I’m Hotter than My Boyfriend and I Feel Like I’m Settling

I’m Hotter than My Boyfriend and I Feel Like I’m Settling

I recently came across your article on what to do if you’re not super physically attracted to your boyfriend, and while I really appreciated the article, there was one thing you didn’t address–what to do if you not super attracted to them physically and are a lot more attractive than they are, but the compatibility is a 10.

My boyfriend relentlessly pursued me for a few months even after I kept telling him I wasn’t interested because he wasn’t my type. But as I got to know him, I realized he has the most incredible heart I’ve ever encountered, and understands me and treats me better than I’ve ever experienced. We started dating 7 months ago, and I’m the utter happiest I’ve ever been. He makes me laugh, takes care of me, and has even tried to take notice in styles that I like so he can dress better. I love him so much.

But as we start to talk about marriage and the future, and I KNOW our life would be wonderful and fulfilling, I can’t help but compare what he looks like to what I feel like I deserve.

I know you said a lot of people are delusional, but I am not. I would say that I am a 9 and he is around a 6, but he’s also just NOT my type so it makes it so difficult for me to feel attracted to him most days. He has lighter features, is balding, and is starting to get in shape but was previously very overweight. I want so badly to be more attracted to him.

I love him so, SO much and the thought of not moving forward towards marriage does not even compute in my brain most days because he’s my best friend in the world, but then other times I see people with the type of man I always longed for, and it aches my heart and makes me feel unsure.

What would you suggest?

Thanks so much,

Summer, 2000. I’m out to dinner, in West Hollywood, with the most physically attractive woman I’ve ever dated. We’ve been boyfriend and girlfriend for a few months. She lives with her Mom an hour away and is currently unemployed. I’m a struggling writer with big ambitions and a desire to love and be loved. We’re lonely and dysfunctional but passionate.

As we look at the menu, we observe a Billy Joel/Christie Brinkley-type couple.

My girlfriend says “Oh, that’s just like us.”

You could hear the record scratch.

I think one of the hardest parts of life is deciding when to compromise and how much.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Well, let’s face it, I’m a lot more attractive than you.”

I looked at her, dumbfounded.

I mean, I largely know where I stand on the looks continuum. If we’re being honest, she IS objectively more attractive than me. But really, who SAYS this stuff out loud?

Sorry, Justine, that was just my way of trying to identify with your story.

I’m not actually equating you with the worst of my ex-girlfriends.

I think one of the hardest parts of life is deciding when to compromise and how much.

I would only point out to you that you compromise on everything else without nearly as much agony.

Your job – too much work, not enough pay, long commute, glass ceiling, unappreciative bosses, annoying co-workers, lack of autonomy, too many meetings, too few vacations…

Your home – too small, too expensive, too far away from parks/malls/freeways/nature, not the best school district, high taxes, costly maintenance, no bathtub or guest room…

You get the point. Yet for some reason, we don’t really want to compromise on our spouse.

The whole point of Love U is to teach you what you should and should not compromise on so you can make a decision with the next forty years of your life that you can live with.

Listen, I don’t know you, nor your boyfriend, nor your relationship dynamic – I only know what you shared with me in a short email. So I won’t tell you what to do. I’ll ask you:

How many years did it take to find this man? “I realized he has the most incredible heart I’ve ever encountered, and understands me and treats me better than I’ve ever experienced. I’m the utter happiest I’ve ever been. He makes me laugh, takes care of me. I love him so much.”

Now calculate what would happen if you threw him back in the sea and tried to find someone JUST like him – just an 8 on your looks scale? How long do you think it would take to meet and marry that man. Well, given that you’ve NEVER done it before, it may be awhile.

And that’s the EXACT calculus I used when I was debating whether to get engaged to a woman who was 38 when I wanted to have two children. I told myself I could break up with her to try to find the 33-year-old version of her, or I could stick with what I got (because it was so hard to find) and take my chances.

11 years later, I very much made the right choice. When I look at what matters in marriage, it’s not whether my wife is hotter than others’ wives, it’s how we work as a couple.

If – despite his middling looks – he’s good, giving and game in bed, I would think long and hard about whether he’ll be that easy to replace. Chances are you can find a cuter guy, but can you find a BETTER one?

Good luck.

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  1. 1
    Malika with an L

    This might well be the toughest conundrum you can face when dating. Marrying someone when you are not all that excited about them physically is a challenging proposition. On the other hand, it might make you happier in the long run. How long are you willing to wait and find the catch for you? There is no right or wrong answer, but the answer will be illuminating as to how much risk you are willing to take, how good you are at being single and how much effort you are willing to put in to become a great partner yourself.

    One of the reasons i stayed single for so long (16 years) was that i did not settle. I wanted someone i was physically very attracted to (it didn’t matter whether he was cute or gorgeous, but he had to be attractive to me) and also a wonderful partner. After a very long dating process where i dated very hot men i did not want a relationship with and unattractive-to-me men who were personality-wise a great match and found out in the process i really needed to become a better person myself, i finally struck gold with a man who is not only attractive and interesting but absolute gold as a partner. It is wonderful, but it was a very LONG 16-fricking-year process and in the meantime i had to wave goodbye to having my own bio children. It was the right process for me, but sacrifices were made along the way.

    If you think someone else will make you happier, feel free to get back into the dating game but chances are that by doing this you will be choosing a feasible but difficult to realize option. I hope you are able to choose what is best for you.

    1. 1.1

      Malika, thank you for writing this. And for saying how long it took. Sometimes it takes 16 years. No one ever says this.

      I’m curious how becoming a better person led you to your mate?

      1. 1.1.1
        Malika With an L

        Not a lot of people would want to hear that it took that long, but it went the way it went and at least i had a lot of adventures along the way!

        Becoming a better person involved me getting better at being in touch with my own feelings, becoming a better listener, to rely on my gut instinct and showing i value my partner instead of bottling up that feeling inside me, scared that my partner would use that against me. It took a very long process and Evan’s tips helped a lot. Until i read his blogs men were a mistery to me, and i had no idea of the bloopers i was making. My partner states repeatedly he is very happy with our relationship. I am very glad i learnt it all before i met him!

    2. 1.2

      Malika with an L
      Fully agree with everything you wrote. While men have no qualms about having sex with women they’re not attracted to, most of us women cannot respond physically to someone we are not attracted to on many levels. While I too very deliberately opted out of family after raising my own brother, I waited to marry someone I wasn’t only attracted to in terms of looks but also values-wise. That rship broke up due to more circumstance than intent and have been alone for a lot of the time since. As a highly educated woman of color living now in da woods and totally lacking in any red neck attributes, my SMV is likely negative but still I’m willing to wait or do without. When I lived in Montana, I saw many very attractive, successful women marry dudes they didn’t really respect just so they could do the kid thing a la Lori Gottliebs advice. Disaster. They were angry at their men for not being who they wanted them to be, the poor men didn’t understand, the kids sensed to tension in the home and acted out, and some of these women had affairs with men they were actually compatible with. Horrid thing to do to
      anyone. One should be at least ok on their own and have the skills to maintain their own home etc and understand not all are going to be able to have kids and/or the rship you want may not be attainable. Life ain’t fair. This reminded me of my recent re-read of Datonomics (was snowed in for two days) discussing the disparity between
      educated men and women and how, at my age, most men
      available are not rship material. This woman comes off as really conceited yet the issue is not so different from any other woman; if you don’t like him as is, let him go so he can find someone who will.

      1. 1.2.1

        Noquay so a necessary condition for a woman to marry a man and have kids with him is she must feel quite strong, sustained, sexual attraction and be attracted to him on multiple levels? I would bet that most women simply won’t find such a man who is also willing to marry them.

        I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if society followed your rule most women would never marry or have children. Neither would most men, because, as I said in another comment, most men will never generate strong sexual desire in a women. Should women therefore be encouraged to follow single motherhood?

        “While men have no qualms about having sex with women they’re not attracted to”
        Men have to feel at least some kind of physical attraction to want to have sex with a woman, although it seems the minimum level of attraction necessary is much less than what women require.

        1. Noquay

          I wound up a single mom to my brother at 17 due family collapse/dysfunction and would not recommend that path. However, with a supportive family etc, single parenthood may not be as bad. In my way of thinking, nothing is worse than basically using someone you really do not want. Just plain cruel. Women’s greater financial independence plus the whole biological clock thing likely are the reason divorce rates are so high. Guys like the ones I describe will accept the situation because they feel they’re getting a woman they really wanted not knowing what is down the road.
          Some men want children too by any means necessary. My own father married a woman he considered beneith him to have kids yet his generation never really were involved with them. Then he married wife#2 whom he also thought was inferior because he needed a mommy type to raise his traumatized, neglected kids and he didn’t do parenting. It is not just women.

      2. 1.2.2

        Noquay, you are right about the multiple levels. I wrote about it myself in another comment. It’s such a disconnect between men and women. Men don’t need that many levels, in general. Hell, even the one level–sexual desire–doesn’t even have to be that strong. Well, for some men. I would hate to generalize. We each are having our own experiences in different bodies and in different parts of the world. It’s not all the same experience.

        As a fellow woman of color, do you think that alone means we start at a lower sexual mileage value? (Okay, unless one looks like Rhianna, Lupita, or Salma Hayek. ;-)) I hope that’s what the letters stand for. I never use that term or think of it when off this blog. I do feel that this blog can get very–Eurocentric? Evan’s core audience isn’t working class people of color, though he could probably help anyone who can pay his rates. But because of that, there is a certain economic class and ethnicity that reads here. Again, I’m being careful not to sound judgmental. It just is what it is.

        I recently made a friend who grew up in Sierra Leone. She said the standard of beauty there for women was very, very dark skin and chubby. She lived there for 19 years and moved here for college and was surprised at the difference.

        No, I’m not saying for anyone to move somewhere else. But I am learning the SMV can be fluid. It depends on location, depends on what the people near one is looking for. That’s why online dating works for many since they could potentially widen their radius.

        I agree with you with having to be okay alone. It took Malika 16 years! Many people just aren’t prepared to be alone that long. And for a woman who wants her biological children . . . People make compromises. I don’t judge. The women you observe might divorce those husbands. Maybe they married the best they could find at the age when they could still have multiple children without technological assistance. That’s compelling for many women. So it may be a disaster relationship-wise and not great for kids to see, but I bet those woman consider it a blessing kids wise. They have their kids.

        This maybe relevant to Justine, depending on her age. She may have to make decisions that she can only make now. And if she does stay with this guy she has to be able to love any children who may come out looking just like him. This really is a tough choice for her.

        1. BBQ

          So perhaps she should get with this guy, get a few kids from him, divorce him (he probably wont see that coming), alter his relationship with his kids (but hey she’s getting what she wants from him so whatever right?), that’s what she should do?

          Assuming of course she would “be able to love any children who may come out looking just like him”, that is.

          You know, if what you say about the disconnect on this between men and women is true and your comment is a display of this, why on earth should men in the long term even listen or care to what women want in regards to relationships or children?

          Why would men enter into relationships with women knowing they will just have several children with them then take said children and leave?

          How could a society which catered to womens side of the disconnect possibly even function in the long term?

          (in case it wasn’t obvious, I do judge)

        2. S.

          Look, I never said that’s what she should do. I honestly think people choose the best they can at the time. They aren’t trying to ruin their or anyone’s life. Justine says she loves this guy very much. But we don’t know if that’s real love, past his appearance and with some attraction, or if that’s just a strong platonic friendship love. Until we know, I don’t think it’s fair to judge folks.

          The biological clock is a real thing. Myself, I’m over 40 and I don’t have any bio kids and likely won’t. The biological clock didn’t tick that loud for me. So I understand what you say because I didn’t make that choice. But you or I can’t speak for a woman whose wanted babies for her entire life and is approaching the time for which she may not be able to have them, ever. And has found a man she believes loves her and she believes she loves him.

          Why should men care about this? Or women who didn’t want children? Why should anyone care about anything, honestly? The fact is this disconnect exists and has for a long time. Our species was designed to reproduce. We can’t escape that, even if we don’t choose that. There are things about men I don’t understand. Why should I come here and try to understand those things?

          At heart, many people want to find a partner of the opposite sex. The best chance at success with that is not to ignore each others’ needs. Justine’s letter is about her trying to figure out her own needs. She didn’t have to write in. She can do whatever she wants. But I don’t think she wants a marriage ending in divorce. As for kids, she hasn’t mentioned that, but it may be a factor if she’s older. She just believes she loves this guy, except for one thing and she’s wondering if that’s enough.

          I think her intentions are sound as are many peoples’ intentions. I said somewhere else, romance is a crap shoot. You don’t know if a marriage will last. You don’t. Evan didn’t know if he and his wife could have bio kids at 38. They did but he didn’t know that the day he married her. The best you can do is get to know a person, suss out the best you can your intentions and theirs and if you feel ready, leap.

          I don’t think society focuses so much on women’s needs. Even if it did, the way we live today isn’t in concert with a woman’s clock. So focused on or not, many women feel that pressure. Again, it is what it is. Another answer is, women seek out help with romance. They buy books, hire coaches, ask for and take advice. So commerce focuses on the buyer. I think other avenues are focused on men but that’s a discussion for another day. 😉

        3. BBQ

          The point which you seemed to be making, was that the disconnect between men and women on attraction was so different, that many women would compromise and have children with men they didn’t desire.

          Now that’s alright if it’s a mutually beneficial situation and each party is, for the most part, getting what they want from each other.
          However, you also wrote that maybe they would divorce the men because of said lack of desire. So if the disconnect leads to many women divorcing their husbands after getting some kids out of them (whether they went into marriage with that intention or not) and this isn’t something that men would do to women, I was asking how a society which catered to womens wants in this way could even function into the long term. (and tbh I see this current society as functioning that way)

          Why on earth would men have relationships where they gave women any power over custody etc. If they knew that women in far greater numbers than them would want divorce based on a lack of attraction. Why would they (in the long term) knowingly enforce laws that allowed that to happen, if it wasn’t a desire they possesed?
          If what you say is true then men listening to what women want when the relationships end (and not during the relationship, big difference there), and basing any laws around it, is counterproductive to everything men actually want from a relationship with a woman.

          If your right, I don’t see how humans could ever end up with a long lasting form of society where women had much say in marital or family law at all, since the logical conclusion of basing laws around what your saying about this disconnect between the sexes would mean a society were they did would be worthless to men.

          So perhaps the millenia of history have already proven you are right about the disconnect between genders.

        4. S.

          I’ll try once more. 🙂

          “The point which you seemed to be making, was that the disconnect between men and women on attraction was so different, that many women would compromise and have children with men they didn’t desire.”

          That’s not quite it. You’re making that conclusion but that’s not my point. The disconnect between men and women is not on attraction. The disconnect between men and women is that women don’t have into their 60s or 70s to create biological children. I don’t think that’s related to attraction or desire. That’s just a biological fact. The disconnect is women are always aware of it and men aren’t. So it affects how they date. Men can take loads of time because they can. Women can, but then they might not have kids. That is really all I’m saying.

          I didn’t say that women would compromise on desire to have kids. I’m literally taking Justine’s letter as an example. She doesn’t mention kids. She’s trying to figure out if she is compromising or not. If this is the best man she might find for herself. She. Does. Not. Know. So we don’t know. She may genuinely love this guy. I think many are discounting that. She’s been with him for seven months. The attraction on her end isn’t as strong as she would like. It’s not automatic that it’s not enough. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it is. That’s the nuance. That’s my main point. We can not say she’s compromising. Only she can search her feelings to know if she is. And I’m saying that’s a situation many people find themselves in. People don’t start off trying to manipulate or deceive folks. They genuinely don’t know. I feel you are missing that point I’m really trying to make. We do not know if this is a compromise. Not at this time.

          Now for some, later on they will realize it was a compromise. It may be from desire or something else and then people get divorced. For others, they are happy with their choice and stay married. On this blog, we don’t exactly focus on the folks happy with their choices unless they write in and say they are married and everything is great.

          The rest of your comment went to divorce and what men may lose during divorce but again, since you missed the nuance of the point I was making, your comment went to other conclusions. I’m simply talking mostly about this moment of indecision. It could go as you say. Or it could not!

          So yeah, it’s difficult to meet you with the rest of the comment because you’re making a lot of leaps and connections that I wasn’t really making.

          Now, I understand that you might be worried that men get the short end during the divorce. But that’s your conclusion. I didn’t say any of that. This is part of the disconnect with men and women too. You are understandably worried that men might not get what they need from relationships, maybe be taken advantage of, etc.

          I understand that concern. That’s not what I’m talking about, though. It’s not that I don’t care about that. It’s just not a foregone conclusion of this situation. Can you meet me where I am with this woman in her indecision? She doesn’t know which choice to make. I have compassion for what you are concerned about. Can you have compassion for her situation? Which may not even end as you worry about?

          That’s all I can say. I hope you understand that you’ve moved way too far ahead for me, but maybe you can meet me with the point I’m really trying to make.

