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 (152 Comments).
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  1. 121

    Wow, such a beautifully simple message. I agree dating seems to go much smoother when women are on the passive side, because then women don’t waste energy on men who arent stepping up, or in other words on relationships that arent meant to be.

  2. 122


    I do totally agree with what you say here. BUT:

    my date is german (and I am spanish). And if you have 5 minutes to spend on the internet to read about dating german men, you will find out they are incredibly shy and will let the woman do all the work (first steps, asking out, first kiss etc). There is also a song about it (Aurelie)…, your rules here seem impossible to apply….and so??? I am lost

  3. 123

    This is interesting advice Evan is giving here and which I came to realise (with some sadness) is the best approach women who have been hurt in love should take.

    The downside which Evan and all commentators have ignored is what becomes of the woman – like me, age 43 – who is never approached, never asked out on dates, and has never had a long term relationship?

    What does she do?

    The answer is clear. In personal relationships, unlike your career or pursuit of a hobby, you’re getting what you’re getting, and you’re not getting what you’re not getting.

    It’s not ok, it’s not fair, but that’s how it is. The  rest is noise.

  4. 124

    Awesome advice…. I’m 28 and I’m also dating I have a guy I really like the most and things are going great… no pressure no drama and I text him he calls me I don’t worry about if I’m doing the right things or not I jus Do what I feel.he says im consistent and he likes that…. stay positive and kno that things will work out the way they should.. with him or someone else point it.. IT WILL… my guys birthday is on my gmas birthday r.i.p. I think it was a sign… good luck folks

  5. 125

    im sorry but i dont 100% agree. i think u shouldnt put anything on a timeline, however, both parties should make an equal amount of effort in a relationship! it really just depends on the guy and the girl and how they think. plus if u just let him “do whatever he wants” – thats possibly letting down her wants and meeds and vice versa – basically both parties should express what their wants and needs are.

    for example, after a period of time has passed, i let the guy know my needs such as hey i dont need to see u everyday but a couple times a week would be fine. i think when partners 100% communicate their wants and needs, there shouldnt be an issue and more relationships would be successful. if rather have a guy say “hey im not sure how im feelin can i have some space for a week” rather than pull away and go dead silent without him communicating his wants and needs. its called consideration.  i just dont tolerate excuses or being put on a pedestal or being an option. id rather have a man give me a straight “yes” or an “f off” answer than a maybe, that makes me feel like hes dangling me. if rather call him out on it politely than keep my mouth shut anyday.

  6. 126

    This is the best advice ever!!!!


  7. 127

    This is such great advice. The control freak in me always wants answers but whenever I date with this attitude, it goes nowhere. And let’s face it, you really can’t control what people think of you or what actions they are going to take, so it’s a useless endeavor. Plus, when you chill back and act nonchalant, you get to see men for who they really are because they’re not going to be defensive. Then, take it or leave it. In most of my past post-divorce relationships, I ended up leaving because it’s not what I wanted but I don’t blame the guys. They are who they are.

  8. 128

    I completely agree as a woman who has been way too forward and planned marriage proposals in my head on the first encounter only to get played.    The thing to remember is these men and women we are meeting have had plenty of dates and partners before we met them and some are very smooth charmers so much of it can be a line when you meet them only time will telll.

    I agree with Evan. Let them take charge and if it isn’t within your time table and gets to be too infrequent for dates can say something, bail out nicely or block them on your phone,

    No ones should be waiting weeks for a man to call them especially when so many single men are online seeking out new women to meet the next evening! Would they do that if they were serious about a future with a woman they just met,   “no”!, I doubt they would want to mess things up with her.

    And watch out for the signs.   If a man is driving you home from a date in the beggining when you first met and says he is going away on a trip for work, to see one of his children, etc. that is a tip off you won’t hear back from him (I never have), and men who say they are going out of town, well its more than likely that’s another he’s just not that into you excuse.

    If someone really likes you and doesn’t have someone else they are seeing already or are in a physical relationship with, you can tell by when they call and see you. There’s no excuses- babysitting grandchildren on Saturday evenings?, putting you on ice, asking only for last minutes dates unless its to see you more often, you just need to now and listen at first what a man says as Evan mentioned that’s when they will be the most honest and then judge by their actions not their words..and if all else fails.. block them on your phone so you don’t get tempted to pick up and if you unblock and do.. at least you will have broken the pattern and will wake yourself up to the fact that this person has let you down and is not giving you what you want, making you happy and is not your destiny either.

