When Did Guys Lose All The Power In Dating?

Dear Evan,

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and most of the comments are great to read as well. The one thing that bothers me a little is the sense I get from your posts and the comments that men have all the power in the dating/relationship game and it’s always the woman chasing the man for a date/relationship/marriage/babies/etc.

As an early 30’s male, I struggle with dating. It hasn’t been all bad, nor am I saying that I’m unattractive or in some way undesirable enough that I can’t get any woman to like me. I’m an average-looking (perhaps above average-looking) guy who isn’t very tall (5’7”). I do like to think that I have a lot to offer, including a good overall personality and sense of humor, but for some reason I tend to go out with girls who are ‘masculine’ like in their dating personalities (afraid of commitment, wants to date multiple men, A-type personality.) A lot of times I can get a girl to be initially attracted to me, but for some reason it never lasts. The girl almost always ends up telling me that she “doesn’t know quite what it is, but it’s just not there.” This frustrates me because I’m left confused, not knowing what it is I’m doing – or not doing – to turn these women off. I don’t think I’m being too clingy or anything like that. I have this feeling, though, that I’m being too ‘nice’ and not having enough of a masculine energy to sustain attraction in these women. Btw – most of the girls I date are from JDate, and no – I don’t only go for 9’s and 10’s.

I can’t be the only guy who goes through this stuff and I’m kinda tired of this stereotype that guys have all the power in the dating world. Do you have any words of wisdom for me?

Jay

 

Dear Jay,

Even though I bill myself as “dating coach for smart, strong, successful women,” 25% of my clients were “nice guys” for the first six years of my practice.

Smart, strong, successful women need to soften up.

Nice guys need to man up.

In fact, if I were to think about it, I have a lot in common with both my male and female clients. I’m the “smart, strong, successful” type myself, and I have the flaws that often go with that archetype – I’m driven, opinionated, bossy, critical, and difficult. At the same time, I’m a nice guy. I was the lovelorn teenager who’d befriend all the pretty girls in high school but didn’t lose his virginity until sophomore year of college.

So I have a real understanding of both sides and how each needs to make a few subtle shifts to have more success in love.

Smart, strong, successful women need to soften up.

 

Nice guys need to man up.

 

But the prognosis is good for you, Jay. You’re easier to help than many of the women I work with. I’m not making any judgments, of course, but objectively, it’s easier to find a wife for a 32-year-old relationship-oriented man who doesn’t need to date 10’s than it is to find a husband for a 43-year-old woman who wants her own biological children.

Where to begin in the space of a 1000 word blog post?

Let’s start with your mindset.

You nailed it. You’re not giving off a lot of masculine energy. And women (especially smart, strong, successful ones) want a man who is MORE man than they are.

I hearken back to Dr. Pat Allen who said, “If you tell a man what to do and he listens, he isn’t a man.” This is not a call to arbitrarily be more obstinate, but rather to have your own opinions and convictions. Make decisions. Take control.

(To the women reading this and saying, “YES!”, that means you have to LET him take control and make decisions, not micromanage him to doing what YOU want. )

Once you put a woman up on a pedestal, she’s immediately looking down at you.

Next, Jay, I want you to check out a book. It’s called “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Dr. Robert Glover. I read it to understand Nice Guy Syndrome and thought it was spot-on. He points out that being “nice” is a pathology and a form of martyrdom that is highly ineffective, and somewhat manipulative. As such, you can’t “nice” your way into a woman’s heart, but you can be a man and still be extremely nice.

I’d like to think that my wife thinks of me this way.

In any case, pick up a copy of the book here on my bibliography page.

 

Finally, I want you to keep in mind my Pedestal Principle, as outlined in my Finding the One Online audio series. It states:

“Once you put a woman up on a pedestal, she’s immediately looking down at you.”

And that’s the thing that nice guys don’t quite understand. You think you’re being good to her, but she loses respect for you because you have no balls whatsoever.

That’s what happens when you’re a pleaser and you’re not being pleased in return. A power imbalance results, and you never recover from it. I’m willing to guess that this has happened with most of your girlfriends who’ve dumped you. They had the power, you lost the control, and the rest is history.

In a healthy relationship, there’s a mutual respect – a respect that’s earned with having your own convictions. Men with convictions have a LOT of power in the dating game – as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of heartbroken women who read this blog.

But you’re right about how frustrating it is – you watch a bunch of selfish tools use women for their short-term gain – and you wonder why they’re attracted to those men. It’s because they’re confident, unpredictable, and they don’t have all the control.

So what do you do now?