        5. BBQ

          Look, I can appreciate what your saying and the added difficulty and pressure placed on women when dating with ideas of children in mind. And perhaps I did jump ridiculously far ahead of this womans current situation with a comment that might of seemed stupidly high-blown.

          However as I can’t offer anything but empathy for womens situation in dating due to their fertility I can’t really say much about that part of your comment. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can offer better advice/understanding on that, none of who are likely to be men.

          So instead I answered the part of your comment about the disconnect between the sexes, with a very far-reaching (as you pointed out) but logical conclusion of where this disconnect would lead (at least logical to me).

          You wrote “People don’t start off trying to manipulate or deceive folks. They genuinely don’t know. I feel you are missing that point I’m really trying to make. We do not know if this is a compromise. Not at this time.
          Now for some, later on they will realize it was a compromise. It may be from desire or something else and then people get divorced. ”

          When you write “people” are those people (at least in one fairly common circumstance) the women who do compromise due to this disconnect on fertility/attraction whatever?
          If so I didn’t really miss the point, although I took it to a place which wasn’t your intention in bringing it up.

          Basically I was logically following through with what your saying – if women are going to divorce men because of this “disconnect” one which men don’t have, I still think it’s logical to assume that this will create a situation which would be unfair/intolerable to men, regardless of what good intentions women with said “disconnect” are entering into relationships with. If I’m wrong about this how so?

          Sorry if I came off like a blow hard. Maybe I’m not cut out for offering advice on a relationship blog, probably not.

        6. S.

          BBQ, thanks for this comment. Text and writing on blogs are difficult mediums. Sometimes I wish we could all meet somewhere for dinner or tea and just . . . talk. That’s not going to happen, of course. But many here have been commenting for years. The same points over and over. It’s good to feel some headway. 🙂

          “However as I can’t offer anything but empathy for womens situation in dating due to their fertility I can’t really say much about that part of your comment. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can offer better advice/understanding on that, none of who are likely to be men.”

          That’s part of the disconnect. I tell you these bodies we are in, they don’t have to define who we are but they do influence us. I appreciate your empathy. I have the same empathy for men who feel taken advantage of. Though I can’t offer much there except empathy as well. And the idea that I don’t believe that most women set out with bad intentions. Some do and readily admit that. Others are like Justine. They don’t know what to do.

          When I say people, I think of women, but men too. If a man sleeps with a woman he knows wants a relationship with him, but he’s unsure he wants that too, I don’t think he’s deliberately out to hurt her. She has to ask beforehand. He may not know how he feels. I try to have compassion for . . . people.

          Those who are manipulators, no, I don’t empathize with them, but most people aren’t that savvy or even that good at manipulation. It’s a skill that takes time and practice. Most people are just going about their lives as best they can. So I focus on that.

          Sometimes a person realizes later they made a mistake. I don’t think those people–yes, people–should be lumped in the same category as the rare career manipulators (narcissists, etc.).

          Some marriages go south early on, others they have several good years beforehand. It may be that this attraction thing was an issue or it maybe a combination of factors. As for being intolerable to men, if a woman realizes soon after or years after, that the marriage isn’t working, wouldn’t that mean it’s intolerable to both of them and she’s right in seeking a divorce?

          I wish people knew themselves really well before making decisions that affect lives. I’m sure we’ve all made those decisions. I haven’t relationship-wise, but I sure have career-wise. If people were wiser about that, there would be less divorce and less pain. But no one can promise that. And then there wouldn’t be as much need for dating blogs!

          If Justine was saying she couldn’t stand this guy at all and just wanted to milk him for his money and a couple of kids, sure that would be terrible. But she wrote in to try to figure out what the right thing to do for her is. She’s not that woman, at least not yet. Some many women aren’t that woman and won’t ever be. I believe that just as I believe that men aren’t terrible beings for not always knowing *their* motivations and goals in relationships too.

          Empathy and compassion is the key to connecting. Giving people the benefit of the doubt. Disconnects don’t have to keep people from understanding one another. Thanks for showing that here. I wish it didn’t take so many comments, but it’s this medium. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I think in person this would have taken us ten minutes! But that is literally another post altogether. 😉

          P.S. I feel more calm about these things than ever. I’m going to attribute that to Evan and what I’ve learned here and in real life. I’ve learned through this blog and through practice, not to take things so personally and I really do believe most people don’t mean harm when they begin relationships.

        7. Noquay

          I think it was OK Cupid that did a study on who is and isn’t considered high SMV and sadly, unless we are Asian, we chix of color come out at the bottom. Had one pic in either OKC or POF with me in full regalia which was an awesome pic and it was rated the worst. Folk do not like the unknown. Admittedly, I’m a real weirdo by being of color, highly educated (few Native folk are) and living off grid in a rural area. Lived suburban and urban and hated it. Online you pretty much have to be average; no degree higher than bachelors, live urban or suburban, average job and income and interests. I fail at all levels‍♀️. Yet my husband found me attractive on many levels but most men really wanted dark not quite arm candy and a brainiac they could show off.

        8. S.


          Thanks for replying. I happen to agree with you as well. And that’s OKC. The majority of the folks on there are white. I found I got far more attention on sites exclusively for people of color. That said, many men of varying ethnicities want the eye candy and braniac, as you put it. People want what they want.

          I found it easier to focus on men of color online. That may be a commentary on segregation in the world but it is what it is. I have enough daily microaggressions to deal with, I’m not using my energy to fight that in online dating.

          I don’t think you’ve failed, you’ve succeeded. But the truth is there aren’t as many folks who have succeeded as you have so the matches are few, especially in rural areas.

          Even in urban areas! But I actually feel better reading Malika’s story of sixteen years. The guys are out there but it sometimes takes a while.

          So yeah, I’m long, long off OKC. And I’ve met an equal amount of men offline, just not as curated. Offline you have to meet so many *more* men because they are married, girlfriended, gay, too young, too old before you even get to personality and values criteria. But that’s meeting people in general. I’m having more fun now because even with all those differences I’m at least meeting men I have values in common with and get to have real conversations. I’m enjoying this way more than I was enjoying online dating, even though I got more dates from online dating.

          I guess I didn’t really enjoy it but I haven’t found many who do enjoy, really love online dating, especially if they are outside of whatever is considered the ‘norm’.

        9. BBQ

          Look you seem nice and my original comment was too much, but I’m gonna be honest, I’m not sure you understand what I’m saying at all, at least, you didn’t seem to acknowledge it.

          You write “if a woman realizes soon after or years after, that the marriage isn’t working, wouldn’t that mean it’s intolerable to both of them and she’s right in seeking a divorce?:

          The point of my comment was that if the ‘disconnect’ and ‘settling’ leads to women in general making the decision to divorce more than men, then the entire situation society wide (not just in this one particular relationship) would be intolerable to men. What “intentions” are started out with are irrelevant.

          Again, if both sexes enter into marriages with good intentions but then the ‘disconnect’ causes women to end them in far greater numbers then men, then they become intolerable for men to enter into, seeing as they aren’t the ones who want them to end – with everything that follows from that when family and material goods are involved.

          To use a dating analogy, let’s say your going out with a guy and he keeps flaking and not showing up to dates you’ve both previously agreed too.
          Well he might have his reasons that make showing up like he agreed intolerable to him, but that doesn’t help you right? So that situation would be intolerable to you and you would stop going on dates with him knowing there was a good chance he would flake out and that’s not something you would do.
          (in case the analogy wasn’t clear the flaky dude was the women divorcing down the road when the “disconnect that caused them to settle” made marriage intolerable to them and the woman being stood up was men at large who are getting broken up with by these women).

        10. S.

          Well, thanks for saying I seem nice. This is a difficult medium to communicate with. I have been appreciative of the maturity of the commenters here, especially when feeling your point may have been heard.

          I did think when I read the earlier comment that you and I may differ on what ‘the disconnect’ is. What I’m calling the disconnect was more about kids and reproduction and that awareness a woman had during dating. Maybe we are in agreement on that. And then you take that that if a lot of women settle and divorce men, then that would make dating itself intolerable to me. Marriage too, I suppose.

          I agree that it would. What I disagree with is that a majority of women are settling and divorcing because of that. There isn’t any evidence of that. So yes, I agree that would be intolerable. I even agree that some women might be settling. But there isn’t anything to say that’s what most people are doing. What I suggest is the reason people divorce is more varied and nuanced that just settling on attraction. Or just settling at all.

          So I think I do understand what you are saying. If I had evidence, studies, long-term longitudinal studies, this was widespread I would agree with that. But I haven’t seen that evidence. I can’t take a single situation or anecdotal stories as something that is widespread. It could be true. I just don’t know that at this time. I don’t disagree that it’s possible. I just disagree that we have evidence that that is happening the majority of the time.

          Let’s use your example. Yes, I acknowledge eventually flakiness would be intolerable to me. Actually earlier on it would. But taking this one situation, this one guy, it would be like me extrapolating that single experience to that men in general are flaky and now that I know that this is likely true, dating in general is intolerable to me and I’m quitting it.

          Or even worse, in my opinion, if me and my women friends were to chat one night about dates that flaked out and thus conclude that most men are flaky and therefore we dislike dating and are seriously considering giving it up.

          People might do that, but even if our small group did, and that’s a big if, we don’t know if men are flaky. We are such a tiny sample size. And we could have easily spent the night talking about all the men who did show up and were completely reliable. Telling stories isn’t really evidence to extrapolate to all of society.

          Now do people change their actions based on stories, especially their story? Absolutely. But then that goes back to something I said earlier that I actually learned from Evan. People have a tendency to take their story so far as THE story. I learned here, it’s just not personal. It’s one flake, goodness. I have learned not to base my future actions on a few bad experience or even a few good ones. We have to sit back, and even if it is not comfortable to evaluate each person on our own.

          Unless someone is a researcher and does have hard data and numbers on this. And if they do I would defer to that.

          So I acknowledge that if it were proven with evidence that things went all the time as you describe, I totally understand that being intolerable to men. But I don’t know for certain that it does happen that way even the majority of the time.

          I appreciate you discussing it with me. I really do think I get your point. I think? I’m sure you will tell me if I haven’t. 🙂 I would just need to see more examples, widespread in a study to know what’s happening the majority of the time to extrapolate it that far.

        11. jo

          S., I agree with you. I don’t think most marriages end because of ‘settling’ on either party’s side. I read (possibly Evan wrote it in a previous post, or elsewhere) that the two biggest reasons people get divorced are infidelity and financial disagreements / problems. You could add many, many other issues to that, including the stress of raising children, especially with disabilities, the stress of caring for elderly parents, the fact that ‘adulting’ makes people so busy that they don’t have time or money or forget to spend ‘couples’ time together, chronic illness, etc. Life just happens. Adulting is hard. I’m sure someone could come back and argue that settling is central to divorce, but that would be a real stretch.

        12. Evan Marc Katz

          You didn’t read that here. I find it hard to believe. I would think most marriages fall apart due to a lack of respect, quality time, kindness and communication – the result may be infidelity but that’s the symptom, not the cause.

        13. BBQ

          Evan Marc Katz

          I wasn’t implying that most marriages will end because of settling, I was only following thru on S.’s original comment that because of womens fertility they would possibly settle and divorce (at least in part because they settled with someone they couldn’t want to be with in the long term) down the road.

          Since Men don’t have this issue I was simply saying that women are more likely to do this than men. I’m not claiming it’s the number one reason or even number ten reason for divorce. I have no idea how common it is.

      3. 1.2.3

        Justine, for the rest of my commenting here, I’m going to think of you as looking like Rihanna. 🙂 Most people think she is very beautiful. And even if she wasn’t rich or famous or as talented, she could still have her pick of men.

        I also happen to think she’s fiercely intelligent and savvy. 🙂 But yeah. Rihanna is 31 years old and at the height of her . . . SMV? So I stick with my original advice to figure out what you want, what is your true priority. The very beautiful Tyra Banks had a gestational surrogate. She got her bio kid but it took an unusual route.

        So, ya never know!

      4. 1.2.4

        As a guy. I have to disagree with you on the “men have no qualms about having sex with women they’re not attracted to”
        There might be a great number of men who don’t have qualms.
        I personally have to see something I am attracted to in the person to want to have sex with her.
        Met this woman the other day off a dating app. Attractive lady. She was definitely wanting sex. But we went out on 3 dates….I just couldn’t find the desire for her…and I tried. So I broke things off with her the other day.
        I need to be with someone I find attractive and good looking (to me).

        1. Noquay

          I’m glad you feel that way. However, a good many men just looking for sex do not. Even though I tend to hang out in professional/academic circles, I’ve had male acquaintances hook up with women strung out on drugs, women they never wish to see again after hooking up, women they string along for months/years with no intent of marriage. Can’t imagine what the bar set gets up to. True,
          women should not be putting up with this behavior but it is sadly common. Most of us women are looking for someone we see ourselves sharing a life with. If we cannot see that as a possibility, most of us understand we need to end it. This woman, Justine describes the rship as lonely and dysfunctional yet passionate. Yikes!

  2. 2
    april hunter

    Just a quick comment on the comparison of compromise:
    You said we compromise all the time (true)…job, house, location, etc. Why can’t we compromise more with our spousal choice?
    Because we can get another job or we can move.
    In THEORY (and hopefully practice)…we only get married ONCE. We get one shot to get it right.
    Therein lies the pressure.

    I’m just pointing out the one mindset flaw I noticed that wasn’t addressed.
    And your ex sounds like she should be an ex. 😉

    1. 2.1

      April Hunter,

      that’s actually a very good point. I didn’t even think about that.

  3. 3

    I hope the writer is honest with herself as to how she truly feels — not how she should feel. If she can’t wholly and openheartedly commit, no matter how superficial the reason, end it. Not because she’s “right” to do so, but because it just won’t work. People gain weight. They dress how they’re comfortable. And if that makes your stomach turn, or even pray fervently that it won’t happen to you…. stop, drop, and roll. Maybe her values need to be adjusted and maybe they don’t, but you can’t grit your teeth and have a happy marriage.

  4. 4

    I think the ideal scenario would be where you are able to change how you feel. Can you do that, get into an emotional state where you don’t feel like you’re settling but making the sensible decision?

  5. 5
    Michael D

    I agree with everything Evan says about deciding how much to compromise when looking for a partner.

    That being said, Justine believes she’s selling herself short because she knows that there is no shortage of single, unattractive, fat, bald men who would walk through fire to get a her a glass of water.

    Unless she has deadline around having a family or has a profound attitude change, she should break up with him and find the type of man she’s looking for. The wise philosopher, Chris Rock, once asked a group of married men, “Do you know why your wife is so angry at you all the time? It’s because you weren’t her first choice.” This woman should save herself and this man a potential lifetime of regret, and let this guy go.

  6. 6

    This is a tricky problem, because of the divide between the politically correct answer and the answer that all of us who’ve been in similar situations know. So, good for Evan for answering it with such carefulness. Ultimately, I agree with Malika, Dana, and Michael D.

    Justine, if this is going to last in the long run, you can’t be in a situation where, as you wrote, you find him unattractive ‘most days.’ At least, I don’t think that’s one that will satisfy him (nor you). I do think many good men exist out there, including attractive good men, but you may have to wait more years as Evan and Malika point out. So you need to factor in that you may or may not be a 9 after however many years of waiting, and might face stiffer competition with other women in landing those attractive men with hearts of gold.

    But you also need to ask yourself whether you are too worried about how others outside will perceive you, thinking you settled because he is less attractive than you. I got a sense that you care a lot about that from your letter, but others’ opinions shouldn’t matter. We can’t always explain who we are attracted to in a way that makes sense to others. Don’t worry about the outside image – do what is good and right for you and him.

  7. 7

    The OP doesn’t say how she feels about him sexually or what their sex life is like?
    I think that would be very important information.
    I get the feeling she is probably happy with him sexually though because she describes herself as being extremely happy. The guy also seems to be making every effort to please her, which I would think would include sexually.
    Look, Justine, if things are great between you in the bedroom, then I think you have 80% of the package and I would hold onto this one. Here’s why:
    * You may be a 9 now and he may be a 6, but these comparisons will not always be relevant. When you are 50 and older, these distinctions will not matter much or even be that noticeable.
    * He seems game to change unattractive habits about himself, and things like being overweight and having a bad sense of style are fixable. If he is losing weight and open to dressing better, great! Help him to eat healthier, go jogging or walking or to the gym together a few times a week, and ask him if he would let you go clothes shopping with him or would be open to your suggestions. My bet is that he will go along with these things. Win! Much of your problem solved.
    * Someone who clicks with you, is easy to be with, treats you well, understand you and makes you extremely happy is much harder to find than someone who is very good looking.

