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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
I launched Love U in June and it’s been an incredible success. 300 women are half-way through my six-month video curriculum, which walks you through everything you need to know to create  lasting love: Confidence, Meeting Men, Dating, Understanding Men, Relationships and Commitment. The women who are currently in Love U also get access to weekly coaching calls and a private online community where I offer dating advice each day. The Community is a lovely, tight-knit place, and the women there are wonderfully transparent and vulnerable, which is about all I could  ask from coaching clients.

But, like any relationship – especially one conducted virtually – there was a growing disconnect between me and one of my Love U students, which manifested itself in a long, respectful tirade posted a few weeks ago. I’ve seen criticism of my views from anonymous strangers before, but I’d never before had a client who expressed such great displeasure with her perception of my coaching philosophies.

With her permission, I’ve decided to share the transcript of our conversation, since I feel that it is relevant to anyone who regularly reads this space with the belief that I give men a free pass and try to “change” women. Maybe – just maybe – you’ll be able to see that pretty much all of my advice is universal and is only targeted to women because women are my paying customers. If men were my paying customers, they would get largely the same exact feedback. Anyway… please meet my friend, Olivia.

Evan, looking for guidance here. I feel like I’ve learned some good and helpful stuff in Love U:   moving on, not hanging around if a guy isn’t stepping up, not putting up with jerks, understanding that the guy who ditches me in fact, by definition, isn’t my guy at all, no matter what sort of moony thoughts I may have.

But I also feel like I’ve learned a lot of stuff that just feels almost insurmountable taken in total, and also…a huge amount of effort that will yield…what, I’m not sure.

What I’m saying and what you’re hearing are two very different things.

To wit (and hear this not as angry, but just incredibly overwhelmed):

  • I must be attractive, and this is a biologically driven need for men and something I can’t question.   I don’t know, a lot of people say that racism is evolutionary and biological, and aggression and violence are evolutionary and biological but no one says that we should just accept those things or that people shouldn’t be nudged to think a little differently…?
  • I’m supposed to not be insecure even though my husband will spend the rest of our married life checking out other women.
  • I’m supposed to be confident even though with each passing year I will have less of what he biologically must have to satisfy his drives.
  • I have to talk to men in a certain way or they won’t find me appealing.
  • I should praise them a lot, even if its stuff that doesn’t seem particularly praiseworthy.
  • I need to flirt even if that is unnatural for me.
  • I should know how to traverse the sexual tightrope between frustrating them inadvertently or giving them too much too soon inadvertently.
  • I have to control the pace of the relationship because they can’t do that.
  • I have to understand that whatever they say to me right now, in the moment, may change tomorrow, and that that is just how it is, and it shouldn’t hurt my feelings.
  • I should be empathic to their challenges, even if they aren’t empathic to mine.
  • I should change my physical parameters even though they’re unlikely to change theirs—because their parameters are evolutionary/biological in nature.
  • And I’ll need to keep this up for my married life if I want to remain married.

I’m not sure I can actually do all these things.

It looks exhausting, and no fun.   What is the upside, besides getting laid, since I earn my own living?   Is the man who requires all this care and feeding just to date me a man who can be emotionally supportive? If I have to do all these things to “catch” a man, will I really end up with someone I can be myself with?   Can I manage this without becoming someone I’m not, and without becoming resentful about the amount of effort required?   Its no one’s problem but my own and I know that Evan would say I’m free to give up if I want. I am actually a naturally nice, empathic, kind and supportive person, but it feels like I’m supposed to become the perfect reembodiment of Marabel Morgan, and that I’ll end up with a 3rd grader who wants sex all the time — to use an extreme representation of things that have been said here about men, not of things I actually had thought about men.

-Olivia

My response:

I am about to settle into a quiet evening with my wife but I could not go to bed with this hanging over my head.

First of all, Olivia, I’m really sorry you feel this way. I’ve heard this reaction before, and I will admit, it never ceases to surprise me. What I’m saying and what you’re hearing are two very different things. So let’s just acknowledge that what you feel is real and you’re entitled to it.

