How to Disagree with Your Partner and Still Remain Civil

How to Disagree with Your Partner and Still Remain Civil
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David Brooks is a modern-day philosopher masquerading as a newspaper columnist.

I may not agree with every word he writes (he’s still a Republican, I think) but he’s a moderate and reasonable voice in a sea of shouting. That, alone, tells you something.

In this column, Brooks writes about how to be friendly with those who disagree with you politically. He may just have well written about how to have a healthy relationship

I’m going to take some of the highlights and apply them to this blog but I highly encourage you to click the link above to read all of them in their original context:

Tough conversations are usually about tribal identity. Most disagreements are not about the subject purportedly at hand. They are over issues that make people feel their sense of self is disrespected and under threat. So when you’re debating some random topic, you are mostly either inflaming or pacifying the other person’s feeling of tribal identity.

We see that tribalism all the time in the comments. Independent women who are sick of men and their selfish bullshit, MGTOWs who are sick of entitled, emasculating American women. You know who I’m sick of? Those people.

Both sides have valid complaints about the opposite sex, but if you take a moment to criticize their side, they’ll shut down, attack, or engage in some odd form of whataboutism that will make your head explode. If you can’t acknowledge the partial validity of another point of view, reasonable people with differing views will have a hard time connecting with you – which further buries into our tribal bubbles.

Reject either/or. The human mind has a tendency to reduce problems to either we do this or we do that. This is narrowcasting. There are usually many more options neither side has imagined yet.

If there’s one thing that I hope I bring to this dialogue, it’s nuance. My true north is objective reality, not how I FEEL about things. This is why I’m a liberal who is sick of snowflake culture. This is why I’m a man who thinks that 90% of men are unsuitable as relationship partners. This is why I’m a coach for women who is unafraid to tell women how they’re sabotaging themselves. The “right” answer to most relationship woes is always in the middle ground – where both men AND women can feel happy with the outcome. Men can’t send dick picks, expect to get laid, spend no time, energy or money on women and expect women to be happy. Women can’t expect men to spend a ton of time, energy and money on relationships, only to constantly be told that we’re terrible human beings because we don’t intuit your every need.

This is why I’m a man who thinks that 90% of men are unsuitable as relationship partners.

That’s why all my solutions are designed to work for both men AND women. 2/2/2 gets men on a date in less than a week and makes women feel more comfortable before giving up a Saturday night. Sexclusivity makes a man feel attractive and gets him some action while still setting healthy boundaries for relationship-oriented women. I encourage men to make women feel “safe, heard and understood,” and women to make men feel “accepted, appreciated and admired.”

So every time one of you jokers tells me that I’m a misogynist who is trying to turn women into Stepford Wives or tells me that I’m a “white knight” who is trying to sell a bill of goods to lonely middle-aged women, you’re all missing the objective reality: I am neither. Attacking me is just your way of falling into Brooks’ either/or trap.

Attune to the process. When you’re in the middle of an emotional disagreement, shift attention to the process of how you are having the conversation. In a neutral voice name the emotions people are feeling and the dynamic that is in play. Treat the hot emotions as cool, objective facts we all have to deal with. People can’t trust you if you don’t show them you’re aware of how you are contributing to the problem.

I do this in real life. I don’t do this on the blog, which is regretful. It is, however, one of many reasons I prefer face to face dialogue as opposed to having any meaningful dialogue via the written word. As a writer, that’s unfortunate. Fact is: it’s frustrating to be misunderstood and more frustrating to lose my temper over such misunderstandings.

It’s the very nature of comments sections to allow people to vent their spleen and make half-baked arguments. Why I think I should be able to police that on my own site after all these years is beyond me. I should either shut down the comments or stop commenting – but, truthfully I don’t want to do either.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me rant today.

Your thoughts, below, are always appreciated. Mostly.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Lynx

    David Brooks is my one celebrity crush, despite my liberal leaning. Perhaps blog comments on a dating coach’s website should have their own set of rules, though. It’s tricky to speak dispassionately about passion.

  2. 2
    Marika

    Nuance : yes!

    I don’t know if it’s this blog, blogs in general, the lack of tone in the written word or people jumping in to comment before reading things properly, but I do find nuance is constantly being missed here. It’s frustrating when coming here to comment, I can’t imagine how frustrating it is running the blog!

    No matter how carefully worded something is, someone takes it the wrong way or to the extreme or too literally and misses the joke/sarcasm/teasing.

    To quote Tay Tay: we need to calm down 🙂

    90%: does that seem high, or am I being too literal? 😉
    I guess it explains why the search can be so long and frustrating, but it’s kinda depressing. I do see wonderful male partners in my friends and family members. Way more good than bad. I guess those are the ones getting and staying married – the 10%ers. My brother for instance is a very kind, generous, chivalrous partner who made a big mistake with his first wife. He was snapped up and remarried within 4 years. Online is filled with the 90%ers. And to be fair, if I was in a room filled with 10%ers I’d end up chatting to the one 90%er who snuck in! Hehe.

    1. 2.1
      S.

      Good point about the 90%. That’s good to know. Then it prompted me to ask myself (as the article encourages one to be somewhat self aware in the middle of emotional talks). What percent of them are suitable for relationships? And am I?

      It’s a good question to ask and heck, I’m not above introspection. 🙂

      1. 2.1.1
        S.

        I meant what percent of women are suitable for relationships? Not everyone looking is suitable.

        1. Marika

          That’s a fair question, too, S.

          I had honestly never considered it before reading this blog. I always just thought everyone would eventually pair up. But of course maybe not everyone should and maybe it’s the best decision to remain single if you can’t, or aren’t willing, to be a good partner.

          I think at my best, I’m a wonderful partner. I just have to get out of my own way and fully commit to valuing the right qualities. I guess in truth I’m a little scared of being a partner to a 10%er because they deserve the best version of me always. I can’t be a bitch and justify it because they are worse!! Winky face-being facetious-sorta 😉 🙂

        2. S.

          @ Marika

          It is a fair question. I agree the assumption for me always was ‘there’s a lid for every pot’. I still think there is. But every pot isn’t ready for their lid or even wants a lid. And there isn’t just one lid that’s a match.

          Now that I’m older, men who have been married before are so jaded. The simply don’t want to mrry again. A lot of them weren’t even married that long. Four to ten years, on average. Most men I date are working class. No nannies, lol! So they didn’t get taken to the cleaners. Kids practically grown or in college. They married young but they were in love.

          So I don’t know if they are in the 90% or 10%. When they were married they would have been 10% folks. They did commit in good faith. But now? I don’t know what they are.

          And who cares, really? What matters, what I can control is me. I’m in the 5%. Even on my worse day I’d make a kickass wife. No man has ever complained about me as a girlfriend. But most men I meet don’t want a girlfriend. They want a sex partner first. But they aren’t just looking for sex and finding love. They are looking for sex and companionship, period. So they are 90 percenters. Good people. Were good and faithful husbands, great providers. Just don’t want that again. I’m not sure if they even want love again.

          I feel like my job is to lure them with good sex and patience. But a guy whose been burned on marriage won’t change because you are great at sex and companionship. Not in my experience. I’ve actually been considering dating men a bit younger who haven’t been married. They are also 90 percenters because they are never married in their 40s for reasons. In my case they lack experience. They know they are in the 90%. It’s a conundrum. The most dynamic and successful and confident men will do what they want. Stay single as long as they want. They are also 90 percenters.

          You know what? Even if 90% of women were suitable for marriage (I changed that ;-)), does it matter much if 90 percent of men . . . aren’t? Fortunately, being suitable for a relationship ALSO means being suited for a great damn life. 😀 That’s what’s important. Esther Perel says things have changed and it’s not just one partner until you die anymore. So maybe now we only need to be suitable for a relationship for a period of time. The rest of the time, let’s set ourselves up for a wonderful LIFE single or dating.

          That matters too. Maybe more.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Nonsense. You should know better if you are a Love U grad.

        4. Emily, to

          S.,
          “I’ve actually been considering dating men a bit younger who haven’t been married.”
          How young are you talking about? I just spent 2 weeks at a training in a very big city, and I never thought I’d say this, but all of the guys who caught my eye were about 25 to 30. It could have been that I was in a business district and the men my age were dressed more business-like than the younger guys (the corporate america look does nothing for me) but I can’t imagine dating someone that much younger.
          “They are also 90 percenters because they are never married in their 40s for reasons.”
          My sample is very small, but the men I know in their 40s who have never married are extremely socially awkward and/or still live with their families (or did so well into their 30s).

        5. Marika

          Evan

          I’m just being honest. Of course, Love U helped, enormously. But nothing is a silver bullet and won’t necessarily change a lifetime of programming in weeks. It actually helped give me the courage to be honest with myself about what specifically is holding me back. I don’t blame men or dating. I accept responsibility for why it hasn’t always worked out for me. And this is the honest truth. I’m okay with that.

          I could lie if you prefer. Or not express myself at all. It’s your blog after all.

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          My reply was to S.

        7. Marika

          Oh sorry, Big Ev 🙂

        8. S.

          @Evan

          Your reply had me chuckling. 😉 I’ve not taken Love U but I certainly felt coached in that moment. I’ve been reading this blog and your e-mail list long enough that I think even if I took the Love U course I’d feel similar to Marika. It doesn’t undo everything, simply is a shift in perspective.

          I stand by having a great damn life. 🙂 And I don’t think that is nonsense. I have found–in person–the happier I am with my life and more in my power I am in that first, the more men are drawn to me. The real me. And I don’t think that’s nonsense.

        9. S.

          @Emily

          I was thinking early 40s. Like 40 or 41. I was sticking with 50 and above but the men in their 50s and 60s look right though me because I’m small and look young. They think I’m their daughter’s age. I’m five feet tall and have a young face. But the older dudes also want to retire a lot. I want to (and have to) work until I drop. Again, these are guys I’ve met. And I am young at heart. Guys in their 60s are kind of father-like but as one in my late 40s, that’s where I’d typically look. I like older men, typically but they are just in a different place. Heck, we rarely, if ever get a guy in his 60s commenting on this blog.

          Everyone thinks I’m a millennial and I can pass for one but I don’t. I like getting older. I like being older. I can’t help what my face is like, but I want someone in a similar place life-wise as I am.

          You’re right about the never-marrieds in their 40s. My sample size is also small. Can we put them both together? 😉 It’s still anecdotal but it’s our experience. I actually used to prefer them to the divorced dads. I guess we had more in common. They may be socially awkward but they still have an innocence and non-jadedness that was attractive. I really miss that in men my age or older who have been hurt before. I still have that innocence and non-jadedness. Maybe you guys sense it here. I’m still . . . cheerful. 😉 I want to find someone who still believes, you know?

          We shall see. 😉

          (And no, I’m not saying there are not cheerful men in their 50s and 60s. Nuance, people.)

        10. Emily, to

          S.,
          ” I like older men, typically but they are just in a different place. Heck, we rarely, if ever get a guy in his 60s commenting on this blog.”
          I think commenter Buck is in his 60s. He reappeared a few weeks ago but disappeared.
          ” I want someone in a similar place life-wise as I am.”
          I understand, which is why someone too much older or too much younger doesn’t work if that’s your goal. Although I am finding, for some reason, that I’m becoming more youthful in my tastes … I’m listening to boy bands! I love the Jonas Brothers! I didn’t even like boy bands as a teenager. But them young boys look good!
          “You’re right about the never-marrieds in their 40s. My sample size is also small. Can we put them both together?”
          I was talking about never-married men. I know a few never-married women and … how can I put this nicely? … I wouldn’t set them up with the never-married men I know. But again, my sample is small.

        11. S.

          @Emily

          I think Buck is 70 or very close to it. I think he said he’s a Boomer. Glad he’s still around here. 😉

          “was talking about never-married men. I know a few never-married women and … how can I put this nicely? … I wouldn’t set them up with the never-married men I know. But again, my sample is small.”

          In the spirit of being evenhanded about considering who is suitable for marriage, what do you find about never married women? Most of the female friends my age have been married (curiously none are currently married). I don’t feel that different from them but hey, you never now. A few have been married twice. None of them want to remarry, though most currently have partners. So I guess I’m different from them in that way. But hey, after two marriages that didn’t work out I would probably be done as well.

        12. Buck25

          Emily, S., Marika,

          I’m still here, though more as the proverbial “fly on the wall” these days. I simply don’t comment as much, because most of my recent experience isn’t relevant to most here, on most issues that come up. Example: “instagram models” (I had no idea such a thing existed, until that thread.) I suppose I’m becoming bit of a dinosaur 🙂 Just don’t have any real interest in the social media craze.

          In my sixties? Well I was, when I first came to this blog; I was just past 65 then; I’m 71 now, and I think I may have finally made the endangered species list. I can give you all a retrospective on the experience of a man dating in his sixties, though.

          I think that 90% thing applies to both genders. What I found online and to some extent IRL, was that I did have a lot of dating options, across a wide range of age groups, but that 90% (probably more) of those options weren’t very good ones in terms of pursuing a viable relationship. Casual dating, and casual sex, for that matter, were readily available; anything more, not so much. I came close a few times, but this isn’t horseshoes or hand grenades.

          One thing I found, was that I did draw some interest from women about the age S. is now; more the exception than the rule, of course, but still a significant number, so S. , I don’t think you’re alone in your preference. By contrast, I drew almost zero interest from the 50 to 60 age group, especially online. Most of the women who were looking at my profile were somewhere in their sixties, and later on in their seventies, with a few in their forties. That void with women in their fifties, I can’t explain; maybe peculiar to me, or my profile; but it was very pronounced, whatever the reason. YAG has said he’s noticed most women 45 to 60 and over have a hard boundary of 55, for the age of a man they will accept for a relationship, and there may be something to that. For women slightly older, I think there’s another at 65, until they are past that age themselves.

          Bottom line, I think, especially online, a lot of men in their sixties become discourage/disillusioned rather quickly online, partly due to their own unrealistic expectations in many, perhaps partly due to changes in women’s expectations. I think many tend to settle for whatever comes easier, whether that’s simply hookups with younger “gold diggers” or opting out entirely in some cases. Aging gracefully in an increasingly youth-worshipping culture is a challenge for both genders, and it’s often a difficult balancing act, trying to maintain a dynamic, youthful attitude and spirit, without trying to revisit one’s lost youth, only with more knowledge.

          Perhaps what we’re seeing is that women, now more empowered economically and socially, and therefore more secure in themselves, are being more selective and more demanding. This is not a bad thing; they’re now simply more able to do what many men have been able do in choosing what they want in a potential partner. On balance this is for the best for everyone, but it is a challenge for men who grew up in a much different culture, and now face the same sort of “expiration date” women have long encountered. We now know ourselves how it is, to feel the same pressure to adapt quickly enough to find a desirable someone who still wants us, before the clock runs out…

        13. Emily, to

          S.,
          “In the spirit of being evenhanded about considering who is suitable for marriage, what do you find about never married women? Most of the female friends my age have been married (curiously none are currently married). I don’t feel that different from them but hey, you never now”
          Actually, like you, most of my female friends have been married and are now divorced and have no interest in remarrying (though they may be interested in dating). I only have 1 female friend who’s never been married and if I knew someone who I thought she might like, I wouldn’t hesitate to set her up. But the never-married men I know (who are acquaintances) are not people I would set up. Again, my sample is small, but they are all extremely socially awkward. I guess what I’m saying, as a general rule, from my small sample, is that I know a good number of what I would consider “cool” single women who may currently not be dating or interested in dating right now and are doing their thing. I don’t know any men I could describe like that.

        14. Lynx

          Buck25:
          “That void with women in their fifties, I can’t explain; maybe peculiar to me, or my profile; but it was very pronounced, whatever the reason. YAG has said he’s noticed most women 45 to 60 and over have a hard boundary of 55, for the age of a man they will accept for a relationship, and there may be something to that.”

          I’ll bet your profile was just fine, I think it’s more the psychological marker. Someone said, I forget who: “40s are the old age of youth, 50s are the youth of old age.” For many women 45-59, especially those who have maintained themselves well, dating a 60+ man is an admission that, despite Botox and fillers and teeth whiteners, there’s no escaping the inevitability of old age.

        15. Buck25

          ” …for many women 45-59, especially those who have maintained themselves well, dating a 60+ man, is an admission that, despite Botox, fillers and teeth whiteners, there’s no escaping the inevitability of old age.”

          Lynx,
          I came to a similar conclusion myself; however, I think it might have been more than a little impolitic for for me (or any man) to say that in this forum.:)

        16. S.

          I think it’s a lifestyle thing. I’m in my late 40s but 60 seems close to retirement age. And retirement is a lifestyle thing and a class thing. My mom is 78 this year. She never retired. She was still working and will still work if called in. In my tax bracket we keep on working. I get some people don’t want that and that’s not their life. But then I’m not really compatible with them, see?

          If it weren’t for the retirement thing, I don’t think the number would mean much to me.

        17. Buck25

          “If it weren’t for the retirement thing, I don’t think the number would mean that much to me.”

          S.,
          That’s a fair point, and one that I think is problematic for those still working full time. Matter of fact, it can be problematic for those who are (or soon plan to be) retired. I supposedly “retired” years ago, 2007, to be exact. One thing I learned quickly was that you can only fish, golf and travel so much, and sitting around the house vegetating is NOT an option, even with (at the time) a spouse who also retired early. Fortunately for me, I really retired only from day-to-day operations in my business, so that still occupies some of my time with long range planning and so forth. I had to fill the rest with volunteer work, and some charitable projects I continue to work on; otherwise, I think both my physical health and my sanity (such as it is) would have fallen apart long ago. One thing a lot of people don’t realize is that too much leisure time can be just as bad as not having enough. Regardless, retirement, or even semi-retirement, is a major life change that anyone has to adapt and adjust to, and sometimes, that can be a real challenge. I can see how that aspect of it could also be a problem for a partner who was still working full time.

          In a way, maybe it’s similar to dealing with someone who’s in other recent transitions, such as divorce or loss of a spouse. Like it or not, those are major adjustments, and they don’t happen overnight. Dealing with someone still processing that can set one up for being a transition person in their life, especially if you’re the first one to date them after the “restart”. Been there, done that, a couple of times. A good way to be someone else’s bridge to their future; ok for them, not so ok for me. I don’t think I’d like to inflict that on someone else.

        18. Marika

          Lynx & Buck

          You have a point, but to be fair, there’s a big difference between 45 and 60! Buck, would you, honestly, date the average 86 year old?

        19. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “You have a point, but to be fair, there’s a big difference between 45 and 60! Buck, would you, honestly, date the average 86 year old?”
          I said the exact same thing to a much older man who asked me out. He didn’t get it when the script was flipped, even though there was so much of an age difference between us that, had I added those nearly 3 decades to his age, he would have been dating a NINETY-YEAR-OLD!

        20. Buck25

          Marika,
          Ok, your last is a reasonable question. The short answer is no, (although, I also doubt that your hypothetical “average” 86 year old woman would wish to date yours truly, either). I’ll add that I wouldn’t want to date the “average” or “typical” 55 year old woman. Then again, Karl R and his wife have a happy marriage it appears, and as I recall, Karl is in his early forties, while his wife is over sixty. “Average” or “typical”? I wouldn’t think so; but from what I understand, neither Karl nor his wife was specifically aiming for someone in their eventual partner’s age group. Karl in fact seems to have been dating a wide variety of women of varying ages. In other words, he was simply dating with an open mind, and when the two of them happened to connect, he was open to the possibility.

          As we were discussing, such large age gap relationships are an exception, not the rule. Would the “average” person be well-advised to actively seek that? Probably not, owing to some of the potential difficulties that Lynx, S. and I were discussing. Suppose though, that S. were to meet a healthy man of 62, who like her, intended to continue working as long as he was able, instead of retiring? Might he be a good potential partner for her? Given what S has told us, quite possibly so. Yet, the same man might be a poor choice for the “average” woman her age; and while S may be good partner for him, the “average” woman her age simply might not be.

          So what might we learn from all this? Perhaps that while good general dating and mating advice and practice is generally sound, it’s not always perfect for everyone, all the time. Incidentally, Marika, FWIW, before I left the dating scene over a year ago, I tried dating outside my usual preferences in both age and body type, including women up to ten years older than I was at the time. This resulted in some nice friendships, but there was zero chemistry for me, and we can’t get much beyond friendship without that, can we? Does that mean I simply can’t find (or be) a suitable relationship partner for someone, at least not at this time? I honestly don’t know. I seem to be in a good place emotionally right now; in fact, I’m quite content, and honestly happier. Perhaps I’ve crossed some threshold, in my own journey; if so, I don’t know what the ramifications may be, in terms of dating/relationships. Questions, questions…

        21. Lynx

          Emily, you’ve given me yet another great idea for a new dating app feature after reading your comment, “had I added those nearly 3 decades to his age, he would have been dating a NINETY-YEAR-OLD”

          What if everyone, male or female, who wants to date significantly younger is required to do this: they MUST date someone correspondingly older first.

          So, in your example, your would-be suitor would be required to date that 90-year old first. Let’s say a minimum of three dates. With physical contact (heavy petting is okay, requiring the full deed is a bit Draconian). Only then would the bountiful world of 20- or 30-somethings be unlocked for them.

          [Note to the literalists: this is a joke :)]

        22. Yet Another Guy

          @Buck25

          “YAG has said he’s noticed most women 45 to 60 and over have a hard boundary of 55, for the age of a man they will accept for a relationship, and there may be something to that.”

          Yes, 55 does appear to be a hard upper age bound for men on dating sites. From age 56 or so, most of the women who view a man’s profile will usually be over age 60 when women are searching on attributes versus viewing matches on Match (that is when views and likes come from same age women and younger if a man looks good for his age). However, age 50 appears to be a very hard upper age bound for women, which is why age 49 is suspect to most men. Another thing I noticed with age 50+ women who have an SMV of at least 6 is that the lower preferred age range bound will be significantly younger than the upper age bound is older (usually 9 to 15 years younger to about 1 to 3 years older). However, I do not believe that men are any less guilty of this practice than women. Some men are seriously delusional when it comes to age of a desired mate.

        23. Marika

          Emily

          My housemate is somewhere around 10 years older than me and often says things like ‘when we were at school’..and I always think ..I was in infants when you were about to graduate! I’m not sure it’s the same.

          Personally when I’m out and I see girls 10, 15 years younger than me, I don’t want to party with them as peers. I want to put a jacket around their shoulders and make sure they’re okay! 😉

        24. Emily, to

          Lynx,
          “So, in your example, your would-be suitor would be required to date that 90-year old first. Let’s say a minimum of three dates. With physical contact (heavy petting is okay, requiring the full deed is a bit Draconian). Only then would the bountiful world of 20- or 30-somethings be unlocked for them.”
          Love it!
          But, honestly, when I told my would-be suitor that he should date a 90-year-old, it fell on completely deaf ears. He just didn’t get it. His response was, “I like older women,” but, to him, even though he was in his 60s, “older” was a 40-year-old! Talk about NO self-awareness. Everyone thinks they are exceptions to the rule, but they’re not. Exceptions are extremely rare. That’s why they are exceptions.

        25. Buck25

          Emily and Marika,
          ” Buck, would you, honestly, date the average 86 year old”

          I replied to the question, but somehow it seems to have been lost, so I’ll try again. In a word, no. The reason is not age per se, but the fact that the odds of my finding an “average” (your words) 86 year old woman who is (1) in any way even remotely physically attractive to me, and (2) not some celebrity, as in Sophia Loren, are similar to the odds of winning the lottery, or being struck by lightning! I feel certain that point is not lost on either of you. I am not, ever, going to date any woman of any age (younger, older, same age, whatever ), that I would not want to kiss, much less have sex with. A zero chemistry relationship, isn’t a “relationship” at all. Let’s see if we can agree on that much.

          Now, let me ask the two of you (since you both chose to pile on), a similar question: Emily, Marika, would either of you, honestly, date any man, of any age, who wasn’t at all physically attractive to you?It’s actually the same question you asked of me, in substance anyway. I ask because your apparent theory is that it’s unfair for a man to date a woman 15 years younger, if he is unwilling to date a woman 15 years older. Fine, but what you leave out is the attractiveness factor, which is the real key. We all tend to use age as shorthand for that, because we believe we “know” what any given age looks like. On average we may be right; but in any specific case, perhaps not. For that matter, we don’t know what most contributors here look like. Why, I might look as ugly as a slimy, bloated old bullfrog, or an ornery old alligator snapping turtle. On the other hand, I might look more like Harrison Ford, or Sean Connery, look now. You don’t know; you assume, either way. There are young women I don’t find the least bit physically attractive, there are middle-aged women I don’t find the least bit physically attractive, and there are older women I don’t find the least bit physically attractive, and there are some in all age groups I find quite physically attractive. The only thing age has to do with the matter, is that there are more women I might find attractive in younger age groups, and the number tends to decline with age. That’s about it. At my age, all that really matters, from my POV, is compatibility, and enough physical attraction for me to desire a woman, and for her to desire me; given that, her age is mostly irrelevant.

          Just for the record, I am not in the habit of hitting on obviously younger women, unless I see some rather obvious interest on their part. It’s clear most younger women (it’s all relative, to younger guys, you may be an “older woman”) don’t like that sort of interest from older men, and I try to respect that. Aside from that, it’s pointless to waste any time and effort pursuing women who have no interest in me, for whatever reason; why would I want any woman who doesn’t want me?

        26. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “Personally when I’m out and I see girls 10, 15 years younger than me, I don’t want to party with them as peers.”
          I would feel self-conscious hanging out with people too much younger than me. Like, “here comes grandma.” But younger people tend to be more fun. You get home at 3 a.m. from the club instead of 9:30 p.m. from dinner where the conversation centered around home renovations.

        27. S.

          @ Buck

          “Suppose though, that S. were to meet a healthy man of 62, who like her, intended to continue working as long as he was able, instead of retiring? Might he be a good potential partner for her? Given what S has told us, quite possibly so. Yet, the same man might be a poor choice for the “average” woman her age; and while S may be good partner for him, the “average” woman her age simply might not be.”

