Dating Advice That Might Make You Mad

attractive angry woman

I was going to post this in the comments for my last blog, but felt it was worth its own post. It’s in response to another ad nauseum debate between two camps on this blog:

Women who think that everything is someone else’s fault and that everyone else should change. And women who understand that you can’t control anyone else’s behavior, all you can do is adjust to the world as it is.

Suggesting that all of you don’t value yourselves because you’re asking for dating advice? Suggesting that if you are happy with yourself, your romantic relationships should just fall into place?

A reader wrote:

If a woman values herself she doesn’t need a man—hence she doesn’t need a matchmaker or dating advice.

If a woman is happy in herself she doesn’t need a man—and her relationship decisions spring organically from who she is at her best.

And then all of her relationships—with her lover or husband, her friends, her kids, her coworkers, whomever—will just fall into place.

As a dating coach, this set me off. A regular reader is insulting all of my other regular readers?

Suggesting that all of you don’t value yourselves because you’re asking for dating advice? Suggesting that if you are happy with yourself, your romantic relationships should just fall into place?

I’m sorry, but my entire CAREER is proof that this is not true.

My clients are amazing. Smart, strong, successful, happy, confident. Relationship-oriented. Content being alone; would prefer to find a partner. Know that something’s not working. Want to learn what they can do differently. Reach out for my help in this most important of arenas.

How can you say that there’s something wrong with these folks?

Good, smart, self-aware people with high self-esteem can want a relationship and seek dating advice. That’s why I have a job, as do dozens of other dating coaches and matchmakers, many of whom are my good friends. If you think we’re preying on the weak, you don’t really understand what I do here. I’m not sure why I care about this, but I’m always baffled when people take offense to my reality-based dating coaching.

I realized recently that, as much as I write about dating and relationships, I’m not really expressing my opinions on how the world should be. I’m issuing my observations about how it IS.

It would be great if the hottest, youngest women on weren’t so self-centered and flaky. But they are. It would be amazing if short, fat, balding men with no money could have an equal shot at dating one of these women. In my experience, they don’t. I could spend all my time trying to change hot, young women into mature, soulful, generous and empathetic adults, but I’m powerless to do so. I could spend all my time railing against them for being judgmental about men’s looks and wallets, but I don’t.

I simply point out what I see.

So, if you, as a reader, feel personally indicted by anything I write, do me a favor:

Ask yourself exactly why you’re getting angry.

Chances are it’s not because I’ve lied or said something that’s factually untrue. It’s probably because I’ve pointed out some way in which the world works that you don’t like. Yet I don’t see what there is to get mad about.

I simply point out what I see. So, if you, as a reader, feel personally indicted by anything I write, do me a favor:Ask yourself exactly why you’re getting angry.

Observation: Men won’t always call after sex.

What You Can Learn From This: Don’t be surprised if 50% of guys don’t follow up. Stop sleeping with men if you can’t handle the consequences. That’s all you can control.

What You Yell at Me For: Men have no integrity. What’s wrong with them? Sex means something to me and it should mean something to him. Tell men to change because it’s really not cool to sleep with someone and not call her again. Men suck and you shouldn’t defend them for sucking. You should make them not suck.

Observation: Men don’t respond to women who are critical and boss them around.

What You Can Learn From This: The things that make you successful at work aren’t always effective in love. Alpha males usually don’t want alpha females. You get more with honey than you do with vinegar. Men like a soft place to land when they get home from work.

What You Yell at Me For: That’s not fair! Why do women have to change? What’s wrong with society? I’d rather be alone than be with a man who can’t take the fact that I’m strong and have strong opinions. I’m not somebody’s Stepford Wife. Why are men so intimidated by me? Men need to learn to change with the times because I’m not going to be subservient to a man. I’m not changing for anyone.

Observation: Men aren’t always commitment-minded

What You Can Learn From This: Men reveal themselves in their efforts. They don’t always know where a relationship is headed. You have to be patient and allow him to choose you. Trying to define your future too soon will invariably backfire since men don’t like receiving pressure. It only makes you look weak and doesn’t make him want to commit to you. Commitment is a great goal, but men like to buy – they don’t want to be sold.

What You Yell at Me For: I don’t want to waste my time on a man who isn’t marriage minded. He should know after 3 dates if he wants to be my boyfriend. He should know after 6 months if he wants to marry me. And I have a right to learn this information as soon as possible. If he doesn’t like the fact that I’m asking about “us” too early, he’s not the guy for me. Why are no guys sticking around?

