Understanding the Manimal Species
As a dating coach who has worked with men and women since the 1990s, I have determined while one does not want to categorize or over typify members of the human race, it is clear that in the search for love there are, in fact, certain types of men – what I call the MANimal Species — that a woman must be able to recognize if her intention is to begin to select wisely in her search for long-term love.
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This Manimal – Mr. Elusive – is a slippery fellow. Like a bar of soap, Mr. Elusive looks harmless while sitting in the soap dish. He smells quite nice, and the monogram etched into his form is attractive, alluring, the perfect accessory that adds panache to your powder room. He makes you feel incredible — like he is the boyfriend for which you have longed. However, once you touch the soap with wet hands you can be assured that this is one man to which you can not hold on. Mr. Elusive will not commit to long-term love. Perhaps he has been tainted, bitter from heartbreak that shattered his belief in love. Or, maybe he as become so accustomed to the freedoms that comes from living life as a bachelor he can’t be bothered to have to visit your auntie in Maine or attend little Johnnie’s birthday party. Either way, despite his charm, good looks and declarations of how much he enjoys spending time with you when you are in his embrace, he is not interested in changing himself, his lifestyle or his position on exclusivity and relationship. He will forever remain elusive.
As a result of interviews with a vast array of Elusive Manimals, I have developed the following list of statements and critical behaviors you must learn to recognize if you are to successfully identify if the man on which you have set your sights is and always will be — Mr. Elusive:
- He refers to his heart, soul and ability to commit in the 3rd-person. For example, when explaining why he might not be able to commit to the exclusive relationship Mr. Elusive might say, “My heart always remains open to the infinite possibilities that life provides.”
- His heart has done a 180 on you roughly six hundred times, sometimes within one week. When his heart does the 180 degree turn, he convincingly, emphatically, and sincerely admits that he’s just as confused about his behavior as you might be.
- He often adores nature, using metaphors such as “wind,” “storm,” or “bird” to describe his wanderlust. Often you wonder if he loves the tree he’s hugging more than he loves you.
- Direct communication and brutal honesty are his default. As a result, you will always get it exactly as he feels it.
- He uses the word “feel” roughly 10x more than any other straight guy you’ve met/dated in describing his life, ability to commit, and passion for moment to moment.
- His atrological sign is Pisces.
- He uses any of the following phrases: “I love you, but I can’t do this right now,“ I know this sounds cliché, but this honestly has nothing to do with you…it’s all me”, or “I can’t figure my heart out…it’s so flighty, so unpredictable”?
- He requires an inordinate amount of personal space and time.
- When he’s in your space, he is curiously needy.
- Your friends describe him as “hard to figure out”, “melodramatic,” “selfish,” or “bad for you.”
- He is rarely, if ever, jealous.
- On one of your first three dates, he openly confides to you (whilst shaking his head and looking deeply into the bread basket, “My heart is complicated.”
- When you are with him you believe that once he realizes how incredible awesome and independent you are, he will choose to realign his values to match your intention to be in a relationship.
- Dates with him are filled with incredible, shared experiences, deep connection and laughter. It feels good to be with him. When he is with you his behavior can be described as affectionate, present and generous.
If you have answered “yes,” to more than 7 of these characteristics, be assured you are dating Mr. Elusive.
One of the most alluring, yet dangerous MANimals to date is the Hunter. The Hunter is attractive, could “look good on paper” and can turn on the charm without hesitation. What’s more, he is a master at enticing women into the Faux Relationship. A Faux Relationship is one in which The Hunter receives girlfriend privileges, such as companionship, sex and Geisha-Girl type services without having to make a commitment.
If you find yourself dating a Hunter, you may:
- occasionally cook him dinner, bring him his favorite coffee. or pick up take-out while he watches Monday Night Football (Geisha Girl Behaviors) The Hunter rarely, if ever, reciprocates.
- believe that you can change his behaviors, even though he has no desire to change.
- accept crumbs, believing that tiny morsels of attention are enough because he claims he is “busy,” “has lots of friends,” or is “temporarily short on cash.”
- inherently believe that you are “different,” or “special,” which will ultimately result in the Hunter joyfully abandoning his commitment to singledom once he “comes ’round” to this realization.
One of the biggest signs you are dating a Hunter is that he will issue a Disclaimer once you have had sex, if not before. The Disclaimer conversation may look something like this:
Hunter: “I really like you Sue. You are one of the most amazing women I have met.”