Next, you’re brighter than I am, so if I say anything that sounds like the tone is wrong, please forgive me. I’m not talking “down” in any way; just trying to respond quickly to all the things you wrote:

But I also feel like i’ve learned a lot of stuff that just feels almost insurmountable taken in total, and also…a huge amount of effort that will yield…what, I’m not sure.

We’ll tackle whether it’s insurmountable. We’ll also get to the point (love, marriage, happiness!)

I must be attractive, and this is a biologically driven need for men and something I can’t question.

Yes, that is correct. Similarly, women need to be attracted to their partners. That’s universal, not gender-specific.

I’m supposed to not be insecure even though my husband will spend the rest of our married life checking out other women.

That’s right, because he’s chosen you to marry. So why be threatened by the likes of Kim Kardashian on the Internet?

You should be the best person you can be, since you can’t control what anyone else does.

I’m supposed to be confident even though with each passing year I will have less of what he biologically must have to satisfy his drives.

You sort of make it sound like all men must date supermodels or be miserable. Go to a mall. Look around at the couples holding hands. How many look like supermodels? So evidently, people manage to pair up and stay married into old age even though pretty much all of us look worse as we get older. My wife and I are both 15lbs heavier than when we got married. Both of us can easily point to more attractive people. And yet neither of us would consider leaving because physical attraction is only a small (but important) part of marriage.

I have to talk to men in a certain way or they won’t find me appealing.

Yes. Then again, don’t men have to talk to you in a certain way as well? They can’t be arrogant, rude or condescending. They shouldn’t be negative or nakedly insecure. They shouldn’t blather on about themselves without taking an interest in you. It would seem that there are certain characteristics that make all people unappealing, no?

I should praise them a lot, even if its stuff that doesn’t seem particularly praiseworthy.

Yes. Just like you’d want your partner to tell you that you looked beautiful with no makeup. Or that he’s impressed with how you navigate university politics because he’s terrible at such things. Or because you’re better at color coordination than he is. PEOPLE like to be praised and appreciated.

I need to flirt even if that is unnatural for me.

I would think that men who don’t flirt are often considered awkward and Asperger’s-like. Maybe typical engineers or math nerds. Doesn’t mean they’re bad people or bad partners. Just means they’re not going to get as much female attention as a man who conducts himself with confidence and sexual energy. People who flirt are likely to appear more open, happy, engaging, charming, sexual, etc. As such, flirting is a good skill to have. Doesn’t mean you’re sunk without it.

I should know how to traverse the sexual tightrope between frustrating them inadvertently or giving them too much too soon inadvertently.

It’s not that you “should know”. It’s that I’ve attempted to explain how — in successful partnerships — BOTH parties get what they need at a reasonable pace. If a man demands sex on Date 1, he runs the risk of alienating you. If you demand that he put a ring on your finger before sex, you run the risk of losing him. My suggestion is to proceed slowly over a month before having intercourse and most men will stick around. You don’t have to follow this suggestion. It’s just a suggestion.

I have to control the pace of the relationship because they can’t do that.

I’m not sure if “they can’t do that” is the way I’d put it. I would just say that most men pursue sex before they know if they have feelings for you, and regardless of whether they’re looking for commitment, so it’s in your interest to manage things to your own favor.

I have to understand that whatever they say to me right now, in the moment, may change tomorrow, and that that is just how it is, and it shouldn’t hurt my feelings.

Anyone  can say the same thing. Girlfriend told me she loved me on Week 2. Dumped me on Week 12. Being “in the moment” is what we all do. I’m just reminding you of this, so that you don’t get too surprised when things that seem promising don’t work out.

I should be empathic to their challenges, even if they aren’t empathic to mine.

You should be the best person you can be, since you can’t control what anyone else does.

I should change my physical parameters even though they’re unlikely to change theirs—because their parameters are evolutionary/biological in nature.

You should act in a way that is “effective” to getting the relationship you want. If you would rather be single for the rest of your life than date a guy less than six feet tall, for example, that’s your business. Just know that only 14% of men qualify. Furthermore, nobody said women don’t need attraction or that men’s parameters are evolutionary in nature. That’s your interpretation. Men are designed to reproduce and crave variety. So are women. But men have more testosterone so they seem to crave it more. Please don’t make attraction into some black and white thing I’ve never said.

