You Have Two Choices: Choose Better Men or Treat Men Better

Paul is 41-years-old, never married, but it’s not obvious why. He’s cute and boyish. He’s charming and successful. He’s fun to be around and is well-liked by strangers. Most importantly, Paul knows how to treat a woman – he’s interested, he listens, and he’s infinitely patient. Paul undoubtedly has good husband potential.

Unfortunately, Paul’s radar for picking women is a little off. He’s constantly drawn to the holy trinity of youth, beauty and intelligence.

As a result, he tends to date 29-year-old women who are way into their careers, their friends, and themselves. His latest girlfriend is named Kim. Paul fell for Kim because she’s so attractive and impressive, but Kim isn’t fully reciprocating.

Paul’s radar for picking women is a little off. He’s constantly drawn to the holy trinity of youth, beauty and intelligence.

They go out as a couple, they spend time together, they sleep together – and Paul loves every second of it – but he’s not quite sure if Kim does. Yes, she’s Paul’s girlfriend, but she doesn’t make him feel sexy, doesn’t make him feel needed, and doesn’t make him feel safe.

They fight too often. The silences are sometimes unbearable. The entire time they’re together, Paul walks on eggshells, hoping that Kim doesn’t break up with him.

Until, predictably, she does.

Paul couldn’t have been a better boyfriend. He was always generous with money, he always understood when Kim needed alone time or needed to cancel a date because of work. And now she’s gone, and Paul is not just sad, but PISSED.

He did everything in his power to treat Kim right and THIS is the thanks he gets?

In that moment, Paul concludes that he’s done with this crap. The next time he meets a woman, he’s not going to do ANY of that.

No more calling consistently.
No more paying for every dinner.
No more putting up with the demands of her career.

From now on, he’s not giving anything to a woman until she proves she’s worthy.

Believe me, Paul doesn’t want it to be this way, he just has no choice.

He can’t expend any more energy on unappreciative women for one second longer.

He’s done being a chump.

Now remember, Paul’s a good guy. A great boyfriend. He’s just been burned one too many times by a selfish woman. So he withdraws. Says he’s done with dating. And if he does date, she’s going to have to work very hard to prove she’s worthy, because he’s not going to give the way he did in the past with Kim.

Imagine you’re the next woman who meets Paul. He’s attractive and intelligent, all right, but he’s bruised. He wears it like a badge. He makes it really clear – whether he wants to or not – that he’s not going to be taken advantage of by a woman ever again.

How does this make you feel about Paul?

Certainly Paul is entitled to his pain and frustration, but YOU’RE not the one who caused it. And now you have to pay the price because KIM was selfish to him?

Chances are, you’re not sticking around to wait for Paul to work out his pain. You’re going to find a guy who is like the OLD Paul – the one who gives, and listens, and follows through and acts with integrity.

The new damaged Paul is going to have to find a woman who is a bigger glutton for punishment than you are. Sadly, he’s probably going to have to wait awhile because most women don’t want men who are testing them, who refuse to give, who are inherently mistrustful of women.

So, do you have anything in common with Paul?

Have you been the “giver” in relationships and concluded that you’re never going to be that way again?

Has that been a successful plan?

Are men flocking to the defensive, mistrustful, protective, selfish version of you?

If so, it’s in spite of how you’re acting, not because of how you’re acting.

It’s not HIS fault he’s taking advantage of you. It’s YOUR fault for choosing him and staying with him.

Clearly, there are men, like Paul, who will put up with all sorts of misbehavior from women. And there are women – maybe even you – who will put up with all sorts of misbehavior from men.

The problem is, you’re putting up with the WRONG misbehavior.

The reason I’m writing this blog post at all is because I was thinking about my wife the other day and how amazing she is to me.

How she makes me watermelon and apple juice each morning with our fancy new juicer.

How she encourages me to go out drinking with friends on a Tuesday night when she’s still got work to do.

How she laughs that I’m always surrounded by three women at every single party we attend together.

And because she’s this way, it makes me appreciative. So in return I’ll take her job of making the bed, even though we’ve got way too many pillows for my liking.

Or I’ll scour LA Weekly for food and wine festivals that she enjoys so much.

Or I’ll listen to her vent about her boss – even though it’s pretty much the same exact conversation we’ve had for three years straight.

To be clear: my WIFE sets the tone with her generosity and emotional understanding. And I do everything in my power to give back in return.

That’s what makes us work.

So, if you’re reading this and thinking that you’re just like my wife – never complaining, never criticizing, always giving – and you’re STILL taken advantage of by the men you date, that just means that you need to CUT OFF THOSE MEN quicker.

It’s not HIS fault he’s taking advantage of you.

It’s YOUR fault for choosing him and staying with him, the same as it’s Paul’s fault for perpetually choosing selfish women over givers.

Thus, the complaint that you’re a giver who attracts takers is a false one. If you dump all the men who are takers, guess what? They can’t take anymore!

