Do You Want to Make Him Love You More?

Last week, I was on the phone with Bobbi. Early 50’s, attractive, bookish, divorced.

She signed up for my Commitment Course reluctantly, as she was hesitant to get 12 weeks of dating coaching when she’s already “seeing” a man.

I told her that, in my experience, if things are iffy with a man at the very beginning, the odds that he’ll turn out to be her future husband are slim.

Bobbi took my word for it, and the first few sessions were spent talking about Gary.

Gary is charismatic, opinionated, vocal. He has qualities that Bobbi admires, is attracted to, and would like to emulate if she weren’t so introverted.

As a result, she can’t help but to feel drawn to him.

Anyway, the reason that Bobbi wanted coaching is because Gary really hadn’t turned the corner to become her boyfriend yet. And while it’s only been 6 weeks, she’s not too confident he will. Gary’s got a lot going on in his life. Busy job. Ex wife and kid. Bobbi’s trying to be patient, but struggling.

But that’s not the real kicker.

The real kicker is that Gary, because of his strong opinions and point of view, is kind of difficult. Moreover, he’s critical and has a temper when he doesn’t get his way. When he’s in one of his moods, Bobbi can feel really bad about herself. 85% of the time, things are amazing. 15% of the time, she’s unsure about herself.

If things are iffy with a man at the very beginning, the odds that he’ll turn out to be her future husband are slim.

I told her that Gary’s personality wasn’t a bad habit that was going to be ironed out; this is a character flaw. Thus, she has two choices: stay and suffer, or leave and find a man who didn’t have those verbally abusive tendencies.

Bobbi said she’d stay.

The following week, Bobbi told me they had a big blow-up in the car, to the point that he was yelling at her and she was crying because she couldn’t defend herself.

I asked her if she was ready to move on, and start online. She said that she was thinking about it, but that she’d give a little more time with Gary.

Seriously.

Three weeks later, she’s got a profile online, but is still seeing Gary.

Things are good – for now – she reports.

And without betraying Bobbi in any way, I can almost certainly predict that she hasn’t seen the last of Gary’s criticism or temper tantrums.

I can only hope she does what’s right for her.

While it’s easy to say that low self-esteem is the main reason that people stick in prickly and critical relationships, I think it’s more.

I think it’s because you have the feeling that things can be GREAT, and so you stick with your man waiting for him to be at his best. But he won’t. He can’t.

He’s a flawed human being and you’re all too willing to overlook his flaws.

If it’s not clear from my writing, I don’t give advice from a pedestal. I’m fully transparent about all of my flaws and mistakes in dating.

Which is why I feel so strongly about Bobbi’s situation.

I’ve been in her position with a woman that I loved desperately.

Nobody made me laugh like this girlfriend. Nobody made me think like she did.

And yet nobody ever made me feel worse about myself.

Why?

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Attraction isn’t enough. Feelings aren’t enough.

Because of all the things you already know about me.

I’m very much a man.

I’m very much a flirt.

I’m very opinionated.

I can be very logical, even in the face of emotion.

And because of these qualities – which my wife seems to be able to tolerate – I was called “a sociopath,” “disgusting,” “disrespectful” and so on.

My girlfriend finally broke up with me after my friends went to a bachelor party and she didn’t like that I’d be friends with the kind of men who go to bachelor parties.

True story.

Two weeks later, she asked if we could reconcile. She knew I was a good person, but she couldn’t stop flying off the handle each time I talked to another woman – whether it was a middle aged bartender or a 17-year-old cashier.

She simply didn’t trust me – even though I’d never given her a reason not to.

As much as it pained me, I refused to try to reconcile. I loved her dearly, I wanted to make it work, but it was clear from our 6 months together that she couldn’t accept me for who I was.

And I refuse to be with someone who can’t fully accept me.

You should, too.

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Attraction isn’t enough. Feelings aren’t enough.

It doesn’t matter if 85% of the time he’s a great boyfriend, if the other 15% of the time he’s a selfish jerk.

I couldn’t “make” my girlfriend change to accept me and love me the way I deserved and you shouldn’t try to “make” your guy do ANYTHING.

