If Some Doomed Relationships Succeed, Couldn’t Mine?

Doomed relationship

Hello, Evan:  

I loved your recent email about hanging onto a doomed relationship. Yes, I have been hanging on to a cheating casanova for FOUR YEARS!! (But Evan, he’s SO devastatingly handsome, and SO charming, and SO romantic, and SO attentive. He says ALL the sexy/sweet things every girl wants to hear. I practically swoon every time I get a text, a call or an email . . . . sigh.) Your emails have helped me enormously; with your no-holds-barred monthly reality checks, I am (gradually) extracting myself from his considerable pull on my heart (and libido :)).

Here’s my question: Do you think a compelling reason smart women hang on to guys who don’t put them first is because there are SOME instances — and, alas, we have all heard about them — where a guy DID reform, because he DID truly love his girlfriend, and when she gave him an ultimatum, or even just stopped giving in and started respecting herself and setting boundaries, he behaved better — because SHE took over the direction of the relationship in an assertive (but demure) way?


I must admit, this scenario is what keeps me hoping against hope that if I could only conduct my own behavior in a firm yet loving manner, I could change HIS behavior and guide him toward treating me right. It IS possible, no? Unfortunately, because it IS possible (though not probable, I “know,”) I keep on trying. Maybe today I won’t cave in and have sex with him. Maybe today I will tell him he didn’t call for a date early enough and I’m busy Saturday night. Maybe today I will say, “I don’t believe a word you just said. Call back when you can be respectful.” If I can only stand my ground and respect myself, he will respect me and we will live happily ever after — RIGHT??

I would dearly love it if you would address this strongly-held belief — a hope we women in love with cheating guys hold so dear to our broken hearts. Thank you!! You are amazingly insightful and wonderfully wise. I really look forward to your emails.



No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.


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  1. 121

    I agree that her looks have nothing to do with it. He doesn’t fear any consequences because he can simply go out and find another equally attractive woman within a day/month if she leaves him. It’s not because she’s so unattractive he’s not bothered!
    Here in the uk, Princess Diana got cheated on and we are still baffled as to why Ashley Cole kept cheating on Cheryl.  

  2. 122

    <<If she has a strong libido like I do, my solution works better than your being “celibate” and single does.>>
    I’m not saying that she should be “celibate” – single women are not necessarily so. I’m saying that she should invest her energies and time into looking for a more appropriate partner. If she wants a FWB in the meantime, find someone she isn’t already in love with or going to fall in love with. It’s not some either-or proposition, like stick with this guy (because he looks like George Clooney) or end up alone and celibate. And let’s not forget, she’s crazy about this man, so she may be exaggerating his good points and putting him up on a pedestal, perhaps in large part because he is so unattainable.

  3. 123

    @Karmic Equation
    You obviously know nothing about addiction. Lucky you. Alcoholics who go cold turkey are at risk of DTs.
    Lucky me indeed, I watched my father detox for 4 days in the hospital from alcohol 3 years ago next month. You know what he never did after having detoxed? Had another drink.
    As far as happiness. I can only conclude that a woman who writes a stranger asking for him to tell her what she wants to hear, that a man will change his ways for her is patently unhappy. I was with an abusive man for 2 years, I suppose the fact that I was with him for 2 years must mean, to you, that I was very happy being abused for those 2 years. I wasn’t. Correlation is not causation KE. If this woman is happy to share her man she would have just shared him without writing a stranger asking him to validate her beliefs, she isn’t happy, she can’t share him and she would be better to walk away because, eventually, he’s going to stop giving her the sex anyways, might as well find someone who will give her EVERYTHING she needs, not just sex.

  4. 124

    Marymary 121 – I agree with you.  He seems to have it all but if she’s letting him make that choice for her, well, that’s too bad.
    From what the article says, the prospects for her don’t look good. 
    What is she thinking of?

