The Secret To Finding Love Is…Rejection?

Suffering from love
49 Shares

I am a professional at rejection and failure.

That is no joke. If I’m ever allowed to leave the house again, I’m going to give corporate speeches on this very subject.

I was a virgin until college.

I wrote a dozen screenplays and fifteen sitcoms and made less than $10,000 in my Hollywood writing career.

I went out with over 300 women before meeting my wife.

I got fired four times from JDate.

I went out with over 300 women before meeting my wife.

I have gone through 6 assistants and 6 tech teams in the past four years.

These are all GREAT stories, by the way! It’s essentially the tale of my entire life. The reason I share them with you is not to make myself look good, but to point out that, for some reason, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset, if you try something and fail, that means you are a failure and shouldn’t try it anymore. With a growth mindset, if you try something and fail it means you keep trying until you get it right. Some of my favorite quotes:

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
“The road to success is paved with failure.” (also a great little book about celebrity failures)
“I haven’t failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” – Thomas Edison

Which brings me to today’s link “I Got Rejected 101 Times,” written by a woman who sought to accumulate 101 rejections. Said Angela Duckworth, the author of “Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance,” the author was doing “exposure therapy”— making myself more comfortable with failure to reduce my fear of it. It was a relief, sitting at my desk, scrolling through the same inbox that contained messages like “not at this time,” “not a fit” and “unfortunately,” to see an expert in tenacity and achievement say that all this rejection was actually helpful. She argues that grit is more important than innate talent when it comes to success. So I kept at it.

It’s the middle of December and I have 101 rejections and 39 acceptances. I’m so tired, and that’s how I know I did it right. If I weren’t exhausted, it would mean I’d just spent the last year asking for things without putting in the work to earn them. To me, there’s nothing more off-putting than entitlement.

Yup. Substitute dating for job hunting and it’s the same story. Everyone thinks her situation is unique. Men with shitty profiles. Unattractive men. “The men in my area!” Men looking for younger women. Men who text and don’t follow through. There’s nothing unique about your situation. The question is whether you’re going to move forward or stand still.

Those who keep trying are the ones who eventually get what they want.

Your thoughts on failure, rejection and perseverance are greatly appreciated.

Join our conversation (109 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Lynn

    Spot on! I went on over 100 online “meetings,” went to countless meetups, joined a matchmaking service, read all of Evan’s blogs, did therapy and participated in many ‘workshops’ from dating coaches. I also read books on relationships, childhood wounds, attachment styles….you get the picture. AND, I never gave up. I kept meditating on finding my high-quality man and visualized our life together. It took ten years, but we found each other on Christmas Day 2018 and have been together ever since. Stay in the game and reach out for help and support when needed. Amazing love is so worth the effort.

    1. 1.1
      Chris

      Thank your for not giving up and sharing your story !

      1. 1.1.1
        Lynn

        Thanks Chris. It was all worth it.

  2. 2
    Solidsix

    Evan, I just got out of a 3 yr relationship with a man that couldn’t commit. The bright side is I left knowing it would hurt but I just couldn’t settle. Once I get my footing back I will try again. You’re advice is spot on.

    1. 2.1
      Malika With an L

      It must feel very difficult right now, but you can be proud of getting clarity on and prioritising your needs. Evan’s advice helped me to go from seriously withdrawn and hopeless at dating to being in a relationship with a wonderful man! I hope it has the same effect for you.

  3. 3
    Mrs Happy

    Lack of stability is so unsettling, and as we can all appreciate in these worrying times, the unknown, regarding what the future will bring, increases anxiety. Reading Emily Winter’s piece made me feel for her, because her work life as a writer and comedian is so unstable. Surely choosing to enter then remain in such a career, self-selects for grit and an ability to handle repeated rejection.

    While determination and a thick skin are certainly advantageous qualities, the pragmatic reality is, not everyone has them. Some people are sensitive marshmallows. I know and deeply care for many such people. Telling them, “have more grit, seek out rejection, failure is good,” ignores the devastating emotional descent such repeated rejection will bring them, thus I’m not sure it’s wise advice for all.

    I do agree dating is a numbers game, and the advice to set about finding a partner to marry as you would a job you want, seems sensible to me, and I think a lot of coupled people around me have done this. I suspect the other advantage of being someone who keeps trying is, the want is re-calibrated, to something more achievable. Those who sit around not trying and not ever failing, keep their wants sky high and unrealistic.

    1. 3.1
      Jeremy

      It’s a balance, I think.

      It’s funny, the more experience I have with parenting, the more convinced I am that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’d have liked to think that I’d be confident in my knowledge, in my parenting abilities, after twelve years as a dad and four kids…. But each kid is different and each one changes. What worked yesterday doesn’t always work today. My second child, a 10 year old daughter, is very sensitive. Highly intelligent, very intuitive…. and a self esteem as fragile as glass. A stray word will shatter it, sending her into a moody implosion. Part of me wants to tell her to have more grit, as you put it. Part of me wants to coddle her. But it’s such a fine balance. Too much of the former and she shuts down. Too much of the latter and she becomes too dependent on the coddling. I’d like to tell you that I’ve found the balance… still working on it. All I know is that a balance is needed. Likely as true for dating advice, depending on personality.

      Are you and your family well? How are you coping with the isolation? It’s been difficult here. Kids have some online classes and some video playdates with friends, but we’re all feeling stressed and anxious. My office is shut down indefinitely – can’t see patients except for dire emergencies – so no income. But I’m still paying my staff because they need to live and they are my responsibility. Two of my kids sick, coughing, slightly short of breath. In good spirits, but still. Probably a cold…but can’t help but run mental contingencies.

      Any Netflix recommendations? I liked Dracula, but looking for something lighter now.

      1. 3.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        My daughter just turned 10 and is exactly the same. Fragile as glass, sensitive, intuitive, kind, frequent tears. They’re clearly kindred spirits. And what a surprise. But in my experience those with true grit got there via suffering if not frank neglect or abuse, and I’d not wish that on my loved ones, so marshmallow she stays.

        I’ve always thought parenting should be cumulative maths, so if you have say kids aged 4,7,10 and 12, you’ve parented for 33 years. Frightening really.

        Rake (Australian version) is my Netflix relaxation now. Might not be available in Canada. I love love love Sister Agatha. Sort of liked the warlord too by the end, with his own version of honourable behaviour. I assume you’ve watched Sherlock and Elementary.

        Enforced break, hey? I cannot remember the last day I didn’t work, I’m swamped, shattered, even had to work while sick on my birthday recently (from home naturally), and sleeping about 3 hours a night oh joy. Income about to plummet though. You do realise a depression is coming, and you cannot keep paying your staff all the way through it, my honourable friend?

        I assume you’ve seen this –
        https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56
        – so stay home.

        With all the isolation you probably need a pen pal or something Jeremy. Your rules are looking a little insane now.
        (Evan did mention perseverance.)

        1. Jeremy

          Oh, I’m not going anywhere. I understand the hammer and the dance. But what crazy times! And how quickly it all happened (at least here). And how unprepared we all were. A true black swan.

          Happy belated birthday to you and your daughter. Sorry to hear you were ill. You need to get more sleep – those kids need to stop calling in the night time. There have been times I’ve actually envied the deaf, especially at night. Last summer I temporarily lost my hearing – never slept so well.

          I know I can’t keep paying my staff for weeks. If this goes on, I’ll have to lay them all off temporarily and allow them to collect unemployment insurance. But that won’t be as much as they are making now, and I don’t want to do that to them until I have to. I remember too well my grandfather’s stories of poverty when he moved to this country after the war. Having nothing and no one care if he lived or died. I can’t do that to people whose worked for me. What if our roles were reversed? What would I hope for, from the man who lived in a huge house while I lived in a small apartment and took the bus? In times when some are hoarding, we need to be more generous, don’t we? My cleaning lady’s teenage daughter can’t stay home despite the closure of her high school. She takes the subway downtown to work at a grocery store, putting herself at risk. Can’t afford not to. My heart aches for her, for her mother. I pray for her safety as I pray for my family’s, though the prayer leaves me with a sense of dissonance. Still, it’s something. Something when I can otherwise do very little. Paying her mother, though her mother isn’t currently able to come to our house to work, is my rational self melding with my idealist.