Either he wants a long-term relationship and treats you like gold, or you’re out the door.

Otherwise, you’ll be in Bobbi’s position, spending a life waiting for a man to be someone that he’s not…

2
0

Join 7 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (34 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Nadia

    Ohhhh, Evan, you speak the truth! I’ve been both characters: the critical bitch who wants my man to change AND the meek woman who hopes that 15 % will get better. I’m finally learning that you have to be happy with things the way they are–truly happy–or move on. As ridiculous as it sounds, I was never sure what I could realistically expect from a boyfriend and from a relationship. 

  2. 2
    Saint Stephen

    Sorry Evan, but i don’t understand what you mean by this statement: I’m very much a man. Could you please throw some more light cos you got me lost there…

  3. 3
    Liz

    Bobbi, listen to Evan!  Run away!!

    My ex-husband was like this guy, but he didn’t start acting really badly until we’d been married for several years.  He got worse and worse as the years went on.  When you’re dating, a man is on his best behavior.  If you move in together or get married, he may start hitting you. 

     

  4. 4
    david

    this sounds like the abusive relationship my (ex) friend is in — he’s great maybe 50% – 75% of the time, but that other percentage he’s RAGEFUL, mean, abusive, manipulative, makes her cry, lose sleep. A angry 12 year old in a 41 year old 6’1 man’s body. 

    I’m not friend with her anymore as well as other people.

    She needs to GET OUT. NOW. And this is like week 6? Buckle up, it’s to going to be a bumpy ride, otherwise. 

  5. 5
    Helen

    I’ve been sitting here trying to think of the appropriate thing to write, because I’m of two minds about this post.
     
    On the one hand, no one should put up with verbal abuse, or any kind of abuse. We don’t have enough details on Bobbi’s case, but Evan, for someone who supposedly loves you to call you “sociopath” and “disgusting” is itself sociopathic and disgusting.
     
    On the other hand, it’s a mistake to expect that the “right” person for you is 100% easy to deal with. Everyone is flawed, and let’s face it, if you married him and you want to stay married all your life, you’ll have to accept certain things about him that make you want to scream from time to time. Yes, you can have a good marriage and yet find your spouse incredibly difficult at times.
     
    So we need to be realistic too. I see very few (zero) marriages where either party treats the other “like gold” or is agreeable 100% of the time. That’s too idealistic. Again, it’s about managing expectations. Being loyal, supportive, fair, and kind to the other is what matters. That’s not treating someone like gold (and doesn’t preclude irritating habits); it’s decency and common sense if you want a good relationship with anyone.

  6. 6
    Christina

    I sure hope Bobbi takes your advice. Self-esteem issues aside, there seems to be a lot of betting on “potential” in the dating world. Because it can take time and effort to find someone with whom you really click, it’s easier to latch onto someone who seems mostly right, and hope you can change or overlook some serious flaws. It’s a recipe for disaster. 

    While we all have flaws, a line should be drawn at those that cause mental or physical harm. It’s one thing to be with a guy who has a few irritating habits; it’s quite another to be with someone who destroys your self-esteem and tears you down, even if it’s “only” one day in five.

    A temperament like Bobbi’s guy should be an absolute dealbreaker. This guy has no business dating until he’s dealt with his issues. Bobbi however, should probably also take a step back and really ask herself why she is willing to put up with his behavior. No one deserves to be treated like that, and until she truly believes that she’s worthy of better, she’ll be vulnerable to other jerks who might mistreat her.

  7. 7
    nathan

    There’s always the possibility that someone could change. But at the same time, and more importantly, is it worth going through an uncertain, potentially long period of time with that person until those changes might occur? Sometimes, the answer is yes. However, the majority of the time, it’s probably no. 
     
    In my opinion, if a person’s behavior seriously undermines trust and blows holes through your self esteem, it’s best to leave. In the past, I had two relationships where I ended up feeling more like a therapist than a partner. I was expected to take anything she dished out, but received nothing but grief if I became critical of said behavior. Evan made the right choice in leaving his old girlfriend, and I think his advice here is spot on. Especially the point about a rocky beginning like this making the odds slim that he’ll be a good husband in the future. If a middle aged adult has a pattern of yelling and flying off the handle, it’s going to take a lot of work to change that. You can’t fix them, and life is too short to play partner therapist for several years, hoping things will eventually get better.
     

