Your Man Doesn’t Have To Leave You Breathless

The longer I do this, the clearer it becomes.

What we think we want is often not good for us. What’s good for us is something we often pass up.

What’s good for us is something we often pass up.

I was musing out loud today to a client about how easy it would have been for me to pass up my own wife, who didn’t remotely fit the description of what I was looking for. This client really wanted to know how to avoid getting hurt – how to nip it in the bud when she’s involved with a high-risk player.

I told her that I had to give her the hardest lesson I have to teach: You Can’t Avoid Getting Hurt!

Because if I decided, after 14 months, that I just couldn’t pull the trigger on the 38-year-old Catholic divorcee with the heavy credit card debt, it wouldn’t have meant that my wife did anything WRONG…it wouldn’t have meant that I was a liar or a jerk or a player… the ONLY thing it would have meant is that I was too high and mighty to appreciate a good thing and hadn’t learned a goddamn thing from being a dating coach.

Really, there’s NOTHING to learn when the only problem is that your guy doesn’t want to marry you.

In that case, it’s him, not you. But if you always bail out – or avoid dating – to avoid getting hurt, you never reap the rewards.

Thankfully, my wife DID give me a shot – despite the fact that I was a flirt with a highly checkered dating history. And, for this, she actually got the man she wanted. If she’d broken up with me to “protect” herself from my potentially fleeing, we’d never be married.

As such, there’s a leap of faith that you have to make in any relationship.

The ones who leave you breathless… tend to be the ones who leave.

You make this leap of faith based on trust and character, not based on attraction or wealth. You make this leap of faith when you’ve found your best friend, who makes you laugh, who has your back, who values the same things in life, and, yes, who is on the same page sexually.

But most importantly, you make this leap of faith when you find the person who allows you to be yourself, to let down your guard, to feel SAFE.

Keep chasing partners who don’t make you feel safe, and you’ll always find yourself getting hurt.

So, please don’t think your partner has to leave you breathless.

The ones who leave you breathless – as you already know – tend to be the ones who leave.

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  1. 1

    Ah, I was waiting for this post!  Again, you are spot on.  I have experience to back this up, that if a man leaves me breathless, it means I’ve just gotten stupid, and the best thing to do is run far far away.  It is counterintuitive to get involved with someone for which we don’t really have feelings one way or the other.  However, I’ve yet to find a better way to remain grounded and centered from getting too involved too soon.

    Here’s where it’s going to look like I’m being difficult, which is not my intent: some people, myself included, are naturally risk averse; not only that but some have insecure attachment styles.  I’m not saying that those impulses are correct, but I am saying they are incredibly strong and difficult to overcome.  For instance,  I tend to be avoidant.  I know it’s wrong and why, but sometimes it still kicks in, even if I do everything I can not to follow the impulse.  I am not the type that smothers the other person if I feel neediness creeping in; on the contrary, I’ll internalize and withdraw.  

    Just another perspective that makes the dicussion interesting. 

  2. 2

    Hmmm…  I am not relating to this one at all.  I don’t think “breathless” is what I’m looking for, nor wealth, nor, “hotness.”  Someone that is interesting to have conversation with, who has the innovation to think beyond the coffee date and actually get on-line, look in the paper or read flyers around town to choose a date, so that I don’t have to constantly be the one coming up with it.  Someone who is warm hearted and respectful of others…
    Actually, maybe I’m wrong, because those things do leave me breathless!

  3. 3


    I actually read Reva Seth’s “First Comes Marriage” because of your recommendation. Great read- I def recommend it to others. One thing Reva mentioned is that your husband should never be your best friend- because that’s what puts too much pressure on the relationship- best friends should be relegated to same-sex people outside (or inside) the family only- I think I’m adding the same-sex part, but you get my drift.

    You mentioned the word ‘best friend’ regarding partnership above- don’t know if I’m reading too closely here, or if that was just a casual wording that came to you.