Sue: “You’re amazing…this is amazing.” She looks deeply into his eyes, inciting panic in the Hunter
Hunter: He pulls back, returning her gaze. “It’s just, right now is not the time for me to be in a relationship. I’m focused on my career.” (insert any reason here including just took new job, ended previous relationship, moved to new apartment etc.)
Sue: “It’s cool. It’s fine.” She smiles, kissing him. (This is where Sue believes once he gets to know how amazing she is, Hunter will become ready to be in a relationship with her.)
Last, you can be sure you are engaging with a Hunter if the dating process like this:
- The Hunter mostly asks you out via text, email or IM. He rarely calls “just to chat.”
- He rarely invites you on a date in advance. Most often, dates do not occur on weekends. Late night calls on weekends are frequent.
- He will spend time with you, after he spends time with friends. As a result, he may not see you before 10 pm.
- Dates frequently consist of “hanging out,” watching movies etc. Ultimately, for obvious reasons, the Hunter wants you to come to his apartment rather than go out.
Throughout this dating experience, you may feel like you are on an exciting, dangerous Safari adventure. The Faux Relationship provides adventure, big ups, and lows that are dramatic. Just when you’ve had enough, however, the Hunter will reel you in. He will be charming, dole out more crumbs, take you on a lovely date, and declare that you, in fact, are special. The Hunter is adept at knowing when he must act the role of boyfriend in order to keep you near his cave.
Take note ladies. The Hunter, however, is NOT a jerk. He has been honest, issued the disclaimer and made no promises to change. It is you who has agreed to accept crumbs. If your long-term relationship goal is to be involved in a committed, monogamous relationship, sever ties with The Hunter. Take responsibility for doing what is necessary to create space for a man who has similar goals to come into your life.
When it comes to dating, women don’t want to waste time investing in a man who most likely isn’t looking for a long-term relationship. However, most often the tell-tale signs are camouflaged with good looks, being taken to a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant, or even consistently following thru on the basics such as calling when he says he will call, or arriving on time for dates. He will pick you up. He is polite, and respectful. These men, however, fall into the category of the MANimal Species known as: Quality Casual.
Mr. Quality Casual is truly a nice guy. He means well, however he really is not in a place in his life where he is ready, or able to make a commitment. Here are 7 signs to help you identify whether or not you are dating Mr. Quality Casual.
- When he asks you out, the date regularly starts past 8 p.m. Mr. Quality Casual always has something to do before he meets you. Unlike a Frat Boy who wants to meet you after he spends time at the bar with his friends, the Quality Casual guy has reasons that are quite legit. For example, he has a conference call, networking event, important meeting, or a class at the gym he needs to fit in before the date. Either way, Mr. Quality Casual only wants to see you within the small spaces he has made available for his social life. If you notice this pattern, feel free to say in a tone that bares no sarcasm or anger, “Hey Mr. QC…. I would really like to get to know more about you. I have really enjoyed spending time together, and I’m wondering if we will be able to have a date soon that starts before 9pm.” This approach is non confrontational, and might even bring to his consciousness a pattern of which he was not aware.
- There is a distinct pattern to the frequency and days on which you have dates. Mr. Quality Casuals date one or two days per week during the weekday, and will ask you out on one evening during the weekend. They will, not however, include you in other weekend activities.
- If you are in an intimate relationship and spend a weekend night together, you part ways the next day before breakfast. Mr. Quality Casual loves to have “girlfriend privileges,” which can include the sleepover. However he does not want to spend his Sunday with you at the Farmer’s Market, sharing an oversized omelet and gingerly wiping syrup from the corner of your lip. He will perhaps make coffee, or offer to stop at Starbucks before he takes you home, but he has an agenda for his weekend day, and it most likely doesn’t include you.
- Conversations between dates are infrequent and/or brief. The content of these conversations mostly pertains to catch-up, or making plans for another date. There is not much more idle chit-chat with Mr. Quality Casual in between dates. He most likely won’t share his biggest troubles, wins, or deepest secrets with you, especially on the phone. When Mr. QC communicates it is mostly to invite you on a date, inquire regarding your availability in the future, or just bare minimum check in to keep the relationship alive.
