I’ve Made A Million Mistakes and My Boyfriend Is Still Here. What Now?

I’ve Made A Million Mistakes and My Boyfriend Is Still Here. What Now?
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Hi Evan. Thanks for your beautiful advice. I’ve just read your book and I’m feeling pretty ashamed and embarrassed. My question is about what to do if I’ve made and am continuing to make almost all of the mistakes you outline in my current relationship, and yet my partner has stuck around. (It’s been 10 months all up – were not living together but have spoken about it, despite the turbulence). The trouble is, as I’m awake to these patterns, I’ve lost a lot of respect for myself and also for him. He wants me to “stop trying to change him” and although he’s non- specific, I agree in principle, and yet I keep seeming to get stuck on his flaws, which is horrible, but I do the same for me.

I’m also carrying a lot of insecurity because I drove a lot of the relationship up front and have felt like I’ve done a lot of ‘pushing’ so even if we do move forward now and improve our dynamic, I have this fear that he hasn’t chosen me.

If I hadn’t made so many of your mistakes myself I’d just cut and run but I do believe that neither of have been the people we want to be and we’re mirroring each other. I have a sense that I need to confront these patterns in myself regardless of whether I leave. My question is, can I fix this from inside the relationship and if so how? How can I deal with my insecurity about not being chosen and can I give him back the reins? How do I drop my attitude of wanting to change him – i.e for him to be cleaner, wanting him to make clear and specific requests of me rather than passive complaints.

-Clare

We all make mistakes in relationships.

The best people take responsibility for those mistakes, vow not to repeat them, and when they slip up, apologize and try to do better the next time.

But that doesn’t mean that all relationships can be fixed with a dose of self-awareness, effort and humility.

Personality – from my reading and observation – is a lot more nature than nurture. This is not to suggest that people can’t grow and evolve, but rather, their basic personalities stay largely the same. Introverts rarely turn into extroverts. Narcissists rarely turn into humble servants. Cheaters rarely turn into faithful partners. And so on.

One of the core concepts in Love U is that you can’t have a relationship with a man dependent upon him changing for you. You pretty much have to assume that whoever he is right now is IT and make a choice: accept him or leave him. The third choice – nag him to change – is the one that most women make, leaving everyone unhappy.

You’re unhappy that he’s not changing for you!

You tell yourself that your criticism is valid (and it IS!)

You tell yourself that if he TRULY loved you, he WOULD change for you. (not true)

Of course, your constant criticism makes him want to either fight back and defend himself or completely withdraw from the relationship.

Of course, your constant criticism makes him want to either fight back and defend himself or completely withdraw from the relationship

How could he feel happy knowing that his girlfriend has so many problems with him?

How can he feel confident when all he hears about is what he does wrong?

How can he think that this relationship is worth preserving when he’s doing his best to make you happy and he always seems to fall short?

You asked a bunch of questions at the end, Claire:

Can I fix this from inside the relationship and if so how? How can I deal with my insecurity about not being chosen and can I give him back the reins? How do I drop my attitude of wanting to change him – i.e for him to be cleaner, wanting him to make clear and specific requests of me rather than passive complaints?”

Here’s my answer to all of them:

  1. You fix your relationship by taking responsibility for your behaviors, not by trying to fix his. Once you become a better girlfriend, the right man will feel the difference and want to become a better boyfriend in return.
  2. Stop with the “not being chosen” thing. He’s here. He’s choosing you every day.

Your only real question is the last one:

  1. How do you stop wanting to change him?

You don’t.

You will always want him to change. I desperately want my wife to change. But I also accept the fact that she won’t and I’ve largely made peace that, despite her “flaws,” she makes me happier than anyone I’ve ever met.

There are no perfect people. Could he be cleaner and more direct? Sure. Is it worth dumping him to find another guy who is cleaner and more direct? Maybe. But the new guy may not have all the great qualities of your current boyfriend.

Life is about tradeoffs. Once you make peace with who he is instead of expecting him to change, you both have a chance at joy. But if you keep trying to change him, he’ll keep resenting you, even if he never has the courage to leave.

In other words, you may get a husband, but you won’t have a happy marriage.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    S.

    “Stop with the “not being chosen” thing. He’s here. He’s choosing you every day.”

    I’m a bit confused about this line. Clare was referencing your book where you suggest women mirror men in the beginning. She didn’t do that. She’s thinking that she pushed this relationship into being and he just went along. Are you saying with this line that it doesn’t matter that she did that and that she feels she’s driving the relationship right now?

    I think once a dynamic like this is set up in a relationship, it’s really difficult to switch midway. I think part of it has to do with personality as you said. He might be a person who needed nudging and will just go along with what she wants. I have dated this type of person. If Clare is okay with having the reins and keeping them, they might be fine. But she’s feeling, after reading the book, that maybe she isn’t being the person she wants to be. And that she has issues she’s now aware of to work on.

    So your advice is to work on herself, accept his flaws if she can, and it doesn’t matter what dynamic they have as long as she can live with it?

    I’m just trying to understand. Your book was so focused on letting the man lead that I can understand why Clare feels she’s made so many mistakes.

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “Are you saying with this line that it doesn’t matter that she did that and that she feels she’s driving the relationship right now?” Yes.

      “I think once a dynamic like this is set up in a relationship, it’s really difficult to switch midway.” The entire time I courted my wife, I did all the work – she never contacted me. As a married couple, we communicate as needed. There is certainly no keeping score or power dynamic since we’re both fully invested. It would be strange if my wife “did nothing” for the rest of our lives; mirroring is just to keep women from chasing at the early phases of dating. Nothing more.

      “So your advice is to work on herself, accept his flaws if she can, and it doesn’t matter what dynamic they have as long as she can live with it?” Without rereading what I wrote, that sounds about right. Then again, that would probably be my advice to any man or woman in any situation in life. 🙂

    2. 1.2
      Michael D

      “Stop with the “not being chosen” thing. He’s here. He’s choosing you every day.” Sorry no, after reading Clare’s case, I can’t agree.

      The more desirable & real men choose their women; but many men, and I’d argue “most” men don’t actually choose their women. They passively go along with whatever woman will have them, so long as they are getting sex and tolerable enough company. Most men are really that simple and desperate. And yes, I’m half-ashamed to admit I used to be the latter kind of man.

      Clare should listen to her anxieties. A real man spots a woman, and then pushes for a relationship to make her “his.” A real man does not passively wait for woman to do all the “driving” to make a relationship. A real man would not put up with chaos during the first 10 months of relationship, which should be the honeymoon period of a relationship. Clare intuitively knows that either this man does not have the spine of a real man, or he’s not really into her and instead just sleeping with her till a “better” option comes along.

      1. 1.2.1
        BBQ

        They might be simple but are they really desperate? or do they just ngaf and aren’t being stupidly picky for the sake of appearing like they’ve selected a woman and “won” her?

        I’d also say the most desirable men have women practically throwing themselves at them and often go along with whatever one falls into their lap at any given time.

        This “real man” stuff just sounds like some fantasy out a romance book.

      2. 1.2.2
        Jenn

        Thank you! You took the words right out of my mouth. I’m a woman who knows the difference between being pursued and doing the pursuing myself and it is night and day. I can tell any doubters from experience (my own and other women i) that it is not necessary for a woman to do anything to chase after any man. If a guy likes a woman, he’ll make it known. If not, he won’t. I chased after several very good looking young men back in my prime and it never, ever worked (actually, thank God, cuz uh, be careful what you wish for). Conversely, I kept getting asked out by the guys in whom I had absolutely no interest.

        One of these days, I hope to strike a good balance and get asked out by a guy I actually find somewhat desirable!

        1. BBQ

          The inverse could also be said.
          If you like someone just let them know, it’s easier for everyone that way.

        2. Emily, to

          Jenn,
          ” it is not necessary for a woman to do anything to chase after any man. I chased after several very good looking young men back in my prime and it never, ever worked. Conversely, I kept getting asked out by the guys in whom I had absolutely no interest. … One of these days, I hope to strike a good balance and get asked out by a guy I actually find somewhat desirable!”
          I was hoping this was going to be a story that ended with the fact that you DID get asked out and pursued by someone you liked. Instead, it reflects a lot of women’s experience. You chased the guys who weren’t all that interested while being chased by guys you weren’t interested in.

        3. Jenn

          BBQ,

          I DID tell one guy I liked him and it didn’t work. He was flattered but he didn’t feel the same way. Besides, telling someone you like them too early really kills the challenge and thus, any excitement. Even for a woman, it can send the turtle’s head back into her shell. I had gone out a couple times with a guy who pursued me, who was not my type. I was warming to him slowly but after 2 dates, he told me he really liked me. I’m not sure if it’s because I was starting out with a low level of interest or not, but that killed it. Show, don’t tell! At least that’s how it is for me.

        4. BBQ

          Yeah no offense but telling one guy you liked him and it turning out he didn’t feel the same way doesn’t prove anything. Seem like you just stopped trying because that approach didn’t work once and you didn’t like being rejected. BUT, I know for a fact there are a lot of couples where the woman expressed interest first which turn out just fine.

          Maybe what you say about telling people you like them early is true for (some) women, but it really isn’t true for most men. Despite what you’ll hear about playing hard to get etc. most men are fine with women who are really into them (tho not super clingy) early in a relationship. They find it flattering.

        5. Jenn

          BBQ,

          I pursued several guys. Not one of them ever returned my interest and even if they had, they’d only have stuck with me until something better came along. That’s how a lot of men are. They might be flattered that someone is showing them interest but it’s not going to make them crazy about a woman. The reason is because there is no challenge. A lot of guys say they love being asked out and pursued, and sure, it probably feels good in the moment but guys really value the women who they choose to pursue, the women who present a challenge to them. They’re built for that kind of thing. If it doesn’t take any work to win her over, they don’t make any real effort to keep her. Instead, they just get lazy and coast along until they get sick of her and go off to find the woman they actually do want.

