Dating Advice That Might Make You Mad

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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 Match.com 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).
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Comments:

  1. 101
    Lisa

    You say 50% of men don’t call if you have sex too soon. The post about What Men and Women Want on Paper says that chastity is irrelevant????

  2. 102
    downtowngal

    Amy #102, I’ve also observed that some guys want a woman who’s going to stay home and not work, and get intimidated by women w careers. Totally unrealistic because I also know a lot of single career women who would give up working to stay home if it came to that. Plus, many of these women are intelligent and have their act together. I guess it sez more about the guys than the girls.

  3. 103
    Shelagh

    Talk about beating a dead horse… while we’re on the subject… WHAT ARE OBSERVATIONS?! I can understand being opinionated. I can see why people become more and more opinionated with age. I see it in myself, but I try so VERY hard to keep it down to a roar. Advice: stop being so argumentative. It’s annoying. “It is the mark of an educated mind that is able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Socrates

  4. 104
    Curly Girl

    Shelagh: Is that Socrates’ observation or just a thought that we can entertain without accepting it?

  5. 105
    Shelagh

    exactly

  6. 106
    Liz

    A lot of women on this thread seem to genuinely think that marriage and relationships are a losing prospect for women. Great, enjoy your solitude. More choices for the rest of us.

  7. 107
    starthrower68

    Liz,

    That’s an interesting comment because I have seen posts on here where men say relationships and marriage are a losing prospect for them.   Fascinating.

  8. 108
    Liz

    Good point, starthrower.

  9. 109
    starthrower68

    We could just simply things by all being FWB’s, eh?

  10. 110
    Liz

    But then we’d get attached, and we’d all be back at square one!

  11. 111
    starthrower68

    I’m still scratching my head on being independent but making him feel needed at the same time.   Can’t quite wrap my brain around that one.

  12. 112
    Karl R

    starthrower68 said: (#113)
    “I’m still scratching my head on being independent but making him feel needed at the same time.”

    I couldn’t find whose comment you were referring to, so I  may be getting your statement out of context.

    However, I disagree with the idea of making the man (or the woman) feel “needed.” Just make them feel wanted. My girlfriend and I have been dating for 10 months. I expect we’ll get married. If we were to break up, it would be inconvenient to disentangle our lives. However, we still don’t need each other. But we both want to be together, and that desire is sustaining a strong relationship.

    I think you’ll find it much easier to be independent and make the guy feel “wanted.”

  13. 113
    Scott

    Pulling together some thoughts from various threads around the blog (which sex finds monogamy more difficult, does women’s high income lead to divorce), and by reference to @downtowngal 100 comment about men thinking they need money to attract women, that is the point.   Most women find only a small number of men physically attractive, and most men who do not fall into the top few percentiles of looks actually DO need to have money to be attractive to most women.   So it is not accidental  that men refuse to compromise over career.   And it is not about a sense of entitlement.   It is about a sense of necessity.   Created and fueld by women.
    Amy is correct that getting divorced at middle age is tough on women who chose to be SAHM.   But think about it in the other direction.   While Amy expresses surprise that a middle aged single mom who doesn’t play “girly-girl” can attract male attention, what do you imagine the dating prospects are for a middle aged man who does not pay attention to his career?
    Most men learn early that most women won’t have any interest in him unless he exudes confidence, power and high income potential.   Much harder to exude that confidence if you are constantly compromising over the level of your commitment to your career.   The rest of the guys who don’t compromise will crush you without remorse.   As long as women continue to prioritize male income so highly, men will continue to prioritize work over most everything else.   He would be stupid not to.
    When women complain that men earn more for doing the same job, I remind them that that is precisely what women have trained us to do.   Because money is worth more to  men than to women.    An extra dollar can buy women many material goods and valuable services.   But that same dollar buys all that for men, plus a larger pool of prospective dates for Saturday night.    Over decades of small decisions whether to push harder at work or fulfill some other responsibility, men are going to be more motivated than  women to choose the work task over anything else.   Because that extra dollar of income buys him more.   And women have created that reality.

