Why Chasing Attraction is a Losing Strategy in Love

I have a guy friend who is perpetually single. He’s got everything going for him. Advanced degree. Successful. Funny. Social. Ambitious. Good values.

And yet every time I talk with him, it’s the same old story.

Another woman just broke his heart.

When I ask him for the details of the latest debacle, it usually comes down to the fact that he’s a nice, relationship oriented man, who earnestly follows through and communicates his feelings… and she’s an aloof woman who tries to consider him as a romantic partner, but ultimately would rather chase an unattainable jerk.

It’s classic, really.

But when I ask my friend what makes him fall for these emotionally unavailable women, you know what he tells me?

“I like them because they’re smart and they’re hot.”

Got it.

You can’t help what you’re attracted to. But you can acknowledge that the men you’re attracted to aren’t always good long-term relationship partners.

Objectively, wouldn’t you tell this man that perhaps “smart” and “hot” aren’t necessarily the best criteria to evaluate a lifetime romantic partner?

Of course you would.

You’d tell him to appreciate her inner beauty, her warm smile, her generosity, her sense of humor. All the things you appreciate about your own girlfriends.

Yet when you look at your own life – at your consistent pining for tall, handsome, brilliant, fascinating men – you do the exact same thing.

Worse, you defend it in the same way that my friend does:

“I can’t help what I’m attracted to!”

You’re right. You can’t help what you’re attracted to.

But you can acknowledge that the men you’re attracted to aren’t always good long-term relationship partners.

You can acknowledge that attraction can be blinding and allow you to overlook a man’s flaws for way too long.

You can acknowledge that attraction isn’t either a “10” or a “1” – that there’s usually something in between.

And you can acknowledge that, for my guy friend, his addiction to smart, hot, aloof and inaccessible women isn’t really working for him.

By the way, I’m not telling you anything that I haven’t considered in my own life.

As a man who’s been married for three years, I’ve finally started to get into a rhythm with my wife.

We’ve got a house.

We’ve got a kid.

We both work from home and spend a lot of time together.

And unless something changes, you know what we spend most of our time doing?


When we’re not working, you know what we do?

We figure out how we’re going to decorate the house.

We plan weekends out of town to visit family.

We throw dinner parties, karaoke parties, and wine tastings.

We go food shopping and make chopped salads with beets.

If 95% of your life is spent on matters that are neither “brainy” nor “sexy”, wouldn’t it make sense to find a partner who is compatible in all those other areas?

We watch “Castle” and as many minutes of “Dancing with the Stars” as I can tolerate.

We retreat to our offices where she watches funny YouTube videos and I obsessively manage my fantasy football team.

We go upstairs, wash our faces, talk about our days, tell each other we love each other, and snuggle before drifting off to sleep.

It’s a WONDERFUL life.

You know how much time we spend having sex? A couple of hours a week.

You know how much time we spend talking about string theory, or Proust, or what happens to us when we die? A lot less.

So if 95% of your life is spent on matters that are neither “brainy” nor “sexy”, wouldn’t it make sense to find a partner who is compatible in all those other areas?

Rather than finding the smartest, hottest guy imaginable who doesn’t want to throw dinner parties, doesn’t want to see your mother, doesn’t want to let you choose the furniture you want, and doesn’t want to raise a family together?

I think so.

Naturally, you have to find your partner attractive and intelligent, but he doesn’t have to be THAT attractive or THAT intelligent to have a very happy life together.

As a dating coach for 8 years, I’ve long advocated for putting compatibility on the SAME level as chemistry, instead of making chemistry the most important factor in your decision-making.

Because, as you know, you can get the smartest, hottest, tallest, richest guy in the world… and you’ll most likely discover that he’s a selfish narcissist who’s just not that into you.

Thus, there is wisdom in compromising a little on looks and brains in order to find the HAPPINESS that has eluded you when you exalt “attraction” above all.

Believe me, I did not settle.

Neither should you.

Just consider the relative importance of a chiseled jawline and a Masters degree vs. the ability to love you unconditionally and the desire to make you happy.

I think it’s clear what should win out.

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  1. 1

    Thank you for this post, I really wish that a lot of guys can read this but sadly most men are immature and sexually exploitative.

    1. 1.1

      I’m sorry hun for what may have happened to you but I do think you are wrong. If anything most men don’t know what they are looking for and don’t set out to hurt you.  I hope you will continue dating  and that it will become a fun adventure for you.