  5. 125

    @ Nicole / Sparkling Emerald
     Sorry I have a tendency to post late at night when perhaps I’m a tad cranky – maybe I should sleep on it before posting. And it wasn’t just me/men who implied she might be dating a hot guy out of her league:
    Marie #8
    “Do you feel like he’s what you really deserve and can’t do better?”
    Anonymous #20
    “I see tons of gorgeous women, not many hot men, they are rare indeed…she probably waited a LONG time to find him, and the replacement will not be easy”
    Karmic Equation # 72
    “The only “jerky” thing he does is (maybe) cheat – and I say maybe because it’s not uncommon for a woman in a lower league that the guy to think the guy is her bf simply because they’re sleeping together”
    Hey I’m not excusing the guy – obviously no-one here is condoning cheating. Rather I was just trying to understand why people keep behaving in a manner that is hurting them. My point isn’t to explain why he’s cheating, rather to understand why is she staying with him in spite of his cheating? Obviously there’s something about him that’s making her act irrationally. My *personal* observation has been that people behave like that when they ‘date up’. They don’t move on because they know how rare it is to actually be able to date up.
    Would she accept such behavior if she was dating someone who she felt was lucky to have her – i.e. someone beneath her league? I don’t think so.
    One of my friends is in this exact situation. His girlfriend of three years is obsessed with him, whereas he’s ‘meh’ about her and cheats occasionally. I asked him why he bothers going out with her at all, and not just move on to someone he’s mad about. He just shrugs his shoulders and says: “dunno really”. I think he’s just too lazy and likes the way she’ll just do anything/everything for him. Yes he’s a good looking guy, and she’s average/reasonably attractive. I know this is just one example though, which has perhaps colored my take on the op’s situation.
    And it’s not specific to women – it works both ways. I.e. the one time I acted like Elizabeth and allowed my boundaries to be ignored happened to be with the most beautiful woman I’ve ever been with. Funny that. She knew she could have almost any guy she wanted, as did I. After feeling like a chump I made a decision never to allow that happen again, no matter how hot she was.
    It’s just my take on the situation – can we be friends again? 🙂
    marymary #121
    Here in the uk…we are still baffled as to why Ashley Cole kept cheating in Cheryl”.
    I’m baffled too as she is beautiful. But again I don’t mean to explain why the op’s boyfriend cheats, rather understand why she tolerates it. If memory serves me correctly Cheryl dumped Ashley after his philandering came to light so that example isn’t applicable to Elizabeth’s situation.

  6. 126

    I know a man who’s 82 and still a womanizer!

  7. 127
    Karmic Equation


    I’m sorry about your dad. I’m glad that he’s sober and wish him continued sobriety. And I’m sorry you were in an abusive relationship. But this man isn’t sexually abusing OP, something which I do know something about. Let’s leave it at that.

    You cannot correlate an emotionally/physically abusive relationship (where often the woman is TRULY powerless to leave) — with a relationship that the woman admits gives her pleasure.

    If you were a masochist I would expect you to enjoy the abuse and maybe you would have willingly stayed in an abusive relationsip in those circumstances. She’s admitted she has a strong libido, so I’m going to go with her enjoying the sex. She doesn’t consider herself abused.

    @Lia – Thanks!

    @Goldie #112

    Agree completely.

    And getting back to you regarding emotional detachment.

    There’s a difference between feelings and emotions. Feelings are uncontrollable. If something makes us angry, we’re angry, we can’t help it. But we can control how we express that anger, i.e., whether we scream and yell or just grit our teeth. Let yourself feel your feelings, acknowledge the feelings, but control how you express them. That’s how you control your feelings instead of letting them control you. And do #3 from Karl R 95.

    I always live in the moment with men. That’s how men live. It’s a good way to live in general.

    To not obsess about a man when we’re not together, you’ve just got to train your mind to change the channel whenever you start thinking about him. It used to be difficult. But now my mind automatically does it.

    What you do is as soon as you catch yourself thinking about a man, force yourself to think of something else. If you hate the guy, think of something negative, like the awful project at work, or snakes, ghosts, stuff like that. If you like the guy think of something NEUTRAL, “why is the sky blue?”, “how do fish not drown?” — Your mind is your friend. Once you do this and your mind knows what you’re about, it’ll start changing channels for you automatically, so much so that when you WANT to think about a man, it will actually take a huge effort to keep your thoughts focused on him.

    @marymary & SE

    I think you both misunderstand how “leagues” work. It’s not just looks/status/power but also age.

    Part 1 – Age & League
    Halle Berry got cheated on in both her marriages. But I believe both times she married younger men, who were also in the 9-10 range. Therefore, even though she’s a 10, she’s a lower 10 than her men because they were younger and also 10’s.

    In the Princess Di situation, that’s actually not a league situation, but unfortunate class-obligation thing for them both. They didn’t marry for love but because their country expected that of them. If they had met in a bar, they’d never have gone off together.

    Don’t know Ashley/Cheryl.

    Part 2 – Looks and League

    You’re right, marymary in that the league thing doesn’t affect the guy, when he’s in a higher league.

    However, the woman’s behavior is affected because SHE’s in a lower league than the man.

    If the woman is in a lower league then SHE will likely accept behavior she wouldn’t accept if she were in a higher league, as per my examples of Hilary Clinton (lower league in both looks and power) and Jackie O (equal league in looks, lower league in power, so nets lower overall). They both accepted cheating in their men.

    Elen Nordigren, higher league than Tiger in looks. Thus higher league net…she didn’t accept being being cheated on. Neither did Sandra Bullock.

