Why Do I Always Want Men Who Are Taken or Not Available?

I have come to learn that we manifest in our lives what we believe we deserve. I was a late bloomer to love because I never believed myself attractive enough for men. It wasn’t until my early twenties when I realized that I was pretty and got guys’ attention.

I’m now 27 and have had a series of very short non-relationships and one “serious” relationship no one approved of. Looking back, I feel like I’ve only been able to manifest love out of men I can’t have.

Men with girlfriends. Men with wives. Gay men. Older men. 20 years older men with four kids, two ex-wives and an ex teacher to boot. (Yes, that last one was the only serious relationship I had and although he was the loveliest guy, I don’t need to tell you why it didn’t work out).

Although 99% of the time I back off when I find out their status, two men I have hooked up with were taken. I feel terrible for what I did. But the affairs I have had with single men have never turned into relationships. Or I simply do not feel any potential.

I desperately want to find someone on equal footing with whom I can finally share my life and achievements with, and eventually settle down with. But I finally snapped this week when I plucked up the courage to talk to a man I’ve seen around at my social sport, and he mentioned he had a partner. It’s like an omnipotent force is attracting me to men I can’t have!

What are your thoughts, Evan? I much appreciate your advice and wisdom, but need to know if this is all in my head or if it really is a thing.

Samantha

You said:

“We manifest what we believe we deserve.”

“It’s like an omnipotent force is attracting me to men I can’t have!”

Fascinating.

These two statements say the exact same thing, except one is true and one is false.

How can that be?

“We manifest what we believe we deserve” takes personal responsibility for your choices. If you believe you aren’t beautiful, you’ll settle for men who don’t find you beautiful. If you believe you aren’t loveable, you’ll settle for men who don’t love you, etc.

“It’s like an omnipotent force is attracting me to men I can’t have!” takes no responsibility for your choices. It absolves you from your actions and ascribes your affairs to the unconscious whims of a cruel universe.

That, of course, is nonsense.

But there is one sliver of truth to the “force” that draws you to unavailable men; you actually can’t help it. It’s deeply ingrained in you – probably from childhood – to value and venerate men whose ultimate approval you could never actually have.

There is one sliver of truth to the “force” that draws you to unavailable men; you actually can’t help it.

That part of it is unconscious. You really do LIKE these types of men.

But that’s where individual choice comes in.

Just because you like a certain type of man doesn’t mean you have to choose him.

You’re an adult.

You have experience.

You have free will.

You have a conscience.

Subconscious emotions can’t be an excuse for our own questionable behavior.

Subconscious emotions can’t be an excuse for our own questionable behavior.

You may prefer hot fudge sundaes to salads, but you don’t eat them at every meal.

You may think drugs are a great high, but you don’t take them every day.

Certain things are objectively bad for you.

You may be drawn to them, but you should know better.

Married men are no different.

You know better.

I remember one time in 2006 when I went on a date with a smart, sexy, sassy actress here in Los Angeles. We had great verbal banter on the phone and email. She was a curvy brunette – just my type. Our first date crackled with chemistry and sexual tension and ended with us making out in my apartment.

As soon as she said goodbye, I knew I couldn’t see her again.

I’d been on some version of this date dozens of times and I knew that this story wouldn’t have a happy ending. We were too similar. Too driven. Too opinionated. Too…something.

I could have hopped into bed, made her my girlfriend and had a torturous 3 month relationship.

I chose to pay attention to my life experience and take a hard pass.

I met my wife only a few months later.

I may have been chasing chemistry with my actress.

You may be chasing familiarity to an unavailable father figure.

But at the end of the day, it’s up to you to break the pattern and summon the willpower to run from men who are taken.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to break the pattern and summon the willpower to run from men who are taken.

Millions of married men exist. Most women avoid them like the plague.

So, while I’m sympathetic, please don’t chalk this up to powerful unseen forces.

You know exactly what you’re doing, Samantha.

You just have to stop doing it.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Clare

    Evan really cut right to the chase here.

     

    There are probably all kinds of internal forces drawing Samantha to unavailable men – starting with her low self-esteem – and these are worth exploring, but step one is saying no to dodgy and unavailable men.

     

    It takes a certain amount of discipline to hold yourself back in the early stages of dating and take a more objective look at the person you are dating and the quality of the relationship you are getting at. The powerful chemicals that flood through us do not make this easy, and objectivity is not a strong suit of those who are starting to fall in love. Add to that that unavailable men often create a powerful blend of emotions in women – from yearning and longing to uncertainty and striving for his approval, and these can throw you off balance. But, if you can discipline yourself to take it slow and keep your eyes open when it comes to the person in front of you, you can see the warning signs.

    There are lots of different types of guys out there. The problem is not meeting or being attracted to unavailable men – it’s letting it go any further than that. I have always had an internal brakes system when it comes to married men or men with girlfriends, but I’ve been attracted to emotionally unavailable men before. They were harder to spot. But, with time, I got better at slowing myself down and noticing things that didn’t sit well with me. Eventually, I got better at saying “No” earlier and earlier when I saw signs of things in a new man which hadn’t worked out well with guys I’d dated in the past. Just like Evan. I think a lot of dating is about knowing your kryptonite and your vulnerable areas – what are the things you are most susceptible to but which are bad news for you. It actually takes guts to walk away from a potential new partner who seems great and with whom you have amazing chemistry, but you just know it won’t work because you’ve been down that road before.

    The quality of the guys I have been getting involved with has got higher and higher, and saying no to unsuitable guys has got easier. Until, most recently, I met a wonderful, gorgeous man who makes me feel safe and secure and who is gentle, trustworthy and kind. Saying yes to him has taken me out of my comfort zone, however, but I now see how important it was to do that.

    1. 1.1
      Jay213

      Hi Clare. Just need to ask because I’m confused by the logic behind this. If a man is not reciprocating—whether because actually unavailable or emotionally unavailable—doesn’t that suggest that you may have just been shooting for a man above your league (from a physical attractiveness standpoint). I’m guessing when you say that you are now getting more involved with “higher quality men” that you are referring to an overall evaluation. Perhaps not in possession of the kind of chemistry you’d find in an unablvailable man, but on balance…better?

      Is this what it’s about? To say a woman prefers an unavailable man is to say that she prefers one that has high market value. Otherwise it just doesn’t make sense why a woman would have to adapt to available men

      1. 1.1.1
        Clare

        Jay,

        Your question is a bit confusing for me, so I’ll break it down bit by bit:

        “If a man is not reciprocating—whether because actually unavailable or emotionally unavailable—doesn’t that suggest that you may have just been shooting for a man above your league (from a physical attractiveness standpoint).”

        If a man is actually unavailable or emotionally unavailable, what does his league have to do with it? If he, for instance, has psychological issues which prevent him opening up and committing, or if he is married, what does his physical attractiveness have to do with it? In that case, you are not talking about two equally available people, and one of them just isn’t interested. What I am talking about is guys who cannot commit to anyone. Full stop.

        Secondly, who exactly determines what league someone is in? I have had this discussion so many times on this blog (most recently with Adrian) that I almost feel I should have a copy/paste answer somewhere. Attractiveness is subjective. Case in point: my two best girlfriends are in relationships with guys who they think are gorgeous. I do not find them so. Similarly, I have found certain guys attractive in the past whom they have not. I have made this point so often: I know guys who prefer chubby girls, guys who prefer tall slender women, guys who prefer blondes, guys who like brunettes, guys who like exotic, dark-skinned women, guys who find women with freckles with cute. I could go on and on.