      1. 1.1.1

        Hi Nisha


        Actually, I do think most men know what they are looking for, and at the very least, they know it when they see it.  And they also know when someone is NOT what they are looking for, but just because someone is NOT what he is looking for long term, doesn’t mean they won’t try to have a bit of short term fun.  Hence, they will use ambiguous language such as “I think you are great BUT, I’m not really at a place in my life right now for a serious relationship . . ” or some other “disclaimer” . The ambiguity is not WITHIN themselves, the ambiguity is between what HE wants (short term relief for himself until he can find his long term girl) and what SHE wants (to be the long term girl).  If he didn’t couch the difference between his and her goals with a “You are really wonderful” and then follow up with the word “BUT” and then a vague excuse about not “being ready now”, he might not get his short term relief.  Now they can have their short term fun, guilt free.  They have issued the disclaimer, and if the woman heard what SHE wants to hear “I think you are great . . . . lalalalalalalalala something or other SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP . . . . .” he has plausible deniability if she acts all hurt when he gets his short term relief and moves on.  Dating coach Marni Batista does a really good  video on listening for “the disclaimer”.  Our Blog Host EMK, tells us to “believe the negatives, ignore the positives”.

        I have little patience for women over the age of 21, who either play the “cool girl” when they hear the disclaimer, or who ignore the negatives (I’m not ready) and pin their hopes and future on the positive (I think you are great).

        The good news is that MOST men will come clean if she cuts through the ambiguity and lets it be known that SHE is at a place in her life where she IS looking for something serious, and is done making stops along the way for men who just want to play for the short term.   EMK’s script works fairly well for sussing out the short term guys (I have my own version that is similar that works pretty well also).  A FEW men will lie about their long term intentions in order to get sex, but if you can take off the chemistry goggles for a second and read their facial expressions, body language, voice tone and overall behavior, one can spot those men fairly easily.   And in some cases, men were sincerely interested in something long term, and then over time change their mind when they get to know someone better (this happens with both genders, is often a cause of much heartache, but no one is really the bad guy/gal here)

        I’m not judging men, this is just my observations about how they are.  If anything, I’m judging women for wasting YEARS of their lives with a man who said he didn’t want to get married, or even wasting tears when they sleep with a man who wasn’t “ready for anything serious” and he disappears a week later.

        So I half agree with your post, most men don’t set out to hurt anyone (hence, they give fair warning with the disclaimer), but they know exactly what they want and exactly what they don’t want.  Otherwise, the disclaimer wouldn’t be necessary.

        1. kiki

          ^This is legitimately better than any psychology article I read in college.

  2. 2

    I agree completely. I think this speaks a lot to the whole “80/20” rule that explains how in most solid relationships, you’re only going to get 80% of what you want. And when you find that missing 20% somewhere else, it’s tempting.

    But what we often find is that in pursuit of that 20%, say the super hot sex or Master’s degree, that’s most likely all you’ll end up with — the 20%.

    1. 2.1

      Well said, sometimes for trying to find that missing 20% we lose that other 80% we already had and can’t never get it back.

  3. 3

    I still don’t see how you can ignore attraction. You can like someone but not want to have sex with them and 10 million reasons will still not change that. Men are so pushy about the sex thing, perhaps someone needs to tell them to back off and let the woman get to know you before you push sex on her. No guy I have ever dated wanted to wait.

    1. 3.1

      That’s because sometimes we’ve waited just to get nothing in return and we lost other opportunities waiting for that person, so now we think this way, if we don’t get sex soon we move to the next one, that’s just how it is. sorry to be so harsh but is the truth.

    2. 3.2

      Ahhhh Martha, you sound jaded and like you’ve made some very bad decisions.  Guess you didn’t know it all!  How’s that attraction thingy working for ya to?  Was it nature?  Was it nurture?  Come on Martha, you sound typical, and there are a lot of other things that would make women want to birth a child into this world, which is why we have sex outside of pleasure and it is not based on looks.  Maybe in your frame of mind it is, which again I would love to know how you got there (I’m guessing marketing), but you are probably one of the many run around girls thinking that your baby will be hot and all will be ok.  Too many of that same frame of thinking and we just need them for stripper poles.  Not surprised you’re having a hard time and more than likely will end up shallow, alone, and miserable.

    3. 3.3

      I’ve dated two men since my marriage ended, and both wanted to wait for completely different reasons. One waited because he ultimately didn’t want a serious relationship (with me) and didn’t sleep with women when he wasn’t committed. This was really frustrating for me, but I’m glad that was his position because it saved me some heartache. The other guy is my current boyfriend, and he’s wonderful and respectful and didn’t want to push it and chase me away. We’ve known each other for a long time and had a past, but started slow when we reunited. It’s been great.

      I don’t think it is wrong for men (or women) to want sex early on, either, but both adults have to know what they want and why. Honestly, if a guy isn’t interested in waiting then there’s no point in hoping he will back off and give you time. Sounds like that kind of guy is not your kind of guy. There are men out there who do want to wait.

