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Dating a High-Maintenance Man: Prepared for the Challenge?

by Dr. Seth Meyers - May 22, 2017

Quick word association game: Picture someone high-maintenance. Got it? When many people conjure thoughts of someone who fits this definition, they often picture a woman. Specifically, they picture a Kim Kardashian-type who demands the finest materialistic possessions and who treats herself like a total queen. And while such women do exist, don’t think for a moment that the high-maintenance personality type is restricted only to women. Truth be told, there are thousands – no, millions – of high-maintenance men out there in the world, and there is a very good chance that you encounter one or two in your dating life. In what ways are men high-maintenance? To quote an old Toni Braxton lyric: “Let me count the ways…”


Years ago, people would scoff at a man who walked into a nail salon and asked for a pedicure. These days, however, we accept that men should be allowed to treat their bodies, faces, and feet just as well as women have for years. There is nothing wrong with taking care of your body and keeping it in good – and clean! – shape. Yet some men get a little over-the-top when it comes to their appearance. You can tell that the way they treat their body borders on the obsessive, and that can annoy anyone they’re dating.

Neatness, organization, or cleanliness

Another type of high-maintenance man shows his fussiness in the way he requires an extremely high level of neatness, organization, or cleanliness. Men with this behavior may be fixated on things that feel petty to you but life-or-death to them. Examples: leaving the occasional dish in the sink; leaving stray clothing out of place; or putting something back in the wrong place. While these small things may go unnoticed for some, men who are high-maintenance in this way can end up seriously annoying the person they’re dating or in a relationship with. With this type of guy, you often end up feeling like, “Why do they care so much? Why are they so rigid? Why can’t they just get over it? Why can’t they just let me be?”

Overly emotional, sensitive or having a fragile ego

There are high-maintenance men in the emotions department. They are too sensitive, getting stuck in their feelings or bad moods. They will sulk or pout, or shut down or freeze you out when they are dealing with negative feelings they can’t handle. With this type of guy, when they are unhappy, they let you know it and they tend to bring you down with them. When they are having an emotional reaction, it’s too much: They walk in the room and you can instantly tell that their mood is off. They either aren’t able to blow off the small stuff or they choose to play the sulking martyr role. Other men who are high-maintenance in the emotion department have egos which get easily bruised. They perceive sleights around every corner, and they misperceive others as dismissing or disrespecting them.

Can you date a man who is high-maintenance in one way or another?

No matter how much you are attracted to someone or how much you have in common with them, you need to take a step back and seriously ask yourself how much their high-maintenance issues might annoy you – and cause deep resentment – a year or, say, five years from now. In short, the individual who can make it work with a high-maintenance man is one who is patient, nonjudgmental, and flexible. If you are impatient or an alpha personality, dating this kind of person will likely lead to ongoing conflicts, arguments, and frustration. Choose your future partners carefully, and make sure that you choose your relationships based on the other person’s emotional traits more than any other factor!


About the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.