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
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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,
Justine

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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Comments:

  1. 21
    S.

    Another thing I forgot: sometimes looks *are* compatibility. For example, folks who deeply appreciate good looks often spend quite some time (and money) on it. They might want to be fit and active. They might prefer a healthier diet. They might really like fashion and photos, etc.

    I find the many couples are compatible about this. You rarely find one who is at the height of fashion always and the other is just casual and comfortable. I think it would be sad for a person to go to an event and be embarrassed with the person they attend with. And I think that’s when people get into trying to ‘remake’ the other person. I find highly attractive people get so much validation from their appearance, that it means more to them.

    I may be a bit biased since I just finished Demi Moore’s memoir last night. 🙂 It reminded me a bit of Brooke Sheilds’ second memoir. They have a relationship with looks and the camera I can’t truly understand. It’s not wrong of Justine to want someone who is compatible with her in this way. It’s not a terrible thing anymore than wanting a partner to do outdoor activities with is a bad thing. It just may be her thing and she wants a partner to join her where she’s at. It may not be the just the looks that are attractive, but the hobby of looking one’s best is also a lost point of compatibility that would build attraction. He does seem to be trying.

    No one would ever tell someone to date someone who was less intelligent than they were or less kind. We have certain judgments of certain traits but those judgments are not universal. Sometimes I like a man with more weight on him, but I’ve learned to modulate that because then I was dating people who fed me fried chicken and ice cream. (Which was delicious but, my arteries!)

    Someone out there will find this guy and love him to pieces exactly as he is. And not worry about his appearance or their arteries. 🙂 He sounds wonderful.

  2. 22
    Mrs Happy

    S: “Someone out there will find this guy and love him to pieces exactly as he is.”

    This is commonly said, but I doubt it’s actually true. Incredibly physically unattractive people do not find partners who think they’re physically beautiful. The sometimes do not ever even find partners. In fact this week I had a weird experience that got me thinking about the topic of looks a lot. I met the plainest woman (plain being an old fashioned word for the less polite term) I’ve seen in years. She also had a really unattractive way about her, and a slightly annoying personality. Her husband was verbally nasty and abusive to her. I was irritated by her and that’s unusual, and she got under my skin. It all made me wonder whether part of why he was so unkind towards her, was anger over the way she looked, and what it said about him that he had married her (premise being men will marry the best package they can get).

    “I say let him go. He deserves a woman who loves all of him and finds him attractive.”

    I suspect at almost no time in the history of heterosexual pairings has anyone voluntarily let go a good catch, so that the catch could do better. People are much more innately selfish than that.

    S, The other things you said about dating hot and finding them arrogant, then maturing and searching for super-kind, made me think I sleepwalked and wrote your comments in the middle of the night; that was my experience too. And the experience of lots of others, both men and women, I suspect.

  3. 23
    S.

    Mrs. Happy, I guess I was speaking for myself. I love those type of men to pieces! I’ve never loved a handsome man. Not even close to loving one. Again, personality trumps looks for me. Fortunately, I honestly do like men that other women don’t and I literally want to rip their clothes off which comes as a surprise to them which is even more a turn-on to me :-). And none of my friends married me I think are attractive. But my gauge is different. I write on this message board as an outlier. At least on the board, but not in my real life. In my real life, the women I meet are like me. It must be said. I’ve met hundreds of people. Most folks are not super handsome or super pretty and they find mates.

    As for the plain woman, maybe she settled? I think that those of us not considered attractive (I realized late in life that I am attractive but not by Western/US standards) have a decision to make. Maybe people don’t fine partners for a reason. I do believe there is a lid for every pot. I honestly do. But sometimes you tire of looking for it. Not all of us have 300 first dates in us. I know I don’t! So yeah, there is someone out there who will love this guy and see him as a prize. But he may not find them. Hell, Justine may not find another like him who she is more attracted to. It’s a crap shoot on both sides.

    “I suspect at almost no time in the history of heterosexual pairings has anyone voluntarily let go a good catch, so that the catch could do better.”

    It depends on one’s definition of ‘good’. Is this a good catch for Justine? I think he’s a good catch, but it’s up to her to decide if he’s a good catch for *her*. If she decides he’s not, then she’s not letting go of a good catch so he can do better. She’s letting go of someone else’s good catch so she can find the good catch for her. I think that’s not selfish, but pragmatic for both of them.

    “The other things you said about dating hot and finding them arrogant, then maturing and searching for super-kind, made me think I sleepwalked and wrote your comments in the middle of the night; that was my experience too. And the experience of lots of others, both men and women, I suspect.”

    So interesting how you interpreted it. I know I wrote two comments, maybe it wasn’t in this one. I was always attracted to the not-hot, super kind males since I was 11 years old. Always, always. So that wasn’t something I matured into. That was always there from the beginning. And my first two lovers were exquisitely kind and tender to me so that imprinted on to me what I liked and how well I could blossom sexually with that treatment.

    It wasn’t until online dating–which is so about looks–did I reconsider handsome men. I had ruled them out completely for most of my adult life as cocky, arrogant, and worse–potentially unkind. Which was a turnoff. But I still was curious what other women about them liked so I gave them a chance. It was fun but I never really trusted them and they didn’t understand why I didn’t fall immediately into bed with them, like why they weren’t enough. I’m surprised that they stuck around. But maybe I was a challenge? Maybe my intelligence was a turn-on? I don’t know. The chemistry was pretty high. Maybe that was enough to get started for them and yeah, they were surprised that wasn’t enough for me. One of them I did sleep with and it still wasn’t enough. Afterward, I just wanted to go home. Like no other attraction to him. That disturbed me that I could go from super-duper orgasm, to . . . nothing. And I can’t keep having sex with a man just based on some insane chemistry. Maybe hot men have sex like that all the time, but I don’t. No judgment there, just not for me.

    So I course corrected back to my norm. 🙂 I was always searching for Super Kind. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to find! My standard for kindness is really, really high and it’s non-negotiable.

    1. 23.1
      Mrs Happy

      S – Are you in Western Europe? Please only answer if comfortable, I’m just curious, and I like to geographically position commenters.

      I have loved many men, handsome and not handsome. I found hot men thought their good looks were a big plus they were bringing to the table and should excuse less than stellar behaviour. But their hotness wasn’t very valuable to me, so I didn’t appreciate it like they assumed I would or should. It was actually a fascinating dynamic; “What else you got” was my (not-so-silent) attitude.

      I was also bored by how much time and conversation and worth hot men put on their and my looks and appearance. Mate, I really couldn’t care less how long you spend at the gym, stop talking about it and about how toned my body is or whatever, you’re numbing my mind, good grief. Yawn.