          I’ll look for Rake on Netflix. I’ve seen the others you mentioned. Watching “the boys” on Amazon prime. A show about a world where superheroes exist, and they are terrible people. Fascinating concept. Melds well with my recurring dream of being a superhero whose powers don’t work reliably, who can fly, but no higher or faster than others can walk. Like a Freudian textbook.

          I’ll think about your request. I just need to be respectful and honorable.

    2. 3.2
      Kitty

      “I suspect the other advantage of being someone who keeps trying is, the want is re-calibrated, to something more achievable.”

      That kinda sorta happened with my husband and me. There were some (superficial) traits that I wasn’t keen on but he had the qualities that I really cared about and I’d learned how few men had that particular set of qualities so I decided to get to know him anyway. Now I hardly even notice the traits that initially didn’t rock my world. Or rather they are part of whole of the man who does rock my world so I love those traits because they are his.

  4. 4
    Karl R

    My first serious relationship (and subsequent breakup) taught me that I was competent at relationships. More importantly, it taught me that I could survive a breakup bruised, but unbroken.

    But for years afterwards, I still feared the rejection that so often happens at the onset of dating. And that’s because I hadn’t experienced rejection enough.

    After a year of dating online, I was completely calm and cool on first dates … because I had experienced enough rejection that my expectation of the outcomes were realistically low. I remember being on a first date with a woman who was visibly nervous and thinking, “Oh, that’s so cute. She’s nervous because she thinks the outcome of this date means something.”

    I dated that (initially nervous) woman for 4 or 5 months. We broke up because she wanted lots of kids, and I wanted none. But my innate reaction was borne out. I could relax and be myself, because she would either accept or reject that presentation of myself, without any extraordinary input from me. And regardless of how nervous and out of her element she was, I would accept her or reject her based on who she was, regardless of her demeanor.

    In the subsequent years, I became a fearless dater. I no longer feared rejection. Regardless of how rejection makes you feel, it’s just one piece of the process. If you learn to put it into perspective, you’ll just shrug it off and move on.

    Before my wife and I started dating, another man had been sorta-kinda trying to date her … by asking her out on a number of somewhat-but-not-exactly dates. He feared rejection, and was waiting for that “right” and “magical” moment when he could ask her out without having to worry about being rejected.

    A large group of us from the same social circle went on a Caribbean cruise. A few days in, I decided that I wanted to ask one woman out for a date … so I decided to wander around the ship to see if I could run across her. (There was only 2,400-ish people on the cruise. How hard could it be to randomly run across the one person I was looking for?) I ran across that woman … sitting on a lounge chair … having a conversation with the man in the next lounge chair … who was waiting for a “magical moment” to ask her out.

    The odds of randomly running across someone on a cruise ship are fairly slim. I really didn’t think I had the luxury of bypassing that particular moment and hoping for a different moment in the next couple hours. So I walked up, asked if I could interrupt their conversation, and invited her to join me at a comedy show that evening.

    That was my first date with my wife.

    I blew past that other man like he was standing still. Due to his fear of rejection, he was standing still.

    He was waiting for a magical moment where he could ask her out without being rejected. I decided to seize that one moment to ask her out, regardless of the consequences.

    On a separate note…
    I cannot condone Lynn’s strategy that included “meditating on finding my high-quality man and visualized our life together”.

    That strategy sometimes works. But it also limits the outcomes. My wife, who is undoubtedly high-quality, was nothing like what I would have visualized.

    It took Lynn ten years (apparently starting in 2008) to find her man. I got back into the dating scene in 2006. I started dating my wife in 2009. I proposed in 2011, and we got married in 2012. By keeping an open mind about what a high quality-wife might actually be, I shortened my search.

    My goal was to get married before I died. I started dating my wife in my late 30s, so I wasn’t under any time pressure. I could have spent a decade (or so) finding a woman who met the type of person whom I visualized being married to. Instead … I spent those years being married to a wonderful woman who didn’t match that initial internal image.

    1. 4.1
      Mrs Happy

      It’s usually sexy as when a guy asks you out while you’re talking with another guy. Pure confidence in that move, which for most women is extremely attractive. She probably had a heart flutter then and there. Did you realise that in the doing?

      1. 4.1.1
        Karl R

        Mrs Happy said:
        “Did you realise that in the doing?”

        Nope. I realized that it took a certain amount of stones (which I wouldn’t have had a few years earlier) to pull that move, but I didn’t realize that it would be a competitive plus.

        If I’d looked at it as a strategic move, I would have looked at it (slightly) as a dick move against the other guy. And, I wasn’t trying to sabotage anyone else’s dating chances (even if we were competing for the same woman/women).

        My attitude isn’t a universal trait. I can think of a few examples where men overtly tried to badmouth me (behind my back) to women I was dating. (As far as I can tell, that kind of backstabbing is likely to backfire.) At that time, however, I simply wasn’t savvy enough at that time to know which types of moves would boost my chances, rather than backfiring.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Karl –
          Well, you not realising how smooth a move it was, would have made it even better.
          It’s a disadvantage for a male to be timid; I’m just now appreciating completely how great a disadvantage.

          “I can think of a few examples where men overtly tried to badmouth me..”

          YAG wrote something a few months ago about men competing at work and making sure other men didn’t rise, it being a real dog-eat-dog world for males. It led me to think of how, in my career, the only people with whom I had any difficulty at all, in terms of causing work trouble for me, were women. I hear all these stories of how men are supposed to block women from being promoted, and I understand this must happen since so much is written on this topic, but my only experience of senior men, were of them either helping me, and often a lot, or just being neutral; certainly never thwarting my career or causing me distress.

          Anyway YAG’s comment made me realise it’s probably people of the same gender that are your worst competition, regardless of whether the issue is gene propagation or anything else.
          So Karl, it’s not a surprise some guys have badmouthed you. It’s in fact the way of the competitive world, given they saw you as a threat. Them doing so usually reflects more on them than you anyway, as you intimated.

        2. Jeremy

          Are you really just now appreciating how much of a disadvantage timidness is in men? That’s interesting. Because you’ve so often described your attraction to boldness in men. Is it that you didn’t realize the importance of boldness (and conversely, the disadvantage of the lack thereof) in your own taste in men, or is it that you assumed that the less-bold men would simply find women with a different calculus of attraction?

          I ask, not so much to pry into your own personal tastes, but because in my experience, Emily is actually correct. Most of the women I know are indeed attracted to boldness (of certain men, in certain contexts), and so timidness is indeed a huge disadvantage. Even to married men. I know of many women who married men who were not bold, but these were, by and large, women who de-prioritized their own arousal, and instead prioritized comfort and life-goals. When the time came to actually be physically attracted, they wanted a bold move. Wanted to be swept off their feet and taken. Didn’t want to be asked, didn’t want to talk it out, and sure as hell didn’t want to do the initiating. That would be unattractive, a source of disappointment…

          …. which, to me, is so very fascinating. Because all my life I’ve been given the messaging, largely by women, that asking, talking, gentlemanly solicitation, are exactly what women want. That boldness is akin to assault. And then I realized that it is…until it isn’t. I can’t reconcile it. But then, I sometimes wonder whether I might be atypical as a man, that I might have somehow had a short-circuit and have a somewhat feminine arousal system superimposed on my male one. Because if a woman doesn’t express desire in me – overt desire – then I’m just not interested. Not interested in “conquest,” in “winning” anyone over. Not interested in seduction of a woman who requires seduction by me, who isn’t equally interested in seducing me – it’s a game I don’t want to play. If I was with a woman and some guy walked by and asked her out and she said yes….I’d count my lucky stars that she was gone, ’cause I’m not interested in a woman who isn’t interested in me.
          I’d imagine women would understand this – because it’s what women want, isn’t it? The only thing I don’t know is whether my attitude is the minority opinion, or whether it’s a majority opinion among men who are just unable to express it outside of their fantasies.

