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. 61

    Evan — you didn’t respond to Dope’s point. At all. Yes, men are selfish. Yes, it shouldn’t be that way. So what can be done to change it? Yes, change IT, not change ME so that I accept it just so I can be “successful” at finding a man. At what point do we say “accept it” and at what point do we say “it must change?” There is the slippery slope, and you failed to address it.
    Segregation by law only changed in the last 50-60 years after being in place for the first umpty ump years of this country’s existence. It began the process of change only because enough people dug in their heels and said “No, I won’t accomodate this. This is wrong.”
    You say that men’s selfishness isn’t on the same scale as slavery or rape. But the consequences of segregation were (and are) both big and small. Refusal to admit black students to schools AND refusing to serve black customers at lunch counters. Every indignity robs a person of self respect. Sometimes the “small” indignities are the worst because of attitudes like yours — “you should get over it and adjust because it won’t ever change.” I call BS.
    Count me among the women staging an unofficial boycott — I’m absolutely willing to grow old and die alone if the alternative is twisting myself like a pretzel in order to accomodate the way men are. You know why? Because THAT won’t make me happy either.
    Just sayin’.

  2. 62

    amy @ why don’t you and isabelle make a couple? 😀 ‘Cos only you two’d appreciate each other! LOL
    On a personal note, I completely agree with Evan. I completely understand Amy’s take that women end up sacrificing more than men, but (to me anyway) the love, respect and appreciation we get back in return makes it all worthwhile to make those sacrifices. 🙂

    That is, of course to say if the male spouse in question is an appreciative one. I am lucky to say that I have found one such man, and all the sacrifices I’ve made for him all this while have all been worthwhile. Because his deep love and respect for me has been worth giving up things that I would have wanted to do but couldn’t due to family.

    Therefore I agree with Evan’s take on women being open to changing certain behavioural things, not THEMSELVES. Because if I’d been stubborn and gone and did all the things I wanted to do and had that “accept my whole package or leave” concept, and mutually if my husband hadn’t compromised his part, we wouldn’t have that happy marriage we have today.

    My two cents.

  3. 63

    I don’t understand what you think is so respectful or full of appreciation about having to sacrifice more while men are allowed to maintain a certain mentality about what they deserve from love. To me, that’s not respect. And that’s what a few other women are saying here Adel. They infact don’t feel respected or appreciated in their relationships when they are the ones expected to make more of the sacrifices.
    And no one is saying they don’t need to make any comprimises. Infact, I think what is being said is that what earns respect and appreciation on BOTH sides, to both genders, is when you make an effort to fulfill your partern’s needs. Not telling us that “hey men are selfish, oh well, if you want any kind of love or companionship you must sacrifice sacrifice, sacrifice. And he is allowed to be selfish”. That’s not love or respect if you ask me. And it’s certainly not an insentive for women to want to work hard to be in a relationship with a man or respect him.
    As for men not being able to change. That’s just plain UNTRUE. Men have changed so much with women gaining more independence. Mne now cook, clean and take care of the kids much more then their grandfathers. They are okay with women working and being sucessful..(some at least). Men have changed alot. And they can change and evovle just like women.

  4. 64

    Yep. JerseyGirl (love your name, btw, have been in a Bruce mood lately), what I see is that the men really change when they’re the ones who have to take care of their elderly parents. That’s when they get it, because “change” is no longer theoretical or optional. There’s no one to push the caregiving and housekeeping work off on. And it’s an unexpected consequence of the divorce wave that started in the 80s, I think. Used to be that the wife would raise the kids and then do most, if not all, of the work of taking care of both sets of parents, or share that burden with sisters and sisters-in-law (along with all the fighting over who did what and who’d get what).

    Now…well, there are a lot of divorced older guys who find it’s all on them, really. They live closer to mom & pop, the sister can’t keep flying in, etc. That’s when they learn what it’s all about. They take the hit at work, too, and live with the stress of it, knowing that if they lose the job at their age, it’s going to be tough to get back in. Those guys — like the ones who step back to take care of sick wives and children — they really, really get it.