    As much as we’d like to think it’s a “quality” woman who doesn’t accept cheating, it’s only if the woman is in a higher league than the man, who doesn’t accept cheating. Not as good looking or just as good looking but older than the man, she doesn’t usually get to call the shots…unless there’s a dom/sub thing also going on in the relationship.

  8. 128
    Karl R

    Karmic Equation said: (#120)
    “I don’t believe OP is insecure. I believe she’s having a difficult time reconciling her own tolerance to man-sharing against a culture and society that shames a woman who tolerates man-sharing.”
    “However, the fact that she STILL LIKES the man with whom she REMAINED HAPPy in the non-monogamous relationship for FOUR YEARS, actually demonstrates she can tolerate sharing her man.”
    I think you’re projecting. Read her letter again. According to Elizabeth, she has a broken heart -and- she doesn’t respect herself.
    If that’s your idea of tolerance and happiness, I think we’re defining the words differently.
    Sparkling Emerald said: (#119)
    “I don’t appreciate the men (cough cough Tom10) who come to this blog and speculate on our looks, leagues, etc.”
    Elizabeth is treating her boyfriend like he’s her one-and-only chance to score big. Her boyfriend is treating Elizabeth like a take-it-or-leave it option.
    Use whatever terms you want, but the two people most familiar with the situation are treating the boyfriend like he’s a more valuable commodity than Elizabeth.
    Why would Elizabeth stay in a lousy relationship for four years? To me, it suggests that she doesn’t believe that she can find an equally amazing man in one year, or four years, or ten years.
    Karmic Equation said: (#120)
    “I’ve mentioned in another thread, most women are unwilling to compete like that, because at heart, those women who NEED monogamy are the ones who are insecure. They’re afraid that without monogamy the man will abandon them.”
    I think you’re projecting again.
    Both you and I advocate maintaining emotional distance when in a non-monogamous relationship. Both of us are capable of maintaining emotional distance for an extended period of time. The last time I felt it was necessary, I successfully maintained that distance for three months, even though I was having sex with the woman a few times per week. Furthermore, I was capable of maintaining that distance even though I wasn’t seeing anyone else at that time. (I thought it was possible that she was seeing someone else.)
    I don’t feel like maintaining emotional distance with my wife. I prefer to have that emotional closeness, and monogamy is something I’ll willingly accept to get it.
    And I’m sufficiently secure in my ability to attract amazing women that I could hold out for the kind of relationship that I wanted. The sixth time was the charm.
    Maybe you need to dial back your rhetoric a bit.

  9. 129
    Karmic Equation

    Karl R 129,

    You and I both know that sometimes what a woman says and what she feels aren’t the same. Yes, OPs WORDS say she’s broken-hearted, but the TONE of the letter is hopeful and pleading not distraught. Elizabeth doesn’t sound any more broken hearted than you or I.

    I did mis-write. She’s happy with the MAN. She’s unhappy with the RELATIONSHIP. She can’t change the man, but she CAN change the relationship. I’m being quite logical as well as projecting. I’ll give you that.

    Who the heck advocates maintaining emotional distance from one’s spouse? There you go with strawman arguments again. Let’s not go there again, ok?

    The sentence you quoted has nothing to do with emotional distance. Additionally, unless you’ve gone through a gender change, that sentence was about women, not sure why you’re injecting what you’re about into that comment.

  10. 130

    Ok now I am really confused.  I didn’t read all the comments so I may have missed something here.  Where did we all agree that the OP is happy with the man?  She sounds pretty miserable to me. The fact that she’s stayed with him for this long is not a sign of happiness but poor willpower.  We should not tell her to make up some excuse to continue poor judgement.
    Also, I don’t understand what slutshaming has to do with this.  No one said she can’t have FWB or NSA, just do it with someone who treats you with a modicum of respect and not like a piece of trash.  Sheesh!

  11. 131

    You don’t have to be insecure to desire a relationship with one person who wants to have a relationship with one person. I enjoy the dynamic of a one on one relationship. I’m not even opposed to fun sexual activities involving others as long as everyone is gung ho and aware of what’s going on. If the opportunity came up I might partake…I find romantic relationships that involve co-existing and mingling lives does take energy, and it feels nice to not have to focus on more than one person. The dynamic suits me well. It seems to suit my bf well. We are not lacking anything or wanting more. 
    Anyways my phone can’t seem to handle this topic so I can’t read the comments anymore, i’ll be moving on…
    Nice discussion! 

  12. 132

    KE #128
    <<Halle Berry got cheated on in both her marriages. But I believe both times she married younger men, who were also in the 9-10 range. Therefore, even though she’s a 10, she’s a lower 10 than her men because they were younger and also 10′s.>>
    For someone who preaches about culturally-limiting beliefs, you don’t seem to mind perpetuating some of your own. A “lower 10” because of her age? Halle Berry was involved with a gorgeous model 9 years her junior, and he did have a roving eye. FYI, though, all of Halle Berry’s 3 spouses have been exactly her age, including her current husband.
    Equating the life-threatening affects of withdrawal from long-term substance abuse to breaking up with man who has not been treating you right for years is a bit of a stretch. I agree with Karl R. Elizabeth isn’t staying with her guy for reasons that appear healthy to me, despite whatever chemistry they share.

