The Most Important Dating Advice You’ll Ever Hear — Don’t Do Anything

young couple on a date, drinking wine


I am a 33 year old single woman. I seem to always attract “great guys”, and we always have a lot of fun. But anytime I want to gently “clarify” what he wants (kids, family) nearly each and every guy I’ve dated shies away. I don’t think I come across as “easy”, and I am intelligent and take care of myself. However, I can never seem to transition properly from the “fun” woman to the “long-term” relationship woman, as the intelligent, loving partners I have had don’t seem comfortable ever talking about a future.

What can I do? I am so tired of feeling as though I am doing this all wrong in my attempts to find a real partner for the past 13 years. Your help is greatly appreciated as I am currently seeing another great guy. We’ve been seeing each other for just over a month now. He’s flown me to Bermuda to meet his parents, and  I’ve also met his friends, who have apparently given me the “okay”.  Meantime, I’m still going out with friends and about to go on two dates (that I really don’t want to go on but I’ve been told you’re supposed to “date”).

How can I broach the subject so my mind can be clear that he and I exclusive or not? Do I have to wait until he broaches the subject or can I? I am so tired of “games”, but I know it’s a game for the rest of my life even if I become a wife. Ugh.

Help and thank you in advance.


I appreciate your sincerity and your desire to have a serious relationship. Your questions are among the most common questions that I get. Truly, what you’re going through is universal, and you’re not wrong to feel frustrated. Which is why I hope you don’t mind when I tell you to just take a deep breath and chill. All your answers will be revealed in due time.

First, a basic fact that you need to get, deep in your bones

Men reveal themselves in their efforts.

Nothing else they do matters.

Which is why you can have an incredible first date which doesn’t lead to a second date.

If he refuses to let you go, you have your husband. If he lets you leave, you have your freedom.

Or a best friend/fuck buddy who doesn’t want to make a commitment.

Or a two-year-relationship that doesn’t result in marriage.

In other words, he can be attracted to you, want to be in love, dream of having children, and yet be perfectly content biding his time with you for a year until he finds the woman he does want to marry. You may say he’s using you. Maybe. Maybe not. But as long as you’re both happy in the relationship, does it really matter?

I can almost hear you screaming, “Yes! Yes, it matters! I want to find love, my biological clock is ticking, I feel all this pressure, and I don’t want to waste my child-bearing years with some jackass who doesn’t know the meaning of ‘shit or get off the pot’!”

Very well, then. Leave him.

Voila. You have your answer.

If he refuses to let you go, you have your husband. If he lets you leave, you have your freedom.

This is far easier said than done, of course. You actually have to have the guts to leave a no-win situation, and many women do not. They’d rather stay in a safe dead-end relationship than be alone. Which is fair. But you can’t blame a guy when you turn 42 and he hasn’t proposed to you after 6 years. You can only blame yourself.

But that doesn’t really apply to you, Robyn. You’ve been seeing a guy for a month and you want clarity. Thankfully, you won’t have to wait too long to get it. Because, as I said above: the answer will be revealed to you. All you have to do is wait. This is the crux of this article, if not my entire dating philosophy for women.

Don’t do anything.

Seriously. That’s it. “Don’t do anything.”

As a woman, you just have to sit back and let him do what he wants.

He wants to meet you; he has to approach you. You say yes.

He wants to plan a first date; he has to ask you out in advance. You say yes.

He wants to kiss you; he has to make a first move. You say yes.

He wants to see you a second time; he calls the next day. You say yes.

He wants to check-in during the week to tell you he’s thinking of you; you take his calls. You say yes.

You don’t have to DO anything. Just see what he does, and say yes.

He wants to take you on a weekend away and introduce you to his friends. You say yes.

He wants to sleep with you; he offers a condom. You say yes.

He wants to commit to you and become exclusive. You say yes.

You see what I mean? You don’t have to DO anything. Just see what he does, and say yes.

If he doesn’t do anything, you have your answer.

This is the single simplest way to understand how to deal with men, and yet women drive themselves nuts.

You try to learn what “games” to play, or how to “figure men out”, or “how to make him commit” to you. It’s all bullshit. There’s nothing to know beyond what we’re DOING.

