The Most Important Dating Advice You’ll Ever Hear – Don’t Do Anything

The Most Important Dating Advice You’ll Ever Hear – Don’t Do Anything

I am a 33 year old single woman. I seem to always attract “great guys”, and we always have a lot of fun. But anytime I want to gently “clarify” what he wants (kids, family) nearly each and every guy I’ve dated shies away. I don’t think I come across as “easy”, and I am intelligent and take care of myself. However, I can never seem to transition properly from the “fun” woman to the “long-term” relationship woman, as the intelligent, loving partners I have had don’t seem comfortable ever talking about a future.

What can I do? I am so tired of feeling as though I am doing this all wrong in my attempts to find a real partner for the past 13 years. Your help is greatly appreciated as I am currently seeing another great guy. We’ve been seeing each other for just over a month now. He’s flown me to Bermuda to meet his parents, and I’ve also met his friends, who have apparently given me the “okay”. Meantime, I’m still going out with friends and about to go on two dates (that I really don’t want to go on but I’ve been told you’re supposed to “date”).

How can I broach the subject so my mind can be clear that he and I exclusive or not? Do I have to wait until he broaches the subject or can I? I am so tired of “games”, but I know it’s a game for the rest of my life even if I become a wife. Ugh.

Help and thank you in advance.

Robyn

I appreciate your sincerity and your desire to have a serious relationship. Your questions are among the most common questions that I get. Truly, what you’re going through is universal, and you’re not wrong to feel frustrated. Which is why I hope you don’t mind when I tell you to just take a deep breath and chill. All your answers will be revealed in due time.

First, a basic fact that you need to get, deep in your bones

Men reveal themselves in their efforts.

Nothing else they do matters.

Which is why you can have an incredible first date which doesn’t lead to a second date.

If he refuses to let you go, you have your husband. If he lets you leave, you have your freedom.

Or a best friend/fuck buddy who doesn’t want to make a commitment.

Or a two-year-relationship that doesn’t result in marriage.

In other words, he can be attracted to you, want to be in love, dream of having children, and yet be perfectly content biding his time with you for a year until he finds the woman he does want to marry. You may say he’s using you. Maybe. Maybe not. But as long as you’re both happy in the relationship, does it really matter?

I can almost hear you screaming, “Yes! Yes, it matters! I want to find love, my biological clock is ticking, I feel all this pressure, and I don’t want to waste my child-bearing years with some jackass who doesn’t know the meaning of ‘shit or get off the pot’!”

Very well, then. Leave him.

Voila. You have your answer.

If he refuses to let you go, you have your husband. If he lets you leave, you have your freedom.

This is far easier said than done, of course. You actually have to have the guts to leave a no-win situation, and many women do not. They’d rather stay in a safe dead-end relationship than be alone. Which is fair. But you can’t blame a guy when you turn 42 and he hasn’t proposed to you after 6 years. You can only blame yourself.

But that doesn’t really apply to you, Robyn. You’ve been seeing a guy for a month and you want clarity. Thankfully, you won’t have to wait too long to get it. Because, as I said above: the answer will be revealed to you. All you have to do is wait. This is the crux of this article, if not my entire dating philosophy for women.

Don’t do anything.

Seriously. That’s it. “Don’t do anything.”

As a woman, you just have to sit back and let him do what he wants.

He wants to meet you; he has to approach you. You say yes.

He wants to plan a first date; he has to ask you out in advance. You say yes.

He wants to kiss you; he has to make a first move. You say yes.

He wants to see you a second time; he calls the next day. You say yes.

He wants to check-in during the week to tell you he’s thinking of you; you take his calls. You say yes.

You don’t have to DO anything. Just see what he does, and say yes.

He wants to take you on a weekend away and introduce you to his friends. You say yes.

He wants to sleep with you; he offers a condom. You say yes.

He wants to commit to you and become exclusive. You say yes.

You see what I mean? You don’t have to DO anything. Just see what he does, and say yes.

If he doesn’t do anything, you have your answer.

This is the single simplest way to understand how to deal with men, and yet women drive themselves nuts.