  13. 133

    Halle Berry said that the reason she stayed with an unfaihful man was low self esteem.
    She made a man more important than herself.
    It was nothing to do with how beaytiful she was on the outside it was how she felt about herself on the inside.

  14. 134

    And described her Father as a tyranical wife beating alcoholic who left her life when she was four.

  15. 135
    Sparkling Emerald

    KE – Please make up your mind about slut shaming.  In this thread you said . . .
    IMO, that’s just another form of slutshaming. Any way for a woman to express her sexuality that jeopardizes the accepted one-man:one-woman paradigm is threatening to women who cannot share, or as I like to say, women who don’t have the wherewithal to compete. And therefore women like the OP must be shamed into towing the cultural line that monogamy is the only kind of relationship we should seek.
    And in another thread you replied to my rebuttal to YOUR slut-shaming
    (My rebuttal to you calling women who desire sex only in the context of a relationship “yucky” and compared them to prostitutes)
    SE Said“A thinly veiled comparison to prostitution, & lots of judgement. Thanks for shaming us.”
    Your reply was . . .
    A person can’t feel shame unless they feel there is some truth to the statement. If you feel shame, figure out why. Don’t kill the messenger.
    I honestly don’t think the OP is responding to any societal imposed “slut shaming” As YOU said, she cant feel shame unless there is some truth to the societal message. There is an equal amount of “prude shaming” in our society as well, and there is a wide diversity of societal voices out there all screaming their dictates as to how a woman could or should express her sexuality.
    I think that after 4 years of fooling herself into thinking she was OK with sharing “her man” (if he ever truly was hers or said he was)  she is finally sick of it, and ready to move on to something more intentional. She still hopes that THIS man will magically discover that he really does love her and want commitment, monogamy, etc. but he doesn’t.  EMK’s message is VERY unequivocal.  (that’s why I LOVED it)
    Just because she has endured it for 4 years doesn’t mean she is OK with it, she is hoping against hope that it WILL CHANGE.  THAT’s most likely the reason she hangs in there.  You might as well say that a compulsive gambler really enjoys the havoc that has been wrecked on his life due to his gambling addiction, because he has been at it so long.  When the truth is, he still hopes he will win the big jackpot.  So he will continue to gamble away his paycheck, his savings account, his VISA debt limit, etc., all in the far fetched hope of hitting the big time.  Every time s/he is ready to walk away, he gets a teeny-tiny little win.  Perhaps $200 from the slots or $500 from a lotto ticket.  However, the OP, if she WANTS marriage and motherhood, she is gambling away her most fertile and most marriagable years.  Sure, the thrill of intoxicating sex with a charismatic alpha male is delicious.  But it can short circuit your long range goals.  What was fun and delicious for a the first month or two, isn’t necessarily a good time 4 years later.  4 years later, it is likely a bad habit and possibly an addiction.
    However, there isn’t enough info in the OP to know EXACTLY the lowdown, but judging from many factors, and the fact that she chose to write to a coach who advocates for love and marriage, I think the OP is NOT happy in her situation. 
    By the way, since you seem to be so anti “slut shaming” (as am I) perhaps you might want to stop your own brand of slut shaming.  Yes, you do a kind of weird reverse slut shaming.  You make feeble attempts to shame women who want sex in the context of a committed relationship, to convince them that they are no better than yucky whores. 
    Look, you are obviously not the typical woman.  You can have casual sex and not bat an eyelash.  You don’t even seem remotely interested in falling in love.  You have a competitive, masculine quality about you, and you constantly brag about your ability to stay detached from the men you are having sport sex with.  But I’m sure you can ramp up the feminine charm if you are in competition with another “she-devil”, but your core personality is a highly masculinized and competitive. 
    I’m glad women like you exist.  You give player men a taste of their own medicine. But most women aren’t like you, and don’t appreciate your strange brand of “slut shaming” either.  
    You are not the typical woman KE, and what works for you doesn’t work for most women.  I’m glad your free wheeling sexuality is satisfying to you, but  I really find it annoying that you think that your niche brand of  female sexuality is what ALL women should experience, and those woman who don’t kow-tow to your free spirited ways are somehow whores.

  16. 136
    Karmic Equation

    @Rose 134 – Thanks for the clarification!

