Should I Stay With My Boyfriend If He’s a Pick-Up Artist?

Should I Stay With My Boyfriend If He's A Pick-up Artist?

Hello Evan,

I’ve been exclusively dating a nice guy for almost eight months now. We’ve had good times together and he is always there for me when I need him. The thing is, before he met me, he was very promiscuous. (I don’t have a lot of dating experience.) He’s very into how men attract women and how they market themselves on the dating scene. When we watch movies with a relationship plotline, he takes care to tell me what the man is doing right/wrong. He wishes to have a motivational speaking career or a relationship counseling career when he graduates.

What bothers me is that he wants to teach guys how to attract women. The worst thing is that he says he wants to practice picking up women and getting numbers in order to be able to teach them. He says he’s not going to use the numbers or anything but he wants to practice so he can teach others and so he gains credibility as an attraction expert. He asked me if that was OK with me. I’m not stupid, and this bothers me a lot. He’s told me that he’s not going to do it since it bothers me, but this is the 3rd time he’s asked this question. He told me not to tell my friends that he asked the question, because they would probably think it was weird. I want to know how or IF I can get him to curb his flirtatious ways.  I’ve explained to him how important it is to me but he doesn’t seem to get it. I want our relationship to work. Is he just not a one-woman man?

Jen

Wow, Jen. This is a question that could NOT have been asked five years ago.

Suddenly, lifetime virgins realize that all it takes to have a little “game” is a decent opening line and the confidence to fail. It’s a lesson, frankly, that EVERYBODY should learn. If only more people were as proactive as the PUAs, there’d be a lot more action and a lot less complaining out there.

Thanks to the emergence of the pick-up artist (PUA) community, there’s an entire subculture devoted to the very pursuits that fascinate your boyfriend. And, really, it IS fascinating, from a psychological perspective. A group of socially awkward men have learned, through trial and error, the SCIENCE of attracting women. In order to arrive at these techniques, they go out frequently to refine what works and what doesn’t, before reporting back to their online communities.

Pathetic? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.

Suddenly, lifetime virgins realize that all it takes to have a little “game” is a decent opening line and the confidence to fail. It’s a lesson, frankly, that EVERYBODY should learn. If only more people were as proactive as the PUAs, there’d be a lot more action and a lot less complaining out there. Of course, the problem is that some men turn this pursuit into a sport, a hobby and an obsession all rolled into one. And if you’re the girlfriend of one of these guys, watch out. It’s hard to feel secure when your boyfriend is picking up on other women, if only to further his “career”…

You describe your boyfriend as a “nice guy.” Some readers might be skeptical, but I believe you, if only because I’m also a “nice guy” who found a career as a dating coach. I’m fascinated with male-female dynamics and the universality of all these dating questions, and can talk about it endlessly with whomever will listen.

But what’s different about what I do and what your boyfriend wants to do is this:

I’ve dated a few hundred people, written a couple of books, and coached thousands of people to dating success. If I never go on another date or see the inside of a club again, I would be THRILLED.

Timing is everything when it comes to relationships.

Your boyfriend, in order to be taken seriously as an expert, still feels that he has to do “field work.” His journey is just beginning. And while he cares about you, he’s equally passionate about his new “career.” That creates a push/pull dynamic that is not going away any time soon. If he stops his pursuit of pick-up artist mastery, he will feel resentful of you. If he continues – even if it’s genuinely in the spirit of research – you’ll feel resentful of him. Either way, one of you is making a sizable compromise that you don’t really want to make.

Which is why it’s hard to feel optimistic for you, Jen. Timing is everything when it comes to relationships. Catch this same guy in a few years and maybe he’s burnt out on The Game. But for now, he seems intent on trying to have his cake and eat it, too. Thus, you have two choices: stick around and trust that, in fact, everything your boyfriend is doing is purely research for his career, or get the hell out.