      S, as you can see, I don’t score highly on any tolerance scale. I was thinking tonight how completely overcome with ennui I am, with how predictable most people are. I’ll try not to let that attitude seep more into my comments, I think it has of late. Hopefully I’ll wake tomorrow with newfound zest and vim and vigour!

      1. 23.1.1
        S.

        Hmm. I’m not going to answer for the moment! Though I probably have said before somewhere on here. I will say I live in a big city. Eurocentric/western views have taken over the world, though. In my opinion. 🙂

        “I found hot men thought their good looks were a big plus they were bringing to the table and should excuse less than stellar behaviour.”

        EXACTLY. What else you got, dude? I’m used to being treated well. I grew up loved and treated with respect. Can’t expect less than that now no matter what you look like. No matter what I look like!

        But that’s why I say folks who are focused on appearance need to find each other. Those are their values, not mine. I wish I never had to step into a gym again. But I know I will to help extend my health as I age. But I do not want to talk about that place!

      2. 23.1.2
        Jeremy

        I hold your hand in mine, dear,
        And press it to my lips.
        I take a healthy bite from your dainty finger-tips.

        My joy would be complete, dear,
        If only you were here,
        But I keep your hand as a precious souvenir.

        The night you died I cut it off,
        I really don’t know why,
        And now each time I kiss it i get blood-stains on my tie.

        I’m sorry now I killed you,
        Our love was something fine,.
        And till they come and get me,
        I’ll hold your hand in mine.
        _____________________________________________________________
        The first time I read that poem I was surprised, Mrs H. Thought you might enjoy it on a few levels 🙂

        1. Mrs Happy

          I had the exquisite joy of writing about Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess in my English exams. Men driven to love madness by women seems to be a common theme for (male) artists.

          Thanks. Still bored. Maybe I need to climb another mountain and kill some more brain cells.

        2. Jeremy

          In retrospect, the poem was an exquisite failure in perspective-taking on my part. I read about your ennui, scanned my memory for things I had found surprising, found the poem, and extrapolated that you’d find it surprising too. Ha! Typical. Surprising to ME because the notion of harming a woman you love is so amazingly foreign that it defies all intuitive expectation – so ridiculous it’s comical. But to you, with your background and history and interests? Just more sand on the beach. Like reciting a dirty limerick beginning “There was a young man from Nantucket…” to a woman who’d been propositioned her whole life.

          This in mind, I again scanned my memory for things you might find surprising, wrote a few, and then erased them. Because another old expression crossed my mind: “Give a man a fish and he’ll have food for a day. But teach a man to fish and he’ll have food all his life.” Or, the more contemporary, “Give a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day. But SET a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.” And with this wisdom in mind, I’ll suggest the following: “Consider what the mammoth can do to you.” This advice is subtle, nuanced, and tailored exactly to you. Of course, following it and discussing your thoughts with me might give me too much power….but I promise to share.

      3. 23.1.3
        Jeremy

        Unsurprising would have been my asking whether the men whose wives first initiated sexually – the men who weare now so freaking hum-drum about their relationships – are the husbands of the book-club women who subsequently lost all interest in sex? I know I’d find that terribly surprising.

        1. Mrs Happy

          No I’m not friends with the bookclub ladies’ husbands. The bookclub ladies didn’t initiate first – no way.

          The men I referred to are my long-term friends, and really, there is one in particular who is very humdrum and always has been about his partner, and it’s hard for me to watch. He was my best friend for decades until I had children, and his life has not been happy, being together with someone he doesn’t particularly desire.

  4. 24
    SparklingEmerald

    Shauket. I know that the onlyopurpose of your nasty response was to insult me, but you just proved the point I have made over and over again. You haven’t added anything to this discussion that I haven’t already said. So tell me, why should I take Jeremy’s advice and initiate a kiss with a guy who just isn’t in to me ?

    1. 24.1
      Mrs Happy

      SE, Jeremy’s advice is largely about making men feel better. He posts to stimulate thinking re how women can be better partners for men, to entertain himself (and others), to illustrate his intelligence, and to stimulate debate. I try not to contemplate taking Jeremy’s advice, it would give him too much power. Sadly, some advice seeps in, almost unconsciously; I can’t tell you how annoying this is.

    2. 24.2
      Mrs Happy

      I just got up out of bed to come downstairs and write, I fear the 2nd sentence of my comment above could be taken the wrong way, and didn’t mean to pick on you J. Such a list is typical of most of us, which is how I came to write it – I just thought about why I comment.

      SE I was trying to say, don’t feel any pressure to take any advice. Which I’m sure you don’t.

      1. 24.2.1
        Jeremy

        I wasn’t offended. Any more than you’d have been, my friend. I just find your refusal to acknowledge the role of power in relationship dynamics vexing.
        Google the video “its not about the nail.” We can refuse to talk about the nebulous force making us headachy and snagging all our sweaters… Or we can take a long look in the mirror and realize there’s a freaking nail sticking out of our forehead.

        Which would be more annoying – to take advice that one hopes would not work and have it work, or to have it not work? If the former, went might that be?

    3. 24.3
      Jeremy

      Ignore any advice you want. It’s not that you should or should not initiate a kiss. It’s that it is just as ridiculous for you to assume that a man who hasn’t kissed you doesn’t like you as it would be for him to assume the same of you if you hadn’t kissed him. It is just as ridiculous for you to assume that something never works from a small sample size as it would be for men to do the same.

      Honestly. This business of women claiming : “I tried initiating a few times and it NEVER worked.” how many times? 5? 10? 20?Seriously. How many rejections do you think the average man goes through in his life when he tries to initiate? It dwarfs that of the average woman. If he made the assumption that approaching women never worked because of his past experiences, he’d be doomed to a life of celibacy. Same as if he assumed that women who hadn’t kissed him don’t want to.

      You’ve been able to find men who have assumed the burden of courtship and the risks of rejection, thereby freeing you of the need to do so. The responsibility thereof. Because they wanted you more than they wanted their own power. The reverse is not true. Think for a moment about how that makes men feel.

      1. 24.3.1
        shaukat

        ‘This business of women claiming : “I tried initiating a few times and it NEVER worked.” how many times? 5? 10? 20?Seriously. How many rejections do you think the average man goes through in his life when he tries to initiate? It dwarfs that of the average woman.’

        Thanks, Jeremy. I was going to add to my initial comment to SE, but you just covered it perfectly.