    @Ruby 133

    I don’t make the “league” rules, I just understand how they’re applied. Age AND looks are the parameters in defining leagues, e.g., if the man/woman is younger than their partner, they’re in a higher league; and if the man/woman is better looking than their partner, they’re in a higher league. The leagues equal out if man is older w/status/not as good looking and woman is younger/better looking. That’s usually how couples end up. They end up marrying in their league.

    The above I know to be true. But if both are same age, same ratings in looks, I do believe it defaults to the man being in higher league simply because the woman is NOT younger than he. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the same way if woman is older with more power/money than the man as men don’t care about that when it comes to mating unless they’re male gold-diggers or are power-hungry, and then they often end up cheating. (ala Arnold Schwarznegger, not sure if Maria was older or not; but her family is powerful and she was equally as attractive as he was). She did end things with him when she found out he cheated. but is supposedly entertaining reconciling (not sure). I don’t follow them that closely.

    I didn’t bring up the detox tangent. I just went with the flow when Julia brought it up.


    I also believe monogamy is easier. No argument from me. But I don’t believe easy equals right; nor that easier equals natural; nor that easier is good. For example, I find online dating harder and more stressful than meeting someone IRL to date. However, I believe online dating is BETTER than IRL  dating simply because it allows me to meet and date people I would never meet IRL. So when easier collides with better, one has to go with better and suffer the growing pains that result.

    I’m NOT saying non-monogamy is better for most people. I am saying that it is better for OP simply because that IS the relationship she has now. Her guy is NOT monogamous with her and hasn’t been for a while. And she stayed with him throughout his infidelities because she likes him in spite of his cheating “…he’s SO devastatingly handsome, and SO charming, and SO romantic, and SO attentive. He says ALL the sexy/sweet things every girl wants to hear. I practically swoon every time I get a text, a call or an email . . . . sigh.” The only thing she doesn’t like is his cheating. In other words she doesn’t want to change the man, she wants to change the relationship (to a committed one). What I’m suggesting is that Yes, she CAN change the relationship, she can’t change it to a committed one without his buyin. BUT she CAN demote it to an UN-committed one, without his buyin — and voila, then he’s no longer cheating on her. Problem solved…just not the way she was hoping it to be solved.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that she is insecure. That insecurity is going to travel with her to any new man she has a relationship with. Her moving on to a new man without addressing the insecurity that made her ok with being with a cheated on will just open her up to be cheated on by a new man. Why be cheated on by two men? Being cheated on by one is already one too many.

  17. 137

    @Rose thank you.  I feel like all of this talk aobut leagues is so juvenile.  I’ve known men and women who were perhaps not conventionally attractive who ALWAYS attract attentive and loving mates, and I think the amount of confidence they project was a huge part in that.  
    And I’ve seen some of the prettiest girls I know get played over and over again by guys who were NOT in fact “better” than them in any way…not better looking, not better educated, not wealthier.  
    The self-esteem thing is HUGE and I’d say those pretty girls I see bend over backwards to please men continue to get treated that way not b/c they aren’t as “good” as the peopel they date but b/c of self-esteem issues.
    @Tom10, I think my response to you is the same…just that when people get treated badly a lot of it is what they think they deserve and what they project or what they show people they will tolerate, and I just don’t necessarily see a correlation in looks there. Men can be meh with gorgeous women with low self-esteem, so can women who date men who have that problem.  
    And of course, you are probably privy to what your friends think of their GFs but I also have to remember that we are all viewing the world from different eyes and many couples look like they don’t belong together to a lot of people but in the end, it only matters what they see when they look at each other. So I personally wouldn’t assume, oh, he treats her bad b/c she’s not pretty enough for him.  He treats her bad b/c she lets him treat her bad.

  18. 138

    @ Karmic 130,
    what you say got me thinking a lot, as always.
    About maintaing emotional distance from one’s spouse – it might actually not be a bad idea, if only I could do it!. Being married does not necessarily mean that you do not have relationship issues. Besides me, there is plenty of married folk around here, and I suppose, except for the very newly married (but even may be not except them) each of us struggles once in a while with how to get their partner/husband/wife to agree.
    I found your explanation about how to distance yourself very interesting. I realize that I have tried doing that a few times (before my husband but also with him at the initial stages of our relationship and it was VERY DIFFICULT.  I wanted to be able to dial down my emotions/feelings for the man, but every time I realized I can not dial it down, I only manage to either be in love or out of love. 
    Every time you say you still LOVE your former BF but have managed to demote him I find this strange… But may be I am projecting :-).  

  19. 139

    When I was younger me and a couple of friends came across men who had books and used that rating scale. Lists of womens names and rated certain things.
    At first we laughed at them.
    Then we felt creeped out and avoided them.  Would any woman who valued herself really want a man who used a rating scale on her looks age etc?
    And now many years later years later would agree is a sign of emotional immaturity. So would not be attracted to any man who used a rating scale Just leave them to it. Feels far to shalllow and creepy makes me shudder! Can feell my face and nose wrinkling up in distaste.I am attracted and turned on to Consciously aware emotionally mature men who are kind and compassionate and have more depth to them who treat me how I want to be treated.
    Each to their own.