If we want to call, we’ll call. If we want to commit, we’ll commit. If we want to marry you, we’ll ask you. And if we don’t call, don’t commit, and don’t propose to you (all in a reasonable amount of time), then guess what? We’re not going to. We’re just going to continue with our happy, low-stakes status quo that you so generously allow.

Your only leverage when the time is right? Leave. Say that you need to know you’re investing in a future. And since it’s pretty clear after three months that he doesn’t want to see you more than once a week, you’re gonna have to cut him off. The end. Buh-bye.

Most women don’t take this approach. You speak too soon, or you don’t speak at all.

Maybe you won’t say anything because you know that if you do, the relationship will end. That’s exactly how you can desire marriage but stay in a five-year relationship without a ring. Silence is golden; it doesn’t rock the boat. And yet, you never get what you want.

Then there are women who want answers now. And you ask so many questions that you scare men, and sabotage your own relationships. If my 38-year-old fiancé had done that after a month or three, we wouldn’t be getting married. She was cool enough to allow me to choose her, instead of forcing my hand. For that, I’m eternally grateful.

It’s not easy to be the “cool” chick, Robyn. I understand. But your relationship pattern is no accident. And it’s really easy to break. If you want to know what to do in the future, just follow this very simple paradigm:

  • 1) Let him do what he wants.
  • 2) If you like it, stay. If you don’t like it, go.

There’s nothing else to think about.

Join our conversation (153 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    Welcome back! Hope you had a wonderful honeymoon!

    Great column. Just whittled down from 12 email contacts, all of which met my initial criteria, to 3, maybe 4, possible men to date (will be meeting one Sunday). I’ve never had so many potential mates all at once (gotta give you some credit there!). I was wondering what to do to help me decide if any of them will work out. Now I know: nothing! I’ll just wait and see what THEY do and respond. Between my profile, our emails, and our phone conversations, they know what I want. If they don’t step up and provide it when I am receptive, I’ll move on. This post was timed perfectly for me.

  2. 2

    Welcome back Evan.
    I love this advice, and even though people will try to complicate it with their own unique situations (my guy is super shy, i don’t want to have to wait, etc.) I think this advice is solid. I want to add that do nothing doesn’t mean you have to act be mean or aloof, it just means not pushing things.

  3. 3

    Welcome back Evan.

    I agree with everyone else about the good advice. People make up or believe lame rationales for other people’s behavior out of fear of losing something. The fact is that if people are interested they will act interested. In obvious and straight forward ways. If you don’t see it, it isn’t there. Move on.

    1. 3.1
      Konnect Life

      With women being told to “don’t do anything” and reinforcing the fact that guys have to do all the work, it won’t be so easy for a guy to know if a woman is not interested. Just sitting back waiting for a guy to make a move then just saying yes is almost like a mixed message in a way. Imagine the scenario where the woman isn’t really doing anything and the only times she sees the guy is when he asks. It doesn’t help that men are also being taught to play the same game, so both parties are likely sitting there holding back waiting to see the other prove their love. To make matters worse, it’s already up to guys to make the move, pretty much do and say everything almost perfectly and timed right (not too soon, but not too late) in verbal or text communication, and then men are expected to just know when a woman wants to be pursued or not and they better not dear get it wrong. If she wants sex, you better know it and give it to her when she wants it, but you better not dare try or say anything and make the wrong assumption if she ends up not wanting it or else you will have your labels (creepy, needy, etc.) thrown at you, and you better not dare hold back if she did want it or else you’ll become the “nice guy” / just a friend and judged as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Give your feelings too soon and you will be rejected as a man. But hold back, play like the bad boys and leave women wondering and they’ll want you, but need to come to sites or people like this and be told more gamey advice.


      If it were up to me, people would just be more open, honest, clear and straightforward with no games. I get a clear sign from the woman that she also wants me to pursue and show my love so I can focus on moving forward in a secure, confident, comfortable manner knowing that we are both f giving and showing each other what we want. If she wants to talk to me or love me or make love or anything, just be clear, straightforward, honest and say it clearly. If I want to express my feelings or say something, I should also be able to just say/do something WITHOUT having to worry about coming across too nice or as no longer the bad boy challenge. BOTH people interacting, making moves, talking and being straightforward and clear in a relationship – that’s what I like, and that’s what I desire. No one sitting back, doing nothing and waiting for the other person to show first, especially when a guy can be punished for moving too fast or too slow or seeming too nice or too interested, etc.