The simple fact is that all of the free advice I dole out on this blog is simply observations about male behavior. I don’t endorse or condone it. I observe it.

We can go on and on with this, but the simple fact is that all of the free advice I dole out on this blog is simply observations about male behavior. I don’t endorse or condone it. I observe it. Yet all of the things about which we argue are things that you CAN’T CHANGE.

Don’t forget: I am a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women – most of whom are 35-55 and are serious about finding love.

The ones who do are the ones who are open to changing. The ones who don’t are the ones who complain that life is unfair.

Which one are you going to be?

Join our conversation (122 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1
    Karl R

    “a reader” wrote: (original post)
    “If a woman values herself she doesn’t need a man hence she doesn’t need a matchmaker or dating advice.”

    If I’m healthy and exercise, I don’t need to go to the gym and I don’t need a personal trainer.

    However, a personal trainer might show me how to exercise more efficiently, so I gain more benefit for the time invested. A personal trainer might be able to show me how to avoid sports injuries or other drawbacks that can accompany regular exercise.

    I may not need a personal trainer, but I can see how one might be able to provide some benefit.

    “her relationship decisions spring organically from who she is at her best. And then all of her relationships with her lover or husband, her friends, her kids, her coworkers, whomever will just fall into place.”

    My girlfriend values herself and doesn’t need a man. That’s part of what attracted me to her. I value myself and don’t need a woman. That’s part of what makes me attractive to my girlfriend.

    But you can ask my girlfriend which one of us has dated more in the last year. I’ve dated five women (including her). She’s dated one man (including me). And the two of us were socializing in the same environment during that year.

    I haven’t spent any money on coaching, but I have read as much free advice (from articles that Evan and others have written) as I could find.

    I suppose you could argue that my girlfriend (eventually) ended up in a great relationship “organically”. But you could also argue that we ended up in a great relationship because I was dating in a less organic fashion.

  2. 2

    Evan, I think you do give solid advice sometimes based on your observations about the dating game – but I think your problem is that you don’t recognize that, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, “to love is different than what anyone supposed, and luckier.”
    The rules you try to deduce from what you perceive to be “objective” facts are really much more contingent than they seem- and they all have their flip sides. For example, for every woman anxious about a man committing, there’s a woman put off by a pushy man. Sometimes the same exact woman!
    At another remove, I think what I find frustrating about your advice is that it relies so heavily on gender norms. When I feel anxious because I’m not sure if my date likes me, this has nothing to do with my gender – I’m probably really picking up signals he’s not that into me. When I feel suffocated by my next date who starts talking about marriage after two weeks, this also has nothing to do with gender — I’m just not that into him. When these gender norms are overly relied upon, they seem sexist. E.g., your example about overly critical women makes it seem like it’s ok for alpha males to be critical jerks to their partners because they are men, when in reality we should all strive for leaving our critical workplace personas behind in our personal relationships.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that, to me, good advice is based on helping people to live more authentically with the realities of their own lives, not hide things from themselves, and make connections with the world. Hard-and-fast “rules” of behavior which ignore the actual facts and rely on rigid frameworks (men do it like this, women do it like that) don’t really meet this goal. I think that Caroline Hax does an amazing job at dealing with the subtleties and strangeness of human reality in this way.
    I don’t want to be overly critical here, because obviously I like this blog and I keep coming back! What I think you’re really good at is being a coach — helping people recognize their own personal patterns of self-defeating behavior. I think you’re also good at your speciality — advising on the specific culture of internet dating. But I think the most important quality you have is that you genuinely care about your clients and want to help them, and this shines through.

  3. 3
    Evan Marc Katz

    @Isabelle:I appreciate your kind words, Isabelle. And all constructive criticism is valid. However, a sentence like this means I still haven’t been clear:

    E.g., your example about overly critical women makes it seem like it’s ok for alpha males to be critical jerks to their partners because they are men, when in reality we should all strive for leaving our critical workplace personas behind in our personal relationships.

    Never have I said that women should deal with critical jerks. Never have I said that women shouldn’t be put off by pushy men. This is the constant conflation that goes on around here. It’s like automatically assuming that someone is anti-Semitic if he criticizes Israeli foreign policy. No. If I point out to a woman that she can’t change men, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think men should change. Really. I’m on YOUR side. I’m only pointing out that men DON’T change, which is why the ONLY think you can do is make the necessary adjustments. If it means being more patient with men, great. If it means LEAVING your boyfriend, great. But I seem to get a lot of grief because I point out that the responsibility is on you to take new action – not to expect the world to cater to your fantasies of how it should be.