Before you do either of those things, I’d suggest a real heart-to-heart. No woman wants to make a man choose between her and a career, but few women are confronted with a career that is so very threatening. Perhaps there’s a third path where he can continue to grow his relationship skills (like, say, having a dating blog) without being a PUA. If so, I hope you guys can find a good compromise. Let us know.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Steve

    Jan;

    There is nothing wrong with what your boyfriend is about except for:

    What bothers me is that he wants to teach guys how to attract women. The worst thing is that he says he wants to practice picking up women and getting numbers in order to be able to teach them

    and


    but this is the 3rd time he’s asked this question. He told me not to tell my friends

    The fact that he is continuing to ask you, I think, means that he isn’t going to give up on his avocation and career aspirations.

  2. 2
    Steve


    I’ve dated a few hundred people, written a couple of books, and coached thousands of people to dating success. If I never go on another date or see the inside of a club again, I would be THRILLED.

    LOL! I feel that way and I only dated a few dozen people :-)

  3. 3
    Steve

    I’m not endorsing PUAs nor am I busting Evan’s chops but


    they go out frequently to refine what works and what doesn’t, before reporting back to their online communities.
    Pathetic? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.

    Isn’t that what non “socially awkward” men do while they are growing up. PUAs just seem to be doing it later in life. Even it isn’t it doesn’t seem that different from women experimenting with different looks and comparing notes with their friends on how to handle men to get/keep better social lives.

  4. 5
    Lance

    C’mon Evan, you’re totally off on this. You know I love ya though.

    Many of the PUA instructors have serious girlfriends and are in monogamous relationships. AFC Adam, Tyler Durden, Style, Mystery, etc etc. Once you have the skills and the knowledge, it becomes EASIER, not harder, to separate yourself from your work (teaching social skills). Why? Because you know the ins and outs of attraction and frankly you’re better equipped to handle a LTR. If the writer’s bf were simply a skeezy player, then I’d be worried, but since he’s serious about growing a business and teaching other guys, he’s GOLD. Seriously, this guy is a major catch. Notice that the girl isn’t knocking the bf as a partner or man; she’s actually complimentary of him.

    Further, several of the instructors have gf’s that they taught attraction science, then had them join the company as other instructors!! So now your gf is helping other guys improve their social lives. It’s win-win.

    The true issue here is the security of Jen. She’s worried that he’ll mess around, which he won’t. This is easy to fix…she simply needs to go out with him in the field and work as a pivot. They’d have a blast and it would them grow together. Problem solved.

    Lastly, there’s very little difference between what you do and what a PUA does. You’re both teaching people how to attract mates, only the tools and venues are different.

  5. 6
    Selena

    “The worst thing is that he says he wants to practice picking up women and getting numbers in order to be able to teach them. He says he’s not going to use the numbers or anything but he wants to practice so he can teach others and so he gains credibility as an attraction expert.”

    Women just love guys who come on to them, get their numbers and never call. Oh yeah. Great research project if you don’t care who you might hurt. Frankly Jen, I’d be skeptical of your fellow’s morals. Does he have something against following a traditional educational path in psychology to become a relationship counselor? What your guy is calling ‘research’ doesn’t seem legitimate for someone claiming to be in a serious relationship. You’d probably be better off catching up with him when he’s done with the research part of his self-styled program. If you were still interested.

  6. 7
    Kevin (ReturnToManliness)

    @Lance…this IS awesome….I love it…

    I think his wanting to increase his skills is great. You wouldn’t want him to stop going to the gym and looking good, so why would him wanting to increase his flirting skill set bother you. I would think you want to him to continue his flirtatious ways with you forever – if you and he are the real deal. And if you are the real deal, you have nothing to worry about.

    I would NEVER cheat on my wife, but she enjoys that I have great interpersonal skills and want to help others. The PUA is just as overrated as anything. It always comes down to the individual and how they intend to use their skills and share them with others. I’m all for it, but that being said, you should always keep an eye on the situation. Men are not that complicated. We love the chase…it injects life into us…

  7. 8
    Chris

    Steve is absolutely right in his comment on the PUAs being like women who analyse how they can influence their “market value”. I remember David DeAngelo, renound PUA, say something close to:

    “Women have ‘The Rules’ (a book by Fein/Schneider), men have no clue.”