          Wow, I’ve digressed. But what the hell else have I got to do right now? Anyway, I suppose I was mildly triggered by the word “timid.” It’s that whole word thing, again, the reason I find words so vexing. After all, what’s the difference between “timid” and “respectful”? Answer – the perspective of the onlooker, the behavior she wants to see in the given moment.

        3. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Didn’t want to be asked, didn’t want to talk it out, and sure as hell didn’t want to do the initiating. ”
          Yes, I don’t want to talk about it and I don’t want to be asked, but I don’t mind initiating the first kiss/first move, though I know a lot of women on here said they won’t do it. I just don’t want to initiate all the time or a majority of the time, and I like to be with someone who’s bold enough and knows how to read the “go ahead” signs well enough that he doesn’t not need huge, red, waving banners thrown at him to kick things off. You’re at his place at 1 a.m., alone, sitting next to him on the coach? No, you’re obviously not there to “watch a movie.”

        4. Mrs Happy

          Dear Jeremy,
          “Are you really just now appreciating how much of a disadvantage timidness is in men?”

          (I’ll answer, but I’m curious as to – why try to answer for me with your next sentences? I suspect it’s because your mind is fatigued.)

          I only now fully realise what a disadvantage it is for men to be timid, because I never before gave thought to what qualities were best for a man to have, in order to be attractive to the opposite sex, because, not being male, I didn’t have to ponder that dilemma.

          I didn’t even consciously think about what I liked in a man until my 30’s. Now I could list the qualities easily, but when younger I was more unconsciously reactive to attraction in the moment, or not, without wondering much about why.

          For instance it took me going out with (most were boyfriends too) 4 or 5 men of a particular ethnic type, before I realised I was not physically attracted to that type at all. In fact it was a girlfriend of mine who rather crassly pointed it out to me, by stating something she and I didn’t want. I remember I was shocked by her bluntness, and near racism, but also by how correct she was; it was as though, coming of age to be so politically correct, I’d not allowed myself to admit my lack of attraction for a particular type of man.

          The rest of your post I’ll have to come back to, as it’s been a long exhausting day at work, and I need to go and read some bedtime books to my youngest before crashing. Keep well. And … am I allowed to say … hurry up.

        5. Jeremy

          Not so much fatigued as restless. I figure my IQ is probably dropping by around 5 points per day, with this forced obsolescence. I reckon I’ll be playing the banjo and drinking moonshine in a week or two. Shouldn’t laugh, there will never be a better time to take up a musical instrument. For years I told my wife that the reason I wasn’t in great shape was a lack of time. Now I know… that wasn’t the reason. But trying to work out and sirens time with the family and not just retreat to my basement to play video games and pout.

          Anyhow, the reason I answered was only to facilitate communication. With this medium and the time difference, the normal cadence of conversation is inefficient. But I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. I’ll await the rest of your answer. And your suggestion from a few months ago.

        6. Mrs Happy

          Dear JJ,
          of course you were only attracted to women who really wanted you, and of course you were scared to chase or conquer; trying to win reluctant females over would have put you at risk of rejection or abandonment, and after your parents’ behaviour doing those for years, you opted to guard against those emotional threats. But men who came from loving homes absolutely love the chase, if it’s exciting and exponential.

          Your IQ isn’t dropping, you’re just not being frequently cognitively stimulated. And you can’t commit to a new course of action with a language or exercise program because your mind isn’t working at full capacity, because so much of its functioning is taken up by anxious thoughts. But you know all this.

          When my husband and I both dropped to part time paid work while the kids were babies, at the end of the day I’d come home and ask, how has today been, and he’d always reply, ‘I didn’t get anything done’. Many men seem to think that if they didn’t go to work, or build a shed or something, they did nothing, and all the other tasks done that day (feeding a baby or toddler, laundry, food prep, cleaning, admin, organising, and keeping children alive, and emotionally and physically cared for) don’t really count for much. It is a mind shift to try to appreciate the worth of those unpaid things. It’s such a narrow world view really, to believe your only contribution is via your paid work. Though I fully appreciate how such a view develops, one would be foolish indeed not to fight it.

          And of course normal conversation is impossible here, in fact, verboten. Hence …. C’mon, JJ, if nothing else, I can give you financial advice.

      2. 4.1.2
        Emily, to

        Hi Mrs. H.,
        “She probably had a heart flutter then and there. Did you realise that in the doing?”
        Yeah, Karl ran the other guy over with his car. There’s nothing like a bold move to blow past Mr. Hesitant and Timid. I wonder if there’s a move women can make that similarly blows other women out of the water.

        1. Jeremy

          Out of the water with whom? We’re all so different. The other day my brother and I were talking about a show on Amazon called the Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Have you ever seen it? My wife loves it, but I find it annoying – the main character grates on my nerves like a fork on a blackboard. But to hear my brother describe her, she’s the most attractive woman (behaviorally as well as physically) on the planet. He actually said, “I wish I’d married a woman like that.” I was actually stunned speechless.

          This to say, I don’t think there’s any one thing that will blow you ahead of other women to all men. I think it’s personality-specific. Just as it is with women, I guess.

        2. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “This to say, I don’t think there’s any one thing that will blow you ahead of other women to all men. I think it’s personality-specific. Just as it is with women, I guess.”
          No. Most women would have been dropping their panties at the move Karl made.
          P.S. I found Mrs. Maisel a bit grating, too. But at least she’s got some personality, I’ll give your brother that, and he didn’t say Jennifer Aniston, who is awash in basicness.

        3. Karl R

          Emily to asked:
          “I wonder if there’s a move women can make that similarly blows other women out of the water.”

          Yes, but not quite in the same way. There is a way to seem far more approachable than most women. I can’t explain it, but maybe I can show it.

          Here are a couple stock photos I found. (I did a Google search for ‘happy smiling woman’.) Both women appear to have some amount of Asian-American ancestry. They appear to be similar ages. Both appear to be attractive.

          Example #1:
          //static2.bigstockphoto.com/0/9/2/large1500/290954794.jpg

          Example #2:
          //image.shutterstock.com/image-photo/summer-girl-portrait-asian-woman-260nw-97575878.jpg

          Forget about which of them men would find attractive, or whom they would want to date. As a (presumably straight) woman, focus on how you see the women. If you were at a party, or a conference, or a business meet-and-greet where you knew absolutely nobody, which of these two women would you find it easier to walk up to and strike up a conversation? Why?

          Feel free to show the photos to several of your straight female friends. See if you find yourselves reaching a consensus about which woman is more approachable. What makes her that way? That’s the skill you want to perfect.

          Emily to said:
          “Most women would have been dropping their panties at the move Karl made.”

          Let’s not exaggerate. I was only going to have that effect on women who were interested in me (or at least inclined to find me attractive) in the first place.

          That’s also true for men, as Jeremy is implying. If a man’s not attracted to you, he won’t try to date you, regardless of how approachable you seem. But if he is attracted to you, approachability becomes a make-or-break quality.

        4. Emily, to

          Karl R;
          You obviously want me to say #2 is more approachable. Number #1 is slightly turned away. Although they are basically the same attractive, pleasant-looking young woman. It’s hard to relate as a woman. I don’t look for unapproahable but I really look to see if the guy is watching me. Is he looking at me, cruising me as I walk by, trying to catch my eye? No offense, but your side isn’t all that subtle. If he isn’t doing any of those things, I don’t have his attention so I wouldn’t approach.
          “Let’s not exaggerate. I was only going to have that effect on women who were interested in me (or at least inclined to find me attractive) in the first place.”
          Just take the compliment.

