5 Ways to Avoid Dating Jerks

I've heard it plenty of times before: friends tell me all men are jerks and they just can't seem to find and keep a good guy. Maybe part of it is fate, but a much bigger part is your picker -- your internal sense of who's a suitable companion for you. If more of my friends (and anyone else out there who bemoans the infestation of jerks in their dating lives) followed these simple rules right at the start of a relationship -- in the choosing phase -- they'd discover that the problem isn't that all men are a**holes, but simply that too many of us choose to date someone who's wrong for us for too long, making ourselves unavailable when the right guy comes along, and building resentment and bad feelings toward each other along the way. These rules go both ways -- any man can (and should) follow them if he feels he often dates women who don't behave well toward him. Since most appeals for advice on this subject that I've received have come from straight women, I've assigned gender pronouns accordingly -- but the ideas are universally applicable. Check out these five mind-bogglingly simple steps to avoid your next dating disaster.