    I have to say, though, that in general I haven’t seen enough change in younger men to really reduce the cost of marriage, esp. if kids are involved. I see a lot of cosmetic change. The guys push the strollers, pick the kids up from daycare, etc. But when push comes to shove over whose non-family work is more important, time and again I see the guys totally tackle and take down the women. And these are guys who talk a great feminist line and may even believe they mean it. But damned if they’re going to get owned at work, make less money, give up strategic advances, and so on. I think it’s not even conscious. But the way that story goes, to the woman, it’s like a switch flips: “Well, I’m just going to do this.” And the woman’s left to figure out a way of coping. The men can do it because, in the end, someone else really will take the kid to the doctor. That’s the kind of thing that goes away in the eldercare picture. There isn’t anyone else who can talk to the home health aide and help Mom to the bathroom.

    So yeah, change is possible. I don’t blame men for not wanting to go through it. It’s a painful thing, and it comes with the loss of a lot of freedom, status, and privilege.

  5. 65

    Hee hee! Sorry to join this so late (I was too busy these last 2 days being “smart, strong, and successful” – kidding – on a business trip).

    Evan, what Amy says above gets at the heart of truth but doesn’t quite state it directly, so let me do it here: If a couple doesn’t intend to have children, or for other reasons never does, then gender inequalities are usually not as much of a big deal. The moment the first kid arrives on the scene: Bam! The gender inequalities start, and start furiously.

    For me and for my other mother-friends, motherhood was the biggest feminist awakening of our lives. It is precisely because fathers have a tendency (not all, but most) to ignore all the multiple endless and heartbreaking tasks that must be done to maintain a coherent family that women become resentful. It is not because fathers are incapable; it is because they themselves have been raised in families in which dad just didn’t take care of most of the family nitty-gritty. But it’s not just the fathers’ fault; most women also unquestioningly take on the extra duties instead of asking their partners to share it. And no, it is NOT fair to ask one half of the population to be more sacrificial than the other half, merely because they are women. That is ridiculous.

    Amy and Isabelle Archer, if you ever want a threesome, I’ll join you. 🙂 Not too much hanky-panky though… I’m married to a man who “gets it,” so don’t want to sacrifice that. (Isabelle, wasn’t your titular character the one who got married to Osmond in a foolish self-sacrificial move?)

    Sayanta, no no no, men do not suck. But you do have to get used to asking for what you want, and if you ever have children with a man, again you have to get used to constantly ensuring that division of labor is equitable. I really urge you to do that rather than to ever let resentment build between you and a man. They are not out to hurt women; they can, however, be clueless. So it’s best to state desires directly. Then come join us for a foursome!

  6. 66
    HP (aka Hadley Paige)

    Amy @ 44 says : “Marriage costs women more, particularly if they’re well-educated and have talents and interests beyond family.
    I agree that this statement is true. The more educated, skilled & experienced you are, the more likely you are to feel that your paths of growth have been constrained by the choice of motherhood & homemaker. Thus, I infer that you are more likely to eventually become unhappy with the arrangement and more likely to divorce.

    As a man contemplating this state of affairs in the context of searching for a women who will be a suitable wife and mother (and hoping to have a more likely rather than less likely chance of having this relationship withstand the test of time) it seems that I should be choosing a woman with less education, less skills and less experience, if I wish to minimize the chance of divorce due to her unhappiness with her constraints.

    Additionally, since most women want a man who is more educated & incomed than themselves, it seems that perhaps (and only in the context of achieving a successful marriage) the woman increases the size of her pool of acceptable men who would contemplate proposing marriage to her; and of the marriage lasting longer, by not being so potent.

    Note: Just calling it like I see it, not as I (or anyone else) wish it would be, or should be.

  7. 67

    So…what y’all see to be saying is that when the kids come, even if the woman makes less money than the man, he should be the one taking care of the kids?

  8. 68

    Thanks, JerseyGirl #56

    These issues have been particularly on my mind of late because I just broke up with someone I really liked. Why? Because he expected me to make all the compromises in our relationship. He’d get everything he wanted, while I should just have been happy to go along because he’s such a great guy! I called b.s. on that!

    But what bothered me most was not so much that we wanted different things (yes, that happens), but the fact that he he didn’t feel that there was anything wrong with what he was asking. It didn’t occur to him that he was being selfish or unrealistic, and that a truly great guy should consider his partner’s/friend’s needs as well as his own. Maybe he was an extreme case, but it’s not the first time I’ve encountered this type of thing. It’s this sense of entitlement that bothers me, this mindset in so many men that I see. Is it just the way men are encouraged to be in our culture? Frustrating!