You try to learn what “games” to play, or how to “figure men out”, or “how to make him commit” to you. It’s all bullshit. There’s nothing to know beyond what we’re DOING.

If we want to call, we’ll call. If we want to commit, we’ll commit. If we want to marry you, we’ll ask you. And if we don’t call, don’t commit, and don’t propose to you (all in a reasonable amount of time), then guess what? We’re not going to. We’re just going to continue with our happy, low-stakes status quo that you so generously allow.

Your only leverage when the time is right? Leave. Say that you need to know you’re investing in a future. And since it’s pretty clear after three months that he doesn’t want to see you more than once a week, you’re gonna have to cut him off. The end. Buh-bye.

Most women don’t take this approach. You speak too soon, or you don’t speak at all.

Maybe you won’t say anything because you know that if you do, the relationship will end. That’s exactly how you can desire marriage but stay in a five-year relationship without a ring. Silence is golden; it doesn’t rock the boat. And yet, you never get what you want.

Then there are women who want answers now. And you ask so many questions that you scare men, and sabotage your own relationships. If my 38-year-old fiancé had done that after a month or three, we wouldn’t be getting married. She was cool enough to allow me to choose her, instead of forcing my hand. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

It’s not easy to be the “cool” chick, Robyn. I understand. But your relationship pattern is no accident. And it’s really easy to break. If you want to know what to do in the future, just follow this very simple paradigm:

  • 1) Let him do what he wants.
  • 2) If you like it, stay. If you don’t like it, go.

There’s nothing else to think about.

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Comments:

  1. 91
    Jennifer

    @InBetweener #87
    I think that comment is missing the point that Evan is trying to make with his post- no one needs to ask anyone anything. If someone is behaving in a way that you like great- you stay, nothing to ask. If someone is behaving in a way that you don’t like- you leave, nothing to ask.

  2. 92
    Kenley

    I think on the face of if, the do nothing technique sounds great. However, the underlying assumption of that view — an assumption that I have to question — is that men know exactly what women want and when they want it. I just don’t know if that is true. Sometimes men aren’t giving women what they want because they don’t actually know what women want not because they are unwilling to give it to them. If women don’t ever tell men what they want/need– not demand from them, but simply tell them what they want, how will men ever know? Second, sometimes, a man thinks he is giving a woman what she wants, but really isn’t. Again, if you never tell him, how does he know? So, I agree with InBetweener — right in the beginning tell the guy what type of relationship you are seeking and what your needs are and ask the same of him. Then, if he isn’t giving you want you want in a reasonable time – walk. I just don’t think it is especially productive for men or women to try and read each other’s mind because we typically have no clue what the other is thinking.

  3. 93
    starthrower68

    Kenley, there are always going to be those exceptions to the rule and situations you speak of. Evan is speaking in general terms, and is addressing the situation specific to the original poster. I think we all pretty much know that each situation has to be taken on it’s own merits because people are different. There are those men out there that are wishy-washy and flaky, men out there with good intentions but don’t know what to do about them, and men that have good intentions and know exactly what to do and do it without hesitation.

  4. 94
    downtowngal

    Jennifer sez: “If someone is behaving in a way that you like great- you stay, nothing to ask. If someone is behaving in a way that you don’t like-you leave, nothing to ask.”

    True, but this only pertains to the big stuff. If a guy’s doing something you don’t like, I don’t see anything wrong with calling him on it; otherwise, he’ll keep doing it, how else would he know? There’s no need to drop someone just because he said/did something you didn’t like.

    That said, there’s a difference btw a one-off event and repeated behavior. I think Evan’s point is that certain things you can’t change about someone, and if the guy doesn’t seem as if he’s on the same page as you in terms of what you want from a relationship, then all the talking/calling him on it won’t work.

  5. 95
    Jennifer

    @Kenley and downtowngal- I see what you both are saying and I agree. I just disagree with the InBetweener’s comment and feel that it is not the direction Evan was going with with his post.

    I agree that we shouldn’t expect people to read minds, and that people shouldn’t be dropped for causing the slightest offense- especially if they didn’t know they were being offensive. But the whole ‘hey, where is this relationship going?’ line of questions that women end up asking men is pretty unnecessary.