  8. 8
    Ruby

    A key statement is, “He has qualities that Bobbi admires, is attracted to, and would like to emulate if she weren’t so introverted.” Sounds like Bobbi’s lack of confidence in herself is what makes her admire Gary so much despite his flaws.

    Hasn’t Bobbi talked to her friend about the problems that lead to his divorce? I’m betting that his anger management issues and moodiness were a contributing factor. Normally, we are all on our best behavior in the early weeks of dating, so the fact that only 6 weeks in, Bobbi’s friend is already verbally abusive is a huge, red flag. Nobody is perfect, but shouting, criticism, and bringing someone to tears is not acceptable. I have found that people with these kinds of problems tend to be very self-absorbed, as well. Another example of a guy who needs a therapist, not a girlfriend.

     

  9. 9
    Maria

    I totally agree on your reply Evan. Howveer, if your man does all the things Evan did such as talking to other women like the bartender or cashier BUT he still shows no consideration for you and shows no caring then HE is out the door. I am the type of woman who will deal with the fact that my man will talk to other woman and will have female friends as long as I am aware of it. But I sure can not deal with lack of attention and or compromise. I have been on her shoes and I have learned from that.

  10. 10
    M

    Hmmm…so, this begs the question, (this relates directly to me…) if this man decides he wants to work on these “not going to be ok in any relationship” qualities, should Bobi stay believing that he wants to make the change, or go because he has shown his true colors in the past…
    I have been a long time reader of EMK, been the topic of some posts…and learned A LOT. I have gone from a really bad relationship..gradually gotten better and better and now am engaged :)
    My fiance is a great guy, but had some serious past issues to let go of. I considered leaving thinking he just wasn’t ready, but he seemed to get past them until we got engaged. Once that happened it really hit the fan. He went to therapy, and said he had a light bulb come on in one session and says he is past his past (is still going to continue therapy though to improve communication skills) and is ready to do whatever our relationship needs to be successful.
    To this, I am torn. On one hand I think I am lucky to have found someone who is willing to work to make things the best they can be in our relationship (we both have to work on it, I know I am no saint!), on the other I think I have seen his worst side and I do not ever in my life want to deal with that again. He did not hit me, but there were a few months of putting my down, criticizing me, things that I just wont tolerate. He said they were because of his fears of marriage based on his previous marriage being projected on me and he says he is not afraid anymore and has let go of his past and truly realizes now that I am not like his ex wife, and our marriage will be different. I am just afraid that that is not really true, that he will slip back into those critical and demeaning ways…but it’s all a gamble, right? I don’t know what can or will happen in the future either way. All I can go on is how he is treating me right now…right? He had moments like this in the beginning (when I was going to leave), seemed to get better for a good amount of time (about 10 months) then it came back with a vengeance when we got engaged. I know fear is a powerful thing, but I don’t want to bet on him being over it ad have him not be. Wedding is getting closer and closer…I’d really appreciate the perspective or opinions of a man who may have been in this kind of situation…especially from you EMK. Your advice is usually pretty accurate, at least for me :)
     
     

  11. 11
    Casey

    I was married to “That Guy” many years ago….I have three words..Run Bobbi Run!!!
    (M..you better run too!). They do not change, it will only escalate, it’s totally unacceptable behavior and will lead to a miserable life!  As a woman in my early 50’s with that experience well past, I frankly can’t understand how any woman who has reached this stage would put up with that sshhstuff!! 

  12. 12
    Angie

    Bobbi, if the man is ALREADY throwing temper tantrums 15% of the time at 6 weeks, imagine how often he will throw temper tantrums at 6 months… or 6 years.  People mask their flaws at this point, and this is a huge one, and one that has the power to grow worse, aside from the fact he isn’t making an effort to make you his girlfriend.
     
    On top of that, when men want to be with someone, they make it known.  Especially since he has an outgoing personality and you are expressing interest.  He clearly doesn’t want a relationship.  He probably just likes having someone around.
     