    1. 7.1


      I actually don’t think she’s happy with her sex life. Actually, I think that is the problem. Everything else is supposedly great. But she is worried about not just his overall attractiveness, but also about her not being all that attracted to him. If it was just looks, it wouldn’t weigh so heavily. I think she doesn’t really desire him all that much, worries about it getting even worse, and missing out on a great sex life. She just doesn’t come out and say it straight up. Because – well – she’s a woman. How dare she talk about such things. Remember, we’re not supposed to be the sexual and visual ones.

  8. 8
    Yet Another Guy

    First off, I wonder if the LW has a realistic assessment of where she actually falls within the female social hierarchy. I have encountered very few natural 9s in my life. We are talking about the most naturally beautiful women in the world because their is really no such thing as a perfect 10 (e.g., Cindy Crawford was no more than a natural 8 in her prime and most women are not remotely that beautiful). Finding a perfect 10 is akin to finding a unicorn. I wonder if the LW is comparing the dressed to the nines version of herself to her boyfriend versus the no makeup, sweat pants, and a ponytail version of herself to him. Most made up 9s are 7s or less au naturel. The only real test of a woman’s SMV is the SMV of the man who treats her with respect. If the LW is truly a natural 9, then she should have no problem finding a man who is a true 9 who will treat her the way her current boyfriend treats her. My bet is that the LW is a natural 6 or 7 sans the expensive wardrobe, hairstyle, and makeup. Those optical tricks only work for so many years. The effects of aging expose the true genetically gifted women from those who whose looks were a combination of good basic genes coupled with a sense of style, a good hairdresser, and high-quality makeup.

    The TL;DR version is that the LW needs to get a grip before she makes this poor man’s life miserable.

    1. 8.1

      YAG, it depends on how you set up that numerical scale. Personally, I’ve thought of it more as percentiles. So people in the 9-10 range are not that rare; they make up 10% of women and 10% of men, in the top tenth. If she says she’s 9, I see no reason not to believe her. It’s not that rare.

      It seems to make much more sense to base those numbers on percentiles of the population, because that reflects who’s actually out there and available, not one’s fantasy.

    2. 8.2


      I agree. On a scale of 1-10 the top 10% should be 10s and the next 10% should be 9s, etc.

      But given the infamous surveys that show that woman think that only 20% of men are above average in looks she is more likely underestimating his looks on a scale of 1-10.

      1. 8.2.1


        I actually always get a chuckle out of that one. It’s not just that study. But multiple studies have shown that women tend to find only 20% of men above average looks. So women get told that they’re underestimating men’s looks. Well, no, Women are not. That’s just how men look to women. If a large majority of women agrees, the large majority of women is not wrong. Who is actually claiming that more than 20% of men are above average in looks? Where is this coming from, and by whose standards? (Not attacking you, I just always found this funny).

        1. ezamuzed


          Go ahead and attack me.

          But it is a mathematical fact that 50% of men would have to have above average looks.

          What these studies are really suggesting is that woman find only 20% of men attractive. And that the men who might be considered 6,7 & 8s on a scale of 1-10 are not good looking enough to make woman think they are attractive.

        2. jo

          sylvana, I agree with ezamused, since we’re talking about simple statistics. By definition, half of men would have to be above average in looks, if the total pool is all men. If what you mean is expanding the pool to include all men and all women, that’s a different story. But we’re assuming it’s straight women evaluating men.

          So yes, what that 20% probably represents is the fraction of men that women find attractive, which (if we have to go back to that tired numerical scale) corresponds to men in the 8-10 range of looks.

          All of this is over my head, anyway, since looks don’t matter much to me at all. I’m with Karl R and S. in considering intellect and kindness more important, and independently turn-ons. Looks are one of those weird traits where I have been attracted to plenty of men in the past that others would think ugly, because something about their energy (or intellect or kindness) lit a spark. But to each their own. Justine seems to have a different set of priorities, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

        3. MARA

          I totally agree. Also most men do not spend a fraction of the time and money women spend to beautify themselves.
          I have had many problems with boyfriend even lacking basic hygiene like cutting their nails and actually using shampoo, not just wetting hair when taking a shower (you know the wet dog scent? yeah). I also had multiple incidents with B.O. in other iportant anatomical parts not to mention terrible, used shoes and clothes with holes in them and stinky feet and hair growing inside the nostrils. Yes, more than one boyfriend. SO you are entirely right. Most men don’t look above average BECAUSE THEY DON’T EVEN TRY TO

    3. 8.3


      Honestly, I doesn’t really matter where she, herself, is on the scale. She has mentioned that she doesn’t find him attractive most days. He could be the best looking guy in the world, if she’s not all that attracted to him, it’s a serious problem.

      You, as a man, will be the first to point out that you’ll still expect her to “put out” in the relationship over the years. Well, that gets a bit hard to do when someone you’re not attracted to wants to shove something into your body, then saw it in and out.

      1. 8.3.1
        Yet Another Guy


        I have never expected a woman to “put out.” Quite frankly, if a woman does not desire me physically, I move on, no harm, no foul. Life is too short to spend it with someone who feels little to no physical desire for you. That is why I put the kibosh on women who claim that physical attraction grew for a guy. What happened is that a woman discovered that a man’s compensating (a.k.a. “dad”) attributes made him more attractive as a partner. That is not the same thing and will not stand the test of time when it comes to physical intimacy. There is a huge difference between a woman giving herself to a man because she loves him for who he is and giving herself to him because she truly physically desires him. One occurs because he meets her comfort needs. The other occurs because he meets her arousal needs. There is nothing saying that a man cannot meet both sets of needs, but that type of situation rarely, if ever occurs in a “he grew on me” type relationship, which is what we have in this case. That is why I tell guys to run when they find themselves in a “he grew on me” type of relationship (i.e., if a woman utters those words to friends, even in jest, run). As Jeremy has mentioned many times, increasing a woman’s comfort level does not increase her arousal level. Unless a guy is willing to accept the fact that he will become her BFF roommate in a relationship where sex becomes another chore to her, his best bet is to move on. That does not mean a man does not need to meet a woman’s comfort needs. However, it does mean that physical attraction almost always leads comfort in relationships that remain sexually intimate and stand the test of time. Any man who is good with women knows that when a woman is truly physically attracted, her comfort level plummets due to anxiety. She starts to fidget and consciously or unconsciously send out what are referred to as “indicators of interest” (IOIs) in the seduction world. That is where being able to use things like humor to reduce anxiety and make a women feel comfortable come into play. Charm is little more than the expression of wit and humor. Women love charm because it is disarming. Once again, attraction + comfort = seduction, and it works almost every time.

  9. 9

    I am having a hard time re-conciling “I’m the utter happiest I’ve ever been. He makes me laugh, takes care of me, . . . I love him so much.” and “. I want so badly to be more attracted to him.”

    I just can’t fathom someone so utterly happy and so much in love writing such an angst filled letter. It seems to me that because he pursued her so hard and treats her so well that she feels like she SHOULD be happy and she SHOULD love his so much.

    I am not saying this to be unkind, because I was in a similar situation with a guy. I was totally in love with his personality and how he treated me, but his looks, not so much. I felt so shallow for not being able to get past his looks. I’m not exactly a 9, more like I am a 6-7 and he was around a 4 in looks and an 8 in kindness and character. Sigh, I tried to force myself into a relationship with him. He broke up with me in an argument over my ex hubby buying me a cell phone (we were actually separated, not divorced) but I must admit that I was RELIEVED when he called it quits. A few months later when I changed my marital status from “separated” to “divorced” on match, he reached out to me and wanted to try again. We went out one time, and I realized that I just couldn’t string him along. I felt terrible about it, but I really didn’t want to hurt him.

    I don’t think any man or woman does anyone a favor going in with marginal or non-existant attraction. After that relationship I WISHED so hard that ONLY compatibility mattered and thought how much easier relationships would be, if that’s all there was to it.

    I’m so glad I didn’t try to force a relationship with him due to my guilt over being so “shallow” . I would have ended up being a bitchy girlfriend to him and he didn’t deserve that.

  10. 10

    This might sound cruel, but if she’s thinking of “settling” for this guy, then she is likely in a position where she feels “settling” may be her best option for the future. What I mean is she’s ageing and doesn’t know if she’ll find the hotter guy with the same personality in time to get everything out of the relationship that she wants (tho I have no idea how old OP is, could be 28 could be 36).

    What she should realise is tho objectively looks wise she may still be hot as hell at 36 or older, if she’s looking for marriage or children in a long term relationship, the amount of guys seeing her as suitable for that purpose will decrease, hot or not. So the even hotter guy becomes a longer shot.

    Having said that, I think she should break up with this guy for his sake as she will almost certainly come to resent him and start picking up other little things about him she doesn’t like.

    Honestly since he was capable of getting this hot woman, if he isn’t chasing the “hottest” woman he can find, HE can probably do better.

  11. 11
    Karl R

    Justine said:
    “I want so badly to be more attracted to him.”

    I can’t quite empathize with your position. Most women (subjectively) would put me in the 3-8 range … and I’m a bit more surprised by the 8s than the 3s. But as a man in that range, I’ve dated women who were in the (subjective) 3-9 range. I haven’t necessarily looked at my girlfriends and been OMFGWow!! about them.

    Years ago, on a different blog, I read a post where a woman talked about dating less attractive men. I could empathize. Physical attractiveness has never been my primary criterion, and my wife happens to rank about 3rd among all the women I have ever dated. (I suspect I rank lower than 3rd on physical attractiveness for all the men she’s ever dated.) I’d previously dated women far less attractive than my wife for months.

    What the author of that blog post said rang a chord with me. There’s a personal decision she made (and I made … and you can choose to make). Do you focus on your partner’s best features … or do you focus on their worst features?

    I recommend focusing on your partner’s best features. My wife and I are less than a week from our 7th anniversary, my wife is 65, and I like being able to lust after her. I’m not going to pretend that she looks her best all of the time. She’s pretty dour and grumpy when she wakes up in the morning … and that’s not her best look. And if that was the mental image of her that I chose to carry with me throughout the day … Bleah!

    If you want to be with your boyfriend, train yourself to focus on what you like about him. If you’re looking to dump him, train yourself to focus on his shortcomings. (But if you train yourself to do the latter, it might be a difficult habit to break with your next boyfriend.)

    I realize that we are not particularly similar in physical attractiveness … but there is one way where we compare a little more closely.

    While you’re focused on physical attractiveness, I’m more focused on intellect. You’re (subjectively) in the top 10% (or so) for physical beauty. I’m (objectively) in the top 0.1% (or so) for intellect. And I can date women in that range. I’ve done so, more than once.

    If I had limited myself to women in the top 0.1% (or even the top 1%), I would have ruled out 99.9% (or 99%) of all women. That’s not a smart dating strategy.

    I didn’t think about “Can I do smarter?” Instead, I looked at, “When we disagree, is she smart enough that I’ll respect her point of view?” Similarly, for your boyfriend, you shouldn’t be thinking “Can I do better looking?” If that’s your question, I’ll guarantee you that you can. But the better question to ask is, “Can I find him desirable when it’s appropriate?”

    Could I date someone smarter that my wife? Absolutely. I already have. My wife is 16 years older than me. Could I date someone younger than her? Absolutely. Every other girlfriend was younger than her. Could I date someone more attractive than her? More challenging, but I’ve done it.

    Could I date someone smarter, younger -and- more attractive than my wife? …. Absolutely. I’ve done it before. However, it turned out that woman was an absolutely crappy girlfriend. I’m sure she would have been worse as a wife. (She wasn’t evil. She just couldn’t figure out a work-life balance.)

    I’m not trying to judge you on this. As I said, my girlfriends (and wife) had to be smart enough to where I respected their opinion. If not, the relationship was going to fail. There were a few girlfriends (who objectively were still above average intelligence) who failed to meet that standard. We all have our own elitism to deal with. Given that gap, it was in everyone’s best interest for me to head things off. We weren’t going to be a couple. (No lengthy explanations needed.)

    As someone who has lived through this conundrum (perhaps even more sharply than you have), I have to say that “what I feel like I deserve” is not the best measuring stick for judging a relationship. And maybe this is a difference in life experience. Two or three relationships with fine-looking pricks would convince you of the difference between “better looking” and “better.”

    Figure out a minimum bar that a boyfriend has to clear. And make it something that’s meaningful to a relationship. (My ability to respect my wife falls into that category.) If your boyfriend meets that criterion, that’s sufficient. If he doesn’t, that’s your fault, not his. (I never blamed my ex-girlfriends for my own criteria. My limits were my fault, not theirs. Own your boundaries.)

    You know yourself better than anyone else does. Keep your boyfriend or ditch him on that basis.

    1. 11.1
      Malika With an L

      I found your comment very illuminating and liked how you explained your own process while finding the right person for you. Wanting someone who you can respect on a certain trait when you are exceptional in that regard is tough, whatever trait that may be. A lot of attention is given to the fact that attractive people have way fewer options to date if they want to find people on their own level. Being highly intelligent and wanting a certain sharpness from your partner leads, i can imagine, to even fewer options (in my opinion, attractive people are far more abundant than exceptionally intelligent people).

      It is ingrained in us by society to seek out a partner we think we deserve. It is very natural for Justine to want a 9 if she perceives herself as a 9. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a relationship with someone i felt was disappointing in a certain way. I won the lottery with my partner who answers all of my picky prayers, but wouldn’t wish the long process to find him on anyone. I hope Justine gets to read your comment and decide whether she can respect him for what he offers and lead a happy life with the easier choice than getting out into the dating world again.

      1. 11.1.1


        “I won the lottery with my partner who answers all of my picky prayers, but wouldn’t wish the long process to find him on anyone.”

        I feel the same way. I do feel very happy and appreciative to be with a guy who is good looking, intelligent, successful, kind, funny, easygoing, a good communicator and who “gets” me, but I would never call myself lucky. I paid my dues and then some to get here. I feel compelled to say it was worth it because I am very happy now, but the pain, mistreatment, and discouragement that I experienced (mixed in obviously with a lot of good experiences) in dating and relationships before now was nearly unbearable at times.
        Of course if you’re learning and growing from all your experiences, then in theory the quality of partners should be increasing as you go along, and you should be able to spot problematic people a lot sooner, but, like gambling, you still have to know when to “quit.” A very significant skill in dating I think is to know when you’re onto a good thing and not to risk it. Some people are never really satisfied, but I think that’s because they have not learned to appreciate how rare and valuable some qualities are in a person.
        I’m inclined to feel, based on everything that I have gone through, that looks are highly overrated, especially for we women who are able to feel respect and attraction for a man for so many other qualities. If someone makes you happy, that is HUGE. Justine could decide to take her chances out there in the dating world, but the likelihood is that she will pay a very high emotional price to find a man who makes her as happy, treats her as well and is a few notches higher on the attractiveness pole. You’ve also got to keep in mind that the looks of even very good looking men fade quite rapidly – they go bald, they don’t tend to take as good care of their skin, etc. I’m inclined to favour a man who stays healthy and in shape over one who won the genetic lottery because health and fitness are much more long term.

        1. Malika With an L

          I completely understand where you are coming from. For both of us it was a long process and i have said it before: If i had put as much effort into my writing as i have in relationships that were never going to make me happy, I would have written my very own War and Peace by now. I know someone who met her dream man straight after college, while waiting tables in between jobs. She has had all her twenties and thirties with a partner who is perfect for her. It is hard to look at people like that and not feel envy, but most of us have had to figure out who would make us happy the hard way. Everyone struggles in some departments, the love department just happened to be our very own struggle.

          Being attracted to a man is vital for a long term relationship but therefore basing your choice on natural-born good looks is definitely not per se the winning strategy. I prefer someone who has character and knows how to look after themselves, that will be more vital to keeping the flame alive in the wrong term. That is unfortunately a lesson that is hard to wrap your head around when you are very young.

        2. Clare


          “If i had put as much effort into my writing as i have in relationships that were never going to make me happy, I would have written my very own War and Peace by now.”

          I, too, am a writer, and this gave me a laugh because it is also slightly pains me to think what I could have achieved had I put the time and effort into my writing that I did into my relationships. But that just demonstrates to me how important connection and relationship are to me. I sometimes joke (with myself) that I have a master’s degree in reading people as a result of all my dating experiences.

          “She has had all her twenties and thirties with a partner who is perfect for her. It is hard to look at people like that and not feel envy, but most of us have had to figure out who would make us happy the hard way.”

          It is difficult not to be envious of some people, and I certainly was at one stage, but then I realised that other parts of life have come easily to me and likely not to those people (I have never had to worry about my weight, for instance, and have always been able to eat whatever I liked). We all have our own private tortures and struggles that God has been kind enough to bestow on us.

          “I prefer someone who has character and knows how to look after themselves, that will be more vital to keeping the flame alive in the wrong term.”

          I cringe when I think how little I knew about relationships and partners when I was young. My ex-husband (whom I married when I was 22) was gorgeous. Natural, genetic good looks. Fifteen years later and he is 35 kg heavier and losing his hair. The same thing has happened to the husbands of many of my peers – they were very handsome when the couple married, but those looks faded surprisingly fast. That was a big lesson for me – if you can feel attraction for someone based on qualities other than that person’s genetic looks, that is a very important thing.