    Please don’t think that I’m sexist. Believe me, if men asked similar questions about changing women, they’d get the exact same reality check.

    1. 3.1

      Evan, I think they want you to take your cues from some popular pastors that have learned that there is more money in telling people what they want to hear than what they need to hear.

  4. 4

    The responsibility is on you for every aspect of your entire life, every moment of that life. One of the things that bothers me the most is entitlement –

    No one “deserves” love. No one “deserves” children. No one “deserves” a great career. This isn’t to say that we’re not all pretty much wired to want those things – we are. But most people operate under a zero-sum mentality (if there’s more for you, there must be less for me). So this means that there is not a single other person on earth that you should expect to care whether you have those things except you, so if you want them – do things to make it happen.

    Now, if you can make it happen in your life without falling into that zero-sum mentality yourself, without wishing (or taking action) to deny those things to others – now THAT’S something.

  5. 5


    I like that- actually sounds kinda New-Age. 🙂

  6. 6

    Evan, most of the time you seem to write just what I need to hear during exactly the week I need to hear it. Uncanny! : )

  7. 7
    Curly Girl

    It’s funny how much we believe we control the world around us–and others in it. And how much energy we spend trying to “make things happen.” Not even noticing that things happen whether we “try” or not.

  8. 8

    So, if you, as a reader, feel personally indicted by anything I write, do me a favor:
    Ask yourself exactly why you’re getting angry.
    Chances are it’s not because I’ve lied or said something that’s factually untrue. It’s probably because I’ve pointed out some way in which the world works that you don’t like.

    Amen. Long overdue.

  9. 9

    It never ceases to amaze me how women don’t get men and therefore have all kinds of problems when they try to make men something other than what they are. I still think that letter Evan posted a while ago from that woman who was raped and listened to Evans advice and changed her ways has it right…she totally gets it now and I think, if he hasn’t already, should make all new female clients read it. It bears repeating…Evan should re-post that letter…she totally did a 360 with her thinking. The women stopped trying to get guys to be what she thought they should be, and decided to just let men be men and she is having a wonderful time dating…she learned for example that men want to please you, men want to be your hero…so let them please you! Don’t fall into the trap of having to be right all the time, don’t dominate the conversation whatever you do, especially about yourself, and for sure don’t be critical. Let him lead, let him be masculine, let him do what he is supposed to do and you will be surprised at how much he values you…it’s really simple…do some listening for once, put your focus on him and you will be surprised at what he’ll do for you and how much he wants you around! As Evan once said, men are primarily interested in how you make them feel.

    1. 9.1

      It never ceases to amaze me, either, Paul. Many women need to learn to do what you said OR learn to like beta guys 🙂

  10. 10


    Actually, I could swear Evan said those same words in another post a while ago. I completely understand that, since the same issue always keeps popping up.

  11. 11

    Evan, you give sound advice. But the comment you are responding to–the idea that everything falls into place once you know who you are as a person–is based on a belief. The belief that the universe rewards you for being an awesome person.

    We could debate the belief itself. But let’s understand here that there is belief and there is action. As a dating coach your role focuses on actions and behaviors, not on beliefs. My issue with this belief is that it takes away any agency that one might have as a person to control the outcome. Why “do” anything, when the universe will magically provide you with what you seek?

  12. 12
    Curly Girl

    I also think it’s funny that as soon as a woman says she doesn’t need a man that she gets labelled as “angry.” There’s that sexist interpretation again! Ha!

    There was no anger in my comments on the other thread–why should I be angry? I have everything I want and am very happy.

    But I did it my own way, which is by ignoring all of the pressures to capitulate to what Isabelle talks about as the “gender norms,” which when overly relied upon seem sexist (lovely post, Isabelle!), and which do now seem to have found new expression in the online dating literature (if we may call it that).

    I, too, call it as I see it, and any guy who hasn’t noticed that the world has changed when it comes to women and their place in it should stay living with his parents and sleeping in a room with girlie posters in his closet. I think it’s guys who have trouble understanding women these days; not the other way around.

    Note to guys: The world as you thought you knew it has ended.

    1. 12.1

      It is good that you don’t need a man. It’s also good that you seem happy living in the state of denial.

  13. 13

    If you go into a church on Sunday, the sermon is preached with the assumption that you believe in (or have more than a passing interest in) Jesus- the preacher doesn’t spend time validating Christianity, though i’m sure he’s aware that not everyone in the world is a Christian. And since it’s a church, that feels like a fair assumption to me. I would think it strange if someone questioned the preacher on why he didn’t talk more about the great things about the Jewish faith.

