Is it Foolish to Date a Guy Based on His Potential?

Is it Foolish to Date a Guy Based on His Potential?

Hi Evan,

Is it ever okay to date a man for his potential? I met a nice, smart man, but let’s just say he’s going through a transition right now. He just recently switched careers and is starting from the bottom at his new career. He was successful in his last profession, but wasn’t happy with his job anymore and decided to leave. In the midst of switching careers in a tough economy and getting his second Masters degree, he has accrued some debt (and maybe a little chip on his shoulder, but that’s a different dating question!). He is very smart and I am sure he will get on his feet again, but is it wrong of me to not want to be with him until he does or unless he does? I’ve dated men before who were trying to change or trying to reach their potential, but they never did. I don’t want to get caught up in that again.

If I wait for him to become more stable professionally and financially before committing to a relationship, does that make me a bad person?

(Background so you can better assess the situation and have context:

This man is 40 and has never been married. I am 32 and a successful lawyer, so him not being financially secure right now is not really an issue for me. However, him constantly hinting that he does not have money is kind of off-putting, especially after only the third date. Mind you, I don’t expect extravagant dates and I have paid for half our dates.

We’ve been seeing each other at least two to three times a week for two months. He has asked to be exclusive. He is funny, smart, and attractive. I would not hesitate to get in a relationship with him if he was more stable.) –Jane

Dear Jane,

Once upon a time, I met a 31-year-old woman who we’ll call Donna.

Donna owned her own small business, traveled around the world, and made upwards of six figures. She was also divorced and really wanted to settle down, get married and have kids.

At the time, I was 30 and was a customer service representative at JDate. I was paying my way through film school, where I was getting an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, so that I could become a college professor and teach the one thing I knew how to do. My income at the time? $32,500 – and all of it went to pay for my cost of living, film school, and my regular dating habit.

My financial state was temporary. My character was permanent.

Donna and I had great chemistry. She was very feminine and playful, and would undoubtedly be a good wife and mother.

We went out maybe 5 times before she told me that she couldn’t continue to see me. She said that I was a great guy. She said I made her laugh. She acknowledged our great chemistry. She basically said what you’re saying about your new guy, Jane.

“I’m ready for the real deal. You’re in transition. I can’t wait.”

I understood her logic, but I also knew something that she didn’t:

My financial state was temporary. My character was permanent.

This is what I told her, in response:

“You can break up with me if you want, to find some safe, older, lawyer to live an upper middle class lifestyle. I respect that. Just know that one day, I’ll have money. But your lawyer won’t make you laugh like I do. And he won’t turn you on like I do. I hope I’m wrong, but I know I’ll be right.”

Am I suggesting that women everywhere should bank on their man’s unrealized potential? Absolutely not.

Was I lashing out a little? Sure. But I meant what I said. My situation was based on choosing a highly risky career in Hollywood in my 20’s; it wasn’t some sort of slacker/character defect. At 31, I might as well have been 21. I was starting over. But I was going to make it. Anyone who knows me for a short time knows that I’m a doer, not a talker.

Donna heard my speech, smiled, kissed me, and told me that she may have been making a mistake, but she was doing what she had to do.

I was hurt and used it as fuel to further my career. One year later, I wrote a book, dropped out of film school, and started e-Cyrano profile writing. Five years later, I was married to a woman who believed in me and saw my potential. And yes, we ran into Donna at a party once in Hollywood. She’s 41 and, while she’s now in a relationship, she’s not yet married with children, as was her intense desire ten years ago.

Does my story mirror yours? Maybe. Am I suggesting that women everywhere should bank on their man’s unrealized potential? Absolutely not. In fact, as a policy, it’s usually a bad bet to see a man for what he could become and it’s a much safer one to see who he currently is.

There is the 50-year-old dreamer who refuses to get a real job because he wants to be the next Channing Tatum.

There is the 40-year-old guy who stays in a safe low-end job because he has no real ambitions for his career.

There is the 30-year-old guy who is content playing video games and smoking pot and doesn’t take any initiative in getting an adult life on track.

And then there’s your guy.

“Successful in his last profession, but wasn’t happy with his job anymore and decided to leave. Switched careers in a tough economy and got his second Masters degree. Very smart and I am sure he will get on his feet again.”

There you have it, Jane.

Your guy is going places, whether you’re with him or not.

And unless you want to be the Donna in his life story, I’d get on board his train now.

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Comments:

  1. 121
    Lia

    @ Karmic #121
     
    I too believe that flip-flopping the roles can have a negative impact.
     
    I have no scientific evidence to support that belief.  However, I have observed that in relationships where the women pursued the men there wass something lacking.  I have yet to see a woman who did the pursuing feel desired and secure.  I am sure there are exceptions to that even if I haven’t seen them personally.  But the women I know who pursue never seem to have that partner who is truly on board in the relationship.   
     
    Does this mean that every man who pursues is going to be wanting a relationship.  Clearly not.  And no relationship lasts forever (someone dies or leaves).  But it seems to me that when the man does the choosing and the woman accepts then she feels desired and wanted.  For me as a woman that is no small thing.  
     
    When the man pursues and sets the pace of the relationship it seems to go so much better.  If I see the woman trying to dictate the pace (even if he initially  pursued her) it does not go well.  I don’t know why that is.  I wonder if it is because he feels like he is being pushed or told what to do.
     
    My step-father once said to me, “men don’t like to be told what to do.”  He was a man of few words and the way he said that told me that that was very important to remember.  Every time I would be tempted to give “suggestions” or unsolicited advice to a man those words would come too mind and I would shut my mouth.

  2. 122
    Karmic Equation

    @marymary

    “yes but … couldn,t this mean that pursuit or sharing wealth is a failing strategy for men if she can still leave you after x years?”

    Couldn’t you then say any dating strategy which doesn’t result in X [insert goal, i.e., a second date, sex, exclusivity, marriage, etc.] a failing strategy? Buying flowers, long weekends in the Bahamas, taking dancing lessons, Online dating, a marriage proposal (which is rejected), etc? No one will stop doing those things, I suspect :-)

    “i expect that the relationships ended for reasons that were  unrelated to pursuit and wealth. in which case, maybe those two things – provided the basics are covered in that you both like each other and are on the same page re finances – aren,t the deciding factors in the success of a relationship over the long haul.”

    Agreed.

    Eliminating the salary requirement in dating simply opens the door for you to meet more people, expanding your chances to date and marry someone whom you would consider a good husband/wife within the timeframe you wish to do so. Whether that person will indeed be a good marriage partner to you, or whether the relationship withstands the test of time, are independent of dating strategies.

  3. 123
    Mickey

    I’ll give someone my potential if she’ll give me a prenup.