  20. 140

    @ Nicole 138
    “I feel like all of this talk aobout leagues is so juvenile.”
    I see your point but the reality is there are leagues in dating whether we like it or not. You, and I, and everyone here are placed in a league by the opposite gender whether you accept it or not. And as Karmic explained #128, leagues aren’t just confined to looks. They also encompass intelligence, humor, fame, wealth, education, age and yes self-confidence: i.e. the whole package. So a secure beautiful woman is in a higher league than an insecure beautiful woman. In fact insecurity drops someone’s league dramatically. That explains your examples of beautiful women accepting poor behavior from average looking men. I just used looks as they are the simplest external manifestation of the person’s league.
    And again I wasn’t explaining why the men cheat, rather why the women involved choose to accept it. If she was his equal there is no way she would tolerate such disrespectful behavior. The reasons why men cheat is a different story altogether. It says more about the man’s character than any difference in league level.
    I’m sure you’ve dated plenty of men who were fundamentally decent people but you just didn’t feel ‘it’ for? You’ve probably met men who were kind, decent, and attractive but for some reason you couldn’t put your finger on you just couldn’t foresee a relationship with them? What do you think ‘it’ is? In my opinion ‘it’ is the feeling when you get to date ‘up’ or ‘equal’. You feel ‘no’ or ‘meh’ when you ‘date down’. Again this is all subjective to the individual based on the calibre of person they’ve dated in their past. Objectively they might be way off on their assessments.
    Elizabeth would rather feel ‘it’ with someone who disrespects her than feel ‘meh’ with someone treats her well.
    In fact, *in my opinion*, the main reason liberated people in the West struggle with dating is that we are all desperately trying to date out of our league, or at least at the very peak of our own league. I think women struggle with this more than men because (as I’ve written in different thread) men will ‘date down’ for sex/dinner/companionship for x amount of time, whereas women would rather abstain. Little do the women ‘dating up’ realize that those men will probably never take her too seriously and treat her with the respect she deserves.
    Heck, I’m not blaming women as I’m as guilty as anyone at doing this, hence why I choose to stay single and have casual relationships. Unless I meet someone waaay out my league (who would also have to decide to date someone way beneath her league) I’m going to stay single.
    I don’t want to go on and on about leagues so I’ll stop referring to them now 🙂

  21. 141

    KE 128
    Thanks!! Saving your advice for future reference.
    As for the OP, I think Karl has just hit the nail on the head in #129
    “Elizabeth is treating her boyfriend like he’s her one-and-only chance to score big. Her boyfriend is treating Elizabeth like a take-it-or-leave it option.”
    Therein lies the problem. She has put him on a pedestal… even if she were miles out of his league, this would still be the root cause of his problem. She needs to change her attitude and see him for what he is, i.e. NOT her one-and-only chance.
    @Kiki #139
    “Every time you say you still LOVE your former BF but have managed to demote him I find this strange…”
    I haven’t seen any of those posts, but maybe KE doesn’t mean love in terms of partner, 1:1 love? Forex, I love my dog. Doesn’t mean I cannot love other dogs and people at the same time.

  22. 142

    Tom10 #97
    “Let’s call a spade a spade: she’s dating out of her league and both of them know it. That’s why they’re both behaving the way they are.”
    I respectfully disagree.  This is not necessarily true at all.  All that we can logically deduce is that he’s behaving this way, and she is tolerating it.
    I’m not sure when behaving like a cheating Casanova, stringing women who care for you along elevated a guy to a higher league than said devoted woman, as I’d say it’s evidence of someone with questionable integrity at best. Elizabeth may not necessarily be in a “lower league”, but what’s evident is that she doesn’t have a high enough opinion of her worth.  There are some real gems of people in the world who don’t know their own value, including beautiful women.
    I certainly think this man’s *perception* of his worth is higher than Elizabeth’s, but whether he is *actually* in a higher league than her is uncertain.

  23. 143

    I am aware that the word love is used for several different types of emotions, but lets keep pets out of this for a while :-). So, imagine you have a boyfriend and you say you love him (it’s kind of understood you do, why would he be your bofyriend othewise). Then, you start to think that he has been cheating on you, so you tell him, you are no longer his girlfriend, but at the same time you still love him, using the same word to describe your feelings you used for while you were in a relationship? For me, if I do not trust the man to tell me the truth about whether he sleeps with other women, that is reason enough to ul-love him :-).  Does not mean I can not have great sex with him if I do not love him (I totally can :-)) but the love would be dead for me.
    I am sure Karmic will say what she thinks. 🙂

  24. 144
    Karmic Equation


    You are the queen of misrepresentation and taking things out of context.