- When he mentions plans to take vacations, travel to meet his family, or leave town for business; he doesn’t mention it until a few days before he is planning to leave. If you aren’t involved in the big details of Mr. QC’s life, you can be sure he isn’t interested in a long-term serious relationship. He will, however, tell you where if he has travel plans a day or two prior to his departure because it is relevant to making plans for future dates. In addition, Mr. QC never makes statements such as “someday we should go to (insert exotic location) together,” or “if you meet my family one day, you will learn that Uncle Sam is (insert odd character trait).”
- He will go one or even two weeks without being available to make a date. You know you are dating Mr. Quality Casual if he only fits you into his life sporadically. When he has a big deadline at work, travels, or is otherwise distracted, you may not see him for one or two weeks. He will, most likely, contact you via phone, text or IM just to keep in touch.
- He never invites you to join him when he goes to friends’ birthday parties, family events or other activities which involve his friends. This is the most significant sign you are dating a Mr. Quality Casual. Mr. QC will never invite you to parties, family events or include you in activities that involve his inner circle. In fact, he will let you know he is going to his “buddy’s birthday party in Hollywood,” or that it’s Aunt Susies 40th anniversary party, but he will not invite you. If he does invite you to a party with friends, Mr. QC will not introduce you as his girlfriend. Instead, he will state you are his friend.
Mr. Quality Casual is the perfect guy to date if your relationship goals do not include long-term commitment. If, however, you are looking for a serious relationship check in with Mr. QC soon to ask “his thoughts on marriage.” Use these words exactly, as they are an excellent way to determine if you have common relationship goals without making Mr. QC feel as if you are asking him if he is interested in marrying you. If marriage isn’t in his plan anytime soon, it’s time to say goodbye. Remember, creating space so that you can attract a man who is relationship-minded and shares the same relationship goals as you, is critical to finding the love you deserve.
The Cry Baby often lures women into pseudo relationships because he is inquisitive, sweet, and appears to be connected to himself emotionally. He may say he is really into you within the first few dates, tell you that you are different from other women he has dated, and share deep, intimate details about himself quickly. He often philosophizes, says he is on a “spiritual” journey or shares his “victim to victory” story with you. He knows, believe me, that once he begins to share these types of personal stories he will have you hooked. What’s more, once you feel “connected” to him, you put yourself at risk to move into “over-share” mode, giving him reason upon reason to rule you out of his current dating pool without knowing who you really are.
The bottom line is this: It is easy to recognize The Cry Baby and remain clear and discerning by getting to know him slowly. If he does reveal loads of personal information on the first or second date, interpret it as a red flag. Continue to get to know him, date-by-date, and then watch to make sure he is consistent. Ensure that his words and actions match. If he says he is spiritual…on a journey….or into self development, watch to see that his actions support his declarations. While it often seems like the miracle man has landed smack dap in your lap, (I mean, he doesn’t watch tons and tons of sports, read “The Power of Now,” and is in a Men’s Group) remember to remain curious. In short, don’t start planning the wedding just because he’s “so into you.” Who is he, really? If you hold on to your boundaries you won’t “fall to quickly,” and thus force The Cry Baby to decide if he is in it to win it. The Cry Baby often uses this approach because he receives validation from “making women fall in love with him. The problem, then becomes, that once you are “hooked,” he will most likely panic, break up and start the cycle again with someone new.
Here are five signs you may be dating The Cry Baby:
- He talks about his personal journey, the ways in which he has changed, and quite possibly tell you a dramatic story from his childhood on the first or second date. He has no problem looking you directly in the eye.
- He has been in several long term relationships lasting 3-9 months, and there is often no lapse between girlfriends.
- He is sometimes hot, sometimes cold. He constantly tells you his deepest thoughts, wants to spend every minute with you, then pulls away.
- You find yourself telling him, or your girlfriends, “I’ve never met anyone like him before.” (He loves to hear this — it’s fuel for his fire!)
- Once you begin to let him know you are really falling for him (and you probably will, because he is so “open and deep”) he begins to find reasons to create space between the two of you.
The Manimal Wrapup
Remember, there are men who will slide between Mr. Elusive, The Cry Baby, Mr. Quality Casual and The Hunter. However, the most important thing to know is that when you are confident, curious and remain neutral you will get to know who someone really is over time. As a result of this approach to dating, you can be sure that your heart will remain in YOUR care until it is safe to share.
When it comes to finding long-lasting love, the men you want to typically date can be classified as Boyfriend Material. These men are also dating with dignity, and have an expressed interest in finding a partner who is confident, independent, and has the skills necessary to communicate in MANglish.
