Dating Advice for Women: The Deadbeat Boyfriend Test


Recently I’ve been noticing a spate of breakups amongst my female friends.

Just last week I was having dinner with Katie on her birthday.  She was coming off a 6-year relationship with her boyfriend Dustin.  Katie’s 30; he was 41.

You could tell that the breakup was still stinging three months after the fact.  Frankly, I didn’t see why: if a guy’s 41 and still doesn’t marry you after 6 years, he’s clearly the wrong guy for the job – fire him so you can make room for the right one.

But this argument did not wash with Katie.  She still wanted him, because she loooooved him.

Oh really.

Well, I was never really convinced about this Dustin guy anyway.  Y’know why?  Because Katie’s a pretty social person.  She goes to events and parties all the time – in fact, I met her at a party about a year and a half ago

And you know what?  Not once did I see him accompanying her to any of these functions.  I’ve never met Dustin!  To me, he may as well have been a fictional character in a Jane Austen novel.  “Ohh Mr Dustin – how he makes me swoon!”

Yeah, but where the hell is he if not by your side?

And by her side is exactly where he should have been, because Katie’s kind of a babe – tall, sweet and with a smile that melts icebergs.  Only a fool would let a woman like that roam alone.

But I digress.  The point is that I needed to impress upon Katie that this breakup was a Good Thing.

So I asked her, “Well, Katie, on a scale of 1-10, how often did he give you backrubs and how good were they?”

She thought about it for a sec, and said ‘4′.  He didn’t really do much of that at all. My guess is that the 4 was pretty generous.

“And how often did he cook for you?”  That got a 3.

“And how good was the sex – quality and frequency?”  To his credit, that was an 8.

“And how often did he say ‘I love you’ or genuinely appreciate you?”  That was a 5.

“So what you’re telling me, Katie, is that out of a possible 40 points this guy scores a measly 20 – and you still want him because…?”

That got her thinking.

And thus was born the Deadbeat Boyfriend Test, aka the Dude-O-Meter.

As you may know, I wrote The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible partially out of the frustration of seeing so many of my fabulous female friends who were dating duds, not dudes.

I just get sick and tired of that – and it’s still happening all around me.  Heck, it could even be you that it’s happening to.

So here are some signs that you’re in a relationship with a dud:

1. You often find yourself making excuses for his behavior, either to others or to yourself:

“Oh, but he’s really busy at work.”
“Oh, he’s just like that.”
“Boys will be boys.”

You know what I’m talking about?  You definitely know what I’m talking about.

2. You are doing most of the calling, initiating of contact and making of plans.  As in all of it.  He’ll do stuff with you if you prompt him, but otherwise it’s on you.

Love is action — especially for a guy.  What kind of action is he taking to seek you out and demonstrate that he values you?

3. He’s not with you when you’re out at various social events, and many of your friends haven’t met him.

4. Most (or all of your friends) quietly or vociferously disapprove of him, and you’re often saying things like, “But you don’t know him like I know him.”

Yeah, if they did, they’d all be running for the hills.  Your friends care for you and see things more clearly than you do, so listen to them.

5. He has said something mean-spirited and nasty to you at any point in time.

You may think that this is okay if it’s happened rarely.  But you have to understand that in good relationships, this never happens.  Not once in 5 decades.  That’s the standard you should be comparing to.

6. He has ever raised his voice with you.

Again, there’s no place for this in a trusting, loving, supportive relationship.

7. He has ever hit you.

I’d like to make it clear that if items 5-7 have happened EVEN ONCE – and I really do mean even just once – you have a duty to yourself, to your friends, to your family and to the world to get out of this relationship, like, now.  Immediately.  Pronto.  No delay, no time to deliberate about it.  This is an emergency.  If you’re having a hard time doing it, get some help.

Items 1-4 are pretty clear warning signs that you are wasting your life on this guy.

The problem isn’t that the guy you’re with is necessarily an ogre but that there’s so much left to be desired.  It’s like you’ve been eating at Subway every day and thinking, “Well, this is alright – what do I have to complain about?”

Darlin’- the problem is that alright is simply not good enough (cue Sarah MacLachlan song).  I want you to go for amazing.  For the kind of guy who sees the goddess in you every day and is a catalyst for your becoming the best version of yourself.

(Of course, ideally, you’re doing the same for him – right?  You lead with love and offer it first.  We’re assuming that you’ve read my book and gotten your own house in order first, offering amazingness so you can receive amazingness :)

So the point is this:

Since most women are ‘nice’, they’re not very assertive when it comes to asking for what they want, even when they’re not fulfilled.  So they’ll stay in a relationship as long as there’s not something grossly wrong with it.

They also have a scarcity mindset, thinking, “I know he’s a lout and a dud, but if I let him go, then I’m all alone – aiiieeeeeee…”  Well, call me crazy, but I just like to think that among the 3.2 billion (BILLION!) dudes out there, you can do one better.  And if you’re better off alone, that’s what you should be instead of being with him.

Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event to shake her up and realize they’re wasting their time (which is the stuff life is made of, incidentally).  Sometimes it takes a caring friend determined to wake her up.  Sometimes it takes a random guy reaching out of the ether of the internet with a wake-up call in the shape of an email.

If this article resonates with you, I wish you courage in taking decisive action.

And just for kicks, why don’t you apply the Deadbeat Boyfriend Test to your current squeeze and see how he does.

Oh, and if you have a friend with a questionable boyfriend, you definitely want to do it for her.  It may not be entirely scientific, but there’s a more than a grain of truth in it.

I mean, if he’s getting a low score, why isn’t he cooking for you and giving you backrubs?  Why is he miserable in the sack?  Whether it’s because you’re not doing your homework either or that he’s not that kind of dude, there’s a lesson worth learning here.

So here are the 4 questions of the Deadbeat Boyfriend Test, scored on a scale of 0-10, ten being the highest rating:

1. How often does he give you backrubs?  Rate on frequency and quality.

Backrub is a general idea.  The idea is that he likes to serve you and make you feel great.

2. How often does he cook for you?  Rate on frequency and quality.

If he’s really not the cooking type (which is most guys), taking you out to dinner is an acceptable substitute – he can get a max score of 7 on that.

3. How satisfied are you with the sex?

4. How often does he tell you he loves you or otherwise lavish you with praise?

Until we have more scientific guidelines, here’s what I suggest:

Score of 34-40: A keeper!  Good job.  Now make him feel like the man he’s always wanted to be, and he’ll never leave you.

Score of 29-33: Ok, so this guy has potential but needs some brushing up.  Maybe he’s gotten too caught up in work, or maybe he just needs some encouragement from you.  Give him some hints and see if he rises to the occasion.

Score of 25-28: This is borderline.  Neglect has already become a habit here, and unless he really steps up and starts making you a priority in his life, not an option, you need to dump his ass in about a week.

Score less than 25: Dump him. This is not a decision that needs to be delayed or regretted.  Why?  Because you deserve better, that’s why.  It’s not about him – it’s about you.  And my job is to make sure you’re happy and fulfilled.

Now that you’ve read that, I have a favor to ask you: were you in a bad situation at some point, and if you were, how did you get out of it?  I’ve found that these case studies are tremendously useful for others to read, so please share.  Either send them via email, or post them as a comment on the blog.

The power is within you

Dr Alex

Categories: Dating for Women

16 Comments on “Dating Advice for Women: The Deadbeat Boyfriend Test”

  1. El Gran Heuvo

    There is a mathematical problem here and it is that women are right to be concerned about scarcity. The girl guy ratio globally is around 52/48. Subtracting out the people who are gay or half gay we get 47/43. Now using your score system (assuming a normal distribution or so And that seems reasonable given the frequency of encountering these losers)we get a 47/20 ratio or 2.4 girls for every decent guy.

    Well it is basic weight ratios that over 50% of the eligible female population will either be dating losers or be alone. And these winner guys dont want slouches so if you havent been spending enougth time on the stairmaster chances are you are stuck with the dregs.

    Key message: Settle girls, those eggs arent getting any fresher.

    1. Annoyance

      @El Gran Heuvo

      OK that settle comment of yours makes me angry.

      Actually settling on a spouse who isn’t a good person or a good match is a bad idea. Settling may actually give the girl a life of sadness, stress and anger since her spouse does not treat her right. So your advice to settle isn’t a good one.

      The reason I know this is because I come from a culture that tells women to settle or don’t be choosy when picking a man because they have to get married in their mid 20’s or be considered left over. Many times when they do “settle” the man ends up being abusive, lazy or unfaithful. When this happens the women who “settle” end up depressed or the stress gives them medical complications. This happens many times and mostly because there is a culture that insist that if women don’t marry at a certain age there is something wrong with them. Or they meet people like you who judge them for taking time and effort finding their partner or even having a criterion for their spouse .

      So before you start your math about the ratios and how it is statistically not possible to find a good guy. I advise you to look up the statistics of domestic abuse, suicide, divorce, domestic homicide and abandonment by spouse since you love your numbers so much. Then try to tell me that settling is a good thing.

      1. Candice

        I agree. Problems like these can get worse later on. And love does not pay bills or fix mental health. Women need to think deeply about the consequences of staying with someone like this long term!

        1. Vanessa

          Agreed. I settled in my 20s because I tried to fit a square peg in a round hole. 16 years later I’m divorced and single but it’s better than having my daughters see their mother lose her spirit due to psychological and emotional abuse. Can’t afford to settle again.

  2. Karin

    Hee Alex great advice!,
    I will read it alongside my new developping relationship!
    ciao from Holland

    p.s. you like to join my mob on facebook?

  3. what?

    @El Gran Huevo – yes, mathematically speaking, there are 2.4 girls to every decent guy, even though a large part of your gender gap can probably be found in China. But, keep in mind not all of the girls out there are perfect. In fact, if you’re saying that 1 in 5 guys is worthy, it’s probably about the same for girls. Not all women are perfect and certainly not all of them are of the quality that Dr. Benzer is trying to foster.