    2. 11.2

      Karl R,

      keep in mind, sex is a big problem here. You men want it, no matter what. Some women (like I) are the same. I have an extremely high sex drive. But a great majority of women are not like that.

      Now, if a woman has an average sex drive, and she’s not attracted to her boyfriend/husband, where do you think this will lead? Even if she focuses on his best features, if they’re not sexual, or don’t’ trigger arousal in her, it won’t do any good whatsoever. Women are not men. Most don’t just have this urgent desire to have sex all the time. Or at all.

    3. 11.3
      Mrs Happy

      You’re nowhere near a 3. You were 7-8 when I saw you dance. Add 0.5-1.0 for sheer confidence and slinky moves on the dance floor. Minus 1-2 for age (it was years ago). Thus probably still around 7-8.

  12. 12

    The story reminds me of my last long term relationship that ended three years ago. I pursed “Mary” as initially, I was not her type. Eventually, I won her over as her “8” was great motivation. However, she viewed me as a ‘fixer-upper’ type of BF. Some things were good: lost weight, changed my hairstyle as at 60 I had a full head of now grey hair, and got my teeth to straighten via braces. Eventually, I felt not quite good enough; I started to be concerned if she was capable of mature love.

    However, her “friends” got better deals; all-expense-paid vacations, private jets in one case, and international travel in another. And since she was hotter, she thought she could do better and told me so. But the topper was sharing the estate. It is a long story, but she wanted 100% of my estate (assuming I go first) and nothing if she went first. Wow… So it went from an intelligent man that was attractive, to making ‘crazy money’ in order to treat her well, to expected to cover living expenses like a kept woman. Call me crazy as I want someone loving, caring and responsible with money

    Let’s say the relationship went from love for each other to love of money from her. Yikes, I feel I am a generous man, but I will not be shamed or blackmail to keep a dysfunctional hookup goingd forward. I wanted a life partner, not a gold digger. Sunk cost be damned as I saw her true colors at the end.

    Justice served; last I heard she found a local community service employee with a pension. Apparently Gulfstream travel rights are hard to secure if you are 55 or older 🙂

  13. 13

    Justine, you wrote that this man pursued you relentlessly, is changing himself for you, and treats you better than anyone ever has. Why do you think that is? (I wish I could Bold that question, it’s so important here). Are you doing the same for him? Are you changing yourself for him, treating him better than any woman ever has? My guess (and I fully admit it’s a guess) – is that you aren’t. Because IME, hoop-jumping in relationships with an attractiveness disparity tends to go mostly one-way, with the more-attractive partner feeling that she’s reciprocating just by being there. Frankly, many such people consider themselves to be giving MORE, to be giving something valuable away at a discount.

    I recently asked a question to the women on this site – would you be ok being with a man who was better-looking than you and also made more money than you? Many women responded that they would be. But my contention is that they didn’t think the question all the way through to its ramifications. Do you want a partner who compromises for you, or do you want to BE the person doing the compromising? And don’t think that you both will or that neither or you will. In any relationship, one person is going to be doing more compromise than the other. Whom do you want to BE? Because the man who’s better-looking and higher-status than you? Ain’t gonna compromise much for you. Won’t think he has to. Will think he’s giving something away at a discount. Don’t believe me? Look at your own wording, Justine – you didn’t write, “I can’t help but compare what he looks like to what I’M ATTRACTED TO.” You wrote, “I can’t help but compare what he looks like to what I feel like I DESERVE.”

    What do you deserve, Justine? What does your partner deserve?

    1. 13.1


      As you know I do not agree with you in entirety, but I definitely do agree with you that relationships should not be unequal, or not significantly so. From my observation, that never works in adult relationships, whether it’s a friendship, a romantic relationship, a business or employer/employee relationship, or a landlord/tenant relationship. Both parties need to be contributing something of significant value to the other – in other words, they need to be contributing something which not only they, but also their *partner* sees as very valuable, scarce even, for it to work.
      These do not have to be the same things for both parties. In fact, in the majority of relationships, each party will be contributing something different, but in my experience, each party has to feel like he or she is getting a good deal. (This is maybe where I disagree with you Jeremy, as I do not feel that one party necessarily needs to be compromising more than the other.) I think both parties should feel an intense sense of appreciation for the other person which inspires them to constantly give back to the relationship. This creates a positive feedback loop. How you create that sense of appreciation and positive feedback is up to each individual pair/couple.
      A relationship where one person feels he or she is “giving something away at a discount” or is significantly more valuable than the other person is a very bad idea. This breeds resentment on the part of the person who feels more valuable, and insecurity on the part of the person who feels that they don’t measure up. (But of course, there are a multitude of ways to contribute to a relationship, Jeremy. Another point where I think we disagree – I do not necessarily think that a relationship where one person is better looking and more successful needs to be unequal, unless those differences are very significant.)

      1. 13.1.1

        The price of any given thing is set by the seller, not the buyer. If I go into a grocery store and fill up my buggy, I can’t expect the cashier to accept a song I sing to her in lieu of cash payment. Doesn’t matter how valuable I think my song is. The seller sets the price; the buyer determines whether he wants to pay it.

        This metaphor is so very apt to relationships. Because, as I so often write, so many people believe they are contributing to a relationship – equally, or even superiorly compared to what their partner is contributing…..but are they contributing what their partner wants, or what they do? Spreadsheet guy’s wife wrote, “Yes, our sex life has dropped lately, but isn’t that allowed? I cook for him, I clean for him, isn’t that enough?” Enough for whom? By whose metric? Who are you even asking, and whom SHOULD you be asking?

        I bring this up, Clare, because while I mostly agree with your comment, the one area in which I disagree is on the subject of “equality.” It is indeed true that there are a multitude of ways to contribute to a relationship….but care must be taken when judging whether that contribution is to the partner or to the self. Because if Spreadsheet guy would rather eat pizza off paper plates and have sex, while his wife would rather have a home-cooked dinner on stoneware plates and go to sleep, her cooking and cleaning are for HER. Not the relationship. And she will see “equality” where he does not. She will see herself as having compromised, while he will see her as someone who rarely compromises. She will wonder why he never compromises in return, and he will wonder why she’d ever think he should. I chose appearance/sex and money/status as my examples very deliberately. Because IME they tend to form different-sized slices in each gender’s relationship-pie-chart. A wife might feel that her multi-tasking skills and excellent chocolate brownie recipe are excellent ways in which she contributes to a relationship….while to her husband those things might make up less than a fraction of one percent of his pie-chart.

        TL;DR – the person who feels more valuable is not necessarily perceived as such by their partner. But that person will be less likely to compromise, because they feel they already are.

        1. Clare


          I think you mistakenly think that I do not agree with you here, which is not the case.
          In fact, I said that each party must be contributing something significant WHICH THEIR PARTNER VALUES.
          I do wish you would not be so adversarial 🙂 Please see that I am discussing this issue with you, not disagreeing.

        2. Jeremy

          Your right Clare. I think some of these recent posts and comments have contributed to a worsening of my mood, which is generally not great this time of year. Something I’m working on.

          Regarding the OP, she needs to understand that one does not marry one’s best friend. Or, at least, best friendship is not the only qualification. One needs some degree of chemistry, friendship, and lifestyle compatibility. Remove even one leg from the tripod and it all comes tumbling down.

          For all that I gripe about my parents, my mother once gave me excellent advice after a bad breakup. She said, “It’s not enough to find someone you feel lucky to be with. They also need to feel lucky to be with you. You shouldn’t need to work so hard to convince them to be so.” This advice rang through me when, after a few months of dating my now wife, she told me how lucky she felt to be with me. And I felt the same. Ironic that I spend so much of my time trying to prove my worth now…. She doesn’t need me to do so. It’s not a compromise for her, it’s for me. Exactly like spreadsheet guy’s wife with her cooking. It’s more my own self-doubt and wrong headed attempts to dispel it. Again, something I’m working on.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Jeremy – You said “For all that I gripe about my parents, my mother once gave me excellent advice after a bad breakup. She said, “It’s not enough to find someone you feel lucky to be with. They also need to feel lucky to be with you. You shouldn’t need to work so hard to convince them to be so.”

          Thank you for that. Your mom is spot on. This is what I was trying to convey about “even handed” relationships. BOTH people need to feel luck to be with each other. I guess I didn’t clearly convey that in any of my posts on the subject, but what your mom said is spot on and that’s what I desire in a relationship (and what I have with my husband). A MUTUAL feeling that we are both lucky to have each other. Not an either/or situation where one person feels like they “settled”, making the other person feeling like they have to constantly compromise and prove themselves.

      2. 13.1.2

        Clare said “I definitely do agree with you that relationships should not be unequal, or not significantly so.”

        I agree Clare, I have always looked for “even handedness” in relationships and I think I am one of the few people who thinks that an even handed relationship is even possible. Jeremy is not the first person I’ve interacted with who believes that there is always someone in the relationship with the upper hand. (He said “Do you want a partner who compromises for you, or do you want to BE the person doing the compromising? And don’t think that you both will or that neither or you will. In any relationship, one person is going to be doing more compromise than the other. Whom do you want to BE? Because the man who’s better-looking and higher-status than you? Ain’t gonna compromise much for you. Won’t think he has to. Will think he’s giving something away at a discount.” )

        And it becomes a self fullfilling prophecy, since most people seem to think that one person has to have the upper hand, they decide which one they want to be, and never consider the possiblity of an even handed relationship.

        As to the question, “which one to you want to BE” I say neither. I certainly don’t want to be with someone who considers himself so far above me, that he lords his superiority over me, refused to compromise on anything, insists on a “my way or the highway” attitude. I don’t want to be under someone’s thumb. I would consider such a man to be a dick. Nor do I want a to be with a man who I had to convince myself I was attracted to. Sure, I might have the “upper hand” but at what cost ? To be wincing and cringing when he wants to be intimate ? In the case of a man who was SIGNIFICANTLY lower income, I really wouldn’t want to be carrying all or most of the financial burden, and I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an attraction disparity either, being with a man who always wanted to be on me, while I needed a few glasses of wine to get in the mood.

        As long as we are both financially stable enough (I’m not going to count out spending and earning to the penny) and attracted enough and we both feel like we got a great catch, I’m good. As soon as someone thinks that their “too good” for me, (giving away their goods at a “discount”) I’m outta there.

        I think the LW feels that she is selling her looks at a “discount”. Right or wrong, that’s how she feels. I don’t think she can talk herself into finding him more attractive. I don’t think she’s a bad person for feeling the way she does. I DO think it would be a bad decision to marry him feeling as she does based on how she thinks she SHOULD feel. There was a heartbreaking letter to Evan year’s ago about a woman who married a man and she couldn’t get past his FACE. Very sad. This letter seems to be a pre-quel to that letter.

        I think the LW should let him go, so he can find a woman who finds him very attractive and doesn’t have to convince herself to feel the way she “should”. I am not holding the LW’s boyfriend blameless here. She intially was disinterested but he pursued her very hard. I wonder if he regularly goes for the “hot” girls ? I wonder if he would ever be able to find a woman roughly as attractive as him, attractive ?

        1. Jeremy

          “As to the question Which one do you want to Be I say neither.” REALLY? Are you the same Sparkling Emerald who once had a long discussion with me on the post “Why men need to court women again”? When I suggested that one way women could reciprocate for men’s courtship is to initiate a kiss, you replied that women won’t do that…..because they don’t want to. Because it would feel too masculine? That they will only reciprocate the way they (the WOMEN) want to (which is not how men will necessarily perceive reciprocation at all)? But SE, when it comes to compromise, I thought you wanted neither! 🙂

          So much of the compromise that occurs in relationships is clandestine. Invisible when it happens, but highly visible when it doesn’t. My observation, SE, is that lifestyle is generally more important to women than men (at least, when courting during child-bearing years). And having a partner more willing to compromise in that regard is more important to women than to men.

        2. Jeremy

          To clarify, in our discussion on that other post, SE, I discussed how the essence of courtship is a man speaking a masculine message in feminine language. He is trying to tell her that he is interested in her, but instead of direct (masculine) communication he does so through slow courtship. To build her comfort. To show her that he is willing to put her comfort over his own desires. How might she reciprocate? By returning a feminine message of desire in masculine language – direct interest. The logic is inescapable. Your reply was that women won’t do this….but that men are still expected (by women) to court. In spite of lack of reciprocation in kind. Oh, there is indeed reciprocation….but not necessarily of a type that would be perceived as reciprocation. See my comment to Clare, above.

          In any relationship, one person will compromise more than the other. And the other person will hardly perceive it at all because it will just be business as usual. The person doing the majority of the compromises – to the priorities of the OTHER, not to their own conflicting priorities – will be the one doing the majority of “courting.” Married or unmarried.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy asked ” Are you the same Sparkling Emerald who once had a long discussion with me on the post “Why men need to court women again”? When I suggested that one way women could reciprocate for men’s courtship is to initiate a kiss . . .”

          Yes, that was me. We were having a discussion about masculine vs feminine polarity, though and not who has the upper hand in a relationship. Our convo started at 71.2.1. (very long thread).

          This is a discussion about your assertion that ““Do you want a partner who compromises for you, or do you want to BE the person doing the compromising? And don’t think that you both will or that neither or you will. In any relationship, one person is going to be doing more compromise than the other. Whom do you want to BE? Because the man who’s better-looking and higher-status than you? Ain’t gonna compromise much for you. Won’t think he has to. Will think he’s giving something away at a discount.” )”

          Two different discussions, one about masculine vs feminine energy, the other about who compromises more in a relationship.

          Anyway, you are insisting that it can never be even, one person will always be the compromiser and the one who feels like the are giving away something of value at a discount will be the one who never compromises. I don’t believe that. In fact, what you describe, the person who never compromises because the think they are giving away something at a discount, is my definition of an asshole. (they think they are too good for their partner, so the act like a jerk). I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with someone like that, nor would I want to BE a person like that.

          I believe relationships can be even handed. That doesn’t mean each person contributes the EXACT same things to the relationship, or that their courtship period was completely androgynous. Just that no person feels like they are under the thumb of the other. No one feels like they are so high above the other that they are entitled to act like an asshole.

          Since you don’t think an even handed relationship are possible, which do you want to BE ? The question you asked us. The one who always compromises, or the one who never compromises ?

        4. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said “When I suggested that one way women could reciprocate for men’s courtship is to initiate a kiss, you replied that women won’t do that…..because they don’t want to.”

          Actually Jeremy, I was speaking for myself, not women in gen’l. And it wasn’t because I “didn’t want to”. It is because it felt very unfeminine to me. Also, I assume a man who doesn’t kiss me despite my very obvious signaling (head tilt, parted lips, wide open eyes) is NOT kissing me, because HE doesn’t want to kiss me. Why should I take on the masculine role of initiating a kiss with a man who doesn’t even want to kiss me ?

          I am somewhat of a girly-girl. I think I said that somewhere in the convo. I was also growing very tired of advice (not just yours) to “Act like a lady, think like a MAN” or deliver a feminine message in a masculine package (your advice). I just wanted to be a woman through and through. Not some ambiguous, adrogynous non-binary, genderless person.

    2. 13.2


      I think you can exchange what I deserve with what I DESIRE (as in sexually), and you’ll have the answer to the problem. As you usually point out so well, all his other redeeming qualities will not do a thing to turn her on or cause arousal/desire in her. And therein lies the problem.

  14. 14

    Christine sounds a bit vain and shallow. Her letter though sounds like she’s aware of these negative traits and is dealing with them. But a separate issue is that she feels, but her account, almost no sexual attraction towards her boyfriend and never has. That’s not a sound basis for a long term relationship. She needs to do both of them a favor and break up with him.

  15. 15

    I see one major problem with this. He’s still going to want sex a few years down the road. And it sounds like that is a big thing she is dreading. When she points out that he’s already not all that attractive. Everything else being great is wonderful. But this is supposed to be an intimate/romantic relationship. I don’t see that part holding up.

    Honestly, I don’t think she’s worried about the actual attractiveness as much as her attraction level to him and her sex life.

    1. 15.1

      Society does not like it when a woman is not aroused by a man’s “goodness,” Women have been conditioned to feel shameful if a man treats her like a princess, yet she feels no desire.

  16. 17

    I meant to say “Justine” not “Christine” above. But the comments here are a bit depressing, for both genders. A relationship which doesn’t have strong sexual chemistry from the outset is doomed to failure. But most men don’t have the good looks, wit and confidence to generate sexual chemistry in women.

  17. 18
    Mrs Happy

    In certain circles, and more common historically, the exchange of ‘more attractive woman’ for ‘man with financial/status resources’ is a really common pairing. When I look at the many women around me who have made that exchange, one thing they all have in common is that they appreciated that reality and accepted the exchange, and all that flows from it, including a ‘meh’ attitude to sex with a less physically attractive person, and realising his other qualities and what he otherwise brought to the table did balance things overall, in their minds.