    Should we strive for ‘best friends’? I’ve never had solid friendships with men, so I can’t even begin to comprehend a man being my ‘best friend.’ Only because the things that you can share with your girlfriends, aren’t things you can necessarily share with a man.

  4. 4

    I don’t know about this.  It’s pretty easy to spot players — though I have been tripped up once or twice.  But my boyfriend of almost 8 months left me pretty breathless pretty quickly, and he is not a player AT ALL.  I’m really glad I held out for chemistry even though I often wondered if I would ever find it.  But we just fit together in an unforced way that I’ve never experienced before.

  5. 5

    I find myself meeting men online recently who not only don’t leave me breathless but I feel like halfway during the date I want to check their pulse and make sure they are still alive!
    I am just looking for normal and that seems to be in short supply these days…….the older they get, the more baggage they have. I am 53, and most of the men who find me online have baggage the size of a freight train………..I like to say that mine is the size of carry-on 🙂

    1. 5.1

      What age group of men are you looking for

    2. 5.2

      i’m sorry but 53 and single as a woman is a mega red flag, there is no way your baggage isn’t at least as high as theirs if not more.

      1. 5.2.1

        How is it a red flag for someoone to be single at 53? Does the concept or divorce and death not occur to you? It’s also sexist of you to say a woman has more baggage than a man.

      2. 5.2.2

        Really?  I’m almost 52yo and I’m a homeowner, with a good job, a credit score in the 800’s, a son who is fully grown and making his own way in the world.  I have no ex drama, no lingering booty calls/guys I’m hung up on.  I have great friends, integrity, and common sense.  I’m not addicted to drugs, alcohol, or lying, and I’ve never been unfaithful in a relationship.  I handle my own, and I can pay for myself.  I travel whenever I want.  My only real baggage is the normal trust issues one might have after years off dating (often times the wrong person), which I’m working on and which are getting better. Minimal baggage is very likely got women in their 50s.  We’re done with the bullshit and games.

  6. 6

    I agree, Brenda. I’m just looking for normal, too. I can deal with all sorts of things…my last boyfriend was 5’2″ and had braces.

    But, lately I’ve been running into things where I just have to draw the line. There was the man who disciplined his child with a belt…draconian in this day and age. Another who liked to bully people for fun. And, a third who never brushed his teeth…honestly…they were black in places and stained everywhere else. Some how these things never become apparent until I meet them. They were all lovely on the phone and over email. And, I screen like crazy before I invest my time and energy on a date. At this rate, breathless is the least of my worries.

  7. 7

    Oh, Andie, that’s horrible.  I agree with you -many of these things you just don’t know until you date someone for awhile – although the man with the bad teeth might have turned up a bit earlier unless he didn’t smile much 🙂
    I have children (11 and 13) and I find that men who have not had children invariably are not used to the time it takes to be a good parent (my kids are gone 40 % of the time to my former’s house) and want someone who is foot-loose and fancy-free……… for me, that issue becomes a dealbreaker pretty quickly …….

  8. 8

    I did stay with guys who treated me badly longer than I should have, but that was when I was in my late teens/early twenties when I thought that if I didn’t marry one of my first five sexual partners I was a slut.  After I left the single digits in the dust I re-evaluated 🙂
    But I’ve NEVER dated someone who left me breathless, which I am interpreting here as someone who is so physically attractive or wealthy that I overlooked their character to date them.

  9. 9
    Adult Casual Contacts

    I do not think that a man/women must leave the other part breathless or hotness, first of all it must be a man, definitely a huge debt is not very comfortable, but it’s something that can be overpass.
    Anyway, i think that it’s important to find that “chemistry” between the two.