        6. BBQ

          This whole thing about men having some natural need to “pursue” women and it being in their nature is total fantasy. I’ve heard this before as though women doing nothing somehow taps into mens primal urge to be a hunter or warrior and win women or something. They have no such urge, this is just an easy explanation for why womens dating lives who have done the opposite have failed when really it’s just pure chance. Hell even back in hunter-gatherer days or medieval times men didn’t “hunt” or “win” women. They got pushed together with them by their elders based on how suitable they were.

          All my life since school I’ve seen the exact opposite of men chasing after women taking place the majority of the time. In high school, girls would get their friends to ask boys out for them, or write them a letter with a gift. In college, again, girls would get their friends to do the asking or ask guys directly. Now in life I see it being slightly more even, but still plenty of women just straight up asking men out and many of their relationships seem to be doing fine.

          I did ask my girlfriend out, but only after she started talking to me out of the blue outside a movie we had both just been too.
          So you could say she approached me.

        7. jo

          BBQ, while I’d certainly like to believe that what you write is true, two responses to your comments:

          1. You can’t possibly know what ancient hunter-gatherers did for mating, because they are, after all, prehistoric – meaning that there are no written records of what they did. Nor do fossils provide any such evidence for what you wrote. A few modern hunter-gatherer tribes still exist today, so if you know what their mating strategies are, please share with links.

          2. It’s not pure fantasy to speculate that men pursue women. It’s true of nearly all sexual species – Jeremy and Mrs Happy were just discussing this in the last thread. Obviously, the complicating factor in humans (but a few other species too) is the male sticking around to help raise offspring. Then decisions need to be made on both sides, but there is no evidence that human males are that different from males of other species in primal mating drives.

        8. BBQ

          jo

          I’m not trying to say human males are that much different from other large male mammal species (especially the ones that aren’t nomadic apart from mating, ie-large primates like Chimps or Lions or Wolves) in their over arching pursuit of women for sex and reproduction, I just don’t agree that that pursuit means that they will by nature be the ones who end up asking women out more or approaching them first.
          I think it’s probable they’ll always initiate sex more often early in the relationship because of this and also be the ones who give the formal request (like proposal) for mating with the long term goal being reproduction in mind, but I’m not sure it goes far beyond that.

          After all, many female animals mating strategy is simply placing themselves near the males or by naturally coming into heat, which males react to. The original action which leads up to mating is often (tho not always) initiated by the female, even if the deed never is.
          Is this so much different that a woman saying to a man “do you wanna get coffee sometime?”, then the man later on being the one who initiates sex?

          Youre right I can’t know exactly what hunter-gatherers did. This is anecdotal evidence and I can’t provide links but I do remember several documentaries about living tribes in the Amazon where pubescent females (quite young) and males (usually young but capable of being seen as “a man” in the tribe) came together in a fairly arranged way, although there may have been genuine affection between some of them which influenced the choice before hand. There was no “asking out” being done. They fell together almost like school children would and then elders pushed the rest along. Or pushed the less willing together if need be.

          But anyway defining any one pre-historic (or current) hunter gatherer culture as having “natural” human mating behaviour is kind of pointless since they had differing levels of technological progression in the same way as we have in agricultural times.

        9. shaukat

          “I pursued several guys. Not one of them ever returned my interest and even if they had, they’d only have stuck with me until something better came along. That’s how a lot of men are. They might be flattered that someone is showing them interest but it’s not going to make them crazy about a woman. The reason is because there is no challenge.”

          This statement just shows how fragile the female ego can be in the face of rejection. Also, aren’t you a forty yo virgin or something? You really have no experience with men to make the claim that ‘men prefer a challenge.’

        10. BBQ

          shaukat

          This whole thing about needing to be “pursued” in all parts of dating by an “alpha” who will get sick of a woman he isn’t constantly climbing mountains to win over seems so ridiculous to me.
          There’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting a man who can make decisions when needed or even a more pro-active man to her more passive approach (if that’s the case with her), but this seems like overkill.

          I’m just picturing the kind of man who could actually satisfy this desire by stepping in and handling and planning everything in dating, right down to having to pick every place to eat at, make sure he’s always ahead of her on “pursuit” (whatever that means). He’d be making a complete ass of himself in the eyes of everyone but the woman who had this confused teenage fantasy.

        11. Jenn

          Shaukat,

          Seriously, you’re going to bring up my virginity AGAIN? That’s your argument against everything I say whenever I comment here: I haven’t had sex, so none of my experiences in dating don’t count, according to you. Um, okaaaay?

          I made the observation that men are biologically built for pursuing women because it’s part of male nature. Not sure how me being a virgin even factors in here but whatever.

        12. Jenn

          BBQ,

          So women who prefer strong, confident men who can make their own decisions and know how to properly court their dates are acting out a “confused teenage fantasy”, are we?

          Maybe we just prefer men who treat us like we’re actually something special.

  2. 2
    Malika With an L

    We have talked so often about accepting your partner as he/she is on this site, that i wont rehash all the homilies we have recycled throughout the years, even though this situation definitely could do with a few…

    But the nagging? I feel we don’t talk enough on how this can corrode the best of relationships.

    Have yet to meet the truly happy relationship whereby there was constant nagging. Have been on both sides of the nag continuum and both situations always left me resentful and depleted.
    I noticed that the older I got and the more comfortable i got in my own skin that the nagging went away and my patience with being on the receiving end became non-existent. I think LW’s idea to break the patterns to be a very good idea. You cannot change someone drastically. They might put the laundry in the laundry basket if given a gentle reminder, but they are never going to be your very own Marie Kondo. Attempting to change them is a waste of energy, best deflected to worthier causes. More importantly, I hope LW gets to embrace the freedom of not having to nag anymore, it is as if a bag of cement is lifted from your lungs.

  3. 3
    Clare

    I agree with Evan here that there are no perfect relationships, no perfect couple.

    Which I think is why, in the other thread, I had a bit of a problem with people who were saying the OP should automatically break up with her boyfriend. I also heard a troubling line from my stepdad yesterday who said “Dating is like trying on a pair of shoes. If they fit perfectly, you have chance to be wearing them for a long time. If there is even the slightest niggle, it will turn into a massive blister in 3 months time.”
    I do not agree. I think slight niggles are absolutely normal when you are dealing with a person who is not the same as you in every way. Learning to live with slight niggles is part of growing up and being adult. No job is perfect, no house is perfect, no relationship is perfect. And even if they are, they do not remain that way indefinitely. Sooner or later, you will have to deal with bumps in the road.

    So it becomes an act of weighing and assessing the relationship to see if it is worth staying in. I think with really good relationships, the choice is usually quite clear because the other person makes you very happy. I would say an overall sense of happiness is a really good reason to hang onto a relationship. This is also the advantage of having done a lot of dating – you have a clearer idea of what to expect from people, so you know when you’re onto a good thing with a relationship. Everyone’s deal breakers are different – but in my opinion, minor bad habits, such as being slightly late, being a little untidy, the odd bad health habit or bad money habit (minor things, not serious ones), things that are not malicious, while annoying, are worth getting past.

    Selfishness, lack of consideration, unkindness, lack of maturity, a bad temper, someone who is highly strung or controlling – these are character flaws which are *not* worth getting past.

    Impossible to say whether the OP’s relationship is worth preserving or not. But my advice would be for her to work on herself as a partner as much as possible, become a better communicator, become more accepting of minor flaws, and then see what she is left with. Does her partner open up to her more? Does he try to engage more with the relationship or move it forward? How happy is she in the relationship? Then decide whether she wants to break up or not.

  4. 4
    Karl R

    Clare said: (original post)
    “He wants me to ‘stop trying to change him’ and although he’s non- specific, I agree in principle,”

    That seems sufficiently specific to me. Are you actually expecting him to list out every way that you’re trying to change him, and then proactively list out every way he expects you to try to change him in the future?

    Clare said: (original post)
    “yet I keep seeming to get stuck on his flaws, which is horrible, but I do the same for me.”

    Years ago, a counselor mentioned that many of her clients stated, “I’m my own worst critic.” The counselor’s response: “You weren’t born that way. You learned it from someone.”

    It’s not healthy to be hyper-critical of yourself, and it certainly doesn’t excuse you when you’re hyper-critical of others. However, it is a stumbling block. Until you learn how to be more forgiving of your own shortcomings, you’ll never be able to really accept your partners either.

    Clare said: (original post)
    “I’m also carrying a lot of insecurity because I drove a lot of the relationship up front.”

    I agree with the “Get over it” crowd. As you already seem to partly realize, that’s your insecurity talking. That’s not the compass you want to be following.

    Michael D said: (#1.2)
    “The more desirable & real men choose their women;”

    First, the “real men” comment is a blatant example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

    Like Michael D, I was fairly passive about dating during my twenties and early thirties. In my mid-thirties and late-thirties, I was proactive about dating. By being proactive, I became a much better dater. Dating is a skill. However, I did not become any better as a partner. That’s an entirely different set of skills.

    The dating skill allowed me to get my foot in a lot more doors, which led to more relationships, which eventually led to marrying my wife. I recommend that any man become more proactive to increase his options and improve his dating experience.

    For similar reasons, women might want to consider dating men who are more passive about dating. If you take two men, one proactive, one passive, but both otherwise exactly equal, the proactive one will spend less time being on the dating market. So a woman can greatly increase her options by dating some of the less proactive men.

    I’m married. My wife no longer gets any benefit from my dating skills. She benefits from my skills as a partner, which are completely separate. She was one of those who only dated proactive men. She would never ask out a man first. As a result, she had a long string of relationships with men who were proactive, but really lousy partners. (The neurotic springs to mind, as does the hyper-jealous one.) If she had been more willing to date passive men, she might have gotten married to someone much nicer than me long before we met.

    The proactive men might be more desirable to many women, but not for any well-though-out reason.

    1. 4.1
      jo

      Hi Karl: I think that many women DO believe that a proactive man in dating will also be a better partner, and that this proactivity is not just confined to dating, but a reflection of who he is as a whole person. I can think of at least two ways:

      1. If a man proactively pursues me, I feel that he genuinely likes me, and that the liking / loving / caring / respecting – all of those things that led him to focus on me – will translate to how we relate to each other both in the dating stage and the partnered stage. I feel that he recognises something special in me that indicates a better chance at compatibility. It also shows me that he is willing to invest in me, and of course that matters to me, and us, long-term.

