Men Are Honest. You’re Just Not Listening.

I take my job as your personal trainer for love very seriously.

I try to honor and respect every woman who reads my emails and offer advice that is honest but not too brutal.

But I have to admit, from time to time, I get an email that makes me roll my eyes.

The most recent one was as mercifully short as it was inane. All it said was this:

“What does it mean when a man says he doesn’t want a relationship with you?”

To the best of my knowledge, this email was not a joke, but it had me thinking about other obvious questions that had only one possible answer.

“What does she mean when she says she’s not at all attracted to me?”

“What does she mean when she says she’s been faking her orgasms with me?”

“What does she mean when she says she’d rather jump out of a moving car than go out on another date with me?”

Now, to be fair, most women don’t give men such rude, point-blank answers.

What do you actually do instead?

You want to see where you stand with a man? Don’t pay attention to how hot your date was. Pay attention to how he handles himself in the next 24-48 hours.

You don’t return his calls in a timely fashion.

You date other men until you find one you like better.

You may go out with him again, but you’re not all that into it.

In short, to keep the peace and avoid conflict, you either do the slow fade (not calling him back immediately), or you continue to see him with reservations about your attraction and excitement.

Are you lying to him? Are you trying to hurt him? Are you a commitmentphobe who has no interest in marriage? Are you fickle and always looking for someone better?

I’m guessing the answer is no to all of the above.

Same with us. Except you have trouble seeing that.

Face it:

Men don’t have to say “I love you” to get you in bed.

Men don’t have to commit to you to get you in bed.

All men have to do to get you in bed is be cute, funny, tall, smart, and successful.

And if that’s the case, and we sleep with you based on attraction alone, regardless of whether we have actual FEELINGS for you, it tends to get a little dicey.

This is not me DEFENDING men; this is me, EXPLAINING men.

Listen, we’re just as shocked as you are when you sleep with us on a second date.

But, as you know, this doesn’t mean we want a relationship with you. It just means that we were having fun, we were tipsy, we took a chance, and we scored.

You want to see where you stand with a man? Don’t pay attention to how hot your date was. Pay attention to how he handles himself in the next 24-48 hours.

Understand that unless he REALLY likes you, the second you leave, he’s thinking about how he can get out of this.

If there have been no phone calls or dates where he takes you out and spends quality time (and money) on you, guess what?

You’re the booty call.

Understand that he DOESN’T want to hurt you.

Understand that he DOESN’T want you to fall in love with him.

Understand that he DOES want to keep sleeping with you because it’s in HIS self-interest.

And understand that everything he does next is designed to keep you INTERESTED in him without allowing you to fall in LOVE with him.

If he’s excited about you and wants you to be his girlfriend, he’ll call you the next day to say, “I had fun, when can I take you out to dinner this week?”

If he’s already planning his exit strategy, he’s not going to say, “I think we made a mistake. Good luck in life.” He’s more likely going to do something like this:

• A one-line text to follow up.
• A few days of silence afterwards because he doesn’t want you to get attached.
• Another text a few days later to say he’s thinking of you, but he’s been busy.
• A text a week later at 9pm to ask what you’re doing right now.

If there have been no phone calls or dates where he takes you out and spends quality time (and money) on you, guess what?

You’re the booty call.

And your guy is trying to find that delicate balance of keeping you in his life without you falling hard for him.

This is why I’m saying that men are being honest with you.

He’s not talking about meeting your family.
He’s not talking about taking you away to Paris.
He’s not talking about the names of your kids.
He’s not talking about love and marriage.
Hell, he’s not even talking about dinner and a movie!

He’s mostly keeping in touch with texts and hoping that you coast on your attraction to him without ever second guessing his lack of effort.

He hasn’t lied to you. He hasn’t promised you anything. He hasn’t done anything after sleeping with you that indicates that he’s serious about you.

So, reward this kind man for trying to protect your feelings by…

CUTTING HIM OFF ENTIRELY.

“It’s been fun knowing you, Dan, but I’m looking for a boyfriend, not a sexting buddy. Best of luck in the future.”

He’ll do one of two things:

1) Pick up the phone and call you because you have a burgeoning relationship that’s worth preserving and he can’t stand to let you go.

Or, in all likelihood…

2) He’ll text you, “That sux! Too bad. I understand though. Good luck to you!”

Really, men don’t want to hurt you. Just like you don’t want to hurt them.

So stop blaming them for sleeping with and texting you.

If you start listening to their silences, you can finally hear the whole truth.

438
174

Join 5 Million Readers

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

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

Join our conversation (228 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 31
    Dagaz

    @Karl R, #19
    bravo))
    agree to every word.
    as Bob Marley said:

    “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

  2. 32
    hespeler

    Androdynous #32

    Great post!  I agree with every word.