      With all the game play, it makes it harder for people to find makes and even makes it discouraging, so people often settle for the best they can get, hence why a bunch of people either unhappily single or just holding on to someone that is good enough for now until they find someone better. Sometimes it can be easier to just get comfortable and stick with an ok relationship for the companion ship instead of going through the pain of ending it THEN having to go back to the guesswork and game play of dating and playing the hold back and wait game.


      Don’t sit back and do nothing. Say what you want, and if the guy runs away, there will always be another guy who may appreciate you (unless you are seeking and chasing the wrong types of men and blowing off the ones who actually want to offer what you desire…) Be straightforward and honest and also show the guy you’re interested and call/text/see him and talk to him whenever you want to and show him that it’s ok for him to pursue, too. If you’re looking for the right type of men, this will work. If you’re looking for typical bad boy types, then you will have to continue the game play and power struggle strategy.

      1. 3.1.1
        Londa Adams

        This gave me life !!

      2. 3.1.2

        Um, are you single?   I think this is excellent advice. You should make a fine boyfriend:)

      3. 3.1.3

        This is exactly how I am which is why I have a hard time finding the right guy. Most guys get scared by my straight forward approach. But I’m ok with it because it just means they weren’t the right guy for me and I’m better off being alone and single than being in the wrong relationship and changing who I am.

      4. 3.1.4
        Maria V. Arnold

        Omg, this was my exact thought when I read the article! How fair is it to make the guy do all the work? I mean, they tell you to drop friends that make you do all the work and are one-sided, so why ever would I want to do that in a relationship?!

      5. 3.1.5


      6. 3.1.6

        Great advice!! Thank you. That’s exactly what we should be doing being more open and letting the other person know how we feel and what we want in a relationship. If we aren’t honest then we aren’t being our best selves. Thank you Konnect Life!!

  4. 4

    Hey Evan! Welcome back! I trust you had an awesome honeymoon in Thailand..
    Anyway, I just have one question… Why did you not run this post a year ago?!? This is something that I really could have used prior to my last relationship, which I wrote to you about last May. I was the fun “cool chick” in what turned out to be a dead-end relationship – one that went on for nearly ten months! I got out of it a couple months ago, and have yet to go back online (gearing up now, though, and using Evan’s profile advice), but I will most definitely ‘date smarter’ the next time around.
    Geeez, the concept is so clear and easy to grasp when you are NOT in the middle of the situation that makes you so crazy! The key is not getting there in the first place. Duh! 🙂
    Cilla, I would be interested to know how your new dating strategy goes, as this is exactly how I’m approaching it the next time around!

  5. 5


    I’ll keep you posted! First date with a hottie (big, buff firefighter) on Sunday. So far so good–he has been emailing, calling, and texting me with appropriate regularity. He keeps me laughing, and there are no lags in the conversation. He asked ME out on our first date, and HE is driving to my city (he lives about 2 hours away). He also made it clear he is not expecting to spend the night, even though we are meeting in the evening, and he will have to drive home afterward. Keep your fingers crossed the date goes well and he calls for another!

  6. 6

    Great advice. I wonder about what others think regarding how long to wait for a proposal before determining the guy isn’t interested in that? I’ll be one of those “complicating” people that Jennifer refers to in post #2. In these crazy economic times, a wedding–or even a ring–may be something postponable for many people.

  7. 7

    You let him fly you to Bermuda to meet his parents — within a month of meeting the guy? Yikes! Are all your relationships that intense, that soon? No wonder they burn out quickly. Even if you aren’t pressuring them, guys will scare THEMSELVES into poofing at that pace. That is not a healthy approach to the dating process if you are looking for a husband. While I agree with Evan that you should let the man lead, let him pursue, and don’t pressure him with any “relationship discussions” within the first few months, I do NOT agree that every response from you needs to be “yes.” Often, especially if a guy is giving you the full-court press (as this one seems to be), it’s in your best interest to respond, “Gosh, that sounds great, maybe when we get to know each other a bit better.” You are in charge (believe it or not) of how quickly these things develop, and faster is seldom better. Learn to have some patience (not six years worth! There is a happy medium) and put the brakes on the runaway train.