    I think Evan’s advice presupposes an audience that is interested in having some sort of long term relationships with men (or, for his male readers, better understanding of male/female relationships). I think its a reasonable presupposition to make since it’s a dating and relationship advice web site and Evan bills himself as a ‘personal trainer for love’.

    I think it’s perfectly valid that not all women want to be married to or in relationships with men. Aside from the obvious group (lesbians) i’m certain there is a strong straight woman contingent that feels that way, both those who have never been married or those who never want to be married again. I think it’s fine to be vocal about it, especially since some people feel these women are underrepresented. But i don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the validity and merits of a ‘woman don’t need men’ line of thinking to be addressed with any level of regularity by a dating coach.

    So the debate indeed rages on, but honestly, in this type of forum, i’m not sure why.

  14. 14
    Evan Marc Katz

    Well said, Erika. You can start by asking the folks who brought you the Secret. Not my domain. And as for Curly… you are 99% correct. Men have a huge time understanding women. The thing is: they don’t really care about understanding you, as much as you care about understanding them. Which is why I rarely coach any men. So we can certainly agree that most men are woeful at communicating with women.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the world as they know it has ended. In fact, men will go on doing the same things over and over. You may choose not to date them – but unless every woman on earth boycotts men, thereby teaching them a collective lesson, things are pretty much the same. It’s far easier to learn to understand men and make slight adjustments than it is to change the behavior of an entire gender. I suppose that’s my point.

  15. 15

    Excellent post, Evan. I wonder if it’s sometimes a false dichotomy, though. It’s certainly possible to understand how the world is, want it to be different, and to fight passionately for that change.

    I mean, think through the consequences of always accepting everything and trying to change nothing except perhaps our own ability to accommodate the present reality. What would the world look like?

    “Sure, black people being enslaved sucks, but what can you do? *shrug*”
    “I guess it would be better if Hitler weren’t in charge of Germany, but oh well. It is what it is!”

    Just sayin’!

  16. 16
    Curly Girl

    Well, I’m not dating because I’m with someone. And he’s gorgeous and fantastic and I adore him.

    Women aren’t boycotting men–they’re having good relationships with the ones who get it and who have adjusted to the social changes of last three decades, the social changes that have deposed men from their perch as head of household and head of office. A lot of people long for the past and have trouble adjusting to a new world order, where people you thought shouldn’t have any power or authority suddenly do. I would imagine that men have trouble making this adjustment especially. It seems so to me.

    But I think a dating blog is the perfect place for these kinds of discussions. Or is this the LTR blog? I’m never sure. To me, dating and LTRs are different. No matter. Both are affected by these social changes.

    And just for the record re: my motivations in posting: If I hear/read anything that smacks of an attempt to put the genie back in the bottle I just gotta jump in to say to the genie-stuffer: “You are outa your tree!” Though in truth I have less and less interest in this as time goes on. I don’t really care if people date or get married or not. Each decision has its own realities, for good or bad. Mine are good, so do what you want.

    That’s all. 🙂

  17. 17

    I don’t “need” a man but I want one. The male-female relationship is different than other because of the inclusion of physical intimacy. I want that. I want a companion and partner in life. I have a slew of friends and have a lot of fun doing the things I do. It’s just more fun with someone I can kiss.

  18. 18

    Jennifer, #15- Thank you! 🙂

    Evan- Unless every woman on earth boycotts men, thereby teaching them a collective lesson…

    This sounds like a great plan! How do we do it?

    😛 Just for the record, I’ve been noticing more men in the relationship self-help aisles than usual at B&N. Does this mean there’s hope?

  19. 19

    I didn’t think of the reader comment this way when I originally read it, but the point <i>could</i> be made that someone who is truly happy with themselves inevitably acts in all the ways that you coach people to act, and that is why coaching is unnecessary for those people.

    But a point like that depends on people’s ability to self-assess whether they are truly happy (or know what it will take to make themselves truly happy) and most people, frankly, do not have the metacognitive skills necessary to make that assessment.

  20. 20
    Evan Marc Katz

    I get it, Dope. But you’re making a slippery slope argument that just doesn’t wash. We’re not talking about people being enslaved or raped. We’re talking about the fact that men can be selfish. Well, duh. When you figure out how to remove the Selfish Gene, let me know.