  4. 124
    Helen

    #121, the examples you gave are not evidence of something negative happening if the woman pursues. Leaving aside the small sample size for now: all these relationships ultimately ended. The longevity of the relationship is not necessarily a good thing. Indeed, if the relationship was not meant to last, it may be that a shorter one is better for a variety of reasons. From what you shared, I find it hard to believe that you did wrong by pursuing.
     
    #123 wrote: “I have yet to see a woman who did the pursuing feel desired and secure.” Well, now you know one, somewhat, if it counts to know another commenter on a blog.
     
    Most men are not such egomaniacs that they must always be in charge where a woman is concerned. What they like even better is seeing a happy woman, and feeling that they in some way contribute to her happiness. Men are on our side, women; don’t forget that. Reach for what makes you happy, and recruit men to help you get there.

  5. 125
    Lia

    @ Helen #126
     
    I wrote, “I am sure there are exceptions to that even if I haven’t seen them personally.”  Glad for you that you are one. 
     
    I didn’t write that men are egomaniacs on any of my posts.  I can’t remember Karmic Equation ever writing that men were egomaniacs, controlling, or bad on her posts.

  6. 126
    Karl R

    Lia said: (#123)
    “But the women I know who pursue never seem to have that partner who is truly on board in the relationship.”
     
    That sentence describes most of my dating experience. I pursued someone whom I was interested in, but she was never truly on board.
     
    If you’re the pursuer, you’ll likely experience all the downsides that the pursuer normally experiences. If you’re the pursued, you’ll likely experience all the downsides the pursued normally experiences. Flip-flopping the roles flip-flopped the downsides. While that changes the experience (for the people involved), I don’t see how it affects the ultimate outcome.
     
    You’re correct that something was lacking. It just happens to be the same thing that’s lacking in most relationships where the man pursues.
     
    Similarly Karmic Equation’s example #4 (#121) is very dependent on whom is having which experience.
     
    While I have to guess at the reason the man broke things off, the 3 week duration suggests that he simply wasn’t that interested in the first place.
     
    I can think of a few times when I dated a woman for 2-4 weeks. She just wasn’t that interested in me, and broke things off for that reason. I don’t believe any of those women would describe the experience as a “meaningful relationship,” or as a relationship that helped her “learn more” about herself or more about dating/relationships. She knew she wasn’t that interested from the start. She confirmed what she already knew. There was no meaning, nor anything to learn.
     
    It’s a stretch, but I could even argue that pursuing provided a positive result, since Karmic Equation managed to learn something from a 3 week relationship (which apparently hasn’t happened when she was the one pursued).
     
    Helen said: (#116)
    “Most relationships fail, regardless of whether the man or the woman pursued first. However, people may REMEMBER more that a failure occurred when a woman pursued, because it’s rarer for women to pursue in general, and we remember rare events more easily.”
     
    I think you may be correct.
     
    Also, did you notice that the second “negative impact” described by Karmic Equation was that the man ended the relationship. Quoting the Behrendts: “It’s called a breakup because it’s broken.” If it’s broken, why would it be more negative for the man to end it instead of the woman?
     
    I suspect this has nothing to do with the impact on the relationship, but rather the impact on the individuals. The person initiating the relationship is hurt less, while the other person is hurt more. If you swap which person is more/less hurt, I would see that as an equivalent negative result to the relationship. But to the person who was hurt more by the breakup, one would seem more negative than the other.

  7. 127
    Goldie

    Wow, Helen, we have even more in common than I thought! I totally pursued the man who later became my husband. I didn’t have any other serious relationships, so my list only has one item on it: 22 years together, I ended the relationship. I chased that guy for months! Goes to show you that anecdotal evidence isn’t very reliable in general.
     
    Post-divorce, I’ve been following Evan’s advice and letting men initiate, but mainly because, after making what I thought was a bad choice for both of us, I didn’t trust my own judgement. Also, guys were coming at me so fast, I didn’t really get a chance to pursue anyone this time around. Maybe next time? Honestly, in this day and age, and depending upon what one means by pursuing, I don’t think it matters as much who pursues whom. I assume that by pursuing we mean initiating contact, getting yourself noticed by the person, maybe asking the person out — nothing too aggressive or stalkerish. I’m pretty sure that, regardless of who contacts whom first, after a while it is up to both sides to decide whether they are going to work out as a couple or not. Just like I approached my x-husband first, and then after a while I guess I grew on him enough that he decided to become a couple and get married. He initiated both of those things. I just initiated the original meet and greet, more or less.

  8. 128
    Karmic Equation

    @Helen

    It’s interesting that your sample size of ONE is more significant than my sample size of 2 or 3 or 5 (not sure which sample size you were minimizing).

    Ok, I’ll bite. I invite you, Karl, and the other posters here to list their meaningful relationships in the same manner as I (#months/years of duration, who ended it, and who was the pursuer/initiator). You must list AT LEAST five relationships and EXCLUDE ONS (as I did, and FTR, I’ve only had 4 of those in my early 20’s; and I had two “flings” that I didn’t list, as they weren’t meaningful, I have trouble remembering I even had them). — I’ll collate the data and chart them out so as to get a collective sample size that would pass muster with you. – I get to choose the parameters, because neither you nor Karl had the imagination to provide any parameters when you asked. In the future, if YOU want to dictate the terms, you have to state them first, and provide them first. Dinging me and pointing out where you disagree doesn’t make your position true. — All, I’m not being flip. I’m actually interested in the relationship/breakup data.

    (A) You seem to often forget that the exception to the rule doesn’t disprove the rule.

    And you and Karl seemed bound and determined to prove my “opinion” wrong. Why? My opinion is as valid as either of yours. They’re based on MY experiences and MY feelings, which you aren’t privy to and which I don’t feel like sharing — and which are NOT yours to minimize or dismiss. The outcomes and the meaning I assigned to them, as indicated in my opinion, I did wish to share, so I did. If you have a differing opinion, you are free to state them. But you are NOT free to tell me MY opinions are wrong because YOUR interpretation of MY experiences are different.

    I think our initial disagreement stemmed from our disagreement on what constitutes “proactiveness” in dating. You NEUTRALIZED the action of “pursuit” and I…uhh…GENDERIZED it (for lack of better word), which got under your skin. Why? Re-read (A) above.

    Additionally, I’ve stated that women can be proactive in other ways (work on becoming as attractive as possible; become irresistible prey, yada yada) INSTEAD OF DIRECTLY asking for dates. Being attractive person is NOT LIMITED to the physical (if that is what you’re objecting to) — because I’ve indicated in many posts women need to get rid of their insecurities, become happier people, be positive, be radiant, etc., to be attractive.