        Yes, there tends to be a broad group of people that most will agree are attractive, and some, very attractive (the Ryan Goslings and Charlize Therons of this world). But for the most part, there is so much variety and there are so many different tastes. Where exactly does someone get off telling someone else what league they fit into. Now, if you’re talking about obvious differences in attractiveness between two people like slender vs. overweight, or tall vs very short, or bad skin or what have you, then I can see your point. But that is not what I’m talking about here.

        I am talking about men who are on par with the woman attractiveness-wise, who ask her out and are physically attracted to her, but cannot or do not commit. Please don’t make me make this point again.

        “I’m guessing when you say that you are now getting more involved with “higher quality men” that you are referring to an overall evaluation. Perhaps not in possession of the kind of chemistry you’d find in an unablvailable man, but on balance…better?”

        When I talk about finding higher quality men, I am talking about guys who are just as attractive, just as intelligent and successful, where there is just as much chemistry, but these men are not only available, they possess qualities like kindness, attentiveness, consistency, warmth, and just higher levels of emotional responsiveness. I am not talking about perfect men, I am talking about men who are more balanced. This, for me, is what makes a higher quality man.

        1. Jay

          Hi Claire,

          I agree that this whole league business is rather dehumanizing / objectifying but then again can’t the same be said about other aspects of human life? I mean, don’t we also apply the concept of leagues to universities and organizations? Though not explicit, people in practice tacitly regard Ivy Leaguers or professionals employed in “Facebook” or “Goldman Sach’s” or “insert high status org” as belonging to the upper echelon. The proof isn’t in what people say but in the outcomes. Now I’m not trying to morally excuse human being’s propensity to apply and evaluate based on hierarchies, I’m just saying that it’s the way it is and perhaps it’s the way it is because it has some explanatory power.

          Take the case of Physical Attractiveness. I think it’s plausible for one to say that Physical Attractiveness isn’t subjective at all. In fact, the scientific consensus (via peer reviewed journals) indicate that this is the primary driver of mate selection. This is condensed in books available to the public:

          Attraction Explained: The science of how we form relationships
          Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)

          In numerous studies in speed dating and online dating, women have consistently shown more selectivity based on physical attractiveness versus men. Of course there will exceptions to the rule, but in terms of averages and not far tail phenomena, women select men based on sexiness.

          This dovetails into the topic of availableness and unavailableness. It stands to reason that–assuming the man isn’t severely psychologically damaged–an unavailable man is unavailable for a reason and that reason is likely due to options brought about by his physical attractiveness with some consideration due to being at a point in his life where he need not commit to achieve his goals

          Indeed, I think your story supports this. Either you’ve compromised on looks and gave weight to other important attributes OR you’ve maintained your standards but have increased your search costs (as in time and expenditure).

          The idea that you’ve just been unlucky and have psychological issues that have driven you to men who are unavailable isn’t exactly helpful to men or women. I highly doubt that the unavailable men you were dating were not physically attractive. By being transparent about this you make it clear what is primary and what men ought to focus on to improve their odds

        2. Jay

          Add to that that unavailable men often create a powerful blend of emotions in women – from yearning and longing to uncertainty and striving for his approval, and these can throw you off balance.

          Here is a thought experiment. Imagine that this man you find attractive because unavailable looks like Danny Devito, would you still find this man attractive because he’s unavailable?

          Here is another one. Imagine that man in the corner you find attractive because his mysterious looks like Danny Devito, would you still find him attractive?

          What interests me is that women have this intriguing habit of ascribing non-physical attributes to men to explain their attraction, when it’s really just physical attraction all along but hidden in language.

        3. Jeremy

          Jay, if you believe that women select men primarily based on looks, you haven’t spent much time observing female behavior, nor observing the general appearance of men, nor considering the different ways men and women have evolved.  I’m not saying that looks aren’t important – and more to some women than to others – but if looks were women’s primary consideration, men would wear make-up and would have evolved to be, on average, far more attractive than we are.  One can not consider looks without status, power, and their accompanying heuristics (humor, confidence, etc).  Nor can one fail to consider comfort qualities like character, loyalty, and values.  Attraction and arousal factors, and different mixes for each woman.  Just look around you.

        4. Clare

          Jay,

          You and your ilk may regard people who work for Facebook and Goldman Sachs and those who went to Ivy League universities as being in a higher league; for me, these people are overwhelmingly corporate drones who never had a thought that wasn’t handed to them by someone else in their lives. Your comment really just reinforces my view of American culture as shallow and superficial. It isn’t like that here, thank God.

          My point is, you and people like you, choose to place people into leagues and organize society into a hierarchy based on the most boring, banal qualities I can think of, but that is not the way I or the people I associate with see the world.

          As far as physical attractiveness goes, luckily for you (and me) I had this conversation with Adrian recently, and already have my points readily to hand. What is regarded as physically attractive is subjective to quite a large degree – for one thing, it has changed tremendously over time. In nineteenth century Europe, women who were ghostly pale were regarded as more beautiful. Women with bigger breasts and bigger curves were also regarded as more attractive, and skinny women were regarded as uglier. These days, we admire women with an exotic tan and long, thin legs. Curls used to be the ultimate in feminine beauty; now, we admire long, sleek straight hair.

          Not only that, but the idea of what is beautiful varies across culture. Here in South Africa, Zulu culture values men and women who are fatter. Thin is not seen as desirable. Western culture tends to value women who are more slender. Within cultures, there is also a great deal of variety of taste. I personally find freckles very appealing, and I prefer brown hair and brown eyes to blond hair and blue eyes. For some of my friends, it is the other way around. You can go on and on about the Golden Mean until the cows come home, but among ordinary people, there is a great deal of variation in looks and taste. I would agree that certain people are regarded by a greater number of people as being attractive, but there will always be subjectivity. I’ve been told by many men that I am beautiful, but some men have not found me so – I am petite, while some men like women who are tall with long legs.

          As far as the conclusions you have drawn about my experiences: no, I have not compromised on looks to be involved with higher quality men. I’m finding I have to repeat myself here, but it is by no means true that the unavailable men were the more physically attractive. Men of all different looks can be emotionally or actually unavailable. I have tended to be attracted to a pretty consistent type of man, looks-wise. Some of these men were unavailable. Some of them were available. At no point did I suggest that I had had bad luck in only being attracted to unavailable men. Rather, I accepted unavailable men in the past. I would stay involved and engaged even after it became clear he was unavailable. These days, I do not stay around when I realize a man is unavailable. I move on to someone who is. And to be clear, I have not had to compromise on physical attractiveness to do this. I don’t believe in doing that. You have to find the person you’re with physically attractive and want to sleep with them. No amount of you twisting my words to say that I must have compromised on this aspect is going to make my experience untrue.

          Finally, as far as women placing a premium on physical attractiveness. Again, I suspect that this is confirmation bias on your part. You believe that men and women reject each other based on physical attractiveness and so you are interpreting everything through that lens. Read what Jeremy had to say. I can speak for myself and say that physical attractiveness needs to be there, but it is very far from being the primary determiner in what I find attractive. I find masculine qualities like gentlemanly behavior, confidence, humor, chivalry, integrity, and intelligence EXCEPTIONALLY attractive. They can make a man shoot from a 5 to an 8.5 for me.

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          “Those who went to Ivy League universities are overwhelmingly corporate drones who never had a thought that wasn’t handed to them by someone else in their lives.”

          As one of those people who is friends with a LOT of those people, perhaps that’s a generalization you might not want to make.

        6. Clare

          Fair enough, Evan. Mea culpa. I apologise.

          It is a generalization, and I am sure that there are many men and women who are outstanding people and for whom it is not true.

          I was simply trying to make the point that those things are not necessarily signs of a higher quality of person, as Jay was suggesting.