  3. 33
    Anonymous

    Evan, I’m a lesbian and I can’t thank you enough for this article. I just got out of a 1 year relationship with a wonderful woman who for so many reasons (her first ever relationship, was not out yet, unhealed childhood wounds, etc) had all these walls up. It wasn’t a matter of me being a booty call, because we WERE genuinely in love and totally respect each other, but there were just these other things that had to be addressed and dealt with before we could move forward. Those signs that you mentioned were there that showed me how unimportant I was to her. She didn’t spend the Holidays with me, didn’t seem to mind if we didn’t speak everyday and making quality time for dates and intimacy just didn’t seem like a priority for her even after almost a year together. She would use the old ‘I was so busy at work’ excuse. So it’s possible that a person can be wonderful and love you, but still be unwilling or unable to really give the relationship what it needs to thrive. I was more than a booty call, but she was unwilling or unable to step up and I’m so glad I know this now. I knew she was committed to monogamy, but not committed to the relationship like a growing sacred union. She would do just enough work to keep me. There was a lot of push and pull. She had trust issues and tested me constantly. She could turn the most innocent interaction into some type of betrayal where she was the victim. She was so afraid to love fully, not just me, but anyone. I know she didn’t want to hurt me, but she wasn’t up for the next level and as hard as it was to have it end, I’m glad I know the truth. Because I had questions. I saw signs, there were clues. I asked her and she always swore I was important but those little things just weren’t there. Maybe our destiny is to be friends or maybe our time of knowing each other is over. I don’t know. She broke up with me in such an angry, unkind and demeaning way that we are not speaking and I am not chasing her. But thanks for validating the questions I was having throughout. My heart is devastated and broken, but I’m so glad I know.

    1. 33.1
      rachel

      This describes EXACTLY what I just went through with a boyfriend. Such a tricky situation but I’m glad you figured it out :) 

  4. 34
    Dagaz

    @Evan :
    i knew you will ask those questions))
    ok.
    first marriage was for 8+ years, wonderful child, my ex is a good guy, we just grew in very different directions, i didn’t want to hold both of us in stalling(though quite good marriage) and eventually broke up with him.
    we’ve got married a bit over a year after our first date.
    my second marriage was 3 years, my ex#2 simply couldn’t adapt himself living in US as an immigrant (it’s really hard, by the way), and i cut him loose) 
    we’ve got married 2 years after our first date (he was going through divorce first)
    both my exes didn’t want to end marriages, it’s toward your possible question).
     

    1. 34.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      And without knowing anything about you, Dagaz, I would submit that if you didn’t get married so fast, you could have learned what kind of partner those men would be. The speed of rushing into bed and the speed of marriage is correlated to the inevitable divorce, in my opinion. You’d know better, but I always encourage for women to wait for exclusivity for sex and to wait at least two years before getting engaged…

  5. 35
    Amanda Morrison

    Evan, I know you are married, but I’m in love with you for this blog! It succinctly resolved the nagging thoughts have had for the past 2 years with my long distance, work a holic, non-boyfriend. He made it sound so good… he’s too busy for a relationship ‘now’ and works so much he’s not dating anyone else, so I was his ‘fantasy girl’ and ‘the hottest he’d ever been with.’ I chose flattery over sanity and found myself in a constant emotional mess. Which was great because then I had to listen to him say ‘how could I want a relationship with someone so emotional. let’s just have fun because I’m so attracted to you.’

    The good news is, I’m awake now. And this blog is a perfect reminder of why I won’t godown that road again. I don’t blame him or me. It was the most valuable learning experience for showing me what I want!

    Thanks again for the great blog!!!
    -Amanda

  6. 36
    Karl R

    Emma said: (#27)
    “How do you word it to a guy that you want exclusivity/commitment first before sex without it coming off as an ultimatum?”

    I’ve never had to say it to a guy before.

    However, when I was bringing up the topic with women, I’d usually wait until a conversation had gotten on the topic of sex for other reasons. As part of the conversation, I’d mention that I had slept around a bit when I was younger, but I’d decided that didn’t particularly appeal to me. Since then, I had decided to only have sex within exclusive relationships.

    I would also mention that I’d been able to stick to that decision with almost every girlfriend since then. (Even though I didn’t place any additional stress on the word “almost,” every woman picked up on it. This was part of my intent. It subtly implied that sex didn’t imply exclusivity … just in case she ended up being another exception. It also made me seem nonjudgmental of people who didn’t necessarily wait for exclusivity.)

    Dagaz said: (#33)
    “chris60 mentioned correctly: it doesn’t matter, at all, for how the relationship will unfold in the future.”

    I would say that’s partially true. There are some exceptions, but in most cases, waiting for exclusivity neither increases nor deacreses the chance of the relationship succeeding in the long run.

    On the other hand, it decreases the number of dates you have sex with.

    1. A lot of men and women get more hurt/upset if they’re dumped by someone who they’ve had sex with. This way, they’re dumped before they have sex.

    2. A lot of women (and some men) don’t like being used as a regular booty call. If someone was considering using you for sex, they’ll move on and find someone who doesn’t require exclusivity.

    3. A lot of men and women get upset if their partner is having sex with multiple partners. They feel cheated on, even if there was no agreement of exclusivity. If you wait until there’s explicit exclusivity, you avoid this misunderstanding.

    4. Some men and women assume that a relationship is serious or exclusive because there was sex. If you wait until it is, you avoid that misunderstanding.

    5. A lot of men and women have their decision-making clouded by great sex. If their judgment is impaired, they’re more likely to overlook toxic behavior in a relationship that they would otherwise run from.

    That’s five different ways in which you can potentially decrease the likelihood of being hurt, or decrease the amount of pain felt.