    Evan is steering you in the right direction.  Be with someone who puts their best foot forward.

  13. 13
    Christie Hartman

    People often wonder why someone will stay in relationships with very difficult, troubled, or abusive people. There are lots of reasons, but one of them is “variable reinforcement.” This is when the reinforcement – the good stuff – comes at unpredictable times. Casinos use a variable reinforcement schedule with their slot machines because it gets the most money out of people. You don’t know when it will hit, so you keep trying, hoping it will hit at any moment, fearing that if you walk away someone else will sit down and win the jackpot. In people terms, this means that it’s tough to walk away from a difficult person because you get hooked in waiting for their good side to emerge, and that happens at unpredictable times.

  14. 14
    barnett

    Believe or not most people have anger and temper issues…

    She could maybe work it out if she knew how to deal with verbally abusive people. One thing that I personally do when someone is shouting and cursing to me is that I…

    remain calm
    let the person know that i will not continue to talk to them unless they speak to me in a calm manner
    once they mellow done allow them to express themselves calmly and then let them know how its easier to be calm when expressing something that may enrage a person

    Hope things go well with your client!

  15. 15
    Lance2012

    @Christie #13, interesting comment about variable reinforcement.
    I suspect another common reason woman stay in the relationship is that the difficult/troubled/abusive man is often not really as difficult/troubled/abusive as the woman telling the story makes him out to be. Of course that is not a comment about Bobbie’s situation, which I would have no way of knowing.

  16. 16
    Zann

    Yuk. I do not like Bobbi’s guy at all. At the same time, I understand her attraction to him. I agree with Evan 100% on this one, and with many of the comments already made. But what struck me the hardest is the fact that Bobbi views herself as an introvert and in awe of his more extroverted, provocative personality. As a card-carrying introvert, I can relate to this tendency to be drawn to the dynamic personality of others, wishing I could be more like them. The problem is that all that extroversion, charisma, and people-magnetism are meaningless if the guy is also a hurtful, unpredictable jerk. Even if he’s only like that sometimes, even if he’s only like that 2% of the time, it’s still too much. No amount of abusive or intentionally disrespectful behavior is okay.

    We already know nobody’s perfect, but we’re not talking about the guy with an annoying habit like wearing socks with sandals or refusing to give up his threadbare boxers until they literally disintegrate in the dryer. Or the woman who snorts when she laughs, is dense about how to use the remote, and emotes too loudly in the movie theater (she can’t help it!). Those are quirks. An adult who throws temper tantrums, manipulates with the silent treatment, or flies off the handle to the point of being threatening is not being quirky or merely annoying. In my book, he’s being abusive, or at the very least immature and disrespectful. Who needs that? Nobody. Life’s too damn short to spend even another minute with anyone — man or woman — who’s a jerk with an anger problem. And from my own experience, no amount of patience, understanding, or time will change this. Run, don’t walk, away from this guy and do it now. You will find better, Bobbi. Go get it for yourself.    

    P.S. Introversion is not a character flaw. Introverts are usually very interesting, insightful people, with great listening skills and a keen awareness of the disingenuous.  But of course I’m probably biased.

  17. 17
    Gappy

    I work to support women and children affecfted by domestic abuse and I can tell every woman reading that in no uncertain terms, if your man is showing abusive tendencies at the beginning of the relationship, it will not get better. Run, now, before more of your life is tangled up with this person.
    I also blog about relationship and dating issues. I really hope no-one minds but my latest post is very relevant to this one here – it’s all about attempting to make someone feel something they don’t. So perhaps it’s ok to leave a link? Feel free to come and have a read if you think it’s something that is relevant to you:
    http://www.gappytales.com/2012/02/dating-tips-from-a-recovering-guardian-soulmate.html

  18. 18
    Terri

    I’ve been through this type of relationship……..it doesn’t go away! if this is just the beginning what would happen later on? I honestly stayed in that type of relationship thinking that he would change, thinking it would get better but it didn’t. I was received every other type of abuse but physical, and i tend to think that words hurt so much more. Eventually i decided that this relationship wasn’t healthy for me and i left. 
    Bobbi find YOURSELF, you don’t need this man to make you question yourself and worth! There is someone out there for you that would accept you as you are!