    At which point you then generalized proactiveness to life and dancing etc. I AGREE with being proactive “in life in general”. What I think you fail to understand is that if the women on this board are “smart, strong, and successful” they ALREADY know the meaning of proactiveness in LIFE, and in BUSINESS in particular. These women DON’T need you and me to tell them to be “proactive in life”. HOWEVER, they ARE on a dating blog to seek help in finding satisfying relationships, so what I’ve EXTRAPOLATED from those two data points (I know that’s scientifically faulty, but relationships are NOT a science) is that perhaps, whether consciously or not, they may have extended that same proactiveness you are passionate about to dating and, unwittingly, shooting themselves in the foot in the process. As a woman, I’m saying if they’re having trouble finding people to have relationships with, there are OTHER ways to get dates, that doesn’t require directly asking men for dates.

    I’m saying DON’T PURSUE a man, especially an ALPHA man, you’re not going to like the results — because if the result is an LTR, it’s not likely to happen…AND you’re going to feel rejected in the process. That’s what my terse summary meant:

    Negative impacts:
    1) Shorter relationship = NOT an LTR
    2) HE typically ends it = YOU are rejected

    You and Karl have both indicated that no-one should be AFRAID of rejection. I agree with that. As long as you live, you are going to face rejection, so not doing something because you are AFRAID of it is not personally empowering. You apply for a job, you may not get it. You want to be the lead actor/actress in a play, you may not get that role, etc. You have to learn to live with rejection and disappointment. Perhaps you and Karl LIKE being rejected. I don’t, so I don’t waste my time applying for jobs I’m not qualified for nor dream of being the lead in a play if I lisp. Why SEEK rejection and disapointment, when life will just throw that at you unsolicited (see Liz 117). And let’s just say for the heck of it, I got the job for which I’m unqualified (let’s say CEO) or the lead when I lisp, I’m just going to put myself under a lot of unneeded stress, because I’m going to be insecure because I KNOW I’m not qualified in being a CEO and that having a lisp is not ideal for a lead. Why subject myself to undue stress and face insecurities of my own making?

    I can get the SAME RESULTS without being rejected. In fact, I get BETTER results when I take the PATIENT, less DESPERATE route, which I believe directly asking a guy out is. You see it as “proactive” I deem it “desperate”. Therefore, I would not promote having a woman ask a guy out UNLESS she’s okay with seeming desperate. (She may not “be” desperate, but it can certainly appear that way, quite possibly to the guy she’s asking) — A guy approaching a woman does not appear desperate to anyone. It’s accepted as normal. Granted, letting a guy approach IS the “safe” way to avoid rejection, BUT that does not NEGATE it’s value as an EVALUATION tool for a woman. You and Karl focused on the “safe” part and think that “playing it safe” is not good, agreed, as long as we’re not talking about dating. Yet you both dismiss the “attraction factor” part, when THAT part is more important for a WOMAN, than whether or not she gets to date the 10 she’s attracted to. ANY MAN who’s attracted to her is worth more than a 10 who is not. It doesn’t mean that she should DATE a 1. It means she has THE CHOICE to date him if she wants to, which is valuable.

    @Sparkling Emerald & Lia

    Thank you for getting it.

    @Karl R

    I guess I need to explain my explanations in excruciating detail:

    Here’s the back story in #3 – He initiated and I pursued him right out of my life. Lesson learned: Pursuing was not a good idea.

    I karaoke a LOT. One time, at the bar I regularly karaoked at, a new guy was singing. Great singer. Good looking (reminded me of Justin Timberlake, but sharper jawline and nose). My first thought was “Wow” But he didn’t even know I was alive. I watched him, somewhat lustfully, out of the corner of my eye following another woman out the side door for a smoke and thought cattily, I’m better looking than HER. And then I did a mental shrug and thought to myself, “Too bad.” And never gave him another thought.

    Two weeks later, at the same bar, he sat down next to me in the booth, because the bar was unusally crowded and there weren’t too many open seats. He could have sat elsewhere, though, but didn’t. He struck up a conversation with me. We actually met “spontaneously” at the bar in the next week, traded emails. Made out a few times, but no sex. Well kinda, does 5 strokes count as sex? He was well-endowed. After the not-quite-sex, I started initiating contact via emails (this was before texting) almost daily. But they weren’t “mushy” emails, just “Are you going to karaoke” “when” “Should I pick you up” — yada yada. I’m pretty sure this turned him off…and I have to say I never felt comfortable sendind the emails, but I couldn’t help myself. My hamster was working overtime. The last time we met at the bar, he told me he was leaving to go back home to his family in the midwest. I gave him my number to contact me. Never heard from him again. I have no clue if he really even left town. I’m 100% confident that he wasn’t married and that he was turned off with my pursuit. Which was quite pesty in retrospect.

    My lesson learned was to do the OPPOSITE of my craving when it comes to contacting men. The more I want to contact him, the more I need to REFRAIN from contacting him. It was a great lesson and meaningful     to ME. I don’t give a darn if wasn’t meaningful to you or Helen.

    To bring it all back Karl and Helen, my ORIGINAL words were (#61): “…that doesn’t necessarily produce good relationship results…” — Karl, you were the one who changed it to “Negative Impact on Relationships” — Because you knew that would be harder to defend and easier to refute. Strawman fallacy and bad sportsmanship. So I would say that my answers throughout all my posts consistently support MY ORIGINAL CONTEXT which you conveniently twisted to something I never said.

  9. 129
    Lia

    @ Karl R. #128
     
    Well thought out points.  The thing I appreciate about the way you disagreed with my post is that you didn’t accuse me of saying something about men that I didn’t, and I don’t feel like you are attacking me just disagreeing.
     
    I can see how it would be hard on men or women if they are in a relationship with someone who isn’t on board.  I have been in that position, I think most of us have.  
     
    I always believed that men know that they are interested immediately (maybe I should use the word attracted) and women can think that they are not and then have that change.  An example of this is a man that I met on-line years ago.  After meeting him I decided that there was no spark and didn’t want to date him.  I told him that I didn’t feel there was a spark but he asked if we could be friends.  I didn’t see any harm in that, I agreed to see him as “just friends”, spent some time with him and fell hard for him.
     
    Most of the men I fell for, I fell for over time.  I had a theory that men knew what they wanted immediately and women didn’t necessarily know right off.  Maybe I should not have generalized my personal experience.  I will tell you that for me not being the one who pursues does not mean that I am not onboard in the relationship. 
     
    I want to preface this question to you by saying I am not trying to prove some point I am genuinely curious.  Have you met a woman that you were not attracted to initially and have that change after spending time with her?  By that I don’t mean just think you could stand to sleep with her, I mean really fall for her.

  10. 130
    Goldie

    @ Karmic Equation #130
     
    I cannot comment on all of your post, but this, to me, stood out:
     
    “2) HE typically ends it = YOU are rejected
     
    You and Karl have both indicated that no-one should be AFRAID of rejection. I agree with that. As long as you live, you are going to face rejection, so not doing something because you are AFRAID of it is not personally empowering. You apply for a job, you may not get it.”
     