It’s undeniable: the way to bring the best out of your boyfriend is to be a giver.

You can literally change the way he acts towards you just by being happier, more playful, more generous and less judgmental towards him.

The RIGHT guy will appreciate this and treat you better in return.

The guy who doesn’t appreciate this should be summarily dismissed.

If you have a boyfriend, try this, and let me how it goes.

Do you think your relationships are better when you hold back or when you give? Your comments are appreciated.

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  1. 1

    I am addicted to this blog, Evan.  Lately it seems like it’s having some tech problems, though– taking much longer to load than usual. 

  2. 2

    You give good advice Evan but it presupposes everyone has the stomach to churn thru endless dates/relationships to find “the one”. I am as resilent as they come, but if you’re a giver like me you run out of gas eventually with men. I’m not paranoid or ready to whup ass on the next one, just tired.

    My last online bf said to me early on “you’re not manipulative are you?” so I knew he had a wall or two. He was strange in that he would treat me well when we were together, but apart, not so much. Would ignore texts. Emotionally withdraw from time to time. Needed to be in control as to scheduling. Together we were dynamite though- always.

    Part of the reason we were dynamite together, other than our great chemistry, was I did accept him, was playful, fun, non-judgmental (am in real life anyway). I could be affectionate and even loving with him in person, but by text or email and I think seeing it in writing scared him or something.

    I knew I needed to move on, but he was my “respite” relationship. You know, put up with it ’cause it’s better than dating, starting over.

    What I’ve learned over the years is 1) very few people are aware, truly aware. Very few men are into self introspection. Easier to just watch the tube, sports. :(

    2) not everyone has love. People want to be loved sure, but not everyone has a real capacity for it. Some just can’t accept what you are giving either, just can’t. It’s a gift from God. Those who have it give it to those who don’t, basically. Transference.

    Men I’ve noticed don’t really treat you all that well til they are in love. Just in my experience. So tough order…..

    Online dating gets me beyond my karmic tribe and I have to wade thru the hoi polloi, so to speak, to find a decent boyfriend. It’s brutal. My karmic circle mostly consists of people like me- super loving, kind, respectful– so to participate in online dating where anything goes is a bit shocking, like being thrown in a cold lake on a winter’s day. lol

    So I can either churn thru lots of men (and the emotional and possibly very negative health consequences of that) or try, hope! to interest a “good enough” man with the power of my love. ‘Cause my love is very powerful I think. Ellen in SC

    1. 2.1

      Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking.

    2. 2.2

      Ellen, it’s not Evan’s problem that you don’t have “the stomach to churn thru endless dates/relationships to find “the one” as resilient as you say you are” – you are just like the guy in his story, wearing his pain and mistrust of others like a badge of honor and just like this guy who was always a giver, you’ve run out of gas and hold the next person accountable for the mistakes made by the men in your past – you already have your answer, you posted it in your response, “churn thru lots of men” or instead of “trying” to interest a good enough man, take a break from dating and enjoy being alone for some time until you’re ready to date properly again, otherwise you’re guarded and not offering your best to the man who would be best for you – you can’t control what they’re like, you can only control the choice you make in being with them.

    3. 2.3

      this comment was absolutely accurate and way better than the original post, IMO. In the REAL WORLD OF DATING, most of the men you run across are selfish and will treat you like an option and that’s only if they’re not treating you like crap instead.

      You have to take dating advice from men with a grain of salt. Straight men don’t DATE straight men and therefore are very misguided about what it’s like to date these men. It’s like my best friend: to me she’s the greatest woman I know but I don’t know what it’s like to “date” her, so when her boyfriend calls her a selfish bitch, he might be right!

      So when we (you know, the ones who actually date these men) are telling you that many of these men will treat you like trash no matter how good you are to them, we might be right!

      1. 2.3.1

        It is normal to take advice from women with regards to dating, but men also have perspectives that we don’t have.  A man will better understand the motivations of other men.  Haven’t you seen that where a guy friend will be lamenting about problems with his latest girlfriend, and the guys will try to offer advice, and you are sitting there thinking, “Uhmm…no.  You guys have it all wrong.”  I have, and I think my advice is often much better to our guy friends than the advice that my boyfriend, or other guy friends will give.  I think it is important to be open to and receive advice from both men and women.

      2. 2.3.2
        Karmic Equation

        All these women who complain that men are trash, are selfish, are <insert negative here> — where the heck do you gals live? I find good men everywhere I go. I find many bad men too, but, knock on wood, when I was single, I was lucky enough to date only good guys. Or at least as good as I could determine them to be on a first date :) because I was highly selective and rarely went on 2nd dates. Sometimes because they didn’t ask, most times because I didn’t want to. I just didn’t feel we were compatible in the short or long run. And there were quite a few guys that didn’t pass the messaging or phone screens.