          Here’s the thing. I’m not the average person or even the average person on this blog. I’m a Black woman in her late forties who if I’m to be very honest is probably not even middle class. Smart, strong, not financially successful. But who says finances define success? And those aren’t even the things that make me that different, lol! Those are just the basics!

          I don’t know. On one hand people aren’t always the special snowflakes they think they are. So typical advice is to go to the majority of folks. I taught school a million years ago and they taught us to ‘teach to the middle’. It’s good advice and I did that. But I damn sure made sure to make sure the kids at the bottom and the top got their needs met as well. If not by me, then by other services.

          Dating is under no obligation to meet the needs of the outliers. Those who are wildly successful (whatever success means) are off and running. For the rest of their lives. Yes, even at 96. My mom said that Kirk Douglas is still pinching women. I don’t know if that’s true and it’s so inappropriate in today’s world, but he was good-looking his entire life. I actually smile at the image of him still being spry enough to even want to pinch a woman.

          “Perhaps that while good general dating and mating advice and practice is generally sound, it’s not always perfect for everyone, all the time.”

          Not perhaps. TRUE. Thank you for writing this.

          As for me, I feel that Karl R. is successful. Doesn’t matter what age his wife is. Doesn’t matter to me either, long as the guy gets me and we are compatible in ways that are important. A 45 year-old and a 60 year-old are in different places in life than a 25 year old and a 40 year-old and yes, a 60 year-old and a 75-year old. It’s the same span of years, honestly. And if the younger set get married, it will ALWAYS be the same span of years for them. (If they are both fortunate enough to live long.)

          There aren’t hard and fast rules to this. Chances are I’m not an exception and even if I am, the advice is useful to a point. To a point. After that point, it’s on me to sift through to find what works for me and what doesn’t. As Marika said, nothing is a silver bullet.

          Gosh, over time I’ve learned as much from the comment section here as I have from Evan and all his recordings (Focus calls that he made available once), newsletters, and posts. Together with other dating advice folks (I do like Esther Perel’s thoughts among others), I’ve figured out what’s right for me. For me there may only be 5% of men that will work for me. That’s okay. I have to learn patience. It does mean I should be out there dating even more men than other women but dating fatigue is a thing and gosh, I’ve suddenly found interests I love and take time and I meet great non-dateable people at who give me what I need. Not giving up on love, but I’m terrible multi-tasking. 😉

          Buck, you do seem happier. I hope that lasts. And heck, whatever threshold you’ve crossed I hope it doesn’t take us until age 71 to cross it as well. 😉

        28. S.

          @Emily, T to the O

          where the conversation centered around home renovations.

          Exactly. I don’t even own a home. My family rented their entire lives and owning a home isn’t even a thing on my bucket list.

          But that’s what I mean about compatibility and life stages. I’m not a special snowflake but there are some typical American things of life I never had and at this point don’t won’t. Life stage and compatible values are as important as finding someone physically attractive. Attraction waxes and wanes. Like the moon. But these life values are what people build a life on.

          I’m off to vacation but one more question for ya: So is there a point where, you Emily, ever want to come home at 9:30pm? How long can one hang with the youngers? (There will always be youngers, even when these turn 40.) That’s the crux. Most folks grow and want different things. Do we keep dancing to the beat of a different drummer or get into the chorus line?

          I say like the song say: I hope you dance. 🙂 Whatever drummer you want. I don’t know if that will lead to a compatible person, I really don’t. But if you are happy at 3:00am and know that you may not find your guy at that time, dance, dance away! And maybe I’m wrong and you will find him then. I hope so.

          Be well, EMK people!

        29. Emily, to

          S.,
          “I’m not a special snowflake but there are some typical American things of life I never had and at this point don’t won’t.”
          Me, neither, but when my friends go on and on about the domestic stuff.. the house, the garden, the picture they want to buy for the living room … I ask myself: How did we get here? We used to talk about guys, sex, pop culture, movies, books, what we wanted to do with our lives. Not one of us would ever have discussed knitting.

          “So is there a point where, you Emily, ever want to come home at 9:30pm?”
          Yes. One can only talk so much at a book club. 🙂 It’s just that everything, at my age, feels so safe.
          “Do we keep dancing to the beat of a different drummer or get into the chorus line?”
          Great question! I’ve asked myself it for my entire life. Yeah, I can dance to a different beat, but it usually means I’m the only one in the room. 🙂
          Have a good vacation.

        30. Emily, to

          Buck25,
          “I replied to the question, but somehow it seems to have been lost, so I’ll try again. In a word, no. The reason is not age per se, but the fact that the odds of my finding an “average” (your words) 86 year old woman who is (1) in any way even remotely physically attractive to me, and (2) not some celebrity, as in Sophia Loren, are similar to the odds of winning the lottery, or being struck by lightning!”
          But that’s the EXACT response that most women have about dating much older men. They couldn’t imagine finding one attractive. And that older men, who want to pick up younger women, don’t get that is ludicrous. Now, are there exceptions to the rule? Of course. BUT MOST OF US AREN’T EXCEPTIONS. I would do a current Richard Gere in a heartbeat. He’s 69. But he’s an exception in terms of looks and sex appeal.

        31. Lynx

          Excellent point, Emily: “BUT MOST OF US AREN’T EXCEPTIONS.”

          Something that has amused me about online dating among the 45+ set is that nearly everyone claims some variation of: “But I look 10 years younger.”

          Hmmm. Maybe. But probably not.

        32. Marika

          Buck

          We’re getting waayy off point. What this was all in reference to is that in a conversation between you and someone the point was made that a 45 yo woman wouldn’t want to date a 60 yo man because it would remind her she’s not youthful and make her feel old.

          Huh? No. Overthink much?

          It’s just that 45 is as close to 60 as 25 is to 40 or an 86 yo to you. It’s a completely different phase of life.

          25 year olds and 40 year olds rarely date, or even hang out together. Same with 45 and 60 year olds. Or you and nearly 90 year olds. We gave you that comparison because sometimes something only makes sense to some if they can directly relate it to themselves.

        33. Buck25

          Marika,
          Did you actually read the rest of what I wrote, or just react to the 45-60 thing? BTW Lynx, (a woman) made the original comment, and I responded to that, You and Emily promptly jumped in, and made the “86 year-old woman” analogy. Evidently you missed the point where I specifically said that such relationship are EXCEPTIONS. I said “…Such large age gap relationships are the exception, not the rule.” Exactly where in that, am I contradicting what you and Emily said??

          Also, in the post that started all this, my reference was NOT, emphatically NOT, to the refusal of “a 45 year old woman to date a 60 year old man”. It was to the refusal of THE VAST MAJORITY of women 55 to 60 to even consider dating a 65 year old man. Note that that is NOT a 15 year age gap, but 5 to 10 years, maximum.

          Please also note that I also specifically stated that I had myself in fact dated a woman nearly as much older than me as the 10 years you apparently find offensive in the other direction. That is in fact true; at 69 I dated a woman who was 78 (did not look it, if that matters)). I did in fact gave her a fair chance also, so you can hardly argue that I advocate any woman doing what I would not do myself.

          I don’t wish to be argumentative, or to offend you, but, if you feel compelled to argue with me, please, argue with what I actually said, not something I did not say. Incidentally. I also said “Just for the record, I am not in the habit of hitting on obviously younger women, unless they show a rather obvious interest in me”. I don’t know how much clearer I can be about NOT doing that. I do not actively pursue women 15 (or more) years younger than me. If a woman that age initiates something, that’s another matter; I might respond, or I might not, depending on the circumstances. I simply keep an open mind, in case some unicorn happens to come my way; I DO NOT seek them out! For the life of me, I don’t know why on earth that would offend you, Emily, or anyone else. in any case, I’m done discussing the matter.

        34. Marika

          Buck

          I’m not even close to offended. I’m not even arguing. I’m only responding to the 45 dating a 60 year old and saying there are numerous valid reasons such a thing is rare (and nothing to do with a woman’s fragility around ageing).

          And I know you didn’t bring it up. I just couldn’t remember who did. But I was just responding to that, and I said (which I stand by), sometimes people need something personalised to them to fully embrace it. They say “x”, then you ask how they would feel if “x”…and then it’s a different story. But you may not be such a person.

        35. Lynx

          Hey, friends, I didn’t mean to ignite a controversy. Mea culpa. Here’s what I was trying to express, which was tangential to the topic: I feel women grapple with the physical consequences of aging more than men do, because throughout our lives, we are judged more harshly for our appearance than men are. Back to the idea of exceptions: I’m sure there are many men who fret about aging and get cosmetic surgery (scary case in point: Kenny Rogers), and I’m sure there are many women who are comfortable aging naturally. But if you look at the stats, women 45+ undergo cosmetic surgery to ‘correct’ signs of aging at far higher rates than men. So, I do suspect the average women has more fragility around the appearance of aging than the average man — which is not to say they are less happy than men overall.

        36. Marika

          Ah yes, Lynx, you’re the culprit! 😉

          All good, I just think that was an odd example. Personally I like to date within around 5 years either way. I’d go slightly older rather than younger. If anything hanging out with a young guy would probably make me feel old. Even 5 years younger is a bit..eeek. But that’s in general. If some amazing 50 something or 20 something knocked my sox off, who knows! I never thought I’d marry an 11 years older guy with 3 kids, but I did!

          Btw, how’s the new date-a-90-year-old app coming along. Are you in beta testing yet?

        37. Lynx

          Marika:
          I work primarily with Milennial men who around my nephew’s age — I have zero interest in dating significantly younger, it would feel incestuous. Eeew. Happily, many are developers so the app will be in beta any day. We’re brainstorming names. GrandTinder? Plenty of Pensioners? OK Oldster?

        38. Marika

          Fumble? NanaMatch? G-Date ??

          …the list goes on! I can’t decide, Lynx 🙂

        39. Lynx

          Oh, I really, really want to see a dating app called “Fumble”, Marika. It could go in soooo many different directions. I appreciate the way it sets expectations up front for the overall online dating experience.

  3. 3
    Emily, to

    Marika,
    “Online is filled with the 90%ers.”
    I don’t know if that’s completely fair. I’m not speaking about myself but about 3 single female friends I have who are around my age. All are divorced but were married for years. Two of the three are online dating. One is looking for casual dating/sex and the other has a serious boyfriend who she met online. She and her boyfriend are exclusive, serious and monogamous but she doesn’t want to live with him or marry him. So would these 2 women be considered part of the 90% in that they aren’t marriage minded? I think what you want can change as you get older and a good number of middle aged, divorced women (I’m not saying all) may be interested in dating and sex but not in the same type of complete merging situation they wanted in their 20s and 30s.

    1. 3.1
      Marika

      Of course Emeremerem

      What I meant is that online dating isn’t a fair representation of everyone. Of course you’ll have great people who made bad decisions, people who’ve been dating but just haven’t found the right one, widows, people getting back out there after long marriages etc etc. But there’s a higher proportion of people online than in the general population who can’t commit, lack empathy, lack self awareness, are immature etc. especially above 30/40.

      And they won’t tell you that on dates. So it can take a while to figure out what their deal is. I just had yet another highly confusing experience last night with a guy who’s been acting like he’s really into me, saying all the right things…then making a massively insensitive comment about other women he’s dating and walking off in a huff when I wanted to talk about what he said. Obviously some issues there.

      It’s much like this blog…and speaking as a woman – how much do we value the presence and normalness of the Jeremys, Karls, Mikes. They are the 10%ers.

      1. 3.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @Marika

        “But there’s a higher proportion of people online than in the general population who can’t commit, lack empathy, lack self awareness, are immature etc. especially above 30/40.”

        Or maybe they cannot commit because they are unwilling to settle and just want to date around to see what is available?

        1. Marika

          Depends what you mean by ‘settle’, YAG.

          This was never meant to be a controversial statement….
          People who married well and have great relationship skills AREN’T GENERALLY dating online beyond a certain age.

          So with online dating you have everyone else. And some of those marry- well- great- relationship- skills people who are back in the dating pool due to circumstances beyond their control.

          Nuance, people. It’s not like EVERYONE online can’t commit or has major personality flaws…..it’s just that there’s a higher proportion than in the general public.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Marika

          That is merely your opinion, albeit a naive one. Everyone is defective in some way. A lot of the people who take a long time to settle down have other priorities. For me, a relationship was not a priority. I was busy playing catch-up education-wise after spending five years on active duty in the United States Navy. I worked full-time and attended college and graduate school. That takes time, a lot of time. I am also an introvert; therefore, my energy is focused inward instead of outward like it is with an extrovert. I do not need a person in my life. I am perfectly fine spending long periods of time by myself (if you are not an introvert, read the book “Quiet”). In fact, I need to spend time by myself or risk complete exhaustion.

          With that said, sure, there are people online who cannot commit to anyone. The keyword here is “anyone.” However, most of the people online are not broken. They are merely attempting to find someone who fits into their life and many just want a companion, especially at my age. Like it or not, a long-term relationship is not the goal of everyone who is online. There just tends to be more women online who are seeking a long-term relationship than men because that is not the way men generally operate. As Evan has written, men look for sex and find love. Most men are driven to date online because they are looking for fun and sex, not a long-term relationship. Online dating just increases the size of the pool. There are women who are doing the same, but they are in the minority.

        3. Marika

          Stop making everything all about you, YAG.

          For the fourth, and hopefully last, time, ALL I meant was online dating isn’t representative of everyone, but everyone single. It cuts out everyone who married well and stayed happily married til death do they part.

          Not an opinion. Not about you. A fact.

        4. Yet Another Guy

          @Marika

          You routinely assert that I am generalizing when there a nuances. Yet, here you are making assumptions about single people who are on dating sites. We cannot assume that everyone who remains in a marriage until “death do us part” is happily married. A lot of people remain in marriages out of fear of being alone or are not willing to give up their assets and pay spousal support. Instead, they just have discrete affairs. I know quite a few of these people. One of my brothers-in-law was a raging drunk, but my sister remained with him until ALS put him out of his misery. Why did she do it? Because she married young and was afraid to be alone, so she remained in a dysfunctional marriage for over three decades. The reality is that it takes two to remain in a marriage; therefore, by definition, the partner who wanted to remain married is not broken as you assert.

          Additionally, you made an indirect assertion that 90% of men in the world are dysfunctional with your 10%ers claim. The reality is that Jeremy, Mike, and Karl are so far from the mainstream that more guys see them as outliers than not. They are not normal guys by any stretch of the imagination. Any woman who is holding out for a guy who thinks as they do and who meets her long list of required attributes has a better chance of dying alone than meeting her prince charming. I have never encountered a man in the wild who thinks like they do, and I have seen a lot of the world. Most guys are inherently flawed in this context just because they are guys who act and think like guys.

          In the end, I am more mainstream than outlier. You just do not want to accept it.

        5. Marika

          YAG

          Reiterating what I said (now for the 5th time):

          “It cuts out everyone who *married well* and *stayed happily married* til death do they part” (Asterisk’s added to help your reading comprehension).

          Which part of that do you disagree with?

          I think you’re angry at Evan. He’s the one who said 90% of men are unsuitable as relationship partners. All I said is that those men are overly represented online compared to the general population. That’s just a fact – not a judgement, not a generalisation, a fact (because, again, it *cuts out all the happily long-term married*).

          A fact that bothers you more than it should (particularly given how you portray yourself on here).

      2. 3.1.2
        shaukat

        ‘But there’s a higher proportion of people online than in the general population who can’t commit, lack empathy, lack self awareness, are immature etc. especially above 30/40.’

        You really have no way of knowing Marika since probably about 60% (at least) of men are completely ignored online and quit before going on a date. These men very well could be the type who are willing to commit, and are generous, considerate, etc. I was on a first date a month ago and she told me she swipes right on less than 1% of users (I made a joke about how I’m glad I made the cut-off). I think this is pretty common. The guy who made those insensitive comments was probably in the top 15%. The rest fall through the cracks.

        1. Marika

          I’ll give it one last try:

          Online INCLUDES, amongst others (no doubt wonderful people), people who don’t want to get married and those who can’t, or don’t want to, sustain LTRs but do want to get laid/attention. Yes?

          Past a certain age it EXCLUDES people who got and stayed happily married. Unless their spouse died. With me? …(notice I said people, not men).

          That’s ALL I’m saying. Self selecting samples, people. Look it up!!

          And Shaukat, nothing you’ve written on here gives me any indication you wouldn’t be a wonderful partner.

  4. 4
    MilkyMae

    “Online is filled with the 90%ers.”

    If you go to match.com and click check boxes such as [ ] college educated, [ ] wants kids [ ] employed, [ ] active within 3 weeks, you’ll lop off 90% before you send your first email.

    1. 4.1
      Marika

      Consider dropping ‘college educated’.

      1. 4.1.1
        MilkyMae

        Yes. Plus, you don’t really know until you see a transcript and asking for transcript or diploma would be a huge turn off for most people.

  5. 5
    Emily, to

    Marika,

    “But there’s a higher proportion of people online than in the general population who can’t commit, lack empathy, lack self awareness, are immature etc. especially above 30/40.”
    I wonder why that is. Of course, there is the argument that a good percentage of the people left in the dating pool after a certain age are either avoidants or anxious. Even with the small amount of dating I’ve done in the last few years, I will say that I believe that’s true. But why there would be a higher percentage online I don’t know. The one friend I mentioned who’s looking for something casual has had a bad time online. The guys almost always ask her out again but she doesn’t feel they’re interested in her so much as they want someone to spend time with … and there she is,

    1. 5.1
      Marika

      Because the people without those issues are very likely to be coupled up in relationships that last. And most single people are online. And if you happen to be a playa with game, Tinder is your holy grail.

      None of this is bad. It’s reality. And why those people who go online for a month or three months then quit in exasperation (including several of my froends) are being completely unrealistic. And why you need a great profile, some smart filters and patience.

      1. 5.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        “Because the people without those issues are very likely to be coupled up in relationships that last. And most single people are online. And if you happen to be a playa with game, Tinder is your holy grail.”
        ********************************************************************************
        Hi Marika – – Good answer. As someone who dated online I would say yes, that there are many people online unsuited to relationships. I would say it is the same percentage as the general SINGLE population off line. I think the 90% figure is a bit high though.

        Here are my thoughts: There are some people who are unsuitable for committed relationships across the board, those who state that they are only looking for casual (at least they are honest), married people posing as singles online to cheat, married people who openly state they are married and looking for a side piece (that was actually allowed on OKC, I got such a proposition, don’t know if they still allow it)

        Then I think there are people who might be unsuitable for a relationship to many people, but not all. I know because I am one of them. Here are some things that make me “unsuitable” for a relationship, according to various advisors of relationship and marriage.

        I am twice divorced. Yes, I saw in a marriage forum that twice divorced is a red flag and a no go. I don’t think that is entirely without merit, but I was twice divorced, desiring another long term relationship, so . . .

        My parents were divorced *. Yes, some people look to your family of origin and believe an unstable childhood family life is a red flag. I can understand that caution as well, but my childhood was a NIGHTMARE and I can’t undo it, so . . . (*My parents divorced, got back together, legally re-married 20 plus years later, separated/got back together, again and again and again) I can understand anyone knowing about my childhood would consider me “unsuitable for a relationship”, I really understand that (which is why I don’t do therapy on a first date) but I can’t undo my childhood, but I wasn’t going to sit out relationships over it so . . .

        I have had past issues with anxiety/panic disorders requiring medication. 2 major episodes in my life, once in my 20’s (did not medicate, finally susbsided after a few weeks, once in my early 40’s, struggled for months before finally, reluctantly getting medical treatment. Turns out I am missing a pre-curser of a brain chemical that creates SAM-E, I found this out quite by accident during a series of medical tests un-related to my mood disorders. I can understand someone who has no mood disorder issues not wanting to date me. Again, I never brought it up in the early “getting to know you phase”, but if someone ever listed “anxiety disorders” as a deal breaker, I would respect that and move on. My last major episode was over 20 years, but I guess you could say I have minor episodes of white knuckling and hyperventilation in scary situations. Can be annoying in a treachourous driving situation, but very cool during a horror movie, my anxiety makes for a good make out session during a scary movie 🙂

        A wild past . . . Yes, I was a crazy party girl late teens/early 20’s. Drank lots of booze, smoked lots of weed. I wouldn’t say I was addicted, as I gave it up in a heart beat when I decided to become a mother, and never felt deprived, never looked back, have no desire to go back to being an every day pot smoker (although, next time I am in a state where it’s legal for recreational I might do some edibles) My ex hubby said he would “try” to quit smoking after the baby was born, he never quit, and I don’t think he even tried. Drove me a bit crazy, but he managed to stay gainfully employed at a good job and generally keep his life together. Big reason why smoking/pot smoking was a deal breaker for me. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again.

        So there you have it, probably 90% of the men in online dating would consider me “unsuited” for a relationship, if I put that all that in my profile. Yet here I am, troubled childhood, twice divorced, former “wild child” with a biological disposition to anxiety disorders, once again, happily married.

        I think the TRUE unsuitables for relationships are Narcissists and Sociopaths, but they do a good job hiding that, and can charm people into thinking they are great relationship partners, and once they have their prey hooked . . .

        I think my hubby and I work because we are similarly broken. No, we didn’t spill our guts out in the early phases, but slowly over time, we have organically learned of each others past struggles. I don’t really see his past struggles as a red flag, but a testament to his strength, as he has overcome much (as have I) We understand each other, so we work. But we probably wouldn’t work for most people, but we work with each other, and that’s all that counts.

        1. Marika

          Hi Sparkling

          Your reply was so beautifully honest, thank you. I really respect that 🙂

          Personally, I also would not think that the things you’ve experienced in and of themselves would make you ‘unsuitable’. I have a strong family history of anxiety myself and my sister, who I’m very close to, is pretty reliant on medication to function (and, btw has been married for over 10 years with 2 kids).

          I didn’t see my exes’ twice divorced status as a red flag (although I SHOULD have seen his cheated -on -both- of -them as one). From memory both your previous marriages were long and cheat-free, so that is a actually a good indication you can commit.

          I see people list all their red flags on here and deal-breakers and I actually think probably a red flag for me is someone with too many red flags and deal breakers! We are all broken in some way. My childhood was reasonable, I don’t have any major skeletons – but I am insecure in relationships (with men, not so in friendships) in a way which I don’t fully understand and which definitely holds me back. I know that my lack of security is annoying for some – and there’s a lot of talk on here about how secure people are the best partners. That’s probably true. But people who are a little ‘broken’ themselves are often more open and less judgemental. And I like that.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Marika – Thanks for your response.

          You said
          “I know that my lack of security is annoying for some – and there’s a lot of talk on here about how secure people are the best partners. That’s probably true. But people who are a little ‘broken’ themselves are often more open and less judgemental. And I like that.”
          ***************************

          Yes, we are all flawed, a little bit broken. In my case I think I was a lot broken, but managed to put myself back together with spit and glue ! Your comment about people who are a little bit broken are more open and less judgemental reminded me of an article I once read that “heartbroken” people can make the best partners. I don’t think immediately “heartbroken” (rebounders) are the best, but sometimes when someone seems to have NEVER shed a tear for a past long term relationship and just seems all chirpy and happy about it, just makes me think they never even cared to begin with and they were probably the heartbreaker, not the hearbreakee. Even my ex feels much guilt, remorse and sorrow over our divorce, even though it was his decision to blow up our marriage.

          Also, I had believed that my ex had this idyllic childhood. After both his parents passed away he personality changed drastically. When he told me he wanted a divorce, HE went into therapy mode, first telling me everything he thought was wrong about me and then seguayed into his childhood traumas, of which there were quite a few, that were quite extreme. So for so many years, I felt rather ashamed of my family of origin, when his family seemed so nice and normal and sane. Turns out beneath the veneer of my “un-broken” husband, there lurked years of repressed anger, fear, shame, etc. He really was a hot mess underneath that seemingly charmed existence.

          In fact now, when I think about him, I still go in between anger, and sympathy. Sometimes I want to smack him, and other times I want to hug him and tell him I am sorry for what he went through.

      2. 5.1.2
        Emily, to

        Marika,
        “And why those people who go online for a month or three months then quit in exasperation (including several of my friends) are being completely unrealistic. And why you need a great profile, some smart filters and patience.”
        That exact experience happened to a friend of mine. Was online for a few months. Went on actual dates with maybe 10ish guys. Really liked one. He made plans for a second date but flaked. And several of the others pushed for sex despite the obvious lack of connection. She quit in frustration.
        Anyway, when I read your posts, I always think that you and Adrian would be perfect for each other. Two very nice people. I don’t know what kind of women he’s into physically. I’ve asked on previous posts and he’s never been able to define it … so I am making the decision for him. 🙂 Miss Kirsten Dunst look alike … he’s your man. 🙂

        1. Marika

          Hey Em The One

          Just to set the record straight, I said a *few* people told me I look like Kirsten D. And not for a while, actually, as my hair is longer now. I only ever have personally thought that there was a vague resemblance anyway. I can see it, in some photos, but I don’t get stopped on the street by the papz or anything!

          I’m working on liking nice guys. It’s my main focus. But tbh, I’m not there yet 🙂 Also, recall Adrian lives on the other side of the world, doesn’t drink and from memory dates almost exclusively younger women (not judging him, I would too if I were a early 30s, good-looking, successful guy). So, sadly, it’s not meant to be 🙁 …Not that I couldn’t be with a non-drinker, myself but my experience is that non-drinkers tend to prefer other non-drinkers, or certainly people who aren’t out in bars most weekends.

        2. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “I’m working on liking nice guys.”
          That could be a lifelong process. 🙂
          “It’s my main focus. But tbh, I’m not there yet Also, recall Adrian lives on the other side of the world, doesn’t drink and from memory dates almost exclusively younger women (not judging him, I would too if I were a early 30s, good-looking, successful guy). So, sadly, it’s not meant to be ”
          You’re changing your type and so will he. I’m sorry, but this isn’t up for discussion. I am the DECIDER. 🙂

    2. 5.2
      MilkyMae

      “avoidants”

      I’ve met many of this type. I think these people have a values problem. They are not bad people they just don’t elevate a committed relationship has a major life goal. Other priorities, insecurities, urges crowd out the desire for a partner. Their values can’t overcome the “want stigma”. I’m always amazed at how many single will freely admit they want to be in a relationship but they will withhold that wish from the person they are dating. If you feel you need to hide true wishes from a love interest, then you don’t want as much as you think.