  6. pingback
  7. 96
    Sara Reed

    Wow – I love the simplicity of it, reminds me of the viewpoints in “He’s just not that into you”….if he likes you he’ll ask you out, if he doesn’t ask you out he’s just not that into you. For the most part that’s how I try to live my single life, saves a lot of wasted time on analysing men. If he’s not asking me out he’s not interested – period. I don’t think all women are good at sitting around just ‘doing nothing’ (I’m guilty at times)…we wonder and people tell us – but he might be nervous around women, he may be afraid of rejection, he might not know you are interested so he doesn’t want to risk rejection, blah blah blah. I’v even had guys tell me this. So confusing…anyway, I think it’s just a fine line. The woman let’s a man know she would like to get to know him and he then has the confidence to ask her out, she let’s him know she enjoyed the date and his company and he has the confidence to ask her out again. I think we sometimes jump the gun thinking ‘oh shit, maybe I wasn’t flirtaceous enough and he thinks I’m not interested, maybe if he just knew he’d call’. Yeah, that’s how it seems a woman’s mind can work and if hers doesn’t work that way you can bet she has five female friends whose minds work like that convince her to ‘do something’.

    Sara Reed´s last blog post…Romantic Marriage Proposal Ideas

  8. 97
    aud

    I’ve just ventured onto this site and have to say it’s the most informative one I’ve every come across. I’ve just re-entered the dating world after six long years in the wilderness. I found someone via internet dating and now realise why I haven’t dated in so long . . it’s hard work :) I wish I had the ‘don’t do anything’ advice long ago, simple but brilliant. Anyway my question is not new but I have been dating for four months now and got my man a card for christmas stating ‘to my boyfriend’ well he freaked out a little and to cut a long story short said he didn’t want to put tags on current situation, we had a long talk and he wants to take things slowly as he is currently in counselling to deal with some issues and needs some space, but is happy to keep thing as they are. I however have just finished counselling so I’m ready for something more pernament, but really do enjoy his company. I’m more of a ‘all in’ type of girl, I’m 37 and he’s 31 so maybe i’m just in more of a rush than he is. What to do? Do I stay and wait for an upgrade in relationship status or bail out now, either way I’m going to get hurt.

  9. 98
    Honey

    aud, I think 4 months is PLENTY of time to wait before defining things, and the counseling is just an excuse. I would say “I’m sorry you’re not ready for more because I am, I care about you and hope you get what you need out of counseling but I have to do what’s best for me and end this relationship so I can find what I need,” and have done with it.

    Best of luck!

    Honey´s last blog post…Snowboarding, Sickness, and a Breakdown at the Grocery Store

  10. 99
    starthrower68

    What I get from what Evan says about “do nothing” is that we let the guy pursue, if he will, and we can be open and gracious. I think it takes a little practice to learn to be open and gracious while maintaining our objectivity. I went on a blind date the other night, and while I wasn’t dazzled, I was pleasantly suprised. I’m open to giving the guy a chance to grow on me because he appears to be of good character. I’m please to report that I’m at a point where I’m content with my life currently while positively anticipating what is to come. I have a great relationship with my children, I’m busy with my church which is a 2nd family, and I’m finally pursuing the college education that I’ve always wanted for myself. So if things with this guy don’t go anwhere, I’ve lost nothing because I’ve created a full and rich life for myself. I’ve gotten some real revelations from Evan. I believe that I’m in a place where I can take that knowledge and apply to dating situations, and it will be interesting to see what pans out.

  11. 101
    Jaye

    I enjoyed this blog post. I think Evan’s advice is golden. It took me years to figure this all out, and I just kind of figured this out with my current significant other. Most women never do.

    Men will do what they want to do, and it’s not that hard to figure out what they’re about. You see what they will do on their own volition…whether it’s asking you out, calling you, intimacy, meeting parents and friends, engagement, etc. For the most part, there is no need for complaining or “define the relationship” talks. There is nothing worse than having a man comply because you “pushed” him, because you never know where you truly stand with him.