      2. 24.3.2
        Mrs Happy

        If I were forced to think about power in such a dynamic, (and any such sensual interaction does not seem primarily about power to me, but I’ll accept you feel differently) I’d say that to me, a man who doesn’t make a move when he is interested, seems pretty powerless, not strong, actually. i.e. the reverse of your interpretation.

        And what is the number? I’m curious – how many rejections are we talking for an average man? I’ve absolutely no idea, so assume most other women would be similarly uncertain. And do the rejections get easier to handle with age and experience? I have a son; what do I teach him about this?

        1. Jeremy

          Life will teach him about rejection, unless he is very good looking or full of natural social grace. The more critical lesson to teach is to be wary of acceptance. .. by women like the OP. Women who will use him without being cognizant that that’s what they’re doing. Who want him for what he provides – lifestyle, niceness, hoop jumping that he’s supposed to want to do – but have no desire for him. You know the whole dynamic you hated, SE hated, of what you’ve experienced when the woman was the initiator? Extrapolate to the OPs boyfriend. That will be his life. She isn’t the one who can do better…. HE is. Every young man should understand that, know what to watch out for. Because he’ll be taught his whole life that such self sacrifice isn’t just expected, it’s the very definition of manhood.

        2. ezamuzed

          @Mrs Happy

          Teach him that learning to accept rejection in all aspects of life while maintaining a healthy ego is one of the most powerful skills a person can have. Tell him to embrace rejection, to not let it deter him from trying to achieve his life goals and ambitions. Tell him to seek out rejection because it will make him grow into the best version of himself possible.

        3. Yet Another Guy

          @Mrs Happy

          The average straight man who is not a quitter has been rejected by women hundreds of times by age 25 or so (that is how men discover their ranking within the male social hierarchy). The difference between a man who is succesfull with women and one who is not lies in his ability to not take rejection personally, especially when dealing with hot women who are used to shooting down men. We talk about men being emotionally unavailable. Handling rejection with confidence requires a man to be able to wall off his emotions, so that he can look at the problem analytically instead of emotionally (i.e., what do I need to change about myself to improve my success with women instead of feeling sorry for myself). I have mentioned it many times. Men who get the most women have been rejected by the most women. Rejection is both a cruel mistress and an invaluable teacher. The reality is that average straight adult man has dealt with a level of rejection that would send the average adult woman into years of therapy. Women complain about passive rejection, they cannot get a guy in whom they are interested to pay attention. Imagine how much more it would sting to approach that guy and experience active rejection. Now, multiply that pain by several orders of magnitude, and you will get an idea of what the average guy has experienced in his lifetime.

      3. 24.3.3
        SparklingEmerald

        Jeremy said “You’ve been able to find men who have assumed the burden of courtship and the risks of rejection, thereby freeing you of the need to do so. The responsibility thereof. Because they wanted you more than they wanted their own power. The reverse is not true. Think for a moment about how that makes men feel.”

        Actually, a man who enjoys the courtship process found me, freeing me to enjoy the traditional female role within courtship. The risks of rejection were bourne equally by both of us. He wanted me and didn’t regard courting me as “losing his power.” He went after what he wanted, found a woman who wanted him, we became a couple and we are both very happy. We BOTH got what we wanted, as what we each wanted complimented what the other wanted. What THE HELL is wrong with that ?

        Jeremy, my husband and I did what WE BOTH WANTED TO DO. He wanted to “woo his baby” and he wanted me to let him “woo his baby”. He enjoyed the courtship process as thouroughly as I enjoyed being courted. I did not play any power games with him. My response to all of his advances was immediate and enthusiastic. Unlike the OP, he didn’t have to pursue me over my objections that “he wasn’t my type” until he finally wore me down, and ended up in a relationship with no real desire on my part. I didn’t play stupid “hard to get” games as “The Rules” suggest because I think that stuff IS crap and a power play, and as I said many times, I DON”T WANT A POWER TRIP, I want an even handed relationship. You talk about “balance power” relationships, but you seem not to believe any woman who is in one. If two people want the same or complimentary things and find each other, the “balance of power” will happen organically, and no one either has to think about it.

        My husband is very happy, he didn’t consider courting me to be a “burden”. We both did what we wanted to do. He wanted to pursue, I wanted to “be caught” and we are now in a happy even handed relationship.

        But of course, I don’t think there is anything I can ever say that you will believe. You do seemed to be OBSESSED with power balances and seem convince that ALL women seek the upper hand at the expense of all men. And if we say we don’t, you proceed to “mansplain” that we are doing this unconsiously, that we really don’t know what we are doing, but we are using and lording our power over men, without even knowing it.

        You even say the OP is “using” the man. Look, she tried to turn him downs. He pestered her into a relationship that she initially didn’t want, and now he’s stuck in a relationship with a woman who really doesn’t desire him. Who’s to blame there ? Her for not standing up to his pestering pursuit, or him for continuing to pester a woman who was clearly disinterested.

        Personally, I really don’t think she’s that happy. I think intelectually she thinks she should be. He probably gave her some “logical” reaons why she should give him a chance, and just kept pestering her until she finally gave him.

        Now she is writing an angst filled letter to Evan about the “nice guy” that, try as she might, she just can’t force herself to love. And you say that SHE’s the selfish one, that mothers should warn their sons against.

        1. jo

          Sparkling Emerald, I agree with you on all three of your major points: that both men and women can be happy in traditional courtship roles (like you and your husband), that women are not constantly trying to gain the upper hand over men, and that the OP has done nothing wrong here.

          Jeremy, thank you for your answer to my question in another comment. I understand what you mean about no one wanting to feel used. What I think is missing from this and other comments of yours is that men always have power too: the power to leave a situation that is not good for them. The OP’s boyfriend has the power to leave if he thinks he is getting the short end of the stick. But clearly, that is not how he feels. It sounds as though he’s happy with his current situation.

        2. Jeremy

          Does the fact that the OP has remained in the relationship thus far indicate her happiness with the situation, Jo? We began a conversation last week about women in abusive relationships – why they don’t leave. Check out https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/why-do-people-stay-in-abusive-relationships/ You correctly pointed out that many don’t leave because they feel threatened – reason #1 on the list. But you neglected to mention any of the other 8 potential reasons.

          Fear aside, there are MANY reasons why a person might remain in a relationship that is far less than ideal. And though they might technically have the freedom to leave, they don’t always have the psychological wherewithal to do so. Especially when they HOPE the situation will improve. Which I almost guarantee the OP’s BF thinks will happen.