    This is the opposite of how I see the job application process. Many people appear to think that, when they are interviewing for a job, the purpose of the interview is for them to close the deal, i.e. to get an offer. It is not. The purpose is to gather as much reliable information as possible about the company, the position, that would allow you to determine whether you’ll like working there. Of course it doesn’t hurt to make a good impression on the employer as well, so they know that *they* will like you working there. But you don’t want them to trick you into accepting, and being locked into, a job you’re going to hate. You don’t want to accept a job that they tell you requires working 40 hrs/week and then find out it’s really 60-70. You don’t want to spend a month at the new place and then find out that they expect you to do something shady or illegal for them. You don’t want to accept a job close to your home, only to find out on your first day that they have contracted you out to a friend of the owner’s and your commute will be 65 miles one way, every day, permanently. (Happened to me.) This is actually worse than rejection.
     
    Which leads me to what I was going to say in the first place. When an employer tells me no after an interview, I do not see it as rejection. I do not take it personally. I see it as a sign that I would not have liked it at this job. I’ve been told no by companies that no longer exist; that have been laying people off by the hundred; that drive their employees into the ground with brutal hard work. Being told no by those guys is not rejection, it is a huge favor. I have dodged a bullet with every one of them.
     
    It is the same thing with a relationship, except worse. Ideally, we aim to be married for life. You will come to hate your life pretty quickly if you have to spend it with someone who is a bad match, no matter how promising they may have looked during the first few weeks. Being told no by a man is not a judgement on you. It doesn’t mean that you’re bad or inferior. All it means is you and this man would not work out as a couple. I’d rather have him say that than trick me into a crappy relationship with him.
     
    I mentioned the one guy that I think had played me while I was out dating. One of the times he asked me out, we met at a bar and he came on pretty strong. He seemed really attracted and wanted to meet again as soon as possible, so we met again two days later. Here’s what happened in those two days, as I later found out. Apparently, after I left, another girl came out to meet him. Not sure of their relationship at that moment, but they used to be a couple, and from her posts that I saw on his FB later, she still considered them very much a couple. She then drove him to her place and he spent the night there. Then the next day he met with me and took me to his place. I never saw him again, and a few days later he gave me the “we should just be friends”. Now on the surface, I was the one rejected. But in reality, she is the one stuck with him. I am the one that dodged a bullet. I could never dream of my boyfriend going out with other women and taking them to his place while he’s dating me. Apparently he does this to her on a daily basis. Who’s better off? I, who was rejected, or she, who wasn’t?
     
    Way I see it, when I put things in this perspective, it really doesn’t matter who asked whom out first. If both sides agree that the relationship will work out, then it will. If one sides disagrees, then it won’t. Honestly, now that I think of it, in my opinion, no sane man will throw away a good relationship just because she asked him out first and not the other way around. I don’t mean going all Sadie Hawkins on a guy, but just sitting there looking pretty waiting for him to come along is, IMO, not enough.
     
    Also, I would’ve really liked it if my ex had ended our marriage and not me. We both knew it was dead. But he wanted to stick it out for the rest of our miserable lives. I’d have taken rejection (?) over that any time. Instead I had to do all the heavy lifting, which was insanely hard in every way. It’s safe to say we are both happy with our new lives now, so I believe what I did was best for both of us. I do not see it as me rejecting him: we had already rejected each other years ago.

  11. 131
    Lia

    With the EXCEPTION of the back and forth posts regarding the pursuing/ gender thing, I would like to express…
     
    Karl, I like the way your mind works – linear, methodical, analytical.  I have enjoyed many of your posts for that reason.  I think that your posts are well thought out and I find myself nodding as I read them.  Following your mind is like driving on the interstate with the exits clearly marked and signs that let you know where you are.  It is a pleasure to follow your mind.  I really like smart men and you are obviously one of them.  
     
    I like the way Karmic Equation looks at things and how she expresses herself.  I have called my sisters more than once to read her posts to them.  Following her mind is like riding the river.  I never know when I will come upon some new amazing place just around the bend.  She has shifted my paradigm more than once.  I get her because I think from that emotional, creative, yin place.  
     
    I can see how that kind of thinking might be seen as wrong or not as good when looking through the eyes of one who is very analytical because it does not always follow a linear, analytical progression it is more emotional.  
     
    I am not disputing points on either side.  I will say that watching the back and forth feels awful.   
     

  12. 132
    nathan

    Lia 131
    “Most of the men I fell for, I fell for over time.  I had a theory that men knew what they wanted immediately and women didn’t necessarily know right off.  Maybe I should not have generalized my personal experience.  I will tell you that for me not being the one who pursues does not mean that I am not onboard in the relationship.”  I think that so much of this stuff that gets pinned on gender differences these days is really just untested, unquestioned assumptions. Knowing that you “want” someone immediately is lust, end of story. The times I have “wanted” a woman right from the start have always gone no where. It’s only been the women whom I eventually warmed up to that became long term girlfriends, including my current one.
     
    Karmic, it’s interesting to see how you are progressive around this financial question, and yet quite socially conservative in your response about initiation and “pursuit”. Clearly, you get the complexity around money, and how a person’s situation can change quickly, and sometimes unexpectedly, as in the case of commenter Liz above. The way I see it, gender roles are no less complex – especially in this modern world of sexual liberation, gender bending, online dating, and the like. Even if some of this stuff you’re arguing is hardwired, humans can – and do – override instinctual elements every day. Frankly, one of the greatest things about being human is that very ability. That we can move beyond instincts and habitual responses. That we have some level of freedom, including how we are going to approach dating and relationships. In fact, I’d argue that the very fact that you seem to be skilled at pursuing and yet have chosen to do the opposite is a demonstration of that freedom.
     
    Let’s go a little further here on issues of data, rules, and the like. It’s only been less than two generations here in the US where there could even be debates like this with significantly conflicting responses. Before that, social norms dictated who pursued and who was pursued, and there was only a tiny percentage of deviation from those norms. And all of that done underground, and rarely spoken of. In addition, nearly all of the research conducted on gender and relationships pre-1970 was done by men for men. The social scientists of the 1950s were not speaking to women when they wrote that women were intellectually weaker, in need of a protector, and best suited for taking care of the home. They were speaking AT women, and helped other men (and women) reinforce the roles and assumptions they felt would maintain the status power quo. I’m saying all this because the research that is being conducted today, by people across the gender spectrum, is decidedly more complex and conflicting. Furthermore, it’s my view that the younger folks – those under 30 – aren’t nearly as fixated as a group on issues like who “should” pursue or who “should” pay for the first date as those of us over 30 clearly are as a group. The internet, online dating, texting, sped up sexual development, the shift away from aiming for a single lifelong career, increased mobility (i.e. moving away from one’s birth location), the move towards shared societal leadership across gender, GLBTQ liberation – all of this has redefined what dating looks like, and how it unfolds. Which doesn’t mean that “traditional” gender roles and approaches have disappeared, but more that they have become more of a choice amongst other choices. And that’s the case even if some of those “traditional” ways are instinctual patterns being overridden.
     