        5. Emily, to

          Karl,
          What I mean is … there’s being friendly and approachable and FRIENDLY and approachable.Two different energies. I don’t assume that because someone is being friendly he wants more than that.

        6. Karl R

          Emily to said:
          “You obviously want me to say #2 is more approachable. Number #1 is slightly turned away.”

          Look closer. It has nothing to do with which way they’re facing. One of the two is more approachable to everyone.

          I have observed this with one of my coworkers. There is something about that coworker that draws people to her. Even if she’s not making eye contact with them. My wife shares that characteristic, to a lesser degree.

          One of the two women I linked to is the polar opposite of guarded. The other one, while not blatantly defensive, still has some visible defenses up. People react to that difference intuitively. They don’t even know what they’re reacting to. It’s just a gut feeling.

        7. Mrs Happy

          Dear Emily,
          re “Just take the compliment”, Karl can’t. He is uncomfortable with being complimented. He ignores them, or argues why they aren’t completely correct. It’s sorta cute.

          And,

          “No offense, but your side isn’t all that subtle.”
          Ha, oh so true. I laugh at those magazine front page articles on ‘how to get him to notice you’, because I just think, ‘walk in the room’. Men involuntarily scan every fertile female they see. That too is sorta cute. (Basically men are just cute.)

          And,

          “I like to be with someone who’s bold enough and knows how to read the “go ahead” signs well enough …”
          Absolutely. But it must be hard for men to learn when to make that move. That’s why the older ones are so advantaged, reading and acting on those situations; they’ve been there more often.

          Dear Karl,
          those women aren’t of equal attractiveness to me at all. The 2nd is younger, happier, prettier, more energetic, in more light and freshness, as well as smiling more widely and with fewer obvious cares. Not a fair contest.

          I suspect at a conference I’d probably preferentially interact with people who seemed most like me, and that not in looks. Like attracts like, and is easier to converse with.

        8. Jeremy

          I agree with you, Karl, but do you think this is something that is changeable through effort? I’ve never known a person who was able to change his /her body language through conscious effort, though I know several books have been written about how one might do so. Have you known people who’ve been able to make this change in a significant way? I ask because I’ve tried. I’m told that I can give off an off-putting body language vibe, been told to smile more, give more eye contact, hold my shoulders differently. But when I do it, it is effortful and not genuine, and can result in the opposite of the intended effect. Wondering if others have had more success in this regard.

        9. Emily, to

          Karl,
          Those women look pretty much the same to me. Your move was a panty-dropping move. I need the female equivalent. A femme fatale move that would juice up the undercarriage. And while I do agree with you that not every woman can radiate warmth and approachablity, there are plenty, I’m sure, who have both qualties in abundance but choose to turn them off because they don’t want to be approached, either at all or by whatever guy she can tell is trying to get her attention. I mean that often the being guarded you referred to is a conscious choice.

        10. Emily, to

          Hi
          “Karl can’t. He is uncomfortable with being complimented. ”
          He just throws more charts and graphs at us when those are actually lady boner crushers! 🙂
          “Men involuntarily scan every fertile female they see. That too is sorta cute. (Basically men are just cute.)”
          “Cute” is not the word I would use, but ok.
          “I like to be with someone who’s bold enough and knows how to read the “go ahead” signs well enough …”
          Well, in the example I gave, you’re at a guy’s place, alone, it’s 1 a.m., you’re sitting nex to him on the coach … MAKE A MOVE! The problem is if a man is hesitant to make a move in such an obvious example as that … once something actually does go down, it usually isn’t all that great.

        11. Emily, to

          Karl,
          I guess this is all foreign to me because if I were a guy (and I’m not), I wouldn’t be looking for warm and approachable. Sexy, tough, bawdy, funny, confident. But that’s me. As I wrote on a different post, the women other women find interesting are very different than the women men find interesting.

        12. Bbq

          There’s not. Doing that would turn men off the woman and make her look like an a-hole in men’s eyes. If anything it would probably increase their attraction to the other woman.

          Actually men think this is an a-hole move too, they just know it works on women. There’s no men who would think, “wow, this woman will just push in front of other people and be a total jerk – what a turn on, this is the one for me” lol.

        13. Emily, to

          Mrs. H.,
          Yes, very good analysis. She could even be really into Mr. Flim-Flam, but he’s been doing what I call the “half-toss-out” or the “feel-out,” so sheppishly, so tentatively, testing the water, without really making a move. And she’s getting increasingly frustrated. So Mr. Action (Karl) comes by. And he does basically what I would label a “mic-drop” move. BOOM! And then she says yes to Karl in front of Mr. Flim Flam, basically doing her own “mic-drop” move. And that should make it very clear to Mr. Flim-Flam: You had your chance. You blew it.

        14. Jeremy

          Emily, the only thing that would make clear to a man was that the woman wasn’t interested in him, had her eye out for a better deal while conversing with him. He’d be relieved that he didn’t ask, not sorry. Where is she in all this? Is she an object to be acted upon, or an adult with agency? If the fact that she’s there with him should be a signal for him to initiate, why is the reverse not also true? If a man has to take a risk to be attractive to you, what happens when there are no longer any risks? Is all that remains attractive the memory of the risk taken?

        15. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Is she an object to be acted upon, or an adult with agency? If the fact that she’s there with him should be a signal for him to initiate, why is the reverse not also true? ”
          She can certainly have agency but I don’t think you understand the Flim Flam Man. I had a huge crush on this guy I worked with when I was 19. And this was his pattern: He’d ask me to do something in the morning of our shift. I’d say yes. By the afternoon, he’d invited several of the co-workers. By late afternoon, he’d cancelled. This happend several times over a few months. So I finally asked for his number, called him and we made plans to go out … but he brought his friend along. There were indications on his part of romantic interest but … idk what the problem was, but I was done by then. My point is … a woman can “take agency,” but it often doesn’t bring her the ressult she wants. There’s usually a reason the man is not pushing things forward. If he’s super hesistant in the beginning, it ain’t going to get any better.

      3. 4.1.3
        sylvana

        Mrs. Happy,

        Interesting you and Emily like that. I would find that totally rude and off-putting.

        1. Emily, to

          Sylvana,
          It’d be really great if the other guy was someone you actually liked but was flim-flam, flirtation, not doing anything. And then Mr. Proactive, in full of Mr. Flim Flam, boldly asks you out. And you say yes. But that’s usually a scene from a movie. Doesn’t usually happen in real life.

        2. Bbq

          Emily, to

          Help me out here, what about this mr film flam and mr proactive situation is so appealing to you?

          You do realise that if a guy does pull this move, he probably has very little respect for the woman that accepts it right?

          (But perhaps that’s part of the unconscious appeal)

        3. Emily, to

          Bbq,
          “You do realise that if a guy does pull this move, he probably has very little respect for the woman that accepts it right?”
          Well, then I guess Karl doesn’t respect the lady he pulled that move with. Incidentally, that woman became his wife.

          I have found, after being on this blog for a while, that if female posters say they like a quality in a man or an action he does, there are usually several male posters shooting that quality or action down, trying to convince them how silly they are to like the quality or action. I think it’s because they don’t have the quality or don’t want to do the action.

        4. Mrs Happy

          Dear Bbq,
          you asked Emily to but I’ll answer too.

          I think it has something to do with the perennially suboptimal situation many women have experienced multiple times, when a male who is close with you and likes you, spends an extremely long time hanging casually with you, but never asks you out. You either realise at the time he is too shy to, or you are completely unaware he like-likes you, only to discover years or decades later he was frustratingly trying to make a move (or show his attraction) but the move/show was so negligible you missed it.
          This happens a lot to females, and we get sick of it fairly quickly. It becomes annoying in fact, probably because of powerlessness, plus I suppose witnessing incompetence is always uncomfortable.