        3. jo

          Also SE, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a man who was so obsessed with power, who’s up, who’s down, etc. Such a person is probably equally calculating about who’s paying and making sure everything is 100% even-steven. Such a person could be a friend, but not someone I could feel an attraction for. I think alpha men are not as obsessed with such things, but more trusting in what they have to offer, and like many women, I have a taste for alphas.

    4. 24.4
      Shaukat

      @SE,

      I wasn’t trying to insult you at all. There have been times in my life when I’ve come across women who I was interested in but it turned out the feeling wasn’t reciprocated. I could rationalize it away pretending that if I had just done one thing differently (and many PUAs do prey on this insecurity) but the raw truth was much simpler.

      Also, I never claimed that you should initiate a kiss with a guy who isn’t into you. My point was that most men who already are interested in you aren’t going to get turned off by the fact that you initiated the kiss.

      1. 24.4.1
        Mrs Happy

        Shaukat, do you think it is usually true that if a guy likes a woman, is already interested in her, he will kiss her? Because if that’s the case (and women assume it is), what’s the point of kissing him first?

        1. Emily, to

          Mrs. Happy,
          “what’s the point of kissing him first?”
          To do something other women won’t. 🙂

        2. Mrs Happy

          WELCOME BACK IT IS GREAT TO SEE YOU

        3. Emily, to

          Mrs. H,
          You’re sweet. Thank you.
          I guess I don’t see the big deal. A guy has asked you out, planned the date, you’re having a great time. Why not be the one to kiss him first? You’re hardly leading the situation. He’s done all the rest. And if he doesn’t call and ask for a second date … well, there’s your answer. There’s a big difference between showing interest and nudging/pushing the whole relationship along.
          Plus, and I’m not a man so maybe some of the guys can give their opinion … but if so few women initiate the first move, I would think it would be super hot when one did. Hot and unexpected. And just a tinge transgressive if women have been told over and over again not to do it.

        4. Jeremy

          Welcome back Emily 🙂 I hope you’ve been well.

        5. SparklingEmerald

          “I guess I don’t see the big deal. A guy has asked you out, planned the date, you’re having a great time. Why not be the one to kiss him first?”

          Nothing wrong with that if that what the woman wants to do. It’s not something I care to do (I never said no woman should do this ever, I was stating MY preference)

          Did you read my article posted by the Frisky about why women shouldn’t make the first move ? For me, it ‘s not that he might not call, it’s that he might turn things into FWB. Also, my experience wasn’t just someone not calling. I had situations where I initiated on some level. (maybe not the kiss, something else) and then had guys demand instant sex, in 2 cases leading to a near rape situation. After pushing hands away and fighting off the physical advances their retort was “Well then WHY did you call me, ask me out, ask me over, lead me on, kiss me, etc” I’m not saying this is how EVERY man will act. I never said NO woman should ever kiss.

          I stated that it was MY preference (and that was a convo Jeremy dug up from over 5 years ago) and he extrapolated from that convo, that my current comment that I want an even handed relationship isn’t true . It somehow got turned into a convo that I am running some sort of power play on guys. I took that stance in my older life to void being the booty call, the stop gap girlfriend, the fling, etc.

          But as a woman, you can do whatever YOU want. I won’t tell you that you can’t, shouldn’t, or accuse you of having ulterior power play motives.

          I’m married now. It’s rather a moot point, and YES, we do have a very even handed relationship. We don’t obsess over who has power over whom, keep score or try to one up each other.

        6. Emily, to

          Sparkling E,
          “Did you read my article posted by the Frisky about why women shouldn’t make the first move ? For me, it ‘s not that he might not call, it’s that he might turn things into FWB. ”
          I think if a man wants an FWB, it won’t matter if the woman initiates or not. That’s what he’ll want. All any woman can do is sit back and watch what a man does. If he’s not continuing to call and set up dates and things aren’t progressing with more contact and dates over time, she’ll have her answer. It won’t matter who kissed whom. In my experience, if they just want an FWB, they start making all kinds of sexual comments right away so it’s fairly obvious.
          ” I had situations where I initiated on some level. (maybe not the kiss, something else) and then had guys demand instant sex, in 2 cases leading to a near rape situation.”
          That would be very scary and I can see why you would shy away from initiation.
          “I stated that it was MY preference (and that was a convo Jeremy dug up from over 5 years ago) and he extrapolated from that convo, that my current comment that I want an even handed relationship isn’t true . It somehow got turned into a convo that I am running some sort of power play on guys. I took that stance in my older life to void being the booty call, the stop gap girlfriend, the fling, etc.”
          I’m staying out of the power conversation. It’s like the OP’s guy on the other post who thought all women were controlling. Says more about him that it does about women.

        7. S.

          Emily! The one, the original! T to the O!

          Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. 🙂

        8. Emily, to

          Hi there, Miss S. 🙂

      2. 24.4.2
        SparklingEmerald

        Shaukat said “Also, I never claimed that you should initiate a kiss with a guy who isn’t into you. My point was that most men who already are interested in you aren’t going to get turned off by the fact that you initiated the kiss.”

        And MY point is that a guy who is interested isn’t going to wait around for me to initiate the kiss. If he’s not kissing me, he aint interested. Me kissing him won’t change that. He might use it to his advantage, but me initiating the kiss won’t change his mind about not being into me to begin with.

  5. 25
    Jeremy

    A while back, a few of us here were discussing the book,”Fleischman is in Trouble.” It is a story written by a female journalist, told from the perspective of a newly-separated man fresh from a dysfunctional marriage, experiencing the new-world of right-swiping apps. He was astonished at the contrast of the sexually-repressed women of his past versus these new self-actualized women who would “F-ck you like they owed you money.” Like they owed you money…
    _________________________________________________________________________

    The author didn’t come up with that phrase on her own. She interviewed tens of men in NYC and put their perspectives together to come up with her protagonist. To come up with a character that men everywhere would identify with. I certainly did. That phrase echoed inside of me, resonated, and I thought for a long time about why. Why THAT phrase? Why not, “Women who’d f-ck you like they LOVED you”? I thought back to my experiences of female love, and I recognized immediately why that phrase didn’t work. Because female love has nothing to do with their desire, it’s about intimacy and connection. Women will more often talk about their intense sexual experiences with men they didn’t really connect with, certainly didn’t love. The woman who loves you won’t f-ck you like the men she interviewed wanted.

    Ok, so why not, “Women who’d f-ck you like they DESIRED you. Found you attractive.” ? I thought about that one for a while and realized that the reason it didn’t resonate is because….I have absolutely zero experience with it! Have no idea whatsoever what it would be like to be with a woman who desired me OVERTLY. The way I’m expected to desire her, the way I hope to BE desired. Zero. And I’d imagine that a large subset of men, the men she interviewed, felt the same. The protagonist of the story certainly did. But “Like she owes you money”? THAT I understand…..