      2. 1.1.2
        Clare

        By the way, your reference to “high market value” conjures up images of a cattle market for me, with men being led around by rings through their noses.

        Who the hell thinks of human relationships in terms of goods to be bought and sold? Who the hell determines someone’s “market value”? Do I have high market value because I get asked out a lot, but also sometimes experience rejection by people I like? Does my friend have low market value because she doesn’t get asked out a lot, but is in a very happy relationship? (Please, for the love of Jesus, don’t answer.)

  2. 2
    Michelle

    Samantha,

    Evan is spot on.  Early childhood conditioning DOES create create a strong pull for us with the wrong men.  I know exactly, as I grew up with some horrific conditioning that took years of hard work, therapy, and self discipline to overcome.  It takes mental discipline and self awareness to resist that pull and consciously seek out men who will love us, put us first, are mentally healthy, and available.  And yes, those guys ARE sexy, much sexier than the married lier, guy with girlfriend who wants you on the side, dangerous drug addict, etc.  The sexy, dangerous shine wears off quick on the latter.  You already have the self awareness.  You know on some several you deserve better, that you are a catch and a half.   You KNOW what the issue is, you just need to have the self discipline to make different choices.  And don’t let your vijajay make decisions for you either. 😉 Her radar is off.   You do have a choice, if you pick the wrong guys, then you make your bed…lay in it, and do your friends a favor, keep the complaints to yourself, it’s not fair to them.

    Michelle

  3. 3
    Emily, the original

    Michelle, 

    I know exactly, as I grew up with some horrific conditioning that took years of hard work, therapy, and self discipline to overcome.  It takes mental discipline and self awareness to resist that pull and consciously seek out men who will love us, put us first, are mentally healthy, and available.

    Yes, of course, you are right about this, but why is it that the “healthy” choice in almost everything in life is always less interesting, tastes worse, is less exciting … ?

    1. 3.1
      Stacy

      @Emily

      I disagree. The unhealthy choice SEEMS more interesting, SEEMS to taste better, SEEMS more exciting, but more oftentimes than not, it’s because uncertainty and drama gives a falsified sense of excitement because most unhealthy choices do not tend to have good, fulfilling outcomes.

      1. 3.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Stacy,

         it’s because uncertainty and drama gives a falsified sense of excitement because most unhealthy choices do not tend to have good, fulfilling outcomes.

        The unhealthy choice is usually more sexually interesting, while the healthier choices are more emotionally fulfilling. Two different things.

        1. Michelle

          Hi Ladies,

          Sorry, just saw this.  Thank you both for chiming in. I think Stacy brings up a good point and Emily your clarification is on point.  My intent for the “healthy” choice is that it really does feel better, elevates you, sustains and nourishes you.  But the drama of the bad choice has some powerful short term appeal when you have some wonky conditioning and frameworks.. but it’s not real, and it ultimately leaves you unsatisfied; like cotton candy; the sugar rush is awesome and it tastes good but makes you sick after?  OK, that’s the best I can come up with. 🙂

        2. Emily, the original

          Michelle,

          But the drama of the bad choice has some powerful short term appeal when you have some wonky conditioning and frameworks.. but it’s not real, and it ultimately leaves you unsatisfied; like cotton candy; the sugar rush is awesome and it tastes good but makes you sick after? 

          I won’t lie: It’s a huge disappointment. To realize the most exciting choice is usually the wrong choice and the bland choice who is appropriate and respectful is better in the long run. I get it intellectually but the rest of me hasn’t caught up yet.

        3. Michelle

          Hi Emily,

          Thanks for responding.  Regards below, you misunderstand.  The healthy choice is far from bland; it’s the best sex, the best of everything.   Someone who had poor conditioning doesn’t recognize it.  It doesn’t have appeal because they are not healthy enough to enjoy it. The worst sex I have had is with some of my wrong choices (selfish, sloppy), but I was so messed up, I didn’t know the difference, until I saw the other side.  So it’s about being in a place to recognize and enjoy and know the difference.

        4. Emily, the original

          Michelle, 

          The healthy choice is far from bland; it’s the best sex, the best of everything.  

          What makes for good sex and what makes for a good relationship are two different things. You can certainly have great sex with someone you are having a great relationship with, but it’s not guaranteed. One doesn’t necessarily imply the other.

  4. 4
    Lisa

    I actually think two  interlinked things are at play here, low self esteem and the need for validation.  The writer clearly states that she never realized that she was attractive and for a long time did not date because of that.  So unless she somehow magically transformed or even if she did, that insecurity is still present inside her, it just does not disappear, she carries it with her.    When you seek out married or taken men, it’s a challenge.   You think you are so hot that you can take someone else’s man. You do not even know that is why you are doing it, but it is.   It validates that you are good looking enough that you are good enough.  Second, you don’t think that you deserve your own man, so you settle for someone else’s.   There are a lot of married and taken men out there looking to hook up.  Sometimes it is hard to spot them, but when you do you need to run.  Whatever issue you have you need to work through in counseling and when you find that man that treats you the way he is supposed to things will change, but first you have to give him a chance.

    1. 4.1
      Emily, the original

      Lisa,

       When you seek out married or taken men, it’s a challenge.   You think you are so hot that you can take someone else’s man. You do not even know that is why you are doing it, but it is.   It validates that you are good looking enough that you are good enough.  

      This is probably an accurate assessment of the OP’s issue, but, as un-PC as it sounds, is it not possible that, in other cases, what motivates someone is just desire. I’m not advocating going after someone who’s married, but sometimes I think we overanalyze a situation that could be very easy to explain.

  5. 5
    Nissa

    The other thing that Samantha may not realize is that men, just like women, sometimes say they have a girlfriend even when they don’t have one, because they are not jerks and don’t want to hurt your feelings. That’s why online dating is far superior to just hanging out in random places. It’s a list of people that are prescreened to be single and looking. Even if, like me, you prefer to meet people in person, Match has events that put you together with people in your age range, you get to select an activity, and you can view the profile of anyone that catches your eye. I don’t know why more people don’t take advantage of all that fabulousness.

  6. 6
    Nissa

    I’m also going to open a can of worms here, and say it bluntly: this is why I don’t chase men.

    There’s a wonderful movie version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with a young Kate Winslet (Marianne). Marianne has fallen in love with a local boy, Willoughby – but he ghosts her. It turns out that prior to meeting Marianne, he got a local girl pregnant. When his aunt finds out, she cuts off his money permanently. So before his dishonorable actions become common knowledge, he ditches Marianne and marries the richest woman he can catch. This is the perfect example of a man that ‘doesn’t love her enough‘. She’s good enough for a good time, for intimacy, to be his girlfriend. But when it comes down to poverty with the woman he loves, or wealth with a woman who is convenient, he picks lifestyle over love.

    That’s what the OP’s letter illustrates to me. When a man really wants to be with a woman, he’s usually not thinking:’ This woman is amazing, she’s so much of what I want. Unless I have to call her…or plan a date…or pay for dinner. Then nah’. When we like something, we don’t have to be coerced into seeking that out. For men, that means asking a woman on a date (and if you don’t want to pay, for pete’s sake plan a free date and bypass the issue). For a woman, that means saying yes when he asks you out (and if you can’t, for pete’s sake give him a good reason, and tell him when you CAN go out with him).

    Yes, it’s true that we often go on dates with people with whom we have less than awesome chemistry, because we are trying to be wise and focus on compatibility. That is sensible. But once we have opened the door to opportunity and given that person a chance, I think there is great value in asking what our gut is telling us. Is this person chocolate to us –  not the most nutritious, but delicious in a lot of ways? Is he broccoli – a sensible choice that sparks little to no arousal in our hearts? Both extremes can be a poor choice. If you can truly say that there is both substance and delight, then you have a winner.