    Mather of fact, virtually all PUAs are men that suffered from their strictly logical thinking before they entered the pickup community. Considering the transcript, social interaction is mostly nothing but superfluent repetitions of ever the same. Nothing ingenious, barely guided by logic and lacking structure. So they’re stuck. In addition, asking people how they would like to be interacted with is not getting anywhere, because people aren’t truely awere of their motives. (Critically acclaimed psychologist McClelland actually proofed the latter.)

    Instead of playing the painful game of social pinball and finding the Do’s and Don’ts the hard way, most man would resign and/or hope for a miracle. I personally believe this to be the reason why most married people met their partner at the workplace. They just didn’t go anywhere else and as coworkers you can’t help but to get to know each other.

    No Hope? Not nowadays where the pickup community figuered out the hidden rules of social interactions. It all makes sense now and it all follows LOGICAL rules so the once awkward logical brainers can digest it. I myself just can’t stop exploiting every resource on the topic. Why? Because of the epiphanies, because of understanding the elusive obvious! It was all there, right in front of me, but I just couldn’t understand and wouldn’t participate because I many bad experiences made me think I couldn’t handle it.

    So whether the whole pickup science is right or wrong, it gives its ambitioned students structure, plot and detailed how-to on socializing and it works.

    But wait. WARNING: Even members of the pickup comunity critically report a strange bias towards promiscuity and a kindalike pickup sport whitout any deeper meaning.

    So Jen, after all it’s still up to you. PUAs are true saviors in their teaching and if you’re the first girl to get him and keep him that long, he definitly has soemthing going for you more than for every other woman before and those certainly were high caliber as well. On the other hand, doubt ist reasonable.

  8. 9
    JuJu

    I dunno… I personally wouldn’t want to be with the guy just because this preoccupation says so much about his maturity, enlightenment, and intellectual level.

  9. 10
    Steve

    Lance;
    Post #5, very interesting. However, even if I felt 100% sure that gf would never cheat on me it would still rub me the wrong way knowing that she was out practicing how to pick up men.

  10. 11
    Steve

    I’m not a PUA nor am I likely to be. I did read “The Game” after reading Evan’s article on it several months ago. It is the article he linked to in the post above. Neil Strauss was a professional writer and his skills show in the book. There is so much you can say about the book, but I thought Evan hit the nail on the head with one haiku-like line

    Women will find it distasteful but fascinating. Men will find it fascinating but distasteful.

    I also thought this quote, in this article was fantastic. A lot can and should be said on the subject other than just this quote, but it boils down to this for everyone male or female

    all it takes to have a little game is a decent opening line and the confidence to fail.

  11. 12
    JuJu

    Seriously, the more I think about this, the more it puzzles me: why would anyone want to be with a pickup artist, period, regardless of what he does in his spare time?

    Really, it’s one thing to just practice the act, it’s quite another to actually explain it in detail to one’s existing girlfriend. This is some compromising information about oneself.

    You know what message constructing all these algorithms sends to the female brain? If he has to analyze human sexual behavior so and make a science of it in order to have some semblance of success with the opposite sex, THIS IS ONE UNDESIRABLE MALE.

    This is all coming from someone not in the least concerned with her partner’s “rung” in the animal hierarchy, mind you.

  12. 13
    $Francisco

    I’m with Evan on this one, wrong place and time. Too bad this guy isn’t at a level where he can teach other guys, watch THEM in the field and tell them what they’ve done wrong. The guy could even accompany him as a wingman without needing to get women’s phone numbers at all. Better yet, he could teach PUA wannabees how to have a viable relationship after meeting the right girl. There’s so many options which could work without taking his relationship for granted. Hell, he could ask his girl to help him by going out to a club and allow random guys to flirt with her and attempt to pick her up. She can report on her finding. Don’t laugh, he could agree to it; REALLY! *snicker*

  13. 14
    A-L

    I’ve got two questions.

    Do you trust the guy? If you trust him, then you should trust him even if he’s spending the summer at the Playboy Mansion.