    Anyone who has read my comments here, or my blog, knows that I tend to prioritize learning to pay attention and see what’s actually happening, as opposed to relying a set of rules or assumptions that may or may not be accurate. What I know to be true is that it’s easier to go by a set of rules or assumptions than to learn to be present and aware. It may be true that the kind of men Karmic and a few others on here are interested in are – as a group – more turned off by women who initiate and pursue. That we could say is the “pattern.” And I’d say it’s certainly fine to have the pattern in mind as part of your considerations. However, it’s also the case that even some of those men aren’t going to fit the pattern. In addition, it might also be the case that the woman in question has her sights set on the wrong kind of man, and so it really doesn’t matter whether she is proactive or not. Furthermore, all of this might end up being moot because you end up meeting each other under non-formal dating circumstances, and things just unfold without a lot of heavy thinking and considering who should do what first.
     
    At the end of day, you all can believe what you want. The question is “Does it help liberate you to live and happier, more joyful life, regardless of results?”

  13. 133
    Lia

    @ Nathan # 134
     
    Thank you for sharing your personal insight with me in regards to women you “wanted” vs women you “warmed up” to.  I wonder how common that is in the dating world.  I think that your knowing that shows a level of self-awareness that is unusual in my experience.
     
     
     
    I enjoyed your post and it gave me much to think about.  I liked your question at the end. :)

  14. 134
    Karl R

    Lia said: (#131)
    “I will tell you that for me not being the one who pursues does not mean that I am not onboard in the relationship.”
     
    I understand and agree. Let me rephrase to illustrate the distinction I’m making:
    The person who is pursued may or may not be on board.
    A person who is not on board will never be the pursuer.
     
    Lia asked: (#131)
    “Have you met a woman that you were not attracted to initially and have that change after spending time with her?”
     
    I’m going to split this up into physical attractiveness & compatibility. Every woman I’ve dated I considered to be sufficiently attractive from the beginning. I have met women where I didn’t bother to pursue a relationship immediately (because I felt there wasn’t enough compatibility), but I changed my mind about the amount of compatibility as I got to know them better.
     
    Most notably, that was the case with my wife. I thought she was cute, but I didn’t think we had enough in common. 10 months later, I’d gotten to know her a bit better and changed my mind.
     
    Lia said: (#131)
    “I want to preface this question to you by saying I am not trying to prove some point I am genuinely curious.”
     
    For future reference, you don’t need to make the disclaimer with me. I’ll answer the question in the same way in either case. You won’t offend me either way.
     
    Lia, (#133)
    Thanks for the compliments.
     
    I don’t see a creative/feeling outlook as being wrong. It’s frequently helpful. But it can also be misleading.
     
    The world is the way it is. It won’t change to match the way you feel it is (or the way you feel it should be). However, the way you perceive the world is heavily affected by the way you feel about it. If you can change the way you feel, you can change your perception of the world around you.
     
    If someone’s feelings are limiting their actions, those feelings should be challenged, just like we would challenge any other piece of information.
     
    Karmic Equation: (#130)
    I only have four meaningful relationships:
    1. She pursued. 5 months. She broke it off because she was a commitment-phobe and still in love with her ex.
    2. She pursued. 5.5 months. I broke it off due to communication & intimacy issues.
    3. I pursued. 4.5 months. She broke it off because we disagreed about kids/no kids.
    4. I pursued. 3.5 years. Hasn’t ended yet.
     
    I’m not about to challenge what you’ve experienced or what you feel.
     
    If you broke things off with a man, you are the ultimate authority on why you ended the relationship. If a man broke things off with you, he is the ultimate authority on why he broke things off with you. (His decision is, after all, based on his feelings, which neither of us is privy to.)
     
    Why the Justin Timberlake look-alike broke things off:
    He left town to go back home to his family in the Midwest. (His words, as described by you.)
     
    I’ve been pursued by women that I wasn’t interested in. I’ve been pursued by women where my interest was small, but theirs was much larger. I understand how a man feels in that situation.
     
    I might move to a different part of the bar under those circumstances. I’m certainly not going to leave town or move to a different state to avoid her. (My job is here; my friends are here; my wife is here; my home is here.)
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#130)
    “I have no clue if he really even left town.”
     
    Have you been running across him regularly at karaoke nights? I wouldn’t give up a favorite hobby or a favorite bar just to avoid a woman.
     
    He left town because of family. He broke things off because he left town. You’re blaming yourself for an outcome that had nothing to do with you.
     
    Putting myself into the look-alike’s shoes:
    Since none of us can read his mind, we don’t know what he was thinking. But I can tell you what I would have been thinking in a similar situation.
     
    Every time I’ve moved, I started making the decision more than a month in advance (frequently several months). By a month out, I was already putting plans in place.
     
    If I’m going to move out of town (or out of state), I don’t want emotional entanglements. I don’t want to leave half my heart behind when I go. So I would avoid emotional entanglements in that situation.
     
    Most men can compartmentalize. I’m no exception. I am capable of having physical intimacy without getting emotionally involved. Therefore, if an opportunity for physical intimacy occurred, I wouldn’t turn it down (and might even pursue such opportunities). I would just keep my emotions in check while doing so.
     
    After moving, there’s no reason to keep in touch with someone who was just a fling. A Justin Timberlake look-alike can easily find sex partners in the Midwest too.
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#130)
    “I would not promote having a woman ask a guy out UNLESS she’s okay with seeming desperate. (She may not ‘be’ desperate, but it can certainly appear that way, quite possibly to the guy she’s asking)”
     
    When women asked me out, I never saw it as an act of desperation. I saw it as an act demonstrating her good taste in men.
     
    If she’s asking every man out (or if a man is asking every woman out), that seems desperate to me.
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#130)
    “my ORIGINAL words were (#61): ‘…that doesn’t necessarily produce good relationship results…’ — Karl, you were the one who changed it to ‘Negative Impact on Relationships’ —”
     
    Search this thread for the words “negative” and “impact”. You were the first person to use either word in the thread (#97 – where you said “NEGATIVE impact on relationships”).
     
    It appears that you “conveniently twisted” your own words. Then you blamed it on me.
     
    Yeah. I know. I just disproved your opinion … again. And I’m going to have to ignore another diatribe about how I can’t disprove your opinion.

