By Kelly Seal
It’s easy to fall for him (or her). He’s charming, attractive, and can say just the right thing to make you turn into a mound of putty, waiting for his next phone call.
Hustlers are masters of manipulation. They use whatever means they can to get what they want, including playing with your emotions. This is where things can get tricky, because we like to convince ourselves that we’re not being taken advantage of. Our hustlers are good people, really. You just don’t know them as well as we do.
Wrong. If your gut is screaming – watch out for this one! – you probably should.
If you’re dating a man who seems great, but you have doubts in the back of your mind because of his inconsistent behavior, you may want to consider the following traits of a hustler:
He is extremely smooth. I don’t mean that he knows how to flirt (lots of non-hustlers are pretty good flirts); he lays it on thick with compliments and is quick to make himself seem vulnerable to you. If he tells you on the first or second date that you’re the one for him and he can’t trust anyone but you, or if he discloses personal information right away to gain sympathy or an emotional reaction, chances are he’s hustling.
He wants what he wants. This is a big red flag…hustlers are only interested in relationships as far as they can get something out of them. They are extremely selfish, and may try to talk you out of any feelings of discomfort you may have. For example, they might say: “Honey, I just need to borrow $500 for an investment I’m making in a rental place. I will pay you back next week, with interest. I’m just low on cash right now and I know I can trust you.” Or they are extremely persistent and persuasive early on: “Baby, you are so sexy and I’m so attracted to you. Why won’t you have sex with me? Don’t you know you’re driving me crazy? I only want to be with you.”
He makes you feel like you’re the only one. True hustlers know where your weak spots are. They make a play for your emotions, to suck you in to trusting them, perhaps even relying on them for emotional support. Then they can more easily manipulate. If he tells you early on in the relationship that he’s in love with you, that he’s never felt this way about anyone before, that he can’t live without you, be cautious. If you still haven’t met his friends, family, or work colleagues, this is contrary to what he’s telling you. Men in love want to show you off; hustlers want to keep you isolated.
He makes you feel guilty. Once he can play with your emotions, he can turn on you quickly. Guilt is a powerful weapon, and the hustler isn’t afraid to use it. Guilt can make you question yourself, your loyalty, and your ability to be in a healthy relationship. Don’t let him talk you into anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If he truly loves you, he won’t try to hurt you.
Just remember to listen to your gut. If he seems to be too good to be true, he probably is.