  9. 69

    @ Joe, #68 – I never thought of this issue before! (But then, I’m not having kids.)

    If I was interested in having kids and the man made more than me, then what I’d say is that he’d have to do all of the financial sacrificing until our incomes were equal (so that if we did end up divorcing we’d be on equal financial footing). If additional sacrifices needed to be made, then we could cross that bridge when we got to it.

  10. 70

    Joe #28

    I think the issue is about SHARING responsibility, not that either person should take all of it on, unless, of course, that is the arrangement.

  11. 71

    Ruby #69, it doesn’t sound like your former “great guy” was really such a great guy at all. Of course it should never be just one person in the couple making all the sacrifices. He IS selfish. That doesn’t mean that all men are selfish.

    I don’t believe that men are more inherently selfish than women. But if some women see this, it may be because they want to be in a LTR more than men do, and hence feel the need to give up more than the men in order to have that LTR. Amy’s point, and now mine as well, is that your self-respect and self-worth are even more important than being in an LTR. They are NOT mutually exclusive, fortunately.

    From my vantage point: the person who ends up giving up the most personal power (and taking on relatively more of the work) is the person who cares about being in the relationship more. So if women feel that they’re giving up much more than men, might the solution be to empower women in such a way that they don’t feel that being in an LTR is an absolute necessity?

    And that gets to Jayne #62, who made the same point: what great comments you made. I don’t think every man you meet will require you to sacrifice more than you feel appropriate, but your letter does sound like a call to arms of women: a modern-day Lysistrata, so to speak. 🙂 (How’s that for another literary reference.) The only men we’ll allow up on our hill for nookie are the ones who get it, like my hubby. (Joking!)

  12. 72

    Ruby, I don’t think it’s an extreme case. And I am sorry it didn’t work out. I can completely understand how draining your situation was.

    I have also had alot of experience with what you are describing. That same sense of entitlement that men seem to have often. Do I think it makes men horrible people? No I don’t. Neither do I think it’s “all” men. But I do disagree when Evan tells us we must accept that men are selfish and that we should *still* be motivated to want relationships with them. As if being a man alone is effort enough. I don’t think it makes men horrible but I don’t think it makes them good partners either. And I think men today do want relationships as much as women do.

    I sometimes get the impression that men think that it should make women happy, that he as a man is happy. Or maybe that’s what they wish was true. I don’t know. But I totally agree with your comments on that sense of entitlement and I find it equally frustrating and quite honestly, just plain discouraging.

    Do I want a good man in my life? Of course. But I am not going to sacrifice my complete self to just having a man in my life. I think men might be struggling with the fact that women need, and do infact demand, more from them then our mothers or grandmothers did. I also think women evovle and adapt more easily. And I think this sense of entitlement that I also see in the men I date does come of a media stand point and also because men still want to fight to maintain control when they don’t want to behave with control themselves.

  13. 73
    Karl R

    For those with a knee-jerk reaction to CHANGING yourself….

    How many women are turned off by a guy who has dirt under his nails? If a guy is employed as a car mechanic, that’s going to occur every time he’s at work. But if he makes the effort to regularly clean the black stuff out from under his nails, he’ll increase his dating opportunities tenfold.

    Would you say the auto mechanic is changing himself in order to attract a woman, or would you say he’s employing just some basic dating awareness?

    Somehow I’ve managed to exercise regularly, get my hair cut more often, wear non-scuffed shoes on first dates and pick up the tab (and make dozens of other changes) without feeling like I’ve “compromised” anything important in my life.

    Some women like the smell of male body odor. If a man refuses to bathe, he can still find someone who likes him just the way he is. However, his dating pool will be much smaller than if he practiced regular hygiene.

    Most women either have or want children. By choosing that I don’t want any, I’ve limited my dating pool (especially since the number of men who don’t want kids outnumbers the number of women who feel the same). However, I’m willing to limit my dating pool in order to avoid fatherhood.

    A few of you seem interested in turning this thread into some great moral crusade. If you truly feel like going on a crusade to change society, you might want to choose a forum that reaches a much broader audience.

    Remember, most of the people visit this forum for dating advice. And Evan’s advice is generally of value to many of his readers, even when it’s something that I don’t personally choose to implement in my life.