  6. 6
    Lynx

    Emily, Marika:

    My first online dating experience was in my late 40s, on separating from my husband. I’d heard that people with a status of ‘separated’ were less desirable online than ‘divorced’, and so I was self-conscious about it and wondered how it would impact my options.

    On my first date in a quarter century, I had the good luck to be with a man who was smart, introspective, and communicative. So, I straight-out asked him: ‘Is it an issue for you that I’m newly separated and not yet divorced?’

    He replied, ‘Everyone dating at our age has issues.’ (Months later. I learned about his own made-for-tv family dramas — my relationship status paled in comparison as an issue.)

    There’s truth to that statement — barring widows/widowers, if you’re single at ~40+, there’s some issue that’s prevented you from maintaining a successful long-term relationship. And while we can make excuses that our previous partners were jerks, there aren’t enough good men/women, or whatever, each of us is the common denominator, right? (Fully including myself in this bucket.)

    As to whether there are more commitment-unsuitables online than in real life, I wonder if the platform itself is a partial cause? As in, maybe the gamification aspects of online dating apps ‘trains’ users to adopt shoddier dating practices, and by extension, shoddier relationship readiness?

    Just a thought.

    1. 6.1
      Malika

      Yes, the likelyhood that there were issues that led to not being able to uphold a long-term relationship was great. I would like to add though that I met quite a few men who were self aware and were working on those issues (like your first date, i hope!), and that their reflections had made them wiser and therefore better people to date. My current partner knows what lead to the demise of his own relationship (just as i know what issues lead to my commitmentphobia) and we work to mitigate those issues by nipping jealousy and or insecurity on both sides in the bud.

      The sheer breadth of people you can contact via an online dating site means that you can meet the whole of the human condition while dating, which is why it can feel as if you are meeting more unsuitable people online. The flip side is that you meet more suitable and lovely people, but oh boy do you have to sort the wheat from the chaff and there were quite a few times i was ready to throw in the towel.

  7. 7
    Malika

    I started my last round of online dating in my mid-30’s and went on approximately 40 dates before meeting my lovely boyfriend of nearly a year (this succes is partly down to the mature and insightful commentary of this very blog, so thank you very much guys!). Contrary to the theory that online there were more ‘un-dateable’ people in their 30’s/40’s, my experience was that there were far more suitable men to date online than when i first dated online in my 20’s. A great many people had settled down when they were younger, but had outgrown their relationship and they were now looking for a potential partner for the next phase in their life. It’s not that 90% are per se generically un-dateable but that it is difficult to find someone that is compatible with you and is also not commitmentphobic/In the shopping-around phase/angry at the world etc. Time and perseverance bring the needle in the haystack to you.

    1. 7.1
      Lynx

      Hey, Marika, here’s an idea for a field in an online dating profile:
      What is your relationship readiness status?
      – Just window shopping
      – Commitmentphobe
      – Anger management candidate
      – Hurling myself at anyone
      – Delusional that a 20-something wants me

      Really, if people answered honestly, you could bypass the unworthies like a hot knife through butter 😉

      1. 7.1.1
        Malika

        75% of my online encounters would have been wiped out at the first hurdle with those relationship readiness statutes. I would have added:

        -Wants to turn the first date into a free therapy monologue session

        (Ugh, so many of those)

        1. Marika

          Haha Malika YES!!! You and I must have “please tell me all your problems for free in the first hour of knowing kind me, kind sir” tattooed on our foreheads 😉

          I was saying on another thread that half the time when there was no second date after a just fine first date and the reason was ‘no chemistry’, I felt like writing back to say “bud, you’ll never have ‘chemistry’ with anyone if you turn your dates into your therapist / mother”. Oh, and “here’s my bill, cash or charge?”. That kind of kindness and openness is not appropriate – or appreciated – on a first date.

          It’s in my nature to ask questions. But with those guys I eventually learned I had to go against my nature to shut those conversations down. Otherwise you end up feeling drained. And they feel great! They’ve used you as a free therapist and probably have a much more fun date with someone else the next day!

          Anyway, I’m so glad your relationship is going so well and you both have that mature introspective approach to it. Is this the guy you bought chocolates for? You’ve got one of the 10%ers. 🙂

      2. 7.1.2
        Marika

        Haha, Lynx. The smart player/user would never fall for that. The kind of guys who would answer that honestly would easily reveal that stuff from early on – they may even offer it. I’ve been on many a date where they tell me what’s ‘wrong’ with them immediately!

        The most dangerous ones *seem* wonderful. They look great, say all the right things .. then when you’re really hooked the bad stuff slowly trickles out….Having the strength to walk away at that point has always been my achilles heel.

        1. Malika

          He is one of the 10%ers indeed. And you remembered the chocolates! I gave them at the airport on our way to a weekend trip and he looked absolutely chuffed. It is wonderful to be with someone who appreciates it when i give a present. There are quite a few people in the 90% who would have shrugged their shoulders when given a present on Valentine’s day.

      3. 7.1.3
        SparklingEmerald

        You left out relationship status of
        –In an “open marriage” looking for someone on the side 🙂

  8. 8
    Marika

    Emily, S,

    This ‘go home early because you’re old’ BS is a Nth American / British / white people thing (ha says the whiteist girl ever!). In Sth America people of all ages are out dancing all night. Same in parts of Europe. I went to a club once in Berlin that didn’t get going until 10pm, and most people arrived at midnight. I was naive enough to be there at 8!

    Heck, even here Down Under! Now (not 10 years ago). I am lucky to be in a group of mixed age (30s to 50s), mixed race friend group. One guy (early 50s) just finished his DJ training and a bunch of us were out partying with him last weekend. I left at midnight and it was still pumping. That’s pretty normal for us.

    So, Em, get out there, girl! And S, enjoy your trip and please party like a ‘youngn’ 😉

    1. 8.1
      Marika

      PS I did wonder out loud to one of my friends a couple of years ago if going out dancing would have an end date for us. She said: “not for me, I’ll be here with my Zimmer frame”. Haha. That’s the spirit!! I haven’t honestly questioned it again since.

      PPS: this isn’t about being immature. Of course the ideal is to find a partner, and with a partner I’d either dial it back to spend time with him, or (preferably) bring him along. I’d be mindful of his preferences. This is about doing the things you enjoy regardless of age. I have NO interest in home renovations and never will. I’ll happily spend money on dining, travelling, dinners, my family, nephews, nieces etc – things that bring me (and them) joy. Not on paint and floor tiles. And even when I was married and we spent (some) money on that stuff, I never bored people with the details over some stuffy dinner…

      1. 8.1.1
        Emily, to

        Marika,
        “Of course the ideal is to find a partner, and with a partner I’d either dial it back to spend time with him, or (preferably) bring him along.”
        There are TWO nights to every weekend. You and Adrian to hang out on Saturday, but girls’ night out is Friday, and his ass should not be there. 🙂 He can hang out with his dude posse on Friday.

        1. Marika

          Haha, ETO. I always wanted a pushy female mother, aunt (in your case, sister) matchmaking for me!

          I’ll date Adrian! But he has to move here. I’m not moving to Boring Town USA 😉 🙂
          (Just kidding, Big A, I’m sure you live somewhere lovely). But not as lovely as Sydney.

        2. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “I always wanted a pushy female mother, aunt (in your case, sister) matchmaking for me!”
          It’s a good thing you referred to me as your sister. Had your referred to me as your mother or aunt, I’d have mean-girl, Taylor Swifted you so fast out of the girl squad, you’d be free to spend ALL your time with Adrian. 🙂

        3. Marika

          Michael Hutchence!!! Drrrroooolll. Yes they are from here. The Need You Tonight video clip with him all gyrating – oh baby I need YOU tonight. Even with the rat!

          My ex hubby got all huffy when I said he was hot. He’d say “you know he walked around with that rat – he stunk!”. Haha. Hardly a threat dude.. (oh and he’s dead!).

          My first concert was INXS. I was a young teenager. MH came on and I did that thing chicks in the 60s did over the Beatles. Crying, screaming, the whole bit. Loved him

        4. Emily, to

          Marika,

          “My first concert was INXS. I was a young teenager. MH came on and I did that thing chicks in the 60s did over the Beatles. Crying, screaming, the whole bit. Loved him”
          That’s the reaction I had when I saw George Michael in concert. My God, that man had everything.

      2. 8.1.2
        Marika

        Haha. Sister!!!! SISTER!!!!!!!!!

        I just meant my mother was very soft and non-pushy. Same with my grandma. And that’s a lovely thing. (And I wasn’t close with aunts). But sometimes I just wanted a pushy, loud, take no shit female relative who- knew -what’s- what guiding me. This feels like that 🙂

        1. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “But sometimes I just wanted a pushy, loud, take no shit female relative who- knew -what’s- what guiding me. This feels like that ”
          I can fill that role. 🙂
          You’re from Australia, right? Wasn’t INXS from there? Good night Michael Hutchence was sexy.

  9. 9
    Emily, to

    Marika,
    “So, Em, get out there, girl! ”
    I actually have been getting out there since my move but I find the stuff I’ve done up to this point a bit staid. That isn’t to say I want to hang out for hours on end. 3 or 4 is fine, but does it have to be so appropriate?
    My new thing is … I’m thinking of moving to France. Seriously. They love older women. Why spend the rest of my days in a country that will only underscore my anxiety about aging?

    1. 9.1
      Mrs Happy

      Hmm, France. The food. The art. The food. Men speaking French; swoon swoon swoon.
      I gain a kilo a week, every week I holiday in France.
      ETO, it sounds delightful. Wish I was there. Might pop over if you go!

      1. 9.1.1
        Emily, to

        HI Mrs. Happy,
        “Hmm, France. The food. The art. The food. Men speaking French; swoon swoon swoon.”
        And not to mention the men who are speaking French! French men are hot. I have to relearn French and then get a job. Apply for a work visa? I’m not sure how that works, but can you imagine being actually found appealing and not dismissed simply because you were over 25?

        1. Mrs Happy

          One place I worked had a French man, and I never had any work-related cause to be in his work area, but every few days a giggly colleague and I would just… drift over to his area, and hang, listening to him talk, and of course, since he was French, and I was in my 20’s and he had a Y chromosome, flirt non-stop.
          And I once dated a lovely French Canadian for far longer than the relationship warranted, largely because… you know, French Canadian. The accent. The fluent French. Sigh.
          The Australian accent is so brutal to the ears in comparison. But we have the beaches I suppose.

        2. Emily, to

          Mrs. Happy,
          “One place I worked had a French man, and I never had any work-related cause to be in his work area, but every few days a giggly colleague and I would just… drift over to his area, and hang, listening to him talk, and of course, since he was French, and I was in my 20’s and he had a Y chromosome, flirt non-stop.”
          I don’t know what it is about French guys … there’s a slight air of detachment/mystery (I’m not sure how else to put it) that’s really appealing.

        3. Mrs Happy

          “I don’t know what it is about French guys … ”
          I think, aside from the delicious accent, which really really does it for me, it’s the sensuality. They’re all just so into enjoyment and squeezing everything from life.

          Given the choice between more of average, or less of fantastic food, they all choose less of fantastic, because that’s more enjoyable. Given the choice between a 43+ hour work week, or less money and a 35 hour week, the entire country votes for less work so more time to enjoy life.

          ETO I hate to say it, but I think the air of detachment/mystery you’re experiencing, is just their selfish self introspection. They seem detached from you, only because they are so into themselves.

        4. Emily, to

          Mrs. H,
          “Given the choice between a 43+ hour work week, or less money and a 35 hour week, the entire country votes for less work so more time to enjoy life.”
          That’s also why I want to move there. I am so tired of working.
          “ETO I hate to say it, but I think the air of detachment/mystery you’re experiencing, is just their selfish self introspection. They seem detached from you, only because they are so into themselves.”
          That could be it, too. They just aren’t all over you and obvious, which I don’t like. Speaking of which … where is Marika? … I went to a meetup last night. At a bar. I sat down and within seconds, this guy approached me. I had never been to this group before, but I knew him! He didn’t remember hitting on a friend of mine at a meetup a couple of years ago. He asked her out and it was done very awkwardly. I felt bad for him but also for her because she was so uncomfortable.

  10. 10
    Marika

    Really? French men don’t do it for me. Too snobby. Mrs H, every French friend I have goes on and on about the lack of culture etc in Australia (but still wants to live here). Not for me.

    Latino men….now that’s the stuff..I wonder how caught up on age they are in that part of the world? I know the fun doesn’t end when you turn 30. People of all ages are out dancing all night.

    Move to Chile and I’ll visit you, my little sista. (Spanish and French are similar!!)

  11. 11
    Mike

    @Marika,

    I have been to Sydney NSW Aus and I love it there! You guys really know how to party and enjoy life. I would not mind living there….

    I have heard it can be a tough place to date for many though. You can tell me if you agree with this or not, but from what I have heard, people just don’t approach each other there much. If you were to come to the United States though, you would **clean up** [slang for do really really well]. Especially because in the US we love Aussie accents.

    I found likewise to be true over there though. Because I would approach, it felt to me that I had a huge advantage.OR maybe it was just my sexy American accent? 🙂

    But yeah @Emily, why not move to another country. A change can do us all good…

    1. 11.1
      Marika

      Ohh, thank you Mike 🙂 (blushing)

      Where did you stay?

      Yes, no one approaches anyone here. Unless it’s a pub and there are a few drinks involved. Or a wolf whistle from a passing car. Very rarely anything face-to-face and sober.

      If you have the courage to ‘cold approach’ a woman in Australia you would be VERY popular 😉

    2. 11.2
      Mrs Happy

      Mike, you’re right – I live in Oz, but worked in America, and got approached all the time in America, straight-out, ‘Hi my name is x, I’d like to get to know you, can I take you to dinner’, no mucking around. Absolutely blissful in comparison to the ages my own countrymen would spend, being friendly, and friends, and then closer friends, and then asking me out only after months or years. Having the confidence to approach basically puts you in the top tier over here, and alone increases your attractiveness.

      And the other great thing about American men, the helping on with my coat. Melt. No man ever does that here (not much call for coat wearing here, but when there is, they don’t know what to do – any of them). Every American man helped me with my coat, like they got lessons about it in primary school or something. I loved it.

      1. 11.2.1
        Marika

        If a man helped me with my coat, I would marry him on the spot.

        1. Buck25

          ” If a man helped me with my coat, I’d marry him on the spot.”

          Marika,
          In that case, you’d marry quickly in the American South! No well-bred, educated Southern man would even think of not doing that, along with such niceties as walking outside of a woman on the sidewalk, opening doors for her, seating her at the table, etc. etc.. We’re taught that when we’re young boys; by the time we’re 5 or 6 we know we’re supposed to do that. It’s a cultural thing, and found even among the lower socio-economic classes more than you might think. Rather like Clare’s South African men, it’s something we do reflexively.

          I think there’s been some decline in chivalry here in recent years, but it’s still more the rule than the exception. Interestingly, back in the seventies, I think it was, I actually got slapped by a woman from “up North” for opening a car door for her; called me a “male chauvinist pig”or something like that, too! I’m still not sure what THAT was about.

        2. Marika

          Haha, Buck, that northern lady need her head read!

          Ah, look, we all think the grass is greener. But it isn’t. There are lots of things about Southern America and Sth Africa I couldn’t handle, which would flow on to dating and relationships. I guess I meant I want all the things I already have, PLUS my coat put on and door opened. But that’s just greedy 😉

        3. Emily, to

          Buck25,
          “In that case, you’d marry quickly in the American South! No well-bred, educated Southern man would even think of not doing that, along with such niceties as walking outside of a woman on the sidewalk, opening doors for her, seating her at the table, etc. etc”
          I live in the South (grew up in the North) and Southern men are definitely more chivalrous. The only thing I would change is being called ma’am. I HATE it. I know it’s said to be respectful but I’d rather be called broad! Or hussy! Or bimbo! There is nothing more demoralizing than some young hottie calling you ma’am. It makes me feel like I’m 105.

        4. Marika

          Funny you say that, Emily, me TOO!!

          My housemate calls me ma’am. He’s certainly no Rhett Butler, Sydney borne and bred, so it’s just weird and it gives me the creeps. At least if he was taught that was the appropriate way to address a lady by his Southern mama or something I’d understand. But where he got it from and why he thinks any woman would be into it is beyond me. It doesn’t make me feel old, he’s at least 10 years older than me, but it’s just icky.

        5. Emily, to

          Marika,
          I absolutely HATE it. I remember hitting about 28 and all of a sudden … people were calling me ma’am. People who were DECADES older than me (and also those younger than me). This total hottie came into my place of employment today and called me ma’am. I wanted to slap him in the face!

        6. Clare

          Marika,

          Your description of the way your housemate calls you “ma’am” made me laugh because it reminds me of a few situations that I’ve been in where a man covers barely-below-the-surface aggression by calling you “ma’am.”

          Like the airport security guard who tries to strong arm you, or the vacuum cleaner salesman who’s full of sh*t. Something about their “ma’am” just feels off, not remotely genuine or polite.

          It also reminds me of those guys you see on dating apps/sites who refer to women as “ladies.” Like: “I want a classy lady” or “looking for ladies with no drama” or “if you want a real man who knows how to treat a lady”… something about it just makes my skin crawl. And laugh out loud, for some reason 😀

        7. Marika

          C and E, ma’ams

          How about: females? Come across this gem? Thank goodness for 2/2/2. I managed to dodge a bullet by having a pre-date chat with a guy who kept going on about “females”. Like he is a biologist and we are specimens in a lab. And I needed to hear from him how women think (remimds me of some commenters in here 😉 )

          That was red flag no. 1. He managed to squeeze in about 7 red flags in one half hour chat! 🙂

        8. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “That was red flag no. 1. He managed to squeeze in about 7 red flags in one half hour chat! ”
          As your loud-mouthed, pushy YOUNGER sister, I saw “UH-UH!” Pass on this dude. Hard pass.

        9. Clare

          M,

          Sadly, I have seen “females.” And never in a complimentary way – it’s never “that’s one damn fine female”… always some version of “crazy females” or “gold digging females” or “females who think xyz” etc.

          Using the word “female” or “lady” are immediate disqualifiers for me. I’m glad I’m not the only person who feels that way!

          On the subject of “ma’am.” In SA, children are mostly socialised to be very respectful of adults. One of the ways this respect is shown is by calling them “Aunty” or “Uncle.” As well-meaning as this is, any child who calls me this will be swiftly and firmly re-educated. “Clare’s the name.”

          On a separate but related rant, terms of endearment from total strangers are also unwelcome. When the cashier at the supermarket calls me “love” or the manager at a restaurant calls me “hun” I can’t help but really dislike it.

        10. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “On a separate but related rant, terms of endearment from total strangers are also unwelcome. When the cashier at the supermarket calls me “love” or the manager at a restaurant calls me “hun” I can’t help but really dislike it.”
          You wouldn’t like the South. I’ve been called “baby,” “darlin’,” “honey” and “sweetie” several times in a minutes-long interaction … by women! (And men, but by women, too.) I don’t mind the terms of endearment if the tone they’re delivered in is friendly, and it usually is. My personal favorite: Young lady! I don’t hear it often anymore, but when I do, I sure do love it! 🙂

        11. Marika

          Clare babes and Emily ma fine young lady,

          I do declare!

          E, don’t worry, Mr red flag didn’t get the pleasure of my company at the BBQ. Didn’t get to hold my hand or offer me a hanky…He did proceed to phone stalk me for months! But you see, females like that 😉

          Now, I like Aunty! Cute!! I also like it when 22 year old bogans in shops call me ‘babe’, ‘hon’ and definitely ‘doll’. Sometimes they fit all three into one sentence. That’s when I stuck around.
          Doll is actually my personal fave. I’m not being sarcastic here – I am a doll, dammit. And you shall address me as such.

        12. Emily, to

          DOLL,

          “He did proceed to phone stalk me for months!”
          Of course he stalked you .. because you had no interest in him! That’s how it works. 🙂

          “I am a doll, dammit. And you shall address me as such.”
          LOL. I like doll, too. Now, now my gay male best friend … we called each other bitch. That was a lot of fun. And sometimes, when I deserved it, he called me “fantasy bitch.” 🙂

      2. 11.2.2
        Clare

        Mrs Happy & Big M,

        South African men have their faults, but one thing most of them have down is chivalry.

        In 10 years of dating since my divorce, I think I’ve paid for myself on maybe 2 first dates.

        My current boyfriend opens and closes my car door for me every. single. time. There’s no struggling with grocery bags when you’re out shopping. Whenever I’ve had a flat tyre on the side of the road, there is literally a procession of men who stop and offer to help.

        Coincidentally, or perhaps not so much, there’s not much of a gender war here. There are certainly other problems, but I have never once, in the whole course of my life, heard a woman here complain about a man holding the door open for her etc. We love it. Why deny it?

  12. 12
    ScottH

    come on with this southern chivalry crap. what would Rosa Parks and countless women like her have to say about southern chivalry????

    1. 12.1
      Nissa

      Chivalry is a code of honor – that is, a way of being that honors the self and others equally. I’d say Rosa Parks would be delighted by that.

    2. 12.2
      Clare

      ScottH,

      I’m not sure whether or not you are being tongue-in-cheek…
      It’s rather sad that many feminists have taken the misguided notion that chivalry is disempowering or patronising to women.
      They believe (wrongly) that chivalry is about men treating women as helpless wallflowers, rescuing them and swooping in to save the day. They get this idea from traditional fairytales where chivalry was often simplified and portrayed in this way.

      Chivalry is actually part of the knight’s code of selflessness and service. It is not only extended to women, but to children, one’s elders, fellow knights and the community at large. It’s about putting others before yourself, without being a doormat. It’s a pure expression of virtue, a state of mind that knights strove for, courage without arrogance. In this sense, I’ve always seen it as the highest and most wonderful expression of masculine energy; it’s a set of principles that my brothers, and many men that I know, were raised with, and I think it’s so sad that it’s become twisted and distorted.

      There’s nothing patronising about true chivalry. As I said, it’s actually about selflessness if practiced correctly, and if the recipient cannot recognise that, that is *their* problem, not a problem with the idea itself.

      1. 12.2.1
        Emily, to

        Clare,
        I have found that people argue against qualities they do not possess or think are silly. For example, if a STEM guy is chatting you up/hitting on you and asks what type of guys you like and you say edgy, arty types, he’ll argue with you for 10 minutes about how those types of guys are douche lords and you need to “expand your type.”

        1. ScottH

          Emily- in these situations, I ask myself, what would someone with chivalry do??? Honestly, I have no idea. you must be right.

        2. Nissa

          ScottH,
          From the 10 commandments of chivalry, he would(among others):
          Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
          Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
          Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
          Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
          Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
          Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.[

      2. 12.2.2
        Nissa

        I really like what you said here, Clare. Good explanation.

        Another way to say this is, live your seva. Seva is service without any expectation of reward or result from performing it. From wikipedia:
        The idea of selfless service is an important concept in a number of religions because God is perceived as having an interest in the well-being of others as well as oneself; serving other people is considered an essential devotional practice of indirectly serving God and living a religious life that is a benefit to others.

    3. 12.3
      Buck25

      Scott,

      How much time have you spent in the American South in recent years? I ask, because the South as I know it today, is a long, long way from the South of the fifties and sixties. It’s no longer the South of “Bombingham”, Bull Conner, segregation and the KKK. In fact, I’ve seen more racism in some places “up North” in some of my recent travels than I’m used to seeing in my little corner of the former Confederacy. Of course, there are some (on both sides of the racial divide), who can’t or won’t let the past go. The rest of us get along pretty well, regardless of what color our skin happens to be, but then, we share a lot of common culture, so why wouldn’t we?

  13. 13
    ScottH

    Clare- not being tongue in cheek. There is something hypocritical about people claiming to be chivalrous when one of the most iconic images of those people is a man demanding that a woman give up her seat so he can sit in it. Chivalrous? ummm, no.

    From the wikipedia article on chivalry, item #3, “Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.” That is not something the south is known for. I don’t mean to be railing about the south. I’m a northerner.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalry

    Furthermore, in that wikipedia article, this interesting line appears: ” It was associated with the medieval Christian institution of knighthood;[1] knights’ and gentlewomen’s behaviours were governed” Hmmm, do you see the word GENTLEWOMEN’S? Is this code of behavior also supposed to apply to women? And this is one of my main beefs with chivalry- that there is nothing to balance out this principle that supposedly only applies to men and, without balance, things can get a bit out of hand. You state that chivalry is about selflessness if practiced correctly yet chivalry only applies to men, so women are entitled to take from the man. What reciprocity is there? What limits are there for the “selflessness” she receives?

    Also, think about it some more from a modern man’s perspective- The woman who from 8a-5p wants the same promotion as I do, wants “chivalry” from 5p-8a. Doesn’t that seem a bit wrong to you?

    I love it when women make the case far better than i do. This Ted talk from Jess Butcher is awesome and I suggest you watch it. It supports something YAG said a while ago about the metoo movement undermining the feminist movement.
    https://youtu.be/lgIgytWyo_A

    There is no universally accepted definition of what chivalry is and therein lies one of the big problems with it. It becomes what someone wants it to be. It’s become a benefit that women enjoy and nobody likes giving up benefits and men are made to feel shame if they aren’t “chivalrous.” Many women seem to think they are entitled to certain things from men and as you can see, I’m challenging those beliefs.
    As a case in point, not too long ago as I was walking into the gym a strange (IMO) thing happened. There are 4 doors across the entrance and I was walking in from the far left. I noticed a woman walking in from the far right and thought nothing of it until she walked over to my side and stopped right in front of the door so I could open it for her, as if I (or any man) was her servant. She was clearly able-bodied and going in for some exercise but couldn’t open her own door???