    Mrs Happy wrote a description earlier in this post about the dysfunctional way in which women are raised and socialized around their bodies and sexuality. The flip side to that is the dysfunctional way that men are raised and socialized around their providership. We are raised to believe that our efforts and our money are what is valuable about us – as people, and as sexual beings. That if we are not happy to provide and protect then we are not MEN. Will not be worthy of love, of desire. When a man reaches below his belt to pull out his wallet at the end of a date, his actions are purely Freudian. And what he wants in return – and make NO mistake, he DOES want something in return – is the woman’s desire. His efforts are his way of making the trade. The trade he was taught, brought up, to believe is the only way he’ll BE desired. She’ll f-ck you like she owes you money. Which, of course, she won’t. Because his efforts will increase her comfort, not her arousal. And when she thinks of how to reciprocate (when and if she does), she’ll think of comfort.

    It’s not that men don’t enjoy courtship, SE. My wife has almost as many carats on her hands as she has fingers on them, and I don’t resent buying them for her. She likes them and I’m happy to make her happy, smile when I see her smile. But when I look back and examine my own motivations for making the purchase at the time, SE? I realize they were dysfunctional as hell. The same motivations that I had when courting her, enjoy the courtship though I did. I did not do it for its own sake. NO MAN DOES. We do it to qualify for female desire. Not their reciprocation through cooking us a nice dinner or sewing our torn clothes. Not their willingness to marry us and host dinner parties. DESIRE. Same as the poor schlub boyfriend of the OP here.

    Why should you or any woman care about this? I guess you shouldn’t, except to understand the disparity between what men say and what they actually think. What they believe about themselves when you’re around, and what they fantasize about when you’re not. In romance novels, the man sweeps a woman off her feet after a long and merry chase of push-pull dynamics, leading to a final joyful succumbing. In porn, a male pizza delivery guy shows up at a hot-woman’s house, and she opens the box to find his erection protruding through a hole in the box. She attacks it, and him, voraciously. Who are the primary consumers of the former, and who the latter? Boil away the crassness from both sets of fantasy and you’re left with the bleeding guts of the motivations – WOMEN fantasize about men who desire them so much they are willing to jump through all sorts of hoops to earn affection. And MEN fantasize about women who desire them so much….that they don’t have to jump through hoops. Who DESIRE them without that desire needing to be earned through their sweat and money. Note the disparity between what we tell you and what we fantasize about when you’re not around. And why that is.

    1. 25.1
      jo

      Jeremy, it might comfort for you to see that, from a woman’s perspective (at least, this woman), many of the dichotomies you raise in your comment are simply non-existent from a woman’s perspective.

      We women don’t have such a harsh divide between comfort and arousal, though you’ve brought this up on numerous posts as if it were a truth. If anything, you might have it backwards in this case: I can provide for myself easily, but am turned on by a man who will pay for me because it shows both his intentions and providership. It’s about his attention and capability. We are so turned on by these. Turn-on can co-exist with comfort, as my happy experience has shown. It’s not either-or.

      It’s also a false dichotomy to speak of circumstances under which women would f men. Please note that the people she interviewed were all men, so you are not hearing women’s side of the story at all in that book. If she included women, she would have known that the circumstances can and often do coincide with love and desire. Almost never is it because of owing money. I can’t imagine how many women owed these men money, but it doesn’t ring true to me.

      Finally, regarding the story about your wife: I would not be so hard on yourself. It’s not ‘dysfunctional as hell’ to want to be desired. It’s a near-universal human experience. Unless you consider all humans dysfunctional… I do not.

      1. 25.1.1
        Jeremy

        I appreciate your comment, Jo. To address your points:
        – “We women don’t have such a harsh divide between comfort and arousal” – They can absolutely co-exist, but they don’t necessarily. Depending on the woman, the factors that elicit either can be very similar or entirely disparate. Just ask the OP’s boyfriend. The one whose GF loves him enough to consider marrying him, but has absolutely no desire for him.

        – Regarding the circumstances in which women would f- men almost never being about owing money – I respectfully think you’ve misunderstood my point. It is absolutely NOT about men wanting women who have sex in exchange for money. It’s about the way that the men being interviewed want a woman to express her desire for them. OVERT. Obvious. The fantasy of the women in porn is that she initiates, she enjoys whatever the man does, and she is impossible to displease. Does not need to be chased, does not need to be won-over, does not need to be wooed or buttered up with gifts. She simply wants him because she wants him. If men’s primary shame is failure, their primary fantasy is the impossibility thereof. When a woman loves a man, she may well feel very intense desire internally…..but does she express it in a way that is meaningful to the man? Is that not exactly the debate we’ve been having here? The theoretical woman who owes him money wants to please him, and therefore shirks off her own fantasies of wooing in favour of his. The woman who loves him…..does not. At least, does not until she gets what she wants first. I absolutely agree that if the author had interviewed women, she’d likely have heard stories about desire – but how often was that desire expressed in ways meaningful to men so as to make those men feel wanted and desired? Not often. Which is why I so shake my head at the debate we’re having here. Why argue? Why not try to express overt desire in a man – a man you’re in a relationship with, if you’re too fearful to do it with one you’re newly dating – and see how he reacts?

        Finally, I agree that it’s not dysfunctional as hell to want to be desired. The dysfunctional part is to choose a pathway to desire that simply does not work. When you see OVER AND OVER that it does not work….and you keep doing it. Because you’re convinced by your upbringing and societal messaging that it should, if only you tried hard enough. When you see over and over that your efforts make the other person happy and comfortable….and that’s it. That is dysfunctional Jo. For me, and for the OP’s boyfriend.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said “The fantasy of the women in porn is that she initiates”

          Hmmm, maybe that’s why in my younger, dumber days, if I initiated, men would assume I was DTF right then and there.

        2. Jeremy

          Indeed, SE, the advice given depends on the question asked. If the question is “how can a woman reciprocate for a man’s courtship,” the answer is that she can give him what he wants in return for giving her what she does. But if the question is “how can a woman protect her heart and defend against being used by players,” she can do so by following Evan’s excellent advice on mirroring and taking it slow sexually.