    And yes, the broccoli is for Jeremy.

    1. 6.1
      Clare

      Nissa,

      By the way, loved Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility. Am a big Jane Austen fan, and that movie adaptation is one of my favourites!

      “I’m also going to open a can of worms here, and say it bluntly: this is why I don’t chase men.”

      I was thinking the same thing as I read Samantha’s letter. Particularly the last part, where she writes that she plucked up the courage to talk to a guy at her sports club. In my experience, this is never necessary with a guy who is available and interested in you. In my life, I have just learned to take it as a given that, if a man is not making an effort to talk to me, he is either not available or not interested. There’s not really any need for me to “pluck up the courage.” All I need to do is pluck up the courage to reply and say yes if he asks if he can have my number/buy me a drink/take me on a date.

      I also found myself thinking, as I was reading her letter, how much pursuing of another woman can a married guy or a guy with a girlfriend actually do? Surely he only has so much time, energy and privacy available to do so? When a guy is pursuing you in the way a man does when he wants to be your boyfriend, I think it must consume a lot of his time and attention. Contacting you every day, planning dates, taking you out a few times a week, spending weekends with you. If a guy is not doing these things, it is a dead giveaway that something else is going on. This makes me think that Samantha was most likely ignoring these signs and pushing the relationships forward with her own efforts. She does refer to these as “non-relationship relationships” so I’m assuming the effort was just not there with the guys. Very often, with these kinds of lukewarm men, women with low self-esteem will then take over the pursuing, trying to convince him to have a relationship with her and making more effort than she should.

      Not pursuing a man, not taking over his effort in a relationship, is the best way to keep unavailable guys at bay. Because unavailable guys will never make the effort required, so the relationship will just fizzle out on its own.

      1. 6.1.1
        Seth_D

        @Clare

        As a guy, how would I know if you were interested though?
        I have tried to talk to women and nothing.
        And when on dating sites, I initiate contact (msg them) and get no response….

        1. Nissa

          Seth_D, You can generally assume that if you ask her on a date and she says yes, she’s interested. If she says no, she’s not. It’s not complicated. You may be choosing women that are either not single, not looking or who feel that you aren’t a match for them. That’s why online dating would work better. If you email them and they don’t answer, that’s an answer – no. Just keep trying until you find one that says yes. You can really help yourself by making sure that your criteria and her criteria match. Match.com has a ‘mutual match’ feature. I’d start with that.

        2. Gala

          What Nissa said. Also, if you’re on dating sites, check out your competition (i.e. other men in the same area/age group). How do you stack up? Women are super picky and want the best. Can you honestly say you are at the top 25% of men on this web-site (meaning, quality of pictures, description, presentation etc.?) If not, fix that.

        3. Seth_D

          @Nissa
          If only it were as easy as you make it out to be….
          I am on Match, don’t have much luck there either.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @Seth_D

          In both cases, the women are not interested. Women who are interested respond.

          I personally do not agree with Clare’s hypothesis that men who are unwilling to expend a significant amount emotional energy and resources are unavailable or not interested.  It is more the case that men have discovered that there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to dating.  If a woman wants to date me, she has to be willing to put forth effort as well, and that effort has to be more than just preparing herself for a date.  More than fifty-percent of the women I end up meeting from dating sites opened the conversation.  They are the women who are worth making an emotional investment as well as enduring the other expenditures that are encountered in dating because I know that they are interested.  That is why it is foolish for a woman to wait around for men to contact her on a dating site. Unless a woman is stunningly beautiful, she is almost always going to end up with lower quality men using that approach on a dating site.

        5. Nissa

          Seth, Check out Evan’s podcast #62, What Image Are You Projecting? It sounds like you would benefit from some help. Movies have those montage scenes for a reason. We all feel more like our best self when we bring our A game. So get a makeover –  a haircut, maybe a new hair color, get some new clothes that fit, especially clothes that project the image that matches what you want for yourself. Commit to getting fit. Do a consultation with a therapist to see what mental issues you need to address. Once you’ve done all that, get new photos through http://www.lookbetteronline.com. Then pursue women who are in your league, who have criteria that match. As a woman, I can tell you that 9 times out of 10, when I rejected a man or did not respond to his email, it was because he ignored something that I told him was important. If you smoke, drink, and want kids, email women that say that’s what they want too. Don’t ignore her age range, geography or fitness level. It’s in your best interest.

        6. Seth_D

          @Yet Another Guy

          That is pretty much how I feel at this point.
          Seems I put in all the effort for little to nothing in return…so it gets exhausting.

        7. Nissa

          YAG, Clare is not saying “a significant amount emotional energy and resources”. It’s a few dates instead of sitting at home watching TV, and those can be FREE.  You can go for a walk, watch a sunset, feed ducks at a local park, attend a meetup that you both have an interest in. What you are ignoring is that the woman is making effort as well. When she’s on a date, she said yes, she made plans and followed through on them. If she has put her phone away, is being fully present with her attention, that’s effort. That’s an emotional investment in the other person. She chose to spend her time and her self with him when she could have said no. It’s nice that the women you date contacted you first, but that first contact is the modern date equivalent of dropping a hanky. Beyond that, if she pursues him, it changes the masculine / feminine dynamic in that she is taking on the masculine role. I get it that there are some men that like it when women fill that masculine role, but Seth would have more responses from women if he stepped up and utilizes more masculine behavior of calling, planning and paying (at least to start, or utilizing free dates until he knows the woman fits what he wants).

        8. Yet Another Guy

          @Nissa

          You can generally assume that if you ask her on a date and she says yes, she’s interested. If she says no, she’s not. It’s not complicated.

          I disagree with this blanket statement.  Women who are not really interested will often accept a date invitation if they do not have anything more interesting scheduled.

          The problem with online dating sites is that women tend to have an over inflated sense of what they can obtain.  Women can complain about men seeking Barbie all they want, but hypergamy rules on dating sites. If that was not true, then why do 20% of the men on dating sites date 80% of the women?  I have had more than my fair share of women open me on a dating site who did not stand a chance in Hades of getting me to ask them out on a date because I no longer date down for sex.

        9. Nissa

          YAG, How often do you date women in whom you have no interest? I find it hard to believe that any person, regardless of gender, would date someone in whom they have NO interest. If you said that their arousal was mild and that they (wisely) were giving attraction a chance to grow, I would agree with that statement. If  person A wants to use person B, that’s an ulterior motive that I would say is rare and easily seen – but that’s the only scenario in which a person with no interest would say yes – and that interest in using someone is still interest, even though it’s interest in that person’s resources instead of that person.

        10. Seth_D

          @Nissa
          For starters, I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs.
          I have 3 kids, 17, 12 and 11.
          I am actually quite fit, would prolly say I look better than 95% of the men my age (physically).
          I have had a few different hairstyles
          As far as fashion, I do attempt to dress as an adult and in clothes that fit my physique.

          When I msg a lady online, I usually send a message saying:
          “Hello, how are you today?”
          Should there be more?  Do I need to do some sort of snappy one-liner?  I mean I am 40, I am kinda expecting the person I contact to be an adult as well…..

        11. Yet Another Guy

          @Seth_D

          What Gala mentioned about being in the top 25% is true; however, it more like the top 20%.  A man who is in the top 10% for his age cohort never wants for dates on a dating site.  I have met approaching 100 women in person in less two years ( I could have met over 500, but meeting as many women as I have met has been exhausting).  It is all about packaging oneself.  Here is a direct quote from a message that I received from woman on a dating site: “I guess you remind me of Robert Redford because he’s intelligent, talented, and handsome!”   A man knows that he has it right when he starts receiving these types of comments.  You need to tweak your profile until you start receiving positive comments such as this one.  I have a total of three photographs, a head shot, a full-length, non-shirtless gym shot that demonstrates that I am very muscular for my age, and one in which I am playing lead guitar in a band (women tend to love a man who can play guitar).