  8. 8

    Great advice, Evan! I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so clear and to the point. I’ve already forwarded this to a few friends. I know being a gal, we like to over analyze the heck out of what guys say, etc.

    Men reveal themselves in their efforts! SO SIMPLE!

    Looking back in hindsight, this would have saved me alot of heartache!

    Hey Jen, I can relate. I was dating a guy for a few months this past summer and things ended in September. Since then, I’ve taken a break from internet dating to just gather my thoughts. I’ve been on Yahoo and Match early this year. Thinking of EHarmony, but just not sure…I think about meeting and greeting again and it makes me cringe!

  9. 9

    I believe everything happens for a reason. I am 51 yo. I have dated tons of men. Some of them have broken my heart. Guess what? I got over it, moved on and met someone even better the next time. So what? I had fun, I loved. That is THE most important thing. My time was not wasted. Each guy is “a point of reference”. They have all crossed my path for a specific reason. One brought me to Malaysia to meet his parents, and I traveled Asia for a month. One took me to Paris and then to London. One took me to Canada. One had a boat and we went on great sailing trips to the Caribbean. One was a great dancer, he taught me to dance and I found a lifelong passion. I was living my life. I was having fun, and so were they. Why they came into my life only became apparent AFTER I was no longer with them. I am thankful for each one. Each one makes you smarter and tells you what you do or do not want in a mate. Not every guy can go the whole distance with you… some have to leave, sometimes you have to cut it short. Every time, though…LIVE and LOVE. All we have is the moment. Forget about your Bio-clock, forget about who else he’s seeing. Protect you health., But don’t carry your heart around like it’s made of glass. If you are meant to have kids, no amount of force is going to get you there. You need to be able to give love freely without expecting anything in return. Eventually you will develop a radar as to which guys are good for you and which ones are not. In the meantime, have fun and live for god’s sake! A little piece of advice: If you are enjoying yourself and so is the guy, that’s the best indicator that it could be long term. If not, move on…life’s too damn short to be unhappy.

    1. 9.1

      Totally agree. Love your post, live life to the fullest.

    2. 9.2

      Well said. Thank you.

    3. 9.3

      I don’t know who you are Robin, but DAMN you need to write a book. I swear, your comments gave me life and you are right. When did times change where all of this defining everything came along. I’m only 40, but before my divorce, ppl just dated, and if it evolved into something, it did, if not, you moved on. All this hype of defining the relationship is taking the fun out of getting to know ppl. YOU ARE A BLESSING, and YOUR WORDS ARE SO INSPIRING and HOLD TRUE TO SO   MUCH. I will print them out and read them on my next GROWN WOMAN VLOG…You sound HELLA FUN!!! and my hopes is that I can get back to having fun and that so many other women can as well. BLESSINGS MY SISTER!!!

  10. 10

    I don’t understand, though, how this jibes with the advice to be proactive online in terms of approaching men.

    1. 10.1


      I think that with online dating as there are so many people on the site, the guy may not know you exist if you don’t make it known (if you’re interested in him). Much like Evan’s advice to smile or move near a guy you like at a party, he  suggests making initial contact online with a cheeky joke or similar to make the guy aware of your presence & interest, but then let him reply, continue chatting, ask you out etc. I don’t think he’s suggesting completely doing nothing at all in the dating interplay, but to make it clear that you’re interested and receptive, rather than being really proactive & aggressive. That’s my take, anyway.

      To give an example: I recently contacted a guy online who I thought seemed interesting. He mentioned Dad jokes in his profile, so I Googled Dad jokes and sent him the lamest one, with a message: this is the worst Dad joke ever..”..”, unless you can beat it? smiley face.   Well, he did, and we continued chatting and now he’s asked me out. I contacted him to show interest, but I didn’t write “I like you, let’s go out”, rather that evolved as we chatted, once he knew I was a. on the site, and b. interested. Alternatively, sometimes I contact men and they don’t reply. In that case, I let it go.