    Secondly, how many women have issues dating plastic surgeons? These are men who see and create the perfect female body, all day, and yet I don’t think they have a problem finding a girlfriend or wife. I would have more of an issue dating a plastic surgeon because I’d probably feel as though he was always mentally critiquing my body, whereas this PUA stuff is really just increasing one’s comfort/skills.

    At the same time, I can understand the awkwardness about your boyfriend constantly trying to pick up women, but the bottom line is trust. If you don’t trust him, don’t stay with him.

  14. 15
    Selena

    Steve,
    Practicing how to pick up men? What an odd notion. I don’t know any women for whom that idea has ever occured. If we want to actually pick up men we don’t practice. We buy a new outfit or two and consider changing our hair.

    And yeah, I like Evan’s summation too: “all it takes to have a little game is a decent opening line and the confidence to fail.” Maybe that actually can be taught, but it seems catagorically different than collecting phone numbers purely for sport. Perhaps leaving a wake of women wondering what happened, what they did wrong and writing to Evan about it.

  15. 16
    Lance

    You people are going to hurt my feelings :(

    @Francisco: High level instructors do exactly what you’re describing. If the bf is honorable, they can make this work. Again, an easy solution is to have them go in tandem and practice gaming at the same time…she could be part of the business as an instructor. It would be a blast.

    Would you be bashing Jen’s bf is he said he simply wanted to be a “dating coach?” The difference between EMK and David Wygant and a PUA instructor are semantics. They’re all dealing in attraction. The all got their skills in similar ways. The potential for abuse is there with all of those guys. EMK does online game and the PUA’s focus on bars. EMK has a skillset that he COULD use to attract a zillion chicks, but he doesn’t, and his gf trusts him (I assume). You should give this dude the benefit of a doubt.

  16. 17
    Hot Alpha Female

    Man i love this topic. N I’m totally with Lance on this one.

    I think that PUA’s are actually really great guys. Usually they are guys that have been frustrated in the past and have actually gotten off their butt to do something about it.

    Jen: I dont really see what your boyfriend wants to do by expanding his career like that … is a problem.

    I think that if he really wanted to get back out there .. that he could and he would.

    He is with you for a reason. If he is as good as he thinks and says that he is .. then he wouldn’t need to string you along. So i dont think that he is.

    But i do think that he enjoys this area and he wants to expand on that and as a girlfriend you have to respect that.

    Why dont you see how it goes after he tries it for a while? At the end of the day it comes down to trust. DO you trust him not to cross the line? Or is it that you are just feeling a little insecure about the women that he meets.

    At the end of the day .. you have got to remember that you are fabulous and he is with you for a reason ….

    Hot Alpha Female

    http://www.hotalphafemale.blogspot.com

  17. 18
    Selena

    Lance,
    What I get out of Evan’s work is that he strives to foster understanding between the genders–through Honesty. This is different from a man in a serious relationship who goes out to collect phone numbers from women with no intention of follow through simply to prove it can be done. Where is the honesty in that?

    In fact, it would seem likely to have the effect of making women MORE skeptical about men’s sincerity, honesty and integrity–reinforcing the belief that ALL men are shallow, players, and pigs. Where is the percentage in that for the hopeful guys out there hoping to improve their social skills enough to get a date and eventually a real relationship? Might they get dismissed by being lumped into an aribtrary negative catagory because of ‘other’ guys?

    Not to hurt your feelings Lance, but aren’t you really about dating casually and having sex buddies at this stage in your life rather than a monogamous relationship?

    Fransico’s ideas are intriguing. If Jen’s bf really wanted to help the socially inept he could have them practice on picking up Jen. She would likely be much more valuable at pointing out what the guys were doing either right or wrong when it came to social interaction with women than he would.

  18. 19
    Mike Stoute

    Hmm. Is it just a coincidence that I was at a boot camp this past weekend hanging out with a Guru AFC Adam (for promotion purposes and to film video) and my girlfriend “Jenn” broke up with me?