  12. 102
    jmee

    very helpful. of course, if i had known this before i accepted his proposal of marriage, was engaged for five years (and no, i did’t ask, and no, i didn’t push…in fact one of his complaints is that i didn’t! wtf?) and then spent too many years trying to figure out why he pulled the plug but still cycles around every so often to tell me he has feelings for me, i wouldn’t really appreciate these words like i do now… red flags everywhere and i just kept thinking i wasn’t trying hard enough, wasn’t giving enough. i was doing all the heavy lifting and he was getting a free ride emotionally and physically for too long. after 2 1/2 years he shows up on my porch again wanting to get caught up…and then wanting to have sex…because he likes to talk to me, and he isn’t getting any younger and he’s lonely. pitiful. this time, before i saw this discussion on line, i saw him clearly. he said we knew each other better than anyone else. he said he still had feelings for me or he wouldn’t be back. he also said he just didn’t know where he would be in the next year and he didn’t think we got along well enough to be permanent (you can see why) and he asked to be intimate inspite of all this. which allowed me to see he doesn’t really know me at all because i have never done the friends with benefits thing and never will and have been very clear about that. it has been a painful lesson. but at least there isn’t anything left to DO! : )

  13. 103
    FlowerChild

    Evan, I have to say those two words “do nothing” were so profound. It was as though the heavens opened up and God himself gave this advice and it has resonated in my soul ever since. I’m not sure if it was minutes or hours (o.k. maybe a couple of days) after this insight before everything came together.

    I had been hyper-focused on a man I was attracted to who took me out once, didn’t kiss me good-night and I never heard from him again. Yeah, initially the realization that he just wasn’t interested kind of stung . . . but what a relief to just let go of the wondering and frustration. I “did nothing.” And then (again was it minutes, hours, a day or two?) I suddenly saw what was right in front of me all along. A man I’ve known at work for a couple of years asked me to lunch. I must have looked like a deer in headlights I was so caught off guard.

    Once again, Evan, your advice totally hit the nail on the head. I have just watched and observed (and yes mirrored) and this man has shown me exactly who he is and has guided me into a really solid, happy, relationship. He stepped up, set the pacing (a little slower than I’m used to but it’s so nice because I have gotten to know him and enjoy him and feel very safe when I’m with him) and has shown himself to be one stellar guy – a much higher caliber of man on every level than the one I was obsessing about – but it never even crossed my mind that he was even in “my realm.” (Again, your advice of looking outside of usual “type” at play here). It’s been easy and natural with no drama or frustration.

    Thank you for the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I sent a copy of your blog to my daughter because I am so amazed at how effective it is. Next I’m sending her your book.

    Do nothing. It works quickly, simply and perfectly – with no effort at all. You’re awesome. Of course I am a huge fan of yours now and I highly recommend your materials. Best advice ever! Just warn your readers they can expect miracles (in minutes, hours, or maybe a couple of days).

  14. 104
    Jordan

    i’ll probably leave the first negative comment ever on this and i hope i get some responses to it. Evan Katz in my honest opinion you’re advice is bs, women don’t have to do anything? so men do all the work in the relationship that is what you are saying. Girls just have to say yes?! wow what a frekin privelage it is to be a girl i sure as hell would not mind being one. 95% of men are “the wrong men” what the hell is that bs?! women are just as wrong as men as men are for women why can’t we human beings just be equal? correct me if i’m wrong but basically evan katz’s implied message in my opinon is “women are superior, and they shouldn’t have to put effort into a relationship” yup women must be so hard to just say yes right?

  15. 105
    niti

    THANK GOD. I have read soooo many articles about how to deal with men, and this by far is the best ever.
    This has immediately made me feel a ton better, and this will certainly be something I read again in the future.
    If only I would have seen this years ago, I would have saved myself a ton of heartbreak.
    THANK YOU.
    It is so easy, and just knowing this finally makes me feel free.
     

  16. 106
    JoeK

    @Jordan
    Sigh…you really missed everything Evan’s been saying, you even answer your own question:
    ” 95% of men are “the wrong men” what the hell is that bs?! women are just as wrong as men as men are for women why can’t we human beings just be equal?”