        12. Seth_D

          @Yet Another Guy
          I guess I will try to tweak my profile…
          But I don’t play musical instruments. 🙁

          Just never sure what to say in those profiles about myself….

          and my pictures do show me in the same manner as yours does…

        13. Gala

          @ Seth

          I have 3 kids, 17, 12 and 11.

          There. I don’t know who you are sending these messages to, but if they are to pretty childless women younger than 40 (or 35), your chances are slim. Those women want their own kids and are not gonna be interested in a guy who already has the full house.

          Secondly, “hi how are you”?? Unless the guy is, like, a George Clooney lookalike, those messages are going straight to the trashbin. Yes there shoudl be more, just not the dumb generic message the web-site fills in for you (those go the same way).

        14. Seth_D

          @Gala
          So what kind of message would be good to send?
          I have also tried including things in the message based on their profile.  Same result.

        15. Evan Marc Katz

          Sorry, Seth, but this is not a place to ask your own personal dating questions. Them’s the rules of the blog.

        16. Gala

          @ Seth:

          Other ladies here may chime in, me personally I am most likely to respond to a note that’s neither too long (TL;DR) nor a “how are you” thing.

          You’re contacting a stranger on the internet, give them something to work with, but don’t make them work too hard. Make it easier for them to shoot you a message back. Like, what can I possibly respond to “hi how are you”? I am good. As always. Next question. You see what i mean? It’s not because I am not interested or entitled, it just requires too much metal energy to engage with this and I don’t have it.

          So, i think, the best strategy would be something like

          “Hey, how are you doing? Liked your profile wanted to say hi. Where was that skiing photo taken, is this Park City? Went there with friends last year and had a blast”.

          Boom. Now, if i see a message like that it’s easy to respond and strike a conversation from there. Hope this helps

        17. Evan Marc Katz

          No worries. There’s still much to learn here without using the comments for personal therapy.

        18. Yet Another Guy

          @Nissa

          How often do you date women in whom you have no interest?

          I never date women in whom I have not interest because I have to pursue, plan, and pay.  All he has to do is show up and be present.  I have to that in addition to pursuing, planning, and paying.

          I find it hard to believe that any person, regardless of gender, would date someone in whom they have NO interest.

          Believe it or not, there are women on dating sites who go on dates because men take them to nice places just as there are men on dating sites who are only interested in getting laid.  You are a bit of an anachronism when it comes to dating.

        19. Clare

          Seth,

          “When I msg a lady online, I usually send a message saying:

          ‘Hello, how are you today?'”

          Without wanting to disrespect Evan’s rules, this is a very problematic approach to take to messaging women. I can tell you honestly that I have had very good looking men send me this message, and based on this generic message alone, I have disqualified them. There is just no way this side of eternity that I could consider myself a match for someone who cannot find anything better to say. For a start, this effort is about as low effort as it gets. For another thing, the guy doesn’t care how you are; he doesn’t know you. Finally, am I really going to open up about my aches and pains, my mood, my feeling of wellbeing or otherwise that day, to a total stranger? I can’t think of anything more banal to begin conversation.

          So without wanting to launch into advice on what you could say (because of the blog rules), I’ll just say that Evan has some excellent articles right here on this blog about how to begin conversations online that I guarantee will make your chances of success go waaay up.

        20. Yet Another Guy

          *I never date women in whom I have no interest because I have to pursue, plan, and pay.  All she has to do is show up and be present.  I have to do that in addition to pursuing, planning, and paying.

          I wish that commenters had the ability to edit comments on this blog. 🙂

        21. Seth_D

          @Yet Another Guy
          Ain’t that the truth.
          It gets tiresome and expensive….to only be rejected.

          @Clare

          I can tell you honestly that I have had very good looking men send me this message, and based on this generic message alone, I have disqualified them. There is just no way this side of eternity that I could consider myself a match for someone who cannot find anything better to say. For a start, this effort is about as low effort as it gets. For another thing, the guy doesn’t care how you are; he doesn’t know you. Finally, am I really going to open up about my aches and pains, my mood, my feeling of wellbeing or otherwise that day, to a total stranger? I can’t think of anything more banal to begin conversation.

          In a way I can understand what you are saying….
          But at the same time I kinda look at it this way and piggy backing on YAG comment….
          If I have taken the time to read your profile and think that there is something there (because we are both on a dating site, for dating)….then I think it is common courtesy to start a convo along those lines…
          I mean if we met in public, I would walk up and start talking in a similar fashion….right?

          Hopefully this post is not in violation of Evan’s rules.  Just an opinion I have.

        22. Evan Marc Katz

          It’s not a “violation.” It’s a continuation of a conversation that I discouraged you from having because blog comments are about the original topic, not having other people answer your personal dating questions. And since you don’t seem to understand Clare’s point, I’ll make it for her: your approach to writing emails is broken. You do NOT do the same thing you do in real life. Know why? Because “Hey, what’s up?” may be fine for someone in line at Starbucks, but when you get 100 emails from strangers that say, “Hey, what’s up?” you delete them and look for the interesting guys.

          Here’s my TEDx talk on why men need to get a clue when it comes to online dating. You can do this. But you can’t complain what you’re doing isn’t working if you don’t try a better way.

        23. Seth_D

          @Evan Marc Katz

          Thanks for the link.
          Very good video…I will try that approach you outlined.

      2. 6.1.2
        Tron Swanson

        Chasing doesn’t really work for anyone, men or women. The failure rate is extremely high. Women love to say, “Well, I tried chasing him and it didn’t work, so it must be proof I shouldn’t try”…but men could make the same argument. (And we could make it much more justifiably, because we experience much more rejection.)

        I agree that we should pay attention to people’s actions, and not their words. But “if he’s really interested, he’ll ask you out” is more of a self-defense mechanism than a true statement. I’ve never asked out a woman in my life, but I’ve been interested in plenty of women. The “if he’s really interested…” thinking is simply a way for women to protect themselves emotionally, and to avoid wasted time. It minimizes risk. And I’m all about minimizing risk, so I’m not criticizing, I just think we should be honest about what’s really going on. (I have my own version of this: “if she’s really interested, she’ll have sex with me.” I’m sure there are times when that isn’t true, it’s simply a way to avoid hurt feelings and wasted time and effort.)

        In short, I think that women have the right idea, in this area. Pursuit is bad news. Men are increasingly reluctant to pursue, as evidenced by the growing number of complaints that women have about us. I fully intend on copying women’s strategies as much as I can…I’ll never be “in demand” like women are, but a more passive approach saves a lot of hassle.

      3. 6.1.3
        Nissa

        YAG,  I get that there are users, of both genders. But it seems to me that they are easily identified and screened out. If a man wants a woman who is interested in him and not his wallet, all he has to do is provide dates which focus on him, instead of the environment or costs. Just don’t take her to nice places until you have determined if that is her objective. This is not complicated. It’s one’s focus that makes the difference. In coding, you have to know the purpose of what your software is going to do before you code it. Dates are the same.

        First, you must know your intention. For you, what that means is finding a woman who is feminine, likes sex, and prioritizes you above others or your wallet.  To do that, you would plan a date that increases the likelihood of attracting that person. You would provide a masculine date which is low or no cost, show her in her love language that sex is important to you and that you are open to that with her, and request in her love language that she prioritize you. When in doubt, ask for it directly.  Tell her you prefer a feminine woman who is sexually monogamous, who will treat you as important in her life.