  19. 19
    lawyerette

    Bobbi’s situation is very clearly going to escalate into full-blown abuse. Do people really not understand this? How do people think abusive relationships start? With the guy hitting you in the face on the first date? No, but him yelling at you in the car to the point where you feel like you can’t defend yourself – six weeks in – sounds like a “good” start to me, if you want to head down that road. She needs to get out NOW. And Evan, if you are going to counsel women on relationships, I think it would behoove you to consider some training in recognizing early signs of abuse so you can make a more forceful pitch to your clients between “he’s a jerk, dump him” and “he shows clear signs of being an abuser, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE” (literally). 

  20. 20
    e

    @Lance2012  Generally woman in abusive relations doesn’t tell most of the abusive behaviour. They stay in the relationship because it is hard to accept the fact that the man you love hurts you on purpose ,when the abuse escalates over the time and becomes too much to ignore,they just doesn’t have the power to end the relationship.

  21. 21
    Dylan

    As ever, its a personal choice thing. From my perspective, I experienced something similar with my previous relationship. We saw each other for a couple of years and 90% of the time, things were great… fantastic in fact. But the 10% was the pits! She didn’t make me think less of myself necessarily, and with me being a man, there wasn’t any threat of violence at any stage, but the psychological abuse was alive and kicking. I had broken up with her once before because I saw more if it creeping in, and thought it best to get the hell out of Dodge. Sadly, I let her talk me around, and we gave it another go.

    I suggested to her that perhaps she had some issues that needed addressing, and that we could tackle it together. She didn’t see there was a problem, and this was one of the contributing factors in me calling it off for the final time. (should’ve listened to me!)

    That said, if the other half (of the relationship) can admit that they do have these “episodes” it can help to get them to write a letter to themselves. For example, in M’s case, the man seems to have admitted to himself that there are still issues he needs to resolve, and the episodes seem to be triggered by reminders he is about to be married. So, when things are “normal” Sit down together, and write a letter for him to read, that says something to the effect of:

    “look, when you’re thinking straight, its happy days. These are the reasons you are marrying this woman. You are not thinking straight right now, so do whatever you need to do to calm down, and then re-think the situation”

    and get them to sign it. Then when an episode occurs again, the letter comes out for them to read. I know its worked (so far) with my friend, but I cant say I have any first hand experience of it myself, but When I read about it (the technique), I thought it sounded like a good idea.

    I’m not suggesting all problems can be solved with a letter, but maybe its another wrench in the dating / relationship toolbox.
     

  22. 22
    Nouvel

    Evan, you’re brilliant. Really.

    I have taken great comfort in reading your blog daily. I can honestly say that your honesty, wisdom and no nonsense approach to dating has really gotten me to sit down and truly self evaluate my past actions in relationships. Everyone you say makes 100% sense and I feel like you have taught me a knew way of thinking and seeing the world. Thank you.

    I have all the confidence in the world that you will be the next Dr.Phil on TV :)

  23. 23
    Liz

    Dylan #21 you said, “…and with me being a man, there wasn’t any threat of violence at any stage….”

    Dude, you are lucky she didn’t physically abuse you, too.  Being a man does NOT mean that you are safe.  In fact, some of the worst female abusers are teeny little women because they know most men won’t hit back.  

  24. 24
    Ana

    I think it’s not Evan’s duty to educate any of us on abusers, he’s not a counsellor. But it is your own duty to learn as much as possible about other human beings, if you are going to interact with them. And especially if you know from your own history that you are prone to picking problematic partners.
    So, I suggest that you start with “Why does he do that” by Lundy Bancroft, who is an expert on the subject. There are early signs of abuse, you will learn to spot them, the question is what you are going to do about them. (Btw, I don’t think most of you would like his advice which in most cases is: ”Run!”, or you’ll think your relationship/man is an exception, as usual.)
    Evan, thank you very much for your hard work on this blog.
     