The ability to understand and then respect MANglish is paramount to finding a relationship with Mr. Boyfriend Material. Why? The answer is, quite frankly, because Mr. Boyfriend Material won’t put up with your crap. He won’t let you “sulk,” he won’t be manipulated by your tears (not 100 percent, that is), expects you to communicate your needs, have boundaries, express your expectations directly, and allow him to engage in activities that fulfill the essence of who he is. In addition, he knows that you won’t take everything he says as a personal rejection, acceptance, or declaration of his love for you.
There are few key signs to look for to know if you are dating Mr. Boyfriend Material:
- He is truly in a place where he feels confident and secure in his ability to provide. Men are and typically most confident, secure and ready to be in an exclusive long-term relationship when they feel “settled.” They have spent time building their career and have the time available to invest in a relationship. In addition, they also feel financially capable of dating a woman in a way in which they are most comfortable. Remember, men who are not in this place in life are STILL dating, they are just not likely to be good candidates for a long-term partnership. If you are dating someone who is still climbing the ladder to emotional maturity and financial security, rest assured you will most likely need to be patient as he moves through these phases of manhood.
- His words and actions match. A man who is capable of a long-term relationship has integrity, and as a result his words and actions match. He will call when he says. He will ask you out a few days in advance. He will follow through on his “promises,” and will not make promises on which he cannot deliver. This is one of the most CRITICAL signs a man is ready to be your boyfriend. If his words and actions CONSISTENTLY match, it is clear he is ready to play in the big leagues – possibly with you.
- Mr. Boyfriend Material simply doesn’t play games. He doesn’t apply the “3-day Rule” to the women he dates, wait 24 hours before returning your phone call, or “vanish” to draw you into his world. When he is interested in pursuing you, he will let you know in a way in which it is appropriate. (e.g., not creepy stalker-type behavior). Conversely, if you play games with someone who is Boyfriend Material, he will politely decline the opportunity to get to know you, and dismiss you as possibly immature, or at the very worst, “psycho.” Don’t over-text Mr. Boyfriend Material with idle chit-chat messages. Be gracious with him. Be kind. And be authentic. Mr. Boyfriend Material is attracted to a confident women who also dates in a world where games have no place.
- Mr. Boyfriend Material possesses an ability to express his feelings directly. He will not manipulate you with silence, criticize, or judge you. When he has a need, or feels like he must discuss something pertaining to the relationship, he does not hesitate to bring it up. He will also be honest in telling when he needs to spend time with friends, chooses to work, or wants to go to the gym. He will expect that you respect his needs, and not take his desire to pursue his life independently of you as rejection.
- While it may seem obvious, Mr. Boyfriend Material is currently single. He is not in a relationship, “getting divorced,” or in a relationship with someone that just doesn’t seem to understand him like you do. As a result, he is emotionally available to pursue a relationship with you. He does not have to “hide you” until the divorce is final. He does not have to “call you later” under the guise of running an errand, or meet you in a hotel, his art studio or your place. (Because he hasn’t yet moved out of the home he shares with his partner.)
- While Mr. Boyfriend Material finds you incredibly attractive, he does not EXPECT you to kiss him at the end of the first or second date. He does not expect you to have sex with him, AT ALL. In fact, many men who are truly looking for love are mature and wise enough to recognize that it is best to wait until he knows you better to pursue sexual intimacy. What’s more, if he does “try” to get in your pants on the 3rd date (not before, please) he won’t mind if you say, “no.” In fact, he will most likely apologize profusely, respect you immensely, and recognize you as someone who has self-respect, dates with dignity, and is confident. (A HUGE TURN-ON)
In short, a man who is looking for a relationship is confident, mature, un-afraid to be vulnerable and feels comfortable with commitment. He will want to please you by engaging in a variety of actions that show kindness, romance you willingly, and loves time spent together having tea, walking on the beach, or going to the movies. Sex is not his primary motive for calling you, asking you out, and, in fact, does not expect you sleep with him until you are ready – which can be three months, six months or even until marriage. Mr. Boyfriend Material is seeking an interdependent relationship with a woman who wants the same. Remember, he has “done that, been there, and will not be attracted to a woman who plays games, is manipulative or lacks confidence.
Which MANimal Are You Dating?
Are You Ready To Attract Mr. Boyfriend Material?
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