  10. 10

    “But I’ve NEVER dated someone who left me breathless, which I am interpreting here as someone who is so physically attractive or wealthy that I overlooked their character to date them.”
    That is not my interpretation at all.  I think of it more as a je ne sais quoi personality “click”.  It happens with friendships, too.  When I first met most of my close friends, there was something about them that made me want to know them better.  So, I did.  For me it works the same way with dating.  I don’t want to date someone just because there’s nothing wrong with him.  You need to have something compelling about you to get to a second date.

  11. 11


    I’ve never dated anyone who left me breathless either.  I have dated guys I was highly physically attracted to, but found infatuation evaporated once their character was revealed.

  12. 12

    Moon #2: “who has the innovation to think beyond the coffee date and actually get on-line, look in the paper or read flyers around town to choose a date, so that I don’t have to constantly be the one coming up with it. ”
    Why is it this way, btw? I also always have to be the one with ideas, because no one I meet knows as much about the cultural events in our city (or, apparently, has interests as varied), or thinks outside the box enough to come up with something original.

  13. 13

    I’m incline to agree with LK; at this point integrity, good moral character, and – as Evan has described him – the nice guy with masculine energy might leave one a little breathless since such is difficult to find.

  14. 14

    I basically agree with this, but I do see a contradiction here. I think you make this “leap of faith based on trust and character”, AND attraction. It doesn’t have to be of the “OMG, he is so hot and handsome!” variety, but it does have to be there. I don’t know how you get to be “on the same page sexually” without attraction. 

    My biggest problem an over-45 single is that many if not most of the men I meet have a “been-there-done-that” attitude towards marriage and even just being in a relationship. They are still not over the bad divorce/break-up they went through 5, even 10, years ago. So I would agree with Brenda #5.

  15. 15

    Men who capitalize and punctuate leave me breathless. Yes, ladies, it’s come to that!


  16. 16

    If you do not want to feel the pain from getting involved with a high-risk player, then you make the choice to not get involved with a high-risk player. This also solves the question of how to nip it in the bud.
    There is always going to be an element of risk involved with dating, whoever you date, including the possibility of getting hurt. While there is no way to avoid this risk altogether, there are ways to mitigate it. The first thing to remember is to never lose yourself in a man. Make sure he’s the real deal. This is a tough one for most women. You need to be strong on the inside, while being open, accessible and vulnerable on the outside. Live your life as you would ordinarily do, keep your options open, and never do all of the work. Once you put a man so high on a pedestal, he will only look down on you.
    I have never met a man who left me breathless. Well, except for one famous man who shall remain nameless.  😉  I still have the same standards today as I did many years ago: funny, intelligent, respectful, hard working, fun, and responsible. The only new standards are integrity, and good with communicating. But finding a good man who also accepts and loves me for who I am, too, and who’s life path is similar to my own is no easy task. Timing is everything.

  17. 17

    I actually place huge importance on physical attraction. I married someone who wasn’t my type and after less than five years together no longer wanted sex with him (which is not to say I didn’t want sex in general). Yet I hear of people who still desire each other after even 20 years of being married, or more. I want to at least give myself a chance of similar success.

  18. 18

    Oh Diana you tease! If the man who left you breathless is famous, why can’t he be named???

  19. 19
    Karl R

    Evan said:
    “I told her that I had to give her the hardest lesson I have to teach: You Can’t Avoid Getting Hurt!”

    I started to succeed at dating when I realized and accepted that I would get hurt, and decided to pursue relationships anyway.

    Diana said: (#16)
    “The first thing to remember is to never lose yourself in a man. […] Live your life as you would ordinarily do,”

    This may explain why I don’t have a huge fear of getting hurt. I can’t really understand what “losing myself” in someone else means. Even though I spend six nights per week at my girlfriend’s house, I’m still involved in all of the same activities I was before we started dating.

    If we were to break up tomorrow, I would be hurt. I would not be lost without her.

    moon said: (#2)
    “what I’m looking for, […] Someone […] who has the innovation to think beyond the coffee date and actually get on-line, look in the paper or read flyers around town to choose a date, so that I don’t have to constantly be the one coming up with it.”