    4. 3.4

      LOL you cannot ignore attraction. Regardless of what anyone says, it’s a solid fact that we are attracted to whatever we are attracted to because we are attracted to it, and if whatever/whoever we are attracted to stops doing whatever attracted us to them in the first place, then the attraction itself stops. Plain and simple. Attraction is not a choice. We are not in control of what we naturally like, regardless of however much anyone tries to deny it to support cultural / societal / or whatever beliefs they want to convince themselves to believe.

      A romantic relationship without physical attraction is nothing more than a friendship. If you choose not to believe this, then you should have no problems getting in relationships or voluntarily having the desire to have sex with anyone in your life – including all close family members and friends, because… after all, if physical attraction isn’t a major part in a romantic relationship, then anyone you love or get along and connect with on a deep level is pretty much the same thing (if physical looks are being excluded). Brotherly or Motherly love or the love you would have for a friend or a pet or anyone would all be the same as a romantic love if physical attraction were removed from the equation when it came to dating / having or seeking a romantic partner. Therefore, all those other people/things you love might as well also be considered as potential mates.

    5. 3.5

      The problem with that is when a guy moves slowly, she ends up screwing a guy who moves faster and friendzoning the guy who moved slowly.

  4. 4
    Evan Marc Katz

    Where’s the part in the article where I said “ignore attraction,” Martha?

  5. 5

    Part of the problem is that a large number of people in American society right now are what are called “maximizers.”  Its really based in that concept that we can have it all, and we won’t be satisified with life until we do have it all.  Its not realistic…

    @LS: Exactly. you have 80%…but see that missing 20% and decide you can “have it all.” So you rush for that 20%…and in the end find out you got that 20%, but lost half of the 80% so you really only have 60% now.  All too common theme and I see it all the time.  Does anyone get 100% or at least closer to it?  I’m sure somewhere, someone has…but its extremely rare.  Plus, when it comes to relationships, what’s 100% TODAY may not be 5 years later…people aren’t static balls of defined needs and wants.  When it comes to physical attraction…that’s a real problem because it WILL change.  Absolutely, positively will…and no matter what you want to believe, it WILL.  Familiarity will lessen passion…age will lessen beauty.  

  6. 6

    I’ve been lurking here for some time and dig all the wisdom Evan gives out. In regards to maximizing, I have to say that while I oppose settling, there comes a point in life where you have to leave well enough alone. Think of it like winning at roulette in Vegas. If you win say $20,000 and have the chance to double up, would you? If you do, you risk losing everything. The wisest thing to do is take your winnings and call it a night. Yet so many people get greedy and chase that maximum gain, only to be left with nothing.

  7. 7

    It’s the same question and the same answer over and over again:

    People get seduced by superficial things–how hot someone is, their age, height, wealth, etc.
    The same thing that makes someone attractive on a superficial level often gives them undue power in relationships–e.g. “I’m a 10 and my spouse is an 8. Therefore I can do better and I will step out and find another 10. Meanwhile, I will treat my spouse like crap so that they will break up with me and I can still play the victim/good guy”
    Substitute earning capacity, age, etc for the attractiveness scale and you’ve got the same paradigm.
    Superficial attractiveness doesn’t ALWAYS but often is commensurate with a mean streak. After all, POWER CORRUPTS.
    BUT…if you choose a mate purely on superficial traits, you will only find people who are also “Superficial Trait Power Mongers” and often just as willing to abuse that power within a relationship.
    If you’re seeking a mate on the basis of superficial traits, I say–go for it. You will find each other, play musical beds for years, make yourself and others miserable.
    That will clear the field for people like me who are looking for someone who will NOT use their superficial attractiveness power sources to emotionally abuse others in a relationship.
    We satisficers will work hard on our relationships, compromise with one another, enjoy each others company and find true contentment while the maximizers will continue to churn around in the scrum with each other and live miserably ever after.

    1. 7.1


    2. 7.2

      So if you are an smart and atractive woman, should you mate with an average in beauty not that smart guy and without money?, just because he is kind to you. So he is still using you as a price, then he is the superficial. While you are forcing yourself to be  in that relationship because, looks dont matter, and also money does not matter.

  8. 8

    And may I add that many of the things people place value on now, won’t mean jack 10 to 20 years down the road. I always say, “10 years from now, what will it matter.”. Just like a house, you want the material that’s gonna last. The frilly stuff is just a plus, but really add nothing substantial to the house, the things that actually keep it standing.

  9. 9

    Yeah I don’t think Evan said to ignore attraction completely Martha.  Maybe if you only read the first page you could jump to that conclusion, but the second page explains more.  Certainly you have to find something attractive about your partner, but do they have to be a perfect 10 model?  Personally, I’m completely fine with a 6 or 7 on the attraction scale…the 10’s usually intimidate me anyway, and everyone wants them.  It’s like a breeding ground for arising insecurities and bad choices if you ask me.