  25. 25
    annie

    I agree with all who say – “Run, Bobbi, run!!!”.  I have always fallen for this type of guy, overlooking his verbal/other forms of abuse, because that was what my mother was like.  Seriously abusive, verbally and physically.  It took many sessions of counselling to point out that all my post-divorce relationships have been abusive (including my first child-bearing marriage), because I relate and feel comfortable with this type of conflict.  I have met several really sweet, kind guys who would have done anything to have me, but dismissed them because they were “boring”.  I had to learn (and this was really hard) not to fall for the “interesting” and “weird” and “different” guys.  I have recenly come out of a relationship where the guy was probably not abusive in the violent or verbal sense, but emotionally completely unavailable, leaving me to “run” the entire relationship.  I stopped myself after a year, looked back and realised what was happening…  Again, I was being abused by some guy who wasn’t going to expend any effort on me, so I just increased my efforts.  How very convenient.  And then I stopped, and dumped him.  He tried feebly to come back, but I stood firm.  Now I can look back and see clearly.

    In the backgound, there has always been a good, consistent, loving man, who would kill for me, but I have dismissed him on the “boring” basis.  Despite my falling for abusives, he has always been there, supporting, still telling me he loves me and will patiently wait.  Dear Lord, what am I waiting for?  This man really and truly loves me unconditionally.  He is not attractive or rich, but he is consistent, loving and very caring, and treats me like a princess.  Sometimes our Mr. Right is right under our noses,  We just have to see clearly….

  26. 26
    Tara

    “My girlfriend finally broke up with me after my friends went to a bachelor party and she didn’t like that I’d be friends with the kind of men who go to bachelor parties.
    True story.”

    I understand why Bobbi would leave her relationship, given that the  guy she’s with is showing strong signs of being an abuser.

    I don’t understand why Evan is criticizing his ex-girlfriend. This apparently “unbelievable” quote from her seems pretty normal to me, if I’m going to assume that he meant going to bachelor parties with a stripper involved.

    Ninety percent of my the men I know in my life have no interest in bachelor parties, or strippers, or flirting with every girl they see, because there’s more to life than constantly giving attention to or getting attention from the opposite sex. 

    Flirting with every female while in a relationship is pretty dodgy and it gives the impression that you need other women to be attracted to you to be happy. 

    Second of all, none of my friends (male or female), would waste their time with somebody who goes to bachelor parties. I do know people who would (no friends of mine), but they would be considered downright low-life where I come from.

    Your ex-girlfriend isn’t at fault for not accepting a man who sees the appeal of sitting around with men leering at a naked woman, or who needs the constant validation he gets from flirting with other women.

    It very much sounds like she’s an intellect who can’t reconcile with the idea of women being viewed as objects who dance for men, or  the idea you seem to have that women can’t just be talked to on an intellectual/friendly level, but instead should be approached and communicated with in a flirtatious manner.

    If that’s what she dumped you for, then she should be viewed in a positive light. It’s pretty low that she’s being used here in comparison to an abuser.

    C’mon, Evan. Surely you’re better than that. 

     

    1. 26.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Tara,

      1. I’m not better than that, so please don’t accuse me of it.
      2. If you read the story, I wasn’t even AT the bachelor party. I was with my girlfriend at her aunt’s 60th birthday party. I got dumped for my association with men who attend bachelor parties.
      3. If you’re invited to a bachelor party and it ends up at a strip club, you go. There’s a big difference between a man who is a Tuesday morning regular at the Love Machine and the guy who goes to Vegas once a year for a friend who’s engaged. If you can’t make that distinction, that’s fine, but you will find yourself with a much smaller percentage of men. While only 14% of men go to strip clubs regularly (according to one study), 78% have gone to strip clubs. That leaves you 22% of men – and leaves out guys like me and every man that I’ve ever met. That’s your prerogative, but if you dismiss men like me for the occasional strip club dalliance – good, honest, hardworking, sensitive, commitment-oriented men – you may be missing the big picture, that’s all.

      But, to reiterate, I was dumped because of a bachelor party I DIDN’T attend. Methinks someone is a bit too sensitive.

  27. 27
    Joyful Girl

    Evan, love your work!

