Week 3: ARP (2nd Red Flag – Inconsistency)

The Toxic Man (or Woman) is Unreliable and Inconsistent.

Unreliability is an important red flag that will usually pop up in the early stages of the relationship. So it’s a good idea to pay attention before you fall under the toxic (wo)man’s thrall.

If your date tells you he’ll call you at two o’clock and instead he calls at 4:30. Or 6:30. Or not at all, for the first time, give him a pass.

If it happens a second time he’s an idiot.

If it happens a third time, you’re an idiot.

If you’ve ignored the unreliability, you may indeed end up in some facsimile of a relationship with the Asshat, that’s when his inconsistency kicks in.

Inconsistency indicates that your man is conflicted.

He wants to be a normal person in a normal relationship, but he’s doing battle with the part of him that’s damaged and the two sides are constantly at war.

Inconsistency, in any relationship, is a form of abuse.

My ex-Asshat, Mr. Cruelly Handsome, became a pendulum in our relationship. 

If I was present and wanting to connect, he’d swing away from me.

If I pulled back as a self-protective measure, he’d swing back to me, passionately telling me he was a changed man who was ready to have the relationship I wanted us to have.

I’d be elated, thinking he was making progress, we were making progress, and run straight back into his arms, thus beginning a honeymoon period where we seemed to want the same things; commitment, monogamy and, maybe one day, even marriage and a family.

Sometimes this honeymoon period would last an entire week.

But other times it lasted no more than an hour.

Then he’d swing away from me again. Or perhaps, in the vernacular of Royal Tenenbaum, he’d “shag ass!”

If you find yourself constantly trying to “figure your man out” so you can behave in a way that will get him to be more reliable and consistent, you are fighting a losing battle because of his two warring sides.

The Asshat Recovery Program

One day he’s Sean Archer, the next he’s Castor Troy.

He can’t control or even understand the rollercoaster of his own emotions, so how can you possibly do it?

When a man (or woman) can’t be consistent or follow through on the simplest commitments that is an absolute red flag that he’ll never come through on the much bigger commitments; like marriage, finances and caring for children.

If you’re involved with an unreliable and inconsistent Asshat it’s wise to adopt this 12-step slogan regarding his behavior:

You Didn’t Cause it, You Can’t Control It and You Can’t Cure It.

Now I’d like to assign some homework that will give you some self-awareness.

I’ll be bringing “self-awareness” up frequently over the next several weeks as self-awareness is necessary if you want to change.


I want you to pull out a pen and a notebook that will heretofore be called The Asshat Recovery Program Notebook that I want you to keep throughout the duration of this program and write:

1. List A: Make a list of all the things you’ve done to try to get your man (or woman) to be consistent and reliable. Did they work? For how long? Did things eventually revert back to disfunction?

2. List B: Make a list of productive things you could have been doing with all the time you spent trying to change your man. (i.e. worked harder on your career, spent more time with friends and family, took a new class, etc.)

 3. Share your list with a trusted advisor. Because we’re only as sick as our secrets. Sharing the sometimes embarrassing lengths we’ll go to in order to sustain a toxic relationship can give invaluable perspective.

If you’d like to move on to Week 4 of The Asshat Recovery Program CLICK HERE. To start at the beginning CLICK HERE.

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