  7. 37
    nathan

    Evan, how is 1-2 years after first meeting rushing? First date sex often is usually not the best approach to developing long term relationships, and I’d agree with your cautions against it in your dating practice. However, I don’t agree that Dagaz rushed into getting married. I doubt waiting another year would have prevented her from getting married to either of her ex’s. Sometimes, it takes some serious mistakes to learn how to read people better, and choose more wisely.
    I do disagree with Dagaz’ statement that “it doesn’t matter” when it comes to sex. Many of us need to make more conscious decisions around sexual intimacy, and usually that means waiting longer than a couple of dates. However, it also makes a major difference how the person enters your life, how long you’ve known them before, and also what contexts you’ve seen them interacting in. Meeting a stranger from an online dating site is much different from being introduced to a good friend of a friend, for example. 
     
     

    1. 37.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Nathan: The “attraction” phase of love lasts for 1 1/2 to 3 years. That’s when you’re still riding the dopamine and serotonin high, and are often willing to overlook bad behaviors. It’s when people are still caught in the haze of being “in love” and haven’t stopped to contemplate whether they can really live together, can deal with the mundane day to day things, the decrease in sex drive, the bad moods, the financial woes, the illnesses, the family obligations. I sincerely feel the relationships that are the safest bet to endure are the ones where they spent 2-3 years before getting engaged, not ones where they get married before 2 years and then are shocked to find out that they’re incompatible for the next thirty years.

      1. 37.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        This sounds like my story EXACTLY. Married when we were still flying high on that new love buzz. I must admit, I had a BLISSFUL first five or so years. (new baby was second wave of brain chemical induced euphoria) but now as I sit here in the tattered remains of the marriage (D to be final next month ! Yay !) I really do wonder what I ever saw in him. I call him my fair weather husband, we had the bad moods, illnesses and family obligations (bad moods caused mainly by family obligations). He was all to glad to lean on my shoulder when his parents passed away, when he was ill, or accept comfort from me when he was in a bad mood due to work. However, whenever our son or I got ill, we got nothing from him but scorn and derision. When my mother took ten years to die & I took it hard, he said he resented my family for “taking away his wife” If I had seen THAT side of him, during dating, I would run for the hills. I should have run for the hills when I did see that side, but I felt trapped, with a child and house, and also, I did make a vow and I really did want to keep it.

      2. 37.1.2
        NiceOne

        So what happens tothe ones who stay togethere for 3+ years (or decade) and divorce after a year? 

  8. 38
    Dagaz

    @Evan: of course, i took my time to learn about a man. 
    i took the liberty to talk about my own experience simply to avoid too much generalization regarding sex on first dates vs proposal/marriage, and as i’ve seen so far, there were no correlation of sex on first dates and divorce.
    from what i know (sources are my own life(sorry, again) and experiences of my clients), for marriage it’s not that important when the sex has started, it is how in develops inside the relationship, and there are a lot more things to think about and to stick to in the married life than to recall the beginning (and who said it could be recalled only negatively, it might be as well one of the sweetest memories for both)?
    if to dig into correlation first dates/divorce rate, i would notice mostly what role man played from the beginning: was he an initiator/hunter/alpha(if you’d like))), or this role was taken by a woman.
    also, two years of waiting before marriage is a very, very generalized thing, IMO. what if it’s a long distance relationship? what if there’re specific circumstances that don’t allow people to see each other 3 times per week? there are much more exceptions to this rule,  than we can see on the surface. even in “regular” case some people need much more time, some of them need less to be ready for “i do”.
    i would draw the line not in the time, but in the condition inside the relationship, and it’s strictly unique condition every time, because it is formed by very two unique personalities.
    otherwise dating coaches wouldn’t have the personal sessions with their clients ;)
     

  9. 39
    Ria

    I have had the opposite experiences: after learning the art of actually LISTENING what guys say (a la lm not ready for marriage/commitment, and/or let us just see, where it s going, etc) l have acted accordingly – telling the guys, lm off, because as they said, they are not ready, then they are not ready, so l better listen. Result is exactly the opposite -  at some point they have said they are *in love,* ready to *commit,* and  *talk of the future.* That, however, does not convince me any more to change my mind, but it has given me one benefit  – l can actually get to know the guys without the romcom fuzz and get to know them as person and realize wether they can be good friends or potential for  more.

    Yes, the temptaton  to ignore what he says, is there, especially if the guy is cute, successful and hotttt and all that  but the more girls should listen. 
      

  10. 40
    Heather

    Evan, I hear what you’re saying and I think that it’s pretty true.

    However, I just wonder why men assume, if they “don’t want to hurt us”, that just disappearing is the answer?  I find the disappearing more hurtful and rude than the actual truth.  I’d rather hear the truth and just be told “this isn’t working for me” than just being ignored.  I find it condescending actually.  To me it is like, “Well, I just *know* she’ll act all crazy, cry, etc so I’ll just keep her from doing that and addling her pretty little head.”

    I do not go crazy or act crazy if a guy tells me this is not going to work.  Oh sure, I’ve had a few instances where they told me that and then said in the next sentence that “they still hoped we could be friends” and to those I would basically tell em, sorry, but my friends don’t treat me like crap, so no, we will NOT be friends, buh bye now.”  But when a guy says that’s it, that’s it.  I immediately erase all texts, contact info, block or remove from Facebook, etc.

    I just find it rather insulting behavior.  If I can “woman up” and tell a guy that I don’t like him, then I fully expect mature and honest behavior out of a guy.  And if I don’t get it, then if he does rear his head again, he’s told that I’m definitely not interested.