    I’m glad you replied to Tara. It seems we have a difficult double standard we expect men to navigate, today (if not several of them). We want men to have friends and show evidence that they can bond, (nothing is quite as red a flag for me as a man who has no long-term friendships), but we would like to dictate how men share their time. We want men to be masculine and tough, but they’d better be sensitive, too. And we’ll judge a man in a minute who does NOT choose his girlfriend’s grandmother’s birthday party over a bachelor party at a strip club, then judge him for having friends who didn’t have anything more noble to do. (Yachting, perhaps?)

    And maybe Tara doesn’t ever go out with her girlfriends and have a “martini lunch,” talking about her boyfriend, her lovelife, and her preferences regarding men, (even pointing out the really cute waiter in the corner), but most of us do. (Shoot. It doesn’t even have to be a martini lunch… I work at a hospital and can tell you the nurse’s breakroom is full of that kind of talk!) If guys do that type of thing in a different style and venue then we do, so be it. I hardly think it makes them “downright lowlife.” 

    And yes. Berating a man you are dating, as your ex did to you, is abusive and manipulative. I hear myself and my friends continually excusing this behavior in the men we date, questioning our own “radar,” and wondering if we are being “too picky,” or excusing it in ourselves, as if we have a right to “correct,” and “teach,” this man the “proper” way to act or live.

    My work is to remind people that they have choices. If Bobbi chooses to keep dating this man, as you know, that’s her perrogative. That said, I would challenge her to make her choice out loud, in order to see how she really feels about it. She’ll have to say, for example, “I choose to give my love, time, youth and spirit to a man who yells at me, instead of having fair discussions. I choose to spend a large part of my waking life feeling like I am a bad person (stupid, too emotional, undervalued, et. al.), and I choose to keep a man around me who reinforces that feeling. I choose to believe that I cannot find a more suitable partner and that this man is as good as it gets for me.”

    At one point in my life, I chose an abusive man, largely because it afforded me the priveledge of being the “good one,” in the relationship. He was crazy, I was saintly to put up with him. I’m not proud of that, I’m just telling you that, had I really investigated that choice, if I could have verbalized that choice I made every day, I’d have done things differently.

    Choices are empowering. Making a conscious choice to live in any situation makes that situation a place in which we can experience the joy of truly living our own calling and purpose, regardless of the circumstances (like a soldier choosing to go to war, for example). However, I’ve found that, in order to make a conscious choice, it really helps to verbalize the good and bad of that choice. Know what you are choosing, before you say, “Yes. I will do this…”

    Again, thanks, Evan, for your insight. It’s enjoyable and sometimes very enlightening to read about relationships from your point of view. Thank you for sharing.

  28. 28
    AnnieC

    @27

    3. If you’re invited to a bachelor party and it ends up at a strip club, you go. There’s a big difference between a man who is a Tuesday morning regular at the Love Machine and the guy who goes to Vegas once a year for a friend who’s engaged.

    So the man who occasionally supports the sex industry and accepts male bonding over women they view as sport, is a better bet than the man that frequents these establishments?

    A better bet for who? How shamed are women made out to be, when they do not accept an activity where men see female sexuality as sport.

    You seem to think that women who accept certain behaviour from men, are women who “get” men. Nonsense. These are women that are so focused on what they want( usually babies and financial security) that they don’t really care what you do.

    Keep tooting this old horn.

    Any females reading this, don’t give into this nonesense.

  29. 29
    Kristen

    Evan, your story is something I can relate to. I was with my ex-fiance for many years. We kept trying to make it work. Even though I am now with a great guy– communication is so much better, I feel like we’re clicking in a way that ex and I didn’t, just a generally great guy– I still fantasize that my ex is the person I wanted him to be. I know that what we experienced is real, not my fantasy of what could have been. Kudos to you for staying away from something that wasn’t working. How do you stay grounded?

  30. 30
    Joe

    @ AnnieC: Evan is always saying you have to accept men as they are, not as you wish them to be, while at the same time kicking to the curb men who aren’t giving you what you want.

    The corollary is that if what you want is only found in a small percentage of men (e.g. those who’ve never been to a titty bar), then you are limiting your choices.  And that’s certainly your choice to make, but if you come bitching to Evan about it he’s gonna tell you so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>