          The thing to pay attention to here is that the two are mutually exclusive. Can not coexist. The woman doing the one will, by definition, not be doing the other. And so the answer to the question of “how can a woman reciprocate for a man’s courtship” is that…. she WON’T. At least, not initially. And most men will be ok with this… for a while. But not indefinitely. After a while, a man who endeavours to give a woman what she wants will wonder why she isn’t doing the same. And HERE is where the application of power balances comes into play. Because if a woman believes that a man’s courtship isn’t just what she wants, but is also what HE wants… she won’t consider that she has anything to reciprocate. She will believe that the way to show desire to a man is to fulfill the female role in her own fantasy – the damsel waiting to be swept off her feet by the dashing and generous gentleman – rather than fulfilling the female role in the male fantasy. Is it any wonder why so many men feel undesired by the wives who feel desire for them? Men don’t fantasize about adopting the male role in your fantasies – that’s YOUR fantasy. No matter what those men TELL you.

          The role of “being obsessed” with power balances isn’t to finick about division of cheques, isn’t to throw hissy fits when you don’t get your way. It’s to understand how your PARTNER wants you to reciprocate for what they do for you. You know, so they’ll keep doing it… happily.

    2. 25.2
      Paula

      I’ve had the experience of going out with men who proved they can sometimes be their own worst enemy in this providership vs desire dilemma ; one who comes to mind went on and on very aggressively about all the gold-diggers he’d met while dating, yet he divulged very proudly on the *first* date that he owned a fair amount of real estate and would soon retire to live off the income it produces. I declined to see him again on the basis that he’d not shown me anything of substance to make me want to see him again.

    3. 25.3
      Emily to

      Hi Jeremy,
      Good to hear from you. Ironically, I just read the opening pages of Fleischman is in Trouble. First of all, I thought it was very well written. Secondly, it scared the shit out of me. If even the nice guys are awash in options once they hit their 40s, what are the women to do who want a relationship?
      In terms of desire, how many women do u think have felt wildly lusted after by their partners? I’ve never felt it. Sure, they wanted sex, but did they really want me? There’s big difference.
      Also, I think if a woman went after a man like the porn example u gave, I think she’d scare him, so completely would she have flipped the expected sexual paradigm. There’s thinking you’d want something and actually experiencing it. For a woman to come after a man with the full force of her desire for him, he’d better be ready for it. Can I quote Jack Nicholson? Can he HANDLE it?

      1. 25.3.1
        Jeremy

        LOL. Well, I’d not suggest it to the degree of porn unless in an established relationship with lots of trust. It can be worked up to. Again, my initial suggestion was simply that she lean over and kiss him rather than waiting for him to do it and thinking signals at him 🙂

        How many men have wildly lusted after their partners? IDK. Lusted – lots. Wildly – fewer. But a man with any modicum of sense will endeavor to make his wife FEEL lusted after. By romancing her, by speaking to her in her love language, by learning how she wants to be desired and desiring her that way. Not in the way he does, but the way she does. And not believing that if she doesn’t do it first, she must not be into it.

        1. Emily to

          Big Jer,
          Well that was disappointing. All that talk about untempered desire and pizza delivery women …. Only to be expressed in an “established relationship with lots of trust.” You got right up to the edge and then you ran back the other direction. 🙂

        2. Jeremy

          LOL Emily. I like the erotic but less-so the kinky. It’s the difference (to quote one of my favourite authors) between using a feather and using the chicken.

        3. Emily to

          Big Jer,
          I think women do not initiate at all or often because they just do not feel this overt lust you have written about. At least not right away if the man hasn’t shown any interest in getting to know her as a person. But I don’t think men do, either. Interest in sex, yes. But taking one look at a woman and declaring that he has to have her? It sounds over the top. I think there are people who never feel that way about anyone. They aren’t wired that way. And they marry and are perfectly happy. Men expecting overt desire (where she expects nothing from him but sex, no relationship, no providership) is as unrealistic as what you wrote that women want: for a man to sweep her off her feet because he is so into her and to expect nothing in return but the thrill of courtship.

        4. Jeremy

          I agree with you Emily, but that’s exactly the point. Yes, many women don’t feel spontaneous desire for men and for sex. They feel desire when desired. Their sexuality is responsive rather than spontaneous. So why should men expect them to be the ones to initiate? It isn’t what such women would ever do if left to their own designs…..

          ….In the EXACT same way that men don’t feel desire to win affection through hoop-jumping. Through wooing and planning and paying and courting. We don’t feel spontaneous desire to do this, though we’re raised dysfunctionally to believe we must, that we can’t do otherwise, that we have no value if we do otherwise. We fantasize about not HAVING to do any of that and being desired anyway…..so why should we do any of it?

          Answer: Because if we don’t, we don’t get relationships with women. Because they want US far less than they want the efforts we provide. And the reverse is not true. SMH.

          Mrs Happy asked the question above – “If a man who desires me is going to kiss me anyway, why would I ever kiss him first?” Oh, IDK, to show that you like him? That you desire him? That you’re not just going along with the flow? To show him that you’re not an entitled princess, waiting for him to do everything himself? To show him that you care about his internal wants and fantasies the same way he’s trying to care about yours by taking you on the romantic date you’re on that he cares far less about than you do? That you don’t think that the way to reciprocate his assuming his role in your fantasy is by assuming your role in YOUR fantasy? I understand why women smile wistfully at the description of romance novels but laugh at the description of porn. But you know what’s amazingly dysfunctional when you think about it? Men do the same! Not the reverse! How insane is that internalization?

          Honestly, Em, I despair of connecting. I’ve summoned every ounce of eloquence at my disposal on this issue, and yet I still get told, “yes yes, just learn female body language, it’s not that hard. Women just won’t do what you want….so learn to like what we’ll give you and learn to do what we want. Oh, and it has nothing at all to do with power.”

        5. Emily, to

          Jerrykins,
          I was thinking more about this idea of showing overt desire … if a woman has done that, where she went after the man or felt she did too much and the situation didn’t work out or he dangled her along for ego validation and sex, something where she was really into the guy and she was throwing her whole heart and soul out there — because high desire in women comes with a high level of emotion. It may not be love, but you’re greatly moved by it — well … she’s going to be a lot less willing to do that again. And each time she meets a new guy she feels that way about (and it’s rare), she’ll do less and less initiating … to the point where she’ll do none. She’ll expect him to do all initiating in the beginning. I know the counter will be that men get rejected much more than women, and I’m not negating that. I’m just giving a reason why a woman may shy away from initiating. So I can see why the OP would date a guy who was doing all the work. She’s taking none of the risk.