    This sounds too close to home. If this is you jenn, you definitely jumped to conclusions and I am sorry that this whole thing is too much for you. It all comes down to you trusting me. I can’t make someone trust me; they have to have a little faith. Maybe you are not strong enough as you said to me in a text, that really sucks. :( Another thing, I don’t go out and get numbers, I just went out and worked with his students to help them feel more comfortable in the scene.

    Maybe this isn’t you Jenn, but if it is, I feel you made a mistake..

    Just so everyone knows, I am a great man and boyfriend. Even my friends were shocked at this whole thing. As they said, “Your better than most guys who are perceived as “awesome boyfriends”.
    Such a shame.. :(

  19. 20
    Mike Stoute

    Excuse my grammar..

    You’re better than most guys who are perceived as awesome boyfriends.

  20. 21
    Cathouse Teri

    It is not even remotely attractive to me that a man would want to go out and do field work to learn how to attract a woman. To get numbers and never use them. To use women as specimens and see them as marketing tools. To view the dating scene as a place to gather information and strategies. I see a huge difference between how Evan presents his theories and how this man wants to go out and develop theories. Evan was dating and he was serious about it. He shares his genuine experiences with others. This man is treating it as a game. He is purposely going out to create different environments so he can teach men how to be successful with women. I tell you what. This man would not be successful with me. It’s his character that concerns me. And how he views women and the potential union with them. I also believe he wants to have his cake and eat it too. I would never encourage him to pursue this avenue and line of thinking and would definitely not get seriously involved with him. This, to me, is a very unhealthy path.

  21. 22
    Mike Stoute

    It’s about teaching social skills, not ploys for getting laid. If you read our site you will quickly see that although we make jokes and are content is sometimes racy, our articles are real and totally geared towards being a better person and man in life.

  22. 23
    Evan Marc Katz

    To Mike and any other PUA’s reading this…

    It’s not the content that is so abhorrent to most people – it’s the goal of the content. For example, I clicked on Mike’s site to see if, in fact, he was being straight with me. He was. Kind of.

    The first article I saw was in a section called Pick Up and Seduction and was called How to Talk a Woman into Bed.

    Sleazy title. No two ways about it. Any woman looking at that is going to feel like an object, not a person. Yet the advice itself, as many PUA’s have pointed out, is pretty solid, and is not necessarily all that different than the advice I would give to men.

    I just give it with a different goal in mind. I try to help men understand women to give them the greatest opportunity to have a relationship. PUAs speak to their audience, which often focuses on the act of getting laid.

    Now, to be clear, getting laid is part of the process of looking for a relationship. Date around long enough, you’ll get some practice. I just think it’s important to focus on the long-term goal. Some readers of that PUA material are really just nice shy guys who need a helping hand in understanding how to connect with a woman. The problem is when it becomes inauthentic – canned lines, NLP, and technique. Then you’re playing the role of a man, not really being your best self. If everything you do is calculated to achieve a result, where do you exist and the pick-up artist end?

    These are things to think about.

    So, in all, PUA’s (like my friend Lance) are not universally bad guys. However, when the ulterior motive (sex) trumps anything relationship oriented (as it does when the title is How to Talk a Woman Into Bed), it’s pretty hard to make a strong endorsement of it – no matter how wise the advice may be.

    EMK

  23. 24
    JB

    Out of curiosity Mike, how old are you & Jen ? It might help to know for perspective. Yes, age does matter for maturity purposes.
    Also it sounds like you may be a bit too young and aren’t really ready to be in a committed relationship. I’ve never tried it but it’s gotta be tough practicing “pick-up” while being IN a relationship.

    I’m in my 40′s, never married and have been meeting women for 30 yrs. I’ve studied everything in the community on BOTH sides including Christian Carter’s stuff just so I could learn and gain more knowledge. I’m not, nor do consider myself a “pick up artist”.
    I enjoy meeting women and strive to have healthy relationships. I don’t tell women everything I’ve watched or read and know about.
    If they asked me I’d be more than happy to tell them that I love learning about men,women and relationships and why people do what they do. That’s all. Like was said here before,many in the community are happy,healthy sharp guys who have successful committed realtionships who just wanted to learn why things are the way they are. And I’m not talking about the Guru’s,teachers etc…I’m talking about the rest of us who just like to learn different opinions etc..