    It does not seem as though Justine will accept (or is getting) that exchange. So she is not a good person to enter into such an arrangement.

    We all have qualities we MUST have (want) in our partner. One of Justine’s top 2 wants is probably good looks. People keep telling her to try to compromise. To imagine how she feels about her man, whether she can settle, I imagined what I’d feel if I was with someone who didn’t have one of my top 2 wants. I’d hate it, and would leave, and in fact, have done so repeatedly while dating. In my experience it sometimes does take a while (months) to work out the absence of that quality means you just cannot continue the relationship. Only after many boyfriends and fiances did I work out not to start relationships if the person doesn’t have that quality.

    If she’s hot, lots of men are interested, lots are asking her out, and it’ll be very easy to slide into a relationship time and again; it’s sometimes hard to be sensible with such a smorgasbord.

    1. 18.1

      Mrs Happy,

      I do agree with you – kind of. Back in my days of dating woe, I used to think that I just wanted a good looking, intelligent, fun-loving guy who treated me well. Then I met a guy who ticked off a phenomenal amount of boxes. He looked like Tom Welling, was a member of MENSA, fun, kind (volunteered at animal shelters) and absolutely thought that I hung the moon. And I felt totally “meh” about him. You could have tried to talk me into appreciating my good fortune, but it wouldn’t have done any good. I didn’t feel comfort, I didn’t feel chemistry, and that was the end of it.

      Where I perhaps disagree with you is that, as Evan has so often written, sometimes there can be a disparity between what people *think* they want and what will make them happy in the long run. A lot of people have been conditioned to focus on the wrong things and with maturity, might learn to appreciate deeper and more solid qualities. Of course, Justine may not be one of those people, she might never learn to be happy with her current boyfriend, in which case she will have to accept that she does truly value looks quite highly and she should move on.

      But before she does, I really think it’s worth her considering what she wants in the long run and whether this guy can give it to her. If he can’t, then that’s that, and she should break up with him. But if she thinks that she might actually settle into the relationship and give way to the intense happiness which she says he brings her, then I think that is worth giving a shot.

      You’ve been married a while, and I wonder if you remember (or realise) what a brutal, piranha fest it can be out there. It is not *always* a good idea to throw the good guys back – often it is, but not always.

      1. 18.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        Clare, I agree with what you say. But I’m assuming ‘good looks’ aren’t ‘the wrong thing’ for Justine. I’m assuming they are really important. I don’t think we can say she shouldn’t prioritise looks.

        A really close friend of my husband’s (she was his best mate at our wedding) is a kind, socially gracious, intelligent, interesting, generous, just absolutely lovely in every way, woman. I can put her next to anyone at a dinner party and she will smooth the conversation and evening – dementing great-grandfather in law, teenage girl with attitude, verbally able lawyer, etc, she will hold her own and be a delightful, valuable guest. She is perennially single, never has a partner – and I think it’s because she is massively, unhealthily overweight. Every single man she has ever met has ignored all her fantastic qualities and decided not to pursue her simply because of her looks.

        Justine is no different to any of these men. Who are we to say “try to ignore this superficial thing that is looks”? It’s her rodeo. I’d ignore looks, but that’s because they’re not important to me. Maybe he is a good guy, I don’t know, but he’s probably not a good guy for her. They seem first and foremost friends rather than lovers.

        1. Clare

          Fair enough.

          I don’t say that she *shouldn’t* value looks – not even close.

          I just think that she should do the mental exercise in her head before automatically throwing him back.

  18. 19

    Justine, it’s interesting how you start your letter. That the other letter about not being physically attractive to your partner didn’t work for you. That this was also about feeling that you can do better looks-wise.

    People in comments are focusing on attraction. Which is important. But you could have read the other letter and responses about that. You wrote about also being a lot more attractive.

    Anything that’s important to you can be a dealbreaker. For me it’s kindness and sensitivity. It’s amazing how many folks out there are basically decent, but not not super-duper kind. Doesn’t matter. What I would read as unkindness would rankle with me until my last breath. Doesn’t matter what others think he is. Doesn’t even matter about morality. We can tell you that other things matter. You have written that yourself. But if it’s always going to bother you, you either have to change yourself so it doesn’t bother you (really difficult) or you let him go. (Also really difficult.)

    I say let him go. He deserves a woman who loves all of him and finds him attractive. And who is sure and at peace with her choice of him. Also, you will always be pining for the attractive men so you have to ‘shoot your shot’ with them as they say. So you know once and for all. I’m not super-attractive by western US/European standards. But. I have managed somehow to date a few really attractive men. ‘Smoking hot,’ as one friend said. They were never my type mostly because I thought I could never get one and they tend to be what I read as arrogant. (Others might read this as ‘confident’ but my scale differs.) And they were attracted to me, like wanna rip my clothes off attracted to me. And wanted to date me long-term. But they weren’t super-duper kind. Just weren’t. And so my attraction to them dimmed. Pretty quickly.

    I say that because while I always knew what I needed, dating these folks, really helped cement that. It also cemented that damn, I must have some super personality or super body or something! LOL. But more than that, I don’t even kind of seriously think about super-attractive guys anymore but I never would have known if I hadn’t tried it out. Before you marry anyone, sow ALL your oats. Be picky. Or don’t be picky and date up and down whatever your scale is. Know what you can really live with or can’t live without for the rest of your life. Then when you find a guy you love and make whatever compromises you make (either smaller things that don’t bother you or the sheer amount of time it might be to find exactly what you want), you will really be happy with what you have.

    Also: update us! We here would be curious how things work out for you. 🙂

    P.S. Whenever anyone wants something that’s above average, it’s a challenge to find. Whether it’s Super Attractive, Super Intelligent, or in my case, Super Kind. And some folks even want to combine some of these! Some folks hit the partner lottery. But I do believe that we do have to make some compromises that we can happily live with. Good luck, Justine!

  19. 20

    SE, it’s not that I don’t think relationships can be even overall. It’s that within the dynamic of any relationship there will always be areas of inequality where one person has more power than the other. Areas for which the other partner compromises more in exchange for that power differential. If the power balance is fairly even, such that the areas where his power balance the areas of hers (and so, their areas of compromise balance reciprocally), not only can the relationship be equal, the partners will largely be unaware of their own compromises. Because they’ll feel those compromises are worth what they are getting in exchange. That is the type of relationship I’d want, and the one I have.

    My question about the man who is both better looking and higher earning /status teases out exactly this point. Because in such a relationship it will be hard for the woman to balance out her own power in the face of his. Will always be compromising, at a disadvantage. In the OPs case here, she is most cognizant of looks, to the exclusion of the importance of other things. It would be hard for her to perceive a power balance with this man, regardless of what else he might bring to the table. Because none of those other things matter to her as much. BUT: She also loves the way this man treats her and prioritizes her. He does so because that’s his way of evening the power balance, making it worth her while. The better looking guy won’t do that. She needs to be aware of that tradeoff. Might not matter to her…. Or might.

    I don’t think we disagree on the above. One thing about which we may indeed disagree : “It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, it was because it felt unfeminine to me.” LOL. It geeky unfeminine and so… You didn’t want to. You wanted to be a girly girl. How do you think men feel?

    1. 20.1

      “I don’t think we disagree on the above. One thing about which we may indeed disagree : “It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, it was because it felt unfeminine to me.” LOL. It geeky unfeminine and so… You didn’t want to. You wanted to be a girly girl. How do you think men feel?”

      I think most men feel that women who have to initiate physical intimacy, think such women are desparate. They might use them for sex, but they won’t commit.

      1. 20.1.1

        I understand that this is what you (and many women) think. It is untrue of a large subset of men. Large, not small. In particular, those men whose care for your opinions is not dwarfed by their care for their own.

        I often think about what life must have been like for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. There would have to have been a subset of people born with irrational confidence – whose thought, when going out to hunt a mammoth, was what they could do to the mammoth….and not what the mammoth could do to them. This strange sort of blindness – and the way in which it would propagate through generations – would necessarily translate into some pretty wild behavior in contemporary society. Behavior I observe every day.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said “I understand that this is what you (and many women) think. It is untrue of a large subset of men. Large, not small. ”

          In my younger, dumber dating, mating days, I would chase men, take on the masculine role of initiating the physical and/or comittment side of a relationship, etc. And you know what Jeremy ? It NEVER worked out for me, not once. So this “large subset” of men who need to be chased by women who take on the masculine role of intiating the physcial, and/or comittment side of things, escaped me all those years, in spite of being a “large subset” of men.

          You want to know a larger subset of men ? Players, who don’t want to commit, but will gladly use a woman for sex, especially if she throws herself at him and pursues the physical side of the relationship.

          Luckily for me, this whole discussion is moot, as I am happily coupled up, and I did not have to chase my hubby down and initiate the commitment/physical side of the relationship.

          You seem to be cherry picking a comment here and there from some lengthy threads about courtship and who should make the first move sexually. In those threads, EMK advised that women “do nothing” and let the man pursue, to weed out he players and those looking for one night stands. Yet, you dont argue with him. You parse and analyze the comments from females, and tell them that their answers are “wrong” or “incomplete” or they are listing secondary motives and not primary motives, or that they really don’t know what they want, and the go on some treatise about “meta goals” and mini and micor goals, etc., etc. but you have studies to prove what they want, but don’t know what they want, etc. etc.

          You have said more than once that men should never take dating advise from women because we give bad advice. I think your advice to women to butch it up a notch and aggressively pursue men by wrapping a “feminine” message in a “masculine” language (IOW, initiate physical intimacy with a man who is ignoring every feminine clue that you are projecting) is the WORSE advice ever, and will rarely result in anything more than a short term fling or ONS.)
          I am glad I let men do the pursuing and held out for a man who naturually took the lead in establishing a relationship. (Now that the relationship is firmly established, all the physcial intimacy, social outings, etc. are a back and forth between us, but I followed his lead in the very early phase). I am very happily coupled, and I did not have to resort to chasing a man to get there. (It NEVER worked for me in my younger days, despite the “large subset” of men who need a woman chasing them down to get into a relationship)

          Sometimes I really think you don’t even believe half of what you adivse us, I think you are just trying to work out your own stuff, and part of that is debating the relationship oriented women on this blog about everything.

          BTW, the small sub

        2. ScottH

          Oh come on, SE, that was low. Switch the genders and some adjectives and you’ve described the plight of men. And by the way, while I really appreciate Evan’s service, the “do nothing” advice, IMO, is incredibly overstated (and my criticism is incredibly understated). Why would any guy want to date a woman who does nothing? I would rather have a blow-up doll than a woman who “did nothing.”
          Women want to weed out players? Men want to weed out freeloaders, attention seekers, and commitment phobes (a huge subset of women).
          Yes, a lot of the advice from women has been horrible and some of it has been valuable. In fact, I copied one of Marika’s posts from the relationship/anxiety column, 14.6.1…. Now that was some really good stuff.
          You talk about chasing has never worked for you. Well, I’ve tried a lot of tactics and none of them have worked for me, Is it causation or correlation, or maybe it’s just me? We all tend to have terrible myopia so it’s hard to say but I’ve gotten mighty tired of chasing, and women who play by The Rules. One woman friend of mine told me not to chase anyone, that I shouldn’t have to. Amen sista.
          You guys insist on equality, then put your vagina hat on and take it.
          IMO, the bottom line is that men and women are equally horrible to each other (in different ways) and it takes a lot of weeding to find someone decent and compatible, especially in mid-life when everyone is so damaged.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Scott said ” I would rather have a blow-up doll than a woman who “did nothing.””

          Actually, you are taking a hyper-literalist meaning of “do nothing”. He also calls it “mirroring”. We’ve discussed the concept several times on this blog. He doesn’t mean LITERALLY do nothing, as in sit there, don’t say a word, don’t move a muscle, be in a coma. Just to mirror the guys efforts. He tells woman to RESPOND warmly and enthusiastically, which is doing something. I have written several times that I respond with enthusiasm and do not play silly hard to get games.

          So how about substitute “mirroring” for “do nothing” which is really what the advice is.

          Anyway since being the sexual initiator has NEVER worked for me, and being an enthusiastic receiver has SOMETIMES worked for me, which method do you think I should have used, the method that NEVER worked or the the one that sometimes worked ?

        4. Clare

          Sparkling Emerald,

          I completely agree with you in this thread and I too am happily coupled up with a wonderful man whom I did not have to pursue at all.
          Mind you – not pursuing is not at all the same thing as “doing nothing.” In fact, I would say the share of effort between me and my boyfriend was close to 50/50; it is just that he did the chasing, initiating, and pursuing. I am too tired to debate this with Jeremy and ScottH, so I’m not going to explain the process beyond saying this. If they don’t like it or don’t agree, I couldn’t really give a toss. It worked for me.

          As I’ve said often, I dated A LOT. I had a lot of relationships of varying length. And like you, I tried lots of different dating strategies. I tried every iteration of pursuit and non-pursuit of the guy, initiation and non-initiation.
          And you know what I learned? Every time I chased or initiated with a guy who was not also chasing or initiating in exactly the same area of the relationship, it blew up in my face. So if I asked a guy out who was not also asking me out, it blew up in my face. If I kissed a guy who was not also kissing me, it blew up in my face. If I phoned or confessed my feelings to a guy who was not also phoning or confessing his feelings to me, it blew up in my face. And so on. You get the idea.

          I eventually had to learn the hard way that the best way to learn what a man wants from you is to let them show you. Men do not need to be pushed and prodded into doing something that they want – encouraged, sure, but they do not need you to do it for them.

          And yep, letting a guy pursue the dates, the kissing, the relationship, the sex, the commitment, etc. got me a guy who had lots of drive and motivation to be with me. I didn’t have to overthink it.

          I too am a girly girl, and I want to be that way. It is one of the things my boyfriend says he loves about me. I don’t want to think like a man, act like a man, or be a man in any area of my relationship. I want to feel secure and loved, and my feminine instincts were the best road to get there, and even though people will come with great arguments about equality and making a man feel validated so you should do some of the pursuing as a woman – they NEVER, ever, ever worked for me.

    2. 20.2
      Mrs Happy

      It’s probably difficult for a man, who has lifelong been raised as a boy, to understand the sheer weight of training most/all females get, from a very early age and from a myriad of sources, about not pursuing males, or initiating physical sexual moves, or even making any moves that may be interpreted as such.

      I just read a great book, certainly my favourite for the year, Educated, by Tara Westover. In one section she blithely throws away a comment regarding how girls in the Mormon Sunday school classes start to be trained in chastity and purity as soon as they turn 12. The author ties herself in knots during adolescence, worried about whether a loose, highly cut (basically sack-like) top is too revealing, confused about her changing body, weighed down with having to cover it and prevent any men viewing her as unchaste. And don’t get me started on the burqa, or women shaving their head on marriage, or any other how-dare-your-appearance-turn-our-thoughts-to sex rule men make about women’s appearance and clothing.

      There are countless cultures, sects, and within big cultural groups, smaller social collections, that shame women who aren’t regarded pure or chaste “enough”. In 2019 there are parts of the world where women are still killed for such imagined or real transgressions. Women everywhere, even in Western countries, are taught not to initiate sexually with men, not long after we are taught to keep our knees together in public. We are taught it directly from religious leaders and adult women and teachers and parents and movies and books and magazines and other girls, and just everyone, everywhere.

      NOBODY says, girls, make the first move. Nobody. It’s very naive for a man to think, “well I’d love it if a female made the first move, thus other men might like it too, and so women should try it”. You are fighting training of decades, patterns of generations, wisdom handed down mother to daughter like mitochondria so ingrained is it, wanting such a colossal behaviour change.

      I figure men feel a bit nervous making the first move. I’ve never done it, it must be very hard at first. But I imagine because they know they’re the ones who are basically expected to make the first move, because it’s in the script so to speak, that makes it a bit easier?

      I’d never make the first move partly because of all my training not to, and also because I wouldn’t be very attracted to a man who needed me to make the first move, so it’d be a pointless exercise. In him not making a move, my attraction for him would plummet, and I suspect many women would feel the same.

      But I think SparklingEmerald also makes a very robust point, because my male friends partnered with women who made the first move (i.e. the women did) are so fricking humdrum about their relationships it angers me. Granted it’s a small sample size, but it makes me think, a guy will accept a first move, but just probably not be that into women who make it, because if he were into her, he would’ve made the first move. So she’ll end up with someone not that into her. Which is exactly what SparklingEmerald experienced.

      So, we’re trained and taught not to, it leads to relationship disappointment, and it’s pretty physically unrewarding. Remind me again why we should do it, dear CB?

      1. 20.2.1

        Yes, Mrs Happy, YES ! All those reasons.

        And this article, written by a MAN, also outlines why women shouldn’t make the first move, it has been linked here on this blog at least twice that I know of, but I am posting it here again.