    Now don’t get me wrong here. When I’m in a relationship, I do want to protect and provide for her and pamper her. Yes, that does feel like my role but when women in general think that they are entitled to many things out of chivalry, that’s what gets my dander up. Again, don’t get me wrong here. I WILL hold a door open for a woman out of courtesy, even for a man, but when she demands it like that one at the gym, or she thinks she’s entitled to me paying for whatever she wants on a first date, that’s when I get mad. And I am not alone on this.

    1. 13.1
      Marika

      Scott

      Your point about hypocrisy is well taken. The South and South Africa are historically known for some things which are the antithesis of chivalry, as to their treatment of certain groups.

      But, as it pertains to dating, many women like chivalry.
      The door, the coat. It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s just effective.

      Plenty of women on here got upset and angry at Evan for merely explaining what men care about (or don’t). You can be as angry as you like about what works, but it won’t change it. Yes, some women can be rude and selfish. But insert the other gender and the same applies (eg a man can be organized & functionally independent 9-5 then come home and not be able to wash a dish or figure out how to put on sock in the washing basket 5-11).

      1. 13.1.1
        Emily, to

        Markia,
        “But, as it pertains to dating, many women like chivalry.
        The door, the coat. It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s just effective…. Plenty of women on here got upset and angry at Evan for merely explaining what men care about (or don’t). You can be as angry as you like about what works, but it won’t change it. ”
        This was exactly my point. He may think chivalry is stupid and resent that women enjoy it, but it doesn’t change the fact that women enjoy it and, yes, mentally give points to dates who act chivalrously. You know, there are some men who enjoy being chivalrous, who like to help a woman (even when she is certainly capable of opening the door herself) and who like when a woman is appreciative and smiles when he opens the door. You know what I think when man opens the door for me? That boy has some good home trainin’. (I left off the “g” in training because, after all, I live in the South. 🙂 )

        1. shaukat

          ‘If I am even carrying something as ridiculously unburdensome as a pencil, some man will pop over from his work area to open the door for me. And then I say thank you. And I giggle. And there’s a little flirtation and a little juiciness..’

          Honestly, your coworkers sound like ‘nice guy’ betas, Emily. That type of behavior never got a guy sex.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Emily at 13.1.1. said ” You know, there are some men who enjoy being chivalrous, who like to help a woman (even when she is certainly capable of opening the door herself) and who like when a woman is appreciative and smiles when he opens the door.”

          Men who bristle at the idea of “chivalry” often think all men hate the idea as well, and think all men who engage in such acts are merely afraid of being socially marginalized if they fail to do so. But I have experienced many men who love doing that sort of thing, genuinely, my hubby is one of them. Someone I dated previous to my marriage, loved to do that sort of thing as well, and once when were in public and he opened the car door for, another man saw that and asked, “Where did you find her, where can I find a lady who let’s me open doors, I want a that” or some such thing. My guy just smiled and told him he found me on match dot com.

          When it comes to these niceties, my attitude is that it is never expected but always appreciated. Some women really resent such moves, so I can understand why some men would hesitate to open a door or give up a seat. I make a point to graciously thank a stranger who opens a door or offers their seat.

          I too open a door or offer my seat to anyone I think needs it. I offer my seat to pregnant women, anyone with small children, holding a bunch of packages. I once had a female amputee in a wheelchair bite my head off when I held the door open for her ,saying that she could do it herself. I thought it was quite rude of her but that won’t stop me from offering small acts of help to strangers. And I certainly won’t hold her rude behavior against an entire segment of the population.

        3. Marika

          Nah. If they’re doing it in a desperate attempt to get a woman to like them then okay. If they’re doing it because that’s how they express their masculinity, that is sexy. If Emily is even a little turned on by it, it’s definitely the latter.

        4. Emily, to

          Hi Sparkling Emerald,
          “But I have experienced many men who love doing that sort of thing, genuinely, my hubby is one of them. ”
          My grandfather used to, if we were at a restaurant, for example, go get the car while we waited at the entrance. He’d drive around to the front, get out of the car and open my grandmother’s door and my door, wait until we got in and shut the door. I loved it. It made me feel like he was taking care of us, like we were his girls (as corny as that sounds).
          “I make a point to graciously thank a stranger who opens a door or offers their seat.”
          Me, too. I don’t expect it but it is always appreciated with a big “thank you” when it’s done.
          “I too open a door or offer my seat to anyone I think needs it. I offer my seat to pregnant women, anyone with small children, holding a bunch of packages.”
          Me, too.

        5. Emily, to

          Shaukat,
          “Honestly, your coworkers sound like ‘nice guy’ betas, Emily. That type of behavior never got a guy sex.”
          Great tactic. Undermine the masculinity of the guys who are chivalrous. Less clever, though, than Scott’s diversion tactic.

    2. 13.2
      Clare

      ScottH,

      You sound quite angry. I’m not sure who or what women has provoked this feeling in you, but let’s just keep things in perspective.

      A few things:

      * I never said chivalry was to be only practiced by men, so please don’t put words in my mouth. I said that, to me, it’s the highest expression of masculine energy. Both men and women can express masculine energy, just like both men and women can express feminine energy. However, masculine energy is found in greater quantities in men, and feminine energy is found in greater quantities in women. But both can learn from the other and adopt and embody some of those qualities. Just like men can be nurturing and sensitive, women can be gallant and courageous.

      * “The woman who from 8a-5p wants the same promotion as I do, wants “chivalry” from 5p-8a. Doesn’t that seem a bit wrong to you?” – We’re getting polarised again here, but no it doesn’t seem wrong. No more wrong than a man expecting a woman to have dinner on the table and the laundry done, in addition to her full-time job. If you don’t like these traditions, that’s up to you, but many people still live by them.

      You’re seeing things from a very jaded and polarised perspective, looking for “unfairness” instead of seeing that both men and women contribute their different energies to society in a way that makes society work.

      * Your example of the woman at the gym and how indignant you felt about it just proves my point, I’m afraid. If you don’t want to open a door for a woman because you feel she’s entitled, no one is going to force you. There is no chivalry police coming along and checking these things. If you don’t want to, then don’t. Feeling forced or obligated is the antithesis of chivalry, the way I understand it anyway. It’s a mindset of selflessness, as I said. It never occurs to the knight to expect gratitude or even acknowledgement for what he does – he just does it because that’s who he is. This concept is so ingrained in me that the attitude you are expressing is foreign to me.

      When I do one of the million acts of politeness that I was raised to do without question, the attitude of the recipient doesn’t enter into it for me at all. I do those things because I believe in them – whether or not the other person appreciates them. In this sense, I, as a woman, practice chivalry, albeit in a slightly different way from a man.

      Don’t get mad at me for pointing this out – I truly believe if it sticks in your craw to give or do something for someone because you feel they are entitled, then you should not do it. Decide on your own course of behaviour and what you believe is right for *you* to do rather than getting angry with women for taking chivalry for granted.

      I think your rant was unfair. There are many women who appreciate chivalry enormously and are also very chivalrous in their own way. When I meet someone, man or woman, who is rude, I may have a little huff and puff and think “Gosh, they’re rude”. Then I’ll go on my way – I don’t let it alter the person I am or how I behave, and I don’t let it stop me from showing politeness to the next person.

      1. 13.2.1
        Marika

        (Young) ladies, dolls, (little) sistas,

        Scott’s point about Rosa Parkes is true! The same guy holding your coat and opening your door could be a clan leader who believes in public hangings. It’s like my fave book, To Kill a Mockingbird – they all thought they were ladies and gents because they walked around curtsying and bowing and saying ma’am and sir, when very few of them were actually chivalrous (other than, of course, Atticus Finch).

        I think the issue is with the word itself. It’s got negative, old-fashioned, gender- biased connotations (as well as positive ones). If we use the word ‘respect’ instead, everyone wins.

        1. Emily, to

          Doll face,
          “If we use the word ‘respect’ instead, everyone wins.”
          But it isn’t respect. It’s a behavior that makes a woman feel more feminine, and, ostensibly, a man feel more masculine. Now, a person doesn’t have to believe in chivalry or enact it. It’s not required. But those “old-fashioned” behaviors mean (heaven help me, I’m quoting Gwynneth Paltrow) more polarity. And more polarity means more heat between the sexes!

        2. Marika

          Yeah, that’s fair Em my youngest sister.

          I guess we just should care about ‘chivalry behind closed doors’ as well as big acts of chivalry (could be for show). I guess I was just saying I know what Scott means re the hypocrisy. You can’t pick and choose who you’re chivalrous towards and call it chivalry.

          I think it depends what a man invests his masculinity in. My brother’s whole world is providing and protecting. For him, if he can’t do those things, he may as well not exist. Really. I doubt his wife has ever opened a car door. When I come to their place (usually it’s a holiday so I’m carrying food/presents), either he or one of my nephews shoots out to help me. Every. Time.

          But some guys invest their masculinity in other things. Like independence, being ‘different’, or hard to read, forging their own path. Etc. Scott seems very big on things needing to be even (Aussie men are generally that way inclined, although most will stand back at the elevator). If a man doesn’t feel like chivalry says anything about him as a man, he’s probably either not going to do it, or do it under duress.

        3. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “When I come to their place (usually it’s a holiday so I’m carrying food/presents), either he or one of my nephews shoots out to help me. Every. Time.”
          That’s what it’s like where I work. If I am even carrying something as ridiculously unburdensome as a pencil, some man will pop over from his work area to open the door for me. And then I say thank you. And I giggle. And there’s a little flirtation and a little juiciness, Marika. Juiciness. 🙂
          ” Scott seems very big on things needing to be even (Aussie men are generally that way inclined, although most will stand back at the elevator).
          You know who’s also big on things being even? Millennials. And you know which generation studies show is having less sex than the other generations did at their age? Millennials!

        4. Marika

          Juicy, you say? Juicy. Now. That. I like 😉

          My ex was like that when I met him, and I giggled away, and work was all filled with sexual tension. But it turned out he had a work- persona and a home- persona. VERY different personas. You may find some of those “may I get the door for you ma’am” types go home and spend all night yelling and browbeating their wives! I exaggerate..sorta.

          Yeah, I hear you re millennials. For me just *a little* chivalry would go a long way. If the guys here did their Aussie thing, but also opened my door and put my coat on like it was no big thing (and didn’t bitch and moan about it)..as I said, marriage would be in the cards 😉

        5. Clare

          Honey bunnies,

          In this instance, I agree with both Nissa and Emily.

          As Marika pointed out, many people who claim to practice chivalry and old-fashioned politeness are guilty of some very serious acts of disrespect towards their fellow human beings. The beautiful masculine traditions which I talk about which are so common here in South African are not without a price tag – some of the cultures here are painfully patriarchal in many ways.

          But, as I said, I don’t believe this is true chivalry. You can’t make a big pomp and show about being chivalrous when people are watching and then behind closed doors treat them like crap. That’s why I said I truly believe chivalry is a mindset that you strive for, a set of values that is ingrained in who you are as a person. And I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

          I totally agree with Nissa that it’s about men being given the opportunity to express the best parts of what it means to be a man, and in doing so, impress/attract/win a woman over. This benefits both men and women, and both men and women enjoy it immensely for the most part.

          I also completely agree with Em that polarity and mystery is what causes sexual attraction and passion. The Millennial tendency is for us all to be constantly striving towards the middle, for us all to be the same. It sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice. I am very much of the school of thought that we are all equal, but different. Not different in every area, but in some, and that is a good thing.

          I’ve spoken about this before, but it’s because we don’t fully understand men that we are drawn to them. It’s because they don’t fully understand women that they are drawn to us. We have something that they need that they can’t give themselves, and vice versa. When you’re away from someone for a while or you don’t know everything abut them or they’re not at your beck and call, there is some mystery there and it causes you to want to be close to them. A bit of mystery is powerful.

          This is something that Millennials, with their constant texting and oversharing, don’t understand as well as previous generations, I think.

        6. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “But it turned out he had a work- persona and a home- persona. VERY different personas. You may find some of those “may I get the door for you ma’am” types go home and spend all night yelling and browbeating their wives! I exaggerate..sorta.”
          Entirely possible. Or their wives are yelling and browbeating them, a scenario I think is more likely for some of the married men I work with, according to gossip. I hate to hear that stuff because it makes me lose some respect from them.
          “Yeah, I hear you re millennials. For me just *a little* chivalry would go a long way. If the guys here did their Aussie thing, but also opened my door and put my coat on like it was no big thing (and didn’t bitch and moan about it)..as I said, marriage would be in the cards ”
          And because so few guys, from what you are saying, are chivalrous in Australia, can you imagine how successful with women they’d be if they were? Do what the other guys don’t do, and you’ll be WINNING!

        7. Marika

          On a separate note, hon, dear, pumpkin Clare, with this bit:

          “When you’re away from someone for a while or you don’t know everything abut them or they’re not at your beck and call, there is some mystery there and it causes you to want to be close to them”

          How will you sustain that when you marry Mr Clare? My marriage was so unsafe I never had to ‘worry’ about that. A friend is struggling with it in her marriage now (great guy but he is waaayy too comfortable and doesn’t try anymore – overweight, slovenly, unshaven, over shares etc). She asked me for advice and I have none for her. The things you wrote about DO create excitement and sexual tension, but aren’t easy to sustain in marriage.

        8. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “As Marika pointed out, many people who claim to practice chivalry and old-fashioned politeness are guilty of some very serious acts of disrespect towards their fellow human beings.”
          IMO, they are two totally separate issues.
          “I’ve spoken about this before, but it’s because we don’t fully understand men that we are drawn to them. It’s because they don’t fully understand women that they are drawn to us.”
          Yes
          “This is something that Millennials, with their constant texting and oversharing, don’t understand as well as previous generations, I think.”
          Could not agree more. Remember when a cute guy would get your number and you’d be waiting by the phone for him to call? Every time it rang, you’d jump out of your skin. Would he call today? Would he call tomorrow? Whereas now, someone gets your number … and texts you 10 times 10 minutes later.

        9. Clare

          M,

          “How will you sustain that when you marry Mr Clare?”

          With great difficulty. It is already difficult. I consciously have to make myself not as available as I’d like to be – and this takes effort. I also only know to do it because I’ve read up and looked into this subject and I know from experience the cost of being too eager, too available, being too easy, coming on too strong, texting too much, etc. etc. To be clear, I’m not talking about being difficult or hard to get, just creating a little mystery.

          But yes, it’s difficult. I’m not going to lie to you. It’s achievable though, and I think it’s worth it. Have your own hobbies, your own life, your own friends, your independence… and of course, don’t be sitting by the phone waiting for him to call/text or make plans. Be a *little* less available. Just a little. It’ll do you both good, trust me.

          By the way, I think not overtexting and oversharing is a great way to keep a little mystery in a relationship/marriage.

          “A friend is struggling with it in her marriage now (great guy but he is waaayy too comfortable and doesn’t try anymore – overweight, slovenly, unshaven, over shares etc). She asked me for advice and I have none for her.”

          In my experience, you can’t make a man do these things (lose weight, shave, work out, etc.). They have to be inspired. If it were me, I’d try lots of positive reinforcement (and taking over the buying of the groceries and cooking and making lots of tasty, healthy food). If he’s taking her for granted, quite honestly I’d just make myself more scarce.

        10. Clare

          Em,

          “Remember when a cute guy would get your number and you’d be waiting by the phone for him to call? Every time it rang, you’d jump out of your skin. Would he call today? Would he call tomorrow? Whereas now, someone gets your number … and texts you 10 times 10 minutes later.”

          Texting is the bane of my existence. I consciously scale back on it a lot in my life. I think this behaviour (texting 10 times in 10 minutes) is so damaging.

          I remember those days of waiting by the phone very well. And your heart would jump with anticipation when you just *knew* it was him.

          When I had boyfriends in high school and university, they didn’t even phone every day. And when they did it was only for 10-15 minutes. We’d have our conversations in person.

          I remember how exciting it was when my boyfriend at the time went away for the holidays and he could finally email me. It was really exciting.

        11. Marika

          Emily

          Maybe, but I’m not so sure they are two separate issues. Places/entities known for outward displays of respectability often have seedy underbellies. Because people aren’t monolithic. We aren’t pleasant all the time. We need an outlet to be human. So if there are social rules about behaviour, depending on how strict, sometimes it’s the case that strangers get the best treatment and those close, the worst. Or the most vulnerable and powerless. Which was Scott’s point.

          I haven’t been to New York, but it’s on my list. It will probably be quite confronting, but I feel like at least you’ll know where you stand. In parts of Asia there are all these polite rules and half the time you can’t get a straight answer because no one wants to offend or say no…then it’s perfectly acceptable for married business men to be out with prostitutes all night. Cause they need an outlet. Not sure what the women do!!..
          There are lots of examples….you get my drift.

          So the motivation is important. And I personally wouldn’t put too much stock in chivalry in and of itself. Good news for you though is that the French invented it!

        12. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “I consciously have to make myself not as available as I’d like to be – and this takes effort. I also only know to do it because I’ve read up and looked into this subject and I know from experience the cost of being too eager, too available … Have your own hobbies, your own life, your own friends, your independence… By the way, I think not overtexting and oversharing is a great way to keep a little mystery in a relationship/marriage.”
          If you were a man, I’d be all all over you. 🙂

        13. Emily, to

          Hi Marika,
          “I haven’t been to New York, but it’s on my list. It will probably be quite confronting, but I feel like at least you’ll know where you stand.”
          I lived in New York. The people in New York are fine.I mean, it’s a big city and there are certainly people you want to avoid, but your instincts will give you the signals when to do that.
          “And I personally wouldn’t put too much stock in chivalry in and of itself.”
          I put a lot of stock in it. I couple it with the importance of the guy taking the lead. I’ve spent time in the past trying to nudge things along with men, and I won’t do it anymore. (I’m talking about the initial few weeks.) That’s my preference. It certainly won’t be every woman’s,

        14. Emily, to

          Marika,
          I just had a “chivalrous moment” with a Millennial. The campus of my place of employment is large. I was walking and two co-workers in a golf cart approached me and offered me a ride. I said something about there only being enough seats for two, and the guy in the passenger seat got up and sat in the back, which is really a cargo space without seats, giving me the passenger seat. I was so impressed, I want to sit in his lap! 🙂

        15. Marika

          I’m really surprised about your views on this, Emily. The type of brooding, mysterious, slightly unavailable, very focused on their own stuff guys who get your motor running are not the guys falling all over themselves to open your door.

        16. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “I’m really surprised about your views on this, Emily. The type of brooding, mysterious, slightly unavailable, very focused on their own stuff guys who get your motor running are not the guys falling all over themselves to open your door.”
          A brooder can’t have good manners? But what you’ve described … I don’t know any guys like that. I don’t know any mysterious brooders. Maybe I did in my 20s before everyone got so responsible. Your description sounds like the poet Lord Byron, who one lover described as “mad, bad and dangerous to know.” !

        17. Clare

          Emily,

          “If you were a man, I’d be all all over you. ”

          I like to refer to this issue of not being overly available/eager as “an inconvenient truth.”

          I have people disagreeing with me on this all the time. As soon as you suggest that maybe too much texting, phoning, sharing, time together, revealing of feelings (especially early on in a relationship) may not be a good thing, people get really defensive. People don’t like it. They don’t want it to be true.

          People want to be able to be available and text and overshare and pursue what they want whenever they like. They want the short-term gratification and validation that comes from doing so. No one likes the concept of discipline and self-restraint. They make the argument that “Well, if he was the right partner for you, he wouldn’t mind you texting him, phoning him, telling him how you feel.” There seems to be no concept of moderation or holding yourself back here.

          The fact is, all of us have been turned off by someone being too eager, too available, talking too much, being too open with their feelings too soon, or having poor boundaries, even if we are not aware that those are the reasons we are turned off. Someone who is self-contained and able to hold themselves back a bit and exude a bit of mystery and be a little bit scarce and not so freaking available *all the time* is more attractive to pretty much everyone.

          A little bit of scarcity = much more valuable.

          Even if we don’t like to admit it.

        18. Jeremy

          Clare, you wrote, “A bit more scarce = a bit more valuable.” I don’t think this is universally true in relationships. I think it is truer the more one slides toward avoidant on the anxious-avoidant spectrum, and less true as one moves the other way.

          It is the tendency of the anxious to try to change themselves for others, to believe they are unworthy of love as they are. And it is the tendency of the avoidant to believe that the change should either come from others or be totally unnecessary at all – that a perfect person exists who will mesh with her personality as it is, like a glass slipper to Cinderella’s foot. And truth is, if she looks hard enough, she might just find that man who fits her like the glass slipper. She just shouldn’t be surprised when her feet develop blisters and plantar fasciitis after 3 days….. ’cause, you know, she’s been wearing freaking glass slippers. Spent too much time worrying about whether they’d fit, and not enough time thinking about whether or not they were the right choice to begin with.

        19. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “People want to be able to be available and text and overshare and pursue what they want whenever they like. They want the short-term gratification and validation that comes from doing so. No one likes the concept of discipline and self-restraint.”
          I’ve posted something similar on different posts and am usually told that if a man is really into you, it’s natural for him to come on like freight train, as if that behavior should be excused because if he’s not doing that, he’s not really into you. But, like you wrote, “There seems to be no concept of moderation or holding yourself back here.” To me, it’s about having some common sense that coming at someone like a freight train will freak them out. I’ve really liked men before and I’ve literally had to force myself to not call again, text again or show up in what I call a “driveby” — “Oh, I didn’t know you’d be here” — because I knew intellectually to do so would be too much.
          “The fact is, all of us have been turned off by someone being too eager, too available, talking too much, being too open with their feelings too soon, or having poor boundaries, even if we are not aware that those are the reasons we are turned off. Someone who is self-contained and able to hold themselves back a bit and exude a bit of mystery and be a little bit scarce and not so freaking available *all the time* is more attractive to pretty much everyone.”
          Yep. What’s more interesting … knowing someone is interested but you’re not sure the depth or the extent of it in the beginning or knowing in the first week you have someone completely at your beck and call, all the time? I’m not talking about games or push-pull tactics but a little bit of restraint to slowly, over time, hand over the whole kit and caboodle. Nobody values what is handed over to them right away.

        20. Emily, to

          Clare,
          Sorry, Jeremy, but your response is pretty typical to what Clare wrote. I was waiting for it. As a general rule, I think for more anxious types what she wrote doesn’t make sense and irks them a little because they want a lot of texting, communication and reassurance early on. They feel justified in what they want or in what they have done with previous partners in the past. Maybe they have been rejected by someone who didn’t want that much initial communication and they feel the rejection was all about the other person — oh, they’re avoidant or a commitmentphobe — instead of admitting it was a little bit about them.

        21. Jeremy

          Not sure what you’re apologizing for, Emily. I agree with you. All I was saying to Clare is that what she wrote is truer the more avoidant one is, and less true the more anxious. Problem is, anxious women are often very drawn to avoidant men. They become even more anxious around them, turning them off. Hence Clare’s advice to act more avoidant to maintain their attraction. And hence my comment to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

        22. emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Not sure what you’re apologizing for, Emily. … Problem is, anxious women are often very drawn to avoidant men. They become even more anxious around them, turning them off. Hence Clare’s advice to act more avoidant to maintain their attraction. And hence my comment to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”
          I apologized because I like your comments and didn’t want to offend you, but I knew that you would extrapolate from her comment something about anxious and avoidant, when I think the advice is advice for everyone IN GENERAL. She is the only commenter who seems to get that barraging someone with communication in the beginning is a turn off. And not liking tons of communication initially when you don’t even know someone doesn’t necessarily make you avoidant, that keeping just a hint of mystery even later on in the relationship isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t mean you need to be sitting on a psychiatrist’s coach. Not everyone wants total immersion and all secrets bared.

        23. Marika

          Wow, this thread is so long you have to scroll forever to find the start! 😉

          J-dog, Em-young’en, C-hon,

          I can weigh in on this as someone who is certainly more anxious than avoidant in romantic relationships. I agree, in part, about Clare’s point in the early stages of dating. Before you know where you stand, how he feels, how you feel, it’s best to hold back somewhat, not lay all your cards on the table, and certainly not be too texty.

          But, in a well-established relationship with commitment, only the more avoidant or introverted type will still need the constant holding back. If I were to do it, I’d only be doing it for them. If they do it, it would create more attraction, because of the uncertainty, but not in a healthy way. I’ve never been a text-all-the-time or question where they are type, so I’m not suggesting that, neither would I like it. I would like daily reminders I am loved and they are committed, a “thinking of you” text, ‘I’m so lucky to have you” comment, a good night call if we don’t live together, things like that. If they went a day or two with nothing at all, I wouldn’t like that. It wouldn’t be a turn on, it would be a fear-based wondering if they’re pulling away.

        24. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “I would like daily reminders I am loved and they are committed, a “thinking of you” text, ‘I’m so lucky to have you” comment, a good night call if we don’t live together, things like that. If they went a day or two with nothing at all, I wouldn’t like that. It wouldn’t be a turn on, it would be a fear-based wondering if they’re pulling away.”
          Clare ISN’T SAYING that he disappears for a day or two. At most, if he’s busy, it may take FOUR OR FIVE HOURS to text back. And that creates a nice little mystery. He may not text back IMMEDIATELY. SOMETIMES. NOT EVERY TIME. As you posted in another post: NUANCE! AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING AVOIDANT. He’s just not jumping every.single.time she texts or calls because he actually may have something else going on.

        25. Marika

          Calm down Em, babes.

          I was responding to things like this: “I consciously have to make myself not as available as I’d like to be”. Personally I think that’s game playing in a commited relationship. And it wouldn’t be a turn on FOR ME.

          And also the advice for a wife to make herself scarce – in relation to my friend struggling with attraction to her overweight husband. She has two kids, a house, sick in- laws, etc etc, responsibilities. That’s not something you can easily do in a marriage when there are multiple other considerations. I wanted to know if Clare’s philosophy extended to marriage and it does, and it may work for her, and clearly for you, but Jeremy’s right that it wouldn’t work for everyone.