    I NEVER said that OP feels *shame.* What I said was (emphasis mine)

    “What’s wrong is her hoping that he’ll change. Maybe what’s wrong is her desire for him to change (not because that’s a dealbreaker, because she’s been ok with it for FOUR YEARS) but possibly because she feels she should want him to change *because society, like most people on this board, is telling her* that good looks, good treatment when he’s with her, and sexual gratification aren’t enough for a relationship: “Monogamy is king!””

    In other words, she feels PRESSURE not shame to conform. That is what slutshaming is about. *Pressuring with shame* to make others conform to what those others deem to be acceptable behaviors.

    This is not the first time you’ve twisted and misrepresented what I wrote. So either you have a reading comprehension problem (I doubt) or you have some other problem. Until you resolve that problem, you may want to reconsider addressing my posts or perhaps if I’ve been unclear ASK me to clarify. Please don’t misrepresent.

    I actually have a fair theory about why you have a problem with my posts, it’s the direct opposite of the one I have with yours. I come from a position that the failure or success of a woman’s relationship is well within the a woman’s power to contol. If it fails, she could have made better choices. If she succeeds then she made the right choices.

    You come from a position that if the relationship succeeds then yes, it’s a reflection of the woman’s choices, but if it fails, then it’s the man’s fault or some other excuse. I hate excuses. That absolves one responsibility.

    Even now, in reaming me, you’re providing excuses for the OP:

    “…after 4 years of fooling herself…” — She’s a fool, it’s not her fault.

    “…she has endured it for 4 years…” — She suffered all those years through the fault of the man. You clearly ignore that she enjoys the sex. Unless of course, sex is something to be suffered and not enjoyed in your experience?

    And you misrepresent the gambler’s reason for gambling. He’s hooked on the potential of winning. And doesn’t care that losing causes problems for himself and others. If OP continues to gamble, using your analogy, other than she, who will suffer the consequences? Her bf won’t. Her family won’t. She is the only one who pays for her actions. There is no 3rd party retribution, except from the society that tries to shame her into conforming.

    “By the way, since you seem to be so anti “slut shaming” (as am I) perhaps you might want to stop your own brand of slut shaming. You make feeble attempts to shame women who want sex in the context of a committed relationship, to convince them that they are no better than yucky whores.”

    If my attempts are so feeble why do you even bother to address them?

    And in NONE of my posts EVER on this board have I EVER even used the term “whore” in a post (until this sentence). I’ve called women insecure and I’ve called women hypocrites and I’ve likened women trading sex for commitment to women trading sex for money. I’ve never actually judged the women as being whores, in fact, I believe my post about that was, if that’s what you’re trading for commitment, make the best bargain you can. Don’t trade sex to man unworthy of you. So, I’m even rooting for the so called “whores” as you put it.

    I’m entirely consistent in women taking responsibility for their own love lives. If it fails, a woman could have done something better, the simplest is to have picked a better man. If she had a good man and drove him away, then fix the driving-away behaviors. If she gets played, address the insecurities that made her so easy to get played.

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”

    I know I’m not insane because I don’t repeat my mistakes. I take risks and make new ones. I accept responsibility in failed relationships. I reflect on what went wrong and what I could have done better. If that makes me different than most women, I wear that badge proudly. Maybe more women ought to consider doing that. You end up in a better place mentally and emotionally, whether single or in a relationship.

  25. 145

    KE (137) wrote:
    <<The only thing she doesn’t like is his cheating. In other words she doesn’t want to change the man, she wants to change the relationship (to a committed one). What I’m suggesting is that Yes, she CAN change the relationship, she can’t change it to a committed one without his buyin. BUT she CAN demote it to an UN-committed one, without his buyin — and voila, then he’s no longer cheating on her. Problem solved…just not the way she was hoping it to be solved.>>
    The “only thing” would be a dealbreaker for most people, so it’s hardly a small thing. Also, she complains of his disrespect and dishonesty as well (“I don’t believe a word you just said. Call back when you can be respectful.” ), so it does go deeper. don’t see what distinguishes “demotion” from acceptance, and I don’t get what is productive about that. If she was able to accept her guy’s behavior, she wouldn’t need to write in for advice in the first place. Besides, she’s been accepting it for 4 years. Personally, I’d find it easier – and much better for my own self-esteem and peace of mind – to find someone who won’t cheat and will put me first. But Elizabeth has to believe that she can find a man who will treat her better, and that she also deserves him.