      2. If a man is proactive in general, I feel that he can be counted on to be responsible not just in dating, but in every area of life that matters to the people in his circle (wife, children, family, co-workers, friends). He can take the lead. He can get things done, he can get things fixed. He can make decisions rather than endlessly waffling. He can take responsibility rather than waiting and hoping someone else will handle it, or shoving it off onto others.

      As you can probably tell from this comment, I’ve run into both kinds of men, and have much more respect for men who show proactivity. So that’s yet a third point, Karl: Proactive men generate more respect in women than passive men, and respect is absolutely crucial to the health of a long-term partnership. The only case in which I can see this failing is if a man is ONLY proactive in dating and then becomes passive, and is passive in everything else in life, but I haven’t seen this playing out IRL.

      Incidentally, I don’t know that ‘no true Scotsman’ phrase… but can guess its meaning.

      1. 4.1.1
        Karl R

        jo,

        Regarding your point #1, look at it from a man’s perspective, and flip all the pronouns around…

        “If a woman proactively pursues me, I feel that she genuinely likes me, and that the liking / loving / caring / respecting – all of those things that led her to focus on me – will translate to how we relate to each other both in the dating stage and the partnered stage. I feel that she recognizes something special in me that indicates a better chance at compatibility. It also shows me that she is willing to invest in me, and of course that matters to me, and us, long-term.”

        Your belief is equally valid if the gender roles are flipped and the woman is pursuing the man. Is your interest in the man, caring / liking / respecting him, investing in him, any less important to the ultimate outcome of the relationship?

        Regarding your point #2, you’re not not weeding men out based on whether they’re proactive in general. According to studies, about 50% of the population is shy (about equally split between women and men). Shy people have a harder time being proactive in social situations.

        I work with a fair number of introverts. They’re equally proactive (and often more proactive) about getting their jobs done. There’s not some magical “proactive” trait that people possess that applies equally to all parts of their life.

        Furthermore, when I became more proactive about dating, I didn’t change suddenly become more proactive in all areas (or any other areas) of my life. It’s two separate choices.

        Is there any area of your life where you have opposite traits, depending on the circumstances? Highly organized at work, but your car is a mess? Appreciative of your friends, but you take your siblings for granted? Kind toward animals, but rude toward people? Patient with your coworkers, but impatient with other rush hour drivers? Outspoken at social gatherings, but afraid to speak up at work?

        And this ties into your #3. You contemplated (and dismissed) the idea of a man only being proactive when it comes to dating. But it never occurred to you to consider a man who is much less proactive about dating than other areas of his life.

        Moving on to the second part of #3, respect. If you’re unable to respect someone, that’s on you, not them. As I recently mentioned in another post, my girlfriends didn’t need to be my intellectual equals, but they needed to be smart enough for me to respect their opinion. However, I didn’t mention where that cutoff point was.

        Someone could be smarter than 75% of the population (or even higher), and still not be smart enough for me to regularly think their opinion was worth respecting. If I’m unable to respect the opinion of someone who is clearly above average intelligence, is that their fault, or mine? (I’ll still listen and possibly even nod politely while they voice their opinion, but I’m just not going to consider their opinion to be reliable without fact-checking them.)

        Tying it together: In each of these example, you weren’t able to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view. Seriously. I was able to overcome your first point just by flipping the pronouns.

        Isn’t the ability to see things from your partner’s point of view valuable to the long-term health of the relationship? A lot more valuable than being boldly proactive about asking women out?

        1. Mrs Happy

          Dear Karl R,

          Jo likes get-the-job-done men. Men too afraid to ask her out are probably going to be too wishy-washy for her. Increasing her chance of finding a passive man doesn’t help her, if she doesn’t want one. Mere ‘niceness’ isn’t always enough.

          I’d agree with Jo in that there does seem to be a correlation between men able to correctly evaluate a romantic or flirting situation, and ask a woman out in a socially acceptable way, and having good social and relationship skills across other domains (workplaces, home life, local community).

          The very quiet, very shy, very passive men, won’t have the same standing or success. Rightly or wrongly, society will place them lower on the hierarchy pole of life. Jo will respect them less.

          Also, Karl R, I think you are wrong to dismiss dating skills as much as you do. The number of observations and calculations of risk you did, and the reading of communication cues, and emotional intelligence, the conflict resolution, the understanding of what the other wanted, the learning about women, about gifts and good kissing and sex and all the upkeep that goes into their appearance, all these skills and more that you developed over all the years you became a good dater, will definitely be of worth to your spouse, really increase your value as a partner. Dating isn’t a magically separate venn diagram.

        2. jo

          Mrs Happy, you got it exactly right.

          Much as I respect Karl and another gentleman who comments here, the problem I see frequently with their reasoning is a plethora of false dichotomies (or trichotomies, or whatever). Dividing everything into little boxes that don’t touch, when in fact there is a lot of Venn diagram overlapping. Meanwhile, I believe that the way a person does one thing is at least somewhat (if not completely) related to how she or he does everything, and that what underlies it is character.

          There is not the false dichotomy of introverts / dating style. In fact, the men who have been most proactive with me have been introverts, especially the type INTJ. With them, I rarely have to pursue. Their introversion doesn’t inhibit their proactivity.

          There is not the false dichotomy of ‘if you don’t respect them, that’s on you, not them.’ As if a person’s behaviour had absolutely no influence on how others respect him! Come on.

          There is not the false dichotomy implied of ‘I have a cutoff point: if people are above this IQ, I will respect them, otherwise no.’ I find it hard to believe that only intelligence determines your respect, and that you can accurately tell if a person has an IQ of 130 vs. 145. Anyway, does nothing else influence your respect? Character, integrity, honesty, manners, even grammar? High-IQ people are not guaranteed to have good grammar, nor are their comments guaranteed to not need fact-checking.

          Finally, I don’t think you gave enough thought to the fact that your underlying character determined your ability to change in your 30s to be more proactive in dating. Some people who are more passive in their thoughts are not capable of even making that decision and corresponding behavioural change.

    2. 4.2
      Emily, to

      ” If she had been more willing to date passive men, she might have gotten married to someone much nicer than me long before we met.”
      You’re equating passiveness with niceness, which is not necessarily the case. Some passive people can actually be quite mean because they resent being passive and having other people take charge. They go along with the other person’s decisions until one day they blow up, saying they never got a say in anything when all along they had never expressed any desire to have one.
      “The proactive men might be more desirable to many women, but not for any well-though-out reason.”
      It may not be a well-thought-out preference. It’s probably instinctual, but it’s what they want. A lot of men like younger woman. Again, it’s instinctual. I ain’t going argue against it. I’m not young anymore. The opposite sex sometimes likes qualities I don’t possess. It is what it is.

      1. 4.2.1
        jo

        Emily, I agree completely that passive men are frequently not at all nice. It’s as sylvana wrote in an earlier post about ‘omega boys’ (a term that made me laugh), who resent where they sit in the social hierarchy and natural dominance scales, and take out that resentment on others. IME, it’s real.

        Of course there are also proactive men who are not nice, and passive men who are nice. And the reverse for both. These two factors – proactiveness and niceness – do not appear to be related.

        1. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “Of course there are also proactive men who are not nice, and passive men who are nice. And the reverse for both. These two factors – proactiveness and niceness – do not appear to be related.”
          I agree. I get tired of reading that masculine, proactive men are by definition assholes and less masculine, more passive men are then nice. I also find that people often try to talk you out of liking qualities in the opposite sex that they themselves don’t possess.

      2. 4.2.2
        Karl R

        Emily to said:
        “You’re equating passiveness with niceness,”

        No I’m not. You completely misunderstood my point. I’m equating passiveness with “available” and proactive with “taken.”

        Let me give you a simple example, which will be easy to understand. Let’s imagine 4 men and 4 women are trapped on an island (all of them are single and heterosexual).

        In our example, these are the four men:
        #1 A proactive nice guy
        #2 A proactive jerk
        #3 A shy nice guy
        #4 A shy jerk
        In this example there’s clearly no correlation between the two sets of traits. The distribution is exactly even.

        On this island, which one of the four guys gets taken first. I’m betting that #1 is the first one off the market.

        Who is second one taken? Probably #2, because he’s proactive … but he’ll end up back on the market, because he’s a jerk.

        #3 and #4 will probably be on the market for a while. They’re not making the first move. (#2 will probably put the moves on all four women long before #3 or #4 sees any action.)

        The first woman who decides she is willing to date the shy, non-proactive men is likely to end up with #3.

        The real world isn’t as cleanly divided and clearly labeled as our example, but it’s really, really close. The proactive nice guys vanish from the market, and they tend to remain off the market for a very long time. The proactive jerks keep getting recycled back onto the market again and again. And women like jo will invent multiple reasons to avoid dating the shy and/or passive men … so they’ll be on the market for a very, very, very long time. They’re more available than the proactive jerks, who at least end up in relationships for short periods of time.

        You’re not young anymore. Look at your dating pool. Is it overflowing with proactive nice guys?

        1. Emily, to

          Karl R,
          “Is it overflowing with proactive nice guys?”
          No, statisticians.

        2. Mrs Happy

          Can I take option #5? Any nearby lakes?

        3. Emily, to

          Mrs. H,
          “Can I take option #5? Any nearby lakes?”
          Yes! If women don’t like the options, they opt out! And they’re OK with that.

        4. jo

          Emily and Mrs Happy, your badass smackdowns crack me up. 🙂

          And Karl, there’s yet another false dichotomy on your part (plus a mischaracterisation of my behaviour): shy men can be proactive. Shy and passive aren’t the same thing. I don’t know if you’ve changed from your postings from years ago (I read back some pages and like your comments very much), but this comment of yours was especially condescending when you write about a simple example that we can understand. As if the women commenting here were not very obviously intelligent and capable of greater nuance than – to be frank – even you are showing in this case.