    Yes, *by definition* if 95% of men are the wrong man for a given woman, then 95% of women are the *wrong woman* for a given man – they’re EQUAL!

    There’s nothing “wrong” with the men, nor “wrong” with the women…they just are a “wrong” match!

    Stick around Jordan, read some more. You may find that Evan knows a thing or two (This from an older man who’s been reading Evan’s blog for about 4 years now – trust me, he KNOWS what he’s talking about most of the time).

  17. 107
    GL

    This is good advice I think I’m going to have to live by. The ex has returned (again), and he is an alpha male. He told me last night he doesn’t want to feel committed because at the moment he still wants his “freedom,” (he got done with a 5 year relationship full of drama and crap, and I behaved like every man’s worst nightmare). I explained to him that I’m all about him doing what he wants but I want consideration, a source of a few problems, which I handled terribly. At any rate, I have to let him do what he wants, he is absolutely that kind of guy. It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere, he obviously cares about me. He won’t let me go. He can’t go more than 3 days without having some form of contact with me. Says he won’t sleep with anyone else, so I guess that’s a form of commitment. He also said we could have been together if I hadn’t pulled the crazy girl behavior. I guess now’s my chance to turn it around. Life is weird, and for the first time in since I met him I feel zen. I owe some of that to these blog posts.

  18. 108
    Adriana

    It depends on the two of you. I woduln’t marry anyone without knowing them real well first and the whole abstinence thing? To late for that.. I broke that little V vase (virginity) long ago..Hell, I smashed in into a wall then crushed it to powder with a hammer.I’m to old to play the I don’t live with people thing.. I want to know how the keep house, how they make messes, who they invite to the house, if they’re good in bed, if they take baths often enough, can they cook? The whole 9 yards.. i don’t like surprises.

  19. 109
    Lucinda

    Such brilliant advice. It should seem so obvious but it is not. Thank you Evan.

  20. 110
    Heather

    That is the single, most profound, simplisticly raw and truthful article that I have ever read, of which I have absorbed into my psyche and now made a part of my new mantra. It is amazing how as a woman (and a Gemini on top of that), that I can take a situation such as a first date with a potential new partner and treat it like a Rubiks Cube; overanalyzing every aspect of awareness by turning all the variables over and over again, trying to get our “colors” to match up. Yet instead,  it should be more analagous to a 1950s Prom dance leaning up against the gym wall waiting for THAT guy to ask you to dance. Until that point, enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the atmosphere and smile! Thank you for the amazingly simple and curt advice that needed to be articulated as a reminder just to chill! I believe it is going to make all the difference in my dating life, even though, duh…I feel like the dumbest smart woman after having such an epiphany!  Lol

  21. 111
    Ang

    Wake up call.cancelled the Valentine’s Day gift, a wicker basket of international beers and snacks to his office.
    Why do this if he is “too busy” to initiate contact first?
    I am just going to move forward. Surprisingly, I got a text last night from a different guy I dated who I have NOT contacted at all because I focused or kept thinking about the one I really wanted. No contact since January 4th on his end. He doesn’t mind me calling but he never intiates so I am not a priority. So it is time to give good men a chance,sit back,relax and let the chips fall where they may.
    The gift is awesome but he doesn’t deserve it.

  22. 112
    Katie

    Congrats, Evan. You’re a class A, #1 misogynist. It’s humans like you that continue to silence women for the purpose of maintaining gendered hierarchies that virulently oppress women. “Do nothing” (and continue to be taken advantage of?). You’re so gross. Strong woman here, DOING.

    1. 112.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Nope. No hierarchies. No oppression. Just letting women know that they don’t have to chase men down, because a guy who likes you is willing to call you. Sorry that you think so poorly of me. Best of luck.

    2. 112.2
      JennLee

      I’m so glad that I have a healthier view of men, and also actually like being a woman. It allows me to actually understand what Evan wrote without adding in some weird conspiracy to it.