You make the immediate shift that SHE’S the lucky one in the relationship and that it’s up to YOU if you decide to be exclusive or get married. This is the exact same thing I tell my “nice women” who have given away their power to men.

And once you learn to say no and stand on conviction, you might be surprised when women start treating you differently – like a man, not a boy.

You’re the catch. You’re the commodity. And the right person is going to get that and hold onto you for dear life. If he/she doesn’t value you and want to commit? Fuck ‘em.

Move on.

It’s called the Power of No. And once you learn to say no and stand on conviction, you might be surprised when women start treating you differently – like a man, not a boy.

Good luck and thanks for the jolt of testosterone in today’s mailbag.

By the way, I do still work with a handful of motivated male clients.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Christie Hartman, PhD

    What a nice change to hear from a man! It’s a good reminder that dating is a struggle for men just like it is for women. I have to agree with Evan on the solution to the OP’s problem. A man HAS to have enough masculine energy, and he can still be a good guy at the the same time.
     
    Evan’s advice is a refreshing change from some of the other crap I’ve read for men, which often boils down to: “She dumped you because you were too nice. Women don’t like nice. Thus, you can’t be nice.” It’s like Logic for Idiots. Masculine guys who are jerks will get women, but their success is short-lived. Masculine guys who are nice – well, they’re the ones who have no trouble getting women and keeping them around.

  2. 2
    sara

    Even i believe that men have all the power in dating and woman are the chasers. But yes, Mr.Nice guys are a real turn off. They immediately get included to the friend list.
    Here i must say that ive lived in States & now in London, the difference i felt is American guys are really so naive, friendly and looking to create home while English guys are over-egoistics, shag and drunk.
    In this article, let’s replace this guy to a woman, what advise you will give it to her?

    1. 2.1
      starthrower68

      Not sure how old this question is, but a smart woman learns not to chase.  She does exactly what Evan instructs our brother in the struggle to do.

  3. 3
    Denise

    I loved the answer Evan gave…it was right on. Just like men don’t want a woman with ‘masculine’ energy, women don’t want a man with ‘feminine’ energy.

    Another thing I thought was fascinating was when I was in a discussion with men and how they have been ‘brainwashed’ throughout their life about women.  They have been instructed that women are to be put on a pedestal, that basically women think all men are rapists–so tread lightly with her, women are just like men–actually, women are ‘better’, and men will never live up to our standards, women don’t need men–they can support themselves and have babies without them, that men ‘should’ be more like women–not dominant or telling us what to do.  One on hand they are told they are predators and the other they are told they are expendible.  Geez Louise!

  4. 4
    Bill

    At the end of the day men and women are idiots. Too concentrated on a a certain idealistic perception while ignoring all the important qualities.

  5. 5
    Jackie

    Smart, strong, successful women need to soften up. Nice guys need to man up.
    Evan, Preach it until it’s worn out! It’s sooo true… there is so much gender chaos!
    It’s like these roles we created for ourselves are moving us further from happy relationships and procreation rather than towards them. *sigh*

  6. 6
    starthrower

    @ Sara #2, yes, women are the chasers.  It is what it is.

    1. 6.1
      starthrower68

      And then after my new response above, I saw I said this. Evidently a few years ago because I stopped that chasing thing.

  7. 7
    Steve

     
    If you tell a man what to do and he listens, he isn’t a man.
    That is pretty close to a thought I have had for years.  A man doesn’t wait for other people to tell him what a man is.   Assholes don’t don’t care what other people want, need or think.  That gives them an aura of power that women find attractive.”Nice guy” is really code for an “insecure guy” who tries to ward off rejection by manipulation ( conscious or not ) with favors, gifts and being “nice”.   Then there are men who have their own opinions, their own agendas, who aren’t afraid if what they are turns a particular women off and they are confident enough in these things that they can to be genuinely nice because that is how they like to roll.

  8. 8
    JB

    12/2/10

    Some guys have NEVER had any power in dating and others have had it and more importantly KEPT it since the 8th grade right on and through adulthood.I think to have so called “power” you have to have “options” and most guys that are 5’7″ have a lot less options than a guy that’s taller unless of course they have soap opera star good looks, or have high status/high value ie: high profile job/title,large income….etc Especially when it comes to online dating.This poor guy Jay on JDate is competing against every guy on the site and who do you think has more “options”(power)on there”nice” average looking(I’m assuming) 5’7″ Jay who gets a response/wink or 2 occasionally or the women on there getting 50-75 responses (or more) a week mostly from taller more masculine “alpha” guys? How’s he going to get and/or KEEP their interest?Obviously he hasn’t or he wouldn’t of wrote Evan.