          Karl’s now wife’s male friend was doing just that with Karl’s pre-wife. He was never making the move. Women are hamstrung by this because many won’t ask the male out, so become frustrated with the waiting and man’s slowness. Mr Flim-flam may be a lovely person, in fact he often is a great male friend, but he can’t get things done with women, and he doesn’t portray strength. Women like strength (physical and character) in a partner.

          Thus when Karl entered the picture, and clearly showed he was interested in the lady, and clearly communicated such, it was a breath of fresh air for her. Either she didn’t know her friend wanted to ask her out, in which case it was not rude of her to accept Karl, or she knew and had been waiting but he still hadn’t asked her out, in which case it was also fine for her to accept Karl. It’s a win-win for her, she can’t do wrong, (great position to be in).

          The attraction for Mr Action as opposed to Mr Flim-flam is due to a combination of numerous characteristics the man in Karl’s position has, which make it more likely a life/relationship with him will be positive: ability to read people and situations, decisiveness, confidence, chutzpah, strength of character, charm, smarts, frankly the list goes on and on.

          If Karl’s future wife was on a date with the man on the boat, Karl’s move would be much less respectful, but frankly still a bit impressive because of sheer confidence and interest level, and certainly flattering. It makes the woman feel good and that’s half the race.

          I doubt it has much to do with respect for the woman at all in many cases, though of course your experience regarding that may be different. For instance, Karl clearly did not lack respect for the woman he eventually married. I was out with a sort-of-boyfriend once, and another woman at a nearby restaurant table asked him out when I went to the bathroom (she’d been flirting with him for ages beforehand). I don’t think she lacked respect for him, or for me, or him for her or me or anyone, she just wanted to go out with him so asked.

        5. Jeremy

          This is fair, Mrs H, I agree. But I might respectfully add one thought for balance. Perhaps Mr Flim-flam, as you call him, might have been waiting for some signal from the woman he was with that she was somewhat receptive to the advances he wanted to make. A signal she never bothered to give, other than being present or perhaps thinking a brainwave at him, waiting for him to take all responsibility. I agree with you that most women like strength in men, men who go after what they want without needing (what they perceive as) hand-holding. That is what women want. What do men want? Does it matter?

          Most women don’t much bother with that question, believing that men just want women. That if a man wants a woman he’ll ask, ask cold, and if he doesn’t then he isn’t interested. In my humble opinion, this abnegation of women’s role in initiation is problematic. Learn to give a signal. Learn to give a green light. Learn to express that your interested, or at least receptive. Otherwise you’ll weed out the men who care about your opinion and select for those who care about theirs. I know that many women find that attractive…in the short term.

          You once asked me why a woman should ever initiate a kiss if a man will do it anyway. I answered you. Honest question – did anything I said in my answer move you to reconsider, to slightly rethink your interaction with all those men in the past who waited for years to make a move?

        6. Bbq

          Emily, to

          Your correct about that but so what? It doesn’t mean the quality or action isn’t silly.

          I realise your post was meant partly as an insult/comeback but I’m not going to try to defend myself and say I have that quality because that would be pathetic. But I will tell you that yes, I don’t want to do an action that makes me feel like I’m appealing to someone who, if they are attracted by said action, drops in appeal in my eyes. If not for sex (tho a little there too), definitely as a relationship or even a friend.

          In this case the reason being they look like a rude/disrespectful
          woman to me and I would expect similar behaviour toward me, so it’s really not appealing or worth pulling an easy stunt for. That’s just how I feel about this given scenario.

        7. Bbq

          Mrs Happy

          Thankyou for the explanation. I do understand what you mean and the situation I was taking it to be was when the man and woman appeared to the one who was asking her out, as far as he could tell, on a date (or very possibly on one). I don’t know about you but I definitely take that as disrespectful by the one asking and if it’s not immediately rebuked by the one being asked. But maybe you feel otherwise, idk.

          Of course I realise most women like confidence and strength. But I guess I was taking issue with the attraction to how it’s been shown here. There are a lot of things one could do that would be confident and strong and I’m sure attractive to many women, but doing them would seem dumb as hell to me. Basically not only would I feel like a actor reading a script he knows sucks when I’ve done them, I also question the intelligence/strength of character of the women who react well to them. That sounds harsh but well, it’s the truth.

          I recently saw the Wolf of Wall street for the first time (didn’t finish it actually thought it was overrated) and there’s a scene where the DiCaprio character cuts in on the Margot Robbie character when she’s on a date with some nerd and asks her to come on his million dollar yacht with him, to which she accepts. He’s certainly bold and strong but Hes also a a hole and she seems like a superficial bimbo for accepting. Personally I wouldnt want to be him and go through the motions knowing he will have her precisely because he knows what stupid thing she will react too. It would be meaningless.

          Since some of the advice on this blog seems to be directed at women telling them how to be softer and more feminine to get the man they want, perhaps I could explain it on that level – let’s say hypothetically there are feminine things you can do that you know will be attractive to men and your fine with doing them and still respect the men who react to them, then there may be other “feminine” things you could do, let’s say talk in a babyish Marilyn Monroe voice and act borderline mentally challenged, that some men will also react to, but the fact they react so positively makes you think less of their intelligence and character. The cutting in on the date with another man is the male equivalent of the second category of things to me, if that analogy makes any sense (it’s late here).

          Basically I do and say whatever I want within my own values/likes and if that’s received as confident and thus attractive, then great, but for me cutting in like that would just be a dumb and meaningless show of bravado. I can’t be bothered.

        8. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “This is fair, Mrs H, I agree. But I might respectfully add one thought for balance. Perhaps Mr Flim-flam, as you call him, might have been waiting for some signal from the woman he was with that she was somewhat receptive to the advances he wanted to make.”
          I have found that Mr. Flim Flam doesn’t often just need a signal but a bomb going off in his face.

        9. Emily, to

          BBQ,
          “I realise your post was meant partly as an insult/comeback but I’m not going to try to defend myself and say I have that quality because that would be pathetic. ”
          I wasn’t tyring to be insulting. Only that I get tired to being told what I should and shouldn’t find appealing.
          “In this case the reason being they look like a rude/disrespectful woman to me and I would expect similar behaviour toward me, so it’s really not appealing or worth pulling an easy stunt for.”
          Fair enough.

        10. Mrs Happy

          ETO: “I have found that Mr. Flim Flam doesn’t often just need a signal but a bomb going off in his face.”
          JJ: “You once asked me why a woman should ever initiate a kiss if a man will do it anyway. I answered you. Honest question – did anything I said in my answer move you to reconsider, to slightly rethink your interaction with all those men in the past who waited for years to make a move?”

          I don’t want to be in a romantic relationship with someone who can’t make decisions and act decisively and get things done, someone who is low in confidence and waits for others to initiate things. I like men who are smart and strong and who adapt to whatever circumstances life throws at them, with the ability to read the situation, weigh in the balance all considerations, and behave in a way likely to be successful (sometimes).

          I have a bunch of friends who could work from home at present but aren’t. They are waiting for someone else to say it’s okay (our Prime Minister, or the head of their career organisation, or their direct line manager, or the spider on the wall, I don’t know, you get the idea). They are waiting for someone else to decide and implement something. They are not adapting rapidly to changing circumstances. They (and their families) will thus be less likely to survive. Basic Darwinism. This is frustrating in a friend, but in a loved one or my husband would be extremely unattractive.

          On the other hand I have friends (and me, and my husband) who reviewed the current climate, and made changes and decisions, then implemented those for themselves and/or their teams in their workforce. Frankly, these people are much more stimulating and capable, and I personally find this attractive.

          It won’t be an exact correlation but the men waiting for the bomb (a la ETO) to go off are more likely to be the men not adapting to situations and acting with confidence and strength. The primitive dinosaur-times part of my brain (which relies on the stronger man to get us away from the dangerous animal and protect me and our kids), is attracted to the stronger decisive type who acts without waiting for permission from the spider on the cave wall.