      Silence women for the purpose of maintaining gendered hierarchies that virulently oppress women? *chuckle…snort*

    3. 112.3
      Katie

      Evan – Well, let me clarify. I don’t think poorly of you, per se, but I did not agree with the article–or perhaps, its wording. Thank you for further clarifying your intent. I do apologize for my strong words. Best wishes.

      JennLee – Yes, and those hierarchies have little to do with liking being a ‘woman’ or not. VERY simply put–gender inequality is one example of a gendered hierarchy. You should read Joan Wallach Scott’s book, Gender and the Politics of History (here it is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gender-Politics-History-Wallach-Scott/dp/0231118570). Try not to laugh at all of the horrifying things that gender inequality (and those absolutely NOT funny hierarchies) has done to women throughout the ages. It’s just disrespectful to laugh at those things, JennLee. I hope you learn more about women’s history and can find time to reflect upon what is left to be done to make women’s lives better today, as we continue to experience the unfortunately long-lasting effects of decades of gendered hierarchies (surely, you’re aware of that annoying gender wage gap…). Anyway, take care.

  23. 113
    Lisa

    This is why I will be perpetually single.  It’s not in my nature to be the “cool girl.”  I am honest and upfront about what I am seeking and if I am interested I have no problems letting a guy know.  I see courtship as an equal playing field not a man chasing me.  You say don’t play games but me pretending to be someone I am not is playing games and putting on a show.  Not only does that not make me happy but I’m not sure it’s quite fair to the man.   The man will fall in love with a version of me that is not reality.   Then later when my real personality comes out he will feel fooled.  I’ve never wanted to marry I don’t want children but I would like a committed monogamous relationship and in dating I do like to know where I stand.   I just want someone who wants the same things is upfront and consistent about his efforts and loves me for who I am.  I appreciate your perspective and love your columns but if finding a man means I have to pretend to be a different person and play games I will be happily single.

  24. 114
    Dalynn

    Exactly what I needed to hear. It’s great to know I’m not alone at rushing, over thinking, dyinggggg for him to say something.  The truth is…he shows me a lot! Fortunately for me..my instinct has to been to be available and say yes! I do need to find interests of my own so that im not lonely when he’s busy…this has been the hardest part for me..since I’m afraid I will busy when he calls and  I never want to say no. thank you for rhis great read and advice!

  25. 115
    Danielle

    Doesn’t get much clearer than this!  Honestly, I’ve learned more in the brief period I have been following Evan, than I have learned in my entire life.  AND … the best news … everything he says WORKS.  It’s like MAGIC.  I feel sometimes like I just cracked code and men don’t have a chance anymore!  haha.

  26. 116
    Angela

    I’ve been reading Evan’s blog for a couple months now.  I’ve been trying to apply some of the advice to my dating world, which is mostly frustrating at the moment. So if someone can offer a suggestion or insight on this scenario, I would be grateful.

    I met a guy online 3 weeks ago, we’ve had two dates since then, which went great, we both had a fun time and there seemed to be a good connection-mentally, physically.  His follow up (or lack of which resulted in MY following up) is throwing me off.  And then this happened: I checked to see if he was online (because I was thinking about the ‘exclusive’ /sex conversation) and saw he disabled that account. We had a date planned for the next day and he then cancelled it for family reasons. I asked him about disabling his profile and his response in text to me was “I don’t feel like I need it anymore so I got rid of it 😉”. Ok…that could be good, but still not very informative. My cringe moment- I asked him again to clarify in which he replied with a goofy ‘selfie’ shot and avoided the question, but then said “I’m not talking to anyone else if that helps.” I had suggested getting together another day after the cancelled date, said he would “let me know” which turned into him not being available that day.  And now the communication has come to a halt. I’m trying the “don’t do anything” approach and to wait it out, but that is really difficult. I feel like I’m getting mixed messages and I’m at the spot of damned if I say anything, damned if I don’t.  Thank you for reading this if you have and any tips are welcome.

  27. 117
    jay

    Best advice I heard I read after a few months if they can not say they want u tgeir using u but that’s not always true n women should stop rushing things I been seeing someone one almost 2 months n I thought he didnt want me I have now learned I may have been wrong.  Am 25 with no kids I will just hope for the best thanks

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