  14. 114
    Marie

    Relationships are not a math equation people.   Some inequality will always exist and it is your responsibility as a woman if you feel that strongly about it to either 1)marry a guy who will understand and support your career; 2) create a plan action together to troubleshoot the inevitable conflicts in childcare and housework; or 3) not get married or have kids.   I’m constantly surprised by career oriented women who blindly marry the wrong guy thinking she can change him, wind up with 2 kids again thinking she can make it work without much of a plan, then wind up stressed out and miserable, THEN blame the guy and get divorced with no savings no back up plan and a great deal of bitterness towards men and society.  
    Look society will always be there to crimp your style.   You make your own destiny despite society not because of it.   My 100 year old grandmother managed to do what she wanted with her life, follow her dreams, have a great husband and six children.   That was in the 1930s.   All she did was find a man who believed in her and what she was trying to accomplish.   She was able to effectively communicate her dreams to him and her children.   It was a team effort and he really didn’t give a damn what society thought of his strange but successful wife.   My mother is a lawyer and when she decided to stay home she had a clear and concise plan of what her housework and childcare was worth in dollars and my parents agreed upon her salary and days off from being a stay at home mom.   She invested her own money from that salary and ended up bringing in as much if not more than my father.   If they ever divorced (not going to happen) she would still be independent.   My husband and I both make high salaries but I make a bit more.   From the outset we agreed on what would happen if we had kids and how to handle it.   He pitches in with everything.   He knows I was not ever going to be a housewife.  
      
    Everyone has choices in life.   Just because you choose one way and it didn’t work out doesn’t doom future generations to a perceived gender inequality.   Don’t succumb to self limiting beliefs perpetuated by other people’s failures, regrets, and unhappiness.   Make your own destiny.

  15. 115
    Jaine

    OH. MY. GOD.

    Okay, I have no idea how I wound up on this site. I was looking for modern day examples of paganism. Gigglesnort. Who knew Yahoo had such a finely tuned sense of irony?   Couple of things that have to be said. First, Adel @62 knows exactly what she needs to do in order to get past her OTT gratitude to her husband. Period. The emoticons give it away everytime. And thinly disguised anti-gay slurs are still repellent. Second, I notice the intelligent women on this site are the ones having the most fun, and taking it the least seriously. You all rock! You got all these men wracking their little brains to come up with equivalencies that make zero sense (well, you women expect me to WASH MY HANDS when you won’t even consider breast augmentation as a condition of dating ME!). When you manage to run the host off his own site, you’ve, ipso facto, won. Way to go! And more to the point: How in the name of God does this man make a living dispensing this kind of “advice” in the 21st century?

    To Jayne@82. Excellent points. Each and every one of them. I love the point about celibacy. I thought I was the only one who was tiring of date sex. I have to maintain a certain appearance for work, but I did stop going out when I realized that rejecting men was so often far more rewarding than sleeping with them could ever be. Like I am really interested in the guy who, within the first five minutes of meeting me, ever so sincerely told me that I have the most perfectly beautiful breasts he’s ever seen.. On a side note, I wonder if he’s still waiting behind the marina for a glimpse of said breasts. SHHHHHH … don’t tell anyone, but the beautiful 18 year old boy next door knows exactly what to do with them and, more importantly, when it’s time to go home before anyone sees him.

    And I don’t sashay around in a negligee and mules at home either, yet the repairmen seem to think they can talk about me as though I’m at a biker club. I’ve got my hair pulled up in a high ponytail, no make-up, a below the knee nightshirt and fuzzy socks on, and I hear the repairman for a major utility talking about me outside on his phone. So pleasant to hear him say that I was so pretty he didn’t know whether to kiss me or run me over. Given the choice, I’d likely have opted for the latter option.

    I simply leaned over the window and said,”You know I can hear you, right? To his credit he was terribly embarrassed, explained that he was talking to his cousin and trying to describe how beautiful I am. So, my question is: when did this become an acceptable way to describe your attraction to a woman? And really, this was a very attractive man. He wasn’t some hound who had to wait for a woman to put on HER beer goggles. Yet, that was his idea of a compliment. Geez, I guess I’m lucky I wasn’t really interested. Broken bones could   have been involved. But, hey! He did warn me first, so it’s all good, right?

  16. 116
    Lisa

    I agree with you and your job is to tell women what is not how they would like things to be.   Otherwise you would not be doing your job.   I think we have moved into a society where people are afraid to tell the truth.   Where telling the truth is seen as offensive or not PC but it’s just the truth.   I admit I don’t like a lot of what you say but I also admit it’s true.   I tell you this as a single professional women who has dated a lot.   The reason I think a lot of women in my situation get angry and take it out on you (not your fault) is because we all were taught the complete opposite as young women.    So we worked hard all our lives to be one thing and now in order to be happy in love we need to do the exact opposite.   That’s frustrating and anger inducing.   It’s a generation of women who feel like we got the raw end of   deal and were fed a line of bs.   So try not to take it personal!

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