    I had a date last week with a woman from Match,she showed up and looked younger than her pic.Yay !!! Cute too except between her voice and her personality not to mention the buzz cut in the back of her hair that I couldn’t see in the pics.She came off too masculine.Booo…I thought I was having a drink with a brunette “Pink!”(<–the singer)…lol Now I,and some men love Pink!’s music but no man has EVER said “damn,that Pink! is hot that’s for sure.The point is even though I’m not that attracted to this slightly masculine women she still has more “power” THAN me.She just doesn’t have “power” OVER me because I’m not interested.She has so many options she doesn’t have to care what I think because she gets 50 responses a week to my 2 winks.

    Who has the “power” in any male /female scenario? The one who cares the least and has the most options. So in online dating MOST but not ALL women DO have the “power”.

  9. 9
    moonsical

    Without a man acting like one, I find my feminine side doesn’t show itself.  The truth is, women want an f-ing break.  But unlikely to drop the reins until a man shows he can take ‘em.  I have dated the, “nice guy.”  It’s exhausting, can be passive-agressive…isn’t even real.
    With a man who’s caring, knows what he thinks and says it, has boundaries and takes control sometimes, I unfold like a flower.  And hey, if he’s jerky sometimes…he’s real.  I don’t have to be perfect, either.  Phew.  What a relief.
    Evan preaches to the females about having an opinion.  That’s a good place to start.
    moon

  10. 10
    starthrower68

    I was married to that passive agressive type for 12 years.  And he wasn’t even nice.  At least not to the children and myself.  He put an entirely different face on for everyone else.  Tell me about exhausting.

  11. 11
    Joe

    Actually, JB, Pink is pretty hot. I’ll grant you that she’s not hot in a conventional way, but just do a Google image search on her and see what comes up.

  12. 12
    Denise

    #9 moonsical

    Nice post!  Funny how male/female relationships are truly ying/yang.  His being masculine makes a woman feel feminine and her being feminine brings out his masculinity.  We just each have to play our ‘role’. 

    Men feel masculine when they have success with women (which primarily means having sex) and they are making progress in their mission (which is often their career, but not always).

    Women feel feminine when obtain men’s resources (attention, humor, affection, labor, time, listening, money) and they have a purpose greater than themselves (like having children, charity work, starting a business, etc.)

    Men give (DO), women receive (FEEL).

    Instinctively we want a man that we fel can take care of us.  If he’s ‘NICE’ and ACCOMODATING all the time to us, how is he going to stand up to us or anyone else that may threaten us?  It kills our attraction.

    Steve’s post #7 is awesome too.  This is being authentic:

    Then there are men who have their own opinions, their own agendas, who aren’t afraid if what they are turns a particular women off and they are confident enough in these things that they can to be genuinely nice because that is how they like to roll.

  13. 13
    Sherell

    “You’re the catch. You’re the commodity. And the right person is going to get that and hold onto you for dear life. If he/she doesn’t value you and want to commit? Fuck ‘em. Move on.”

    LOVE IT!!!!! 

  14. 14
    J.A.

    Hey guys and girls- OP here:

    Thanks for all your responses so far and I thought Evan had some great advice.  I really don’t think the problem is that I’m giving off a feminine energy, just not (enough) of a masculine one.  But the last girl I dated was a perfect example of what has happened to me too many times in the past:

    We met off jdate and after just 2 or 3 dates she was texting and calling me all throughout the day telling me that she misses me and that we have so much in common and she really likes being with me.  Then a week later she ends it due to “lack of chemistry.”  I always seem to get the girls initially interested, if not very interested and then they abruptly lose interest.  When I ask them what happened they ALWAYS say they don’t kow what it is.  That’s what’s frustrating.

  15. 15
    J.A.

    Oh and Evan… I own that book and I even attended a workshop by Dr. Glover a few years ago.  He’s great and I totally recommend him.  It helped me get a great GF just a few months later (2.5 year relationship that i messed up… not from not being ‘masculine enough’  though)

  16. 16
    Steve

    @JA #14
     
    These dates who come on strong and then abruptly leave, may not have anything do with your “masculine energy”.    May I ask why you think that may be the case?
     
    I would keep asking the dates who choose not to stay, why they decided to move on.  You will likely not get an answer.   Giving feedback in these situations in uncomfortable and there is nothing in it for the person.   However, you never know and you might get some useful information.
     
    Your dates may have been honest.  Sometimes I really will not know why I am not interested in seeing a woman further.  I just don’t feel anything.  In my opinion, that is normal for dating, people are trying each other out and part (most?) of that is finding people who aren’t a fit for you.   I think this is even more of a normal, common experience of online dating.   A woman can find you attractive, but unless magic comes out of her ass on the first date she will move on thinking something is missing unless they feel some a magical, hollywoodish connection.   People just give each other enough of a chance these days.
     