          It would be idiotic of me to help Mr Flim-flam to make a move, because then I might be stuck in a long term romantic relationship with someone whose style of inaction would see me lose attraction and respect for him, or someone who was more needy and insecure than would be a good match for me. At least 2 of my close male friends are Flim-flam, and I love them dearly, but we wouldn’t make good romantic partners at all. Hence they are friends and have been for 30 years. They are with women who don’t mind the Flim-flam, which makes everyone happy. Win-win.

          So no I wouldn’t change anything about the way I never kissed a man first. Worked every time, really well. I’ve had fantastic romantic relationships almost without exception.

        11. Emily, to

          Mrs. H,
          “It would be idiotic of me to help Mr Flim-flam to make a move, because then I might be stuck in a long term romantic relationship with someone whose style of inaction would see me lose attraction and respect for him, or someone who was more needy and insecure than would be a good match for me.”
          Yep. Basically, if a man isn’t asking you out and making his interest known fairly quickly, you may as well move on because his hesitnacy will be indicative of how he interacts with you for the rest of the relationship.

        12. Jeremy

          Interesting answer, thanks for your reply. I look at your answer and I can’t help but look at myself. And while the picture you paint of the romantically-indecisive man does rather match me, your picture of the life-in-general-indecisive man does not. At all. It’s interesting to me that you believe they are necessarily correlated.

          I’d not say I’m romantically-indecisive per se, if I was interested in a woman, I was interested in her. But what I didn’t know was how she felt about me. And what I had was an extreme…what’s the best word? distaste? antipathy?…for causing distress to another person. I could take the pain of rejection, could grow large enough to bear my own burden. But the thought of causing distress to another was anathema. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to press my own desires on another person unless I am relatively certain that they want me to. You can psychoanalyze this back to my upbringing and my personality, and you’d likely be correct, but it doesn’t change how I feel about it.

          But that has nothing, NOTHING, to do with how I am in the world. You don’t know me beyond this blog, Mrs H, but would you believe I can suss out most problems in prospect and set out contingencies, I can deal with unforeseen contingencies on the fly, and can act with precipitous decisiveness. Pride myself in doing so. In me, the thought of the hesitancy in one domain as correlating with hesitancy in the other is laughable. Question is, how generalizable is that? That, I don’t know.

        13. Jeremy

          Emily, I’ll address one thing you wrote, that a man’s hesitancy will affect the way he’ll interact with you for the rest of your relationship. I think this might be true, but I don’t think the connotation is necessarily what you’re implying. I know women who married men they considered to be “alpha”. Men who prioritized their own desires and acted upon them. I have yet to meet a woman who married such a man who didn’t grow to resent his selfishness after years of marriage and children. Who didn’t grow to dislike the very thing that attracted her in the first place. Of course, my sample size is small. But it seems that, at least in my limited circles, one of the qualities in a husband that most wives prize after years of marriage? Is how well he takes her desires into account before acting. Before. Not after.

        14. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “I have yet to meet a woman who married such a man who didn’t grow to resent his selfishness after years of marriage and children. ”
          You know, you always write about these more alpha type men as if they are bulls in a china store, raging narcicisstis without a care in the world but themselves. My mother’s father was very masculine and his priority and focus was always his wife and family. Whereas my father was the classic beta, and his priority was always himself. And what made his self-involvement even worse was that he didn’t have the decisisiveness that Mrs. Happy wrote about, so not only was he selfish but he expected everyone else to take care of everything. What was he contributing?

        15. Jeremy

          When you say he was a classic beta, what do you mean?

        16. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “When you say he was a classic beta, what do you mean?”
          Passive. Needing a woman to dominate and organize his life.

        17. James

          “Yep. Basically, if a man isn’t asking you out and making his interest known fairly quickly, you may as well move on because his hesitnacy will be indicative of how he interacts with you for the rest of the relationship.”

          So would you also agree that a man should move on whenever a woman shows any signs of being passive/indifferent/hesitant in the early going, since he can safely conclude that she will always and forever be this way? Or do women expect men to be persistent and never become discouraged regardless of any obstacles or doubts, because it may require some time and effort for her to be won over and loosen up a bit? And because a prize like her is obviously worth the wait? And because his persistence is proof to her of his interest? Does anyone honestly believe that women who may be hesitant or play hard-to-get games really, truly want men to just give up?

          Could it be that men are reluctant to do all the work early on because they are looking for some reciprocal proof of the woman’s interest – something that involves much more than just passively acquiescing to his advances? That is, something that requires some actual risk and effort on her part?

          I’ve heard women on these boards say that they are not comfortable initiating early on, but once the relationship has been established they feel free to initiate whenever they want to. But only AFTER the relationship has been established, not before. In other words, only after her partner has invested the time, effort, and risk needed to win her over and make her feel comfortable. So if some women are this way then would it not stand to reason that some men are this way as well?

        18. Evan Marc Katz

          James for the win.

        19. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          “Or do women expect men to be persistent and never become discouraged regardless of any obstacles or doubts, because it may require some time and effort for her to be won over and loosen up a bit?”
          I’m not really a fan of this idea “winning someone over.” I don’t know why anyone would want to work that hard at getting someone’s approval. So, yes, the woman should show interest early on. The man can show initial interest by asking her out, but if she doesn’t eagerly and warmly accept, and gives him a — wait for it — flim-flammy answer, then, yes, he should move on. To quote Mark Manson, anything less than a yes is a no.
          “That is, something that requires some actual risk and effort on her part?”
          I’ve said about a million times that I don’t have a problem with a woman initiating the first kiss or the first sexual move. (And for the record, I’ve done both, so I know how nerve-wracking it is.)

        20. Jeremy

          Emily, not that it matters except for the purposes of communication, but “passive, needing a woman to organize his life” is not the classic definition of beta. The problem with those words, alpha and beta, is that people toss them around, thinking they’re communicating, but they aren’t. On the manosphere, a “beta” man is one who is a pleaser, does things specifically to please another person instead of to fulfill his own egotistical desires. An alpha is the opposite, a person who prioritizes his own desires first, though his own desires may be (at least temporarily) to do things to please the one he loves – the difference is not necessarily in the action of the moment, but in the motivation behind it.

          Passivity in life, though, is another thing, I think. Not necessarily related. For example, a person can be selfishly passive specifically BECAUSE he only prioritizes himself, doesn’t much care about the wants of others. Not a beta at all, but more of a totally dysfunctional and unattractive sort of alpha. It’s interesting that, in terms of base motivations, there isn’t necessarily such a difference between your dad and the man who makes a bold romantic move without knowing whether a woman is interested first. Both are acting from the same place. It just happens that what they want in the given moment tends to differ. No?

        21. SparklingEmerald

          James asked “So would you also agree that a man should move on whenever a woman shows any signs of being passive/indifferent/hesitant in the early going, since he can safely conclude that she will always and forever be this way? Or do women expect men to be persistent and never become discouraged regardless of any obstacles or doubts, because it may require some time and effort for her to be won over and loosen up a bit?”

          Hi James – I haven’t seen you on here before, but we’ve actually that discussion and I have said MANY times, that if a woman doesn’t show reciprocal interest, then MOVE ON ! In fact, there was a letter from a woman who was basically pestered into a relationship, and she was writing because basically, she wasn’t attracted to him. She said in her letter that she initially told him that he wasn’t her type, but he just kept hounding her until she caved and ended up in a r’ship with him. She claimed that she now loved him, but felt like she was “settling” https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/im-hotter-than-my-boyfriend-and-i-feel-like-im-settling

          So in answer to your question , I say YES, a man should move on if the gal seems indifferent and not try to win over a dis-interested gal. If you are wondering if a gal is interested in you, she probably isn’t. If a gal is interested, it will show in her voice, her body language, her kisses, etc.

          No one does anyone any favors trying to either force themselves to feel something that they don’t feel, or trying to force someone else to feel something they don’t feel.