        Someone who intends to use another person will often be put off when it is expressed in black and white that that effort will be an uphill battle. They will go on to easier prey. Men that don’t want gold diggers (though I hate that word) need only to provide low cost dates. A woman who is interested in YOU, will be interested in you no matter what car you are driving, the cost of the date or if there is dinner. Similarly, a woman only needs to tell her date that she considers sex to be very special and treats it with that sacredness. Men that only want sex will hear “I’m not getting laid” and bail out. However, if a man does have an interest in her, he will hear “if she wants me, then I’m special”. This is not even a manipulation. It IS special to that woman.

        I don’t mind being an anachronism. Good things stand the test of time.  If I met a man who was a gentleman, I would be charmed. Truly, I cannot imagine anyone being attracted by those who wish to offer nothing of themselves, who want nothing but the most superficial in return. I can’t believe people want so little for themselves. If that were so, men would not bother to date, they would just pay prostitutes. Women would not date, they would merely sell themselves to the highest bidder, or reject the company of men completely, limiting their lives to the company of their sisters. I believe both genders are truly seeking connection, intimacy, friendship and partnership,  to share themselves and to experience others. And that is worthy of our efforts in dating.

    2. 6.2
      Emily, the original

      Nissa,

      The other theme of “Sense and Sensibility” is that Marianne winds up not with the man she’s in love with but with the man who sticks around (although it’s hard to think of Alan Rickman as a consolation prize).

      1. 6.2.1
        Nissa

        Agreed. Although I tend to think the message is that as she matured, she began to value his interest in her more, and realize that she wanted someone with that level of interest. Therefore he became someone that she could love. Is it likely that she would have less arousal with Col. Brandon than with Willoughby? Yes. But would it be enough? I think yes (again, having Rickman in the role makes it more difficult to remember how much older he was than her).  For women, I think we would see that as Marianne getting more than she deserved (a man who loves her unconditionally and treats her well) or that she had always had a baseline arousal for Brandon, and his interest caused her attraction to him to bloom into love. But a man might see it as Brandon getting a reward for being faithful and good, or as being cheated because he was ‘second choice’.

        It is of particular interest to me, because I’ve had many men be ‘interested’ in me right up until they had to make effort or commit. I had a husband who liked me ‘enough’ to marry me but not ‘enough’ to actually act like a husband. This baffled me. It’s just not how I behave. But I have learned to trust men to SHOW me their heart. Both genders seem to say all kinds of things they don’t mean (I’ll diet after Thanksgiving) or say things that are only true in the broadest sense (I’m healthy because I don’t do drugs – but I do smoke, eat doughnuts and  rarely exercise). I’ve really learned to say “this is what I want” – and if you match that, great! If you don’t, I will trust you to know your own heart better than I do. What I have learned is if people want to do it, they will. If they don’t, they won’t. It’s so much more simple than we make it.

        1. Emily, the original

          Nissa,

           Although I tend to think the message is that as she matured, she began to value his interest in her more, and realize that she wanted someone with that level of interest. Therefore he became someone that she could love. 

          I like the film, but the other message it sends is that, if a man hangs in there long enough, he can get the woman he wants once the man she really wants leaves. So he gets what he wants but she doesn’t. And I think that message of “just wait and keep asking” is not a good one to send.

           But a man might see it as Brandon getting a reward for being faithful and good, or as being cheated because he was ‘second choice’.

          He is second choice. I’m not saying Willoughby would make a better husband. He’s flaky, and that does not bode well long-term.

          What I have learned is if people want to do it, they will. 

          Yes, we put time into the things we value.

        2. Kitty

          (although it’s hard to think of Alan Rickman as a consolation prize)

          The film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels usually make the men that her heroines end up marrying a much more attractive than those men are as written.  As for whether Marianne would have been happy in the long run with the unsexy but reliable Col. Brandon the ending is written a bit ambiguously in that regard.  Still, in that time and place romance/chemistry were given a much lower cultural value than they are in the modern west which probably, for the most part, made it easier for those people to find contentment with their lot life.

      2. 6.2.2
        Malika

        Alan Rickman was in no way the consolation prize! I actually preferred his understated sexiness to Willoughby’s substancelessness and it never felt as if Marianne was making a compromise. More like learning to enjoy a fine wine version of masculinity. Willoughby was not at all the man she really wants, as he chooses to dump her for the money and social standing of another. I saw it as her maturing from wanting the florid fairy tale to the beauty of what real life has to offer.

        Along with reading Evan’s blog, all young girls should take time out to watch or read Sense and sensibility. It’s love life lessons 101.

        1. Emily, the original

          Malika,

          Alan Rickman was in no way the consolation prize! I actually preferred his understated sexiness to Willoughby’s substancelessness and it never felt as if Marianne was making a compromise. More like learning to enjoy a fine wine version of masculinity. 

          I agree that Alan Rickman is much more appealing. His voice alone could have gotten me out of my drawers! But in the story, Marianne is in love with Willoughy and doesn’t even notice Rickman until Willoughy abandons her. And her family is not wealthy. The Rickman character is good to her and has money. What choice does she have?

        2. Malika

          I still don’t think she chose him for his money but because he showed strength and character plus they got to know each other on a deeper level and he turned out to be a wonderful man. But yeah, i might have been influenced by Alan Rickman’s velvety voice. Swoon.

    3. 6.3
      Michelle

      I appreciate your metaphor here of chocolate vs broccoli, haha. That hits the nail on the head for me. I seem to atract men who are nice people, interested in me and pursue me, but they aren’t physically attractive to me and I don’t even like their personalities that much. I’m the one who is just not that into him….

      Or there are men who I find really attractive and often they can take me or leave me. They may appreciate my attention or reciprocation to their lukewarm efforts as an ego boost, but they aren’t going to prioritize me. I do see this as stemming from my childhood. I have been attracted to men who are very focused on themselves and not really emotionally available. I’ve thought maybe it’s an unconscious safety thing for me, to avoid the vulnerability of a real relationship, but I think I’ve really worked past all that.

      And so I pass on all these guys and am perpetually single…

      I appreciate Evan writing this article. It’s often the elephant in the room when it comes to dating. What happens when no one you find attractive is into you or available? In my case, it’s definitely not married men. It’s other obstacles, like distance, or it’s an emotionally unavailability.

      No, I don’t think all men are bad guys, no my city isn’t devoid of good single men, no I’m not chasing men down nor being a drama queen, yes I’ve learned to be more warm and flirty despite shyness, yes I expand my social circle and online date, etc, but I’m just not meeting anyone where there is mutual attraction who is available. Maybe it’s the numbers game, but it’s hard to be patient and keep going when it’s gone on for so many years….

      1. 6.3.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        And yet, what choice do you have? You give up or you keep going. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

  7. 7
    Gala

    Having experienced much of the same pull to the “wrong” guys as the OP i came to realize the common denominator was that they felt “safe” to me. I am a fairly avoidant person and I don’t particularly crave deep intimacy. Men like that are safe in that they are unavailable. There’s no future with them, there’s no “threat” that they will “move into” your life for good, there’s no need to share your utmost intimate feelings, fears, dreams with them.. Good times and company, inch-deep intimacy and no pressure to take it further. Sounds about perfect! (until it doesn’t). Besides, these type of men can often be exciting – accomplished, worldly, etc. They’re perfect to get high on emotion with, without major emotional commitment. The author may want to look into herself to examine this angle. Ultimately though, this may not be something one can or even should “fix”. You can simply acknowledge that this is the way you are and allow yourself to live your life the way that feels most comfortable and natural to you.