        Are most of you gals upset about men whom you’ve had sex with and then he disappeared? Or just the ones that you had more than 3 dates with who disappeared? Because “selfishness” and “treating a woman like trash” can only be determined after a relationship of some sort has begun.


        In those cases, I’d say take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself did YOU change after sex? After exclusivity? Did YOU change from the fun-loving spontaneous woman to the the woman who dictated where he could or could not go, do or do not do? Did you make plans without getting his buy in? Assume all his spare time was yours to dictate? Did you go from “cool” to “needy”? Were you ok with a few hours between texts to demanding IMMEDIATE text backs? How about with phone calls?


        Most women change, and not for the better, after a relationship begins. HER real colors appear, around the same as his.


        I, too, change after a relationship begins, but I change for the better. He gets a warmer, kinder, funnier person, who nurtures him, WITHOUT changing into a doormat. Whatever I accepted before the relationship began, I continue to accept after. But I don’t stop evaluating him OR his efforts. My 9-year marriage ended when I felt my ex-husband started taking me for granted. My 6-year relationship ended when my ex-bf thought he could become a raging alcoholic and I would sign-on to be co-dependent with him because I “loved” him. Wrong on both counts.


        Just because you love him doesn’t give him carte blanche to take you for granted, to stop putting in the effort to show you he values you. It doesn’t matter if he’s faithful. It doesn’t matter if he’s honest. That’s what he should be at all times. He doesn’t get extra credit for that. Just as you don’t. While he doesn’t need to put in “courtship effort” he needs to put in “thinking-of-you” effort. Usually that’s as simple as remembering your birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s, and Christmas. And once in a while buying you something purple because you like the color purple.


        If a guy stops putting in the effort…and assuming you have REASONABLE expectations of his efforts… then when you notice he stops putting in the effort, you start evaluating the relationship, not your love. The relationship does NOT and SHOULD NOT have to continue if his efforts flag…even if you still love him. Because love ISN’T enough to sustain a lifetime commitment. Both people in the relationship need to continually put in effort to make the other person feel valued and understood. If one starts nagging and other one starts tuning out, that’s not much of a relationship.


        So, Candace, once a guy starts treating you like trash, or exhibits selfishness in a way you cannot accept, dump him. It’s that simple. You have power to stop the mistreatment. You have the power to avoid that selfishness. Don’t lament sunk costs and stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy.


        However, you have to make sure that you weren’t part of the problem either, by changing in a way that made YOU different in a negative way that you weren’t when you first got together.


        And if your answer is “Well, if HE didn’t change, then *I* wouldn’t have changed.” Well, that just means that you guys weren’t meant to be together for the long haul, because he made you a worse version of yourself. So why stay with a guy who can so easily turn you into a harpy?


        If your default setting is sweet, kind, confident, and you find yourself changing to nagging, mean, and anxious, it’s time to get out of the relationship.

        1. jean


          I truly believe you are a male, with all the disrespectful things you write to women. Also, the length of your comments are way too long. Are you a staff member?

        2. Karmic Equation

          If they’re too long, don’t read them, Jean :) No one is holding a gun to your head.

          No, I’m not staff and no, I’m not male.

          I’m a 5′ Asian chick who thinks like a man.

        3. Melody

          Karmic is absolutely right on all counts. Sorry if anyone’s cherished notions of how men are assholes are challenged. Jean, the truth is not disrespectful. It’s the truth, nothing more or less. If you don’t like it, keep doing it your way and let us know how it goes.

    4. 2.4

      Hi Ellen,

      You bypassed a clear warning sign when this man wrote you  “you’re not manipulative are you?”

      This means that he is manipulative and/or too damaged to have a healthy relationship.

      It all needs to be right from the beginning – including everything he writes and says to you.  You deserve the very best.



      1. 2.4.1
        sensible guy

        Really? For a man to ask for a reassurance that the woman he’s dating is not manipulative automatically means he is? Isn’t this a very faulty thinking, a type of fallacy?

        And, why does Ellen “deserve the very best”? I mean, objectively? Is it because she is a woman, or she has certain things that she brings to the table other than the female anatomy? Has it occurred to you that the man also deserves the “very best”, and not manipulative women?

        1. Liz

          You don’t ask directly if someone is manipulative/selfish/unhealthy/insecure.  You learn it by spending time with them.  You learn it organically.

  3. 3

    Too sad that this happens often. Although he had a right to be angry at Kim and the next woman can choose to work at it or not, he also needs to look at why this is happening outside of himself. They are young, focused on their careers… Obviously not looking for a LTR but just for companionship. He needs to ask himself what he is looking for in a woman besides the attractiveness and impressive. He wants affection and reciprocation in generosity and feeling needed. Maybe it’s time to date someone older who is where he is in life…

    1. 3.1

      I agree with Kimberly. That guy needs to date women his own age!!