        5. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “Emily and Mrs Happy, your badass smackdowns crack me up. ”
          Thank you, but I’m actually going to bow out of this conversation. I can feel myself getting snarky and I’m working at refraining from that.
          But I agree with you about these false dichotomies. I, too, am shy but have been in the past very proactive when I used to do a lot more of the chasing. I find that if someone really wants something, they work through the shyness.

    3. 4.3
      sylvana

      Karl R,

      I think you raised a very valid point there. Dating and relationship skills are two different things. Evan obviously thinks that men should do more of the pursuing, so I’ll yield that that advice. But I think a woman can certainly at least drop a few hints that she’s interested to encourage those men who might make great partners, but aren’t as “aggressive” when it comes to asking women out.

      I think the one thing women seem to often forget when wanting only “proactive” men is that they can easily end up with one who enjoys the chase/hunt more than the actual relationship. Meaning soon after he gets what he wants, he’ll want to hunt again, because he’s bored. Just like a predator chasing food, the moment it’s been consumed and the meal has finished satisfying, the predator goes back on the hunt for the next meal. The meal (relationship) will only satisfy for so long. He’s not looking to make a one-time investment in the food processing plant. He likes the hunt.

  5. 5
    Karl R

    Shy definition: being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people.

    In other words, being shy involves a certain amount of fear or anxiety in social situations.

    Proactive definition: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

    If I decide to get up, walk to the yoga studio, and take a yoga class, I am being proactive about exercising. If I wait for my wife to mention that she’s going to a yoga class and invite me to join her, I am being passive/reactive about exercising.

    How fear affects being proactive:
    Back in 2007, I was walking to my yoga class (being proactive about exercising). About halfway there, I was randomly attacked by four high school students (probably as part of a gang initiation). As the situation was unfolding, I honestly thought I’d have to kill one or two of them to get out of the situation (I was carrying an knife), and I thought it quite likely that I could be killed regardless (because I was badly outnumbered).

    Following that incident, do you think it became easier or harder for me to proactively motivate myself to get up and walk to yoga class?

    Why would it be harder? The distance to the yoga studio hadn’t changed. The classes hadn’t gotten any harder. I still had the same amount of available time. Simply adding an element of fear increased the difficulty of being proactive substantially.

    Fearlessness is not a virtue
    A virtue is taking the correct action in the face of adversity. Courage is taking the correct action in the face of fear. Fearlessness is simply the absence of adversity.

    The more shy someone is, the more fear they will have in social situations. (Even the most extroverted get nervous when dating.) Therefore, the shyest men will need far more courage than I did to be proactive in dating.

    Many women on this blog have stated that they would never want to make the first move, out of fear of rejection. Are you going to start suggesting they’re fundamentally less desirable as partners?

    Mrs Happy said: (#4.1.1.1)
    “The very quiet, very shy, very passive men, won’t have the same standing or success.”

    Is that what you want most in a partner? Success? Social standing? If that was my goal, I should dump my wife. About six months after I started dating my wife, I met a woman who is my mental example of “perfect on paper.” I strongly suspected she was attracted to me. I’ve subsequently become convinced of it. She’s definitely ahead of my wife in success and social standing.

    And Ms. “perfect on paper” is also a terrific person. It’s not just superficial. She’s just an amazing human being.

    So … nine months into the best relationship of my life, should I have dumped my girlfriend and pursued Ms. “perfect on paper?” As you said, “Dating isn’t a magically separate venn diagram.” Choosing between my girlfriend and Ms. “perfect on paper” was probably the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make. Using your Venn diagram metaphor, the circles nearly overlapped.

    I chose to stay with the great relationship. That’s why I’m still with my wife. But I could have made a very different decision.

    You know what could have been an simple decision? Choosing not to date my wife in the first place. She’s sixteen years older than me. Not giving her a chance in the first place … literally effortless.

    Mrs Happy, jo, and Emily, to

    Do you think the three of you could put your heads together and give me twenty good reasons why women shouldn’t bother trying to date men sixteen years older than them? Feel free to make sweeping generalizations.

    I could have easily looked at all of those good reasons, and never given my wife the chance to show me how good of a catch she was.

    jo said:
    “I find it hard to believe […] that you can accurately tell if a person has an IQ of 130 vs. 145.”

    Really? You want to bring IQ into it? Fine. 3% of the population has an IQ of 130 or higher. 0.25% has an IQ of 145 or higher. Given time, that degree of difference between the two is likely to show.

    1. 5.1
      Jeremy

      Karl, what you’ve written here is pure rationality. Frankly, I don’t know how it can be argued with from a logical pov. But you aren’t arguing with rationality, you’re arguing with the halo effect. The post hoc rationalizations of ancient algorithms. Which matters, I guess, because one can’t rationalize one’s self into attraction. Unfortunately.

      LOL, how often have I listened to women talking about loving alpha types who prioritize themselves. The immature man listens to them and tries to change himself. The mature man seeks out a woman of greater foresight of thought and emotion.

      1. 5.1.1
        jo

        Jeremy, see, right there another false dichotomy – your criticising alphas inaccurately. I know many alphas who do not prioritise themselves, but in fact others in their lives, including their wives and children. Likewise, I know many men who are not alphas who are extremely selfish – in fact, more selfish men among the not-alphas than the alphas.

        Think like the wolves. The leaders of the pack prioritise the well-being of the pack. The lone wolves and the betas prioritise themselves. That is why they are not the leaders.

        While I found Karl’s writing intelligent, I wouldn’t consider it ‘pure rationality’, since by those definitions he gives, shy and proactive are not in fact antonyms. So the point was moot. Also, please note how Mrs Happy and I dealt with the remaining points.

        It seems you both have a deeper unhappiness with what we share that may itself be irrational, given that you are both married, and you shouldn’t have problems with what other women want.

      2. 5.1.2
        sylvana

        Jeremy,

        yes, women love those alpha types who prioritize themselves. Until they realize that the alpha won’t prioritize them. As in, not at all. She’ll always come second, third, forth, fifth to whatever he wants.

        And technically, an alpha’s role is to prioritize those he’s in charge of. Prioritizing himself goes against an alpha’s nature. He’s the one in charge of everyone else’s well-being. At least that’s how it works in nature. What most humans consider an alpha is pretty much a narcissist.

    2. 5.2
      Mrs Happy

      Dear Karl R,

      1. Most people cannot tell the difference between an IQ of 130 and 145 just via standard conversation and limited observation. If you are a cognitive neuropsychologist of many years experience (and I don’t think you are) you will have developed a feel for people and a sensitivity for where they fall on IQ scales, but any estimate will be rough and easily outside 10 points. In any case you’d rarely assess someone with an IQ of 145 so it wouldn’t be a well developed skill. You’d need the test results to score accurately or even near accurately.

      In general you, Karl, the normal person, will get some indication of another’s IQ via their vocab, grammar, ability to logically reason and infer, memory, speed of processing info, problem solving skills, ability to think flexibly and change direction and conclusions given new information, but most general human everyday interactions including the average first or second date will not offer a great deal of scope to accurately assess the above down to a specific number.

      You, Karl, will be able to tell there is a difference between people with an IQ of 100 and 130 much more accurately than you can 130 and 145. (Since you personally were not shooting for 145 in a partner anyway it’s almost a moot point, but I couldn’t let it slide.). That is largely because to you, Karl, 100 will appear as very slow, because there aren’t many such people in your social circle, you aren’t used to interacting with such a person, and so the population average person at 100 will stand out. Your even noticing probably has more to do with them being so different, than a specific numerical awareness.

      2. “Is that what you want most in a partner? Success? Social standing? If that was my goal, I should dump my wife.”

      One does not have to spend long on this blog to repeatedly read that in general men don’t chase success in a partner but women do. To simplify, comments here portray men as chasing youth and beauty, and women as chasing providership, protection and status.
      Even if you were an average man, you’d not chase success. You’re not average but you’re a man; so, no surprise you didn’t chase success. Your overall faulty premise on that position was translocating the genders.

      3. “So … nine months into the best relationship of my life, should I have dumped my girlfriend and pursued Ms. “perfect on paper?” ”
      Given you were in your 30’s and didn’t want kids,…. yeah, maybe. Not even you can answer that question though.

      4. “Many women on this blog have stated that they would never want to make the first move, out of fear of rejection. Are you going to start suggesting they’re fundamentally less desirable as partners?”
      Society has a picture of what a good female partner is. One big part of that, and how great a part varies depending on things including your degree of religious indoctrination, is: submissive, chaste, modest, supportive rather than proactive, giving rather than selfish. Men have written here how they wanted in a wife a helpmate for their life, to make their life easier. Men who want progeny want a partner who will sacrifice her own wants to prioritise his and their childrens’ lives.
      Thus women who show independence, and initiative, who stand out as less conservative by asking a man out, are very probably regarded as “fundamentally less desirable as partners” by many people, both males and females.

      5. Fearful, anxious men will overall have less life success. Compared with a more confident, less anxious man, they will have the following: Fewer social networks and supports. Less dating and relationship experience with women – thus be clunkier at everything (including sex). They will not rise in their career, thus will make less money and have less status. Marrying and breeding with such a man puts a woman as a relative disadvantage – she hasn’t as many resources, monetary and human, to help her when unexpected things happen (one hypothetical example – son #2 needs a lift to soccer because daughter #3 is sick – she cannot hire a babysitter to drive, or draw on community supports to drive, if her husband is so anxious they’ve not been able to socialise and make sporting contacts, and so shy he hasn’t career risen and they’re poor; so her kids miss out on opportunity after opportunity. Her genes fare less well in life.).

      Women don’t randomly prefer confident men, just like men don’t randomly prefer a certain feminine waist:hip ratio. These things are all about maximising the success of the survival of one’s genes.

      1. 5.2.1
        Jeremy

        [eating popcorn] mmhmm. Of course it isn’t random. If course of evolved as an algorithm. But do you think the algorithms of our evolution are still as valid as ever? Or is the world in which we live no longer the one to which our preferences adapted? I know what I think. Hence my comment above. I suspect you agree too. Hence your preference for niceness. No?