    I don’t work for Evan,  I’ve never met him and I have never even been to California, but maybe a dating coach can help analyze what you are doing and tell you what you can do to get better results.   Such a person has nothing to lose by being honest with you the way a friend does.

  17. 17
    J.A.

    Steve- did you mean to say that people DON’T give each other enough of a chance these days?  If so, you are totally correct.

  18. 18
    Shouraku

    Evan’s article really hit a chord with me.
    I have been very lucky in that I have only ever dated nice men. I have been with men who were: nice but had low self esteem, nice but needed a substitute mother to tend to their daily needs, nice but wanted a sugar mama, etc.
    The man that I dated before my current boyfriend was (unbeknown to me) horribly sad and lonely before me met me. After we began dating, he was the happiest that he had ever been in his life according to him. My issue was not that I made him happy of course, but that he relied entirely on me for his happiness. I am a scientist by trade and have to travel for for business. I can’t effectively do my work when I have to answer bi-hourly phone calls from a man who is in a hopeless abyss of pain and suffering and needs frequent comforting every time I leave for a few days. It broke my heart to have to end our relationship because he was truly a very nice man, but frankly, I was unable to take on the responsibility of providing for his happiness as well as my own. I explicitly and directly explained this to him at least a dozen times for a week before we ended contact.
    The reason I tell this story is because two years later I spoke to a friend of mine who also happened to know my ex. It turns out that my ex has completely contributed the end of our relationship to him being far to “nice”. Had be been more demanding, forceful, etc. Then he believes that we would still be together.
    In other words, he had completely ignored the fact that his kindness had nothing at all to do with our breakup. He chose to overlook what is really preventing him from attracting women (dependence) and instead attributed his shortcomings to the much easier to accept “I am really nice, and women don’t like nice guys” mentality.
    I realize that he is an extreme example. However, to this day, whenever I hear a guy telling me that “nice guys finish last” or that “women only like assholes” I always make it a point to relate this story to them. I personally don’t want to date a mean man (obviously), and have never once broken up with a person because he was “too nice”; there was always some other issue involved.

  19. 19
    JB

    @Shouraku #18

    You are right,people throw the word “nice” around so easily but it means so many different things to different people depending on the scenario.In your case synonymous with your guy being “needy” & “clingy”.Like a lot of things “nice” is an opinion.I personally can’t stand the adjective being used to describe a man for the very reason that it has become a negative feminine connotation for a man.

    #17 Joe If YOU think Pink! is hot then she’s hot. She’s just not very feminine and that’s what I prefer. I wonder if she’s “nice”??..lol probably not if you’ve ever read the words to her song “Me And My Hand”.Great songwriter though !!

    One more thing,it’s real easy to tell everyone and anyone that “they’re the catch”,they’re the commodity” but the truth is everyone isn’t and can’t be.
    Because all men and women are not created physically,mentally,socially equal etc…
    Just my opinion.

  20. 20
    Stacy

    I think it’s all a lot easier. Dating is like on-campus recruiting: top 20% of candidates get 80% of all job offers. The OP is from the other 80% of the population…which ends up struggling for crumbles.

  21. 21
    Steve

    @Stacy #20
    Man, how can you stand to think like that?  LOL!  You just depressed me so much I think I will stay in bed all weekend :).   It is not that bad!

  22. 22
    Marc

    Sounds like Jay is going after the “Jdate Superstars” – women who have dozens, if not hundreds, of emails from men waiting for them in their inboxes. They can afford to dismiss men on a whim because they have so many options, They think Mr. Perfect is in there somewhere, so they don’t feel the need to wait it out with some nice guy who doesn’t get them super excited. I would suggest he contact women who are a few years older (late 30s maybe) who might be more willing to “settle” for a nice guy.

  23. 23
    Steve

    @J.A. #17
    Yes, you discovered my common source of typos.  No matter how I proofread things sooner or later I always drop words out of a sentence.   Yes, with online dating people don’t give each other enough of a chance.   If they don’t feel an orgasm coming on during that first date they move on to someone else concluding that other person just didn’t have “chemistry” with them.   Maybe it is like Evan likes to repeat that online daters have the “illusion of options”.
     
    I’ve met people in my life who never registered with me as potential dates.  Through associating with them over time I discovered their appeal and vice-versa.
     
    I’ve been on those coffee dates where I just knew the woman and I would have liked each other, but I could tell that I failed to hit her “instant chemistry” and that she had already written me off.   Not wanting to perform like a circus animal I enjoyed the remainder of the date and moved on.