  4. 4

    I definitely agree that being a giver is better. I have been divorced and dating for a year and a half now. I have encountered both types of men. Givers and takers.
    While the taking men appreciate my giving and understanding, they do so only when it’s convenient for them.
    The giving man appreciates me all the time and reciprocates my generosity.
    The takers are desirable, but aren’t good relationship material. These men are good for casual flings if that is what you are into.
    I’m much happier with the giving man. One that is consistent, loving, and trustworthy.
    The right man will appreciate what you give to him.
    What I’ve heard from the men that keep returning….is that no one makes them feel as good as I did. Evan is right…’s all about making the right man feel good. Emotionally…. Not in an sexual way…although that is important…most women can make a man feel good sexually. Emotionally is a different story altogether.

    1. 4.1

      I don’t think most women know how to make a man feel good emotionally.  Here’s a list for starters.

      Never takes sides against him.  How is he to feel that it is you and him against the world.  If you feel the need to take sides against him more often than not, you probably aren’t a good match.  For the rare time you don’t want to take his side, learn a phrase to say to extricate yourself, like, “Oh no, you guys aren’t going to drag me into the middle of your squabble,” and then remove yourself from the area for a while.  It is hard for a man to feel truly safe and connected to a woman who he doesn’t believe has his back.
      Learn to keep the private side of your life, private.  When talking to other people, don’t say things about him that you wouldn’t say to his face.
      Don’t bad mouth him to other people after having a fight or disagreement.   This can become addicting, but it will cause the people you vent to, to become an enemy of the relationship.
      Treat him better than anybody you know.  All too often women become too familiar with the man.  Take him for granted.  Everything he does wrong earns him nasty treatment, while your friends, or other family get far more patience and forgiveness.  The moment you feel you can treat him any way you want to, because he isn’t going anywhere, is the moment you started to lose him.  If not physically, you will lose his heart.
      Find out if he loves to be touched.  Some men feel smothered if you touch too much, others feel that you can’t touch them enough.  Simply ask.  Most men will be honest about this.  In my experience, however, many women have come in contact with too many who don’t like to be touched a lot, and this has caused them to feel the need to hold back.  That’s a big mistake.  If you like to touch a lot, and be touched a lot, find a man who likes this also.  I am talking about soft caresses, kisses, hugs, cuddling, hand holding, etc…
      Compliment him.  Look for reasons to do this.  Men like compliments also, even if they act like it makes them uncomfortable.

      1. 4.1.1
        Luana de Paula

        I don’t agree with the “treat him better than anybody you know”. One should treat everyone in their lives with love and honesty. But to treat your partner better is just silly. Better than your parents? Never!

        1. Melody

          If he’s the one you’re going to be spending the rest of your life with, you need to treat him (and any kids you have) the absolute best you can. If he and your parents have an issue, and you feel the need to come down on one side, it probably better be his. You are his wife and the mother of his children first and foremost. (In most instances, I’m sure there are a few exceptions.)

          I would add to the list to never, ever belittle or make fun of his job. That is how he provides for you and your family, and that is one way he feels successful.

  5. 5

    The title of this post says it all…it couldn’t be more true!!! Love this post Evan.
    Trouble comes when you try to change a ‘not right for you’ man by treating him better- it just doesn’t work that way.

    It’s so important not to become bitter- it only hurts you. My motto is don’t get mad, get gone!

  6. 6

    Excellent post Evan and 100% true.  Apparently we are a rare breed, us women who get it and have learned and look for a quality man that we can be like this with.

    What’s the definition of insanity?  TRY something different, even if it’s out of your norm AND/OR out of one’s Karmic circle (love that term!)

    Sorry to be so blunt Ellen, but when I read your post, I think the onus is on you, not on him (assuming he’s a man of good character and masculinity, and you’ve said nothing to the contrary).  I think because of lack of patience, understanding of men and lack of empathy, you may have lost out on something that had potential.   It sounds to me like you didn’t really accept him, sounds like he wasn’t one to communicate electronically, and you couldn’t accept that about him.  He was really good to you when you were together, but that just didn’t meet your expectations, so therefore, there’s something wrong with HIM (not that your expectations were unreasonable given the person/MAN he is).  Your post doesn’t say how long you dated, or if you communicated to him in a caring, loving, non accusatory way what your needs are, at an appropriate time in the relationship. 

    Finally, there’s a HUGE difference between being a ‘giver’ (nuturer is another word used) and being a ‘mother’, consistently invading his boundaries.  Most women over function because they are doing it with an expectation to receive something back, they are not authentic, trying to get the man to see how valuable she is to him.  Then they blame the man and get pissed at him for ‘all that she does for him’.  Ironically, this is what the man in Evan’s post is all about as well.  He’s trying so hard to get a woman to love him, he doesn’t even care about who she is or how she’s treating him–poor boundaries on his part.

    Ultimately, we are all on our own path of growth and learning :), we’ll get there when we get there.  I can honestly say though, thank God for all the resources out here that help us along the way–they present the reality of the world, it’s up to us to choose to accept the reality.