        6. Emily, to

          Good Ole Jer,
          “Mrs Happy asked the question above – “If a man who desires me is going to kiss me anyway, why would I ever kiss him first?” Oh, IDK, to show that you like him? That you desire him? That you’re not just going along with the flow? To show him that you’re not an entitled princess, waiting for him to do everything himself? To show him that you care about his internal wants and fantasies the same way he’s trying to care about yours by taking you on the romantic date you’re on that he cares far less about than you do?”
          First of all, I don’t think women inherently know what men’s internal wants and fantasies are. Yeah, we know about porn, but we don’t think it really connects to how men feel about the women they date. There’s porn and then there’s the girl you’re taking home to mom. Thirdly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with initiating a kiss. When you wrote about showing “overt desire,” I thought you meant going after the men full throttle with no expectation of even a date. Overt desire to me isn’t a kiss. A kiss seems kind of mild. It’s the pizza girl scenario.

        7. jo

          I would be curious as to what EVAN thinks of this whole discussion. (Not to drag you into it, Evan, if you don’t want.) He did all the pursuing of his wife before they were engaged. Evan, did that bother you, or did you enjoy the courtship that was primarily on your shoulders? How would you have felt if she initiated some of the time?

          Basically, I agree with Clare (despite my earlier hypothetical questions to the contrary!) that men do like independence, and to be in charge of themselves – therefore, they want to court and pursue women. I also think there’s an element of alpha vs. beta to it. Although men might be more of one than the other, the same man could be both, depending on how much he wants the woman in question. A woman he desires will bring out the alpha in him, leading him to courting her without the reluctance that Jeremy describes. If he doesn’t care as much, then yes, he probably doesn’t want to do those activities.

        8. Jeremy

          Let Evan clarify if he will, Jo. But I’ll clarify one thing I think you misunderstood. It’s not that men pursue with reluctance. It’s that they pursue in order to get something in return… that they don’t always get.

          Absolutely none of what I’ve written applies to women who take the time to learn what their partners want and do it. And none of it means that men are moping around, miserable in their marriages. It’s just that so many men have an itch that is unscratched….and have no idea what it is. They act on it without understanding it. Ask them what it is and they’d not know what you’re talking about. But watch what they DO…

          I think (and I could be wrong), that it’s often a lack of feeling appreciated, admired, and most importantly, desired. In spite of the love their partners legitimately feel for them, and the desire they express in the way they’ve been socialized to express it. That’s all I’m saying.

        9. Mrs Happy

          J- “I think (and I could be wrong), that it’s often a lack of feeling appreciated, admired, and most importantly, desired.”

          We went through this before. Needing non-stop appreciation and admiration is an impairment. Channel Frozen from one of your daughters’ albums and Let it go. It can’t continue – see Fleishman’s wife.
          Wanting a woman to physically sexually desire you, as you do women, is unrealistic. We don’t have the testosterone levels. You may as well tie your happiness to pink unicorns prancing along the shores of Lake Ontario.

          Whereas what women want, happens. We get asked out on dates and wooed at the start of every relationship. And it doesn’t seem like torture for the guys, i.e. they seem to be getting positives out of the experience. In fact, how else are 2 people going to get to know each other and decide whether a relationship might suit, other than spending time together going out places?

        10. Jeremy

          It’s not about spending time together and going places, though. It’s about having the onus of all responsibility and accountability placed on only one partner and having the other partner feel entitled to it. But you are right. What men want simply doesn’t happen. A few years ago there was a meme going around to start a male equivalent of Valentine’s day. They called it “steak and blowjob day.” Never took off. What is the impetus for women to reciprocate for Valentine’s day… When men will do it anyway without needing reciprocation? When women believe men don’t need reciprocation, because they should enjoy the rituals of Valentine’s day as much as women do…

          I read your comment here again. It says, “men, let go of what you want. You aren’t going to get it. Whereas we will get what we want.” Again, how are you denying that power is exactly what you’re talking about? SMH

          And here’s the thing, EW. Men won’t let this go just because women tell them to. Oh, we’ll try. We’ll tell ourselves over and over that things are ok, good even, run over all the lists of good in our lives. But feel a niggling dissatisfaction that women simply won’t understand, such that when they are asked what they’ve learned about men over time, they’ll recount how surprised they were to learn that men will tank a good relationship for momentary flings to recapture a sense of desire – how insane!

          Or is it insane how women refuse to compromise on the issue, refuse to take themselves out of their comfort zones at all… While insisting that men do so – and that men like to do so. If only women would learn to share power as men do. Gottman got it so very wrong…

        11. Jeremy

          I was just musing about the irony of this conversation. Here we are, 2 well-meaning people offering advice with genuine concern for the perspective of the other. The crux of our disagreement here is whether to accept the world as it is, or whether to fight for the world that could be. I generally advocate for the former and yet…..and yet I’ve seen the world that could be. I’ve seen walls collapse, deserts bloom, and lakes of fresh water desalinated – drop by drop – from the sea. Through pure human determination. The razor distinguishing whether to accept the world or change it hinges on the question: Is it possible?…

          …Is it possible. When I was dating, I didn’t have to LOVE the fact that the onus to call and plan and pay and initiate was all on me. I just had to do it. Because the reward for having done it was worth the price – the reward of having the relationship I wanted, the reward of having a happy and attracted partner. And truly, my courting experience was not negative or full of angst as you suggested – quite the opposite! Because of my own attitudes and willingness to overcome the two things standing in my way – my fear of rejection and my resentfulness for not getting my way.

          For all the excuses I’ve heard here as to why women won’t reciprocate, the truth is that there are only 2 reasons. The same 2 things I had to overcome myself – fear and resentfulness. These things can be overcome. It IS possible. The only question is, is the reward of having a happy and satisfied partner worth the price? That is not a question I can answer for you.

        12. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          You want to talk about power? You’ve got it here.:) All the women are vying for your responses to their posts. I’m not being sarcastic. A little playful, maybe, but what I write is true. I even get a little miffed if I’m having a conversation with you and one of the female posters makes a comment in the middle of it and then you respond to her. STOP INTERJECTING, LADIES! I had him for 2 posts! 🙂

        13. Jeremy

          Aw, thanks Em, very sweet. I missed you too when you were gone. But truthfully, I have no interest in power, don’t want it. I just don’t like feeling powerLESS.

          I was born with a temperament that naturally asks the question, “What can the mammoth do to me?” And part of my maturation process, the process that led to improving my outcomes, was better addressing the question, “What can you do to the mammoth?” But true maturation didn’t come until I realized something that shocked me to my core, something that I never expected. The realization that in many ways, and to many people…I AM the mammoth.

          I think women don’t realize that about themselves. Mature, intelligent women.