      2. 5.2.2
        Jeremy

        To further the thought, I was never terribly confident at dating and courtship. But was very confident in school and in my career. How wouldn’t I be? I was good at it, got good feedback and walls of gold medals. When it came time to choose my career, I chose based on my strengths, cognizant of my weaknesses. I succeeded not because of thick headed confidence, but because of planning and foresight. And the woman who married me lacks for nothing.

        So in today’s world, is the heuristic of confidence still as valid as it was in the stone age? Or are intelligence, emotional intelligence, foresight and willingness to share power by FAR the better indicators of a quality partner over time?

        1. Mrs Happy

          Beauty was a signal for health back when people died young, and infectious diseases (which caused asymmetry, thus reduced beauty) ravaged humans. Should beauty still be prioritised as it was, now infections are less deadly overall; are there now far ‘better indicators’ of what will make a quality partner? I hate to be too personal, but look at your wife; you prioritised looks in your pie chart.

        2. Jeremy

          Indeed, I did prioritize looks…..among many other things. Here’s a thought, though: Looks and quality as a relationship-partner have little to no correlation. Your husband’s familial propensity to admire breast-size did not impede his ability to find a quality mate, right? Problem is, some of the things I’ve noted to be present algorithmically in many women’s pie charts do indeed correlate negatively with quality as a partner. Self-centerdness being primary among them. Something which I know you know. You’ve lived it. You’ve told me. Or am I mistaken?

        3. Jeremy

          I often chuckle to myself at what would be the equivalent of what we’re discussing here. Imagine if men had evolved a preference for women who love to kick them in the balls. But complain bitterly about their aching scrota. If only they could find that magical unicorn, the woman who loves kicking them in the nuts, but gently, lovingly. The proverbial “girl who’s nice with balls.” Of course, such does not exist, though – the propensity to love ball-kicking and the propensity to be gentle with balls – 2 different women! And how many men have begun relationships with women who purported to be nice-with-balls but in the end loved the kicking more? Yet men continue their search. Because to accept a woman who’s only nice with balls and doesn’t also love kicking? How to respect such a woman? What a push-over!
          I digress. But it’s really no more ridiculous than the gender-flipped version IMHO.

      3. 5.2.3
        Cathalei

        Frankly I see nothing wrong with men who want progeny wanting women willing to compromise. “Having it all at all times” is a myth to propagate self-absorbed attitude. We prioritize and make tradeoffs to reach our goals. Wanting a giving person is never a fault, that doesn’t mean giving person is a doormat. Same goes for women. If someone wants progeny, it’s only natural that they would look for someone who is willing to take that responsibility. It isn’t about religious indoctrination but common goals. Certain type of women are demeaned in the name of women’s rights and that’s ironic. As for asking a potential partner out, that would depend on the man who’s being asked, how comfortable he is in his own skin, the environment etc. These two are two different matters.

    3. 5.3
      jo

      Karl, my bringing in IQ is actually a nod to you, since you brought it up in the previous thread as evidence of your own intelligence. Like Emily, I don’t want to sound snarky (and certainly have no such intention toward you), but I am more skeptical that IQ is a reliable measure of meaningful intelligence. Yes, there are general trends: those with higher IQs tend to earn more, and those with lower IQs are more likely to engage in criminal behaviour. But at a very fine level? I believe more in the corollary of Forrest Gump’s mum’s statement: Smart is as smart does.

      Yes, I do think you would find it hard to guess a person’s IQ, no matter how rare or common the level. I know three people in MENSA, two closely, one mostly by writing. Yes, one is very intelligent, but not obviously more so than the rest of our group (many of us don’t know our IQs). The other two speak and write in ways that surely would make your head roll, along the lines of ‘Me and my wife went out last night’ and angry incoherent rants.

      Meanwhile, Richard Feynman’s self-stated IQ is 125. Yet if he were alive, I’m sure he could run rings around all of us in debate, let alone theoretical ideas and analytical reasoning. No matter how high anyone’s IQ is, if we’re spending time banging back and forth on this blog (and generally it is a smart group on this blog), then we are NOT devoting that time to making breakthrough discoveries in science and the arts that are the real fruit of high intelligence.

      Like I wrote: Smart is as smart does. So that’s it from me, for a while.

    4. 5.4
      Mrs Happy

      What’s really interesting is that ETO and Jo are leaving the conversation for fear of being (or being perceived as) snarky. Both are women. So … Social conditioning? Personality?
      I’m not even finding the conversation snarky, for me it’s just an exchange of ideas. Everyone is polite and respectful, enough. But I’m from a pod and so maybe have an altered snark threshold.

      1. 5.4.1
        Emily, to

        Mrs. H,
        “What’s really interesting is that ETO and Jo are leaving the conversation for fear of being (or being perceived as) snarky. “Both are women. So … Social conditioning? Personality?
        No. I’ve become a Buddhist and I don’t want to mess up my karma. Seriously. I’m expecting big things in the future! 🙂 It’s all cause and effect and I don’t want to mess with negativity and people who are on here to correct women. But you and Sylvana keep up the fight! 🙂

      2. 5.4.2
        jo

        Hi Mrs Happy and Emily – I had suggested leaving the conversation not because of fear of seeming snarky, but because we really should all have better uses of our time if we claim to have high intelligence. 😉 Not that Evan’s blog isn’t wonderful. But we seem to have riled up certain people just because we say that we like alpha men. There are a few male regulars on this blog that I’d guessed were alphas, and I can see that they are not commenting – which makes sense, since they have no problem with our liking alphas!

        1. emily, to

          Jo,
          “There are a few male regulars on this blog that I’d guessed were alphas, and I can see that they are not commenting – which makes sense, since they have no problem with our liking alphas!”
          I’m not sure who you’re referring to, but if they’re alphas, they’re out being proactive. 🙂

      3. 5.4.3
        Cathalei

        There aren’t even serious disagreements. But taking two women and extrapolating it to an entire population, based on interactions on an online forum no less which doesn’t convey nonverbal cues is over generalizing and can’t be treated as scientific. Frankly, getting confrontational in Internet is wracking my nerves when there are more than enough things offline that would cause confrontation for me. I don’t get the message that I have to act all rah-rah to come off as normal/natural. All this rah-rah on Internet trolls is usually better spent on something else. As for such a calm discussion, rah-rah is entirely useless and there is nothing to be snarky about. I enjoy my (own) snark and they say my jokes can crack up a Berlin Wall made of silence. Then again, as a woman in expected to act a certain way to satisfy some groups or I’m “socially conditioned” or “brainwashed”. Having my own mind about my own attitude should be so above me because I’m just a woman. Hmm… I realized that might be snarky but it’s fully candid on my part. I’m too spent on daily issues that I just can’t muster the energy to get outraged and I find it to be a tedious pursuit. To each their own.

    5. 5.5
      sylvana

      Karl R,

      Well put. I agree with you that women should be able to make the first move. Maybe they shouldn’t pursue, but making a move or letting a man know they’re interested, then leaving the ball in his court can’t be wrong. As you said, a shyer personality can make a wonderful partner nonetheless. The only women that wouldn’t work for is some more submissive women who prefer dominant men.

      As for the reason women shouldn’t bother trying to date men sixteen years older than them?

      I’ll list a few basic ones.

      1 – Sex. The average women starts hitting her prime at 40. I’m 44 now. There is no way in hell a 60 year old man could keep up. No way. Not with all the Viagra in the world. Grandpa would have a heart attack before I’m done with him. Heck, most 30-year-olds can’t keep up with me. There are always exceptions to the rules, but that is a major factor.

      2 – Attraction. It’s hard enough for a woman to find a man in the 5-10 year older/younger range that she’s attracted to. Add the “he’s almost my father’s age” issue, and it gets even harder. It doesn’t matter as much when she’s 20, 30, or even 40. But once she hits 50 and he’s 65, you’ll definitely feel and see the difference in age.

      3- Generational differences. This might not apply as much in all countries, but for the most part, younger generations tend to have been brought up with different mindsets.

      4- Physical activity/wellness. Aging sucks. And with a 16 year difference, you will generally start growing further and further apart in physical wellness and ability as you get older.

      Those are just some of the main points. The first one alone would be enough for me. Obviously, there are always exceptions to the rule. There’s a 70 year old women in our barn who’ll run circles around us 30 and 40 year olds. The doesn’t look her age as old to the point where I was shocked to hear how old she was. I thought she might have a few yeas on me, at best. Early 50s. But those are the exceptions, not the norm.

    6. 5.6
      Karl R

      jo said: (#5.3)
      “Karl, my bringing in IQ is actually a nod to you, since you brought it up in the previous thread as evidence of your own intelligence.”

      The thread from a week or two ago? You might want to read it again. Feel free to look at that thread, hit [control-F] and search for yourself. Jeremy mentioned IQ (describing a hypothetical man). I used other words.

      Therefore, the entire rest of your post is irrelevant. And in the future, when making “a nod” to something I’ve previously said, please read the words I said.

      Mrs Happy,
      Your entire post is one strawman argument after another … or sometimes one strawman argument built on top of another. As one example: 130-100=30; 145-130=15.

      Would you like to take a mulligan and rewrite your post?

      Jeremy said: (#5.1)
      “you aren’t arguing with rationality, you’re arguing with the halo effect. The post hoc rationalizations of ancient algorithms.”

      Um … are you referring to my decision to stay with my wife rather than pursuing Ms. “perfect on paper?” You weren’t particularly specific. As an additional point, your first paragraph is a fairly vague “word salad” of terms. If I didn’t know you better, I’d accuse you of attempting “proof by big words.”

      In addition, I expect ad hominem attacks on this board regularly … but I expect better than that from you. Back up your statements with concrete examples.

      Moreover, I think jo, Mrs Happy, and Emily, to are the ones guilty of the halo effect. They keep trying to connect Clare’s boyfriend’s failure to initiate forward action in the relationship to a host of other assumed flaws … even though Clare did not suggest that he fails to be proactive in other areas of his life.