  7. 7

    Oh.My.God…. I read this post. And then re-readed. And re-readed it again. I’m gobsmacked. This information here… it is simply briliant. For me, a girl who doesn’t have so much experience with men, this blog post was an eye-opener. Maybe it was obvious for others, maybe it is common sense… i don’t know (but, who cares?). you just saved me from some terrible mistakes I would have made in the future. 
    Evan, you’re receiving loooong thankful virtual hug from me!

  8. 8

    Love this post! I work hard to appreciate, adore, and show my boyfriend respect every day and I work even harder not to punish him for past boyfriends. I think it’s extremely important, like you said, to be a generous, playful, giving person. You just need to be selective about who you allow yourself to open up and give to. If a man doesn’t deserve the amazing and giving person you are, then find another who does. This is one of my favorite posts!

  9. 9

    Honestly, I think Paul’s reaction in this (hypothetical?) scenario is rather silly and overly dramatic.

    In almost every human relationship, one person cares more than the other about the relationship. It doesn’t always fall along gender lines, nor is it always static (although many times, who cares more vs. less is established fairly early). That doesn’t mean that one should immediately typecast the other person by gender, race, position, etc., and then vow to treat EVERYONE else in that same category carelessly so as to avoid getting hurt. That’s immature. Each individual should be taken for himself/herself.

    And we should acknowledge that truth that in some relationships, we’re the more caring party, and in others, the less caring party. Sometimes this can hurt – but if we accept that this is just how things are, we have a better chance of not taking things too seriously or mistreating others through resentment.

  10. 10

    Completely agree with poster 2 (Ellen) on her pov as I’m exactly in same situation. 

  11. 11

    Whoops, i ment ‘re-read’ 😀 concentration lapse

  12. 12

    In situations like these.. it is the ‘trust until you are given a reason not to trust’…

    I give a new man I’m attracted to and appear to be compatible with the benefit of the doubt on many things… But life experience has shown me I’m also very good at sifting through BS.  

    all one can do in the dating world, business world, or any other world is offer one’s gift like a beautiful buffet.  And if they choose not to partake or decide to be a dishonorable guest, you kindly show them the door.        

  13. 13

    … one question to Evan though.  Why did you choose the 29 yr old vs 41 yr old dynamic?  to create more drama on the posts?  Of course, I’d argue that the 41 yr old guy was knocking himself out precisely because he valued her age and so-called beauty over any of her other qualities… so he needs to ‘man up’ (or woman up if the situation is in reverse) and realize that going for someone out of your league is naturally going to be a very high bar…. and in that scenario the best way to handle it is with a sense of humor.    Like, K… that was a stretch… all I have is myself to blame for going after the 29 year old…

  14. 14

    @Michelle #6
    I see your point about Ellen’s post, but I came away with a different thoughts about her relationship. Even if the guy was no ‘wrong’ for the way he communicated when they were apart, it was wrong for her, and if she kept on giving while not getting what she needed, she would’ve felt increasingly used and unhappy (even though that probalby wasn’t his intention). So because she wasn’t happy with him, I don’t think there was any potential there.

    @Ray #12
    Exactly!  I had a relationship where, when he did things that hurt me or that I felt were wrong, I tried all sorts of talking, convincing, cajoling, crying- and none of it worked (permanently anyway). With my last boyfriend, when I found that there were things that were going to make the relationship untenable for me, I didn’t try to change him. I simply said ‘no thank you’. Didn’t even have to raise my voice.
    The end result is the same (relationships ended) but the lack of stress and bad feelings about it is completely different! I much prefer that to the ‘how can I try to change him’ drama.

    1. 14.1

      “With my last boyfriend, when I found that there were things that were going to make the relationship untenable for me, I didn’t try to change him. I simply said ‘no thank you’.”


      So, he did something that you didn’t like, but you never said anything about it, you just “nexted” him?

  15. 15

    Ellen@2: That was my experience, too, when I did OLD back in the day. So many men who seemed just into a very superficial existence, which translated into their dating behavior (deplorable). I couldn’t take it for very long–a few weeks tops, before I’d get off. And I’d go out with lots of guys from just a few weeks of being online, so it wasn’t just some small random sampling. I’ve always met better guys in real life, in a context, which maybe kept bad behavior in check. Even then, though, dating was simply brutal. No question.

    EMK: Like the role reversal in the post. Very effective!! I also liked it when in another post you asked “would you want to date you?” Similar idea. Also, takes it out of the annoying gender wars. Being a decent person and treating people decently (rising above the dating fray) is good advice for all of us. Even those of us who are in couples, because in a way a relationship is like one great big long date. :)

  16. 16

    #14 Jennifer

    Unfortunately, we don’t know how long they dated.  If they made it through to an exclusive relationship (where they actually decided they were both in an exclusive relationship, not assumed), and she had calmly communicated to him that she enjoyed hearing from him inbetween their dates, that she noticed he doesn’t seem to be into electronic communication, and ask how could they stay in touch–and he ignored her–then I would agree, he’s not the right man.   If he was the type of man to ignore her in general and not want to make his girl happy, then that would come out in other ways, and she said he was good to her and they had a great time when they were together.  So things are not jibing…

    Most people are poor communicators, especially women.  I have a lot of sympathy for men.