  10. 10
    Barry Price

    So painfully true, Evan. First of all, I have BEEN that ‘nice guy” choosing strong, hot women who came and went. I finally got over (in my relationships), but it took a lot to begin expecting more, and *expressing myself* even if my partners didn’t like what I had to say, Once I started to unapologetically be me (flaws and all, not just the nice side), my dating really took off. I find it’s the same with my ‘nice guy’ clients. Like the one whose wife left him. What went wrong? Well, he stopped being the adventurous guy he was when they met. He became someone who was going-along-to-get along. The polarity between him and his wife faded, along with the excitement and attraction.

    There’s a sweet spot between hot chemistry, and a good personality match for day-to-day living (as Evan suggests).  You can;t go too far one way or the other.

    I know a lot of ladies who, in their twenties, select their mates exactly as Evan describes. After a half dozen failed boyfriends (some women notice the pattern sooner), they decide something has to change. you know what that something usually is? Yourself! Your attitudes and priorities towards yourself and towards dating. The single biggest factor in improving your dating, in my opinion, is taking an honest look at yourself and working on your self-care. That means doing things to nurture and sustain high self-esteem, physical self-care, financial self-care, and spiritual-self care.

    Do that and you are golden. And who wouldn;t want a Golden Girl? (wait… that sounded wrong.) 😉

    You get the point. 

  11. 11

    What an amazing post! All of the words you wrote were beautiful and true: there is more than meets the eye, it’s not all about being hot and smart. Yet, I’m still very sad because most guys don’t think like this: more than once, I have felt that so many men walk around with ”trophy wives”, choose who they date based on their looks, you never see them with some ugly or even average female… I feel like most of them really do that and forget about the women who don’t exactly look like a Victoria’s Secret or a Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit supermodel but who could make them happy, make them laugh and have a good time, maybe even make them happier than a VS or a SIS model… Unfortunately, that’s the shallow world we live in.

    1. 11.1

      Maybe you are hanging out where the shallow people hang out. Maybe you choose to live in a shallow world. But please, don’t use the word “we,” because many of us do not live in that kind of a world.

      In my life, I see lots of middle-aged couples where both are rather average looking.  I don’t see many men with trophy wives in the suburban Southern California neighborhoods, events,  and shopping places I frequent. Maybe the men with trophy wives are at Saks Fifth Avenue and not at Costco with me!

      I get tired of people on this site making sweeping generalizations about “most men” or “most women.”  Really, I don’t think many of Evan’s readers have conducted quantitative and qualitative social research! We are not here to have a war of the sexes; we are here to genuinely understand the opposite sex and learn how to attract someone for a quality relationship.

      I distrust opinions that use the words “never.” In my humble opinion, very few of us are authoritative enough to truly use that word with 100 percent accuracy. Just google “never and always,” and you will see what type of thinking those words express. (And yes, I am aware the poster did not use the word “always.”)

    2. 11.2

      Wow, I am just curious about where you hang out that men only have trophy wives! The vast majority of women don’t look like VS models.  Nowadays, at least, they’re getting thinner and thinner.  They’re typically between 5’9″ to 5’11”, and between 110-120 lbs–how many women have those measurements?  The average woman is more like 5’4″ and relatively bigger than that.  That’s why those models get paid what they do, precisely because they’re rare genetic specimens who are difficult to find.

      Moreover, would the few “hotties” out there necessarily pick them back?  Last time I checked, those Victoria’s Secret/Sports Illustrated models are often with equally hot male models (Candice Swanepoel), rich and famous rock stars (i.e. Behati Prinsloo, Lily Aldridge, Chrissy Teigen) or men who otherwise have considerable assets.  Most of the time, I just don’t see average men with knockouts!  Even the few “hotties” I know who do look like that (but without that fame and wealth) are with equally good-looking and well to do men.

      Out of necessity, both men and women have to look at “regular” people, since most women aren’t modelesque–and most men don’t have the extraordinary assets it usually takes to get the rare women who are.  And that’s not a bad thing.  I know plenty of “regular” looking women, like me, who are with men who absolutely adore them, for inner qualities having nothing to do with looks.  I want to encourage you to change that view, because it’s sad and love isn’t just for the most beautiful.

  12. 12

    “perhaps someone needs to tell them to back off and let the woman get to know you before you push sex on her. No guy I have ever dated wanted to wait.”

    Oh my gosh, give guys a break!  They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t!  They’re too aggressive if they make a move, and they are whimps if they don’t. 

    Men are ALL about sex.  That’s what testosterone does to them.  It’s important for the continuation of the species.  How can someone get angry at someone else for something they have NO control over?  This is just the way it is, accept it.  Men are NOT women.