    Good luck it’s slim pickings out there!

  9. 129

    “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.”

    So what is a reasonable amount of time? I big time bought into this philosophy, so when a friend of mine (dating a man 2 years her junior) expressed frustration about not getting engaged yet after 5 years, I told her it might not ever happen and she should consider breaking it off if it was really that important. She didn’t. He eventually proposed two years later. Is 7 years dating a reasonable amount of time. That’s a long fucking time in my opinion.

    Granted she was 29 when he finally proposed, so young enough to not be in panic mode.  This also happened to a colleague of mine who dated her husband for 9 years before he proposed, she was only 30.  Same with another friend who had 3 children with a man before he finally proposed. She was 28. So if you’re in your twenties and in a good, comfortable relationship, I wouldn’t be too quick to move on because he is taking his time to propose.

    Now that I’m 34, I don’t think I’d even wait more than 3 months to have a discussion about kids and marriage. By the time I’ve dated someone for 90 days, I expect that conversation to be more natural at an age when most, if not all, of your friends have already made that commitment. It’s what I want, and though I don’t have a major timeline for when marriage occurs, I’d definitely like to be pregnant within the next 3 years.

    I can  respect the advice of don’t do anything, but it gets  increasingly difficult as you get older.    I want a partnership and I want children.  I have already considered  what I will do when I  turn 36, which is probably trying to have a child on my own if I am single.  That’s definitely not doing nothing.

  10. 130

    This may be a late reply… I didnt look to see when the article was posted but I will say this: I have been married twice, with tons of dating other men.   A guy either likes you that way, or doesn’t. You cannot force it… Thus the 2nd divorce… Lol. It is really hard to see loving, compassionate women go without a marriage and children that they so desperately crave.   On the other hand, it is horrible to go through a divorce with someone that never really loved you and have to deal with the emotional scars.   I wish her and the other good single women out there good luck! Give someone a chance that you ordinarily wouldnt… Love can be found where you least expect it 💗

  11. 131

    I like some of what you said, however men play so many mind games in relationships that sometimes us women have a reason to question things. All I’m saying is that yes we should leave the guys who don’t take us out, or introduce us to their families, or propose after 6 years. However, men need to grow up, state what they want clearly from the beginning, and not waste everyone’s time. If you know from the get go that you don’t want to be with her, stop sending mixed signals. This women should do nothing advice might work for some, but sounds passive. Everyone has a voice and should use it, especially when figuring out relationships.


  12. 132

    Although I do agree that men are better understood through “efforts”, the woman shouldn’t shy away from being clear on what she may need from the relationship, hookup, marriage, etc. Men can be so oblivious of what the woman has construed in her head and although they were showing interest in one another, that lack of communication usually becomes the trigger to unfortunate events in both parties, but one or both walk away thinking that neither were really into moving forward in any direction all together. I think I’ve been known as the cool chick but I’m also in my early 30s and I am not into the whole bouncing around, so I’d prefer to directly get a hold of my guy that I’d like to get to know better. After 3 attempts of “But I have work”, “Sorry I” and you get the picture, I didn’t find my place in his life as someone he wanted to see again. With previous partners, I’ve been advised that they always come back because some guys like to keep girls they really liked on a back burner. Sorry I’ve said no to every one of them.

    1. 132.1
      Emily, the original


      With previous partners, I’ve been advised that they always come back because some guys like to keep girls they really liked on a back burner

      I’m not a man so I can only speak from the female perspective, but why would someone put a person they like on the back burner? Wouldn’t the back burner (if you were inclined to put someone on the back burner, which seems selfish) be reserved for second and third choices?

      1. 132.1.1

        Yes, that’s exactly it! Thank you Emily, the original. This advice was from a males perspective and it can usually be controversial. When I was told this piece of someone’s advice, I instantly contested that fact and it usually turns out to be that persons loss if they decide to come back into another’s life after realizing that they are not emotionally open to them anymore. I don’t know about other people but I don’t like to be someone’s second or third choic. There are plenty of other people to connect with where we find each other to be our first choice.

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