    I do agree with Selena and other’s who said going out and getting phone numbers just for sport or for your statistics is just WRONG.
    Noone deserves deception and you asking or taking a women’s phone number to “see if you can get it” leads them on and may hurt them. ie: “One more guy that took my number and didn’t call”
    Thus ruining it for the next guy who may really be interested.

  24. 25
    Lance

    @Selena: You pointed out a pretty good hole in my argument and also a potential issue with Jen’s bf. Going out and harvesting numbers just for the sake of getting numbers with no intention of using them is indeed a negative. It pisses her off and has the unfortunate side effect of conditioning her to NOT give her number out to future suitors. So, good point.

    I do not go out and harvest numbers, for the most part. I go out and socialize with pretty much everyone, guys and girls, beautiful or “ugly,” with no attachment to the outcome. If I do happen across an attractive gal and we do exchange contact info, then I
    would have every intention of calling her. I’m to the point now where I don’t even ask for numbers…I’ll wait until she asks me. That way, I know it’s truly on and that we’re on the same page. Jen’s bf would get to this same point after a certain number of approaches and interactions. But he still needs to do the field work to be a legitimate dating coach.

    We’re sort of talking about me now and not Jen’s bf, but yes I’m in a casual dating mode at the moment. If I was in an LTR, I would have zero problem separating out my field work from my relationship. My gf could rest assured that she’s dating an emotionally secure, experienced, and confident dude. I wouldn’t cheat on her, even if I socialized with an amazingly hot women who waved sex in my face. Why? Because I’ve conditioned myself to not be affected by physical beauty because I’ve seen so much it. Can any of the “regular” guys out there say that?

    @cathouse: You’ve stated on my blog that you’ve had a large number of sexual partners, far more than the average population. In my book, that makes you a “player,” and you’ve likely spent a large amount of time in field getting these partners. In bars and whatnot. You could, if you wanted, offer dating advice because of your extraordinary experiences. How much different is that from Jen’s bf? At least the end goal for him is to grow a business and help others, which I find very honorable. BTW, I’ve got no problem female players or women who sleep with a lot of dudes. In fact, I kind of like it.

  25. 26
    Mike Stoute

    EMK,

    Maybe you should have read more than the title:
    How to Talk Women into Bed by Ross Jeffries

    TSB Magazine is a portal, not a personal blog.. We are journalists in the industry. The articles that are written by myself and Bobby generally involve our crazy hook-up stories, and our thoughts of being a better man.
    In fact if you listen a recent radio show we did with the author of the post you reference you will see how much our styles clashed and how we don’t like him either.

    It is content in our industry and we do cover it.

    I think it would be wrong of me to assume you like BBW’s and are a regular user on Adult Friend Finder because you promote them, no?

    Not that I don’t like BBW’s ;)

  26. 29
    Steve

    Evan Marc Katz Jun 20th 2008 at 09:16 am 23
    To Mike and any other PUA s reading this
    It’s not the content that is so abhorrent to most people – it’s the goal of the content.

    I disagree. I think where PUAs go wrong is with their presentation, not their goals. Nobody likes article titles like “how to talk a woman into bed” but women want sex too. There are even a number of women who want casual sex. Women also want to have fun conversations with confident tactful men when they go out. It seems that is just what *most* of these guys teach, they just wrap it in adolescent language.

  27. 30
    Evan Marc Katz

    Not the best argument, Mike. Linking to every available online dating site is not tantamount to promoting them.

    Say what you will about your clashes with Ross Jeffries, but if you’re posting his material on your website, there’s a tacit endorsement of him. On the other hand, I can assure you there will never be any Ross Jeffries material on here. If I can’t stand by it as healthy for my readership, it’s not appropriate for this blog.

    I’m not saying you’re a bad guy or pick up artists are all bad guys; rather, I’m saying that anything entitled “How to Seduce Women Into Bed” is focused on the wrong motives.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. There’s plenty of room out there for all of us in the advice industry. I just choose to consort with people out for relationships, that’s all.

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