    There’s definitely something that she’s doing to have the impression that men don’t treat women well until they are in love.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Again, it’s a woman’s expectations and lack of patience.  MATURE men don’t commit easily.

    For some reason, that post really struck a cord with me.  She doesn’t want a decent boyfriend, she wants a perfect boyfriend–and there’s a lot of lonliness in that.

    #15 Ann

    Great point on treating others like we would want to be treated, and it is a big long date!  I’m a relatively new couple, so good thing to keep in mind.

    I agree that on line dating can be frustrating and discouraging, but it’s the BEST way to bring up the numbers and meet people you would normally not meet.  Keeps you in the game.  It seems worse than what it is because we’re exposed to that many more people, so the ‘bad’ expereinces are going to be more.  I’d rather have that though then JUST relying on meeting someone organically (and I’ve done both over the past 5 years).  It only takes one.

  17. 17

    “Bruising” happens a lot–but I have to say that far more women than men are bruised. Just study the online profiles. SO many women listing demands: NO PLAYERS NO CHEATERS NO this… NO that… NO NO…

    1. 17.1

      It’s that checklist mentality that so many women have. Instead of looking at each guy for who he is, they have a certain picture in their minds they need the guy to be. He needs to be tall, make money, drive an acceptable vehicle, live in an acceptable home, blah blah blah.

  18. 18
    Laura S.

    I believe the secret to not becoming burnt and bitter is to not give more than you can emotionally afford to give.  If it’s not reciprocated, then stop it!  Why make yourself emotionally exhausted over a person who does not give back?

    Seek balance.

  19. 19

    Thank you Evan, I needed to see this post. Early on in my marriage, I gave, gave, and gave (like most of us do when we first start out). Boy was I shocked when, first, I got nothing in return, and then, I started getting yelled at when I could no longer give enough (having two kids 2.5 years apart can do this to you). Since then, I’ve been having a hard time giving it all, getting emotionally attached, and otherwise making myself emotionally vulnerable. It is pretty scary to keep giving when you were already punished for it once. Your post reminds me that this is something I need to continue working on. I’m changing my attitude now, though. Through my own experiences this year, I’ve come to the same conclusion you’re telling us about in this post – give the man the benefit of the doubt, be the best you can be, take it one day at a time, and enjoy the experience. And if I see that, because of the way he treats me, the experience is not enjoyable, then I wish him the best, and walk. I probably couldn’t have walked early in my marriage, at least not that easily — there were young kids involved; first I was out of work, then he was; we had no money and couldn’t afford to split up, etc etc. — but now, with the men I date, I do not have any of these problems.
    The first time I tried to be giving and generous, since I started dating after my divorce, it ended badly. I got played. But, surprisingly enough, in the end, that was where most of my learning came from. I asked myself, if I am giving, open, etc. to the man, what’s the worst that can happen? — I get taken advantage of, right? — so, the worst that can happen, already did, and I survived it, even though I was completely unprepared when it hit me. So I figured, if I live in the moment, take it one day at a time, do not plan too far into the future, but at the same time do not ignore the red flags when they’re staring me in the face (like I did with my little player friend), I’ll do fine in the end. So far, this has been working better than I’d expected. I met a few people that I really liked, but it was evident from their actions that they’d hurt me if I stayed with them, so we parted ways, very amicably I must add. I also met someone that I didn’t have wild chemistry with at the beginning, but the person treated me like gold, and we consistently had a great time together, so we’re still together as of now :)
    @ Helen #9 — I’m pretty sure “Paul” is doing it unconsciously. He’s just putting up defenses so he doesn’t end up being hurt again. He may not even realize he’s doing this. Though, as a responsible adult, of course he should.

  20. 20

    Apologize for the double comment, I wanted to reply to Ellen’s:
    “to participate in online dating where anything goes is a bit shocking, like being thrown in a cold lake on a winter’s day. lol So I can either churn thru lots of men (and the emotional and possibly very negative health consequences of that) …”
    That was another learning I took away from my bad experience earlier this year — not to think of dating as, you know, an icy bath on a winter’s day, “churning through lots of men” etc. — instead, I started looking at it as a process of meeting new people, hearing their stories, learning about their lives, their interests, what makes them tick. Even if we never make it past the first date, it is an exciting experience, because everyone has something cool to share. Looking at dating this way, you end up with a rich tapestry of dudes :) I just stopped and asked myself — if my player can have tons of fun meeting new women every week, why can’t I? I’ve got to be a better people person than he is! I know I have respect for people, and genuine interest in them — time to start living it out. 
    Another thing is, I like to write as a side hobby (when I have time), but new stories and ideas, and characters, are so difficult to come up with. Dating provides you an enormous amount of material. All you have to do is show up, pay attention to the guy, and listen to what he has to say. Even if he is a horrible match, at the end of the night, you come home with a new story. My guy friend (who’s also been out dating this year) and I, made a pact that we’ll both write our dating stories down. And then, who knows? Maybe one day we’ll combine a few of our dates into one character, add a few of their life stories, put a good spin on it, and come up with a new bestseller! Anything is possible.