    WOMEN decide and control whether sex is going to happen or not, period.  We have the power to decide that.  Take personal responsibilty and refrain from rejecting men because they are attracted to you and would like to kiss and/or have sex with you–this is what they are on this green earth to do.  If you COMMUNICATE you’d like to get to know him better, he will honor that (to a point).  If he doesn’t, then he just weeded himself out–EARLY.  


    1. 12.1

      Wow! Michelle, You truly get it! I can’t add anything to your post… Perfect summation of men. Signed: man

    2. 12.2

      Very well said 😊

  13. 13

    I also think there is another level of attractiveness that can happen after two people get to know each other.  What I mean is that when I really get to know someone and I like him a lot, he actually becomes better looking to me.  If he is short in stature or if he has a big nose, those qualities actually become endearing to me.

  14. 14

    I  think basically this exactly why guys and girls who are FRIENDS sometimes fall in love.  Cause they have taken that part off the “table”so to speak.  Finding someone you  enjoy being with rather than someone who you think  looks good or who you are physically attracted to should  be higher on our list…but it’s not.  NOT until we stop looking  for “that” person…and just  start looking for people we enjoy being with.
    I’m not saying I’m  there yet myself…and I’m not  saying I would not prefer to be with someone I find attractive…I am saying that I have found men attractive, that were not physically attractive, but who I have had  an incredible connection with.
    We spend to much time limiting  ourselves.  I’m guilty of it…but I also know that there  is more to a solid relationship that just “hotness”.

  15. 15

    Its like we always want what we can’t have!! Its sad how has humans we follow the things of infatuation rather than real love

  16. 16

    Here’s how I basically see it…the method we all use for life-partner selection has been inverted by the cultural mantra of “romantic love.”  That quest for the high-giving “chemistry”…with everything else just seemingly falling to second priority.

    Basically a great number of people seek the “attraction” and “chemistry”…and then they hope, pray, fight, claw, and manipulate in every way possible to “change” the person who causes this “chemistry” and “attraction” into what they need emotionally and mentally.  Well, guess what?  That’s backwards…and, with statistics being what they are, it simply DOESN’T WORK.  Its a FAILED method…and yet, like insane people, as a culture we keep advocating, recommending, and doing the same thing over and over and somehow thinking the result will be different for us.  I don’t know how many generations this has to go on before a majority start to figure it out…its actually rather embarassing to witness over and over from the perspective of what it says about us as an intelligent race.

    People should be looking to develop deep, meaningful emotional and mental bonds with others…and THEN working on things like attraction and sexuality.  Most people in this culture don’t want to hear that they have ANY control over their attraction for someone, but they DO…most of that attraction IS in the mind.  Most people simply don’t want to take responsibility for their own types of flawed thinking and entitled mindset and want to believe its completely out of their control…thus, they aren’t responsible for their own poor choices and shallow guidance.

    I for one, for the sake of people in general just being more comfortable and happier, hope more people realize this fallacy sooner rather than later.

  17. 17
    Karl R

    Martha said: (#3)
    “You can like someone but not want to have sex with them and 10 million reasons will still not change that. Men are so pushy about the sex thing, perhaps someone needs to tell them to back off and let the woman get to know you before you push sex on her. No guy I have ever dated wanted to wait.”

    Until a woman has sex with us, we don’t know whether we’re the man she likes, but does not want to have sex with, or whether we’re the man she’s actually attracted to.

    I have many female friends who don’t want to have sex with me. I enjoy them as friends. I just don’t want to spend months courting a woman (and getting my hopes up), just to find out that we’re never going to be anything more than friends.

    Men push sex because it provides clarity.

    My fiancée and I had sex within the first week of dating. I wasn’t sure whether it was going to last in the long run, but I damn well knew that she found me attractive.

    I have tried the “let the woman get to know me before” strategy. I ended up being the “nice guy” with lots of female friends and no girlfriends. When I switched to pursuing romance (including physical intimacy) with near-strangers, I had a love life. Only a few of the women turned out to be viable girlfriends in the long run, but it was a lot more girlfriends than I had by doing it your way.

    Men push sex because it’s the strategy that works. If you want men to wait, then you need to reward that strategy … because few other woman are.

  18. 18

    If you broaden sex to include heavy making out and not necessarily intercourse, I agree with you Karl. I know if I roll around intensely kissing and holding and touching and stroking and massaging for a half hour or hour with a woman I am pretty darn sure she finds me attractive whether we have intercourse or not. If it has to be intercourse, you are wrong. I will push physical romance early on, but I have my own set of rules about sex, and it sure won’t happen in the first week or probably even the first month.

  19. 19

    I agree with Barry #10,
    There’s a sweet spot between hot chemistry, and a good personality match for day-to-day living (as Evan suggests).  You can;t go too far one way or the other.

    Obviously chemistry is important. How attracted I am to my partner matters. I’ve dated the ‘nice guy’ who was great on paper, with many attributes that make a great boyfriend and future husband. Who also while handsome, didn’t crank my chain at all. I TRIED to be attracted but couldn’t. I felt the faintest lukewarm attraction and enjoyed him more as a friend.