        26. Clare

          Em, Jeremy, Mars-bar,

          I think Emily definitely gets where I’m coming from in this thread.

          I braced myself for the disagreement because I’ve heard it all before.

          Believe it or not, I’m not avoidant. I’m introverted, but that just makes it easier for me to do my own thing; it doesn’t mean I like connection any less. I’d venture to say I value it as much, or possibly even more at times, as any extrovert.

          I did expect the comments about anxious and avoidant types and about game playing, and I believe what I said still stands. I’ve just learned this from long experience – what people *think* they want, what they *think* would be good for them and what is actually good for them are often two different things.

          Human beings have not evolved over millions of years to sit by the phone all day. We have not evolved to be in touch by text. So whilst I think that a little sporadic texting with a specific purpose is fine, I stand by my assertion that too much of it is not good for anyone – whether you’re anxious, avoidant, pink, blue, whatever. Human beings have evolved to connect in person – quality over quantity, so all the texting in the world is not going to reassure us in the long run. In fact, I think it just feeds the anxiety of the anxious person. Ditto the point about too much phoning or too much time together or too much oversharing. Sure there might be times when you come together and spend every day together for a while, or talk on the phone a lot for periods, but you have to break away and have space eventually, otherwise there is too much compression. You become too familiar, and that leads to problems. People need breathing room to be their own person.

          Now, you can like that or not. But I truly believe that’s how people are. Even in caveman days, the man would have to go off hunting and leave his family for a while – might be for several hours or could be even a day or two. Or back when men went off to fight wars – there was certainly no constant texting or phone calls. Personally I think this kind of rhythm and space is both natural and good, although it’s not what anxious types or Millenials (with their social media) want to hear.

          It’s also not necessarily easy, but I think it has massive benefits for a relationship.

          And it’s tempting to think of it as game playing, but as Em said, it could be as simple as taking several hours to respond to a text *because you are busy or absorbed with something else*. The person on the other end might wonder what’s up, might be worried that you are pulling away – but I believe this is actually good for that person. He or she might learn to manage their anxiety better and develop coping mechanisms and learn that a bit of time with no communication does not always = catastrophe.

          Frankly, and this is for Jeremy’s benefit, being involved with an avoidant man was one of the single biggest things that helped me get my anxiety under control. I learned not to over-text or over-phone and I learned a million other healthy things I could do when I felt insecure. Eventually I came to see that he had done me a big favour.

          It’s tempting to think that because this is a little more difficult that it must be game playing. But not everything that is easy is necessarily good for you. Sometimes it’s worth practicing a little self-restraint. Why do things have to be so freaking easy and convenient all the time? The concept of “game playing” carries with it the negative connotations of selfishness and manipulation. But as I said, I think breathing room is actually good for the relationship and for the two people involved. It doesn’t have to be game playing at all – it could be as healthy and harmless as going out and playing a few games of tennis and leaving your phone in the car. I’m not talking about avoiding or ignoring your partner out of spite.

          And Marika – you said that you like to receive a daily text saying “Thinking of you” or “I’m so lucky to have you” – Daily? Really? This kind of thing sounds great in theory, and I love to get those texts as much as the next girl – it makes my heart flutter and I feel all warm and fuzzy, but this is only in the beginning. Believe me that when it is every day it loses its specialness and value, both for the sender and the receiver. I can absolutely assure you that when it is a daily occurrence, it starts to become an obligation both to send and to read. It gets taken for granted – it starts to become something that the person is doing to feed a need or insecurity. Much, much more valuable and special when these kinds of things are not a daily occurrence and only happen irregularly – once a week or out of the blue, that kind of thing.

          Don’t believe me? Get into a relationship where a guy does this every day of your life for weeks, months, years, and we’ll talk again.

        27. Jeremy

          Marika’s “It wouldn’t work for everyone” is the point I was trying to make.” Wouldn’t work for me. What you consider mystery makes me anxious. In my past, whenever my partner has pulled away, I’ve pulled away emotionally to self protect. My perception of their lack of interest kills my interest in them.

          People who need mystery to maintain attraction don’t necessarily need a psychiatrist’s chair, but they may end up needing a marriage counsellor’s chair. Because mystery is almost impossible to maintain in a marriage, especially if children are involved. Much easier to achieve in LTRs what the partners live apart.

        28. Jeremy

          Oh, and Marika, regarding your friend with the overweight husband – as I mentioned to you long ago, she needs to try to understand why he is behaving the way he is. Without a diagnosis, any treatment is a crap-shoot.

          Is he APATHETIC because he feels that more effort isn’t worth it, wouldn’t result in his being any happier? That his life sucks, that losing weight might make his wife happier but not him, and so isn’t worth the effort? He might live longer, but what’s the point of that if one is unhappy with no chance of improvement?

          Is he RESENTFUL because he feels that he fulfilled his end of the relationship bargain but his wife doesn’t appreciate it and is always wanting more? Is he unwilling to do more because he feels it would put him at a power-disadvantage, and that her demands for him to lose weight are a power-grab? Is her behavior toward him leading to a lowering of his attraction or respect?

          Is he ENTITLED – believing that he has a great life and will retain it no matter what he does or how he is, so what’s the point of putting in more effort?

          Is he ASHAMED – ashamed of his failures, whether physical (his obesity) or behavioral (wishes he’d had more success in some facet of his life) and so is unwilling to try to change for fear of failure and further shame? Is the obesity actually a smokescreen to focus people on a failure he can accept about himself so as to mask the failures he doesn’t want them to see?

          If your friend wants to help him, she needs to understand WHY he is doing what he’s doing. Because the suggestion to make herself scarce will only work for possibility #3. For all other possibilities it will end her marriage and free her of him, but is that what she wants? The solution to #1 is psychological counselling plus or minus meds for dysthymia/depression. The solution to #2 is to examiner and change her OWN behavior. The solution to #4 is a combination of #1 and #2, as well as frank and open conversation wherein she lowers her own walls to him.

        29. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “but Jeremy’s right that it wouldn’t work for everyone.”
          But his post was a warning: If you want a bit of distance, be careful what you wish. And I am so SICK of reading that stuff. The minute you say you want just a teeny bit of distance … someone uses the word aviodant, someone tellls you it won’t work. But it wouldn’t work FOR THEM. “Distance” is their trigger, just like dry, emotionless, textbook posts are mine. 🙂
          You know, Miss M., I used to work with 2 men whose wives called them every.single.afternoon. Without fail. And without fail, they bolted up from their desks the minute the phone rang … to get their list of chores and instructions. At least one of them admitted he got a chore list. And I just thought … blech. I saw them differently after witnessing that.

        30. Emily, to

          Clare,
          “Believe me that when it is every day it loses its specialness and value, both for the sender and the receiver. I can absolutely assure you that when it is a daily occurrence, it starts to become an obligation both to send and to read. It gets taken for granted – it starts to become something that the person is doing to feed a need or insecurity. ”
          Yes. When someone overgives, it’s not about giving or loving. It’s about the giver’s personal need for reassurance, validation, security. I had a boyfriend who called me everyday (several times if he couldn’t reach me), sent me cards, emails and gave me tons of gifts. He was the “active lover,” and there wasn’t any room in that behavior for me to do anything. He was doing everything. And I felt smothered. If he’d just backed off for a bit, I would have had the opportunity to be the active one.

        31. Emily, to

          Big Jeremy,
          “What you consider mystery makes me anxious. In my past, whenever my partner has pulled away, I’ve pulled away emotionally to self protect. My perception of their lack of interest kills my interest in them.”
          Well, I don’t consider taking a few hours to return a text “pulling away.” Do you? I’m not being sarcastic but expecting instant or near instant communication feels burdensome. I mean … the phone dies, you’re in a work meeting, you’re hanging out with a friend and don’t want to be rude, you want an hour or two of downtime, etc.
          ” Because mystery is almost impossible to maintain in a marriage, especially if children are involved. Much easier to achieve in LTRs what the partners live apart.”
          But that’s what I want. LTR with separate residences. I don’t want to be someone’s social director. He should have a friend or two or a hobby. So should I. Meaning, we both have things going on some (not all) of the time and then spend a good chunk of our time together.

        32. Clare

          Jeremy,

          “What you consider mystery makes me anxious. In my past, whenever my partner has pulled away, I’ve pulled away emotionally to self protect. My perception of their lack of interest kills my interest in them.”

          I shudder to think how you would have coped in a time before cell phones and texting. Or in times when a some distance in relationships was mandatory. Would you have just chosen to be alone? Consumed with anxiety because your partner was not there to soothe you all the time?

        33. Jeremy

          Clare, you wrote, “I shudder to think how you would have coped in a time before cell phones and texting…Would you have just chosen to be alone? Consumed with anxiety because your partner was not there to soothe you all the time?”

          Oy. Of course not. My wife has a job, hobbies, a life outside of me. She does not always respond immediately to my texts, and I hardly text her at all during the day. This fact is good for her and for me for any number of reasons, and does not make me anxious. But the distance does not increase my ATTRACTION toward her. Were there less distance, my attraction would not decrease.

          The fact that an apple has almost no protein does not mean it isn’t a healthy food. It just means that eating it won’t give you protein.

        34. SparklingEmerald

          “I shudder to think how you would have coped in a time before cell phones and texting.”

          Before cell phones, texting etc. our expectations were different. No answering machines either. So there was no expectation of an instant call back. Nowadays, with everyone walking around with their cell phone on their hip, taking 2 days to return a text or phone call feels like an eternity. All this modern technology is great in many ways, but it has fed into an instant gratification mentality.

        35. Emily, to

          Big Jer,
          “But the distance does not increase my ATTRACTION toward her.”
          Well, we’ve talked about this before, but you are obviously not a devotee of Esther Perel, who says desire is about distance. I was once talking to married male friend and he seconded Perel’s ideas. He asked, “How do you want what you already have?”

        36. Jeremy

          LOL. We’ve talked before about Esther Perel. It’s interesting to note how many people love her, and conversely how many people don’t connect with her ideas. And what those in each group tend to have in common with each other. I’ll quote Daniel Kahneman, of whom I am a devotee, “Rather than say that any matter is untrue, it is better to wonder who it might be true of, and under what circumstance.”

        37. Marika

          Thanks Jeremy. Yes, you did suggest that before re my friend’s husband. She hadn’t mentioned it for ages, but is really struggling again. I’ll mention those options to her.

          I have no problem with not immediately responding to texts. I do it myself as otherwise you respond, they respond, and on it goes. Although, if I really, really like them that bothers me faaarrr less. I thought the suggestion was to pretend to be busy when they ask you out, when you aren’t, and are actually dying to see them. That I think is silly, and I wouldn’t appreciate it.

          You’re never going to understand how Jeremy or I feel about this, Emily, you have a completely different emotional makeup and ways of relating to others. To us a relationship needs to be a safe haven where we can be ourselves. And we aren’t the type of people to take our partner’s for granted or ‘let ourselves go’, so that’s never going to be the problem (Clare I know you aren’t avoidant). A relationship where you have to still worry about all the stuff you need to be aware of early on, and not just relax and be loved for who we are, is quite scary.

        38. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “I thought the suggestion was to pretend to be busy when they ask you out, when you aren’t, and are actually dying to see them. That I think is silly, and I wouldn’t appreciate it.”
          It depends. Is it Saturday at 1 p.m. and they are asking you out for that night when you went out 2 weeks ago and haven’t heard a peep from them until now? Well … why would you make them a priority if they aren’t making you one? Doesn’t mean you can’t say yes to a date but I wouldn’t say yes to one that night. It’s best to invest at the same level the other person is. It’s not game playing. It’s just wise. In Clare’s terms, an overly available person says yes to a date that night.

        39. Marika

          ETO

          Aren’t we talking about an established, committed relationship? That’s what I’m referring to. I thought that was what this whole thread was about. The scenario you raised is completely different.

        40. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “Aren’t we talking about an established, committed relationship? That’s what I’m referring to. I thought that was what this whole thread was about. The scenario you raised is completely different.”
          I guess I thought we were talking about both the beginning of a relationship (what my last post was about, not overly investing) and an established one (a previous post, the idea of not texting back immediately every time). If we are referring to an established relationship, then, no, it would be ridiculous to say no to meeting up and pretending to be busy. But I think your question to Clare was about keeping up the sexual tension in a committed relationship. I don’t know how you do that .. different wigs? 🙂

        41. Marika

          Hey Clare,

          “Believe me that when it is every day it loses its specialness and value, both for the sender and the receiver. I can absolutely assure you that when it is a daily occurrence, it starts to become an obligation both to send and to read. It gets taken for granted – it starts to become something that the person is doing to feed a need or insecurity. ”

          Nope. When my housemate, who I have no feelings for asks every morning a boring question like ‘how did you sleep?’ over time that’s getting annoying, feels forced and I dread seeing him in the kitchen. Because how do you answer that? Everyday I say the same thing, “fine thanks and you?”.

          So I get that concept.

          BUT, would you believe a daily text from my ex-husband, who I loved, was as exciting 9 years in as it was 9 days in. I LOVED hearing from him. It got me going. He wrote fun, interesting, meaningful texts/calls and they were awesome. Never once tiresome. Always special and valued. Nothing negative as you not only suggest, but insist.

          I know you and Em don’t like the way he put it, but Jeremy’s overriding point is that we aren’t all the same. Blanket statements don’t work.

        42. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “BUT, would you believe a daily text from my ex-husband, who I loved, was as exciting 9 years in as it was 9 days in.”
          What are you on? I’d like to have some of it. 🙂

        43. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Emily,to “Well, we’ve talked about this before, but you are obviously not a devotee of Esther Perel, who says desire is about distance. I was once talking to married male friend and he seconded Perel’s ideas. He asked, “How do you want what you already have?”

          Never heard of her, so not a fan. As for the the whole wanting what you can’t have, no thank you. I would rather be with a man who is happy with what he has, instead of someone always chasing after the next shiny new toy.

          I think my age has something to do with it (I’m 64), but also, I’m a satisficer as opposed to a maximizer. (EMK did a post on this, search in his archives if you haven’t already read it)

          And the whole wanting what you can’t/don’t have, doesn’t just apply to a mate, my ex was always chasing the next shiny new toy. He went out a bought a brand new mountain bike when he had a perfectly good one, right after we had the baby and were struggling financially. He had to have a new vehicle every 2 or 3 years, so he never paid off one vehicle, before trading in on another. Always with the new sports equipment. I’m pretty much the opposite. I drive a car until the mechanic has it more than I do. I finally replaced my 12 year old computer when it became unbearably slow. I have had a total of 3 different cell phones over the past 15 plus years. The cell phone I have now, doesn’t even have internet on it !

        44. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Emily to “It depends. Is it Saturday at 1 p.m. and they are asking you out for that night when you went out 2 weeks ago and haven’t heard a peep from them until now?”

          I would not go out with them at all. In fact, with caller ID, I probably wouldn’t even answer. As I said in other posts, I don’t play these little “create an air of mystery games”, and if I catch a whiff of someone else playing those games, I’m outta there. In your example, the other person is playing games, trying to entice attraction, (or just wasn’t into you, but got bored) In either case, no way would I go out with that night, or even at all.

          I don’t play those games, and I walk away from those that do.

        45. Marika

          So Sparkling, Shiny one,

          You’re happily married. Do you do things to enhance the ‘mystery’? Do you do as suggested – pull away a bit? Not respond to a message for no other reason that wanting to make him wait a bit, pretend to be busy when you’re not? I think it’s good to hear about that concept from people in successful, long-term relationships. (I’m not talking about the extreme – Em keeps mentioning responding to texts in 4 seconds and texting every 3 minutes – NO ONE is saying that…)

          Em:

          Haha, I was on the high of love 😉 Plus, he would write or call and say things like “I had 10 minutes between meetings and wanted to fill them with you”. Would that not curl your toes? I think people who hate the daily message or call are getting BORING messages/calls – the equivalent of ‘how did you sleep?’ or the ever annoying ‘how was your day’ – what do you want a summary? It was good, bad, a bit weird, I got hungry, I forget the first bit because it’s 6pm…whaattt??!…

        46. Clare

          Marika & Jeremy,

          Fair enough. I won’t argue with you about the way you say you feel.

          I will just say though that, as Emily pointed out, nuance is important. I am *not* talking about creating an unhealthy or unkind amount of distance in a relationship. Just being cognisant of the ways we might be taking each other for granted and feeding into this – you say this is not a problem for you and Jeremy. Well ok then, but it is a problem for many couples.

          It’s really hard to convey the nuance of what I am suggesting in a few posts written on a blog where everyone already has their staunch opinions about things which they defend.

          Context is important (the length of the relationship, the degree of commitment, the nature of the relationship, etc.), and the personalities of the people involved is important. I’m not suggesting one blanket approach for everyone.

          What I am saying though is that a little bit of space and distance can be exactly what’s called for in a particular situation, and that it is discounted by too many people who seem to approach the situation with a battering ram, doing the same old thing that doesn’t work. Space and breathing room is powerful.

          I also don’t like that my ideas have become confused with game playing. Anything done with a manipulative motive in a relationship is just going to backfire. What I am saying is that a bit of HEALTHY distance in a relationship can be a good thing – organising a girls’ night out once in a while instead of always watching series on the couch with your partner on a Friday night, for example.

          If you read back my posts you will see that I don’t suggest this as something you do as a matter of course. You do it in a healthy way and not in any way to undermine your relationship. I am not remotely suggesting creating an unsafe relationship. I need safety in a relationship as much as you and Jeremy. But I can appreciate that not doing every little thing with your partner and not sharing your every thought and feeling can actually be a really healthy thing as well.

        47. Jeremy

          I agree with what you are saying here, Clare. If a relationship has a problem, it’s important to diagnose it and treat as necessary. If what is needed is a hint of mystery (and I do understand the nuance), mystery is what one must provide. It’s not a game, it’s a necessity. No different than working out if attraction is being lost due to weight gain, or upping the alpha if attraction is being lost due to an excess of comfort.

          I was thinking about your point last night, trying to parse out just why I think the fact that my wife and I don’t communicate much during the work day is a good and healthy thing. My introversion is a factor, a you wrote, the fact that alone time is crucial for me or else my tank empties and I become irritable – though in hardly alone at work. And yes, perhaps distance leads to increased appreciation/fondness when people do see each other again. I think you are right in that regard. Just a question of degree. Certainly people drive each other crazy with too much enforced proximity.

        48. Marika

          Thanks Clare- bear, that clarifies things a bit.

          Yes, of course nuance is important, but there’s not a lot of nuance in telling me I *definitely* wouldn’t enjoy something I most definitely do!!…

          I’m also not sure a massive issue in marriages is being too available (maybe in SA there’s a high proportion of anxiously attached people?). In other parts of the world selfishness is a massive marriage -killer, so being less responsive to one’s partners needs could backfire, again taken too far or in certain situations. Like refusing a brief, cute, 5 minute daily(ish) check in wherever possible because it’s too much hard work, too *expected* or taken as a sign of insecurity etc. Of course I’m not going to demand it, but it’s very nice if the guy cares enough about making me happy that a tiny request like that is no big deal.

          Again, to reiterate, this doesn’t relate to answering texts in two seconds or texting over and over all day long. I’m not into that.

        49. Jeremy

          You know what, Clare, the more I reflect on it, the more I think you’re right. But it’s so important to define what “distance” or “mystery” might mean in each case.

          I think the fact that I’ve never dated a woman with my own personality-type has likely provided me with enough mystery/distance to avoid excessive intimacy. I’ve never needed more because enough was already there, unavoidably. My marriage has a traditional role-division, so masculinity and femininity more or less are apart and balanced. So I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve needed more polarity. But so many women tend to choose men like themselves if given their druthers….and such might require the manufacturing of more polarity if not enough exists, if intimacy overbalances arousal.

          Among orthodox Jews, there is an interesting set of rules surrounding a woman’s period (bear with me, I have a point coming). From the start of the period until 7 days post-cessation, any sort of physical contact between husband and wife is prohibited. They sleep in separate beds and are not allowed to touch each other in any way. On the evening of the final day of separation, the woman removes all makeup and nail polish and goes to a ritual bath (called a Mikveh) and immerses herself. And when she returns home, she and her husband reunite and have sex for the first time after 2 weeks of enforced separation.

          The proponents of this rule say that it is good for the psychology of marriage. That if spouses are constantly together, the continual intimacy overrides arousal due to hedonic adaptation, and the spark is lost. The constant denial and renewal is, like the waxing and waning of the moon, a renewal of the spark – a way to keep spouses hot for each other.

          LOL. And then there are those of us for whom it doesn’t work at all. For whom the constant denial is torturous, and for whom withdrawal leads only to more withdrawal to self-protect. To say that it works for everyone is to deny the reality of differing personalities, outlooks, motivations. So I agree with you, Clare, that we all might benefit from some polarity. Question is how much and what kind.

        50. Emily, to

          Sparkling Emerald,
          “Never heard of her, so not a fan. ”
          How can you say you’re not a fan if you’ve never heard of her? That doesn’t make sense.
          “I think my age has something to do with it (I’m 64),”
          The man who said that was 59. Was, I think, happily married and not running around. But his point was : How do you still desire something if you can have it at any time (within reason)? I don’t have an answer for that. I really like chocolate but if I could eat as much as I wanted all day, I’d still like it, but it would lose a bit of the luster it has now that I can only have small amounts or I’ll balloon up.
          I can one up you on the cell phone … I have a FLIP PHONE with no internet! 🙂
          ” In your example, the other person is playing games, trying to entice attraction, ”
          Or, I think, he’s dating around and you’re not a priority. That’s how I would read someone who disappeared for 2 weeks and was calling for a last-minute date.

        51. Nissa

          Clare,
          I’m with you on this. When I was married and very much in love with my husband, I would have been puzzled had he called in the middle of the day. I had a coworker whose husband called and texted every day, and I would secretly think: “How annoying. Doesn’t this guy have stuff to do? Is he so insecure that he can’t be without her for a few hours? Does he not know how to handle things without her?” Later, I figured out that this coworker liked it, and would get whiny if he didn’t do this.

          One of my pleasures in life was to have time separate from my husband, because I so enjoyed coming home and telling him about it. Also, when he came with me, he tended to be sullen about not being able to stay home and play internet games. (So, not a perfect marriage, I admit). So instead of getting angry that my husband wasn’t interested in the things that interested me, I would go do “my things”, have a great time, and then enjoy curling up with him at bedtime and telling him about my day (to which my ex was much more amenable).

          So having had that experience, along with other long term relationships, I don’t see any difficulty at all with “having to make distance”. Life itself makes all the distance you need – housework to be done, relatives to visit / care for, child or animal care, school, hobbies. Heck, I’m single, and I’m out 3-4 nights a week just doing my stuff – which is EXACTLY what I did when I was married. Of course, if my ex asked me to be available, I would schedule that.

          That said, I’m puzzled by this idea of having mystery. When I think of intimacy, I think of “deep understanding”. I was in a relationship for over a decade and still felt I did not understand my husband. If the person you are with doesn’t share, or doesn’t understand themselves, real intimacy gets much harder. On the other hand, I’m blessed to work in metaphysics where the majority of folks fall into the “let it all hang out” category. I meet people, and within 15 minutes we are holding hands and crying together. Yet even in that, I feel there is so much to each person I still have not uncovered.

          Part of marriage, or chivalry, or doing your seva, is about treating the other person with respect for their thoughts, opinions and desires, especially when we disagree. It is honoring their ways just as much as we honor our own. That must come from within. And if it doesn’t, that person doesn’t get your time or focus.

          For Marika’s friend, Evan’s advice still applies: if you are getting what you want, stay; if you aren’t, leave. It’s not more complicated than that. I understand some people wanting to stay married on paper for various other reasons, but investing yourself when the other person has not, will only take you out of balance.

        52. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “Haha, I was on the high of love ”
          NINE YEARS later? Those love hormones don’t last that long. The cocaine-like hormones from the early days wear off. You’re lucky if they last … what … 6 months? (I know experts say they can last up to 2 years, but I think that’s pushing it.)
          “Plus, he would write or call and say things like “I had 10 minutes between meetings and wanted to fill them with you”. Would that not curl your toes?”
          Yes, actually that would probably enflame my who-ha. 🙂 But, again, it would mean more to get a message like that maybe once a week or once every two weeks, at IRREGULAR intervals, interspersed with the daily “how are you?” messages. Then the sexy messages … would be a surprise. 🙂

        53. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “On the evening of the final day of separation, the woman removes all makeup and nail polish and goes to a ritual bath (called a Mikveh) and immerses herself. And when she returns home, she and her husband reunite and have sex for the first time after 2 weeks of enforced separation.”
          She removes all her makeup and nail polish and then has sex with her husband? Good night, talk about killing the mystery! 🙂

        54. Jeremy

          Emily, LOL. She can put makeup back on after the immersion. The point is that she should feel thoroughly immersed and purified, and might not feel that way if she has anything artificial on her while immersing. Of course, that’s all in her head, but that sort of thing is important to nit-picky concrete-oriented people (who like to follow rules), and to Idealists who like to feel what they feel and would find meaning in the whole moon-metaphor.

          Nissa, you wrote, “For Marika’s friend, Evan’s advice still applies: if you are getting what you want, stay; if you aren’t, leave. It’s not more complicated than that.” Nissa, it is MUCH more complicated than that. They are married with children. They have more to think about than just themselves, and their concept of “balance” includes more than an onlooker with a different perspective might believe it “should.”

        55. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Of course, that’s all in her head, but that sort of thing is important to nit-picky concrete-oriented people (who like to follow rules), and to Idealists who like to feel what they feel and would find meaning in the whole moon-metaphor”.
          Well, I’m an idealist and can only express my own opinion, of course, but the moon metaphor does not move me. I would never sign up for a something that tells me what I can and cannot do and at what times. I already have something like that in my life. It’s called a job. 🙂

        56. Jeremy

          Yeah, different idealists are moved by different things. What they have in common IME is their love for being moved. I’ll never forget when I was a kid, walking with my dad as he turned to me and said, “Jeremy did you ever consider the question, What is Art?” I was taken aback and replied, “Well, given that art is a human concept, it can mean whatever you want it to mean.” “No,” he replied, “Art is transcendent. It moves beyond the human experience into the metaphysical.” “Well,” I chuckled, “I guess that’s why the prayer goes, “Our Father who is Art in heaven.” He did not appreciate.