          As for the OP, in the afore mentioned letter, she claimed to be “utter happiest” she’s ever been, but I think she was just trying to convince herself that she was, because she felt like she SHOULD be happy. If her relationship were to continue, I see a dead bedroom in her future, and lot’s of unhappiness for them both.

        22. Emily, to

          Jerrykins,
          Thanks for clarifying the definitions of alpha and beta.
          ” It’s interesting that, in terms of base motivations, there isn’t necessarily such a difference between your dad and the man who makes a bold romantic move without knowing whether a woman is interested first. Both are acting from the same place. It just happens that what they want in the given moment tends to differ. No?”
          Oh, geez, Jeremy. You just put my father in the same sentence as “bold romantic move.” AND I’M EATING MY BREAKFAST. 🙂 YUCK! Usually, if a guy makes a bold romantic move he’s been given some signals to know he should at least make SOME knd of move. He’s not going up to a random woman on the street and grabbing her for a kiss. Usually it’s the example I gave earlier: They are at his apartment, alone, at 1 a.m., “watching a movie.” He’s only gamble is making a really aggressive move and it turns out she prefers a softer, slower approach. He’d have no way of knowing that ahead of time, though. So he either turns her off my being too aggressive … or he has the best night of his life. 🙂

  5. 5
    HairyPalms

    Learned in the Navy that cruise ships are mostly newly dead and newlywed. Excepting singles cruises of course.

    I’m with a Karl that I evolved enough after many dates to play it cool, stay positive and have low expectations.

    Unfortunately, after achieving veteran status, many daters have adopted the maxim ‘Whoever cares the least wins’.

    Also, Solidsix, a 3 year relationship with a man that doesn’t commit sounds like an oxymoron. He committed for 3 years.

    Now If you revise your statement to say he didn’t commit to the altar, that’s more accurate.

    1. 5.1
      Karl R

      HairyPalms said:
      “Unfortunately, after achieving veteran status, many daters have adopted the maxim ‘Whoever cares the least wins’.”

      I’ve heard that sentiment expressed before … on this blog. The vast majority of the time, though not 100% of the time, men have been the ones expressing the sentiment.

      In general, those individuals assume that the person who cares less holds the power in the relationship. They call the shots. The determine whether the relationship becomes more seriously (or more often, when it ends). Based on that “insight,” those individuals recommend that people date partners that they don’t care about. Therefore, they have the power, and they “win” at dating.

      HairyPalms,
      Based on your tone, I’m sure you don’t buy into that line of thought. But for the benefit of others on this blog, I’ll explain the fatal flaw.

      If someone consistently dates those for whom they care less, they may hold the power, and they may, in a certain sense, “win” the relationship. But on a larger scale, who wants to be in control and “win” in a relationship where they don’t care about their partner?

      I “won” because I’m married to a woman who I care deeply about. She’s not a fluke. I dated a fair number of women before her … including a few who I definitely cared far less about. I was certainly in control of those relationships … but I didn’t want to “win” a partner that I didn’t give a rat’s ass about. I can’t convince myself that’s any kind of victory.

      1. 5.1.1
        sylvana

        Karl R,

        I’m one of those people who believes that whoever cares less wins. it’s not really about winning the relationship. It’s about reducing stress and anxiety and the pain and devastation that comes with breakup. You’re also much less tolerant when it comes to red-flags and behaviors you don’t like.

        It definitely does give you power and control in a relationship.

        It’s also not about not caring at all about your partner. You do care, but it’s not life ending if they leave. It’s more of a “enjoy it while it lasts” attitude. The person is special, but only to a point.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          Recipe for being single right there.

      2. 5.1.2
        Buck25

        “Whoever cares the least wins”

        This is a case of a strategy that may work well for casual dating/hookups, but doesn’t work so well if one is actually looking for a relationship, for the reasons Karl explains.

        In a way, it’s like PUA; for the man just looking for sex, it works well as a rule; matter of fact, caring less is a staple of PUA technique. Changes the power dynamic in the guy’s favor, if he cares less than she does. Also a way of feeling rejection proof, in that in investing little, one has little to lose. Of course, this is why most PUA strategies do not work well for pursuing a relationship, where at some point, you have to make an emotional investment in the other.

        There are dating strategies, and there are relationship strategies, but as we’ve seen before, they are very different things

  6. 6
    Kitty

    Actually, while being rejected was my big fear, it turned out not to be my biggest challenge. After a few months in the game I got my footing and learned the ropes. At that point my biggest challenge was picking the right man out of many. Thanks to Evan’s tips and just a lot of relationship reading/pondering etc plus learning to be confident enough to flirt and reach out first I was in demand and had many interested men to choose from.

    It’s certainly better to have too many interested men rather than too few, but it meant that I had to reject and break up with all of them except my now husband. I am very sensitive to people’s feelings and every time I broke up with someone I felt very guilty sometime for weeks. It took a toll on me. Every time I broke up with someone I wondered if I had done the right thing, if I would end up alone, if I was too picky etc. So at level dating can be exhausting and demoralizing.

  7. 7
    MilkyMae

    Highly successful people typically have many failures in their past. I think love is the same.
    However, fear of rejection is also normal and required. It means you care. It’s all about how you handle the fear. I for one don’t want someone who has no fear of rejection. People like that are creeps and sociopaths. I want someone who has fear but overcomes the fear. The worst thing you can do while dating is to make your fear of rejection some elses’ problem. It happens all the time. You want but you wait for someone else to want more. People drag their feet, they’re unsure, they wait for the perfect time when real problem is nerves and fear. Your fear is YOUR problem so you should own it and not make other people jump through hoops.

  8. 8
    Natalie

    Thank you for mentioning “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. I got curious, bought audiobook and listened to it when doing chores etc. It’s probably the best book on achievement and comparative importance of effort and talent I have ever come across. Also, the author discusses results from multiple phycological studies, which I think makes it more popular science then self-help. It got me inspired to organise myself and be productive during the lockdown here in the UK, very helpful.

    1. 8.1
      Mrs Happy

      Dear Natalie,
      grit as a concept is interesting. Did the book include any suggestions on what leads to grit? My daughter’s school is really into trying to make the girls resilient and more (…how do I conjugate this, is it a verb, I need YAG’s grammar help) … gritty.

      How is it being in a lock down? I wish our Prime Minister would lock down this country but he is moving like treacle. A coup has never looked more inviting. With myself as leader, of course.

      1. 8.1.1
        Natalie

        Hi Mrs Happy,

        Glad that you are also interested in the topic! Of course it is through the prism of my perception, but the points I remember the most are as follows:
        – Developing initial genuine interest helps, and at this early stage parents/tutors should provide maximum positive feedback and very gentle encouragement. Furthermore, most often a serious interest (which can become a passion in the future) does not come as a sudden revelation, but rather as a result of being exposed to the object of interest multiple times. Parents therefore can play significant role in helping to discover interest [from my experience this definitely works. I developed interest in painting and art, which I pursue as a hobby. Now thinking back, my Mum was constantly bringing home art books before I could even read and write properly, then she was taking me to various art exhibitions and galleries, then invited a girl who studied in art school to meet me etc. you get the idea]
        – Everyone in the family should do at least one “hard thing”. A good example would be an extra-curriculum activity which requires persistent effort (ballet, editing school newspaper, doing sports, learning to play a musical instrument), and the idea is to teach kids to persevere and to stick around till the point when the benefits of the hard work kick in, rather than to put an expectation on them to become next Isaac Newton. Kids should be able to drop the class if they stopped enjoying it, but only after the end of the initial period of commitment [like, once you have tried to play piano for a year and you don’t like it you can switch to something else]
        – Culture – the easy way to enhance grit is to place a person into a group where being gritty is a part of the culture; it’s basically getting benefits from the natural desire to conform. The author makes an example of players in a professional football team, when one sees others waking up at 4am going to training and does the same. I think this principle equally applies to children, as a child in a strong class/school is likely to pick up good work ethics from others; and
        – The author advises to make emphasis on effort rather than talent when praising kids for achievements.
        Other points, which are not children-specific, but also very interesting in my opinion are:
        – In general, we are biased towards favouring people whom we perceive more talented than more hardworking [I think it comes from the human nature to optimise short-term and instinctively seek least effort and most reward];
        – Grit way surpasses intellectual ability as a predictor of people’s future success in life. No surprise here, but I was just shocked how overwhelmingly influential the grit factor is according to the quoted studies;
        – Exposure to stressful circumstances with no power to change them, especially early in life, often leads to learned helplessness, ie one is less likely to believe it’s in their power to overcome obstacles and challenges in the future. And opposite is true, exposure to stress with power to improve situation leads to learned optimism;
        – One of the ways of learning to deal with failure constructively is to check whether the explanation you are giving for the particular failure is short-term and specific, rather than long-term and pervasive. Ex. “I need to plan my studies better next time” vs “ I am an idiot”;
        – One of the benefits from having to apply oneself, rather than getting the perfect result immediately, is that you leave a body of work when putting in effort. If I had to think of an example, it would be acing in communication at one conference vs developing networking skills gradually and having a really great business network as a by-product of the development process.
        – Usually, people have multiple talents and can achieve greatness by applying themselves in any of these fields. I think it’s comforting for Renaissance people plagued by “what-if” thoughts.