And I’ll need to keep this up for my married life if I want to remain married.

Yes. You should keep up being a feminine, optimistic, confident, understanding, self-aware person for your married life — both for your sake and for his. And if you find that your man is not an equal partner, you should get rid of him, ASAP.

It looks exhausting, and no fun.   What is the upside, besides getting laid, since I earn my own living?   Is the man who requires all this care and   feeding just to date me a man who can be emotionally supportive? If I have to do all these things to “catch” a man, will I really end up with someone I can be myself with?  

Here’s the upside.

In other words, my dear Olivia, I have not asked you to do anything particularly unusual. I haven’t asked you to make any colossal shifts. I haven’t asked you to do anything that I wouldn’t tell men to do (if I coached men).

Confident beats insecure.  Trusting beats jealous. Warm beats cold. Engaging beats shy. And so on and so forth. Not sure what there is to argue with.

As I’ve said, your reaction to me is somewhat common. It usually comes from strangers who hate me on the Internet, however, not from clients. It seems to me a very negative, glass half-empty, black and white, twisted reading of the coaching I offer, as if I’m asking women to contort  themselves into a pretzel to “catch” a man, when, in fact, all I’m telling you to do is carry yourself with a deep reservoir of inner confidence. My guess is that this is the disconnect. If you’re really insecure and don’t think you’re “good enough/attractive enough” for a man, you’re going to have a very negative reaction to my stuff, which  is benign at worst and incredibly empowering at best.

Reread everything you wrote and I wrote above. 90% of this applies to men as well. You’re just getting very angry/upset/overwhelmed that I’m telling YOU to be an amazing partner instead of telling it to MEN.

Great partners are great partners, regardless of gender. Love U hopefully points out some of the blind spots and hypocrisies that I’ve observed from women who expect men to do everything perfectly, but aren’t always ideal partners themselves. But make no mistake, if I could make a living doing this for men, I’d do it. Sound advice is sound advice.

Confident beats insecure.  Trusting beats jealous. Warm beats cold. Engaging beats shy. And so on and so forth. Not sure what there is to argue with.

Hope this helps reframe things — both for you and for all the women in here who agree with you. I am positive you are not alone, so I appreciate you bringing this up.

All my love,

Evan

Immediately, a few dozen other women replied to Olivia with similar posts.

Michelle:

Men are visual. If they see a pretty girl they will look. Men will approach the most attractive woman in the bar first. None of us can change this. Relationships begin and end. None of us can change this.  But if you manage your life as though “Love, what is it good for?” then you will never find a man who will ever inspire you. Who will challenge you. Who will accept you as you are.  Water sinks to it’s level. Meaning the men who will be on your level are out there. And no, you won’t have to play at being a Stepford wife in order to attract him and keep him interested. And I am pretty sure if I was a guy, I’d be pretty insulted.

A lot of what men need costs the independent woman so little, it begs the question…”Why are we fighting so hard to NOT give it to them?”…Basically, treat men as male friends and people.   Expect to be respected. Expect to be considered and if that isn’t happening after explaining your standards, you have the right to leave.  

Men have needs. Women have needs. All Evan is trying to teach us is how to communicate ours and listen to theirs. There is no one way street. You must remember this. It’s not us against them. We  are all in this together.  

You will have interactions with men who don’t know what they want. You will have interactions with men whose emotional intelligence is extremely low. You will run into men who have no emotional intelligence at all. And you know what else? You will survive them. And meet the men who understand where you’re coming from and want to heal you as you heal them. And be better for it.

Tina:

I feel for you sister! I don’t want to address all your points except to say that men are NOT in LoveU. We are. They are not taking the time to improve their skills at dating. We are. They are not learning what to appreciate in a mate. We are. They are not learning to be better partners. We are.

There are just not enough men that are as self aware as women are. We can find fault in the whole gender, hold out for the “unicorn” of men that gets what we do, or we can accept it and work with what we have. I think we have to work with what we have. OR, we can decide that’s it’s not worth the effort…

Gem:

Think about it this way – you’ll give your ALL to him, and he’ll give his ALL to you. It’s a relationship of  constant giving back and forth. A man who only considers his own needs isn’t a worthwhile partner for anyone. Reading Evan’s blog has shown me the number of women who “tolerate” this kind of man, and that’s very unfortunate.