    I need chemistry. But I can feel chemistry for average looking guys. Give me a humorous, generous, (physically, emotionally, spiritually), kind man of integrity with an edge and traditional values and it doesn’t matter much what he looks like.

    Granted, I’m not attracted to thin men, overweight men (30+), or new-age men. And nothing could change that no matter how wonderful their personality is. They may make a great friend for me, but I wouldn’t want to f*&% them. So no, I can’t help what I’m attracted to but I’m pretty balanced so what I’m attracted to can be wide-spread.

    I’m engaged now and used much of Evan’s dating strategy to get here. Along with my own spin on things.

    Sexual chemistry is as important to me as my other quality must-haves. It’s just that my must-haves aren’t too many or too unrealistic.

  20. 20

    Until a woman has sex with us, we don’t know whether we’re the man she likes, but does not want to have sex with, or whether we’re the man she’s actually attracted to.

    Or if you’re the man she just wants to hook up with. Or if she drank too much. Or she thinks you’re cute and is horny but still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend who she’ll be going back to. That she banged you within a few dates doesn’t mean much Karl. And is no indication of a promising relationship.

    I just don’t want to spend months courting a woman (and getting my hopes up), just to find out that we’re never going to be anything more than friends.

    I don’t know how often a woman dates a man for months if she only feels ‘friendly’ toward him. But I’m sure it happens. Usually, by a couple months, the relationship should be building, communication shared, if you’re not having sex, you’re probably making out enough to guage passion levels, and I’d imagine she’s expressed why she wants to wait. If not, ask her and find out!
    If a man REALLY likes the woman, he’ll keep dating her to find out where it goes. If the no-sex yet is leaving him unsure and frustrated, he can always stay uncommitted to her while keeping his options open, dating and having sex with others if that’s what he wants. THAT is a good strategy. Pushing for sex if she has made it clear she’s not ready just seems dis-respectful.

    Men push sex because it provides clarity.
    Clarity of what exactly? She wanted to have sex. That’s it. She still may only want to be your friend. Granted, you still got laid so that’s a bonus.
    If you want men to wait, then you need to reward that strategy … because few other woman are.

    Now, this I agree with. Men need to know they are in the game and the woman finds them attractive, and she, even though she wants to wait for a time, is a sexual, passionate woman who wants to share that with him eventually.

  21. 21

    Following one of THE best advice that u give (as below) that NO ONE put out there before you. appreciate it. I practiced it and agree whole heartedly. getting married in Oct, could not be happier. Did what u said – gave the rest a chance, found a really recent loving down to earth kind man on line who is not as u said the most intelligent, richest guy etc. all that doesnt really matter and yes those types mostly are not giving by nature, thats how they are so successful in the first place. 

    “Because, as you know, you can get the smartest, hottest, tallest, richest guy in the world… and you’ll most likely discover that he’s a selfish narcissist who’s just not that into you.
    Thus, there is wisdom in compromising a little on looks and brains in order to find the HAPPINESS that has eluded you when you exalt “attraction” above all.

  22. 22

    I bet this man is type that will overlook any type of lukewarm behavior from a “hot” woman.  He’s probably ok with cancelled dates and un-returned calls.  He probably doesn’t care to much if his partner does not reciprocate thoughtful gestures.  Aloof is acceptable to him.   In other words, this guy is a free man and nobody values “free”.  I’m not saying this guy should act like a jerk but the woman he is with needs to make a decision and choose him.  If he is always available, then they don’t need to make a choice.  He may be chasing the wrong women but if he made it clear what he expected, some of the “hot” women would drop off quickly and some might choose him.
    I bet most of the “hot” women who dump him think they could get him back if they really wanted.   

    1. 22.1

      I completely agree with your post.  Been with a hot girl that doesn’t reciprocate my simple questions like how are you doing today, she’ll say good and not ask back.  And that is just one example of her behavior.  I am strongly physically attracted to her, but know that it is not a long term relationship.  Nevertheless I meet someone who is necessarily as phyically attractive, but she is much better for me on an emotional level.  So basically, my advice to Evan is to stop being Shallow.  If you are only with a girl for her looks, but she is not the right one emotionally, you need to leave that girl and move on, you will be the one who get hurt in the long run.  The more you start to make exuses     that it will work, and the deeper you become involved and ‘in love with her’ the more pain that it will bring in the future if she is not the right person beyond phyical attraction.

      1. 22.1.1

        Agree. I am in a similar situation. I met a girl that to me is amazing (not modelesque, but what I really like). We have a bunch in common and there are many things I like about her, but the absolute worst thing is that she is possibly the most closed-off person I’ve ever met. But she’s like this with everyone, not just me.