  26. 146

    I get what you are saying to me. It makes sense. However, your judgements, and beliefs are incorrect.
    First, taking a difficult road is not something I am opposed to. I have lead myself purposely down some very difficult roads, and I am wiser and more experienced for it. That said, I have found something I enjoy, that feels easy (not a daily frustration, anyways). I have honesty, trust, love, romance, satisfaction, communication, and great neopolitan sex with this person. We desire the same things in life and relationship. My desire for a one to one monogamous relationship is entirely unrelated to fears of abandonment. The last thing I am afraid of is abandonment. I am cool on my own, and a believer in the limitless options available to me in terms of men, sex, and relationships.
    When I speak of a romantic relationship, I do not involve casual sex. Sex does not = romantic relationship. You say a woman who desires a one on one monogamous relationship is insecure and afraid the man will abandon her if he has sex with, or forms a romantic relationship with someone else. For me personally, it is about balance. I am sexually open, and fluid. If my man desired another flavour for a casual sex encounter, surely he can come to me and tell me that. I believe I can accept that as long as he is able to afford me the same. Within my romantic relationship, however, I do not want to juggle more than one man. I find it mentally exhausting to have many friends. Something I have just come to accept, as I used to judge myself as a loner, and tell myself I should have more active friendships. I have no desire whatsoever to meet the needs of more than one person romantically, and I want my relationship to be a balanced one. Meaning…I do not want to be with a person who is not on the same page as I am. A person who desires multiple romantic partners is not the right person for me.
    That does not mean I am incapable, or unwilling to walk difficult paths, or process through difficult feelings and issues. It means I am unwilling to do that if it is not necessary for my personal growth. I have no need to learn how to have multiple romantic relationships. I do not entertain limiting beliefs that tell me such a thing is necessary. My desire for a one on one relationship has nothing to do with societal constraints, and everything to do with my own personal feelings and desires.
    Anyways, I do know none of this applies to LW. Her situation is vastly different from mine, and my beliefs are unique to me. I am capable of helping people navigate romance in a way that is right for them. I do it daily. I do not know enough about this woman to say what approach would be BEST for her. However, I think it is a good thing if I can come here and show that there are empowered and confident women out there, unafraid of having a man abandon them. Women who desire a one on one relationship with a man who is on the same page as them, and who is as committed to that as they are. And those men exist. One of them scored me…
    As for her insecurities following her…Of course they will! Although she has no need of hanging onto this particular man to walk through that and release her insecurities. I still can not find the correlation between hanging onto this one man and empowerment. Not saying she could not find empowerment in what you suggest. However, it is really unnecessary to deify this man, and consider it some sort of self punishment or victimization to let him go sexually and move on.

  27. 147

    Sorry for the double post, but I also wanted to add that on another level, this still gives the man all the power, if she feels that he is the best she can do, and that she has to hang on to him and accept a lesser relationship. It’s entirely possible that Elizabeth is actually more attractive than her guy, but if her self-esteem is low, she may not believe that. IMO, walking away is more empowering.

  28. 148

    The league talk is superficial. Characteristics like humor and beauty are highly subject. Intelligence is wildly diverse. Howard Gardner identified a good 10 different kinds of intelligence, and others have found more. And categories like education, age, and income level are only first tier filters at best.
    The biggest issue is that the OP wants to change the guy she’s with. Staying with a relationship out of the hope that you’ll change the other person is a dead end.

  29. 149

    Leagues are complex. Looks, personality, intelligence level, clothing, hairstyle, money, assets, education, location, self confidence, talents, career etc etc etc How can you tell what league a person is in.
    Bare bones a person could be a 5. Just by simply looking at them with nondescript hair and clothing. Add hair, possibly makeup, clothing, status, education, wealth, sense of humour, self confidence, a radiant smile, a calm and happy energy, intelligence…You have yourself a 10 right there. People make their own league.
    I hit 4 at best, bare bones. My hairstyle, make up, clothing, energy, personality, intelligence (but not education, unfortunately), assets, talents, sense of humour, sex appeal, self confidence, and and probably my eyes bring me to an easy 8. On an average day…subtract make up and hairstyle…I might be a 6 or 7. On a really good day, and in the right eyes, I could pull off 9.
    No one is a solid number.

  30. 150

    Clare, I agree.
    Elizabeth has low self worth and doesn’t love or value herself, that is the vibe she gives off. Doesn’t matter how beautiful, rich, clever she is all external things. Exrernal surface level number It’s is her internal vibe. Which most likely if she went to therapy would be rock bottom. Halle Berry was at Zero she considered suicide she wasright down there at zero. All someone will attract when feeling like this is someone who will treat them as zero. Like they do not matter are worthless.
    So she is attracting a man who is not going to love or value her. Just like Halle Berry and others like her. Usually it can be traced back to a toxic parent or parents. And the man/men in question will come from equally toxic backgrounds.
    Good book are men who hate women and the women who love them
    And toxic parents. Both by top of the field expert on abusive relationships Dr Susan Forward.

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