    I can see why that would be nice to have, but that sort of thing never comes close to being necessary. I can constantly come up with ideas and make plans for things to do -or- we can just have a pleasant but unexciting evening together when I don’t feel like putting in the effort.  I don’t see a need for my partner to entertain me.

    The things I see as non-negotiables are the things that will matter 20 or 30 years into a relationship. Do we trust each other? Do we respect each other? Can we communicate well?

  20. 20

    this reminds me- I came back from a picnic this weekend- I talked to a bunch of guys, all friendly, nice, some reasonably attractive. I should have been happy with that, right? But instead there was this one guy who looked like a cross between Jim Morrison and Jake Gyllenhall, who totally ignored me the entire time. Instead of being happy with the delightful company I am having, what do I do? That’s right, folks- get all hung up about the one guy who’s not talking to me- and obviously had no interest in doing so. ‘sigh’ I give up on myself. lol

  21. 21

    Karl #19: “I can’t really understand what “losing myself” in someone else means.”
    Karl, it’s a female thing. A lot of women don’t really know themselves because they have a fear of being alone and thus spend their entire lives in relationships, even if they are unfulfilling. The same insecurity that drives them from boyfriend to boyfriend makes them, upon beginning each new relationship, start living the man’s life instead of continuing to live her own. A woman like that wouldn’t even know what her own life would look like.

  22. 22

    @ Sayanta,

    Isn’t your experience just basic human psychology?  We tend to want what we can’t have, lol!  I have no idea why that is. 

    @ JuJu,

    I am still figuring out too, if this is basic psychology of the female.  Women are hard wired for relationship.  I agree with your assessment that there are an awful lot of women like that out there.  But I think too, that women were created to be the nurturers and caregivers (that does not detract from the fact that we can also have succesful careers, be strong, smart, and independent) and it’s easy to become enmeshed with our loved ones. 

  23. 23

    sayanta #20 – no giving up on yourself!  starthrower68 #22 got it right: we ALL tend to want what we can’t have, so you shouldn’t worry that your reactions are abnormal. This isn’t the first time I’ve quoted Elisabeth Elliot on here (I’m not even a conservative Christian), but she did say, rightly:
    “Recognize that fundamental anomaly of human nature, that we prize what we cannot easily get.
    We take for granted, we even come to despise, that which costs us no effort.”
    Yet, to get to Evan’s post, it’s precisely when we DON’T despise the good guy (or the good gal) who makes life easy for us that we find a quality mate.  Take it from me: when you do find that good and easy person, you don’t have a boring life: you have a peaceful and enjoyable one. Life throws enough stress at you; you don’t need a stressful relationship on top of that. You can concentrate on solving other problems, and whenever you do think of your mate, it’s not with angst, but gratitude.

  24. 24


    Precisely!  I think we often mistake drama for passion and it just ain’t so.  Although this idea seems so simple, I was blown away when Evan articulated it, and it is simply this: women WANT the nice guy.  But we want the confident, assertive nice guy, not the wimp. 

  25. 25

    “Your man doesn’t have to leave you breathless.”

    Well sure – but you should know what the feeling is anyway.  I’m from the lucky boat where I’ve found “mr. right” right away.  He’s smart (going for a phD), funny, attentive, relatively attractive (like a 6), and worships the ground I walk on.  I just feel like at 27 I should know what it feels like to be in a relationship where I look at my man and feel like I’ve won something – not settled.  In college he chased me and I ran away.  After college he caught me.  I was lonely.  I always wonder if I’m with him because of genuine attraction or “something else”.  He’s my first everything – love, lust, relationship.  Its been about 3 years now and I can’t imagine marrying him while I still harbour doubts.  The main doubt being -will I EVER know what it will feel like to have my man walk into a room and knock the wind out of me? 