    1. 7.1
      Stacy

      @Gala,

      I call bullshyt. You should fix it if all you want are men who are married or taken.  There are other ways to get your ‘fix’. And banging a married man is disrespectful on every level. Mostly, it demeans you.  There is no upside. I always wonder how a woman could possibly feel good after having sex with someone who is clearly taken, and know that he is going home to a woman (and maybe kids) who (most likely) assumes he is faithful with no threat of disease.

      1. 7.1.1
        Gala

        Hey Stacy. So much here to unpack, huh? First off, I married men per se have never been my favorite vice. My type has always been older, wealthy, emotionally unavailable – the amount of fun you can have with these types in your 20-ies and 30-ies is incredible. That said, i was merely pointing out that, IMO, the psychological foundation could be the same here. As far as married men go, I know a lot of men who cheat – because their status and money afford them a lot of opportunities to do so. I am having a very, very hard time believing that their wives don’t know. I mean, your husband is on the road 200 days a year in places like LA, London and Miami, and just acquired a bachelor pad in the city (while you are sitting in suburbs wearing yoga pants and going to ginger bread parties), and you don’t realize he’s banging everything that comes across? Really? Really??? These women know. They knowingly accept the trade-off for the sake of the comfort of their privileged, wealthy and comfortable lives and look the other way. Personally, I am not after their husbands (bachelors are more fun anyways) but they can cry me a river..

         

        1. Marika

          Sounds like someone’s trying to justify cheating with some poor woman’s husband…

          Gala, both Stacy and I were cheated on by our exes and neither of us (pretty sure I can speak for both here) expected it, traded it off for anything and both of us broke up with them. In my case, he wasn’t sorry and I couldn’t trust him any more. And, no I didn’t cash-in over the divorce. In fact, I was left without a home or a car. But better that than deal with the antics of a cheater.

          Never sat around in yoga pants either.

  8. 8
    Theodora

    The “wrong” or unavailable guys you desire are usually guys out of your league.

    I have to clarify what I personally understand by a guy “out of your league”.

    It is a man who can easily find a replacement at least as good as you in the categories he considers important.

    If a man values intelligence and beauty and once we break up he can easily find a woman more intelligent and prettier than I am for a serious relationship, he’s out of my league. If he values youth and kindness and next week after we break up a younger, more generous woman is ready to be his girlfriend, he’s out of my league. And so on and so forth.

    I have to emphasize “for a serious relationship”, because if a man can find relatively easily a better replacement in the categories he considers important even for a semi-relationship or casual sex, then he’s wayyyy out of my league. That’s shooting for the stars, I don’t even bother.

    IMHO, there’s no deep philosophy or psychology about it. Just learn to be more realistic about what kind of men will commit to you. Granted, you might become more cynical and jaded in the process of finding your true SMV.

    1. 8.1
      Michelle

      Ah, but the same can be said of the men who desire us that we don’t find attractive. We can have several of those men chasing us at once. They are easy to replace…. It suggests the men who want us our going above their league. Some stats out there back this….okcupid gathered data from their site which showed that men, regardless of their own rating, all go for the top rated women; whereas women will go for men of similar rating (i.e. average women will accept average men). Of course the top rated people get the most attention, period, but women are arguably more realistic when it comes to who they are willing to actually date.

      I do think people are aware of their level of attractiveness, and given homogamy is a thing, we are probably drawn to our equals quite naturally. I have this theory that we all recognize beauty when it’s obvious…aka those top hot people. So beautiful people who aren’t our type or who are very different from us are still attractive. But when it comes to seeing beauty in average people, we get pickier in a way. We respond to particular features over others despite neither being objectively more beautiful. IMO this is a result of homogamy….we seek what’s familiar or similar to ourselves. So the beautiful people get attention, of course, but we are all really seeking that equal who is our level but also our type.

      Of course, this doesnt matter too much unless you view people like products. Sure we all want an equal and have our lists (even if mental lists and not something we actually verbalize….we all have ideas of what we want), but ultimately what we all need emotionally is the connection. A relationship is a dynamic…it’s how two people interact and connect, not static lists of traits. But for us to be willing to invest in someone to develop such a connection, there must be that initial attraction. When that initial attraction is missing, then you may not be very motivated.

      Also the reality is that there is always someone more beautiful, younger, smarter, kinder, etc, and maybe your partner could “get” such a person. Sure they could trade you in for the younger model, especially as society is kinder to signs of age in men. But the bond may not be equal. The connection is what’s special.

      1. 8.1.1
        Stacy

        @Michele,

        I agree with your post. I also think that as we mature, we make trade offs and that may include attraction. For instance, my boyfriend, while attractive, does not make my heart beat faster with his looks. But, he is attractive enough where I am content.  I KNOW I can objectively get a man more physically attractive. But, my boyfriend is also kind, a great cook, wise, patience, honest, great in bed, etc.  I will never give him up for a 10 in looks.  However, I probably would have (and did) gone for a 10 when I was 25.

        And men attempt to go above their league all the time (in the looks department).  I blame the Hugh Hefner era. Look at Donald Trump.  Seriously, we ALWAYS see this. Granted, most of these men are wealthy, but it’s super common to see homely men with hot woman. On the other hand, I think women are way quicker to date a wealthy man and trade off the looks. So these ‘regular’ dudes walk around looking a mess and still attempt to go after ‘Halle Berry’.

    2. 8.2
      Gala

      This is not how things really work. Sure this can happen (men sleeping down), but it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that just because some high flying men refused to commit that a woman is automatically not in their league. This is simply not true. These men may not want to commit to anyone at all – at that point in time – or ever. You can present them with a perfect 10 and they still won’t commit. So stop trying to trash women’s self-esteem. You’re not being as subtle as you think.

      Also, the “leagues” are defined by much more than just looks. Family, religion, social status, education all come into play. Ivanka Trump was a perfect 10 but Jared still wouldn’t marry her until she converted. Had she not done so, he would have picked a different Jewish woman, perhaps much less attractive. Does that mean Ivanka is not a 10? No. There’s much more to life and relationships than just looks.

      1. 8.2.1
        Emily, the original

        Stacy,

        So these ‘regular’ dudes walk around looking a mess and still attempt to go after ‘Halle Berry’.

        Interestingly, Halle Berry’s new boyfriend is 35. She’s 51. Is that more socially acceptable because she is still very attractive, so it “makes sense”? Would people be cringing if she wasn’t attractive but still famous and wealthy? Do we cringe more if it’s an older, unattractive women with a younger man than we do when it’s an older, unattractive man with a younger woman because we expect it?

        Also, in my opinion, Ivanka Trump is much more attractive than Jared Kushner.

      2. 8.2.2
        Theodora

        I’ve never said that physical appearance is the only thing that counts when we define “leagues”. On the contrary, I emphasized that leagues are related to what a person (man, in the situation we discuss) considers important. And yes, if a man in the dating market can EASILY find a better replacement than me with the qualities he considers important  – which can be physical, moral, intellectual, etc. – then he’s out of my league. In the same vein, if I can easily find a better replacement with the physical or moral or intellectual qualities I consider important, then I’m out of his league and he’s out of the game.

        Also, the fact that some men never commit (the overwhelming majority will at least try at some point, even most “confirmed bachelors”) is not even relevant to this discussion, because the LW routinely ends up with married men and men in LTRs, so men who already met somebody whom they deemed commitment-worthy. I don’t need to trash her self-esteem when I express my opinion that she should be more realistic, because a woman who willingly accepts the side piece status with nothing in return already has a self-esteem below the sea level.