  11. 41
    Dagaz

    @ nathan, #42
    no doubt, there’s a big distance and difference between sleeping with a total stranger (everything could happen in life though, but never was in these shoes)  and to get in bed with a person with whom we’ve met before, under different circumstances.
    and no matter how many dates you have before marriage with a particular man, you will never know for sure how it will be until you start to live with him under the same roof. the condition of dating each other exclusively is one thing and it could be basically the same for 2, 3, 4 etc years, but – sharing the whole life, 24/7 is another thing and i’m not entirely sure if it’s possible to learn without trying.
    in such cases your wisest choice of future spouse as you’ve considered it before could easely become a living nightmare.
    and living 8 years happily with a man with following divorce i don’t consider a failure or unwise choice, not at all. i could say only: thank you for these memories and for this lesson and to move on. no regrets.
    @Karl R, #41
    i like those 5 points. perhaps, i would keep only the second one)) 
    perhaps, i’m too old-fashioned, but i still find the idea of sleeping with many people (ahem, more than one) is completely ridiculous. the same comes to circular dating, God forbidden. if i want to start/build/develope relationship with a man, i should pay attention to him and to know him better, but how is it possible while having the few men, when the attention/energy/interest is dissolved among them and there’s much more chance to make a crucial mistake, simply because i can’t see clearly?
     
    how many great men would be turned down this way)
     
     

  12. 42
    Dagaz

    @Evan, #47
    i agree that works for those who are 20-30 years old, no or limited experience, no marriages etc. for those who’s been on this boat already, who are more mature (hopefully), many things are quite visible from the beginning. 
    but do you really think that every single relationship in our lives is designed to last forever? why the idea of beautiful relationships, following each other (i don’t say it should be a hundred of them)) is impossible on unbearable?..
     
    ok, two 24-y.o. are waiting for 3 years, then get married and then … then they still are growing personalities, and not always in sync, plus the babies and a lot additional work because of the family additions (i would never believe it is possible to find out what kind of parent you or your spouse will be, until you become one, would it be 3 years of waiting or 30), plus new life together, new experience and new responsabilities – summary of all mentioned and not-mentioned (the relatives, for example) changes people.  a lot. dramatically.  would they nessesary fit together into something which was started few years ago? would 3 years before marriage really guarantee that?..
    of course, people could stay in marriage there they are not happy or fullfilled. for 30, 40 and up years. i’ve seen so many examples of that, much more often than opposite.
    formally, it’s a family, yes. and they could be put on as an example of long-lasting marriage after 3 years of courtship/engagement.
     

    1. 42.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Degaz: I don’t think anyone should get married before the age of 30 or before 3 years of dating. Unfortunately, I have very little say in what the rest of the world does. You can certainly sleep with men on the first date, get married a year later, have a kid two years later and get divorced two years later. Most people do. I just don’t think that if I’m giving advice, I would advise people to do the same things that everyone else is doing – especially when half of all kids born to 20-30 year olds are born out of wedlock. Are relationships designed to last forever? If you choose the right partner, they can be. If you choose the wrong partner, over and over, then they won’t be. My responsibility is to provide best practices. Want to find a guy who’s gonna last? Find a guy who is moral, who has integrity, who has already sown his oats, who is financially secure, who is happy, and who wants to also get married and have kids. That’s more likely to happen after 30 years old and a few years of dating.

      @JS – If your friends won’t become a boyfriend until after they have sex, I guess they’re just not going to date the women that I advise. It doesn’t bother me. It shouldn’t bother my women. And those men can keep on fucking strangers and breaking their hearts. Oh, and as to your last point: men don’t commit to have sex. They just find other women who don’t need commitment. If you want to be one of them, be my guest. Just don’t complain that he slept with you and never called. You agreed to his terms; you pay the price.

  13. 43
    JS

    @Evan Marc Katz….you wrote to @Jess – “there is something you could have done. You could have not slept with him until there was a commitment. If he steps up, you get your reward. If he doesn’t, there was no risk.”

    My question is…. how? Most of the men I know (guy friends) won’t make commitment without sleeping with a girll first. These are good guys who want relationships and I actually understand their “test-drive” the bedroom before committing idea and even as a woman, I share it. But on the other hand, I agree with you that how can women feel safe without getting a commitment before putting out.

    BUT, doesnt that just set women up for lies/being placated….(aka…She says: I wont sleep with you unless we’re committed. He says: Oh, let commit. They do it. 2 days/weeks later…he “realizes this isnt a good fit for him” and he dumps her)

    OR, she doesnt tell him flat out that she has a commitment-first policy and he just thinks “she’s not that into me / she’s stringing me along.”

    Can you please make sense of all this?