    So read up maybe try to correct your confidence or self-worth problem, whatever it is, because your analysis is weak and pessimistic, to put it nicely.

    1. Tony

      Nah sorry. He pretty much hit the nail square on the head on this one. Plus hes not being pessimistic so I dont know where you got that one from. Cheers!

  4. Rori Raye

    Alex – this post is terrific!!! May I use it as a guest post on my blog? Let me know…I\’ve never tried to quantify a man\’s quality in a point scale, and I\’d never think to use backrubs and cooking as things to \"score\" him on…and though I\’m not so convinced about it specifically from here…the fact that you\’re a MAN tells me this is something to look at and expand. Would you like to be interviewed for my Expert\’s series as well? This is a topic I\’d love to go deep into…what makes a man WORTH being exclusive with if you\’re not married to him (I say practically nothing…that it\’s the life-long commitment that triggers the exclusivity) — would like your take on all this…I actually often disagree with you about things related to how women can be their amazing real selves…and would love to hash it out with you for the good of all of us….Sincerely, Rori Raye

  5. Ann

    Hi there,

    I kind of take issue with 5 and 6 (although I am 100% with you on 7).

    5. He has said something mean-spirited and nasty to you at any point in time.

    You may think that this is okay if it’s happened rarely. But you have to understand that in good relationships, this never happens. Not once in 5 decades. That’s the standard you should be comparing to.

    Umm . . . what? I don’t think I know of a single healthy long-term relationship of any kind (family, old friends, spouses, LTRs) that could be described as never having ever said anything mean-spirited or nasty. If this has never happened (perhaps as a result of lack of sleep, stress over the scariness of Eastern European train stations at night, low blood sugar, kidney stones . . .) then whatever this relationship is, it’s not close. Or good. Regular calculated mental abuse is different than rarely saying something cutting under pressure.

    6. He has ever raised his voice with you.

    Ok, so – Italy and Ireland are screwed, then. And Iran. Oh – and board games? Right out. No board games. Or cards. Really, visit Italy. That’s love expressed through animated argument for you. With gelato. Mmmm.

    Again, I find this nutty. Regular yelling is bad. Prolonged yelling is bad. Occasional raised voice over a contested point? Freaking out over weird crap? That’s just part of being alive, and while it may not be funny at the time it is hilarious later.

  6. annonymous1

    Well I broke up w/a guy who did really well on this quiz, and felt really stupid reading your description, because he quite often lavished me w/praise…so maybe I made the wrong decision, but he was occasionaly sleeping w/other women, how come that’s not one of your questions?

    1. Ali Binazir MD MPhil Post author

      I didn’t include the things like “shakes babies, trips old ladies and occasionally robs banks for kicks” because I figured most women are smart enough to stay away from a guy who does stuff like that. “Occasionally sleeps with other women” may not fall into that category for some women, but it does for most. Know what your standards are and take action accordingly.

  7. elisa

    I totally agree with you, but unfortunately love is not as rational and logic as a quiz. The problem with unhealthy relationships is really not the other person, but it’s us. This kind of relationship always gives us something (I use the term “give” not as cherish, but as “serve”). Unless we are sick masochists (and most of the time is not the case), a relationship with someone who’s not fulfilling our needs serves us to be out of focus on something else. It could be that we feel we don’t deserve more, or we’re trying to be caretakers because of a childhood issue or we aren’t just ready to commit either. Anyone who looks at these unfulfilling relationships from outside has a clear vision of how “unfair” and uneven the couple is, so why smarts women (and men) can’t let go? Why are we trapped with partners who suck our energy without giving back? I think that when we really understand what the root of the problem is, then it’s the time we are able to let go and be open for someone better.

  8. Lauri

    Ali, THANK YOU for the Dud Boyfriend test! I recently learned all of this the hard way after my boyfriend of 10 months broke up with me because, “I don’t love you in the way you need (and to his credit) deserve to be loved.” If I had taken your test above, he would have scored way below a 25. Oh yes, he was sweet, kind, we had a ton of things in common and really seemed to enjoy each others company when we actually spent time together, and he did take me out to dinner since he was not a cookin guy. But the rest of the markers – boo. He refused to make plans with me which I wrote of as “he’s just not a planner (which he actually said to me). But…..he had no problem making plans with his male friends. I was always the one initiating and wanting to set time aside to be together. Sex was ok, but his passion certainly didn’t meet mine and there were some other red flags. He selectively answered my emails and text messages….and totally ignored ones that were about issues or problems we were having. I always felt like I was being kept at arm’s length which I wrote off as “he’s still recovering from his divorce…give him time to be comfortable with affection, touch, closeness, etc.” Wish I would have had the Dud test before… maybe now I should just order your book! :) Thank you!

  9. Claire

    My score was way under 25. I broke up with him 3 times in just a 5 month period. Kept trying but he wasn’t. Drank too much, came over around dinner and sleepover time then gone during the day. Self employed but not busy. Was tired of the giving and nurturing with not much in return. And sex was so bad because he had underlying conditions and wouldn’t see a doctor. I deserve so much better. He will never be able to keep anyone the way he was.