        Pretty much my experience in my younger, dumber, days when I was a chaser of boys.

        Also, we’ve had numerous discussions and there were a few guys who insisted that they wanted a woman to initiate, but in the convo, they ended up showing their hand, that these “female led” pairing didn’t work. They would say, “oh, this girl asked me out first, blah, blah, blah” when pressed if it worked out the answer was along the lines of “well no, but that wasn’t the reason why”, blah, blah, blah. One poster after whining about not wanting to do all the “heavy lifting” of being the first to initiate, let it slip and said something to the effect of “if a woman was head and shoulders above the rest, he would take the initiative, but otherwise, he doesn’t want to do the heavy lifting”. So there you have it, his own admission that if a girl has to initiate, he’s really not that into her.

        I do understand, at least on an intellectual level, that it is SCARY to have to be the one to initiate. It takes a lot of nerve to approach and risk rejection. Which is why I always feel AWFUL to be the rejector. But taking the “weight” off guys, by becoming the chaser and chasing after them has NEVER resulted in a LTR for me, and since I don’t want ONS or casual flings, (or to be outrigth rejected) there is absolutely no reason to take the terrible advice to butch it up a notch and become the pursuer. Any guy who was REALLY into me, made all the first moves (approach, ask for a date, initiate kisses and sex, asked for an exclusive relationship). Once a relationship was established, of course I was free to plant a big old kiss on him and ask him out on dates. AFTER a relationship was established, not BEFORE.

        1. shaukat

          ‘In my younger, dumber dating, mating days, I would chase men, take on the masculine role of initiating the physical and/or comittment side of a relationship, etc. And you know what Jeremy ? It NEVER worked out for me, not once.’

          Got bad news for you SE, they likely just weren’t into you, attracted to you, or didn’t see you as gf material. Had little do with the fact that you initiated. It’s a blow to the ego but it’s true.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Shaukat said “Got bad news for you SE, they likely just weren’t into you, attracted to you, or didn’t see you as gf material. Had little do with the fact that you initiated. It’s a blow to the ego but it’s true.”

          Well DUH, Captain Obvious ! Of course they weren’t into me, which is why they didn’t initiate, which is why I won’t. So why should I be throwing my lips at a dis-interested man ? That’s why it’s such bad advice for women to chase men, interested men chase women, dis-interested men DON’T, but they may not refuse the advances of a woman who takes initiative, but they’ll never really be “into you”. Which is what I have been saying on here for YEARS. Which is why I STOPPED chasing men, because all it got me was “blows to the ego”

          Thanks for illustrating my point. I don’t think that was your intenetion, your intention was obviously to be nasty, but you unwittingly proved my point EXACTLY !

      2. 20.2.2

        maybe it’s because OUR whole lives we’ve been told that we’re sex crazed perverts and when we’re with someone we like, we try to give them space and respect so they don’t think we are.

        1. Mrs Happy

          It’s a fine art to read a person and evaluate when an advance would be appreciated, and I suspect men who are really clunky at it end up on the outer w.r.t. success with women. In fact, that so many men are good at it, while being fairly ordinary at reading emotions in a room in general, makes me suspect it’s a finely tuned evolutionary advantage; i.e. the men who are good at reading women’s sexual interest, reproduce more than the men who aren’t great at it.

          So ScottH, I do appreciate your difficulties.

          But to expect a woman to initiate with a man she doesn’t (by definition) know well, just to spare his feelings, it’s just not strong enough as a motivator when stacked against all the realities I listed in 20.2.

          Your space and respect are the baseline. Women want confidence making a move on top of that.

      3. 20.2.3

        You’re right, there’s all sorts of valid reasons why a woman shouldn’t be the one doing the asking out. But there’s many good reasons why a man would be very reluctant to ask a woman out, even if he wants to and he suspects she might be open to it. Especially if he’s sensitive and empathic (“kind” as another commentor puts it). But that’s why flirting evolved. So if a woman is interested in a man, she can tell him, indirectly, she would be open to being asked out. Unfortunately flirting seems to be something of a lost art now.

        1. S.

          Even with the kind men I dated, they initiated. First date, first kiss, sex, asking me to be their girlfriends. And if I ever initiated any of that, it didn’t work. (That was only one person, though.) Most men comply with gender norms and that’s attractive to them too. To be the protector, to take the lead. I don’t need that as much as some women, but they needed it. Hey, I can’t change how society and biology have wired men, even the most kind and sensitive of men.

          Flirting was indeed huge! I’m not always great with initiating that, but fortunately with some men there is a natural rapport and banter that arises and it’s easy to take that to flirt land. The smart phone was the beginning of the demise of that. You can flirt with texts, but it’s more fun for me with eye contact.

          I hope there is a worldwide Flirting Renaissance soon. 😉 I miss it.

      4. 20.2.4

        SE, I’ll start by saying that I enjoy talking with you and value your feedback. But a bit of constructive criticism is that you sometimes take what I write, mis-apply it, and then disagree with your own misapplication as a straw man. In this case, for example, my suggestion was that one way a woman could reciprocate for a man’s courtship efforts is to be the one to initiate a kiss at the end of a first date. A first date that HE already asked her out on, planned, and paid for. Hence, you know, COURTSHIP efforts. And reciprocation. I did not suggest that she completely flip the script, ask him out, pay, and then initiate physicality. Such might take too many people of both genders out of their comfort zones. Of course, I accept disagreement with my suggestion…. as long as other suggestions are made of valid ways that women can reciprocate men’s courtship efforts in ways that are meaningful to MEN, and in ways that men perceive balance the power scales.

        Now, Mrs Happy asks a good question : why should women want to do this? I disagree with her derivation of the question – it strikes me as too much of a cop-out, and also ignores all the male societal messaging of not violating a woman’s boundaries without CLEAR indication of her willingness. Which he won’t usually get, as he is not born fluent in female body language. Societal scripts aside, why should women want to even the power balance during courtship? They shouldn’t! Not if what they want is a husband who will put his own desires on the backburner for her. In such a case, the very thing she should tease out is how ok he is with her having the upper hand in power. But that is what SHE should tease out. What HE should tease or is how willing she will be to share power with him and not take her own prerogatives for granted. Will she take herself out of her comfort zone for him occasionally, or will she expect him to be the only one to do so, simultaneously making excuses as to why it shouldn’t be a big deal for him, but why it’d be a huge deal for her…

        1. Mrs Happy

          It’s not about power. Normal people do not date to suss out power imbalances. You are obsessed with power because you’ve experienced a power disadvantage. Normal people date to suss out each other regarding about 100 other things aside from power.

          A cop-out hey? Now I’m interested. Let me think.

          My derivation of the question is you, JJ. Because I was answering your q in 20: “It geeky unfeminine and so… You didn’t want to. You wanted to be a girly girl. How do you think men feel?” So, FYI, you’re now disagreeing with yourself. Just to spice things up perhaps?

        2. Jeremy

          Ummm, huh? I wrote that women don’t initiate the kiss because they don’t want to. You explained why they don’t want to. I offered perspective that many men don’t want to either. For deeply ingrained reasons, just like yours. Your response was, well men will have to suck it up, cause women won’t and frankly they don’t find timidness attractive. And now you say it has nothing to do with power? That fact that neither side wants to but only one HAS to because the other can sit back and still get pursued while the reverse is generally not true… has EVERYTHING to do with power.

          Recall the post from a few years ago about the woman whose fiancee wouldn’t give her an engagement ring. Recall the reasons she thought he should do so. Recall the bafflememt of the various female commenters when asked why he should and what she was offering in return. Consider Evan’s advice for women to be CEOs when it comes to dating. Recall the advice of John Gottman and John Grey about cultivating emotional intelligence by supporting the female perspective. Recall the study Evan recently cited where relationships were judged as good if the wife was happy. Consider this conversation we’re having here – how taken for granted it is that men should do what women want and that women…. should do what women want. How salient in your memory were the examples of humdrum relationships where the man’s interest was lukewarm…. And how easy it is to ignore all the others where the women’s interest was so. Why does that man’s lack of interest bother you more than that of all those women you know? Because the one seems abnormal to you while the others don’t?

          Of course I write to illustrate how women can be better partners to men. Is that not the point of this website?

          Funny that you assumed the author of that poem was male….

        3. Jeremy

          Also re your “so many men are good at reading the signals” ummmm, are you paying attention to the metoo movement? It’s not that too many men are good at reading signals, it’s that too few CARE about them. Too many are only obsessed with what they want, hence my comment about mammoths. When women want the same, they perceive a confident man. When they don’t want the same, they get a metoo story. Seriously.

        4. SparklingEmerald

          Hi Jeremy at 20.2.4

          Thanks for your response(s).

          This thread is getting rather unwieldy, go off on tangents, sub tangents, delving into the blog archives from 5+ years ago, and talk of mammoths and what-not, so forgive me if my response get really long and scattered.

          Somewhere in this thread I said that I wanted an even handed relationship. I have actually been saying that for many years since I’ve been on this blog. I have said that I want a relationship NOT a power trip. Power seems to be a big issue for you, and you can’t seem to fathom anyone being in a relationship and not seeking the upper hand. I never want to be under anyone’s thumb, nor do I want to lord my power over a man.

          When I stated my desire for an even handed relationship, you dove into the way back machine and found a discussion from over 5 years ago where you were advising me to kiss men first. The fact that I refuse to do this, translates in your mind that I want to hold all the cards in a relationship and have the upper hand, which is not true at all, and I really don’t understand how wanting a male led courtship, translates into me wanting to be the dominating wife.

          I get the sense from you that you think men who court the “traditional” way (male led) are only doing so through gritted teeth, and slavishly following the dictates of society.

          I don’t see how a male led courtship will lead to a female dominated marriage as you seem to think, but whatever. My hubby pursued me from the very beginning and never left me wondering for one minute where I stood. In fact, in the early days of our courtship, when I offered to share costs, he wouldn’t hear of it. In fact, quite a while after we established that we were in a relationship, he still refused my offers to leave a tip, pitch in for gas, etc. The only way he would let me pay for our nights out was with free movie tickets I got from work, comp ticket I got for live theater or VISA gift cards I won from work. He said he thought it was “cute” that I was offering to pay but he said “I’m wooing my baby, let me”.

          So hubby didn’t pursue me because I sent him my super secret female “You BETTER pursue me OR ELSE” vibes, he pursued me because he saw someone he wanted (me) and went for it. And he was someone I very much wanted so I responded promptly and very enthusiastically to all of his advances. I didn’t do any of that Rules crap, playing hard to get, waiting 24 hours to return texts or phone calls, etc.

          5 years later, we still have an even handed relationship. I am still not sure why you think that my wanting the traditional courtship role of the female (with a willing male of course, not a resentful male who wants a woman led relationship) means I want the upper hand in a relationship, I don’t. I don’t want a wimp for a hubby, nor do I want to be under a man’s thumb. I suspect you have your own power issues you are trying to work out.

        5. SparklingEmerald

          Hi again Jeremy – You said “Recall the post from a few years ago about the woman whose fiancee wouldn’t give her an engagement ring. Recall the reasons she thought he should do so. Recall the bafflememt of the various female commenters when asked why he should and what she was offering in return.”

          Yes I do recall that thread. As I recall it the response was very mixed. Yes, there were cringe worthy entitled responses from females, yes there were tales of such females from males on the board, and there also many varied responses from females saying that women shouldn’t put so much importance on a ring, shouldn’t demand a ring, shouldn’t expect huge amounts of money on a ring, women who were critical of the diamond industry. The replies from the women were hardly monolithic. Do you recall any of the reasonable responses from women ? Or do you only remember the “baffled” responses of women who could only see why he should want to buy her a ring but couldn’t come up with anything she should offer in return ?

        6. Jeremy

          Sparkling Emerald, first, cut out the ad hominems please. They do not do justice to your intelligence, nor encourage continued conversation.

          Second, I believe you when you say you don’t want a man who is a wimp. A man who will always put you above himself. Few women want that. They want a strong man…. who also happens to want what they do most of the time. They want a man to pursue and plan and pay and initiate…. and they want a man who Wants to do so. And who expects nothing in return, though he might hope for something. He gives her what she wants because he also wants it, right?

          Full stop. Flip the script. Consider a man who wants a woman who will proposition him, initiate sexually, with a wild variety of sexual enthusiasm for him. With no expectation of any commitment in return, though she might hope for it. He wants her to do so not because he wants it, but because SHE does. And she should want to do it before he gives her anything else she might want, to prove she’s a quality woman. What would you think of such a man? Kind of deluded? Deluded because that just isn’t what women actually tend to WANT? Because while men might want that from a woman, they need to offer something else first? Something to better speak to what SHE actually wants? I’d agree with that assessment. This scenario doesn’t exist outside of porn. But the reverse does. In fact, it’s the norm. So much so that women everywhere actually believe that men love the courtship process, even when we tell them we don’t. Which we rarely do, cause it would make us unattractive. WHY IS THAT?

          Goodness, I get so tired of people telling me that relationships aren’t about power balances. The fact that you shut your eyes doesn’t make the world disappear. The fact that roots are underground doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I think I’m done for this thread.

        7. Jeremy

          As a final addendum, I do recall the more moderate suggestions on the engagement ring thread. Suggestions of getting cheaper rings and limiting spending. But you know what I hardly saw? Women questioning why she needed a ring at all. If the stone on her finger is how she recognized his love of her, how will he know her love for him? Is this not a ridiculous question? Would she not be insulted by it? Why do we expect that he wouldn’t be insulted too? Answer – because she wants a ring.

          I remember all your suggestions of how a woman might reciprocate for men’s courtship back on that other thread, SE. It’s not that they were bad suggestions, it’s just that they don’t really reciprocate. Because they were all things you wanted to do. You never were willing to go out of your comfort zone at all, but expected men to do so. Expected men to learn female language like a woman, but bristled terribly at the suggestion that you might be more direct like a man.

          Compromise. My point on this thread was about compromise. Compromise isn’t one person acquiescing to the prerogatives of another while that other person acquiesces to her own.

        8. jo

          Jeremy, is what you’re saying, then, that men do not enjoy the courtship process?

          No need to answer if you’re done with this thread. I’m just curious. I’m also curious what other men have to say about it. Yes, we women did assume that men enjoyed it at least somewhat, because of the tension, the push-pull, the enjoyment of pursuit.

        9. Jeremy

          I would say that men enjoy it to varying degrees. Much like women with sex. I would say, EXACTLY like women with sex. The reason women don’t lead with sex during dating, as per my example above, isn’t necessarily because they don’t like it, but rather because they don’t want to be used. In the same way, it’s not that men can’t enjoy a nice evening out with a woman – it’s that we don’t enjoy jumping through someone else’s hoops while being told to expect nothing in return. To plan, pay, initiate, bear all the responsibility and accountability…. And to be told that we’re only quality men of we do so with no expectation of reciprocation. Seriously, do you think women would ever put up with such?

          I realize that the women griping about their past experiences initiating with men aren’t saying that they were rejected, they’re saying they hated the resulting dynamic. The not being sure the guy desired them at all, the having to jump through hoops to earn affection. Do they not realize…. That’s exactly how it ALWAYS is for men? That the dynamic they hate is the other gender’s norm? THAT is what men dislike, Jo.

        10. Clare


          “I realize that the women griping about their past experiences initiating with men aren’t saying that they were rejected, they’re saying they hated the resulting dynamic. The not being sure the guy desired them at all, the having to jump through hoops to earn affection. Do they not realize…. That’s exactly how it ALWAYS is for men? That the dynamic they hate is the other gender’s norm? THAT is what men dislike, Jo.”

          Have to go ahead and disagree with you there, Jer. I am not a man of course, so I cannot say for sure. I am only going by what I have *observed*, from dating many men, having many men as friends, having brothers, and from interacting with countless others whom I did not go on to date.

          For me, the evidence just wasn’t there that they didn’t enjoy it. I’m not saying absolutely they *did* enjoy it, I’m just saying I saw very little *evidence* of non-enjoyment. I can understand how anyone might not like uncertainty, but from my experience, the male-female roles were something the men I observed did enjoy, for the most part. They enjoyed knowing what their role was, what they had to do, they enjoyed the pleasure it elicited from a woman (I know because many men have told me how much they enjoy the positive feedback), the validation, the ego boost, the sense of winning over another man. Of course these are only present if the woman responds positively to the man’s advances, which is what I am assuming here.
          But above all, most (if not all) of the men I have ever met seem to have an ingrained independence which seems to go far deeper than the independence of any woman. Most men like to do things on their own timetable, in their own way, they want to be in control of the dating process and of how much of their freedom they give up (because let’s face it, most men feel that relationships entail a loss of freedom for them). They do not want to be forced into any of it before they’re ready or to feel obligated or smothered. Letting a man pursue and initiate allows him to feel in control of that, which men definitely seem to like.