      As a more blatant example of the halo effect, Mrs Happy (#4.1.1.1) attributed a host of positive traits to my development of “dating skills.” While her statements were flattering, she assumed a cause-effect connection that just didn’t occur in reality. I developed many of the other skills years or decades before developing dating skills (learning conflict resolution from my father during my teens, as one example).

      Regarding the “post hoc” comment, you seem to be assuming that I’m rationalizing my decision to stay with my girlfriend (now my wife) as if I’m examining it for the first time almost a decade later. (My apologies if I’m mischaracterizing your statement, but you didn’t characterize it clearly in the first place.) To point out the obvious, you don’t read minds. So your assumption is purely speculative.

      However, this blog offers a window into the past. About 10 years ago, Evan posted an entry entitled “Evaluate your relationship, Not Your Partner.” In one of the subsequent comments, I mentioned that I was three months into a relationship.

      The timeline: At three months I read Evan’s blog post. At six months I met Ms. “perfect on paper.” At nine months I made a tough decision. I was able to make peace with that decision, because of what I’d read six months earlier.

      That’s just one demonstrable example. My ex ante reasoning went much further than that, but I’m not certain I can find contemporaneous evidence for the rest.

      sylvana,
      Great examples. To add a few others, it’s highly likely my wife will die first. She’s definitely going to retire long before I do. More generally, large age gaps can create a power imbalance inside the relationship.

      I also appreciate your follow-up comment: “Obviously, there are always exceptions to the rule.” Tying it back to the example where the man isn’t proactive, some men with be shy about dating, while others will be passive or lazy about all aspects of their lives. At first glance, a woman might not be able to tell.

      I wouldn’t have discovered whether my wife was an exception to the rule in many of those areas … except I gave her a chance to demonstrate it by dating her.

      1. 5.6.1
        Jeremy

        Karl, when I wrote about the halo effect I wasn’t taking about you at all. I was talking about women’s love for certain qualities (such as confidence) leading them to view all other qualities in a positive light. Sorry if I was unclear. I was not attacking you at all. I was just saying that while I agree with the rationality of your post, it is hard to use logic to countermand the halo effect.

      2. 5.6.2
        jo

        Karl, you referred to being in the top whatever 0.0X% in intelligence, and then went on about how you needed to respect a woman’s opinion. Almost certainly you were referring to IQ – I don’t see how else you can make such a frankly bragging claim, or attempt to put yourself into a percentile. That was absolutely your comment, not Jeremy’s. So my point was absolutely relevant.

        And for that matter, you characterised MY points wrong. I wasn’t arguing about Clare or her boyfriend at all. I was talking about what I like in men. So if you can so easily get my points and intentions wrong, why should we believe that you can accurately surmise other women’s points here?

        We have no problem with your wife being older than you. That’s great; if you’re happy, we’re happy. I’m not sure why you bring this up as an issue at all. THAT seems like a strawman to bludgeon the women who just happen to like alphas. To each his or her own. You are the one attacking us just for having preferences that you don’t happen to like, and you are already married, so again, why does it matter so much to you?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Unstated thus far by Jeremy and Karl: Many of the women who claim to like alphas are single. Thus these guys’ advice to reassess what is most “effective” in making long term relationship tradeoffs is relevant. The attempts to discredit Karl and Jeremy appear to be a defensive and misguided attempt to avoid wrestling with the possibility that the way you’re choosing men is flawed. It’s easier to fixate on strawmen than to take an honest look in the mirror. Karl, Jeremy and I do understand your feelings; we are just pointing out that perhaps there are a few things you don’t understand about men. Yet there is little acknowledgment of that in these comments. It’s all a little like Republicans’ attempts to avoid impeachment by reaching for thin arguments to discredit Democrats. You can persist but at some point, you may need to come to terms that you’re argument isn’t holding up. If your understanding of men was better, I’d expect you’d agree more with Jeremy and Karl’s points.

        2. jo

          FTR Evan, I am not single. Nor are some of the other ladies who share their admiration for alphas (of either sex or indeed of any species, but most specifically for men).

        3. jo

          Also Evan, I’m not sure why you imply that I (presumably me since your reply was to me) am on a losing side of an argument, if you do not know my relationship status. The two men you mention have many holes in their arguments. I am not going to defer to them just because they call each other ‘rational’ – this is something men have used against women in the past, these old labels, to paint us as ‘irrational’ by contrast. I’m not saying that it’s what they or you are doing, but just be aware. I will judge for myself, as will the other women here.

          It’s just as likely that men can be on the losing side of an argument. Honestly, we are ALL pretty bright and reasonable (and many are married) on here.

        4. Evan Marc Katz

          I shouldn’t have said that and edited my comment.

          I am very proud of the commenters here, obviously including all the smart, funny, loyal women readers.

          I reject your subtle claim of sexism because I did not say, imply or mean that women are incapable of rational thought.

          I am frustrated because Jeremy and Karl give largely the same advice I do and it’s painful to watch their points being ignored and misconstrued.

          It’s why I participate here less, argue less and do less social media. It’s just like being Obama and having left wingers call you a sellout who didn’t do enough and right wingers call you an African socialist, when all he ever was was the most reasonable person in the room. He may have had a personal angle but largely came at it by considering multiple angles. I don’t get that sense as much from those women (not you specifically) who speak for themselves without paying any credence to the validity of these guys’ points.

          Want to be perceived as more objective? Try validating something Jeremy says or maybe admit you’re mistaken occasionally like Jeremy does. It’s what I’m teaching my son; the humility to admit when you haven’t given much weight to any side but your own.

          Long story short: I’m not denying your claim to your truth but it’s not a 100% truth or universal truth if it’s not considering the things some of the men are saying here. And since my tagline is “understand men,” my goal is to tell women what good, marriage oriented men think. When those POVs are snarkily dismissed, you are missing the point of my entire business.

        5. Karl R

          jo said:
          “Almost certainly you were referring to IQ”

          I can’t refer to IQ. I have never seen the results of one of my IQ tests. I was given a few as a child. My parents were given the results. They never disclosed them.

          On the other hand, I was given at least ten different tests K-12 (and I took several of them multiple times across the years) where I was given the results. They measured a broad variety of skills, including reaction speed, writing composition, social studies, spatial awareness, and pattern recognition.

          More importantly, the point I was making in that thread was valid, regardless whether I was understating or wildly and delusionally overstating my own intelligence. If I limit myself to the top 0.1% or 1% or even 10% of the population on one metric (based on what I believe I “deserve” … or even based on what “I want”) I’m crippling my dating pool.

          jo said:
          “I wasn’t arguing about Clare or her boyfriend at all. I was talking about what I like in men. So if you can so easily get my points and intentions wrong,…”

          First, if you want to be respected in this blog, I highly recommend tying some portion of your comments to the relevant topic at hand. I occasionally talk about what I like (dancing, photography, etc.), but only when it serves a larger point that’s relevant to the current discussion.

          Second, you can want whatever you want. But you cross a line (not Evan’s, but one of mine) when you start vilifying people who don’t meet your arbitrary criteria. I like women with a certain waist-hip ratio. It’s irrational. It didn’t help me find a good wife. There’s probably a genetic and biological basis behind it, but it’s the stupid part of genetics overriding my rational brain.

          And if you noticed, I managed to describe my preference without ascribing negative characteristics to the women who don’t meet it.

          Third, if I get your points and intentions wrong, maybe you should take a look at what you wrote to see if you communicated your points and intentions clearly.

          For example,
          “Think like the wolves. The leaders of the pack prioritise the well-being of the pack. The lone wolves and the betas prioritise themselves. That is why they are not the leaders.”

          That statement is either hyperbole, or it demonstrates a laughable ignorance of wolf sociology. You could uncover more accurate information than that by listening to a few PBS specials.

          And more important to the discussion of dating, it … ah … fuck … is there a word that’s the reverse of anthropomorphism? Anthropomorphism is based on sloppy thinking. The inability to see things from a different point of view. What makes you think that reverse anthropomorphism is any different?

          This is Jeremy’s “halo effect” in action. Demonstrating confidence (being an alpha) is not a guarantee that he feels like taking care of you. A terrific guy will do both. A decent guy will take care of you, even if he’s not the most confident. A jerk won’t care about your well-being at all … regardless of his confidence level.

          jo said:
          “You are the one attacking us just for having preferences that you don’t happen to like,”

          Let me be perfectly clear. I am attacking you, but for a different reason. You’re vilifying the people who don’t meet your preferences. (i.e. “betas prioritise themselves”, and those are your exact words) And your behavior goes beyond immature … into the realm that I would describe as “evil.” That’s why I’m attacking you.

          I have my own preferences (intellect, waist-hip ratio, etc.), but I have always managed to express them without vilifying the women who didn’t meet them.

        6. jo

          Evan, thank you for understanding.

          Karl, speaking of hyperbole, ‘evil.’ I was talking about beta wolves. If you want to call me evil for that, then I’m afraid I cannot respect your opinions.

      3. 5.6.3
        Mrs Happy

        Dear Karl R,
        I don’t need a mulligan for most of my post, but thank you for the offer. I disagree with your take on my post as being a heap of teetering strawman arguments.

        At my point #1, I discussed the layman’s ability to evaluate IQ based on interactions. It (layman IQ guessing) is known to be inaccurate. I did make an error in failing to read your words suggesting it’s ‘over time’ you can evaluate an IQ difference of 130 or 145. I agree that over time someone as bright as 145 will stand out to some people.
        I still state, independent of anything you say, so no straw in sight, in the short term and sometimes beyond, 130 and 145 can look similar, especially before you observe memory registration speed, especially how many times someone needs to be told something before they can recall it, which takes certain encounters to show up. It has nothing to do with 15 v 30; it has to do with, most people evaluating will sit 90-120 so can’t catch 145.

        At point #2, you mentioned social standing and its worth in you finding a partner, and I replied fairly logically, and with no idea that was new to you. That’s not a strawman argument either. It was a direct response to your (somewhat mocking, but that’s fine) question.

        At my point #3, You mentioned decisions around staying with your wife, I replied with my honest answer. Not even an argument, let alone wasted wheat.