  14. 44
    Dagaz

    @Evan: well, personally i like the advice not to get married until 30 (got my first marriage at 28, close enough, i suppose).
    but let’s do some math here for the woman who wants a big family (3 kids, let’s say). serious relationship at 28, marriage at 31 (in the best case scenario), 2 years of waiting before to get pregnant (which is important, it’s hard to start a family along with having a baby), then 3 kids with reasonable distance between them (not back-to-back). which comes with her middle 40s. and it’s just a beginning – her youngest one will be 10 when she will be 50+
    being 43 now i’d say i’m glad i’m done with baby-diapers era quite a while ago: right now i don’t have so much energy and power to take care about family and a child like i did 10 years ago, i can’t even imagine to do it after 50.
    of course, if it needs to be done, it will be, but the price will be much higher, especially when woman works and has her own career she would like to develop.
    i don’t want to contrary your opinion by any cost here, Evan, i’m just trying to show that timing generalization is not so stretchable.
    (also, i should apologize for my not perfect English))

  15. 45
    Vicki

    Evan,
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a woman sleeping with a guy she’s dating  whenever it feels right, whether it’s the first date or the 20th (unless she knows herself well enough to know that she can’t handle casual sex). But, many women can handle casual sex and why should they deny themselves while dating? And, not every dating situation becomes a relationship (nor should it). Dating is exploring; a relationship happens when you already know you like this person enough to be exclusive with him/her.
    The problem arises only when it’s clear that someone wants more than sex while dating (ie. — I want to have  a relationship with you) and the other doesn’t, and generally you can tell that relatively quickly. Although, there are some men who will court a woman and not sleep with her for a while, and then dump her after the first time they have sex (just as there are women who will string along men and dump him).
    Still, it really is best if people state upfront what they want. Of course, too many of us don’t really know what we want!
     
     

    1. 45.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Vicki – You didn’t hear me say that anything was wrong with it. You didn’t hear me give a number of dates. You heard me come up with a policy for women who sleep with men and then sit nervously by the phone for months, hoping that that man will become her boyfriend, and get crushed when he doesn’t. And since it’s not always clear where a man stands – even when both parties are consenting adults – the smartest, safest policy for women is to wait for exclusivity before having sex. Once again, if you don’t wait for it, then you can’t be too upset or surprised when he turns out to be another guy who didn’t want to commit.

  16. 46
    Karl R

    JS asked: (#49)
    “BUT, doesnt that just set women up for lies/being placated….(aka…She says: I wont sleep with you unless we’re committed. He says: Oh, let commit. They do it. 2 days/weeks later…he ‘realizes this isnt a good fit for him’ and he dumps her)”

    You can’t avoid the scenario you describe. Nor do you want to. The majority of the time, you’ll commit to dating exclusively, you’ll have sex, and then a few weeks/months later, one of you will decide that it won’t work out in the long run.

    If you follow Evan’s guideline, you will still experience that with every boyfriend/girlfriend … except the one you marry.

    But you’re avoiding having sex with the men who already know that they’re never going to commit to you. You avoid having sex with the men who are dating other women, and consider those other women to be a better choice for a long-term relationship than you.

    I’m perfectly willing to  wait for sex until there’s exclusivity. If the sex is bad, and the sex shows no signs of improving, I can still break things off. I’m just agreeing to explicitly break things off before I date or have sex with someone else.

  17. 47
    Tina M

    Evan – Your advice is awesome.  Wish I could have learned this in high school and saved myself 20 years of misery and another broken home.

    Better late than never to get it right.  :)   
      

  18. 48
    Lily2

    Exclusivity is NOT the same as boyfriend! All it means is that the guy isnt having sex with or dating other women AT THAT TIME. That can be true, and the woman can still end up nothing more than a sex buddy, booty call, although she might think it’s more than that.
    I wasted 2 yrs with a guy who was “not seeing anybody else” but he was not my boyfriend either, and that was apparent by his behavior. I was in this painful gray zone, I’d never been in before. My nativity keep me hanging in there way too long all because we were “exclusive”…. that was the big hook! I wont ever make that mistake again. Exclusive does not equal boyfriend! I think Evan would agree with me on this.

  19. 49
    Muny

    Thanks Evan! I mean it’s crazy how it totally reminds me of this guy I briefly dated. But somehow I feel that it is deceit. If a guy knows that he doesn’t want commitment but keeps pressuring you for sex and pretending, maintaining the status quo, I kinda feel betrayed, and wronged. It just feel really astonishing to see some guys do whatever it takes to get in your pants when they know you won’t unless there’s commitment (and yeah that involves begging you to stay, tears, empty words). Is sex THAT good? I guess I just don’t get how those guys can get away with it and feel no regret at all… Sticking around just enough to get what they want, playing mindgames as well are just really shady and shameful things to do.

  20. 50
    nathan

    “Nathan: The “attraction” phase of love lasts for 1 1/2 to 3 years. That’s when you’re still riding the dopamine and serotonin high, and are often willing to overlook bad behaviors”
     
    I have learned how to see though the haze and pay closer attention in a much shorter time span. Which doesn’t mean I would rush into getting married, but it does mean that I’m spending more time assessing the reality of the relationship, as opposed to riding the attraction high. The way I see it, with experience, and some training on what to pay attention to, most people can become smarter daters who spend less time in dead end relationships. 
     
    As for waiting for exclusivity before having sex, I think that all it does is weed out the players and those not interested in a committed relationship. Anyone can get hurt at any time, because even the majority of committed relationships don’t last. As Vicki stated, dating is exploring. In fact, I would say that exclusivity is just the next stage of exploring. You know enough about someone that you want to focus on being with them, but you don’t know enough yet to say “I want to be with this person for decades of my life.” Each of us has to decide what we can handle, and what we can’t, and then go from there.