          I think more than anything, this is why I let men pursue and initiate. It’s not necessarily because I don’t want to or don’t enjoy it. It’s not even because I dislike the uncertainty it brings me (although that is part of it). It’s because it doesn’t work. Any time you try to push a man into doing something he is not ready for, he will withdraw or rebel against it at some point. It’s not some Machiavellian scheme on my part to avoid taking any of the risk. It’s because it’s what I’ve observed, time and time and time again.

        11. SparklingEmerald

          Clare said “But above all, most (if not all) of the men I have ever met seem to have an ingrained independence which seems to go far deeper than the independence of any woman. Most men like to do things on their own timetable, in their own way, they want to be in control of the dating process and of how much of their freedom they give up (because let’s face it, most men feel that relationships entail a loss of freedom for them). They do not want to be forced into any of it before they’re ready or to feel obligated or smothered. Letting a man pursue and initiate allows him to feel in control of that, which men definitely seem to like.”

          Yes, this ! Ever notice if a man asks a woman to marry him it’s called a “proposal”. If a woman asks her boyfriend to marry her it’s called “pressure”.

          True story here, (this is anecdotal). Many years ago, before I met my now husband, I went to this free workshop/seminar put on by a match making company that had a “man panel”. After a series of speakers (basically trying to sell various things to women) a panel of men came out to answer our dating questions. I asked something along the lines of “How long after dating a man could a woman expect him to define the relationship, declare you to be the girlfriend” or whatever (not sure exactly how I worded it). One of the men literally POUTED, folded his arms tightly across his chest and said in a very angry voice “You women always ask about that stuff way to soon,” I replied, “That’s why I’m asking, I don’t want to ASK a man if I’m his girlfriend, I would rather wait until he asks me, but I want to know an appropriate time to wait. At what point should I just walk away”. Someone else on the “man panel” said “Well don’t just walk away – – – got cut off by someone else complaining about we women wanting ‘commitment’ too soon. I’m trying to get in the question of “well, if guys think we ask to soon, how long should I wait for him to bring it up – – ” and then the Head Dude of the man panel took the mic and said to the audience “Isn’t she brave to be the first one to ask a question, let’s give her a big round of applause” A weak trickle of applause started and I was still saying “You didn’t answer my question”, but Head Dude of the Man Panel said into the mic “Any other questions ladies” and just started taking other questions blew off my question”.

          Now, when I think of women nudging along the relationship, initiating the “so what are we” discussion, I just think of that grown man sitting up on stage with his big ol’ man pout, arms folded across his chest, basically saying “I don’t waaaaaaaant to talk about that, you women ask for to much to soon, waaaaaaaaaah”. (of course he’s just one man, but he was chosen to be on a “man panel” at a relationship seminar)

          So when men complain about the “heavy lifting” of initiating a relationship, but also complaining about women “pressuring” for a comitment, just makes me think that the REAL heavy lifting for them is BEING in a relationship. They would rather keep everything, “light” and “cool” and “casual” and non-commital and at the “just having fun phase” UNTIL they meet the one they WANT to commit to. Then as EMK says, if he wants to call you, he will call you, if he wants to be his girlfriend, he will ask you to be his girlfriend, etc.

        12. Clare

          Sparkling Emerald,

          Your story made me laugh! Because the dynamic it represents is so familiar to me. I sometimes wonder to what extent men are even conscious of it, hence the responses we sometimes get from men on these threads, but I’ve heard enough male dating coaches talk about it to know that it is real. I have also observed enough men in my real life “pouting” because they do not even want to *discuss* commitment, let alone give you a timeline, to know that it is real.

          If a man is, himself, not initiating or defining the relationship or talking about commitment, you can of course initiate the discussion yourself. You can go ahead and ask him. If you’re lucky, he might tell you what his real intentions are, which could be anything from he doesn’t know yet to he just wants something casual, or that he wants commitment “some day.” In a small minority of cases, he might agree to be exclusive/committed when you ask him, but the quality of these relationships is never the same as the ones where has decided he wants to be with this woman and initiates all of those things himself.

          Evan once said on this blog, “If you tell a man what to do and he does it, he’s not a man” (I’m paraphrasing, but that is the gist. A man does not feel like a man when he is being told what to do by a woman.) I don’t think I have ever met a man who would not agree with that statement. Which makes it all the more ironic when you hear a man urging a woman to do the initiating in a relationship, urging a woman to push for commitment, etc. Is there some kind of cognitive dissonance that sets in? Have these men temporarily forgotten that they always prefer something if it is their own idea?

          Men cannot simultaneously complain that we want commitment too soon and *also* want us to do the initiating in the relationship. There is really only one way round this dilemma, and that is to let the men initiate. There are so many advantages to this, for the woman (she is not left with a lukewarm man) and for the man, whether he himself realises this or not – he is left with a woman whom he actually wants and has none of this pesky “pressure” that we hear so many men complain about.

        13. Jeremy

          This is fair, Clare. I’m sure you’re cognizant of the difference between what you’re talking about here and what I was. The difference between “defining commitment”/advancing the relationship status…versus initiating sexuality. Not at all the same. Again, I’m sure you’re cognizant of this, but wanted to mention it for those readers who might not be.

        14. Jeremy

          LOL, and at the risk of being nauseatingly repetitive, your assertion that if the man initiates “he is left with a woman he wants” and if the woman initiates she will be left with a man who might be uncertain about her….. Clare, how can you and the other women not realize that when you reverse the genders in your statement the statement remains true? That just because a woman allows a man to initiate doesn’t mean she’s at all into him! Why is the notion of a woman being with a man who’s “meh” about her so much more salient in your minds than that of a man with a woman who’s “meh” about him? Like the OP?

          Such a man will LITERALLY be paying for his poor decision for his entire life.

        15. jo

          Huh. Clare, those are really good and perceptive points – here and in your response to me below. After all, we women need to act in our best interest for the sake of all future generations of humans, not to mention doing the effective thing in relationships – no matter WHAT men say.

          And SE, your story is hilarious and probably strikes a chord with all women reading this thread. 🙂

        16. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said “That just because a woman allows a man to initiate doesn’t mean she’s at all into him! Why is the notion of a woman being with a man who’s “meh” about her so much more salient in your minds than that of a man with a woman who’s “meh” about him? Like the OP?”

          Hi Jeremy – You bring up an excellent point, which is why I really scratch my head when commenters (of both sexes) lecture us women to “give men a chance”, even if there is no attraction.

          According to the OP, this man pursued her from MONTHS and she told him for MONTHS that he wasn’t her type. After he wore her down, he proceeded to change his style of dressing to please her. So now he is stuck in a relationship where she is “meh” about him, and you know what ? I put the blame 95% on him. He KNEW she was “meh”, she told she “wasn’t interested” and that he wasn’t “her type” for months. I put 5% blame on her for giving in, but I wouldn’t be a BIT surprised if she was getting bad advice to “give him a chance”.

          I also noticed that somewhere in this long unwield thread, you said mothers should teach their sons to avoid women like the OP, that she would use him, be selfish, etc (or something to that effect). I think a better lesson would be to teach our sons not to BE like the OP. Don’t relentlessly pursue a woman who has CLEARLY told you she’s disinterested and you are not her type. At best, you’ll end up in a very lopsided relationship with a woman who is “meh”, at worst, you could have a restraining order slapped on you.

          Sure, some women play “hard to get”, (I HATE that BS), but there is a certain flirty-ness in those “hard to get” games that are pretty easy to decipher.

          It’s not THAT hard to decipher if a woman is into you or not by how she responds to your advances. Learn to read body language and voice tone. How enthusiasticly does she return that kiss ? How excited does her voice sound when she answers the phone ? How quickly does she respond to texts, voice mails etc ? If a woman kisses you back enthusiastically, picks up the phone and calls you buy name, sounds excited, dresses up , shows off some cleavage, says “Can’t wait to see you tomorrow” accepts every date, or when she truly can’t give you her schedule and say “I REALLY would love to there with you, but I really can’t tommorow, can we go the day after tomorrow instead”, then she’s not “meh”.

          If she NEVER picks up the phone, (and with caller ID, she knows who’s calling her), takes hours or even days to get back with, gives you “the cheek” when you try to kiss her, is usually “busy” when you try to make plans, shows up for a date looking like she couldn’t care less about her appearance, doesn’t smile much or laugh at your jokes, then she’s “meh” and one should move on.

          It’s not rocket science. Just because the man initiated doesn’t mean the woman is ‘meh’. The speed and enthusiasm of her response tells you weather or not she is “into you”. Months of “I’m not interested, you aren’t my type” is a pretty clear indication of her dis-interest.

          And to answer “Why is the notion of a woman being with a man who’s “meh” about her so much more salient in your minds than that of a man with a woman who’s “meh” about him? Like the OP?”: I think I and many of the females on this blog have a “salient” opinion about men being with women they are “meh” about. I think many of us don’t think it’s such a great arrangement. I certainly don’t.

        17. SparklingEmerald

          correction” I think a better lesson would be to teach our sons not to BE like the OP.” s/b “I think a better lesson would be to teach our sons not to BE like the man in the OP.”

        18. Jeremy

          I agree with you here, SE. And the first step in teaching young men to not be like the OP’s boyfriend….is to have them understand that courtship does not generate female attraction. That chivalry does not generate female attraction. That gift-buying, chore-doing, nice-being, date-paying, and lifestyle-supporting do NOT generate female attraction in women not otherwise so-inclined. Which is why I am so very, very vocal about that here. It is not that men shouldn’t court women – it’s that they shouldn’t court women who don’t desire them. Because they don’t reciprocate courtship by definition. Can you see why I suggest allowing women to initiate sexuality? Because even though her kissing him back (when he initiates) might indeed indicate her desire….it doesn’t indicate that she will SHOW her desire in the way he ideates. Only the way she does.

          The OP’s boyfriend likely believes that he can win her love through his actions. And he HAS. She says quite clearly that she loves him. What she doesn’t do is desire him. And if desire is the key ingredient in male love (and it IS), she don’t love him one bit.

        19. Clare


          As a matter of fact, I, for one, cannot bear to see it when a man is in a relationship with a woman whom he has relentlessly pursued and who is “meh” about him. To me this is absolutely not a desirable situation.

          However, as Sparkling Emerald correctly pointed out, I hold him largely responsible. The women in these kinds of scenarios have usually been SCREAMING that they are just not into the guy – through their actions, their body language, their lack of effort, their sheer indifference is visible for miles to everyone but the man himself.
          As women, many (perhaps even most) of us have been in this situation. I know I have. A man makes his interest in you known. You tell him you’re flattered, but no thanks. And he keeps coming at you and coming at you and coming at you. I have been in this situation numerous times. Sometimes the man in question is one or two texts or phone calls from a restraining order. I have lost count of the number of female friends I have seen this happen to as well. The guy simply does not hear the “no” which you, in desperation, deliver in every way you know how.
          Now, sometimes, the woman might have a weak moment. She might be feeling low or bad about herself, or broken-hearted because of another guy. She might give way to (bad) advice from her friends and family to give the persistent guy “a chance”. So she goes out with him a couple of times. His efforts, which were persistent before, now become ten times more so because he has encouragement. I am not making this up because, as I said, it has happened to me several times before and to many of my friends.
          The man in this scenario is absolutely oblivious to (or simply does not want to see) the woman’s cues and the feedback she is giving that she is, at best, half-heartedly in this relationship.
          Who is to blame in this scenario? In my opinion, it’s not so much about blame, it’s about two desperate people who’ve made an ill-judged decision. Both should be paying more attention – to themselves and to the other person.

          As for your assertions that chivalry, gift-giving, courtship, effort, etc. do not create attraction in a woman not otherwise disposed to be attracted, again, I do not entirely agree. I think this is too simplistic. Women absolutely can become attracted to a man whom they were not attracted to before based on his effort. But it’s *what* effort he makes which is the crux of the matter. Women are attracted to strength. They are attracted to someone they can admire. They are attracted to charm, to humour, to a man other women find appealing.

          So while a bouquet of flowers or helping her move her furniture might not do the trick, noticing that he has started a new workout routine certainly could. Seeing him going out and have fun and make a ton of new friends certainly could. Watching him work towards and achieve his goal could. Seeing him perform an act of kindness with absolutely nothing to gain in return could. Seeing him act in a confident, couldn’t-care-less way definitely could. And so on. You get the idea.

          Women don’t want to be schmoozed into liking someone any more than a man does. We don’t want men to behave like used car salesmen eyeing out their next victim. We want to go out with a man because we see value in him ourselves.

        20. Mrs Happy

          Dear Jeremy,

          1. you wrote above:
          “… have them understand that courtship does not generate female attraction. That chivalry does not generate female attraction. That gift-buying, chore-doing, nice-being, date-paying, and lifestyle-supporting do NOT generate female attraction in women not otherwise so-inclined.”
          You’re wrong. Courtship and chivalry and a man who is nice, generate attraction in me, and I’m female.

          2. “You explained why they don’t want to. I offered perspective that many men don’t want to either. For deeply ingrained reasons, just like yours. Your response was, well men will have to suck it up, cause women won’t and frankly they don’t find timidness attractive. And now you say it has nothing to do with power? That fact that neither side wants to but only one HAS to because the other can sit back and still get pursued while the reverse is generally not true… has EVERYTHING to do with power.”

          If I’m allowed to reduce motivations to their primal base, I suspect making the first move is nothing to do with relinquishing power (in fact if anything it’s a powerful thing to do), and much more about males just having a higher sex drive. Watch animals in the wild. Power doesn’t enter into it. Or just go on dates with human men.

          I wouldn’t respond in the crass way you’ve paraphrased above – and you know why? Because it’s unladylike. And I have been conditioned from birth to be polite and gentle and ladylike. These are shackles of a sort, but is important to note even in such a small way, because gender-appropriate behaviour, as expected, as demanded, by society, is much of the argument here, for both genders.

          3. Jeremy, in general, you paint this dour picture, of disgruntled courting times and negative married times and wretched power struggle times and sorrowful poverty-stricken engagement couldn’t-buy-a-ring catching public transport times.

          You set a scene that is entirely different from my memories of dating and boyfriends and engagements, and no power struggle awareness and (from early 20’s onwards) no poverty, and fun and excitement meeting new men, and adventure travelling the world, and then stability marrying, getting it right the 2nd time, and having children. All with loving, kind, fun, sexual, absolutely lovely relationships.

          Your experience is not universal, but you seem to be assuming many/most men had your less-than-optimal experience. It’s just not what I ever saw. Maybe I’ve been oblivious to the male part of the equation – but I doubt it, because I think I can read men okay. They just didn’t seem to be suffering, or as … fighting the process… as you and some burnt-out men portray.

          Can you see why some commenters are left reeling? You’re describing something very foreign to us, to our whole lived experience. And then you’re telling me I’m wrong when I say my life and relationships have not been about power! Why can’t you allow me to know what my own life has been? Why insist I’m incorrect in understanding my own relationships? It’s illogical.

          When you go for a walk there now, you think about taking gloves and not getting lost and freezing to death. When I first saw Titanic I couldn’t work out why the people died just from being in the water. I’d never been anywhere where the ocean was so cold you’d die from staying in there, it wasn’t my lived experience. When I go for a walk here now, I have to take litres of water and watch for snakes. It’s like you’re saying, Mrs Happy, take gloves, because you’ll freeze to death, and don’t tell me you won’t, and watch this YouTube video again about freezing to death. When it’s body temperature outside, all day, and what I need is a sunhat and sunscreen and lots of water.

        21. Jeremy

          Dear Mrs Happy,

          You wrote, “You seem to be assuming many/most men had your less-than-optimal experience. It’s just not what I ever saw. Maybe I’ve been oblivious to the male part of the equation – but I doubt it, because I think I can read men okay.” In past comments, you’ve written that in your experience most men will cheat. In fact, on one post about divorce you commented that any woman who divorces a cheater will likely find another divorced man who cheated. In your experience and in your opinion, why all the cheating? Is it just that men are horndogs who crave novelty? Or might it be because they aren’t getting from their relationships what they hoped they’d get? Funny that the most common thing high-end prostitutes get asked for (at least according to reports I’ve read) is the girl-friend experience (GFE). Why need a GFE when you have a wife? When you have a relationship full of love – emotional connection, intimacy, a woman who is submissive to your sexual advances? Whatever could be missing?

          I have, indeed, watched shows about animals mating in the wild. And indeed, the males will mate when they can. But the female animals…..will be far more selective about whom they’ll mate with. He has to bring something extra, you know, other than his penis. Either the superior genetics of the larger, stronger, more colourful animal, or the baby-tending qualities that the stronger animal eschews. Not about power? From the female animal’s perspective? Which nature channel are you watching?

          I am baffled by your repeated assertions that power doesn’t enter into the equation for you. How often have you told me that the problem in the case of the sexless marriage is the man’s, because the woman is happy? How often have you compared sex to a serviette? How long would you remain with a man who saw any of your priorities as disposable and fungible? When you complained of all you do every day and what your husband does, what exactly do you think you were complaining about? When I complained about my own past marital conflict, what do you think I was complaining about? What do you think just about every divorcing couple (aside from abusive marriages) complain about? They complain about what they perceive as…FAIR.

