10 Ways To Tell If You're Dating A Darcy Or A Wickham

Summer is a time for impulsive flings and long-distance love... but how can you know whether you've found your soulmate (even if it's only for a few short days) or trouble with a capital "T"? After wasting too much time and too many tears crying over exactly the wrong sort of boys, I've discovered that at that end of the day, romantic partners of any gender can basically be sorted into two separate and distinct categories.

On the side of light and good, you have the Darcys of the world. They may not strike your fancy at first sight, but you can rely on the honesty, integrity, kindness, and love of these dear souls to make even the shortest summer romance last a lifetime. Standing in for all the players of the world, we have Wickhams. Your average Wickham will win you with a smile and then take you for all you're worth before slinking off down the road to charm the next hopeless romantic with callous indifference.

So, if your psychic is on holiday, and your sixth sense is flummoxed by all that chlorine in the pool, take a lesson in love from Jane Austen to find out whether you're dating a Darcy or a Wickham before your heart pays the price.

1. Get To Know His Friends

Elizabeth should have known early on that if Mr. Bingley were a man worthy of her sister's heart, Bingley's friends (including, of course, Fitzwilliam Darcy) would also be worthy of careful consideration. Wickham, on the other hand, can only count ruffians and cads among his close companions, and the lesson here is crystal clear — before you fall head over heels, get to know the crew your crush runs with. If you can share a good laugh and a long conversation with your partner's friends, chances are you've found yourself a keeper.

2. Seek Out A Second Opinion

When it comes to matters of the heart, it's far safer to trust the judgement of a friend than your own love-warped logic. If only Lizzie had given greater credence to the general disdain for Mr. Wickham, perhaps she would have seen the man beyond the social mask before he ran off with poor foolhardy Lydia. So, if you're looking to make a sound decision when it comes to selecting your next love interest, seek out a second opinion before you find yourself in too deep to trust your sources.

3. Keep An Open Mind

My own love interest of nearly 12 years found quite a lot to dislike about my character when he first met me. Like Darcy, I was deemed proud, snobbish, and unworthy of affection at first glance, and it was only upon closer inspection that reticence gave way to romance. Whether you first lock eyes at a social gathering or find yourself set up by friends, don't be too hasty in your judgments. With an open mind and a curious heart you're far more likely to land a Darcy than if you stick steadfastly to those first impressions you formed without the full information.

4. Look Closely

All too often, we see only what we want to see. Both Elizabeth and Lydia were blinded by Wickham's good looks and smooth talk, ignoring the warning signs lurking just below the surface. Don't let yourself be won over by a dashing smile and a few sweet nothings — take in the whole person, and if you like what you see when you're seeing it all, chances are you've got a Darcy on your hands.

5. Introduce Him To Your Family

Yes, it will be awkward, uncomfortable, and quite possibly the source of many not-so-amusing anecdotes for years to come, but if you really want to know whether you've landed yourself a Wickham or a Darcy, try introducing the paramour in question to your parents. No matter how distant or delusional they may be, your mother and father (like dear Mr. and Mrs. Bennet), are bound to offer unique insights that can help you distinguish between the Wickhams and the Darcys in your life.

6. Follow The Money

I know you're not a TV detective or a high-profile legal eagle, but it never hurts to follow the money when you're searching for the truth about human nature. Does she have a job? Does he spend freely? Are there gambling debts? Without getting to deep into the nitty gritty, a few quick financial queries should be enough to tell you whether or not you've found the type of partner who graciously and generously supports his loving family (à la Darcy) or the sort who carelessly seduces young women in search of kickbacks from a desperate brother (here's looking at you, Wickham).

7. Trust But Verify

Don't believe everything you hear. Just because a wingman at a party weaves a heartbreaking narrative of pain and redemption, doesn't necessarily mean you're getting the whole story. If you want to end up with a Darcy, you need to challenge your assumptions and check your story, lest you end up with a liar like Wickham.

8. Know Your Own Value

A true Darcy will value you for who you are, faults, flaws, and all. If your love interest seems more interested in the superficial stuff, chances are you've wound up with a Wickham on your arm. When you're ready to be more than just a patsy, find a paramour who values you for your perfection and your imperfections, and then you can be sure you've found a Darcy.

9. Don't Rush Into Anything

If it's true love, it's bound to last and don't let anyone tell you otherwise — there is never any harm in waiting. If your newfound love interest isn't willing to put in the time, then you've definitely found yourself a Wickham. Fitzwilliam Darcy fell so head over heels in love with Elizabeth he was prepared to wait for her even after a crushing rejection, and your Darcy will do the same, so don't rush into anything.

10. Be Prepared To Walk Away

Before you get in too deep, be prepared to walk away. If you invest too heavily in your crush before you do your due diligence, you'll never be ready for the truth about whether you've found a Darcy or a Wickham. So, if you want to be sure you've found yourself a man of merit, don't commit before you've got all the facts.

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