  21. 51
    Lisa

    OH dear! This was a recent situatation I was in (eyeroll or not). This may have even been my recent email in reference. FUNNY!  It may have seemed obvious but at the time after a few great dates   ……someone stating, “I dont want a girlfriend right now, but be patient” was a bit confusing as it was in direct contrast to prior conversations without going into details  of  what”he said”.  I guess I wasnt patient because I did interpret it as. “I do not want a relationship” period.    I am older (mid 40s) and so new to online dating and dating in general–I dont have the luxury of time wasting with someone who  is just not in a place for a relationship. I chose to believe him and not take it personally.  Luckilly, it was only over a month in;  In hindsight, that kind of  truthful statement is appreciated.

  22. 52
    amy

    Evan, I think your library is in sore need of expansion.  You see how things work, but you’re profoundly unquestioning about whether or not women should participate in what’s going on. Whether it’s any good for us or our children. The reason you keep getting criticized isn’t because you’re wrong, but because there are smarter ways to do this.
     
    Let’s say that starting today, women who actually wanted relationships, and maybe marriage, and took their sexuality seriously, stopped putting out until the couples had courted and relationships had actually developed, and the couples were, I don’t know, six months down the line, or engaged, or whatever. The women all went out and bought top-flight vibrators and had fun on their own while the men stewed and squired them around.
     
    What do you figure would happen?
     
    I think there’d be a hell of a backlash from frustrated men.
    I think women would suddenly be branded cockteases, bitches (even more often), etc. all over again, just like they were a few decades ago.
    I think rates of rape and other domestic violence would skyrocket, and that the law would shrug, suggesting that if you lead a man on, well, this will happen.
    Look back a few decades: people haven’t changed that much.
     
    In other words, it’s not a tenable thing to suggest unless there’s a hell of a lot more social and legal protection in place for women than exists now. So what you’re really saying here, with your “I’m just being honest” talk, is: Men will use you sexually. Get used to it. It’s just part of the frog-kissing process and eventually something good will come out of it.
     
    If you’ll excuse me, that sounds like the rationalization of a kid who got beat up a lot in junior high and now has a nicer house and a prettier wife than his former bullies do, and says look, it all turns out in the end, forget them, everyone gets beat up a little. And I don’t think it’s a course of behavior to recommend. Because you don’t have to get beat up, and you don’t have to be used sexually.
     
    There are ways to defend against this kind of use-and-drop behavior from men, but I think you don’t know about them because you’re not really interested, and I think the psychological roots of that are deep. I think it has to do with a sense of manning up rather than admitting vulnerability as a nerd, and admitting that you got really fucking hurt in jr hi, high school. And because you’re a fundamentally, if naively, equal-opportunity kind of guy, you’re bringing that very male attitude to the women and saying, look, you can do this too. But I think it’s a damaging and unnecessary position to take.
     
    Here’s the most short-term effective thing a woman can do to guard against being used sexually: Have good friends, including several large, male friends. Before sleeping with a man, bring him around to meet your friends and family. Do this a few times. I guarantee that a man who’s intent on using you will vanish, because he likes his face in one piece. Men prey happily on vulnerable women who have no support. Not too many are willing to prey on women with big workout buddies and brothers. I stayed blissfully safe throughout my first couple years of college because, unbeknownst to me, I had a phalanx of very large men looking out for me. If a guy asked me out, he’d get a visit from these guys, and receive the understanding that I’d be treated well. And I was. When I finally settled on a boyfriend, it was someone they all approved of. I didn’t know that — but the guy did. They rewarded him for treating me well just as they’d have punished a guy who didn’t treat me well.
     
    Here’s the most long-term effective thing a woman can do: Elect legislators who have your back when it comes to harassment, rape, reproductive rights, domestic violence, etc. And then — here’s the crucial part — use those laws. Stand up, lawyer up, go to court. If a guy date-rapes you, preserve all the evidence you can, and get yourself straight to a hospital for a rape kit. And then nail that sucker for all he’s worth. Don’t be shy and mumbly about it or decide it was your fault. If he’s your superior at work, don’t keep your yap shut about how he bedded and dropped you: that’s an abuse of power. Know what harassment is so that when you’re taking things slow and a guy starts pressuring you for sex, you know how to handle it, and again: use the law.  The laws don’t mean a thing if you don’t use them.
     
    Better yet, run for office. Gain power at work. I live in a university town where a couple decades ago, a faculty member was harassed with unbelievable cruelty over 13 years, was told by the university admin to suck it up or leave, and only filed suit after being denied a promotion. Her take was large — around a million, I think — and things changed. Today, you cannot harass a woman here or play sexual power games unless you want your career to end and the possibility of both civil and criminal charges. The university will drop you like a hot potato if you harass women; their money and lawyers will not back you. Women are in positions of power in administration, and suddenly the women’s center is well-funded. Young mothers are supported as they make their way through college. They’re aware of what rape is, they learn the difference between respectful and disrespectful behavior from men, and they learn that men are not entitled to treat them disrespectfully. Despite what the men might believe.
     
    So: demand respect, use the law and force to command respect, and you will get respect. Move the onus to the man. If he disrespects you by fucking you and vanishing, make sure there’s a price to pay. And make sure the next one understands that clearly before you head to the bedroom. 
     