  15. 135
    Karmic Equation

    @Goldie 132

    My analogies need work but I get what you say.

    You stopped the quote before you got to the real meaning behind the examples, which is that I don’t recommend SEEKing rejection.

    I actually do know people who think going on interviews, or indeed, simply submitting an application will get them a job, and have felt rejected when getting no responses. I tell them that isn’t how it works, but they feel what they feel.

    I agree with you that being the DUMPER is MUCH EASIER than being the DUMPEE, even though I see being dumpee as negative.

    When I was the dumpee, I only had to work on two things:
    1) Not contacting the dumper – easy. My indignation and pride take over: “They would be LUCKY if they ever heard from me again!”
    2) Working to forget him – harder but with a silver lining: I’ve always looked my best after being dumped :-) Lost weight, great clothes, better hair cut, etc. LOL

    When I was the DUMPER, I got assailed by
    1) Guilt – I didn’t want to hurt the guy
    2) Second thoughts – did I really make the right decision?
    3) No contact – I can’t check in, because that would be unfair and interfere with his healing process
    4) Feeling bad if I wanted to start a relationship
    *) In the case of my divorce, I left money on the table, so that divorce wouldn’t be drawn out.

    The reason I think being the DUMPER is better, is because you are empowered. You made a decision and you DID something about it. You were unafraid of the consequences and broke the status quo when it wasn’t working, and are willing to live with the decision.

    As the dumpee, all I could do is REACT appropriately and learn from the relationship. In all other aspects, I felt helpless. I hate feeling helpless.

    @Karl R 136

    “Search this thread for the words “negative” and “impact”. You were the first person to use either word in the thread (#97 – where you said “NEGATIVE impact on relationships”).”
     
    I forgot I wrote that. I’m sorry I blamed you for that.

    “Yeah. I know. I just disproved your opinion … again. And I’m going to have to ignore another diatribe about how I can’t disprove your opinion.”

    That was a fact you disproved, not an opinion – I said you did something and you didn’t do it, it’s a fact. I’m ok with being shown I’m wrong on the facts. So, you’re off the hook for a diatribe for now. But I reserve the right to diatribe the next time you challenge what I consider to be my opinion ;-)

    @Lia 133

    Thanks for the analogy. I understand and hear what you’re saying.

    @nathan 134

    I agree that we can overcome our own instincts. But we can’t overcome OTHER people’s instincts. I pursue or not pursue depending on my objective (sex or relationship) — but unless the MAN I’m interested in can overcome HIS instinct to lump me into “plaything only” if I pursue, then while I might get to date him and even sleep with him, an LTR would be unlikely, imo.

    Thus if I’m “conservative” — (I don’t LIKE this word, because it has NEGATIVE connations) — I’ll change the word to FEMININE — Thus if I exercise my FEMININE power of attraction instead of my MASCULINE power to pursue, I INCREASE my chances that – if he’s attracted to me – he will initiate, giving me a data point that I would not otherwise have had if I pursued him. That data point is important to ME, but perhaps, not to other women who pursue regularly.

    Frankly, going back to Goldie’s point, I’m much better at FILTERING from amongst a selection, than ID’ing off the bat the kind of man who would be a good partner for ME. The REASON for this is probably because I have strong FEMALE intuition or power of observation, which is triggered when a man approaches, but which goes into hibernation when I pursue.

    So I limit pursuit to men I only want ONS with. If I don’t know for certain what I want from the guy, I return to my default setting of feminine power mode.

  16. 136
    Karmic Equation

    #137 – Correction
     
    I mean being the DUMPEE is MUCH EASIER than being the DUMPER.
     
    Sorry!

    1. 136.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Karmic - Um, no. Being DUMPED by someone you love is MUCH harder than DUMPING. You have no control over being dumped and it brings up all your insecurities. When you dump someone, it’s because you determine that you will not marry that person or you’d be happier without him. No matter how much you mourn the loss, there’s no WAY it hurts more to break up with someone than it does to get dumped yourself.

  17. 137
    Lia

    Karl R. #136
     
    You wrote:  “The person being pursued may or may not be on board”
    A person who is not on board will never be the pursuer.”
     
    I can see that.  Thank you for the clarification.  
     
    #136
     
    Thank you for answering my question in #131.  
     
    #136
     
    You wrote:  “If someone’s feelings are limiting their actions, those feelings should be challenged, just like we would challenge any piece of information.”
     
    I agree.  That is why I am reading this blog and comments and asking questions.  I looked at my past relationships and saw that they all had one thing in common… me.  I knew if I wanted to have a relationship that was going to be a lasting, loving connection that I would have to change.
     
    I am questioning everything I “know” and I am open to learning.  When I first read the original post I thought that because I did not have the belief that a man had to earn X amount of money that I didn’t have my own false beliefs in this particular area.  WOW was I wrong.
     
    When Karmic Equation wrote “providing is gender neutral” I realized that though I was not looking for someone to provide for me I did have an old beliefs still sitting there from long ago.  Those beliefs were in conflict with what I wanted.  
     
    There have been questions I have asked that you and others men on have answered that have given me a different perspective, I like that!

  18. 138
    Karl R

    Karmic Equation said: (#137)
    “if he’s attracted to me – he will initiate, giving me a data point that I would not otherwise have had if I pursued him. That data point is important to ME, but perhaps, not to other women who pursue regularly.”
     
    I agree with this statement. If the man initiates pursuit, the woman gets this data point instead of the man. If the woman initiates pursuit, the man gets this data point instead of the woman.
     
    If the data point is extremely important to both people, neither will initiate a relationship.
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#137)
    “I pursue or not pursue depending on my objective (sex or relationship) — but unless the MAN I’m interested in can overcome HIS instinct to lump me into ‘plaything only’ if I pursue,”
     
    Speaking as a man with a large number of male friends, none of us see this as an instinct. It’s a decision based on the situation. (There may be men who act this way instinctively, but I don’t know any.)
     
    If I don’t find a woman attractive, I have one objective (avoiding sex or relationship). If she doesn’t pursue, that objective takes no effort. If she pursues, I have to express my lack of interest.
     
    If I find a woman attractive but incompatible, I have a possible objective (sex). Even if I pursue, I will not be interested in a relationship. If she pursues, it becomes much easier to achieve the objective (sex), but she still won’t get a relationship. Therefore, it’s possible for a woman to end up as a “plaything” either way.
     
    If I find a woman attractive and compatible, I have two possible objectives (preferably a relationship, with sex as a secondary option). If she decides to pursue, I don’t suddenly lose interest in the relationship.
     
    Men aren’t stupid. A great woman doesn’t seem undesirable just because she’s pursuing us.
     
