Jerk Baiting Is A Toxic Dating Trend That Uses Vile Ways To Test Your Love
The number of dating trends that rise, fall and settle is overwhelming for a 90s kid. A good portion of our dating lives was in a period when love was really simple. We met, we liked, we loved, we dated. And then we grow up and are stuck in a vicious dating culture that treats its participants non-empathetically. People are ghosting, benching, gaslighting and acting like humans are disposables. Okay, excuse my temporary cactus-tinted view of dating right now. But coming right from my list of the best worse dating trends is a one that many of us do, rather unknowingly – jerk baiting.
When I first heard of it, I was confused. Who is being the jerk here and what bait are we using? Turns out, it is a name for that crazy thing we do when we deliberately go around pushing buttons. This is a term for when people act like a jerk just to test the interest levels of the other person, to see how much they can handle just to keep them in their lives.
I have done it too. We tend to do it, unknowingly. However, I don’t deliberately act like a jerk to test them. I just tend to let time tell and see if they will be there for you. Yes, we all want to know if the person can handle our moods. Do they like us enough to stick around when it gets tough? Will they have the patience to handle our flaws/bad habits?
I feel when it happens naturally over time, our annoying side too shows in its natural avatar. But when we are jerk baiting, we try to overdo it. This will possibly pass them in your test but they will eventually start losing respect for you. And if they don’t, do they really have enough respect for themselves? Honestly, taking someone’s shit is not love. Jerk baiting someone into believing that you are toxic is only your loss.
Couple’s counseller Heidi Gee told Dmarge.com, “Communication has changed and interpersonal skills have changed a lot so it’s quite easy for people to avoid difficult conversations. We all play those games of seeing how much the person does like us, what they would do for us, pushing their buttons, pushing them to the limit.” Isn’t it so much better to have clear communication and expression of intent? Why do you have to be a jerk and then bait the other person into being one?
Heidi Gee explains that a partner “will sabotage or say things to get a reaction to see how much they [the other parther] cares and whether they would be chased and how much they’re loved.”
There is a deeper problem here that needs to be addressed. What makes you insecure about them? Instead of making things worse, it’s really just better to go with the flow and talking things out. “If you’re uncertain about where your relationship or feelings stand then you ask the partner rather than baiting them; that could make things fall apart rather than the partner chasing,” Gee said.
If your partner is jerk baiting you, Gee explains that you must be firm and call them out on their behavior. However, the end goal should be to establish honest communication. Let your partner know they can simply ask you if you are okay with certain habits or where they stand in your life. “Be assertive, ask your partner, ‘Why are you doing this? When you do this it makes me feel like x y z.’ You need to talk to each other, identify what’s missing in the relationship and figure out what you can do to show them you really care [and that they don’t need to be annoying to get your attention,” Gee explained.
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Really, jerk baiting is a lame testing system that sets you up for disappointment because honestly if you act so shitty, it’s likely they will be a jerk. Even if they happen to keep patience, they will possibly stop respecting you. Be nice and trust time to reveal these little things to you.