    1. 52.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Amy,

      As always, eloquent. But honestly? Nonsensical. You go to great lengths to establish something – I’m not sure what, exactly. That I got teased in junior high? That legislators should make laws protecting women? That rape would go up if women stopped putting out? Um…okay. I’m not going to begin to go down that rabbit hole with you. I will say this, however:

      You suggest that I unquestioningly advocate that women participate in getting used. Nope. I simply point out that men look for sex before they know if they’re interested in love. And no amount of legislators is going to change that, Amy. So for liberated women who are comfortable having sex without commitment, they can participate in the hook up culture as they see fit. And for women who want a greater measure of security before sleeping with a man, I advocate that they wait until exclusivity.

      Everything else you wrote – bring your fourth date to meet a bunch of other, large male friends? – is so out there that it’s not even worth a response. This is a thread about men who sleep with women without commitment. It’s been happening since the beginning of time. All your verbal profusions about university administrators isn’t gonna change it.

      That’s not naivete. That’s life. And to conflate men wanting sex with women other than their girlfriends with rape? I think you’ve created your own mental slippery slope that doesn’t adhere to reality. I slept with lots of women who weren’t my girlfriend. Hooked up with many others who didn’t want to have sex. Didn’t rape any of them. Most men can say the same thing.

      Sorry, Amy, but you missed this one by a country mile.

      P.S. I just read this last line of yours, Amy: “If he disrespects you by fucking you and vanishing, make sure there’s a price to pay.” I’m pretty sure there are no laws against a man having consensual sex and deciding not to marry a woman. But there are laws against big men beating up strangers who emotionally hurt their friends. So, short of vigilante justice, what’s the solution? Stop sleeping with men outside of commitment unless you can handle the emotional consequences of him not calling back. Making large male friends to intimidate your new guy will only cement one thing: that you’re completely tone-deaf to how normal people relate in real life.

  23. 53
    Jewel

    Evan @40
     “but I always encourage for women to wait for exclusivity for sex and to wait at least two years before getting engaged…”

    This is mature, sound advice and involves setting boundaries about what we want, and being prepared to walk away when a guy isnt being authentic.  In my last relationship we became exclusive after dating for 2 months. It was what we both wanted at the time. 9 months later, and thinsg still fantastic, I discover he has been cheating so I ended the relationship. His willingness to commit was one thing, but his behaviour to the contrary showed me he is not marriage material.
     Time is essential to reveal these sorts of issues and I am glad that I found this out now before I married him.  It really is just about setting boundaries-continuing if the agreement is still being met, and walking away when it is not. But the agreement needs to be clear in the beginning if it is a long term relationship or marriage you are wanting.
     

  24. 54
    Keri

    Evan you are awesome! I’ve learned so much from you! If I would have known your advice before I starting dating at 18 I would have avoided wasting so much time with the wrong men. Great article!

  25. 55
    Jane09

    Yep, I too used to own a pair of magical girlie ” Instant Relationship “ear muffs . They would filter out all unpleasant realities like ” I am not looking for the long term” or ” I dont want any complications” completely  and amplify any slightest interest he showed me into signs of undying devotion.
    It may be true that men are sometimes hold back on wanting an ongoing relationship . If you read the average online profile men are stating they want to have “fun” , spend good times together and “see where it goes”.
    But to be fair , most of them are experienced with these “instant Relationship” filters that women are prone to and the guys are trying to be honest.
     
     
     
     

  26. 56
    Erika

    What Evan describes is exactly how my current boyfriend feels about dating. He tells me that when a man meets a woman he wants to commit to, he does it. It’s unequivocal. He thinks to himself, “I gotta take her off the market.” So he does. My girlfriends are always asking him for advice and he says the same thing over and over again–if a man wants you, you’ll know it–he’ll call you, ask to see you, and take you out. If he’s not doing those things, he doesn’t really want you.

    So find someone who does. Do you really want to chase after someone who doesn’t want you?   And even if you trick a guy into wanting you, how long do you can make it last? And what kind of basis is that for a relationship–one based on trickery, or you pretending to be someone you’re not? 

    When I was dating, I went out with this guy named James. I knew he wasn’t interested because he would text me but never ask me out. So I kept dating. (The truth is I liked him, but didn’t see any longterm potential, so it’s not like he broke my heart or anything.) Then James disappeared for awhile, and during that time I met someone else. Someone I wanted to pursue a relationship with. Then James appeared a few months later and texted me, asking if I wanted to go out. I told him that I had met someone special and was pursuing that. Do you know what he texted me? He wrote, “Well, I guess it’s not me.” (Duh!) And then he texted, “Is it because I’m so distant?” I wrote back, “You’re so funny! LOL. Best of luck to you.”

    That was the last I heard of him. It’s so funny because I think he actually thought I was sitting around waiting for him to call, and was shocked that I had moved on. I mean, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no? If a guy is only mildly interested in me, I can tell, and I’m not gonna waste my time. I’m gonna find someone who wants me back.

    And I have.       

  27. 57
    Tracy

    Great post, Evan–it was spot on. Typically, men don’t express their intentions verbally–whether they’re good or bad–they’re expressed in everything they DO. I also agree completely with Heather; I’d prefer a man just say, “it’s not working out” than to sheepishly disappear.