  21. 21

    Maybe its an age thing, but I have to say I don’t recognse this portrait of the selfish, withholding diva-like girlfriend in any of the women that I know. Traditionally, women are brought up to be givers, wheras men are not. This is not men’s fault, but I think there is some truth in it. Thus, I have to say that I agree with whoever said that generally men do not treat women particularly well until they are in love. Because of this, although I agree with Evan that it is important for us women not to become, supicious, mistrustful and withholding, I think in general we are in more danger of going too far the other way. For me, the key to giving is to offer an appropriate level of openness, support and generosity for the level of the relationship, and always ALWAYS to proceed on the basis of recipricocity. So on a first, second or third date, a woman should “give” in the sense of expressing appreciation for the food and the venue he has chose (even if its not very good) but should not be offering immediately to cook him dinner and parcel up the leftovers for him. Once into the early stages of  an exclusive relationship, it is fine to help him pick out a birthday gift for his sister if he requests your help – it is NOT ok to offer to go off and trail round the Mall yourself to get her gift while he stays home and watches sport on TV. For that’ you’d have to be married(!) and even then, don’t make a habit of it! At this time of year, how many women do we see running ragged around the stores buying gifts for the entire extended family – including HIS side? I have NEVER received a gift from my  brother in law that HE has gone to the trouble of choosing and shopping for – and my brother in law’s a nice guy!

    1. 21.1

      “Maybe its an age thing, but I have to say I don’t recognse this portrait of the selfish, withholding diva-like girlfriend in any of the women that I know.”


      Try dating them – then you’ll see it.

  22. 22

    Goldie@20: This is great– “I’ve got to be a better people person than he is!”

    Helene@21: Sad, but true. Very true.

  23. 23
    Mr. Right

    Yeah… I hear ya about the pillows. Once you get married, it’s like they breed like rabbits.

  24. 24

    Wow Ellen #2
    Could not have said it better myself! 

  25. 25

    I am naturally a giver, however I tend to complain and criticise my exes & dates a lot. My current boyfriend recognises this, and thankfully, rather than simply run away like what my exes did, he told me about it and would remind me every time i complain too much and become unappreciative of him. We’ve been together for almost 2 years now, and over the last year I have become a much better girlfriend by being a giver & by being thankful and appreciative of him :-) This turnaround actually made him want to do so much more for me, like buy me or make me some sweet little thoughtful gifts, cook me dinner, etc. Lately we’ve been in a long distance relationship (him in new zealand and me in southeast asia), and he never fails to write me a letter (yes, snail mail!) every single week!! Im so grateful & so lucky to have him!

  26. 26

    maybe she’s not the right girl for you..don’t be hard on your self..what if the next girl will be your destiny?or serious in having relationship on you?not all people are like your ex- girlfriend. hurting is always connected to love.i know that it really hurts but you can overcome with this when you find your true love.

  27. 27

    There is a big difference between age 29 and 41.  Do you think this guy could be a attracted to a 41 year old single Mom with a couple of kids, a demanding job, and 10 extra pounds?   No…..he goes out of hiis league and complains that it did not work.  Duh!

    The girl is probably complaining that he is so scattered, immature, not rich. cool well dressed, and not dying to give her a couple of credit cards , a big house, and two kids in the best suburb.

    Get Real!!!!!    

    1. 27.1

      You hit the nail on the head. This guy is being rather greedy and selfish himself and then complains when he gets burnt. When are 40 plus men going to understand that younger women are only after a good butt-kissing. When are women going to understand that they are hurting their entire sex species by accepting older men? Young women who resist dating older men will be very thankful to actually be able to get a date when they’re 60, if they need one.

    2. 27.2

      Sorry but that’s a load of crap. Firstly this idea of leagues as defined by whom exactly? Secondly, “Paul” really should run out and find a woman who’s probably just as bitter and burned as he is as a result of the single mom situation (often from some asshole who wasn’t worth dating let alone having kids with) lets say it works out and they get married and God forbid they have another kid together then he gets the joy of being able to discipline “his” child but not “hers” but he gets to help pay for all of them.

      You and Alyssa are two peas in a pod. “Accepting older men” wow, arrogant much? What a greedy asshole Paul is for getting taken advantage of, he should have settled (see, obnoxious isn’t it) for someone his own age to preserve the younger women’s (29 you are no longer a girl by the way…) prerogative to use men their own age to get their asses kissed whilst allowing the 60 year olds to find a date. How giving.