        Finally and ironically, I think you are the person more prone to trash women’s self-esteen, with glorious advice such us sleep with married men to scratch an itch, because married men are more likely to keep their mouth shut about your moral standing. There’s a saying in my country, “If you are so stubborn to piss against the wind, you will end up pissing on yourself”. It applies mostly to the people so consumed with their wrong ideas that they end up harming themselves. I think that you are so consumed with your hatred and contempt for men that you want women to choke with their own hatred, like you, and to end up harming themselves and other women (the suburban wives whom you despise – why, because they have something you are not able to reach?) and their families in the process. That’s the problem about pissing against the wind, Stacy2.

         

        1. Gala

          I emphasized that leagues are related to what a person

          Whoa… what? what?

          Leagues are absolute and objective, what’s important to that person is relative and subjective. If he can find someone “better” in what important to him he is simply finding a better match for him personally and this has nothing to do with what dating league he is in. To go back to Ivanka – say she refused to convert and Jared doesn’t marry her. Are you saying he is out of her league? Would you advise her to date down (from Jared)? It is absurd. Any person with a pair of eyes understands it is him, in fact, who is objectively out of her league. Just because someone may have a specific thing or criteria important to them or is noncommital for whatever reasons, says nothing about the league the other person is in.

  9. 9
    Malika

    It takes a lot of unpacking to get to the crux of why you open up to men who cannot/ will not give you what you need in a relationship. Give yourself a much needed break from dating and focus on why those patterns occur and how you can go about rewiring yourself. I spent my whole twenties and a big chunk of my thirties pining after men who didn’t want me and in unsatisfying fwb situations where I was constantly waiting for the knight in shining armour. It was only thanks to Evan and a whole lot of introspection that i was able to break it. It is very much possible, but there is no magic pill that will make the patterns go away.

    And i concur with the comments here that say as a woman you should steer clear from chasing men. No man who is really interested is going to be up and down on his feelings for you, or do the disappearing/reappearing/’Gosh i was so busy the past few weeks, but lets meet up now’ bs. What drew me in was men who seemed kinda interested but never bit the bullet and asked me out on a date or kept up a regular pattern of communication with me. I would then do the heavy lifting and become ever more hooked on the fantasy that I had developed about them, while i became a placeholder/emotional comfort blanket while they waited for a better woman to come along. You will feel great power when you are able to say ‘You are a good man, but you cannot give me what i want, so it’s a goodbye from me’.

    1. 9.1
      Marika

      Wise advice Malika. The only thing I would add is that while chasing doesn’t work, I think it’s also important not to overdo ‘do nothing’ and/or to adapt it to your cultural context. As I’m sure you probably did yourself.

      If men wanted/needed women to make no effort at all, Bumble wouldn’t exist. I’ve had many guys say they thought I wasn’t that interested because I was trying to sit back & let them lead. I finally realized that, here anyway, guys need you to show interest by making an effort too even in the early stages. They’re human. They aren’t necessarily wanting to pursue relentlessly with nothing in return. As we see guys on this blog complain about often.

      I always do an intro online if I like a guy. It’s why I love Bumble, as I only communicate with guys I’m interested in who also message me back. I then let them ask me out and go along with any plan they suggest. After that I’m happy to organize the second or third date. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the right way to do things, but it feels wrong to leave it all up to the guy.

      Like Malika I’ve also learned the hard way to pay attention to things like how often they contact me, if they are regular in making plans etc. If it’s patchy or I have to keep checking in, or they talk about things that never happen, it’s not going anywhere.

      So I think it’s a balancing act. Showing interest & making effort is great, but ensuring it’s reciprocated.

      1. 9.1.1
        Malika

        It’s most definitely a balancing act, and i would never advocate The Rules kind of dating whereby you really do absolutely nothing. Men need to know you are enthusiastic and can show initiative, and being very passive can attract the really controlling dudes and i would definitely not recommend that!

        When you are continuously matching up with men who only show lukewarm interest and pursue you while being in a (monogamous) relationship, you need to take a good look in the mirror. I did, and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I realized i giddily and blithely initiated nearly all our meetings and put up with behaviour that no one should put up with. That’s why i advocate to women that end up n these situations to take a step back and give him plenty of room to show interest, as that is when you will be left with the men who are really interested.

         

        1. Marika

          I think you’re absolutely right, and well done for figuring this out, Malika. It isn’t easy.

          Here’s my dilemma, though. I find that I either go crazy waiting and/or spread myself too thin with far less meaningless encounters while waiting to hear from guys I like.

          For instance, last week I had two great dates with a guy I really like and one okay date with a guy I’m pretty ‘meh’ about. I also had a few texts with another guy I haven’t met yet.

          Two- great- dates and I spent 11 hours together on Sunday including a long make out session. Then texting since and I suggested catching up this Friday night (he initiated dates 1 and 2). So now I haven’t had confirmation from him and it’s Thursday and I sooo want to contact him to follow up, but I know I have to step back a bit – I made the suggestion about Friday and he needs to let me know. It also feels a bit like he’s pulling back somewhat, but that could be my imagination. To take my mind off him, I’m texting back one of the other guys , but my heart isn’t in it.

          I also considered going online to chat to other guys last night in the meantime – but then the cycle of non-meaningful interaction continues. And I feel like I’m using the other guys.

          That’s the hard part about the waiting game for me. If I know he’s no longer interested for whatever reason, it’s an ego-bruise, but I can deal. It’s not knowing that’s so frustrating!

        2. Malika

          That does sound very tiring. Dating is not for the faint hearted, indeed. Meh date doesn’t sound like it’s getting a second round. At least that is clear. This other guy seems to need some time to let the situation unfold.

          It does take oodles of patience and sitting on your hands to avoid apping him yet again in order to get to that ‘do nothing’ ideal that Evan expounds. After a couple of mishaps where i felt i was being unfair to the men i disappointed, i decided not to go the multiple dates route if i met one i really clicked with. It’s advocated to date multiple men but once i am attracted to a man, i have no eyes for other men. That has stopped the spreading myself thin. But I do suss out way earlier than i ever did before what the intentions of ‘the one’ are, and act accordingly. The experience of the past couple of years has shown that men show their hand quickly (usually within a month), and that i am not wasting months on a dating situation that is going nowhere, if only i hold back a little bit and give him lots of room.

          It sounds like you are doing that right now, and i hope he shows you the attention and consistency you so wish. Otherwise you can cut him loose and join us at square one for yet more dating adventures in 2018.

      2. 9.1.2
        Anon

        Why did everyone ignore Theodora’s comment?🙃

  10. 10
    Marika

    Thanks Malika.

    Yes, I’m like you. It’s better for me to concentrate on one man I really like, but make sure not to do all the heavy lifting. Men do seem better at seeing things more clearly and not getting all carried away. At least the ones I’m attracted to!

    I ended up texting two great dates just a private joke yesterday. And lo and behold, last night became great date no. 3! I can see myself picking out China patterns in my head though, so definitely need a strong chill -pill & give myself a talking to.

    When you say join us, did things not work out with your beau you spoke of some months ago?

    1. 10.1
      Malika

      Unfortunately not! I saw incompatibility issues early on that would have meant serious trouble further down the road. As he started talking about holidays and moving in further down the road, and i saw that i could not live up to the inherent promise that i was going to embark on a LTR with him, i decided to be honest and call it a day. It sucked because i was THIS close to what i wanted, but it wasn’t meant to be.

      It was a lovely experience while it lasted though and it cemented the realization that i really needed to lean back. He said he loved that i was relaxed during our dating phase and liked the fact that i was enthusiastic yet clearly had my own life. He had never felt so non-smothered by a woman who was obviously keen on him. Ergo, Evan’s advice works wonders! And you and all the other commenters that are fixtures over here are an inmense help too. Whether i have agreed with them or not, everybody has deepened my knowledge of the dating world and how women can relate to men and vice versa.

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