  28. 58
    amy

    Evan, you say “no amount of legislators is going to change that”. Well — y’know, it’s amazing what legislators have been able to change. I’m able to sit here in my own house, on my own time, with custody of my own kid (conceived and born on my own schedule), avoiding work of my own choosing, the pay for which I’ll keep in my own bank account, and picking out my own men, all because of legislators.
     
    Which I think is deeply wonderful. I’ve spent part of the week working with legislators to ensure that those custody rules don’t change, despite the fact that 150 years ago, it would’ve been beyond heretical to regard children as anything but their fathers’ property. Or women as capable of engaging in legislative work.
     
    Men may go out looking for sex, but it doesn’t mean they have to get it, and more to the point it doesn’t mean they have to get it from your dear readers, if all they aim to do is sample, and leave the women (rightly) feeling used. Let me parse it more tightly for you: If you tell women, “Don’t put out till it’s exclusive”, and leave them to  make it happen just by say-so — and they actually take your advice en masse — then yeah, you’re going to see (more) vicious attacks on women. Same sort of viciousness that went on pre-Pill, when women wouldn’t put out (officially, and often in reality) till you put a ring on it. Men don’t take it well when you make it tough for them to get laid. So if women are going to say “yes, but only if you’re going to treat me decently,” they’d better have real, tangible backup, and it had better be institutional in the society. Fathers and brothers who’ll go beat the living daylights out of a man who treats a woman bad. Judges who’ll say “you’ve abused your position of power”.
     
    As for rape: it’s one end of a continuum of bad and disrespectful behavior, that’s all. But many women show up at college unaware of the respect they’re due, and that they can realistically command. You know, I was a student 25 years ago, and a student 5 years ago. And the treatment from professors was night and day. 25 years ago? They’d make a pass as soon as look at you. Now? The office door stays open. The conversation is endlessly respectful. Not because they’re any less horny; I wound up having an affair with one of my recent profs, and fielded tentative invitations from several others, despite my advanced age. But damned if they’ll make the first move. And god knows they won’t do the old-school surprise-attack snog. They’ve got way too much on the line: the woman will call the shots, and afterwards the male profs will be very, very careful in how they treat her. Nobody wants to lose a hard-won career over a lay.
     
    Thank you legislators and second-wave university administrators, and thank you women who were willing to use equal-opportunity laws to force the changes.
    If a woman’s going to say “not till it’s worth my time,” she’s got to have social/institutional support, or it doesn’t stick.

    (Amy, I know you posted two other long replies. I’m not censoring you because I can’t take a debate. I simply don’t want to allow lengthy tangential triple posts that completely derail the original conversation. This one was most on point. – EMK)

    1. 58.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Amy. A man doesn’t deserve to have the daylights beat out of him for having sex with a woman that he doesn’t commit to.

      It’s not your daddy’s job – or the government’s job – to police this type of behavior. It’s yours by choosing men who seem like nice, moral human beings. It’s not foolproof, but you can often tell the good eggs from the bad ones after a few dates or so. I also disagree that refusing to sleep with men is going to increase rape in any substantial way. Do you also think that the converse is true: that the only way to prevent being raped is by sleeping with him? I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re saying. Yet that seems to be the only solution if “holding out” is going to increase rape.

      You know what? Don’t answer me. Just leave this tired trope alone. I’ll stick with my very well-received advice that women should not sleep with men who aren’t boyfriends, and you can maintain that they should sleep with them (as long as you have some muscle and lobbyists backing you up). Agree to disagree. I just don’t want to have to write another long post defending a reasonable point of view against this over-the-top propaganda comparing modern dating to the 1800′s and consensual sex with rape and sexual harassment. These are highly flawed arguments and you’re bright enough to know it – even if you believe in your own central premise.

      You can’t make laws stating that men must commit to women after having sex. And you can’t run around physically assaulting the men that do. I’m as pro-woman and pro-feminism as they come, but both of these concepts are absurd on their surface. Which only leaves one thing: make better decisions with men. It’s on you to change your choice in men; it’s not on men to commit to every woman they sleep with. It’s not reasonable, fair, possible, or governable.

  29. 59
    Jane09

    I hesitate to agree with Amy but there is a grain of good sense hidden under the recommendation to intimidate a prospective sex partner with large men friends and see if he disappears..(cute)..
    What I do agree with is letting him see you in your context , with male and female friends or casually with family if it happens that way, before you commit to getting fully sexual.Let him see you as a real person with a normal life and normal social networks. Dont meet only for solo dates. Sometimes this will filter out a person who prefers not to “get involved” in any way. Perhaps its easier to hit and run when he hasnt experienced you as someones sister, daughter, friend or mother.
    NOT that this always works. I was played once by a guy who introduced me to his family on the third date , wanted to come to my family birthday on the 4 th date got the sex then disappeared. I mistook his family intimacies as signs of longevity..ha ha !!
     
     

  30. 60
    Androgynous

    Evan, it is possible to make laws stating that men must commit to women after having sex. It is called Shariah. But somehow I don’t think Amy is advocating that. Amy sounds very confused – on one hand harking back to the good ole days when the private behaviors of men and women could be controlled and legislated by some central authority, enforced by the threat of force, violence or worse. Then, on the other hand, celebrating the emancipation of women, their growing economic, political and societal power, progress and freedom. Amy seems to want an inverse Shariah world, where women are the one taking the big stick to men, so that the tyranny of the patriarchy is replaced by the tyranny of the matriachy.

Leave a Reply

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

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