          I didn’t expect the moon metaphor to move you. You prefer animal metaphors for passion, as I recall 😉

        57. SparklingEmerald

          “Emily, to
          Sparkling Emerald,
          “Never heard of her, so not a fan. ”
          How can you say you’re not a fan if you’ve never heard of her? That doesn’t make sense.”

          HUH ? How could I possibly BE a fan of someone I have never heard of ????? When I said “not a fan” I didn’t mean I dislike her, just that I never heard of her so I can’t be a fan. Who knows, if I read her material, I might end up being a “fan” of hers, but just disagree on some points. I am a “fan” of Evan, but I don’t agree with every word he says.

          But no, I can honestly say that I am not a fan of anyone that I have never heard of.

        58. Emily, to

          Big Jeremy,
          “Jeremy did you ever consider the question, What is Art?”
          One of my favorite rock stars, Terence Trent D’Arby — he was big in the late ’80s — was asked that exact question in a documentary. What is art? His reply: “Anything you can get away with.” Now that’s my kind of reply!

        59. Marika

          It’s MUCH more complicated. My goodness, Nissa, what a thing to say!!
          “Mummy, why did you divorce Daddy and fight bitterly over property and us for 10 years and because you left him and have no family in Australia, we didn’t see you for ages, you had to live in a studio, and now we’re all messed up, as Daddy’s Mum who lived with us and never liked you really blocked access and…”.
          “Well, honey, my feminine and his masculine weren’t aligning and I had to live my truth”.
          Honestly…

          I’m going to go out on a limb and say a lot of the people who have an issue with a daily check in and think it’s ‘annoying’ are introverts? ….
          That’s like me telling you having time to yourself is ‘annoying’. I’ve been with my fair share of big introverts and, yeah it can be annoying to not see them for 2 days while they introvert-cave, but, hey that’s being part of a couple…

          My pet peeve is people screaming from the rooftop in a relationship: THESE ARE MY NEEDS! While blatantly ignoring their partner’s needs – even a minor request, because it’s ‘not them’. That’s what I think kills marriages. Sigh!

          Jer-Bear: do you do the lovely “you’re amazing” cards at birthdays etc? Get the kids to, too? My Mum needs words and I do that and she melts. Send “I love you messages, texts, leave her notes like that on her side of the bed, in her lunch so she gets a nice surprise at work? Words people love that stuff! x
          …otherwise, keep up the good work, that’s a tweak to an otherwise very dedicated husband.

        60. Emily, to

          Sparkling Emerald,
          When I say “not a fan,” I mean I don’t like it. When I say “have not heard of,” I mean I am not familiar with it. To me, those are 2 different things. I misunderstood you.

        61. Jeremy

          Captain ‘Merika, you’re probably right that my texts could be romantic. Your ex’s “I only have a few minutes but I want to fill them with you,” is ever so much more romantic than my most recent, “I thought I was dying but then remembered yesterday’s beet salad.”

          Cards, yes, cards. The seaweed of presents that I’ve always plucked off and disposed of before diving to the heart of the gift. Would you believe that last year I got my wife a great big sparkly ring for her birthday – researched the diamonds, met multiple times with the jeweler to customize it, spent a mint on it….but gave it to her without a card. Don’t get me wrong, she loved the ring, but was a bit forlorn that there was no card. And, like a true dumbass, this year for her birthday I once again got her a gift – a lovely trip to the spa – but again forgot the card. Not fair, as she remembered very well to NOT get me one on my birthday. She just gave me my present unwrapped and uncarded (as I prefer it) – a T-shirt that reads, “I might be wrong…but it’s HIGHLY unlikely.”

        62. Nissa

          Marika & Jeremy,
          Yes, it’s good to consider the kids in any given situation. I’ve seen multiple marriages where the kids suffered at the hands of the parents, because the parents were miserable and lashed out angrily at everyone, including the kids.

          One of my good friends is getting divorced (after a few years of her kids begging her to leave their dad). She told me last week, how she knew for years she should have left, but that “the very small part that was good, was so good, I wanted to fight for it….but I didn’t want to see that most of it wasn’t good, most of the time”.

          Kids are smart. I’d guess they know most of the time that their parent is miserable. And it’s such a burden to see your parent be miserable, to hear them go on about how they are sacrificing for the family, when other options are genuinely available (as they often are). I don’t think it has to be “take care of the kids OR take care of the parents”. I think both can be done, especially if you sit down as a family and communicate about everyone’s needs. Look at Jennifer Garner or Will Smith, where everyone did their best to make sure the kids needs were met by continuing to parent through divorce. That’s how kids learn to deal with conflict and messy multiple needs, by seeing it modeled, with consideration for everyone.

          You might not agree, but I’m ok with agreeing to disagree, which is why we are all here – to consider other viewpoints. :-).

        63. Jeremy

          The behaviours we think we are modelling for our kids are not necessarily the ones they see us exhibit. The lessons they learn from us are not always the ones we think we’re teaching, but rather exhibit in our unknowing being and behaviour.

          When I was a religious teenager, my family attended a ceremonial dinner at my aunt’s house. I noticed that one of the ceremonial arrangements was done improperly, and I mentioned it quietly to my dad. My dad, who is the most socially-challenged person on the planet, who admired pretentious assholes as a child and aspired to become one with a good modicum of success. “Now, you see Jeremy,” he said loudly, “ya gotta say something about that or else how will your aunt KNOW that she’s done something wrong?” So he yelled across the room, “Hey everyone, Jeremy noticed that the arrangement is all wrong. Should be THIS way! How about that!” I was mortified. My dad thought he was modelling forthrightness. I learned discretion by negative example. Good thing too, as others might have been embarrassed but repeated the behaviour themselves in the fullness of time.

          Children of divorce are more likely to divorce themselves. Is that because they’ve learned by example something that their parents never meant to teach? I don’t think that’s all of it, but I do think it’s part. The divorcing parties should definitely exhibit cooperative behavior to model…. But they should realize that isn’t the only thing they are modelling. Divorce is sometimes really necessary – the best thing for everyone involved, I agree. But other times the behaviour to model is conflict resolution and cooperation before the shit has time to hit the fan. Marika’s friend has a complaint that her husband has gained weight and grown a beard, and isn’t making an effort to be attractive anymore. So our first recommendation for behavior to model is… Divorce?

        64. Marika

          Spot on Jeremy re the divorce. So well worded.

          Nissa, no one is saying divorce is never the answer or can never be done cooperatively with kids involved or isn’t sometimes a blessing in disguise. But to say it’s the ‘easy’, ‘simple’ answer, or some word like that you used above (thread is too long to find it), particularly when there is no abuse or anything like that involved, is amazing to me. I only know a tiny fraction of a parent’s love through being a step- parent and a very involved aunty – parents would rather cut off their own arm than deliberately hurt their kids and rip their worlds apart. Have you had much exposure to kids?

      2. 13.2.2
        Marika

        Haha. I do actually know guys like that. Sure they may have manners, but they tend to do things on their terms. Not yours. And certainly not society’s.

        1. Emily, to

          Marika,
          “Haha. I do actually know guys like that. Sure they may have manners, but they tend to do things on their terms. Not yours. And certainly not society’s.”
          I’m a little like that — doing things on my own terms — and the men I know who do things on their own terms are the guys who’ve never married and are in their 40s and are serial monogamists. But they are not brooding and mysterious. I haven’t met guys like that since I was in my 20s and I’d meet aspiring musicians or bartenders in some sketchy bar or club. Brooding and mysterious don’t exist in your 40s.

      3. 13.2.3
        Clare

        Gosh, so much to respond to on this thread.

        First, Big M,

        “there’s not a lot of nuance in telling me I *definitely* wouldn’t enjoy something I most definitely do!!…”

        Fair enough. Mea culpa. I obviously shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) tell you that you don’t enjoy something which you do. I also enjoy those romantic gestures – very much as it happens, and even on a very regular basis (but I see the benefits of not making them too much of a given or taking them for granted). I remember you saying your relationship with your ex-husband was unsafe, however… do you not think that provided you with a bit of excitement/mystery though?

        But I do accept your and Jeremy’s point about different personalities and different people having different needs. Absolutely.

        I’ll just say this: I also, and to the very depth of my being, believe that there is a reason for sayings like “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and “Good fences make good neighbours.” I have absolutely and vividly seen in my own life how not having constant and instant access to you makes people value and respect you more.

        As Jeremy correctly pointed out, distance and space is not the solution to every problem, it’s not the tool to use in every situation, but it *is* a very effective tool in some situations. It cannot possibly hurt to acknowledge that. Jeremy himself, who says he is anxious, acknowledges that his marriage works better because he and his wife don’t speak during the day. As Jeremy also correctly pointed out, there is no one size fits all – the degree and amount of space is for each couple to work out.

        Nissa,

        Your story about the co-worker whose husband called every day, and sometimes a few times. My ex-husband was one of those husbands. Except I never asked him to do it. He would call at least once, and often two or three times. And text. Sometimes it was annoying. Sometimes it made me feel loved. But I always invariably wished he would call a lot less. By the time I got home I felt as if we’d barely been apart, and although we were best friends and never ran out things to say, over time the intensity of it all turned us into *only* friends. He was also one of those husbands who needed to be in the kitchen cuddling me even when I was cooking. We became far too familiar and connected constantly on a level that just felt mundane. I started to long for emotional space from him, we stopped having sex, and eventually split up.

        Your advice about “stay if your partner makes you happy, leave if they don’t” – I agree with Jeremy that this is probably too simplistic in a lot of relationships. Why not try to be more savvy and clever about it, try and diagnose the problem and see if you can fix it before you throw in the towel? After all, if you are doing something which is harming the relationship, you may as well know about it or you will carry it over into your next relationship.

        1. Marika

          Yes, in some situations and depending on the case, yes, of course, all absolutely all true The Clare-est of Clare.

          The way you initially wrote it was far more “this is an absolute truth and applies everywhere always and if you disagree it’s just because the truth scares you”..okay slight exaggeration 😉 But there was a lot of presumption in your initial claims.

          Maybe the downside of Sth African guys being so generally chivalrous and generous with their time is that they tend towards smothery. In other ahem…parts of the ahem..globe, this is far less of an issue 😉

          Yes, true re my husband. But with other guys I’ve only ever not liked the daily ‘thinking of you’ check in if my feelings were lukewarm or their messages/calls were boring/generic. A couple of my exes should give classes on the Art of Texting, methinks.

        2. Nissa

          Clare,
          Yes it is good to try to fix things, and very very good to reflect on your own behavior & how much a part of the problem that it is (because it’s almost always more than we think). I agree with that!

          But I’ve seen so many people do those things for years, long after they have identified the issues and made reasonable attempts to fix it. I’m talking here about those who are in relationships with others who are not making reasonable efforts, with spouses who no longer communicate, respond or give any care to the wants, needs and feelings of their spouse. I’ve seen people make it more and more complicated, when it’s simply that those efforts have failed, but that gets ignored based on fear of making a new life.

        3. Emily, to

          Nissa,
          “but that gets ignored based on fear of making a new life.”
          It’s not just fear but creature comfort and inconvenience that rule out. Most people don’t make big changes in their lives unless they are absolutely miserable or backed into a corner, like they are fired from the job they hated but they wouldn’t have left on their own. It’s just human nature.

        4. Clare

          M,

          Realised I’d replied to the wrong thread! Oh well, it was getting long anyway.

          “The way you initially wrote it was far more “this is an absolute truth and applies everywhere always and if you disagree it’s just because the truth scares you”..okay slight exaggeration But there was a lot of presumption in your initial claims.”

          I know it seems like I am back peddling now, but honestly it’s because it’s not my way to be persistent when someone disagrees with me. I’m very much a “live and let live” type of person.

          I can honestly say though that I still believe a bit of mystery and scarcity creates more value and attraction with every fibre of my being. That is probably why I seemed to present it as an absolute. In my mind, there is no doubt. However, of course you are welcome to disagree and I respect your right to do so.

          I just think the case for a bit of space and breathing room does need to be made sometimes because, as I said, I think it is far too often neglected. Too often people will keep ramming at a situation, wondering what new thing they could do or say to get a different response, when sometimes the answer is that they should say nothing. I believe with every fibre of my being that patience and time are extremely powerful. Your point about extroverts and introverts is well taken, but I think this is something extroverts could learn from us. Reading Susan Cain’s bestselling book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts” was really revolutionary to me.

          I love to use the singer Enya as an example. She’s one of the best-selling artists of all time – in the same league as Michael Jackson and Madonna – but she’s never played a single live concert in over 30 years of making music, never toured, rarely does interviews or is seen out in public, very little is known about her, and she lives alone in a castle. If you read how her fans speak about her, it is with reverence, awe and adulation. She is one of those people whose success has increased exponentially because of the mystery surrounding her, contrary to all industry expectations and norms. This is so confounding to people that they’ve given it a special term: Enyanomics.

          Her fans think that they want her to go on tour and be more accessible to the public (she doesn’t do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other kind of social media either), but what they don’t realise it that it is her very mystery which makes her special, and she knows this. It is what has caused her to be so successful.

          My point in telling this story is that people often think that because they like something, more and more of it must be a good thing, but this is so often not the case. In a world awash with so much information and people who are always in your face, sometimes it is the ones who are quieter and more scarce that make their mark.

          I’m not trying to change your point of view – just making mine a bit more clear. Thank you for indulging me 🙂 I know this was long.

        5. Marika

          All good, C, C, My Playmate (did you have that clapping game at school???!)

          I can see you believe in this strongly, and to a certain extent I get it. I can *certainly* respect it. Not as a blanket truth, but as a general guideline, not taken too far, yes. I’m by no means an uber-extravert, but I tend more to that end of the spectrum….

          …so, I dunno if it’s just me and my upbringing, but I feel like there’s this ‘be careful not to scare the introvert’ thing going on. Whereas…the reverse…umm? Eg, the shock, horror, mocking, of the mention of a *brief*, loving daily check in…really? It’s that TERRIBLE to let your loved one know you’re thinking of them? Yes, yes, less is more, blah blah, but it’s not okay as far as I’m aware to mock an introverts very clearly stated (IME) need for space. So….

          These are small, caring, loving gestures. I personally have many uber-introverts in my life. They want x days alone. Okay. Other people need something different. Let’s be flexible?

        6. Clare

          Sweet Mary Jane,

          “All good, C, C, My Playmate (did you have that clapping game at school???!)”

          We had all manner of playground games at my school (so many weird and wonderful ones it boggled my mind) but I don’t remember this one?

          “I dunno if it’s just me and my upbringing, but I feel like there’s this ‘be careful not to scare the introvert’ thing going on.”

          I’ve heard Evan express this before, so this must be a first world thing. There’s certainly nothing like that in SA, where back slapping, jovial, in-your-face extroversion is still the standard for nice, normal, social behaviour. Introverts and highly sensitive types are still woefully misunderstood here for the most part, but I’m hoping things change. I find myself advocating for introverts quite a lot (in a nice way – I try never to present needs as demands), so that could explain some of my comments – just a cultural thing then.

          “the shock, horror, mocking, of the mention of a *brief*, loving daily check in…really? It’s that TERRIBLE to let your loved one know you’re thinking of them?”

          No, of course not. Did you really feel people on this thread suggested that was terrible? I think checking in regularly with your partner is very healthy and great. Most people I know in relationships do this naturally – introvert and extrovert alike. My boyfriend and I certainly do.

          It’s not the need for connection which is the enemy, as I see it – I love connecting with my boyfriend every day. It’s banality and feeling beholden to someone which is the problem. Difficult to describe, but very real.

          At what stage in the dating process do you like these daily check-ins? Early on, or once the relationship gets more serious/committed?

          “I personally have many uber-introverts in my life. They want x days alone. Okay. Other people need something different. Let’s be flexible?”

          I think understanding of each other goes a long way. As you pointed out, it’s important not to deride the other’s needs just because they happen to be different from yours. Just as introverts want to be able to hibernate when they need to and have support and understanding from those in their lives, I think it’s important for extroverts to get their needs met as well. They’re just not always going to be able to meet each other’s needs because these needs sometimes clash.

          But speaking for myself, as an introvert, I have a great deal of respect and even envy of extroverts. I’d love to be able to have the energy to do the things they do. I have a very extroverted friend who is busy doing interesting things out and about virtually every night of the week and who travels all the time and I am literally drooling with jealousy when I see what she gets up to. Just a fraction of that activity would drain me dry.

          But I think with respect and understanding, relationships between introverts and extroverts can certainly work.

        7. Jeremy

          What I liked most about Cain’s book “Quiet” was that she wrote it. That a conversation about introversion got a bit of publicity in this extroverted world. But what I didn’t like about the book was the way she confused introversion with other things. Things like attachment mechanisms. Things like sensory orientation (what MBTI would refer to as sensing vs intuiting). To her credit, she DID parse out the difference between introversion and shyness. But she confused a lot of other stuff IMHO.

          Clare, you wrote, “I love connecting with my boyfriend every day. It’s banality and feeling beholden to someone which is the problem.” I get it. I completely get it. But this isn’t introversion – isn’t about social orientation and needing occasional quiet time to recapture energy. It’s an attachment mechanism thing – about needing independence – which is NOT what introversion is about (though it is sometimes associated with introversion).

          I think that all of us have it within ourselves to be secure, anxious, and avoidant. Secure when we have what we want, anxious when we don’t have what we want, avoidant when we have what we don’t want. It isn’t necessarily something that we ARE, but perhaps is something that we FEEL. A stimulus-response pattern, almost. What you describe is avoidance in that sense, a reaction to having what you don’t want. Doesn’t mean you don’t necessarily want the man, but means you don’t want him right then. I think that the difference between people who ARE a certain way vs who ACT a certain way is…frequency.

        8. Jeremy

          Oh, and to address the point specifically about introvert-extrovert relationships, I agree that understanding is key. My wife is an extrovert. Not a “Hey hey let’s party” extrovert, but an extrovert in the sense that if left alone for a few hours in the house she will be chewing drywall like a puppy whereas I will be in heaven.

          We often get together with other families on Saturday afternoons, and when we’re done and the guests leave, my wife often sees the look on my face and asks, “What’s wrong, didn’t you have a good time?” And I have to explain (over and over) that yes, I did have a good time, but right now I need her to leave me the F alone because my tank is empty and all the noise is getting on my nerves and I need some peace to recharge. 30 minutes later I’ll be fine. But my irritability is not due to her banality or feeling beholden. It’s my need for F-ing peace and quiet to recharge.

        9. Marika

          CC my playmate (clap clap)
          Come out and play with me (clap clap)
          Under the apple tree (clap clap)
          …and I forget the rest…
          No?

          Maybe it’s a first world thing. It’s very *in* to be an introvert atm. I hear it all the time. “Oh I’ve been amongst people, so now I need three days alone!” etc etc. My friend has a pic on FB of her rolled up in an ‘introvert blanket’ (like a sensory thing) after running a course.

          Maybe this is a first world thing too, but it’s like how 5 years ago it was very in to be ‘Aspie’ (high functioning autism)?

          Many close female relatives I grew up with were massive introverts too…so I spent a lot of time getting shooshed. I’m scarred, dammit!

          Yes, a lot of people in this thread went on and on about a daily check in being boring and tiresome. Well, not the way I do it, cookies!! Mary Jane knows how to text it up reaaalll good 😉 (so I think we both referred to me as marijuana!) – that might be misspelled. Haha

        10. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Marika – Herre’s the rest of the lyrics

          Say, say, oh playmate,
          Come out and play with me.
          Bring out your dollies three.
          Climb up my apple tree.
          Slide down my rainbow
          Into my cellar door.
          And we’ll be jolly friends
          Forevermore, one two three four!

        11. Clare

          Jeremy,

          “I get it. I completely get it. But this isn’t introversion – isn’t about social orientation and needing occasional quiet time to recapture energy.”

          Oh I know that. I understand introversion very well because I have to explain it quite often to people who misunderstand what it is. I manage my life with a great deal of cognisance of my introversion, so I have a very visceral sense of the role that it plays.

          Managing my life effectively has also meant getting very clear on the difference between my needs as an introvert and my need for the people that I love. So I appreciate your points, but they were unnecessary where I was concerned 😉 Marika brought up introversion/extroversion so a lot of those points got mixed up in the discussion as I was addressing what she said.

          “but right now I need her to leave me the F alone because my tank is empty and all the noise is getting on my nerves and I need some peace to recharge. 30 minutes later I’ll be fine. But my irritability is not due to her banality or feeling beholden. It’s my need for F-ing peace and quiet to recharge.”

          Oh God, I know this feeling so well. In fact, I’ve worked out that the degree of comfort and love I feel for a person is directly correlated to their ability to understand what you said here quickly and with minimal fuss. Some people in my life (my mom, for instance) will pout and sulk about how I’m in a mood and will make me expend more energy reassuring them, thus drawing the whole process out… instead of just leaving me the F alone for a bit and witnessing the transformation in me when I’ve had a bit of unfettered me-time. Needless to say, I keep such people at a bit of a distance. Others will instantly get it and cheerfully leave me be and the whole thing is forgotten as quickly as it came around in the first place. I love these people forever.

        12. Clare

          M,

          “Maybe it’s a first world thing. It’s very *in* to be an introvert atm.”

          Yeah, there was a time when introvert memes were doing the rounds on Facebook, I think. I have to admit, for a long time I had “The Map to an Introvert’s Heart” as my cover photo. Maybe that was me being trendy, but to be perfectly honest it just felt so wonderful to see urges that I’ve had my whole life as normal and good.

          The whole “let’s love introverts, they’re so cool” thing has not caught on in South Africa.

          To be honest, I find the whole concept of seeking attention for being an introvert to be bizarre and ironic!

        13. Emily, to

          Big Jery,
          “And I have to explain (over and over) that yes, I did have a good time, but right now I need her to leave me the F alone because my tank is empty and all the noise is getting on my nerves and I need some peace to recharge. 30 minutes later I’ll be fine. But my irritability is not due to her banality or feeling beholden. It’s my need for F-ing peace and quiet to recharge.”
          Wow! The beast comes out! This is a side of you I’m finding very interesting! 🙂
          I would need the rest of Saturday and into Sunday to recharge by myself if I had a house full of people every Saturday, particularly if most the conversation with those people was superficial and not particularly interesting . I can only talk about home decor and gardening for so long. Now, if you want to talk about hot actors … I can go on all day. 🙂

        14. Jeremy

          It’s almost never about hot actors, Em. It’s usually about school tuition, problems with teachers, PTA, home repairs. Nouns. Occasional idealists trying to convince me to do stuff they think is meaningful . Very sweet people, but most don’t share my interests. One guy was looking at my bookshelves and expressed an interest in “the art of thinking clearly” by Rolf Dobelli. I offered to lend it to him but he demured. Said he was worried I might quiz him on it. Why would I do that? My motivation isn’t to shame others by puffing myself up. It’s to have meaningful connections…while taking the considerations of my loved ones into account. I might feel less drained after an afternoon of discussing the frailty of human rationality than I do after the above.

        15. Marika

          J and C

          “This extroverted world”
          Is it, though? I know introverts think so….

          As someone with a foot in both camps, I’m not so sure. Particularly in our first world individualistic post modern societies (SA is probs a bit different). What is most valued?

          I can certainly understand being drained. Not as a matter of course. Not predictably following seeing (any) people. But the Vivian’s of this world drain the hell out of me. My housemate too, because he doesn’t have the intuitive skills to understand not to be around all day everyday. I fall over a lot for an adult and when people (nicely) run in groups to help me or stand around looking concerned – eek. Go away. Too.Much.Attention.

          But the idea that you can *get* energy from connecting regularly with others, loved others, seems to be met with a curious amount of scorn and derision. Same with the idea that some women (like your lovely wife, J), could enjoy and get energy from being the ‘social convener’ for their husbands/family. Much scoffing.

          Is it okay to be lonely and seek out company? In the first world are there too many opportunities to be meaningfully connecting and getting energy with others so we all feel cramped, or not enough?

          That being said, I’m no expert in extroversion/introversion and don’t put much stock in personality type categorising (with the exception of the guardian, idealist etc thing – that actually really helped and makes sense to me), so I may be somewhat misunderstanding the concepts.

          C: so true re the irony of an introvert loudly promoting themselves as such! That said, the funniest meme I saw was “Introverts Unite” – with a fist – then “..separately..at home” 😉

        16. Emily, to

          Big Jer,
          “It’s almost never about hot actors, Em. It’s usually about school tuition, problems with teachers, PTA, home repairs. Nouns.”
          You kind of baffle me a bit. You’re an intellectual guy but most of your descriptions of your personal life seem devoid of intellectual conversation. Do you get bored with these socializations? I am nowhere near as intellectual as you but my tank fills up very quickly by superficial conversation.
          “Occasional idealists trying to convince me to do stuff they think is meaningful .”
          I’m an idealist and I don’t think I do that. Now, I do ask questions in terms of finding out what other people enjoy doing … as in, what fulfills them? How have they structured their lives? I’m always hoping someone else has figured it out and will explain it to me. 🙂

        17. Clare

          M,

          “I fall over a lot for an adult and when people (nicely) run in groups to help me or stand around looking concerned – eek. Go away. Too.Much.Attention.”

          I totally get this. You poor thing! Not only to have to deal with falling over, but then also having to manage other people’s “concern.” On Friday night, my best friend and I went out for drinks which turned into a night out, and she was given the task of looking after my car remote. At a certain point in the night, she realised that she had lost it, and this was disastrous for many reasons. We were in the ladies bathroom, and I was clearly distressed and concerned. A woman came up to me and asked me what was wrong. I told her, and this started off an interrogation on her part: “When last did you have it?” “Where were you sitting?” “Have you tried x, y, z?” I was far too stressed to focus on her questions or have any interest in them as they were completely unhelpful. She was totally oblivious to this and was moaning about how I didn’t seem to want to let her help me. She was just adding to my stress, and it took her ages to just leave me alone.