  24. 24
    Steve

    JB #19 wrote
    “I personally can’t stand the adjective being used to describe a man for the very reason that it has become a negative feminine connotation for a man.”
     
    Yes, the term “nice” has an instant negative meaning like “friend”.  A “nice man” is essentially a eunuch to the woman using the term.
     
    Calling a man nice is like a man saying a woman has a “nice personality” ( without mentioning her looks ) or calling the woman “matronly”.

  25. 25
    Christie Hartman

    Here are a few quotes from previous posts:
    “Evan i believe that men have all the power in dating and woman are the chasers.” (Sara)
    “Dating is like on-campus recruiting: top 20% of candidates get 80% of all job offers.” (Stacy)
    “It’s real easy to tell everyone and anyone that “they’re the catch”,they’re the commodity” but the truth is everyone isn’t and can’t be.” (JB)
     
    I’m surprised at these glass-is-half-empty comments! And Sara, I completely disagree with you: men do not have all the power in dating. In fact, they often have less power than women do, and if you don’t believe me, you need to read my book :) or at least send me an email…
     
    Power, in dating just like anywhere, isn’t something people or society gives you. It’s something you create for yourself through your attitude and behaviors. If you believe dating sucks, then it will suck. Don’t shortchange yourselves this way!
     
    And JA’s comment: “We met off jdate and after just 2 or 3 dates she was texting and calling me all throughout the day telling me that she misses me and that we have so much in common and she really likes being with me.  Then a week later she ends it due to “lack of chemistry.”
     
    Although that sort of behavior is more common in men, in either sex it’s not a good sign. People who come on that strong and then pull away suddenly have issues. The only thing I’d change is not continuing to see a woman who does this.

    1. 25.1
      Mickey

      Christie Hartman said:
      I’m surprised at these glass-is-half-empty comments! And Sara, I completely disagree with you: men do not have all the power in dating. In fact, they often have less power than women do, and if you don’t believe me, you need to read my book or at least send me an email…
      That’s a rather interesting take, considering that many women are open and notorious with their dislike of men, a family court system that routinely destroys husbands and fathers, and a dating system that where most guys normally don’t have a prayer of succeeding, I think Ms. Hartman might want to re-assess who has the so-called power in any relationship.
      When a guy has to jump through a zillion hoops just to get a date, let alone get into a meaningful relationship, well, that’s just too discouraging for words.

  26. 26
    Bill

    “Dating is like on-campus recruiting: top 20% of candidates get 80% of all job offers.” (Stacy)
    At the end of the day those bottom of the 80% still need jobs.
    The problem I have seen is that women/men who are on the lower end will dismiss each other because there not that great. Although they forget they aren’t all that great either. It seems people just need to give each other a little more time and respect.

  27. 27
    Bill

    Who ever is the better catch in the relationship always have the power in the relationship it does not matter if your a man or a women.

  28. 28
    Ruby

    “”I tend to go out with girls who are ‘masculine’ like in their dating personalities (afraid of commitment, wants to date multiple men, A-type personality” and “…after just 2 or 3 dates she was texting and calling me all throughout the day…”
     
    The OP is picking women who are wrong for him. It seems to me that he should be choosing women who are definitely seeking a serious relationship and are less driven, more low-key, more balanced, and probably more like him. Nobody should be calling/texting someone throughout the day after only 2 or 3 dates. That kind of obsessiveness  should raise a red flag. There is nothing wrong with being a nice guy (as long as you’re not a wimp or a doormat). Women who are seeking serious partners want “nice”. But a woman who is very high-powered and Type A, commitment-phobic, or unstable might not be placing a high priority on that quality.
    If you want to have “power” in dating, go after those who want you back, not the ones who don’t.
     

  29. 29
    Selena

    I’m thinking Ruby #28 might be onto something here J.A.. The pattern you are seeing may not be because you are “too nice”, but the result of you choosing women who the same or similiar qualities.  The male version of a woman who is attracted to “bad boys” and finds herself continually getting hurt.

    Examine what it is that leads you to pursue particular women over others. Perhaps you will recognize a pattern in terms of similarity in personality. As Ruby suggested, you might have more success with the women who are more like you.

  30. 30
    Denise

    Women don’t realize the power they have with men and they give up their power time and time again.  If she understands and embraces her femininity and what that’s all about, and has strong boundaries, she absolutely holds power.

    What I have learned for myself I feel like I do hold too much power in a potential relationship, he’s probably not the right man for me.  I want a PARTNER.  Someone who doesn’t intimidate me, and at the same time, someone I can’t dominate. 

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