  11. 11

    Ah, Robin, your words should be tattooed in every woman’s consciousness.

    1. 11.1


  12. 12

    @ Honey#6 …your comment isn’t what I consider a ‘complicating’ one 🙂 It’s those people that feel like they, and whoever they are dealing with, are *always* the exception to every rule, ya know?

    There’s a book by John T. Molloy, Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others that I think has some useful info around this topic. The author interviewed couples coming out of marriage license bureaus about their relationships and more (their ages, how long they’d been dating, etc.) and found some trends. I’d be interested to see how Evan and others feel about this book

  13. 13

    Cilla, my fingers are double-crossed for your meeting on Sunday! Sounds like – thus far – he’s done everything right, which indicates a nice degree of interest on his part. Good start, and I’m pulling for a quick followup phone call or email from him after your date! (A firefighter? Nice!) 🙂

    Rachelle, I hear ya girl! I’ve been in no hurry to get back into the online dating thang just yet, and I’ve been using this time doing the same thing you are…just getting my thoughts gathered, dating strategy formulated, and readying myself for the meeting/greeting fun!

  14. 14

    Hmm.. i guess i can see where this advice might be good for many (most?) guys who are scared of commitment.

    But as a self proclaimed “nice guy” who’s looking to commit, i’m looking for the opposite. I’d love to see the woman take the initiative occasionally and not just wait for me to do everything and plan every. single. date.

    I start to think she’s not that interested in me if i’m the one always calling, always asking, always initiating everything. And i start to wonder, if i ask too often or for too many dates, that i’ll be sent to the cling zone.

    Even if she says yes every time. I still wonder. If she were really interested, she’d do more than just say yes.

    So it’s really a balancing game.. on both sides.

    1. 14.1
      Angela Raskin

      I like your input. Some of this advise just puts women in this pathetic docile role! Who says men get to make all these decisions! Isn’t it sexist? Aren’t we all working towards equality? I actually hate this paradigm. And it’s why I gladly let a guy pay for every date. Because that have this absurd right to ask you on one. And women don’t!

  15. 15
    Evan Marc Katz

    Please don’t misunderstand when I write, “Say yes”. It’s not a mindless rubber stamp to all of his wishes. It means, as a woman, in particular, that you don’t have to DO anything except OBSERVE what he’s doing. If HE makes the effort to move the relationship forward, all you have to do is go along with it; if he doesn’t make the effort, then there is NOTHING to think about.

  16. 16

    @Jennifer, #12, I think that people need to have an idea of what constitutes disinterest and what is clearly an external factor. Just because you can’t afford a ring/wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t tell if the guy’s interested in you!

  17. 17

    @Honey #16- Agreed, I think we are on the same page.

    One of the reasons your comment made me think of that book is because it was found that men tend to want to wait until things are financialy i’n order’ before getting married, and sometimes their lack of a proposal is based solely on that factor.

  18. 18

    @Jennifer, #17–I find that my boyfriend is EXACTLY that way. Although we both just got out of grad school so there is definitely enough credit card and student loan debt to make it a viable concern, especially because he wants a big traditional wedding. There’s no way we can drop $20K + on something like that right now.

  19. 19

    AMEN AND HALLELUJAH, EVAN!!!! Finally you’ve said what most of us end up learning the hard way. It’s so simple and yet seems so difficult for us to grasp. I just gave up on a guy precisely because there was no action. It is difficult for women to do this because we are over-analytical. But I try to remember Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life”. There are different meanings for this, but one that could apply here is don’t get emotionally involved until his actions prove there is reason to do so.

  20. 20

    I’ll have to echo BeenThruTheWars’ #7. Guys who get serious quickly can scare THEMSELVES off. It’s happened to me a couple of times, and it’s really bad if they sweep you up into the rush of emotions as well. I still have difficulty figuring out the right pacing for a relationship in its beginning phases (ie, in the 1-2 month range) but that’s just something I need to work on. And even though Evan’s advice can be quite difficult, it’s usually pretty darn right. Nice to have you back, Evan!

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