          It might not be an entirely extroverted world, but I do find that people are far too much in each other’s business. I think there’s a difference between healthy connection (which everyone, including introverts, enjoys) and unhealthy curiosity and intrusiveness. I find texting and social media to be examples of this, rather than being avenues for genuine connection. They’re an opportunity for people to insert themselves into others’ lives, and I really think there’s a difference between this and healthy connection. An introvert often finds someone simply being there to be a far truer and more valuable quality.

          For an introvert, “being alone together” is a very real and enjoyable part of relationships, and I think most of us wish we had more of this. I could have people around me a lot, as long as they know when to back off (sadly, most people don’t), and in this sense I find it to be a very extroverted world. Introverts have to consciously carve out a place for themselves in it.

        18. Jeremy

          You can’t get everything in one package, Em. Marriage can’t be all things to all people. My wife is an amazing partner, an amazing person, a person who is exactly what I always wanted in a wife. But she doesn’t like intellectual conversations about abstract topics. Eyes begin to glaze over. Not because she isn’t smart enough (she is), but because it’s not what she’s interested in intuitively. Part of the reason I come here, the reason I can’t seem to stay away for all that long, is that I have a need for conversation about such topics. And occasionally having such conversations is, to me, like being a swimmer coming up for occasional breaths of air. Can’t go without it for all that long. But don’t necessarily need it from a spouse – can get it elsewhere.

          You wrote, “Occasional idealists trying to convince me to do stuff they think is meaningful. I’m an idealist and I don’t think I do that.” So…for all of Myers-Briggs’ flaws, I like the distinction between Judging and Perceiving. It is a spectrum, to be sure, but there is a definite personality difference between a person who tends to judge versus a person who delays judgment and simply perceives. An idealist who judges often tries to convince others of the rightness of their ideals. I pass missionaries on the street corner every day doing this. An idealist who perceives has no interest in convincing others, just feeling what she feels.

          You wrote, “I’m always hoping someone else has figured it out and will explain it to me.” Sigh. My uncle has read umpteen books and listened to umpteen podcasts of gurus trying to explain the dharma. If only one of them could explain it to him, he’d finally be able to let go of his anxieties and be happy. SMH. The dharma of these gurus does not exist anywhere outside of their own heads. Their path is not your path, their feelings not yours. Their burning bush is just a bush to you and everyone else. LOL, when I first went to Jerusalem, I expected to feel holiness….and I felt nothing. I though I was unable to feel what I should. Years later, I DID feel that feeling, the feeling I expected should be associated with holiness. Problem was, I felt it during and after an intense sexual experience. And I thought, “shit, I am really fucked up, because I feel holiness from sex and not from anything holy.” LOL. I WAS fucked up…but only because I had made the assumption that something “holy” would feel the way only a sexual experience would. Had listened to too many gurus.

        19. Emily, to

          Big Jer,
          “You can’t get everything in one package, Em. Marriage can’t be all things to all people. My wife is an amazing partner, an amazing person, a person who is exactly what I always wanted in a wife. But she doesn’t like intellectual conversations about abstract topics.”
          I think people get some of what they want — they get a sexual and emotional bond but maybe not an intellectual one with a partner. Or some other combination of the three. I have a roommate now. It’s not like having a spouse but it is different for me in that I now have to negotiate my daily space/living with someone. She is a very sweet and caring person, but sometimes I want to blow my brains out with the topics of conversation — cooking, gardening, home decor, special deals at the grocery store. I’m not saying you are doing this with your wife (I don’t know what you talk about), but, for me, I don’t know if I could sign up for a lifetime of this kind of conversation.
          “Part of the reason I come here, the reason I can’t seem to stay away for all that long, is that I have a need for conversation about such topics.”
          Don’t stay away too long. We are in dire need of non-angry men. 🙂
          “My uncle has read umpteen books and listened to umpteen podcasts of gurus trying to explain the dharma. If only one of them could explain it to him, he’d finally be able to let go of his anxieties and be happy.”
          What I meant was that other people always seem to be really occupied with the “stuff” they have going on in their lives. Like maybe they are having more fun than I am. And then I peel back the layers and find they don’t have the ticket to excitement, either. This could be just me. I’m getting tired of the “ladies who lunch” meetups.
          “And I thought, “shit, I am really fucked up, because I feel holiness from sex and not from anything holy.” LOL. I WAS fucked up…but only because I had made the assumption that something “holy” would feel the way only a sexual experience would”
          I’ve written before that Prince is my favorite artist. He had 2 topics — sex and religion, and he tried in vain to merge the two. So, sounds to me like you hit the ideal. 🙂

      4. 13.2.4
        SparklingEmerald

        Hi Marika

        “So Sparkling, Shiny one,
        You’re happily married. Do you do things to enhance the ‘mystery’? Do you do as suggested – pull away a bit? Not respond to a message for no other reason that wanting to make him wait a bit, pretend to be busy when you’re not? I think it’s good to hear about that concept from people in successful, long-term relationships. (I’m not talking about the extreme – Em keeps mentioning responding to texts in 4 seconds and texting every 3 minutes – NO ONE is saying that…)”

        Thanks for asking. Before I get into that, I should mention that in my younger days, although I didn’t play “mystery” games, I was usually in a series of high drama, high excitement, high chemistry situations. Probably due to youthful hormones, inexperience, wanting excitement, and being played by guys who were doing their own version of hard to get. So in my “golden” years, I really appreciate this comfortable level of attraction, a predictable life, an established relationship where I don’t have to guess where I stand, etc. So cultivating “mystery” is not something I desire. In fact, one guru for men yammers on about how women want “mystery” and “challenge” and advises men to play all sorts of games. I guess lately I have’t got the memo that I am supposed to crave mystery and challenge. To me, it’s being evasive and difficult. I prefer relationships that are easy and safe. Might not work for some women, might not work for many women, but it really works for me. In fact, somewhere in this blog some of us (have no idea who) talked about the fact that being free from that over the top chemistry is a relief. I even gave the metaphor of high chemistry being like crack cocaine and this comfortabIe level of chemistry being like fine wine.

        I have never tried to hold back my feelings for my hubby, nor have I ever tried to force our relationship to move faster. He took the lead, I followed, or as Evan calls it, “mirrored”.

        A good mix of space and togetherness has organically developed between us and has ebbed and flowed according to the circumstances at hand. I have never had to chase him down for more togetherness, never had to tell him to back off and give me space. (well OK, in the kitchen when he insists on helping in my teeny-tiny kitchen 🙂

        In fact, in the beginning, I had to consciously make some space for him, and I started holding my weekends for him. I never cancelled plans I made for other people to be with him, but eventually I did start holding open my weekends, or, if he asked to see me, and I had plans, I would include him. I had so much going on in my life when we met that I had to work to fit him in. I had just put down a non-refundable deposit for a 10 day trip to Europe, I was in rehearsal for a stage play, I was a meetup leader and had group events planned. So he had to work his way into my life, but I didn’t deliberately fill up my calendar more to avoid him. He asked to see me on a Sunday when I had a planned event with my meet up group. Since I was leading the event, I couldn’t just bow out. I hesitated, but then I told him of my plans and asked if he would like to join us ? Unfortunately, some of the “play hard to get” and “be mysterious” advice that abounds everywhere was still lodged in my brain somewhere, and I thought for a brief moment that asking him to join was the “wrong” thing to do. But hey, he asked for my time that day , so it was either cancel to be with him (which I won’t do), flat out refuse his request with no explanation other than “I’m busy” (according to The Rules) or invite him to join in. I chose the latter and 4 years later, we’re still together 🙂

        As far as texting and e-mailing. We did that ALOT, even before we met. Since I tend to be forgetful with my phone, I had to consiously remember to keep my cell phone with me. I answered my texts as I became aware of them, and as I was able. He was retired and I worked, so he understood that I had limited availability during my work time. But I never intentionally stared at a text message when I wasn’t busy and decided to wait 24 hours to return his text as a strategy.

        I didn’t mind his daily texts and/or e-mails. On days we couldn’t see each other his text/e-mail communications made me feel still connected to him.

        Funny, the guy I dated briefly prior to that, tried to lead things between us about as swiftly, and I DID feel smothered. But really, all his forward moving didn’t turn me off, it just made me realize that I we weren’t a match. Funny how an “I’m thinking of you” text from someone you’re into feels great, but that same level of attention from someone you aren’t into feels annoying.

        We’ve been together nearly 5 years, and even the moderate chemistry has cooled a bit, but our fondness and affection grows stronger day by day. Our space/togetherness pattern have changed now that I am retired. We have our routines, but we are by no means bored. We have our new experiences together as well.

        As far as mystery goes, we are both getting up in years, and are memories are starting to flake. Often times it’s a “mystery” where we put something or “What was the name of that movie we talked about seeing ? ” That’s enough mystery for me 🙂

        This is all JM2C. YMMV

      5. 13.2.5
        SparklingEmerald

        Hi Nissa -” So having had that experience, along with other long term relationships, I don’t see any difficulty at all with “having to make distance”. Life itself makes all the distance you need – housework to be done, relatives to visit / care for, child or animal care, school, hobbies. Heck, I’m single, and I’m out 3-4 nights a week just doing my stuff – which is EXACTLY what I did when I was married. Of course, if my ex asked me to be available, I would schedule that.”

        BINGO, you hit the nail on the head. I have no need to pull back, deliberately make myself less available or do anything at all to “make distance”. Before I retired, I had to do the opposite, I had to hold space for a new relationship. Now that I am retired, the space/togetherness thing just seems to flow organically.

    3. 13.3
      Nissa

      ScottH,
      Yes, chivalry also applies to women. Both parties give. Both parties receive. Both are selfless and consider the needs of the other.

      My parents and grandparents were raised in the South. Chivalry was always seen as respect, honor, and appreciation. It never meant a woman couldn’t open the door for a man or be helpful. It was always seen as a way to allow a man, to be a MAN, to allow for the fullest expression of his maleness. It gave the man a way to display that manliness in public and in front of ladies he might like to impress. It creates an opportunity for the lady to admire, respect and appreciate. See how that creates benefit for both sides?

      What you are missing here, is that because men and women are equal but different, the giving presents differently. Women tend to be physically weaker, thus the protection and giving up of one’s seat IF IT’S NEEDED. That is VERY different that a woman demanding it because she feels entitled. There’s nuance here. Men tend to be less capable with emotion related needs, therefore the woman provides the mostly intangible yet very real access to the emotional nurturing, acceptance, respect, appreciation that most men deeply desire and which soothes their soul.

      What’s interesting here is that it’s not about what the woman wants. It’s what the MAN wants, that he gets from her and that he values. That individuals get mistaken about courtesy vs entitlement, it is a negative thing – for both genders.

      Perception does matter. In your example above, you never considered that this woman may have thought that you were cute, and hoped that by opening the door for her, you would notice her or the results of the squats she’d been doing for the last month. In general, it’s best to assume in the absence of information, that others (of both genders) have either a reasonable or benign reason for their actions.

      1. 13.3.1
        Marika

        Nissa

        But aren’t you assuming here too? You’re assuming all men (Scott included) want and consider: “real access to the emotional nurturing, acceptance, respect, appreciation that most men deeply desire and which soothes their soul” to be of high importance and an equal (yet different) exchange for the man paying, planning & protecting.

        IME, this is not so for all men. Some men have no interest in being nurtured, and yet want a woman who is fiscally sound to help share the financial burden. Some want a no-nonsense practical type who’ll organise his life. Some want a travel buddy. Some want a sex buddy. Only. I know couples with all sorts of arrangements, that don’t fit this very traditional model of masculinity and femininity that you believe in so strongly.

        If that woman at the gym pushed in and was as rude as Scott makes out, it’s no wonder he interpreted in the way he did. That doesn’t sound like a woman trying to impress a man to me. She does seem entitled. There are entitled women out there, no doubt about it. It’s not helpful to deny his experience or give your own interpretation which doesn’t seem to fit what actually happened. IMO

      2. 13.3.2
        Buck25

        @Nissa,

        On 13.3

        You nailed it, precisely!

        @ Emily,
        ” Those old-fashioned behaviors mean…more polarity. And more polarity means more heat between the sexes!”

        Exactly!

      3. 13.3.3
        Nissa

        But aren’t you assuming here too? You’re assuming all men (Scott included) want and consider: “real access to the emotional nurturing, acceptance, respect, appreciation that most men deeply desire and which soothes their soul” to be of high importance and an equal (yet different) exchange for the man paying, planning & protecting.

        I do assume this, and believe this. If it wasn’t true, why would any guy bother with women for anything? You can hire people for all the other stuff (organizing and sex) or get it with other guys or coworkers (travel, money). Most guys tend to have a LOT less conflict with other guys over that stuff.

        But how many times has Evan answered the question about why guys “date” instead of using prostitutes or going to SugarDaddy.com?(See his posts about Guys Just Want Casual Sex…Or Do They?, How Low Will Some Guys Go For Sex and Men Look For Sex and Find Love – trying not to put words in his mouth, here). Yes, some of that might be wanting to avoid disease. But Evan basically says: “it’s icky, it makes it feel impersonal, like she’s willing to be with just ANY guy / he’s being used as a wallet instead of a person, and guys want the other stuff that comes with dating, like intimacy, connection, things that make them feel good” – AKA, the stuff I said above. I just believe most men aren’t articulating it very well. This explains their willingness – despite the near constant complaining about it – to date, marry, have relationships. The guys that don’t want that – the small percentage of men that don’t – are the ones that don’t marry and do use prostitutes. Because it’s the path of least resistance if that’s all you want.

        I mean, would you really be interested in a man that saw you as being interchangeable with any other person that meets their need in the moment? That would just as happy spending his time with coworkers or other guys or random people who show up on the travel bus or walking along the right street? Why would you waste any of your time on a person like that, of either gender?

        As to ScottH, it’s not so much that I think the woman was trying to impress him. It’s that he didn’t seem to consider any other possible explanation or give her the benefit of the doubt. He took something personally, that most likely had nothing to do with him. As such, it becomes more about him than her.

        1. Jeremy

          What is the goal of a man who marries? Depends on the man. On his personality, his intelligence/ability to think things through, his life-experiences.
          Some men marry because it is expected of them – what people DO. And they DO want to do what’s expected, they do want to fit into their community.

          Some men marry because they want an easy source of sex and emotional intimacy – too much work to continually have to hunt it down, dance for it, earn it.

          Some men marry because they want to have children, they choose a spouse who would be a good mother.

          Some men marry to have a life partner, someone to help them with their goals, whatever those objective goals may be.

          Some men marry to have “real access to the emotional nurturing, acceptance, respect, appreciation that most men deeply desire and which soothes their soul”

          It is one thing to say, “I respect anyone who comes in searching for his/her personal truth. We can honor each other and our own truths, even if our truths don’t agree.” It’s quite another to understand that only one type searches for personal truth at all, while others might search for personal enjoyment, personal acceptance, or personal objective goals – and the concept of “personal truth” might mean nothing to those others.

        2. Marika

          Nissa,

          I don’t know about you, but I don’t appreciate when the guys on here tell me what I *should* want, based on a theory they have or study they read, their general impression of women, or what they want women to want & to value.

          I know you need a man that appreciates your nurturing. Some men value that highly. Some less so. Some not at all. If my father appreciated nurturing as much as my mother likes to nurture (or at all, really), their marriage would be happy. It’s not. Evan has to talk in generalities, not every single thing applies to every single man equally.

          Scott has been pretty clear on here what he wants, what bugs him. But you keep telling him what he SHOULD want, SHOULD appreciate. That’s more about you than him.

        3. Nissa

          Marika,
          I can see why you might think that I’m seeing through the lens of my needs. Although I see myself as one that would benefit my being more nurturing, as I have seen many men gravitate toward that – instead of me, darn it. I’ve seen guys skip over prettier, thinner, younger women and was absolutely mystified by it until I ran across the “feminine vs masculine” kinds of articles.
          .
          I don’t think that ScottH “should” want anything in particular. I’m thinking in terms of Being A Woman by Dr Toni Grant, and ideas from Sherry Argov, Pat Allen and Dave Wygant. Evan says: Men DO value intelligence, but they also want from their girlfriend what they CAN’T get from their business associates. Warmth, affection, nurturing, thoughtfulness.So I’m paying attention to the those words as being the most effective for the greatest number of people.

        4. Marika

          Nissa

          What I’m trying to say is, it doesn’t matter what *any* of those authors say – individual people aren’t medians or modes in research studies – and it doesn’t matter what *your* personal experience is. When a man consistently tells you what he wants, what he doesn’t, what’s important (in this case, sharing the cost and arranging of dating, not expecting/demanding chivalry, women reaching out online)..well, that’s probably what he wants….

        5. ScottH

          Nissa- let’s flip this around and see what happens.
          Imagine on the majority of online first dates that the guy shows up with his dirty laundry. He hands it to you with an obvious expectation that you’re to wash it and return it to him. After all, while men have been at work earning money (traditionally speaking) to pay for your meals, women have been home doing the laundry and men never really got domesticated so we don’t understand why our good white shirts have turned funny colors. So you take the laundry and do it for the guys. After all, that’s what the women’s code of chivalry dictates. Besides, you should just WANT to do it, expecting absolutely nothing in return (of course!!!). Some of the nicer guys offer to split the cost of detergent but you’re afraid that if you accept that you’ll come across as (gasp!!) CHEAP, so you graciously decline. Besides, after you do their laundry, they will ghost you since it’s clear that if they offer the detergent, it means that they aren’t interested. Then, there are the guys who just take the laundry and don’t show any appreciation. They just turn their head when the laundry arrives but those guys have the dreaded Resting Bitch Face, and being so understanding, you just accept it and flit about on your merry way. Life is wonderful, isn’t it? After a while, you realize that you’re not in the relationship you’ve been looking for and you’re out thousands of (insert unit of money where you live). You’re starting to get resentful of doing laundry for hundreds of guys and you find some online dating coach (who’da thunk???) who has a blog and the other men tell you to go someplace where men can’t bring their laundry, like maybe to the local courthouse or recycling center (ya know, just get creative). Sounds like great ideas but the men you’re attracting can’t meet you when those places are open so you rack your brains trying to find a place where men can’t bring their laundry, but it’s really not that easy, yet the men on this weird blog keep insisting to do it. After all, that’s how they met their partner, so easy peasy!!! Then one day you’re walking into the gym and some guy comes running at you with a bag of you-know-what and you’re just so sick of doing laundry at this point that you turn and run in the other direction. What on earth does this say about YOU?
          And what on earth does this rant say about me?!?!
          (i’m glad that is comment won’t get the reply option.)

        6. Jeremy

          LOL Scott, you kept it classy by using the laundry metaphor. I’d have gone with blowjobs. Had the whole scenario counter-argument planned and everything, but unnecessary now.

          Oh, and Marika, it ends…”And we’ll be jolly friends (clap clap) forever more. More. Shut the door.” At least, that’s how it ended in Canada in the late ’70s/early ’80s 🙂

        7. ScottH

          Jeremy- I’ve used the BJ metaphor here before and it just shuts the women down. Laundry seemed more appropriate this time.
          I would have liked to see your counter argument.

        8. Marika

          Scott

          Can you please not say ‘women’? We’re not all the same. I get exactly what you mean (even without the laundry analogy). I cringe when Nissa writes stuff like this…because it does give the impression that women don’t get it. When some of us do.

        9. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Scott – You said in part “Imagine on the majority of online first dates that the guy shows up with his dirty laundry. He hands it to you with an obvious expectation that you’re to wash it and return it to him. After all, while men have been at work earning money (traditionally speaking) to pay for your meals, women have been home doing the laundry and men never really got domesticated so we don’t understand why our good white shirts have turned funny colors. So you take the laundry and do it for the guys. After all, that’s what the women’s code of chivalry dictates.”

          So glad this isn’t the case. Otherwise we would have commenters whining about how some girls will do laundry for a guy they just met at the laundromat, while making other guys “wait” until they do the laundry. Hypothetically, some commenter name “Yet Another Dude” would go on about double standards and laundry, and if a girl ever let some guy she picked up in a laundromat put his clothes in her washing machine for a no strings attached spin, while making another guy wait for a formal date before she does his laundry. Furthermore YAD would ask why a guy would even buy the washing machine, when he could get his laundry done for free by the various laundry bimbos willing to degrade themselves in a laundry mat for a “dirty boy” in a laundry mat.

          Then perhaps a hypothetical advice columnist, oh, let’s call him Devon Mike Kratz would say a woman should have some exclusive laundering agreement before going all the way with a full wash cycle, drying, and culminating in fluffing and folding. In the meantime, she could slowly lead him around the laundry room. She could could playfully dunk her napkin in her water glass on a first date and dab some dirt off his shirt, and perhaps next date she could do a small load of laundry by hand. When she is ready to take it all the way from sorting the laundry, washing , drying, to fluffing and folding, she should confirm that no other woman is bleaching his whites or adding fabric softner to his load.

          Of course all the Red Pillers would accuse Devon Mike of white washing the whole laundry operation, and women who don’t fluff and fold right away are just little laundry sluts manipulating men to get what they want.

          Then someone else would say “If she’s not willing to do my laundry, she should at least iron my shirt” and another female poster would say that she considers ironing to be far more intimate than washing and drying.

          Another poster, by the pseudo name of “Chants” would warn the men to stay away from women in laudromats, because they obviously don’t own a washing machine and are just doing your laundry to trick you into provisioning them with a brand new washer and dryer for their home, which they will promptly get custody of in the divorce. Someone else named “Jeremiah” would talk about how women’s laundry meta-goals change over time, and a few years into marriage, are no longer willing to fluff fold, but instead, do the “dry and dump”,dumping the dry laundry into a basket and just leaving it piled up there.

          Other guys would justify any and all laundry double standards as a biological imperative for men to spread their suds.

          Not to mention the whole laundry porn industry that would exist if this laundry thing was really a thing. There would be sub-specialties of porn involving fabric softner and bleach, and for the really kinky ones, hanging clothes out on the clothes line.

          “ShinyGreenStone” would insist that dates could just be planned so little or no laundering would need to be done in the beginning, and perhaps the woman could do the laundry once or twice until a relationship is established, and at that point they could take turns doing the laundry, or one could wash and one could dry, and they could fold the sheets together as a team.

          *All commenters in the above hypothetical scenario are purely fictional and any resemblance to real life commenters is one big coincidence 🙂

          **No white shirts were harmed in the telling of this hypothetical situation.

        10. ScottH

          @SE-
          Don’t forget about the hypothetical “Mrs Hoppy” from down under. She likes doing her husband’s laundry since he has a really big machine, not like her first who had a micro stackable washer/dryer. She couldn’t even tell if she was doing his laundry.

          or “No-Way” the mountain professor where they don’t even have modern laundry machines. All the men there insist that she use washboards from the 1800’s in the streams. Can you imagine doing that in the winter? She should move to a more urban location. Good thing she’s hypothetical… makes me shiver.

          Then there’s “Chuck” from the American south. He can open the washing machine lid with more grace than Vanna White spinning letters. And I bet he stands between the machine and the road the whole time the wash is going, not to mention holding the laundry basket at just the right height for her. The men there are taught at a young age how to help the women with their laundry.

          And I bet “Jeremiah’s” wife really appreciates doing his laundry after seeing the loads that her friends have to do. I heard that she once brought him over to her friend’s house just so he could see the other women’s loads. How about that, eh? And you know how hard it is to get real maple syrup stains out (pronounced ooouuut”). That’s a real problem in the great north, not to mention the maple syrup mafioso who are laundering their money. Hand me a Molson!

          (I haven’t laughed so hard in I can’t remember when after reading your response.)

        11. Mrs Happy

          SparklingEmerald and ScottH, we all applaud you. xxx

    4. 13.4
      Mike

      @Scott H: Maybe this woman at the gym was wishing you’d chat her up? Or maybe she just wanted to check out your butt.

      Seriously, I would have taken it as an invitation to approach.

      1. 13.4.1
        ScottH

        Oh, and a belated happy 4th of July to you!

    5. 13.5
      Mike

      @ScottH , mate, I will say a bit more.

      If you are this obsessed with “fairness” then in all likelihood you will not get anywhere–and not just in dating but in life in general. What field are you in? If you have clients then surely you must know that some clients are better than others–some are a pleasure to work with and some seem to be more trouble than they are worth. If you hire people, then surely you are aware that some turn out to be great finds who make you look like a genius, and others turn out to be not worth the time and money you spent training them.

      Now, I think we as men have every right to be wary of a woman who wants a husband to support her. Or a woman who expects to be wined and dined on the first date. So don’t do these things and leave these women be. But, I don’t think we are talking about quite that; instead, we are talking about what, holding a door for someone? Much smaller, more trivial stuff.

      By the way, I will say this again: That woman at the gym who got in your lane so you’d open the door for her…I actually think she was checking you out mate.

      1. 13.5.1
        ScottH

        Mike, mate, I usually notice indicators of interest like a smile or eye contact and in this case, there were absolutely no indicators. She was a little hotey in tight yoga pants but I’m sure beyond a doubt that there was no interest other than getting some guy to submit to her, and that goes with the neighborhood I was in.
        And as far as holding the door, as I stated somewhere else on this page, I do that all the time for women and men alike, just out of courtesy. I think I am being misinterpreted here. I do courteous things for people all the time and expect nothing in return. Hell, I fix my ex-wife’s car, my neighbor’s car, friends home repairs, etc…. I have volunteered numerous times expecting nothing in return. And as far as Emily’s situation with the cart, that’s not chivalry, that just plain courtesy. But too many times I have experienced some (not all!!!) women from the dating sites righteously conscripting chivalry to soak a guy, and I’ve heard stories from others too. Yes, I have implemented measures to stop that- no more dinner dates for at least the 3rd date and even those at a modest place, if I get a whiff of entitlement from their profile i’m gone, etc… Honestly, I’m sick of talking about this anymour.
        Cheers mate!