      1. 27.2.1
        Luana de Paula

        Don’t be that bitter, man. ANd I man that with love.

        if women were doing the same, I’m sure you would finally see what is happening here. Paul is too much into the “women are only their appearances!” crap that so many sexist men still believe. He wants looks, not integrity, not brains, not maturity. Or maybe he also wants it… but still goes after the beauty and cries when the rest isn’t there.

        The truth is: most men that old aren’t attractive to most younger women. The vice-versa is also true. So most younger women dating men that old are doing it because of money, to get an ego boost, etc. Are men still that delusional to believe it’s not like that when it comes to their own situation with much younger women? Come on now.

        1. Bored

          Stow that crap.  Calling them out on their “Me first and always” mentality is bitter?  That’s convenient, might as well say “it’s gay!” because that’ll work about as well to shut me up….  Calling people out on their shit is exactly what you should do….*gasp* even women and *gasp* even women’s relationship crap *double gasp*  As for your own comment, were I to say “Men don’t like old women” see how fast I get called out on it but state the opposite and that’s fine, but also believing otherwise in every situation is “delusional” also convenient that is.  Question: At what point in these situations mentioned does it stop being “his issue” and become “her issue” or am I right in my assumption based on many of the comments on here that you too believe that the closest it ever comes to that is becoming “their issue?”

  28. 28

    But l have a question – what if Paul is not attracted to *givers*? What if Paul is one of those gus who say: “At the end of the day l cant help who lm attracted to?”

  29. 29

    Your relationship between you and your wife reminds me of my own relationship with my boyfriend. He always takes me to nice dinners, walks me to my apartment even when he invited me to eat to at his place, and constantly tells me how lucky he is to be with me. I, in return, help him study, buy tickets for hockey games, make him dinner, and send him sweet cards to work.
    I had to be patient though, it had been 6 years since my last relationship, but I kept dating and putting myself out there because I knew it was just a matter of time.

  30. 30

    not that I care that much, but for the record-

    Michelle above wrote: “Sorry to be so blunt Ellen, but when I read your post, I think the onus is on you, not on him (assuming he’s a man of good character and masculinity, and you’ve said nothing to the contrary).  I think because of lack of patience, understanding of men and lack of empathy…..”

    I clearly stated I did accept him in every way EXCEPT ignoring my texts, going awol for days at a time, despite 7 months together, STEADILY dating I might add. That is insulting, cold behavior and I couldn’t tolerate it the second time it happened. To be successful, most ldrs require near daily contact…..So I am not a doormat: we broke up once over this issue (so the little jerk knew it was important to me), got back together, but the second time he was that brutal to me I left.

    So I am following Evan’s advice in terms of not putting up with bad behavior, but I always (which may be a mistake, but hey, I have patience! I have empathy in spades, always have) give the man PLENTY of time to prove himself, am very patient imo, always give them the benefit of the doubt (maybe he’s busy, tired, needs time to emotionally bond, etc. ) before deciding he is “a good man, but not a good boyfriend”.  To that effect I gave this man 7 months! And as one friend put it “you must have been doing something right to get a man to drive over 2 hrs. round-trip to see you for 7 months despite a new job, moving, overseas travel, etc.”. Plus he was 17 years my junior…..

    To say I was accommodating is perhaps THE understatement of the 21st Century folks. But I don’t allow myself- ever- to become a doormat. Know too many women who do.

    Men seldom return the favor btw (give ME the benefit of the doubt or try to understand MY emotional needs). So, yeah, I am a giver and most of the guys I’ve been dating have been takers I guess. In this world, that is not at ALL unusual….I am going out this weekend with an age-appropriate counselor, so maybe at long last I’ll have a sympathetic ear.

    And yeah, I will admit I am this close- say, 1/4 of an inch folks-  from becoming bitter.

    Also, another long-term, mostly online (IM, texts, phone calls, lots of phone calls) friend (3 years! Wonderful, strong character, good heart, hugely successful in government) has been back in touch and ready to take me on as a long distance (3 hrs. drive) girlfriend. We emotionally bonded a long time ago, but logistics have kept us apart, though business takes him my way occasionally. So apparently I have the patience, empathy, love and all the rest to keep another man interested in me for THREE years, if only at a distance, platonically for now. He texted me yesterday “I have HUGE respect” for you Ellen.

    Finally, re patience, empathy, understanding men* etc., have you been in two long-term relationships like I have, once for 9 years, the other for 25!? I think I’ve more than proven I can hold my own in LONG TERM relationships, thank you very much. lol

    *PLUS two older brothers AND I was my Dad’s favorite, so yeah, I understand men fairly well. I recommend Louanne Brizendine’s (USC, Harvard I think, brilliant woman) books on the male and female brains btw. They and Evan’s blog have helped me so much.

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