          Your Titanic analogy wasn’t lost on me, particularly because I once used a similar analogy for you 🙂 Indeed, perspective is the crux of the issue. Women don’t perceive men’s dissatisfaction when those same women are satisfied. Hence the study Evan posted a few weeks ago. I’m trying to share something with you ladies here about men, to tell you something that men don’t often realize….about themselves. But that is true of almost every man I’ve encountered. Not that we are despondent in our relationships – we’re not. But that you could be doing better, MUCH better, at reciprocating. Because the way to reciprocate when a man gives you what you want isn’t to give him back what you want.

        22. Jeremy

          Oh, and one last thing. You wrote, “You’re wrong. Courtship and chivalry generate attraction in me and I’m female.”

          Did you watch Amy Schumer’s “Milady” sketch? How attractive did you find those men? You wrote that you have a “type.” 6’2″, built, rugged….manly. Such a man courting you and acting chivalrous? I believe you. 5’2″ guy, 110 IQ, neurotic and into macrame? Chivalry and courtship might make him seem….a good friend. Or am I wrong?

        23. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said “That gift-buying, chore-doing, nice-being, date-paying, and lifestyle-supporting do NOT generate female attraction in women not otherwise so-inclined.” and MrsH replied, “You’re wrong. Courtship and chivalry and a man who is nice, generate attraction in me, and I’m female.”

          Hi Mrs H – I think key in Jeremy’s above quote is “not otherwise so-inclined”. I agree that if I am not initially attracted to a man, none of that will change, BUT if I have sufficient attraction to begin with, most of his list will GROW and MAINTAIN attraction. Also if I have initial attraction but the man refuses to “be nice”, then that will kill it. I know the PUA community likes to convince men that being an asshole will win an otherwise disinterested female, but I’m not buying it.

          When I first was divorced, and I wasn’t ready to date again (in fact said that I was done with all that), a very handsome man pursued me through Meetup. I was not on their looking for dates, I was just looking to socialize, get out of the house, pursue some hobbies and meet new single female friends. But this very handsome man reached out to me. He did pursue me pretty hard initially, but that is not what GENERATED my attraction, his looks, and his sexy foreign accent did. Even though I had written off dating, this handsome man from Meetup initiated a meeting with me, and I couldn’t not accept. After meeting him in person, I felt like a giddy school girl. He did courtship things, and I must admit I let things escalate faster that my usual “rules” typically would allow. I agreed to be his girlfriend too soon. (He really pestered me on that) But guess what ? The MINUTE I said “yes” to being his girlfriend, he immediately switched into asshole mode. Bascially he stopped being nice. Eventually, I broke it off with him. He did lure me back a few times (I’m embarassed to admit). I gave him a few chances, and EVERY time, he’s promise to start “being nice”, I’d agree to give him another chance, and BOOM, he was back to being an asshole.

          So know, his “nice being” didn’t generate the initial attraction, but his being an asshole killed the VERY HIGH initial attraction I had. After the last “last chance” I gave him, he stalked my by phone, e-mail and meetup for about a year. I never really feared for my physical safety, but one of my GF’s was really scared for me. She was even there when he was sending one of his stalker texts. When she and I met at a meetup event, she wanted to see his picture, because she was afraid he would show up (which he had done prior). I kept telling her not to worry about it, that I thought he was basically a harmless asshole. Funny, he paid little attention to me when I was supposedly his girlfriend, and then relentlessly harassed me when I would break up with him.

          So his intial courtship didn’t generate anything that wasn’t there, but when he stopped “being nice” it killed all of the high attraction that was there.

        24. Mrs Happy

          Oh JJ, where do I start? Well at least you’re never boring.

          1. “Oh, and one last thing.” Sure. When hell freezes over.

          2. “How attractive did you find those men? You wrote that you have a “type.”… ”
          Sure I have a type. When a man asks me out, he gets to CHOOSE whether I am enough of his type to ask me out. And in replying, I get to CHOOSE whether I want to spend time with him and go out. Everyone has a type. Some are accepting of more variations/types than others. This btw isn’t power, it’s choice.

          Similarly, “I have, indeed, watched shows about animals mating in the wild. And indeed, the males will mate when they can. But the female animals…..will be far more selective about whom they’ll mate with.”
          This too is CHOICE. Not power.

          3. “But that you could be doing better, MUCH better, at reciprocating. Because the way to reciprocate when a man gives you what you want isn’t to give him back what you want.”

          People know what their partner wants. People – men and women – only reciprocate when and if they want to. Repeatedly telling others or your partner to reciprocate, or what you want, rarely changes things long term, because most people don’t alter their behaviour in a sustained way too far from their baseline behaviour. It’s too exhausting, and humans take the least effortful path every time, for things they don’t want to prioritise. Overall I suspect women do more for others than men do.

          4. “In past comments, you’ve written that in your experience most men will cheat.”

          I’d be really surprised if I’d written that, as it’s not what I believe. I think a good percentage of people cheat, but not most. I agree that the pot of divorced men in their 40-50’s is probably over-represented by cheaters, given it’s a common reason for divorce.

          I think people cheat for a myriad of psychological reasons, and only some of those, for only some people, are around things missing in their romantic relationship.

          5. ” Funny that the most common thing high-end prostitutes get asked for (at least according to reports I’ve read) is the girl-friend experience (GFE). ”

          Urban myth. The most common thing prostitutes get asked for is sex. Pretending to be supportive like a girlfriend is an add-on, atop the sexual acts.

          6. “Why need a GFE when you have a wife? When you have a relationship full of love – emotional connection, intimacy, a woman who is submissive to your sexual advances?”

          Submissive to your sexual advances? Are you kidding? This is in your definition of a wife? Were you born in 1677 or 1977?

          7. ” Women don’t perceive men’s dissatisfaction when those same women are satisfied.”

          It’s people, not women. People don’t perceive or care much about others’ dissatisfaction when those same people are satisfied.

          As random examples – How much care or consideration are you giving right now to the victims of starvation and preventable diseases over in Africa? To the threatened extinction of koalas due to our 9th week of uncontrolled bushfires in this state? To the air in Beijing that is essentially unbreathable?

          Everyone who is satisfied with their life tries to keep things at the status quo, with maybe a little effort for some others. That’s human, and not a specific females-in-relationships failing.

          8. ” Chivalry and courtship might make him seem….a good friend.”

          Not everyone is horrified by the idea of friendship with me, including men who have liked me in other ways initially. I’m friends with lots of ex’s, for instance. It’s really not too bad.

          9. Fair I’ll give you. We all know the world isn’t fair and life isn’t fair and yet we all yearn for fair. It’s illogical. Our minds in schism.

          So that is 8-1 by my count m’dear. You could retire gracefully, nobody would blame you. It is cold there, after all. Almost freezing?

        25. Jeremy

          8-1? On which planet?

          Re: 2) what do you think power is not the ability to optimize one’s choices? What else is power FOR? Female evolution has pressured women to optimize their sexually selectivity. The more powerful a woman is, the more selective she can be; the less, the less. Powerlessness is exactly lack of choice. I’ve said this to you before – the fact that the very rich don’t think about price tags isn’t because money isn’t important to them, it’s because they have so much of it. When a good looking, intelligent, and socially able woman is dating and has a plethora of choices, she can afford to only think about what she wants and not about what men want…. Because she is what men want.

          Re: 3) that women do more for others…. You know, I have an interest in personality psychology. One of the “Big 5” personality factors is “conscientiousness” and I admit I don’t fully understand it. Because included in its aegis is dedication to hard work. But how do we define this? The multi-tasker is dedicated to hard work, but splits her efforts between many tasks/people, doing many things but few things well (lol, good thing I’m across the ocean from you right now). Contrast with the person who focuses on fewer things and follows then down the wormhole, doing them thoroughly. Who is the conscientious one? Can’t be both… The two don’t correlate. Anyway, applies to your point here as I’m sure you’ll see.

          Re: 6) “is that your idea of a wife?” lol, no! It’s exactly what I’ve been arguing AGAINST! Fait attention, EW.

          Re: 7) indeed. One who is satisfied with the status will will try to maintain it. And one who isn’t will strive for change. Guess what determines who is successful? Starts with p…

          Re: 8) the only one who should be horrified to be your friend is one who wants to be something else but lacks the power to choose. My dear, have you never wanted something you couldn’t get?

          I grant you point 1).

          It’s cold, snowy and dark here. Headed to the islands for a romantic getaway next week. How is summer in oz?

        26. Jeremy

          Oh, and you’ll note I didn’t reply to points 4 and 5. I really don’t know much about prostitutes, except through hearsay. For example, I’ve been assured that if a prostitute tells you, in the dark, that you’re the biggest she’s ever felt? She’s probably pulling your leg.

        27. Mrs Happy

          I’ll take Jane Austen’s lead via the Dashwood sisters and comment on only the weather part of your conversation, because I’m tired.

          We are spoiled rotten in this island country. Friendly and welcoming to visitors, sure, but careful not to over-populate or let too many stay, mindful most of the land is desert or semi-arid and we like open spaces and abundant resources. We are mostly housed around the expansive coastline, hugging the beautiful beaches, and accustomed to clear blue skies and fresh ocean air and sunny summer days this time of year, as our birthright. We ruefully shake our heads in pity at the English who sent convicts and criminals to this beautiful land, staying in their cold fog rain drenched overcrowded little hub, on the doorstep of ever-warring Europe, while we enjoy this bounty, far away from the annoying world.

          Well all that relaxed summer holiday peace is dashed to the dry ground now. Over 140 fires are raging in this state, and weather forecasts for the next two months are continued dry, hot, dangerous fire conditions. The clear clean sky has gone, it looks like the terrible white or grey northern hemisphere polluted sky here now, smoke particles everywhere have covered our picture book duck-egg blue sky. The air quality is so poor I have to check the level of particulate matter before opening windows, and I can’t jog outside without getting a sore throat. There is smoke everywhere. Almost any way the wind blows, smoke comes, because the fires are everywhere.

          The Australian firefighters are exhausted, and new rotations of firefighters have to be flown in from New Zealand and Canada now. It has been over 9 weeks of fires, many out of control. Huge, massive hectares of loss. I have a lot of properties and had to evacuate one suddenly with the kids recently. It was such a rush I jumped in the car without shoes on (a moment’s pause will tell you it is very foolish to be without shoes if the ground is hot or has embers) and drove off barefoot. Later that evening to my husband – “lucky there were 2 roads out honey”, I said. He paused, and replied incredulously, “I wouldn’t have bought a property in a bushfire-prone area with only 1 access road in and out, dear”. (Something that hadn’t crossed my mind when we bought, as all I was worrying about was earning enough to pay the mortgage each month; let me tell you, I felt admiration for him then.)

          Widespread drought. No rain expected for months. Mankind absolutely incapable of extinguishing the fires. Dry, very hot summer coming – we are only 8 days into summer. We need rain. Animals dying. Yesterday I set up a snake bucket out the back so they go to that instead of diving into our pool for relief, because we want to use the pool.

          You cold, snowy and dark; I have trouble even imagining.
          I hope you and your family enjoy your island vacation.

      5. 20.2.5
        Yet Another Guy

        @Mrs Happy

        Women have it all wrong when they say that men do not like it when a woman makes the first move. The reason why women get rejected when they make the first move is because women are far more selective than men; therefore, they almost always shoot above their pay grade when making the first move. I can assure you that there are very few men who will reject a hot woman who makes the first move. In fact, most men would be pinching themselves in that situation. The reason why a guy making the first move works more often is because men with functioning gray matter are acutely aware of where they rank within the male social hierarchy; therefore, they are acutely aware of what level of woman is possible. The average woman approaches pursuing a man like the most clueless teenage boy does when he goes after a girl out of his league. Why? Because the average woman is clueless as to where she ranks within the female social hierarchy. The main difference when it comes to pursuit is that whereas a woman will shoot a guy down who is less than she believes she can get, the average guy will go along for the ride for access to little to no effort sex. If women tempered their selection with an understanding of what they can actually attract when it comes to men who will commit versus those who are only open to easy sex (that is the only test that matters when determining a woman’s rank within the female social hierarchy), the difference between being the pursuer and the pursued would be minuscule at best. However, women will never accept this reality because they prefer to be the rejector instead of the rejected.

        By the way, a lot women are more than happy to use a guy for his money while dangling the possibility of sex in front of him; therefore, pursuing as a man is not without its dangers. Here is another case where a man should run. If woman is too good to be true, especially when it comes to looks, a man is usually about to get used.

        1. Mrs Happy

          The other thing is, because women don’t often or ever make the first move, when they try, even if it’s with a man who is “their level”, it’s clunky as. Amazingly, seeing and experiencing men make the first move regularly for decades, doesn’t enable one to actually have any ability making a similar said move. Go figure.

          And YAG I don’t think it often comes down to “women will never accept this reality because they prefer to be the rejector instead of the rejected”, it’s just more that women don’t have to make the move, so they don’t. I mean, why would they bother? Men will do it. I mean that in all seriousness.

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Mrs Happy

          “Amazingly, seeing and experiencing men make the first move regularly for decades, doesn’t enable one to actually have any ability making a similar said move. Go figure.”

          You do realize that men do not come out of the womb knowing how to make the first move? Making the first move is a skill that is painfully developed over time, and some men never learn how to successfully make the first move because they are terrified of rejection. If you want to see awkward, watch a teenage boy hit on a teenage girl who rejects him. The average guy’s teenage years and his early to mid-twenties are full of “I’d like to forget it happened” moments. By around age 25 or 26, the average guy who is not a quitter is starting to figure out how to successfully approach women. By age 30, he is honing his skills and has usually achieved enough status to put them to use. By age 35, if guy is still single, he has honed his approach skills and has enough status to be deadly if he chooses to be so, especially if he has kept himself in shape. That is why the average 35-year-old guy who has worked on himself and achieved status is not interested in peer-age women. He is at a point where he can date the women he wanted to date when he was younger, but found himself rejected. Sure, women suffer in their twenties, but it is more often than not from making poor choices, not inability to obtain dates. A lot of guys who become players in their 30s often struggled with women in their teen and 20s. They worked hard on improving themselves and consider the ability to be a player as their reward.

    3. 20.3

      While I don’t doubt what SE and Mrs Happy write, here are other ways to look at it:

      1. SE, when you say ‘It NEVER worked out for me, not once’ to pursue a man, isn’t it the case that for all of us, no matter whether we pursue or get pursued, it never does ‘work out’ except for ONCE typically: a successful marriage or LTR? Your success story of your husband whom you didn’t pursue is one data point. Were there other men who pursued you that didn’t result in a LTR, so that on balance, it was an even split between pursuer / pursued?

      2. I don’t think that every man who would have sex with a woman but not commit to her is a player. Others can disagree, but that would make so many players that the term becomes meaningless. In my mind, what seems to set players apart is a difference in selfish, deliberate intent.

      3. Suppose it really were true that most successful relationships start by men pursuing women rather than the other way around: Can we step back and ask WHY, rather than say, ‘That means women should never do it’? In other words, is this social and historical so that we can change it to make things more even (e.g., both males and females who like to initiate and lead in relationships can pursue without restraint), or is this biological and immutable? I don’t think we can be prescriptive in our advice without asking this.

      Maybe it would be informative if more people in successful LTRs chimed in with whether they pursued, or were pursued.

      1. 20.3.1


        Whenever I talk about this topic, I always make it clear that I am talking from my own experience and what I have observed. I would never want to tell other people what to do in their relationships – if they feel something has worked for them, then they should have at it.

        Since you asked for people in successful LTRs to chime in, Sparkling Emerald has already done so (her husband pursued her). Although I don’t know if you could call my relationship long-term yet, my boyfriend also pursued me. He asked me out on all the dates in the first couple of months of our relationship, he did 95% of the initiating of texts and phone calls, he kissed me first, asked about us being in a relationship first, brought up commitment topics himself (would I ever consider getting remarried, told me that he thought 2 years of dating was a good length of time before getting married), etc.

        Personally, I think the reasons why men pursuing women works better are more biological than social/historical. I think cultural norms have changed things a little, and it is now more common and maybe slightly more acceptable for women to ask men out, but I do not think the basic feelings have changed all that much. As I said, I think the reasons are more biological. Women take a far greater risk in relationships because of the possibility of getting pregnant, and therefore it behooves us to hang back a little and assess the man’s suitability as a mate. I think men’s much higher testosterone levels make them more assertive and aggressive and much more motivated to pursue sex. I think women have (or should have) a slowing down effect rather than a speeding up effect so that an emotional bond is able to form as this will be better for her and her offspring in the long run. To me, this is all pretty basic stuff.

        I’d love to think that this could change, and that there could come a time when both sexes could pursue unrestrained, as you said, but I’m not so sure if it can or will.

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