        14. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “I have no interest in power, don’t want it. I just don’t like feeling powerLESS.”
          Whenever I think of lack of power, I think of sitting around waiting for some guy to call. It’s excruciating. I hate it.
          ““What can you do to the mammoth?” But true maturation didn’t come until I realized something that shocked me to my core, something that I never expected. The realization that in many ways, and to many people…I AM the mammoth.I think women don’t realize that about themselves. Mature, intelligent women.”
          I’m not a mature woman and don’t particularly want to be (I still think of myself as a college student :)), so I’m not the target audience, but I am not sure I get what you are saying.

        15. Mrs Happy

          J: “It’s not about spending time together and going places, though. It’s about having the onus of all responsibility and accountability placed on only one partner and having the other partner feel entitled to it.”

          In my experience that initial effort primarily by courting men is only at the beginning. In good relationships in Western cultures, effort to suggest, plan, organise, outings and things together equalises quickly.

          In fact “the onus of all responsibility and accountability placed on only one partner” was Fleishman’s wife’s complaint, and many married women would agree – the married man looks after his own wants and career, and the married woman does almost everything for the house, man, his and her extended family, kids, neighbours, church, juggles her own career often making personal sacrifices, etc. The man gets to only do one thing at a time, and take time doing it. What a luxury.

          Only a fool would stay long term in a relationship where they had to keep making more romantic/accountability effort than their partner once at the established boyfriend/girlfriend stage. It’d mean their partner wasn’t that into them. And I’m not talking about sex. Think outside the sex box for once, please. I’m talking about everything else between 2 romantically-entwined people.

        16. Jeremy

          Disagree. Look at Fleishman’s wife, since that’s your example. What she was doing was the exact opposite of compromise. She was running herself tagged to fulfill HER priorities. Which she extrapolated to be everyone else’s priorities…falsely. A woman who sees that her partner disagrees with her and so undertakes to do everything herself is not a person who is compromising. She’s a person going to ridiculous lengths to get her own way. A compromise is not a compromise when the only person you’re compromising with is… Yourself.

      2. 25.3.2
        Jeremy

        It’s about the fact that we all perceive the power we lack far more than the power we have, Emily. When I stopped subbordinating myself to the whims of others and stood with my back straight and my head high, the power to get what I wanted streamed from my fingertips. In fact, I realized that at least part of the reason that others interacted with me as they did was because they perceived me as MORE powerful, not less. Imagine that! Exhilarating and… terrifying.

        When you subordinate yourself to the whims of others to get a reward, the reward you get is often exhausting to obtain, less than you’d hoped for, and you later realize, to your disgust, that though it looked like what you thought you wanted, it wasn’t.

        Like milking a bull.

        1. Emily, to

          Jer Jer,
          “It’s about the fact that we all perceive the power we lack far more than the power we have, Emily. ”
          I’d argue against that. I’m at work now, and I’m their bitch, let’s be honest. They have me by the short hairs, as any employer does. Sure, I can walk, but then I’ll have no money, and with no money I’ll have even less power. I can get a different job but that’s just going into another cage.
          But I got to decide what drawers to wear and how to comb my hair or if I wanted to. And this weekend I’ve been invited to a little soiree, so my power lies in whether or not I’ll decide to go or not. That’s about it. I have no power over people, at least people I want to have power over.

    4. 25.4
      SparklingEmerald

      “In porn, a male pizza delivery guy shows up at a hot-woman’s house, and she opens the box to find his erection protruding through a hole in the box.”

      LOL ! I was drinking coffee when I read this in my e-mail. My coffee almost ended up sprayed all over my computer screen !

      Tell me Jeremy, did she order the pizza with extra sausage ?

      1. 25.4.1
        Jeremy

        Don’t they always? 🙂

  6. 26
    MilkyMae

    I know a few married women who strongly believe in the “let the man pursue”. I witnessed how their relationships developed and saw how they carried out the courtship rituals. The one thing all the women did was to make it clear they wanted to be married. They didn’t beg or nag or play games. When you are dating someone and you make your long term intentions known, you boost to the value of the man and his efforts. Some men will step it up and some will move on. Dating for long term commitment downplayed these days. Commitment is way off in the future or maybe never. Kids are a someday event. Also, dating for marriage is not empowering and may make some women feel vulnerable to openly admit. I have sympathy for men too. The return on investment for a man’s efforts to make himself a great catch are pretty low. The cold feet of the OP is making the low ROI brutally obvious.

  7. 27
    BVG

    From the OP:

    “…starting to get in shape but [he] was previously very overweight…”

    My take is that he does not respect himself (long-term weight issues) and has placed OP on a pedestal to be admired. He does not believe he is a “catch” so why should she? Many posters have commented that “confidence” is very attractive and I further presume that the boyfriend is lacking in this critical quality. If a “6” is persuasive enough to get a “9” at this stage of self improvement, then he has excellent potential to go even higher once he gains muscle and loses the flab. Likely he does not see his potential and OP is fearful that once he gains confidence, he may dump her.

    They should break up for two reasons –

    1. Nearly impossible for someone (OP) to force themselves to be attracted to someone
    2. Being ambitious (going after and snagging a “9” while being a hideous “6”) he will dump her anyway and go after a “10” once his confidence is up.

  8. 28
    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 man in 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.

  9. 29
    Dr Obvious

    I get this concept.. I am a 5 in looks at best but since I look young for my age = I am probably a 7 for age.. I doubt any woman ever was interested in my looks but liked my personality / intelligence.

    Funny thing was at 32 – I married a much younger woman I was not physically attracted to (but she claimed she was to me). I had some second thoughts right before my proposal and my mother said “In 10 years will either of you look like you do today?”.. That hit home.. . Wasn’t all good news as internally she regressed which made our marriage short…

    But,if the internal feelings are there – think about what is most important to you = looks today or internal 20-30 years from now

  10. 31
    Seth

    I feel sorry for the guy in the long run.
    If they stick it out and get married…..he will get frustrated.
    Yeah it’s nice to be married to a hot lady and be able to bang her….
    But over time, he is gonna get frustrated. He will be able to tell she isn’t attracted to him in that way and doesn’t desire him. And honestly that is the worst feeling for a guy.
    She might be able to suck it up and go along with it…..but she won’t be totally happy about it either.

  11. 32
    EW

    She should cheat and see if she can find somebody better or not.Because it is the most efficient way for her to make a right decision for her and her bf. There is no such thing like moral in this case, because if she leaves she may make a big mistake both her bf and her won’t be happy. Not trying to date anybody else will leave her unsure if she should stay or leave. So be efficient with the least risk, she should go out and see if she can meet the right one while dating him

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