        1. Emily, to

          Scott H,
          “I usually notice indicators of interest like a smile or eye contact and in this case, there were absolutely no indicators.”
          Yes, those are the signs. In previous posts, many of the male posters said female interest signals were too vague but it looks like you know what to look for. Also, if she had tried to engage you in conversation and was flirtatious, made a comment about your appearance or touched you. I tried to chat a guy up the other day and while he was friendly, he wasn’t “friendly.” No sexual vibe, no teasing, no slight innuendo, no dragging out of the conversation. It was like talking to my elderly neighbor.

        2. Mike

          Hey ScottH,

          You know, if you really think that was her intention, you could always just step aside from the door and see how she reacts! And if that really was her intention and they really dislike the opposite gender then you don’t need that in your life.

          That said, you are aware that many women, many people in fact, have what we call in The States as RBF–Resting Bitch Face. Meaning that we look a lot more closed off socially than we really are. Many of us are actually pretty shy. If someone is really good-looking though e.g., that young woman in her yoga tights and flip-flops, we tend to interpret that shyness for snobbery.

          That said, yes, I agree with you that it is smart to keep dating inexpensive as possible early on.

          Thank you for the 4th of July well-wishes mate!

        3. Marika

          The gym woman could well be rude and entitled. Such people exist. I’m not sure we need to try to re-interpret Scott’s experience here. It seems to me like questioning that took up a lot of airtime!

          Also no issue at with cheap early dates and then a more even exchange as things progress. If a woman has a problem with that, it’s a red flag.

          The only thing I would say is that dating with a general negativity towards the opposite sex is counterproductive. We pick up on it. When your general focus is negative and you are surprised when a woman is kind and decent on dates…you’re the one constant in that. Because women aren’t mostly rude and horrible with some rare exceptions. And if you think that way, this is not the place for such an attitude.

        4. Clare

          Marika,

          “When your general focus is negative and you are surprised when a woman is kind and decent on dates…you’re the one constant in that. Because women aren’t mostly rude and horrible with some rare exceptions. And if you think that way, this is not the place for such an attitude.”

          Agree with you 100%. I have found, pretty much without exception, that with people who have negative preconceived notions about how an entire subset of people are or behave, their attitude is the problem in most cases. It becomes like a self-fulfilling prophecy where they not only see the worst in this group of people, but they also elicit negative responses from them because of their views. A different person, with a more positive outlook, will often have a completely different experience.

          My mother is an example. She has a PhD (A relative rarity in South Africa), and she has a preconceived belief that she intimidates people because of this. Whenever anyone questions her or doesn’t seem to warm to her, she immediately jumps to the assumption that they are overawed or intimidated by her education. The actual truth of the matter is that my mom is not an easygoing person, she is highly strung and a bit tense. That is most often what people are responding to. It never occurs to her to look at her own behaviour in the interaction and ask whether she maybe could have elicited a different response from the other person. She always just makes assumptions about the other person which she then confirms for herself.

          This is the problem with people who don’t tend to look at themselves when they do not have success but are always outward-focused.

  14. 14
    Jeremy

    The worst advice is often given with the best of intentions. Given by people who don’t understand that the motivations of others aren’t the same as their own. The discussion about chivalry is an excellent example of this.

    While it is definitely an over-simplification, it sometimes helps to ascribe categories to human motivations (as I’ve done in the past) – the Guardian, the Idealist, the Explorer, the Rational. Not because humans are bounded by these categories, but because they help us think about WHY we do what we do.

    The Guardian is a person who seeks security through community. Who internalizes a set of values so as to fit in to a group, to feel secure, to feel of value. Such a person does not introspect about WHY he does what he does, he simply does it, believing that it makes him happy. And it DOES make him happy, at least in retrospect, no matter how miserable it makes him in the moment. Such a person might adopt a code of chivalry to fit into a group where chivalry is the expected behavior. Because acceptance is his goal.

    The Idealist is a person whose goal is to chase feelings – specifically meaning and authenticity. When their actions result in those feelings, Idealists feel of value, feel high self-worth. When their actions do not result in those feelings, they often feel listless, even depressed. And while they often tell themselves that they seek no goal other than doing what is “right,” they very much miss the fact that they do indeed seek a goal, the same as any other type. They do not act altruistically, they seek feelings – but are unaware that they seek anything because their goal is abstract rather than concrete. They fail to understand that we ALL give something to get something. The only difference between us is what we hope to get. Believing otherwise is the worst sort of bullshit, so very harmful and so very common.

    Unlike the above 2 types, the Explorer and the Rational do consciously understand their goals. And when deciding whether to adopt a behavior, they ask themselves the question, “Will this get me the result I want.” If the answer is yes, they will adopt the behavior. If not, then not.

    Why is any of this relevant to the discussion of chivalry? Because before advising a man to adopt a code of chivalry, one must first ask that man what his GOAL is. But that’s not often what well-meaning advisers do. Instead, they ask themselves what their OWN goal is. The Guardian says, “Be chivalrous…because that’s the way good people behave. Same reason we share, say please, say thank-you….because that’s what people DO. You DO want to be accepted into the community, don’t you?”

    The Idealist says, “Be chivalrous – not to get anything in return, but because it’s just the right thing to do. And doing the right thing SHOULD make you feel authentic, give you identity and meaning, and SHOULD help you find a partner who values those things.”

    And the young rational looks at his 2 advisers, shakes his head, and replies, “Fitting into the community is not my goal, and authenticity doesn’t MEAN anything to me. My goal is to find a girlfriend to have sex with, and maybe also a relationship. With this goal in mind, I will ask the question of the Rational, not the questions of the other types: DOES. THIS. WORK?” “Yes,” reply the Guardian and Idealist advisers, remembering the times in their lives when they found chivalry attractive….and not remembering the times they didn’t. Simultaneously telling men that chivalry is an attractant while also telling them that they can’t “nice” their way into attraction.

    “No,” replies the older Rational wearily, sadly, coming out of his blog-retirement to answer. “It does not. Be aware, young man, that women perceive certain qualities/behaviors to be arousing and others to be comforting. Women seek arousal for short-term sexual partners, and a combination of arousal and comfort for relationships. But in the absence of arousal, comfort will NEVER result in attraction. It will result in feelings of friendship at best, and pity or contempt at worst. See the cultural meme of the “nice guy” for more on this – specifically, for the concept of chivalry, Amy Schumer’s “Milady” sketch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxtwyK4gCFA
    What makes the men in the sketch ridiculous is not that they are giving to get, it’s that the women to whom they are giving don’t want to reciprocate…’cause they don’t find those men attractive.
    Chivalry is a comfort behavior, not an arousal one. And the same women who advise you to be chivalrous are the same ones who tell you not to expect anything in return. What is their motivation? What is yours?

    1. 14.1
      ScottH

      “And the same women who advise you to be chivalrous are the same ones who tell you not to expect anything in return.”
      And coincidentally, the very next blog in Evan’s series, “I’m Supporting My Boyfriend and Feel Like His Mother!” is about a guy who is a taker and many of the comments rail against this guy for taking and not giving. Some of the women in this discussion are telling me/guys to give without expecting anything in return. Hypocrisy here? Does anyone understand that men have needs too?

      And to clarify some of the comments above, I am not expecting equality in my interactions with women. I am expecting fairness and balance. If women expect a man to display a code of chivalry (whatever that is), then there should be a corresponding code of chivalry for women to provide some checks and balances. I, personally, have gotten to the point where I’m so tired of giving and getting so little in return. Does that make me less of a man? I think not and if you disagree, well, I really couldn’t care.

      Reading the article on wikipedia about chivalry, it seems that it started out as a code to advise the powerful knights not to abuse their power, to be responsible with their power. Much later, it was romanticized in a novel and women latched on to that and it took on a life of its own. That’s Scotts high level take of the situation.

      And as far as that woman at the gym thinking that I was cute? Very plausible but the rest of the suggestion about seeing the results of her legwork seems a bit ridiculous and unrealistic. Besides, she’s probably a couple decades younger and we all know that younger women don’t normally go for older guys.

      1. 14.1.1
        Clare

        ScottH,

        “Some of the women in this discussion are telling me/guys to give without expecting anything in return. Hypocrisy here? Does anyone understand that men have needs too?

        And to clarify some of the comments above, I am not expecting equality in my interactions with women. I am expecting fairness and balance. If women expect a man to display a code of chivalry (whatever that is), then there should be a corresponding code of chivalry for women to provide some checks and balances.”

        Did you even read what I, Emily and Sparkling Emerald wrote about the many ways women give and show chivalry as well? Are you really so bitter and short-sighted as to believe that women are sitting on their thrones all day, just taking from society? I could list the ways women give back, but I would be here all day and I don’t want to hijack Evan’s blog for this.

        I understand you are angry because you believe some woman/women screwed you over, but don’t take it out on all of womenkind, for heaven’s sake. Let’s keep some effing perspective: a few rude women does not = the 3.5 billion other women on the planet.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Clare at 14.1.1 said “Did you even read what I, Emily and Sparkling Emerald wrote about the many ways women give and show chivalry as well? ”

          Hi Clare – Thanks for the mention. I believe in good manners from everyone to everyone. I know the word “chivalry” is frought with conflict and most of us cannot even agree on what it means. But yes, I try (but do not always succeed) to show basic courtesy to everyone, not just a potential romantic partner. The whole holding doors and giving up seats thing is something I appreciate but don’t expect, and is something I give based on who needs it more. I suspect (and this is my unscientific theory) that the giving a woman a seat on the bus (as long as her name isn’t Rosa Parks 🙁 ) is because women typically wore heels, so I would think a woman in heels would need a seat more than someone in a pair of sneakers.

          Anyway, I have been offered a seat by young college aged boys, and I am sure to thank them graciously to encourage their good manners. However, they usually say “Would you like a seat, M’AM” so at this point I think I am being offered a seat due to my AGE and not my gender. 😀

          Yes, I have offered my thoughts on how women can reciprocate and show appreciation towards men, in the courtship phase, in life in general, etc. but there are still those who who’s confirmation bias focuses on a few rude women and all women on the planet suddenly are entitled.

      2. 14.1.2
        SparklingEmerald

        Hi Scott ”

        For some balance you could read this blog entry

        https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/i-make-40k-and-my-girlfriend-never-offers-to-pay-for-anything

        and comments 2,3,,3.1,3.1.1,5.1,6,7 and so on. Yes, there will be comments from women who feel entitled to male support regardless of their own income, but there are comments from women defending the man with the gold digger girlfriend. Women like us exist, we really do. Find one of those women, and discard the gold diggers ASAP.

        1. ScottH

          Hi SE- yes, I am familiar with that posting of Evans and of the one about who should pay for the first date. I love Evan’s Sugar Mama story and the one about the woman he dated who made much much more and still expected him to pay for her.

          Yes, I know there are women like you out there. I’ve met a couple of them along the way, one just a few weeks ago and I loved how easy she made the whole encounter. We both contributed to the date, no mind reading involved, no anxiety about whether I did enough of the chivalrous things and she was just easy to be with. I can think of many more dates that contrasted with that one, unfortunately, but I do know there are my type of women out there, somewhere. It’s just a LOT of work.

          I’ve found the comments in the article you mentioned to be very interesting and very polarized and I would say that the proportion of entitlement in those comments is similar to what I’ve experienced in the field. I especially love those Match profiles where the woman explicitly states that she’s looking for a chivalrous man. I block those immediately.

  15. 15
    Jeremy

    Sorry to add to an already long post, but to clarify re: chivalry:

    – Will chivalry help me get sex from a woman who isn’t otherwise aroused by me? – NO.

    – Will chivalry help me get sex from a woman who might feel arousal for me if she could only unlock her sexual brakes with more comfort? – Maybe

    – Will chivalry help me get a woman who doesn’t want a relationship with me to change her mind? – NO

    – Will chivalry help my partner, who is already aroused by me and considering a relationship with me, want one more and feel more comfortable and consider me a better partner? – YES.

    – Will chivalry help my partner be more likely to want to remain with me and less likely to leave/divorce me? – Maybe

    ***- Will being chivalrous toward my partner encourage her to want to better meet MY relationship wants because I’ve tried to meet hers? – Nope. Not unless she was already so inclined.

    Based on this calculus, decide a course of action.

    1. 15.1
      Mrs Happy

      Until this moment I’ve been quite bored, being able to accurately predict others’ behaviour all the time. Knock me over with a feather, CB.

      1. 15.1.1
        Jeremy

        The bulwark of my “shoulds” is thick and tall… and fragile – like a sandcastle on a beach. And as the waves of my “wants” crash against its walls, the question is not whether it will fail, but when.

        My Rational side looks at the inevitability of that failure and asks whether I should perhaps alter my goals. But my Idealist side, ever at war with its dark twin, tells me that the effort is more important than the outcome. That what is important is not whether my sandcastle survives the waves, but rather that I build another the next day. Perhaps not the same shape, perhaps not the same place, but keep trying. Because to stop trying is to die a little. At least, it is for a goofy semi-Idealist like me.

        1. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          ” Because to stop trying is to die a little. At least, it is for a goofy semi-Idealist like me.”
          The idealist part of you doesn’t come across in your posts. At all. Have you long buried it? 🙂 I’ve tried to do the opposite: Bury the idealist and coax out that sliver of rational. But when I do, I tell you, Big Jer, life gets very dull. 🙂

        2. Jeremy

          I buried it since I realized, in my late teens, that it made me unable to achieve any objectively good outcomes for myself. That if I followed it in its unbridled sense, I’d end up as unhappy and dysfunctional as my parents and Idealist relatives. Rationality has given me everything I have…. Everything except meaning…. Meaning, which I need in a ratio of about 1:4 relative to achievement and engagement in order to be happy – without which I can not be happy. So I bring out my idealist side when meaning is what I need…. and keep it on a short leash.

          Problem with it is, like any dyad connected by a leash, that it is often unclear who is walking whom.

        3. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          ” That if I followed it in its unbridled sense, I’d end up as unhappy and dysfunctional as my parents and Idealist relatives. Rationality has given me everything I have…. ”
          Ah, that’s right. Your parents were idealists. Mine were rationals who seemed to me, as a I was growing up, to have squeezed the joy out of life. They certainly weren’t any fun to spend time with. There’s something about a rational that kind of makes me want to poke the bear and start saying things to freak them out. 🙂

        4. Jeremy

          Lol. That’s because, being who you are, you need fun at a ratio of about 4:1 relative to achievement and engagement. Or better to say, fun that is meaningful to you at that ratio, not just any fun. Hard to achieve, easy to disappoint.

        5. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “need fun at a ratio of about 4:1 relative to achievement and engagement. Or better to say, fun that is meaningful to you at that ratio, not just any fun.”
          I mean, I can certainly have a pleasant time at something like a book club, but I wouldn’t describe the experience as “fun.” I know that Mariks is dancing on tables with her friends … but idk … middle age … no one warns you about the sheer “appropriateness” of it.

        6. Mrs Happy

          Hmm, I estimated 3-6 months in my more hopeful moments, which were few and far between, and interspersed with exasperation at just how wrong you were being… while the bleaker moments said, forever.
          Anyway,

          Life isn’t meant to be this much of a battle, what with sandcastle building and crashing waves of destruction. You have all of your needs and most of your wants met, and you live a very comfortable and interesting existence. You have your good outcomes; now you can enjoy them. Cave Boy Canada Boy, you are overthinking what should be very simple questions.

          “effort is more important than the outcome” – complete tosh; statement of privilege. Stop building ambivalent fragile sandcastles, and just enjoy the beach.

    2. 15.2
      Marika

      Well it’s Friday Dad-joke day (down under), so this seems appropriate:

      How does Moses make coffee?…..

      Hebrews it.

      Good to have you back this fine Sabbath, oh wise one 🙂

      1. 15.2.1
        Jeremy

        Man at a funeral: “May I say a word?”
        Widow: “Of course”
        Man: “Discount.”
        Widow: “That means a great deal.”

        1. Marika

          That’s so dreadful, it’s good!!

        2. ScottH

          It took me a little while to get it but it is funny as hell.

  16. 16
    Jeremy

    Clare-bear (how come I’m the only one who doesn’t qualify for a nickname?), I agree with you about people getting into trouble because they mistake what “should” work for what does. A story –

    My wife has a friend named Vivian whom I don’t like. Vivian is….how to explain? Imagine a group of women who spend their time talking about nothing but people, places and things. What their kids are doing, what they are wearing, where’s the best place to buy those cute shoes at the best prices. Imagine all those women as worker bees, droning around the hive….and when they need advice on how to be the most quintessential bee, they consult the queen They consult Vivian.

    Vivian knows the best place to order kids’ shoes from the States and how to ship them to a PO Box in Buffalo so as to avoid duty charges – how to drive 2 hours each way to pick them up to save a hundred bucks. Vivian knows how to best massage kale to unlock the most juicy vitamin goodness and to crisp it in the oven to make snacks the kids should love (but never seem to eat). Vivian will sniff at the veggies in your salad and ask whether they’re from the local grocery store, ’cause, don’t you know? The veggies in that store are COVERED in pesticides and you should only shop at the Ambrosia health food store and use their special veggie decontaminant spray. Vivian is the Uber-Guardian among the Guardians – if the other women have occasional bouts of “noun vomiting” (a spouting of people, places, and things), Vivian has persistent explosive noun diarrhea. And it’s freaking contagious.

    Every time my wife meets with Vivian, I discover that we’ve been doing something else wrong and need to change something. Something we’re eating, somewhere we’re buying, something we’re wearing, something we’re doing. I’ve made it very clear to my wife that I’d prefer that she not socialize with Vivian, as the heightened neuroticism my wife contracts after every such meeting pisses me off. But she likes (and hates) Vivian. She simultaneously realizes that Vivian is nuts, and secretly wants to be like Vivian.

    Anyhoo, a few weeks ago my wife informed me that she invited Vivian and family over for Saturday lunch. “I know you don’t like her,” my wife said, “but I like her, and just this once I’d like to have them over.” So have them over we did….and I tried my best to keep my snarky comments to myself. That night, as we lay together in the dark, my wife whispered to me, “Do you know why I REALLY had Vivian over for lunch today?” I shook my head, so she continued, “So that you would see how good you have it with me. So you could see how some people are, and be grateful for what you have.” I did a bit of a double-take, simultaneously touched and incredulous. “But I DO know how good I have it, I replied.” “I don’t always perceive that,” she said.

    What works, and what do we think SHOULD work? What is intuitive, what is learned, what is flat out wrong? Will depend on each of us, I think.

    1. 16.1
      Marika

      I think your Vivian-dislike is your Idealist side, Jer Jer. Because reading about that woman with her long list of ‘how things should be’ and she is apparently judge and jury on them all is making me dry retch at my desk. I would do the opposite of everything she said (even if I agreed with it) just to challenge her. No, strike that, I wouldn’t have her in my life!

      I’ve thought about doing things like your wife did (in a broad sense) when I was feeling unvalued. But, I gotta say, J-meister (there’s two nicknames for ya!) I’m not sure in this case it’s you. Unless everything you write on here is a lie or completely over-stated, I think you do make her feel valued, as much as you possibly could. Did she elaborate on what more you could possibly do?

    2. 16.2
      Jeremy

      It’s about words, Marika, her love language. I’m not good with words. What good is it to give a person a mountain of pesos if one isn’t in Mexico?

      Even that sentence wouldn’t mean anything to her. I am about as abstract as they come, and she as concrete. My strengths are exactly her weaknesses, and vice versa. Together we make a formidable team…. But I have to remember that we communicate so very differently.

  17. 17
    Jeremy

    This has become a long thread, so apologies to Evan for all of my long posts…but I had one more thought to share regarding the discussion with Nissa and Marika above.

    A while back, I was having a conversation with Mrs Happy about some difficulties she’d been having. I made the analogy of taking care of a spouse much like one takes care of a garden – it requires watering, care, and occasional feeding of bullshit. And in (what I thought was) a moment of insight, commenter S. wrote that perhaps that’s why she isn’t in a marriage right now – because she’s “not about the bullshit.” And I thought to myself at the time – “you’ve seen a tree, or maybe even a bunch of trees, but not yet seen the forest.” Because it’s not that I’m “about bullshit,” it’s that I’m NOT “about” what I’M about. I’m about the marriage. This is so crucial of a point to understand…and hardest for Idealist-types.

    “In light of my goals, DOES IT WORK?” That is the question to ask. Is my goal to be who I am, my authentic self, at the expense of all else? To need what I need and only give what I feel I want to give, and walk when my feelings dictate I should? Am I ABOUT what I’m about….myself? If so, I’ll have a hell of a time with marriage. And I’ll blame my partner, blame myself for not finding the right partner, blame the world for not living up to my ideals, blame the concept of marriage for its inherent flaws as I see them….blame everything except my ideals. Because I refuse to ask whether those ideals WORK. I only ask whether they feel right, and then search for confirmation bias.

    If I’m not about any particular ideology but rather about a praxeology, about what WORKS, then I don’t ask myself whether I’m about bullshit, I ask myself what do I need right now to achieve my goals. My goal of a happy relationship that WORKS for me and for my partner. What works…not what I believe “should” work. What has never worked in the past, but should work if I find the right glass slipper for my foot.

    1. 17.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      This is great.

    2. 17.2
      Clare

      Jer Jer (there, I used your nickname!),

      I’ve just seen this comment now, and it’s so interesting because I had a friend of mine give me almost this exact speech today.

      He used different words, but the gist was almost exactly what you are saying.

      It was eye-opening for me because it forced me to think of all the ways in which I am living my life according to my own expectations and romantic ideals, rather than according to the way the world really is.

      I think this is difficult for most people (myself included) because the real world falls so far short of our fantasies. So far short of the stories we’ve been fed in romantic comedies and fairytales and countless truisms about how it “should” be. We buy into it, and are bitterly disappointed by the reality of what life is really like.

      The successful ones are the ones who adapt to how the world and people really are and remain optimistic about and committed to their goals.

      When my friend spoke to me about these things today, I realised maybe for the first time how often I am disappointed by life when it doesn’t “fit” the idea I have in my head, rather than adapting to the reality and learning and developing a new way of being that works better. Needless to say, I did not enjoy this lesson (I’ve always thought of myself as very evolved), but it was a real wake-up call.

      I suddenly saw around me how often people throw in the towel in search of something new – in a relationship for example – because they believe the person isn’t just the “right fit,” rather than asking themselves if they should instead be adapting to what works, and in so doing, moving closer to the goal they say they want (a happy relationship). People are so willing to look at the situation as not being the right fit rather than put the focus on where it should be – themselves.

      1. 17.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I love this, Clare.

      2. 17.2.2
        Jeremy

        Welcome to the dark side, young Rational 😉 And if you haven’t already read it, pick up a copy of Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert. I recommend it a lot, but most of the people I recommend it to aren’t ready for its message. Sounds like you are.

    3. 17.3
      Marika

      Jeronimo!

      I think you make a good point…and I agree. Except with the idealist bit. Not all idealists are the same. It depends what we/they idealise and value and whether it’s all outward focused. Your parents clearly idealised their own path to the exclusion of all else, and didn’t internalise anything about them, expecting the world to bend to their ideals. That’s terrible and I’m sorry. We’re not all like that, though.

      I’ve experienced more of what you’ve written above with the extreme explorer types. Hiccup on the road? Something doesn’t fit? Just keep explorin’…

      1. 17.3.1
        Jeremy

        True, true. Well, to end the week, and in the spirit of our discussion about cards and texts:

        As I handed my dad his 50th birthday card, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Y’know, one would have been enough.”
        __________________________________________________________
        No? Ok, how about this:

        My wife sent me a text that said “Your great”
        So I texted back, “No, you’re great”
        She’s been walking around all happy and smiling…
        Should I tell her I was just correcting her grammar, or leave it?

        1. Marika

          Hehe. Terrible as per usual, my Rational Sir 😉

          I think you even snuck it in by my Friday (or at least before I woke up this morning)!

          So in the spirit of that, here’s the worst pun ever:

          “The rotation of earth really makes my day”

  18. 18
    Marika

    Clare

    Did you end up finding your remote? I hope so!

    Thanks for your concern. Falling over is mostly funny. If people sort of smiled / laughed, not at me, but the situation,.instead of being so *earnest*, that would help. But of course at the time it looks far worse than it is and I’m in shock not laughing. So I get it. That lady in the bathroom was FULL ON. We should write a book: The Importance of Not Being Earnest 😉

    I’m glad you wrote this:
    ” I find it to be a very extroverted world. Introverts have to consciously carve out a place for themselves in it”

    That’s really what I meant. You can usually find time/ space alone. Sure, some people bitch and moan..but you still do it, right? But if someone desperately needs to connect to get energy in a world where that’s lacking or is scoffed for doing so/wanting that, you can’t.

    1. 18.1
      Clare

      Big M,

      It was actually a very funny story. My remote (a tiny thing) was nowhere to be found for the entire night, even though everyone in the club knew we were looking for it. We eventually opted for staying until the club closed and the lights came on so we could have a proper look (3 am). After said proper look which turned up nothing, we were about to give up, when the manager made a chance comment to a passing member of staff, who nonchalantly mentioned that yes, someone had handed it in. Never been so relieved in my life.

      The woman in the bathroom was extremely full on. Like, CHILL, and for the love of God, back up, I’m a total stranger. I’ll definitely co-author that book with you… people who are too earnest give me an uncontrollable urge to burst out laughing and buy them a cocktail.

      “But if someone desperately needs to connect to get energy in a world where that’s lacking or is scoffed for doing so/wanting that, you can’t.”

      I get you – I do. I actually do experience this, but it’s in a different way. Although I get all the interaction with people that I could possibly want (I’m lucky enough to have a fair sized inner circle of people who all like to see me regularly), the quality of that connection is often lacking, and I imagine that is close to what an extrovert feels when they cannot connect at all. Sometimes you can be surrounded by people and still feel alone. Sometimes you yearn for someone who truly gets you and is all *yours*.

      In this sense, I do agree with you.

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