    As the pursuer (or pursued), you should never try to overcome the other person’s instinct, habit or preference. Your only goal is to identify the instincts, habits or preferences, and act on that information. The pursued (female or male) gets a few extra data points.
     
    Karmic Equation said: (#137)
    “I’m much better at FILTERING from amongst a selection, than ID’ing off the bat the kind of man who would be a good partner for ME.”
     
    That’s an excellent reason for you (and anyone who shares that trait) to be the pursued instead of the pursuer.

  19. 139
    Karmic Equation

    Evan,

    Yes, it is more PAINFUL to be the dumped one than the dumper. I’m sorry that I didn’t mention that part. It is definitelyLESS PAINFUL to be the dumper than dumpee for the reasons you stated, which were the same as I stated, just a little differently. That said, while the PAIN for the dumper is less compared to the pain of being dumped, the dumper who truly loved you suffers too.

    I know you’ve been the dumper and dumpee, maybe I’m wrong, but I think you dumped only those you DIDN’T love? Which was everyone before your wife (I’m just extrapolating from your comments that “once you decided they weren’t your future wife, you moved on”). So you may not ever have felt more than “mourning” for a lost relationship, when you did the dumping, because you didn’t love them.

    Having been the dumper in 3 LTRs lasting beyond the “honeymoon period” of 1-2 years, I dumped guys that, at one point, I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, and whom I still loved even though I was dumping them. As Fusee once said “Love isn’t enough.”

    The “rules of engagement” for lack of better terms, is much more difficult to adhere to for a dumper who truly loved you.

    1) I felt extraordinarily guilty, because I knew I had hurt him. (Not exactly a rule, but this guilt permeates all activities and thoughts UNTIL I knew he found someone else).

    2) I couldn’t contact him to see how he was doing, to ease my guilt, as that would be unfair to HIS healing process.

    3) I found it difficult to be fully into another relationship, because of that guilt. I dated sure, but I felt it was a betrayal of the love I felt to “replace” him so quickly. So I did the opposite of rebound dating, and dated people I knew WOULDN’T be good replacements.

    4) Even though I KNEW I made the best decision, I was STILL assailed by 2nd thoughts…Remembering all the good times, and forgetting about the bad, wondering why I wasn’t willing to work just a little harder at fixing things…

    When I was the dumped one, I only had to focus on two things:

    1) Not contacting the dumper. It was actually easy as my PRIDE and INDIGNATION saved me from doing that.

    2) To forget about him. I had carte blanche to do whatever I wanted to forget him, replace him, etc., without feeling guilt. In fact I was MOTIVATED to do so. I channeled my indignation and wounded pride into motivation to better myself (lose weight, buy new clothes, learn new skill, etc) so that should I ever run into him again, he would regret tossing a catch like me back into the sea.

  20. 140
    Ruby

    Karmic #142
     
    In my experience of being dumped, “2) to forget about him” was more difficult and painful than all 4 of the dumper’s experiences combined. I think the main reason for this is that, as the dumper, you have the option to re-evaluate and contact the person if you do decide that you made a mistake. You still have more control over the situation. Most dumpees, as a result of “1) Pride”, as well as the great fear of further rejection, are very reluctant to contact their exes. They are simply left to deal with the pain of rejection, as well as the loss of the loved one.
     
    Wanting to minimize the possibility of rejection is what keeps me from pursuing guys. While I know the relationship could end in any case, I prefer to date men who express clear interest in me from the beginning. So I do agree with you in that respect.

  21. 141
    Jenna

    I think it’s a mistake to get caught up in a bunch of dating rules and arguments about who should pursue. Really. Far and away the most important thing is believing you are lovable, being confident, having a full life, and being a truly great person who believes in herself. When you are that way, it doesn’t matter whether you talked to a guy first. It’s better to be that way than be an insecure, timid, less dynamic woman who waits for a guy to do everything. Personally, I prefer that a guy does most of the pursuing but I spend my time now thinking of ways to be more truly confident and dynamic from the inside and out rather than memorize superficial dating tricks. 

  22. 142
    Goldie

    I find it puzzling that the discussion here is strictly in terms of dumping, with one of the sides doing the dumping and the other not wanting to be dumped. I thought, if a relationship isn’t working out, it isn’t working out for both of them? Do people ever agree that it doesn’t work and separate peacefully, or is one side always oblivious to the fact that the other side isn’t happy? how’s it even a healthy relationship when your partner is miserable and you have no idea? to me that means your partner isn’t communicating their feelings to you nearly enough, while you are paying no attention to the signs.

  23. 143
    Karl R

    Goldie asked: (#145)
    “I thought, if a relationship isn’t working out, it isn’t working out for both of them?”
     
    In many cases, that would be correct. However, you can also have cases where someone breaks up for a reason that most of us would consider questionable. For example, I knew someone who bailed on two consecutive relationships due to her commitment-phobia (that was her explanation of the situation). She would start freaking out because it was working out well for both of them.
     
    Goldie asked: (#145)
    “Do people ever agree that it doesn’t work and separate peacefully,”
     
    Yes. We broke up because we had incompatible long-term goals. Speaking from personal experience, however, I was still disappointed that it didn’t work out. My girlfriend (who initiated the breakup) seemed even more upset that it didn’t work out.
     
    Goldie asked: (#145)
    “is one side always oblivious to the fact that the other side isn’t happy?”
     
    Not necessarily. I dated one woman who was quite vocal about anything that made her unhappy. She would blow up at least two or three times each month (starting in about the second month).
     
    She’d get angry over things that I was incapable of changing. She’d blow small things out of proportion (and only realize it later). At one point she was angry/guilty about something she’d done … and that caused her to go on a fault-finding tour through my life for two weeks. I was aware she was unhappy. I didn’t know how to change things, though.
     
    Goldie asked: (#145)
    “how’s it even a healthy relationship when your partner is miserable and you have no idea?”
     
    At that point in time, I had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like. My ideas about healthy relationships were formed by watching my parents. My mother was frequently (and loudly) angry, and my father put up with it.
     
    They’ve been married over 50 years.
     
    Even people who have unhealthy ideas about relationships still want to be in them. Even unhealthy relationships have their good points. Therefore, people get upset when their unhealthy relationships come to an end.
     
    I dodged a bullet when that woman dumped me, but it took several years for me to understand how lucky I was that it ended.
     
    Goldie asked: (#145)
    “to me that means your partner isn’t communicating their feelings to you nearly enough, while you are paying no attention to the signs.”
     
    In all of my breakups (of serious relationships), the cause of the breakup had been openly discussed weeks or months before the breakup. For example, one girlfriend and I were not compatible when it came to physical intimacy. Neither one of us was capable of changing enough to reach an acceptable compromise.
     
    The breakup was not a surprise. It was absolutely necessary. It was still disappointing right at that time.