        If I or anyone asks her anything, you’ll be lucky if you get more than two or three words, and she never asks anyone anything. She only speaks if spoken to. I could understand if she was shy or depressed or anxious, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. She just doesn’t seem to give a damn about anything beyond her immediate clique and family (I’ve seen her family in a non-dating situation, but never met any of her friends).

        She knows how I feel about her and she knows what I want and expect. So, I continue to chat her up when I can and invite her out to things from time to time. She sometimes shows up but does or says little. I know full well that my chances are virtually nil, but as long as she’s single (and I know she’s single), I’ll keep flirting and trying to build a connection.

        May never happen, but I’ll be seeing other women in the meantime. Either one day she’ll change her mind and I’ll be cool with that, or she’ll get with someone else and I’ll cut all contact. I don’t get angry with her, and as much as it sucks that she doesn’t see my worth to her, it doesn’t hurt me too much to keep trying. I work with her and our schedules cross usually once a week, and of every single person at work, I know more about her than anyone else. I kind of hope this helps in relating to her more in the future.

        My prediction is that, if she keeps up this aloof attitude with each person that comes along, she’ll still be single in a few years time. I would prefer this not happen, since I know she likes men and would prefer to have a boyfriend, and I want her to be happy. It would just be nice to have her be open and vulnerable with me for a change. She acts like she doesn’t need or want anything.

        And the selfish part of me kind of hopes she doesn’t get into a relationship for a few years so that I maybe break through someday. I know this makes me kind of a dick, and though I don’t particularly like to be someone’s backup plan, I know that people change their minds and circumstances change, and I’m not the type to hold grudges.

        I’ve dated other women in the meantime, but I always end up preferring to spend time with her, even if she’s not that talkative. Attraction’s a bitch.

  23. 23
    Joyful Girl

    Hm. I don’t know about this one, EMK. “…wouldn’t it make sense to find a partner who’s compatible in all those other areas?” Maybe… but then I’d just be dating my girlfriends. And they, by the way, would totally be supportive when I had a “fat” day.

    There’s some missing element, not yet addressed. I think we’re calling it chemistry. And though some of your bloggers are claiming it’s superficial and exclusionary, I don’t think we are all attracted to the same set of “hot” factors, and I don’t think they are all superficial. White teeth are great, but quick to smile is hotter, for example, in my book. 

    Other respondents have indicated that they weren’t “at all attracted.” Can you speak more to that? I ask, because it seems to be a common theme with a lot of my friends, right now. Potential partners “look good on paper,” and there are a hundred, logical reasons to continue to date this person, but the idea of a kiss goognight ranges from about as exciting as watching paint dry to just the polite side of cringe-provoking.

    Would love to hear more from you on this.

    1. 23.1

      I wish I knew.

      I have been in love with a woman for about 10 years now.  In the so-called “Friend Zone”, which is not really a topic I’m trying to discuss.  Just to be a little descriptive.

      She recently told me the following things about me:  I’m very good looking.  I’m very intelligent.  I’m very funny.  I smell good.  She feels completely comfortable around me.  She loves every minute she spends with me.

      I ask her, “But are you sexually attracted to me?”

      She says “No.”

      Something to do with being afraid that a relationship between the 2 of us would be difficult and full of drama.  In other words, like every relationship she’s ever had and will continue to have.

      She did nothing wrong to me.  She’s a good person.  But I simply don’t want to be that role in her life.  I finally let her go.

  24. 24
    Christie Hartman

    Evan, I loved the description of your home life. It sounds very much like the one I have with my husband (we both work at home too). And it is really great!
    I liken chasing chemistry to wanting dessert. Dessert is awesome, but it’s much better with a nourishing meal. Compatibility is the nourishment. In the end, when you’re with someone you love being with, you don’t CARE how tall/rich/hot/young they are. Find that person you love being with!

  25. 25

    @Rina – #7
    You are a cynic, but you speak the truth!
    “I’m a 10 and my spouse is an 8. Therefore I can do better and I will step out and find another 10. Meanwhile, I will treat my spouse like crap so that they will break up with me and I can still play the victim/good guy”
    Substitute earning capacity, age, etc for the attractiveness scale and you’ve got the same paradigm.
    You are dead on.  I was married to a highly successful man and that was the story of our relationship.  I think that good looking, successful or intelligent men can still possibly be decent, but they have to have some kind of fatal flaw keeping them humble, i.e. a disability, etc.