Men looking for love are more accepting of imperfections than we think. Or you can say they’re as “equally limiting” as women, yet in other ways. With height, education, etc. requirements. Most of the population will get married at one point in their lives, so there is something happening, right? 😉

One thing about being around men is that they believe likewise with women. That women expect them to be an embodiment of perfection, and any guy who isn’t in the top 20% of looks, intellect, prestige, wealth, etc. can not find a suitable partner. I’ve met guys who are insecure and worried about not making “The Cut”. They’re not tall, built, handsome, charming, Alpha, etc. enough.  And some are rightfully concerned.

What I have realized over time, is that regardless of gender, many are seeking the same thing – love, acceptance, and intimacy. Sometimes, I forget about this message, as I venture into more female-dominated spheres. But when I go back into male-dominated fields, I remember the men too are so  incredibly human and diverse just like us.

They worry about their performance in the bedroom, their ability to provide and protect – however it means in modern times. When either of these factors come into question, they wonder if they’re enough to “catch” or please their woman. To find a sense of belonging. Or if they’re “man” enough to be respected.

Women can be a tough crowd to please, just in the same way that men are. Our mate standards for others can be impossibly high, yet we simultaneously hope that someone else can accept our characteristic flaws or imperfections. People – male or female – can struggle with setting reasonable expectations. But the ones who find a real love, are the ones who compromise. Everyone has to compromise in some shape or form.

Clara:

”Being nice is not incompatible with maintaining boundaries. Nice people can voice their opinions, stand up for their beliefs, and even disagree, but nice people do so with kindness and grace. Nice does not mean answering ‘yes’ to all requests. Rather, nice means turning down the requests you cannot meet respectfully.”

I know this is a lot of stuff, but I wanted to print this, in full, for those who were interested, to give some depth and breadth to this never-ending conversation.

I have been a full-time advocate for women for 13 years now, and it kills me when so much of my good-faith, commonsense wisdom  is twisted into something sinister.

Admittedly, I  only have two broad pieces of advice:

    • 1. If you don’t like the way he’s treating you, leave.   If he’s selfish, abusive, a terrible communicator, or commitmentphobic, dump him now, instead of staying, complaining and trying to change him.

2.  If you’re concerned that you may be doing something “wrong” that is causing men to react negatively to you, there are some “best practices” that may serve you well. These “best practices” are consistent whether they’re applied to women or men. In short:

You will attract more flies with honey than vinegar. People want to be appreciated, accepted and admired. People want to feel safe, heard and understood. People like being trusted, not mistrusted. If you want to be understood, first seek to understand. Don’t make your  partner “wrong” for having a different point of view. Don’t sweat the small stuff or make mountains out of molehills. Choose high-integrity, low-drama partners based on character, not chemistry.

I’m not exactly sure what’s controversial about that, but, sure enough, some of my own clients seem to think that I’m holding women to a higher standard than men.

It’s just not true.

I give advice on  how women can be more effective in dating, for one reason and one reason only: because I am a coach for women.

If I were a coach for men, I’d say the exact same things (and more). But I’m not. So I don’t. Yelling at me for not giving men advice on how to change is like yelling at a vegetarian restaurant for not serving burgers. It’s just not what we do.

I give advice on  how women can be more effective in dating, for one reason and one reason only: because I am a coach for women.

Listen, reasonable people can disagree  and you are certainly allowed to ignore or dissent with anything  you read on this blog. But please: don’t impugn my integrity, cast aspersions on my character, or willfully misinterpret things I’ve written. I work far too hard at providing rational, balanced, objective dating advice based on the Golden Rule than to have my own readers think that I’ve got an axe to grind against the very gender I’m trying to help.

If you made it this far, I appreciate it. You’re a champ. Thanks for listening to me vent. I appreciate your readership and hope that you continue to come back each week to contribute to the  most intelligent relationship conversation on the entire Internet.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.

Click here to enroll in Love U.