        At point #4 I introduced the idea that more conservative women are likely to be more successful in finding husbands. This I observe in my life. This correlates with the assumption that conservative women will behave in more rigid ways, and follow society’s rules (like not being too forward with men). The link seemed obvious so I didn’t spell it out.

        Point #5 is a clear statement of my opinion. I am allowed to make some points of my own, and this is one.

        People are writing about discrediting others or disrespecting others or being snarky. That’s not the predominant feeling I get in this section. What I read is people trying to exchange ideas and produce their points of view, and sometimes use writing comments to think through their positions. Exchanges can dissolve into back-and-forth small replies that are so boring most skip them, like my post here, which is unfortunate.

        Correlation, observation and interpretation do not equal a strawman argument. Considering connections is important in formulating a whole picture. When inferences are made or logical leaps occur, that doesn’t mean an idea is invalid. When you state something and I stretch that, it can lead to more depth of discussion; to counter with “that’s a strawman argument” risks shutting down what might be interesting dives into a topic.

        It’s realistic to combine analytic thinking with observation and opinion, especially given human behaviour can defy logical predictions at the individual level. Emotion is important because how people feel will usually trump what they think. Winding everything back to only just what was exactly written and can be logically or via research substantiated, could dry up the flow of conversation. People leave the room when it feels dry.

        And posters bringing their real life examples into written positions is something I’m usually grateful for, it can illustrate the why behind the what, and flesh out these internet spirits, and I think it wise to respect and treat with care.

  6. 6
    Jeremy

    Years ago, when I frequented certain sites on the manosphere, I noted how much effort and energy the men there expended trying to define “alpha.” Because they all wanted to BE alpha. Because that’s what they perceived women wanted. And they wanted women to want them. I took it all in, turned it over on my mind, and distilled it down to what it really was. “Alpha,” and all that flows from it, was nothing more than putting one’s self first. And “beta,” and all that flows from it, was simply putting one’s self second. Cut out all the bullshit and that’s what it is. That’s not what it is in the animal world, but the animal world doesn’t apply. Because animals don’t have “shoulds.” human motivational machinery is unlike that of wolves. This notion of the razor between alpha and beta was further hammered in whenever a woman would stop by to heckle the men on those sites, and tell them that they’d BE more alpha if only they’d stop trying so hard to impress women and focus on themselves and their own goals.. which women would find more impressive. Of course, at that point, any woman desiring a relationship with such a man would hope that he’d extend his priorities to include her too – include her enough to feel comfortable….but exclude her enough to still feel desire. And therein lies the rub. Because if a man’s priority isn’t you, then you’re not his priority. The “altruistic alpha” only prioritizes you as long as it suits him. That might be what you find attractive now… But is it what you’re going to want in the future?

    Sigh. I’m not here to “correct” women. Not here to presume to tell you what to want or whom to love – what unmitigated chutzpah that would be! I couldn’t care less if you or any other woman wants men like me or men entirely otherwise – I’m taken. It’s just that I see so many unhappy women out there who desperately want good, long term relationships and marriages with men, and who are failing at it, and they don’t know why. They are blaming men and society and the institution of marriage. They are blaming their own failures at setting boundaries. But by and large, they aren’t blaming their own failure at affective forecasting – knowing what their future selves will want. Nor their understanding of men, nor their own unwillingness to compromise, believing that communication itself is comprise (and it ain’t).

    You want short or medium term relationships of high arousal? Ignore my advice, it ain’t for you. You want a long term marriage with a man who will HAPPILY share power with you? That is something to which I’ve given some thought and study. As have Evan and Karl. One would be wise to listen and consider, depending on what one wants. And if, after consideration, one thinks the advice inapplicable to themselves? Ignore it. If flawed, debate it. I’ve been wrong before and am open to learning.

  7. 7
    jo

    Karl R wrote: ‘Let me be perfectly clear. I am attacking you, but for a different reason. You’re vilifying the people who don’t meet your preferences. (i.e. “betas prioritise themselves”, and those are your exact words).’

    You do realise, do you not, that this sounds exactly like the justification of a man saying to a woman in an abusive situation: ‘Look what you made me do.’ You are justifying attacking me – calling me evil, for crying out loud – because I wrote that beta wolves prioritise themselves. Karl, to put it lightly, that’s not cool.

    Your comments on this thread are full of ad hominems, yet you accused Jeremy of the same when NOTHING in his comment could be characterised as ad hominem, and I could tell that his subtle jab was at us women, not you (but you could not). You’re jumping down the throats of women who state their preferences and use an irrelevant example of WHR (you don’t know what any of us look like, and people are more careful IRL), but in this post and others, you have regularly insulted others’ intelligence.

    Karl, I don’t know if something has triggered you in this thread, but there is a lot of both hyperbole and hypocrisy (not to mention inaccuracy) in your statements about us here. If you are going to dish it out, you have to learn to take it – especially if the original comments weren’t even directed at you.

    1. 7.1
      shaukat

      ‘That statement is either hyperbole, or it demonstrates a laughable ignorance of wolf sociology. You could uncover more accurate information than that by listening to a few PBS specials.’

      Karl makes a good point here, I was planning on writing something similar Wolves are left out of a pack for a number of reasons, including sickness, injury, physical inferiority, which are not related to being ‘beta,’ unless you view all those traits as synonymous with the term.

      Also Jo, may I ask why you always invoke historical (or modern) sexist trends and injustices as a ‘get out of jail’ card when you get called out on saying something inaccurate or ridiculous.

  8. 8
    Emily, to

    Jeremy,
    “I’m not here to “correct” women.”
    That wasn’t aimed at you. Though I don’t agree with everything you post (how could I? I’m an idealist!), I have always believed your heart is in the right place. But there are plenty of other male posters who are on here to correct women and to display their arrogance but we are just so woefully stupid …

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      There actually aren’t plenty of regular male posters like you describe. YAG is the only one who comes to mind and I have shared similar pleas for sympathy and compassion to temper his perceived arrogance. Nonetheless, most of what YAG says ALSO makes a valuable point – especially if you want to understand alpha-ish players that you find yourself attracted to. You don’t have to like what he says but you’d be foolish to dismiss it just because you don’t like the messenger. People “on the other side” (of anything – even Trumpians (!) can have valid points, even if you don’t like them, and even if those valid points force you to consider another worldview (in this case, what men think – which is quite relevant if you date men.)

    2. 8.2
      Jeremy

      LOL, Em. You know, my 2 greatest personal fears are that I am covertly an un-grounded Idealist and that I’m a narcissist. I have propensity for both, the genetic and familial make-up for both, the dysfunctional background for both. I’ve built up internal walls against both, but I sometimes think my walls against idealism have been more effective than my defenses against personal narcissism. The other day my therapist asked me whether I thought those walls have been effective – I thought about it and said that I think so and he replied, “How do you know?” Shit, I don’t. I probably ask myself if I’m being a narcissist at least 5 times per day as I function and change course.

      I think that the main reason the narcissist is a narcissist is that he secretly believes himself to be stupid. His accusations of others are externalizations of his internal discord. I wrote a pithy comparison above about women’s love of confident, self-centred men with men who love women who kick them in the balls. A woman might read that and think I’m accusing her of being stupid. But the stupidity isn’t in the attraction! How many men, myself included, have been idiots for a pretty face or a nice pair of boobs? Admittedly, idiots. I wrote my comment above and again asked myself, “am I being a narcissist??” I replied (to myself) – “No. Because the foolishness isn’t in the attraction but in the unwillingness to admit foolishness when confronted.” Because I might have been a fool for a pretty face, but I’d be the first one to admit it. Might not have changed anything, but I’d admit it.

      Still, given what you wrote…..I ask myself the question of the therapist – have the walls been effective? How do you know?…….I don’t know. Crushing. We can only do our best and try to remain open to being wrong. Isn’t that the only wall that can be relied upon?

      1. 8.2.1
        Emily, to

        Jeremy,
        “You know, my 2 greatest personal fears are that I am covertly an un-grounded Idealist and that I’m a narcissist. I have propensity for both, the genetic and familial make-up for both, the dysfunctional background for both. I’ve built up internal walls against both, but I sometimes think my walls against idealism have been more effective than my defenses against personal narcissism.”
        Well, I can tell you right now that just from what you post, your walls against idealism are VERY STRONG. 🙂 I don’t see a shred of idealism in them. 🙂 Just a LOT of logic.
        “I probably ask myself if I’m being a narcissist at least 5 times per day as I function and change course.”
        Really? I don’t think you are a narcissist at all. You spend a lot of time thinking of other people and what makes them tick and how to get along better with them. A narcissist wouldn’t do that. He would just blame other people. The only strike against you is you’re a STEM person. 🙂
        “How many men, myself included, have been idiots for a pretty face or a nice pair of boobs?”
        Did you ever act on that idiocy? Jump over the cliff level of idiocy? Ride the “Streetcar Named Desire” without a thought to the consequence kind of idiocy?

      2. 8.2.2
        jo

        Jeremy, what I’ve heard (and believe is probably true) is that if you keep worrying that you are a narcissist because it could harm others, then you’re probably NOT a narcissist. Maybe you can relax a little then? 🙂

        I’m a little confused as to why you would try so hard not to be an idealist, though. There is definitely a place for idealism in our society; it’s part of the engine that helps society progress (as long as there are boots on the ground to enable beneficial visions). You know yourself far better than I… but I’m not sure it’s an absolute necessity to build walls to prevent idealism, as long as you retain that ability to do the hard work and translate dreams into action. To dream away and not produce anything, though, can be troubling for the self and others.

        Emily gets at a good point. It doesn’t matter what turns us or our fantasies on, as long as we can make rational decisions. That had gotten completely left out of the discussion above, because when we so much as stated our preferences, we (or at least I) felt attacked. Then we felt backed into a corner where we had to keep defending a particular view or risk being insulted (which happened anyway), when the truth is that ALL of us IRL have much more nuance and wisdom in making our decisions. This is where the internet diverges from real life. Well, one of many ways.