  24. 144
    Karmic Equation

    @Ruby 143

    There is no doubt being the dumped one is MORE PAINFUL in every way than being the dumper. All I’m saying is that a dumper who loves you suffers too, and don’t get off scott-free. And the guilt can negatively affect their dating lives for a period of time.

    Out of curiosity, what did you ACTIVELY do to try to forget about him? Eating lots of ice cream watching Lifetime does not count. While I’m trying to be humorous, it actually doesn’t — because you’ll get fat and Lifetime shows can be so sappy and remind you of the better times. That’s bound to make you feel even worse.

    So, I’m really curious, what did you do to try to feel better?

    @Jenna 144

    “…superficial dating tricks.”

    I think that’s where you’re wrong, being RECEPTIVE is NOT A TRICK. It’s actually one of the great ways of being feminine and “attractive” — as in “being able to attract” — is not an easy task to accomplish without effort, unless you’re a 10 in your 20’s which most of us are decidedly not — even then she probably puts effort in at the gym to stay a 10. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that culminates with a woman being attractive, inside and out.

    However, I think you’re equating being receptive or attractive as sitting around waiting for guys to do everything. When you’re attractive in the way that I mean it, guys approach when you’re just doing your thing, not even looking for attention.

    I put in a lot of table time to get better at pool. I’ll shoot alone in a far corner of the pool hall, hours at a time, because I want to achieve and satsify my competitive streak. Guys approach me to play. There are other people they can ask, who would probably give them a better run for their money… Now you could argue that if I’m the ONLY female in the joint then what do I expect. I would say, well then aren’t I being smart and PROACTIVE in choosing a hobby where the majority of the hobbyists are men?

    Ultimately, if you don’t need the datapoint to see if the guy is attracted to you organically (e.g., approaches/initiates), then pursue to your heart’s content.

    @Karl R 136

    Data is interesting depending on one’s bias and how one spins it…

    You were pursued by two women who had “issues” — I could interpret that to mean that since they weren’t great women, they needed to pursue discerning men in order to get dates with them. You said yourself you wouldn’t have pursued them if they hadn’t initiated.

    One of the two women you pursued, you were serious enough to have discussions about children…and the other you married.

    I could interpret that to mean that MEN are better able to discern partners they want to marry, so why not let them pursue you if marriage is what you ultimately want? They have better radar for women they want to settle down with. So while pursuing may not be harmful to a woman, per se, as it CAN get her a relationship, she has to recognize that it’s probably NOT going to get her a marriage proposal.

  25. 145
    DinaStrange

    Sometimes i truly wonder about maturity level of people talking here. You guys really are trying to overcompensate too hard.

  26. 146
    joy

    If I have to pursue, I lose interest not too long afterwards for some reason. Not sure why. Biology perhaps?

  27. 147
    Karl R

    Karmic Equation, (#147)
    I can see how someone could draw those conclusions given the limited amount of data that I provided.
     
    In part, you misread what I said. I never said that I wouldn’t have pursued those two women. I said they pursued me (and they did so more than I pursued them). I was certainly very interested in both of them before that point.
     
    The first two relationships occurred back when I lacked self-confidence about dating, and I lacked experience and insight about relationships in general. Since I lacked self-confidence in dating, I was hesitant to approach women whom I was interested in. It was easy for those women to beat me to the punch and initiate things. Years later (thanks to a lot of experience) I had a lot more self-confidence, and I was a lot more proactive.
     
    My inexperience during the two relationships had additional effects. I recognized the issues in those relationships, but I hadn’t yet realized that I could do better than that. (I was in the process of learning that I shouldn’t accept relationships with the wrong women … and I eventually figured it out in the second relationship.)
     
    The last two relationships demonstrate a higher level of discernment than the first two … because I was a lot more discerning in my mid-to-late 30s than I was in my late 20s and early 30s.
     
    And looking back at it, the discernment and self-confidence even developed at different rates and different times. I don’t think we can even safely conclude that a man who has self-confidence will be more discerning than one who lacks self-confidence.
     
    Joy asked: (#149)
    “If I have to pursue, I lose interest not too long afterwards for some reason. Not sure why. Biology perhaps?”
     
    It’s probably just the likelihood of statistics. Most women aren’t good matches for me. Therefore, most of the women I pursued weren’t good matches for me. Therefore, I lost interest in most of them fairly quickly.

  28. 148
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl R

    #141

    “Men aren’t stupid. A great woman doesn’t seem undesirable just because she’s pursuing us.”

    Stated this way, I cannot possibly disagree…as I’d have to admit either I’m pursuing stupid men or that I’m not a great woman. LOL. Touché

    #150

    “The first two relationships occurred back when I lacked self-confidence about dating, and I lacked experience and insight about relationships in general. Since I lacked self-confidence in dating, I was hesitant to approach women whom I was interested in. It was easy for those women to beat me to the punch and initiate things. Years later (thanks to a lot of experience) I had a lot more self-confidence, and I was a lot more proactive.”

    This sentiment supports the two reasons why I like being the pursued: I want men who are confident and who are attracted to me. When a man approaches me, he’s telling me without words that he is both.

  29. 149
    Jenna

    Karma, , the pool thing is an excellent idea! I will have to try it. 
    All I meant was, it’s pointless to get caught up in who’s pursuing who — at least in my experience. When men pursued me in the past, and did most of the  work, I was unhappy and felt like they were getting their dream girl but I wasnt getting my dream guy. Ive also absolutely played by the rules plenty of times and still had men not want a relationship and flake. I did some reflection and realized I needed to improve my beliefs, thiughts, overall confidence, get more of a life, etc. From observations and experience in my age group (20s) a confident, cool girl who makes some moves (not taking the lead, just splitting the pursuing a bit more) can get plenty of guys , certainly more than a less dynamic woman who waits to be “chosen.” it really depends on how you do it – for example, I moved somewhere a year ago and talk to men with the attitude of always looking to meet new people and friendS, I’m always organizing social gatherings and having dinner parties and it’s easy and casual to invite some new guy along. I’m not chasing him, I’m just being friendly and extending social invitations to many people. 
    There’s a book out there that explores some of this called the new rules of attraction by Arden Leigh. 

  30. 150
    Ruby

    Karmic #147
     
    “So, I’m really curious, what did you do to try to feel better?”
     
    After a breakup, I’ve done all the things you are supposed to do to get over someone: reading about the stages of grief, no contact, working out so I look great, buying new clothes, hanging out with friends, social activities, dating, even therapy. I’m experienced and savvy enough to know that eating ice cream while watching TV isn’t a panacea (although that may have been one part of my breakup arsenal).  Of course, it depends on the circumstances, and how attached you were, but breakups are painful and hard, at least to varying degrees. It takes time to heal, even if you know the breakup was for the best.

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