    1. 20.1

      Your worst post ever. Really Evan? Are we selfish when we pay for the date? Are we selfish when we are dating a girl and she moans that her car broke down and she has no way to get to work, so you loan her our truck and ride our bike 12.5 miles one way (25 total) in our daily commute so she can have a way to work for the week while her care is being fixed? Are we selfish when we mow her lawn? Are we selfish when we take on the responsibility of another man’s kids? Are we selfish when we are tired, have a huge meeting the next day, but we go to the store for her at zero dark thirty so she can have her pickles and ice cream? Are we selfish when we put off getting a Harley so that she can get a new car? Are we selfish when we make 60% or 70% of the household income but don’t even see 50% of the expendable cash, and a large portion of what we have for our self, we end up spending on her? Are we selfish when we give them the love they desire and only ask for the respect we desire…and don’t get it…but stay with them anyway? Are we selfish when we fix that broke drawer 2 days after she puts it on the honey-do list, but the jeans that need the button sewn back on hasn’t been touched 6 weeks after being put on her honey-do list, so we do it our self?

      The issue for most men Evan isn’t strong women, it is manipulative, abrasive, domineering women, or their close cousin, the passive aggressive types…the types that just treat you like crap, give the silent treatment, withhold sex, love, respect, etc unless they are getting exactly what they want…fair or not. What do they have in common Evan? They are selfish. I thought you understood that.

      Surveys and studies have shown that both people in the relationship need both love and respect. The same show that women tend to put more emphasis on love while men put more emphasis on respect. Is this nurture or nature?

      Anyway, Curly Girl seems to fear the genie being put back in the bottle. Well, here’s how I see it. It already was once. Yeah, the genie granted your wish whether it was right or wrong. Well men were acting wrong, bringing their work self home, and acting in a word, selfish. But then, for decades they were told that this does not work. Even movies were used to show us that it doesn’t work. That you could be a great man but ruin your family life if you didn’t learn to be different at home. The Great Zantini comes to mind. Heartbreak Ridge is another. In the military, these men as leaders were taught not to tolerate anything but perfection, and to be strong and gruff. But that doesn’t work with families.

      Now women come along, and decide they would let the genie out of the bottle, often enacting just as abrasive as men once did. Oh, but try to call them out on it and we are trying to put them back in the kitchen…we just can’t handle strong women. Horse pucky.

      However, try asking those women…better yet, create a section on the site that shows clips of masculine acting men, and effeminate acting men. Both being equally polite and nice, and then ask which they would prefer to date. I feel confident that most women would not choose the effeminate acting man. But wait…times changed right? Isn’t that what Curly Girl said? Shouldn’t they get with the times, and stop trying to live in the past?

      OK, so why is it so wrong for men to prefer women that act like women?

      Sorry Evan, that post really bothered me. I thought you understood. I thought you got it. I thought you trying to teach women that it is OK to be a strong woman, and yet still be the kind of woman that men not only want, but crave and desire.

      Here’s something we don’t want. My ex, the first time we met made it clear that she did not want to be an old fashioned wife, didn’t want to be subservient, etc… OK, cool, I never tried to make her that. Never told her what she could or could not do, never told her what job she could or could not take, etc…etc…etc.. But “Miss Not Going To Be Subservient” felt that backing me up against her friends or family was the what a submissive wife did, so she seemed to purposely always take their side in everything from trivia to big things. I know the score by heart. It was easy. I didn’t even have to keep a running score. The internet makes it very easy to find info on just about everything. Google is our friend. My having near instant access to peer reviewed article searches is even better. How do I know the score so well when this was a constant thing for 14 years? Easy…not once was I wrong. Am I just a genius? No. I researched. Almost every one of these incidents was a repeat and I had researched what was being discussed. I never tried to speak authoritatively unless I had researched. You know…it would have made me feel just a bit more in love had she had my back. I think I might have served her breakfast in bed the next day had she even done it just once.

      But you’re right Evan…the problem is that we men are just selfish and that isn’t going to change so the poor poor women are just going to adapt to the bad ole selfish guys.

    2. 20.2

      Also, just in case an improper point is raised, I did not act improperly regarding “always being right.” If there was one thing i understood, it was that one awe crap wipes out a thousand atta-boys. Learned that lesson well in the military. So I made it a point never to gloat, never to rub it in her face, etc… In fact, I simply never brought it up…until much later in the relationship where I said maybe 3 times, something to the affect that it would simply be nice if she would back me up once in a while. I should note also that her mother, was a very big woman, and was very domineering. Her dad was a very small man. And yes, he had a Napoleon complex. Physically my ex took after her dad’s side, but in personality, I would have to say that she took a large helping of the bad from both parents. Too bad for me, she covered that up very well until after the marriage. Was also estranged from he parents so I never met them until the reconciliation, shortly after our marriage.

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