of this is leave Sex off the table until you’re married. We play house with people, for years sometimes…wasting precious time. All the qualities and character traits of the individuals will be much clearer if the bio-chemical connection of sex is reserved for when we have already made the commitment to share our lives together. Keep sex sacred, let our higher impulses make the choice for our life partner, stop treating selection of partners selfishly, like what’s in this for me- maybe there’s a better model out there somewhere-women take your power back. Respect and value who you are and require men to pay the price of commitment before you give yourself away.

  9. 249

    I LOVE this post Evan!   I think so many women (me included) get caught up in a “timeline” of how things should progress.


    Would you say this post also also holds true for the over 50 crowd as well – which is where I am. Not looking to start a family but maybe blend a family. Not necessarily looking to get married again (not ruling it out either) but would like a committed relationship – living together and sharing a life together

    As always – thank you for your insight!

  10. 250

    I have been married for 6 months now. In my experience, when I was single, one year into the relationship you already knew if that was worthy (Tú sabes si eso va para el baile o no, as we say in my country).

  11. 251

    I come from a European country and have lived in the US for seven years. I am a woman in my late thirties. At home, we do not date the American way, and there are no timelines and no engagements/rings. We just stay together as long as it works, often living together but not always. Relationships that don’t lead to marriage are not considered “a waste of time”. Women do not live for “the big day”. Weddings are smaller and frankly, often happen only if people want kids or for tax reasons. I feel that American women still have to rely heavily on men’s money, especially for old age because you can be thrown into poverty so quickly. Once you have public healtcare and retirement, you will see the “nature” of women change quickly. Many of us are not into sleeping with the same person we share the toothpaste with, ot only sleeping with one person for the rest of our lives. That is why women cheat as often as men. There is so much facade, a big industry behind weddings, artificial hair, artificial fingernails and artificial everything – it all will change when women get more independent and the system gets less dog-eat-dog. Conservatives know this, that is why they fight it with their life.

    1. 251.1
      No Name To Give

      Isa, I am conservative who doesn’t share your world view. It has nothing to do with the “big business” of weddings. And there is no conservative cabal against living together or having all the sex you want while you do. I don’t live that way because I don’t want to. That’s it, nothing more. If I never have another man in my life, so be it.

    2. 251.2

      If your sex drive wanes by the toothpaste you share, maybe it’s time for a new toothpaste. Way better long term investment than artificial hair and fingernails in that case. Though I can’t understand how big weddings that cost a not-so-small fortune and ‘conservatives’ have to do with each other.

  12. 252

    This is an excellent blog. As many mistakes as I have made in my dating life, I can honestly say I watched and observed, and didn’t walk away until I knew for sure that I was in a situation that couldn’t be worked out…so I guess the “test of time” is the best indicator. (Just don’t ignore those red flags!)

    But about the “red flags” EMK mentioned in his dating relationship with his now-wife…..why was seeing her three times a week considered a “red flag”? I don’t expect to see someone six days a week in the early stages. People work full-time and have families and other interests….three times a week is plenty for me and for the men with whom I’ve been involved.

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