  26. 26

    My current boyfriend did not attract me at all when I saw his picture on-line.  His initial e-mail from the on-line dating website was so laid back though, that I thought I wanted to talk to him for a while on-line.  As i talked to him, I found out that he checked off a lot of the boxes that I wanted in a potential life partner.  He was confident, flirty, compassionate, empathetic, affectionate, cared for others (even when he really didn’t want to), could bring me out of my shell, made me feel very beautiful and sexy, etc.  Now when I look at him, I don’t know why I wasn’t attracted when I first saw him on-line. 
    Sometimes I think we, as women, are so focused on what we want the men in our lives to be that we fail to stop ourselves and realize what they are.  Men need us to love them for who they are and not the potential that we see in them to be our ideal men.  We’ll just be disappointed if we only love the potential.
    I can only speak from my experience.  Yeah, my boyfriend isn’t perfect.  He has done some jerky things.  I’ve had to give him quite a few Mulligans and have made the choice not to be upset by the little things that are him and just won’t change.  He knows when I am upset (which is rare) that he needs to listen and he does.  He makes choices that tell me he listened and heard what I needed.  He is willing to give me what I need and I give him what he needs.  I am happy and so is he.  And my happiness far out weighs getting a perfect 10.

    1. 26.1

      Ann, thank you for this entry.  It gave me hope.

  27. 27

    I find that when there is hot chemistry, everything else that’s important gets swept under the rug.

    “I can’t trust him, but he’s hot!”
    “He has no goals in life other than the gym, but he’s hot!”
    “Maybe he has three baby-mamas, but he’s hot!”

    Over time, the hotness fades, resentment is born, people get hurt, and meh.

    In my opinion this is why internet dating does not work. People want chemistry and they want it during that first meeting or on the first date. If it’s not there, it’s over. In real life, you meet someone, get to know them through work, school, sports, friends, etc. and that chemistry can develop over time. If you want to see more of someone from the internet and you think they are great but don’t know yet if there will be amazing chemistry, that means more one-on-one dates, which means you’re dating, and then there is pressure, etc.

    I think you need to find a happy medium. Looks do change, but a person’s character is their character. And, you need to give things time to develop. The most attractive people can quickly become unattractive with bad personalities, and people you don’t find attractive can become attractive with time.

    1. 27.1

      I could have written this post myself!

    2. 27.2

      Well, isn’t that why speed dating doesn’t work?

      Internet dating can work fine if people of both sexes are just willing to spend a bit more time getting to know each other.

      From my point of view the problem is very much focus on impressions in minutes if not seconds, which to me is superficial.

  28. 28

    @4 Learn to read?

    Women who are not lusting after a male, would actually like to follow your rules. Except your rules, are about a woman indicating sexual interest toward a man before she is ready.

    It’s your biggest Gap Evan when relating to women. 

    You misunderstand the female sexual side. yeah..you really do. Women would like to get to know  a man who is nice. Women “gain’ attraction over time.

    Men…see “I wanna have sex”…then figure it out after

    You really aren’t paying enough attention. 

    1. 28.1

      I can’t speak for all men.  In fact, I can’t speak for most.  You may be correct.  I don’t know.

      That’s not the way that I see it, however.  I would simply like to find a woman who I find sexually attractive (emphasis on I) and I’d hope that she were kind and sincere above all else.  It would help if she had a complementary intellect.

      I am in no way concerned with having sex right away.  But I would simply love to tell her that my interest in her is, in fact, based on sexuality, emotion, and intellect.  I would tell her this on day 1 if it were true.  And if I want to call her the next day, I will.

      Unfortunately for me; here in the real world, it doesn’t work that way.

  29. 29

    My first reaction to that guy’s chasing? “Ugh, he’s an asshole.”
    My second reaction? “I do the same damn thing.”

    Karl, if a woman has sex with a man too quickly (I mean even in three/four dates), he will LEAVE. That is INCREDIBLY hurtful.

    I am very strong in suggesting to men to never be “the nice guy,” but not an asshole. Rather, I suggest to my friends to work on earning their own internal confidence (meaning to work on what they like/don’t like about themselves, career, creative and mental goals, dress, health, self talk, etc.), and that way they will be able to radiate, “I’m enjoying talking to you, but you are not my end all be all, I have projects, things to do, and there are other fish in the sea.” This attitude of high sense of self and respectful engagement is very attractive to the woman because she feels like he is not 100% laser focused on winning her approval.

    And if I meet them they can totally be those fully nice and respectful, but totally emotionally unavailable guys I’m so into 🙂

  30. 30

    I’m looking for the man who will be beautiful to ME, inside AND outside.  And for the man who thinks the same towards me.  I want to do all those mundane things, cook dinner together, dress up as pirates & go to renaissance festivals with.  Someone who will not mind that I like to sing around the house while I do chores, that I will come up & give him a kiss and/or hug for no reason, who will be my most intimate partner on every level.

    I know that I am an attractive, intelligent, well-educated, witty 53-yr-old woman.  But I am also a goofball, a klutz, and not perfect in any way.  The man who loves all of that will be the one who wins my heart, and he will be the one I find attractive.


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