        1. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “Emily gets at a good point. It doesn’t matter what turns us or our fantasies on, as long as we can make rational decisions.”
          That wasn’t my point at all. You haven’t been here long enough to know the personalities of the various posters, but you will get to know them. 🙂 I LONG to hear a story of Big Jer jumping over the cliff, no parachute, going after a completely inappropriate woman (a slutty, bawdy woman!) with whom he knew there was no future but he just wanted to nuzzle up to those great boobs! 🙂

        2. BBQ

          I think the reason some of the men commenting here are frustrated with your comments isn’t because they’re triggered by your preference for take charge pro-active type men (who you call alphas), it’s more your classification of mens modern dating behaviour according to your theory on alpha’s or beta’s in the animal kingdom.

          No offense but all this talk of “admiring alphas of all species but especially men” just comes of so neurotic and absurd when applied to the realm of modern dating.

          I mean c’mon now, a man who plans a date and pays isn’t sure to be some noble selfless alpha who will always have your best interests at heart, he’s just a man who knows how to book a restaurant and has learnt how to open his wallet in the hopes he’ll get some.

        3. Jeremy

          Jo, it’s not idealism pe se that bothers me, it’s ungrounded idealism. In my experience, many people whose personalities are highly idealistic have a lot of trouble distinguishing what “should” be from what “is.” It is one thing to look at the world, see it, and wish it was different… and perhaps think of ways to help it along. It’s quite another to look at the world and believe that it IS the way you think it should be. Or fear it might be. Read the comments section here. Look at the belief systems on display. I grew up with such…. wondered what was wrong with me, and what was wrong with the world when those beliefs didn’t seem to hold. But the only thing wrong was the outlook, not me, not the world. It’s what goes through my mind when you talk about “alphas” , Jo. Because I look at the world and the people you’re talking about without the “shoulds”… And when you take the shoulds away, when you strip away the halo effect, what you see is often very different from what you expected, believed, hoped would be true, feared might be true.

          Emily, if you don’t see the idealism in my posts, you’re missing the forest for the trees. Mrs Happy is always chiding me for it. It’s not that I hope to eliminate it, it’s that I hope to harness it and control it… so that it doesn’t control me. I was never reckless by your standards, that just isn’t who I am. But have I done things that were stupid to impress girls? You betcha. Suuuper stupid. Head shaking, cringing decades later stupid. Yes Emily, I once literally jumped off a cliff to impress a girl – literally. And that wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination the dumbest thing.

        4. jo

          But… Emily… Jeremy is MARRIED. Maybe those stories would be fun, but at the end of the day, I’d be sad, not glad, if he ended up doing the last thing you suggest. 🙂

          BBQ, the funny irony is that I know more about wolves than, evidently, many commenters here. But there is one woman who may know as much or more, who from her comments works in a similar area. It’s best not to make assumptions about what anonymous internet people don’t know, if you have no idea what they do.

        5. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Emily, if you don’t see the idealism in my posts, you’re missing the forest for the trees. Mrs Happy is always chiding me for it.”
          Mrs. Happy is smarter than I am. 🙂 You write very cerebrally so, no, I don’t see the idealism. You’d have to write from the gut for me to see it.
          “I was never reckless by your standards, that just isn’t who I am. But have I done things that were stupid to impress girls?”
          Where are the reckless men? All of your brethren can’t be so logical. 🙂
          I was hoping for a “Lady Marmalade” story … and the version by Labelle. Not that hideous remake.
          “Made the savage beast inside
          Roared until it cried
          More, more, more!”

          Jo,
          “But… Emily… Jeremy is MARRIED. Maybe those stories would be fun, but at the end of the day, I’d be sad, not glad, if he ended up doing the last thing you suggest”
          I’m assuming these stories would take place BEFORE his nuptials.

        6. Jeremy

          You are focusing too much on language and not enough on content, Em. Come on, think of it like this – the language is the body, the content is the spirit. Both are important, but which one makes the person? When you read the posts of the regulars here – even some of the irregulars – don’t you see who they are shining through their language? Through what they say, how they choose to say it, what they don’t say, how they choose not to say it, and the context in which it is said? How a regular poster might, for example, diverge from her accustomed brevity and bluntness to suddenly write in colourful, emotional prose – what that might say about her – who she is, who she tries to be, how she tries to compensate, what she’s trying to emulate…..the resignation, the humor, the weariness, the intelligence – a soul behind smoky glass fading to clear. 🙂 Don’t be fooled by language. Language is bullshit. But bullshit tells you quite a bit about the bull and what he ate.

          Regarding your “making the savage beast roar” – I often wonder whether we are as we are because of our personality, or whether our personality is what it is because of our experiences. Am I focused inwardly because my vision was so poor as a child, or was my vision poor because I developed to be focused inwardly? Are the “INTJs” that Jo was talking about truly born “rational” or were they, like me, born emotional and had the emotion beat out of them by life? By failures and self-protection? Is “rationality” merely a skeleton after the flesh has been removed, the hard-casing of a dessicated insect? Do I not “let the beast out” because it’s not who I AM, or is it because I’ve failed when I’ve tried? Recalling one time, when dancing with a girl to swing music, I uncharacteristically got caught up in the music and tried to swing my partner (as my neighbors on the floor were doing) and ended up clotheslining her across the face. She was ok, but I never recovered…

          This to say, I’m unlikely to provide you with the kind of story you’re looking for about myself. But you might find other stories – about me and about the others here – just by listening to us. Not just to the WAY we are saying what we are saying, but the what of it, the what not of it, the how and the how not, the where and the where not. So many stories. Keeps me coming back. Because I get bored too.

        7. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “You are focusing too much on language and not enough on content, Em. Come on, think of it like this – the language is the body, the content is the spirit. Both are important, but which one makes the person?”
          I’m an idealist. I’ve got to feel it. I learn something from cerebral writing but it doesn’t move me.
          “When you read the posts of the regulars here … and the context in which it is said?”
          Yes.
          ” Language is bullshit.”
          Disagree. Language is a lot. Not everything but a lot. I was reading an article about a woman who met a guy at a party. After talking for a bit, he leaned over to her and said, “If you’re as bored as I am, let’s get out of here.” Contrast that with “I’ve enjoyed talking with you. Can I have your phone number?” They both mean the same thing but I can almost guarantee most women would swoon over the first example.
          “Are the “INTJs” that Jo was talking about truly born “rational” or were they, like me, born emotional and had the emotion beat out of them by life?”
          That’s a good question. You know, there are times I make it a point to be very logic-driven. But then I get bored and start to feel dead and I swing back over the other direction, which is usually not the wisest choice but oh how wonderful it feels.
          “This to say, I’m unlikely to provide you with the kind of story you’re looking for about myself. But you might find other stories – about me and about the others here – just by listening to us. Not just to the WAY we are saying what we are saying, but the what of it, the what not of it, the how and the how not, the where and the where not. So many stories. Keeps me coming back.”
          Now, this sounds idealistic. Almost poetic. But the goals and meta-goals and the relationship goals and the sexual goals and hedonic adaptation …. not so much. 🙂

        8. Jeremy

          Yeah, it may be a male/female thing. Sometimes, when my wife and I are having an argument and I craft (what I think is) a good rebuttal, she’ll be taken aback and say, “Why are you so ANGRY?” And I’ll stop in my tracks. What the hell? Angry? Weren’t you listening to what I was saying? There was no anger in it. Ah, but there was probably a note of it in my tone. And I’ll wish she heard my content, and she’ll wish I’d heard my mood. IME women are far more sensitive to tone and mood than most men. Hence her hearing anger and not content. Because before I learned woman-speak….I’d have been just as happy with a “wanna get out of here” as with a “I’ve enjoyed talking to you, can I have your number?” Means the same thing in uni-dimensional man-speak. I now realize, years later into my mid-forties, that the two are worlds apart.

        9. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “IME women are far more sensitive to tone and mood than most men. Hence her hearing anger and not content. Because before I learned woman-speak….”
          I’ve been trying to get into Intro to Male Hetero Discourse 101 for years. I’m still in the prerequisite for women raised predominately by other women: Dude Speak for Dummies 050. 🙂 I envy women who had brothers or a preset father who can talk effortlessly with men. In actuality, I’ve gotten much better at it as I’ve gotten older, but I’m only adept at it if it’s a man I have no interest in.
          “I’d have been just as happy with a “wanna get out of here” as with a “I’ve enjoyed talking to you, can I have your number?”
          The first is … I could end up at this guy’s apartment. The second is … Opie Taylor. 🙂

        10. BBQ

          “BBQ, the funny irony is that I know more about wolves than, evidently, many commenters here. But there is one woman who may know as much or more, ” (gonna assume your talking about Sylvana)

          The point of this being what exactly? Like I said, all this talk of alpha’s and beta’s in nature and in wolf packs and chimp world and wherever else all comes off so neurotic and ridiculous. As does the attempt to work it into “scientific” theories about why men who act in a way which fulfills your fantasy are above those who don’t in natures hierarchy and are likely to be less selfish than those who don’t. Like I said, whatever type of men you like is fine, but you don’t need to use such pseudo-scientific fantastical justification for it.

          I’m gonna be brutally honest here, you ain’t exactly writing the Origin of species by justifying your romantic fantasies with your “knowledge” of alpha’s and beta’s in nature. Truth be told it seems like your attracted to a certain type of man which fits into a mould basically straight out of a romance novel, then you’ve used neurotic thinking about animals to prove (in your own mind) that this man therefore must be the best (alpha) type of man. There really isn’t any need for you to do this.

          Your obviously a clever woman but I think you would be better off pondering animal nature and the nature of men with observation rather than justification in mind.

          I’m not telling you any of this to be rude so please don’t take it the wrong way, but seeing what you (and Slyvana) think about this I’m reminded of some eccentric spinster aunt out of a Victorian era novel or Agatha Christie story, waffling on about phrenology or some pseudo-science and talking about dashing-alpha men, while everyone else rolls their eyes.

          If I can ask, are you married or in a relationship and if so, are these theories of yours something you repeat to the men in your life? and what is their reaction if you do?

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