    1. 25.1

      you need to leave that man and never look back because he deserves someone who will genuinely appreciate and love him without holding back.

      the other piece of advice is you better get that shit out of your head and hold on to that man because you will never find a better man than him.

    2. 25.2

      If you REALLY need to know the feeling of having the wind knocked out of you when he walks in, then do your current boyfriend a favor and let him find someone who adores him. The man who knocks the wind out of you may or may not be the best man for you. It won’t guarantee that he will treat you well. It won’t guarantee that he’s a good man. And it won’t guarantee that he’ll be committed to you.

  26. 26

    Helen, Starthrower-

    Thanks guys! lol- I needed that boost.

    As for the women in relationship thing- I can’t relate to that one, because I’ve always been on my own (as in never having a boyfriend). So, I only know how to be by myself, not with someone else.

    Honestly, the idea of being with a guy, though I’d like it, scares me, because I don’t know what to do! (seriously, I really don’t). And I’m pretty sure at this point a guy’s going to be weirded out by the fact that I’ve never been involved seriously with anyone. So…take it each day as it comes, I guess. But I’m sure my insecurity about this colors my interactions with men.

  27. 27

    @ Dee,

    Congratulations!  I’m sure I will be called a cynic, but I think you are probably an exception, or perhaps you are in the silent majority.   Now, I will be more than happy to meet a man that will make me eat those words, but based on all the posts I’ve seen and continue to see here, I just don’t think it happens for most folks, or at least not that way.

  28. 28

    Starthrower, there is a difference between what’s ideal and what “will do”. The situation Dee describes (and you have to realize – for that situation to work and make you happy for any length of time, the feeling has to be mutual) would be ideal. You are right however, most women never get the mate that would evoke such intense feelings in them.

  29. 29
    Karl R

    Dee said: (#25)
    “I just feel like at 27 I should know what it feels like to be in a relationship where I look at my man and feel like I’ve won something – not settled.”
    “The main doubt being -will I EVER know what it will feel like to have my man walk into a room and knock the wind out of me?”

    My girlfriend and I were introduced by a mutual friend of ours (let’s call her H). H and I dated for about a month.

    H is 6 or 7 years younger than my girlfriend; H has larger breasts; H has rock hard abs; H has nearly flawless skin; H is more energetic and is in better shape overall. In addition, H is smarter than my girlfriend; H is better educated; H earns more money. Like my girlfrien and I, H dances and does yoga … but H got into dancing and yoga a few years ahead of my girlfriend, so she’s better at both.

    Do I feel like I settled? Not in the slightest.

    H has a temper, and she’s opinionated. I’m easy-going enough that I could probably navigate a relationship with her … but I’m happy that I don’t have to.

    A couple months after I started dating my girlfriend, we were at a big dance with H and her on-again/off-again boyfriend. At one point I was talking to H’s boyfriend and he remarked, “She’s not talking to me right now.”

    While I had already been quite happy with my relationship with my girlfriend, that comment drove home what kind of relationship I had avoided when H broke up with me.

    My girlfriend is cute, fit and smart, but there will always be women (whom I could date) who exceed her in those traits. But I have not dated any other women where I’ve had the wonderful combination of easy to get along with, open communication, trust, and (as a bonus) an incredibly passionate sex life … and she feels the same way about our relationship.

    Dee, I see one big qualitative difference between my relationship and yours: I have a basis for comparisson about the quality of the sex.

    At some point you will need to make a choice. Would you rather marry him and miss the opportunity to date someone breathtakingly beautiful -OR- would you rather dump him and run the risk of spending the rest of your life wishing that you could have him back.

    1. 29.1

      yea except you’re a man and will appreciate a good woman without comparing her to others. she won’t learn until she loses what she has because that’s the kind of personality type she has.

  30. 30


    I’ve seen enough of your posts to know that you look deeper than what’s on the surface, which is why you’ve made a good match.  Many people do not do that.  I’m not even going to get into that debate, as it’s been done to death.  It is what it is.

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