  14. 74

    I clean my finger nails, I wash, I work out, I get my hair done every four weeks, I whiten my teeth, I wear perfume and pick cute colorful outfits out on most days. I do these things partly because I want to look nice and partly because i want men to respond to me in a certain way. And yes, my dating pool does narrow down when I have certain expectations for the men I would like to date. But I also stand by what I previously have said in my other posts on top of that.

  15. 75

    #JerseyGirl #73

    “…men still want to fight to maintain control when they don’t want to behave with control themselves.”

    Very well said.

    #74 Karl

    The majority of Evan’s clients, and probably readers, are female, so I do think that what seems to be a common female experience is important to discuss.

  16. 76

    Karl #74: oh, you have to realize that we’re having fun, even as we sound so serious and crusading!

    That said, we are trying to make points that are relevant to Evan’s original posts, which is why we’re commenting (not for the crusading mission). Evan commented on several reasons why people may be “mad” about his advice. We are adding to that by explaining why women may feel marginalized in relationships. We are not saying that every man makes us feel that way (I wouldn’t say ANY man I’ve dated has made me feel that way).

    The points that you bring up about how you’re compromising in order to be more successful in dating (exercise and cosmetic changes) are not really the same types of compromises we women have brought up (sacrifices in careers, free time, work, etc), so they are not really comparable. Although I will say that I do appreciate the efforts men make in those regards.

    But for the record: I (and most of my galpals) wouldn’t turn down a guy just because he had dirt under his fingernails, especially if he had them as the result of an honest job.

  17. 77
    Evan Marc Katz

    I’m off to celebrate my anniversary this weekend, but I will simply point out that my clients are the women who AGREE with what I have to say – not the ones who think that I’m missing the point. I certainly can’t help anyone who isn’t open to change.

    Have a wonderful weekend and thank you – even you dissenters – for your passionate contributions.


  18. 78

    Hi, Karl. In answer to your questions:

    I don’t notice fingernails unless they’re ragged and near me, or bitten to the quick. Long hair, fine. Scuffed shoes, fine so long as we’re not someplace where you’re expected to dress, but certainly no dealbreaker. BO…I think most men shower, no? Unless you really stink, I don’t care about deodorant, cologne, aftershave etc. (actually would rather you didn’t use scented products, they’re rough on asthma).

    I don’t think anyone here’s been on a moral crusade. We’re pointing out the long-term costs of this method of getting into relationships, and saying they’re heavily underplayed here.

    And Joe #68: Yes. Or, rather: Even if he makes more, and even if there’s going to be a bigger hit to his income and career by his mommy-tracking himself, he should be as willing as the woman to absorb the time & energy costs of the home & family work — and as cognizant that doing roughly half the home/family work really will mean taking that hit. There is no faster track to a woman’s getting sidelined than to say, “Well, he makes more money, so his career is the important one.”

    This is the point at which most men will bail, because it kills them so hard to see the woman’s life outside the family as being more important than their status as family breadwinner, provider, protector-through-income, etc. I say fine. If a woman wants kids, and also wants to preserve her work and status outside the home, I see no point in getting started with a man who’s going to rush her when it comes to the “whose work is more important” question.

    HP, you write: “As a man contemplating this state of affairs in the context of searching for a women who will be a suitable wife and mother (and hoping to have a more likely rather than less likely chance of having this relationship withstand the test of time) it seems that I should be choosing a woman with less education, less skills and less experience, if I wish to minimize the chance of divorce due to her unhappiness with her constraints.”

    Yes, that’s correct. What you give up, of course, is in the realm of companionship and conversation. You should also be sure to choose a woman who’s not a diamond in the rough, because those bright young uneducated gals have a way of noticing, eventually, that they’re sharp and able to read, and determining to do something with it. A well-educated and skilled woman without ambition would also be a good choice — a woman who went to college because it was the thing to do, and then to work because she had to and just to get out, but was never drawn particularly to any work and prefers to stay home — and then what you pay for the calm may be a certain spark and energy.

  19. 79

    Oh. That is, HP, unless you’re willing to share that burden of home and family work equally with your well-educated, ambitious, sparky wife, including the burden of noticing what needs to be done. Then she’d probably be pretty darned pleased with you.

  20. 80
    Curly Girl

    @77: Maybe we don’t need help and have no need to change. We’re just chatting on here.

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