        Ok, I shall stop writing before Evan banned me for a particularly long post 🙂 Best of luck to your daughter and I am sure that she will be very successful!

        Re lock-down – a friend who was working at the International Monetary Fund used to say “Never waste a good crisis!”, so I am trying to make the most of the free time. Hope that you stay safe.

  9. 9
    Karl R

    Jeremy said: (#4.1.2.8)
    “I’ve never known a person who was able to change his/her body language through conscious effort”

    I’ve done it. Multiple times. Starting in high school. Then learning to undo it (my initial choices were … less than ideal). The redoing it differently. It’s a process that takes multiple months … or multiple years.

    The trick is practice. I started practicing a different posture several years back. I practiced at the bus stop or rail stop. In the elevator lobby. Nobody is judging me there. Barely anyone is noticing me there. (And certainly not anyone that I give a rat’s ass about.)

    For facial expressions, practice in a mirror. Not to the point to where they become instinctive, but at least to the point to where you know how the subtle changes (especially the changes right around the eyes) feel.

    And if you think this type of behavior seems somewhat disingenuous, let me clarify. It is absolutely, 100%, disingenuous. My guiding light on this came from a science fiction book where one of the main characters gave a sincere smile to someone … and he knew it was a sincere smile … because he’d practiced it in front of a mirror for months. Even in middle school (when I read the novel), I could completely appreciate the irony of that statement. But I also recognized an inherent truth in it.

    In order to give a sincere smile, you need to tighten certain muscles around the eyes. If you want to present a hard/cold/uncompromising look instead, you tighten a different set of muscles around the eyes. If you want to look bored, you need to relax several muscles around the eyes. If you want to look fatigued, you relax a couple additional muscles around the eyes.

    This sort of body language change takes at least a few months to develop. Possibly up to several years. On the other hand, how long are you planning to live? Does it seem like it’s worth the effort?

    Assume the outcome is possible. Then work towards it.

    Emily to said: (#4.1.2.9)
    “while I do agree with you that not every woman can radiate warmth and approachablity, there are plenty, I’m sure, who have both qualities in abundance but choose to turn them off because they don’t want to be approached […] I mean that often the being guarded you referred to is a conscious choice.”

    You are 100% correct. And that’s why men pay attention to that particular body language. If I get a “guarded” signal, I’ll assume it’s aimed towards me. If I get an “approachable” signal, I’ll assume it’s aimed towards me.

    On a realistic level, however, you’re probably not able to continuously broadcast to me an “approachable” signal while simultaneously continuously broadcasting to someone else a “guarded” signal.

    My wife’s “broadcast” signal is to seem approachable. Even when she’s in a relationship. Even with men whom she’s previously turned down (while she was unattached). My coworker is the same way, but at a multiple of 2 or 3.

    On the other hand, Jeremy can’t imagine being able to retrain body language. If you spend most of your life sending out “unapproachable” signals, how quickly/easily can you switch them up for “approachable” signals for a different man.

    For many women, “unapproachable” seems to become their default.

    Moreover, as I was discussing with Jeremy, what body language skills are those women practicing? Appearing “guarded”?

    Mrs Happy said: (#4.1.2.7)
    “it must be hard for men to learn when to make that move. That’s why the older ones are so advantaged, reading and acting on those situations; they’ve been there more often.”

    You have no idea how hard it is. I went through high school assuming I was undateable. Decades later, it has occurred to me that I probably had several female peers (or dozens?) interested in me, but I was just too clueless to pick up on the right signals. I was literally hitting on girls randomly, with no idea whether or not I had a chance.

    Men have to learn to read women’s signals, but every single woman on the planet gives different signals.

    Men have incorrectly assumed that my wife is interested in them. (She turned some of those men down when she was still single.) But I later watched her interact with those same men, and I could see why they thought they had a chance. Her body language is that approachable/unguarded. It’s a universal cue that men tune in to.

    Jeremy said: (#4.1.1.2)
    “all my life I’ve been given the messaging, largely by women, that asking, talking, gentlemanly solicitation, are exactly what women want. That boldness is akin to assault. And then I realized that it is…until it isn’t. I can’t reconcile it.”

    Um … you pretty much explained it correctly. The only reconciliation you need is to understand your own words.

    That said, there is a world of difference between understanding it and putting it into practice. It’s definitely easier with my generation (on up). And even for my generation, it felt like there was a razor-thin line between a bold/winning move and sexual assault. (I always defaulted toward the conservative choice of actions, but I damn well know that worked against me a few times.)

    Buck25 said: (#5.1.2)
    “There are dating strategies, and there are relationship strategies, but as we’ve seen before, they are very different things”

    True. Also something that would have been nice to know in my teens and twenties.

    Mrs Happy said: (#4.1.2.7)
    “Dear Emily,
    re ‘Just take the compliment’, Karl can’t. He is uncomfortable with being complimented. He ignores them, or argues why they aren’t completely correct.”

    The final sentence is accurate. The previous two sentences are inaccurate, but a reasonable assumption, based on the accurate observation.

    I grew up as an “academically gifted” child. I started getting praise for my accomplishments in kindergarten, and it continued throughout my academic career. Based on that upbringing, there were two possible outcomes that were likely to occur. Either (i) I became a praise-seeker, where compliments were the sustenance that I lived and died by, or (ii) I decided that praise and compliments were meaningless background noise that sporadically occurred throughout my life.

    I chose the latter.

    This is going to sound arrogant (in part, because it is), but I hear a compliment of “you are brilliant” in the same way I hear the statement “you are right-handed.” In either case, I knew that already. (And if any of the readers find that statement insufferably egotistical … read Evan’s warnings against dating an intelligent man.)

    While Mrs Happy’s compliments regarding my appearance (in previous threads) have somewhat greater impact (due to my insecurities about my appearance as a teenager), she is reaffirming information I learned over two decades ago: a certain segment of the female population finds me attractive.

    As people have mentioned (particularly Jeremy, if my memory serves me correctly), the face we present on the forums does not exactly match the one we wear in real life. If you give me a compliment privately in real life, I’ll accept it with a simple “Thank you,” and treat is as I do most other compliments.

    On this blog, however, we’re more like a panel discussion in front of an audience. (Evan can confirm the exact numbers, but I believe around 90% of the audience are lurkers.) Given that situation, I’m less connected to a compliment than I am to the truth (or facts, in different circumstances).

    One (or more) of the lurkers is going to be the same clueless yutz that I was two or three decades ago. If you tell that guy that a certain move is “pantie dropping” … he lacks a perspective to weigh it against. If he tries it with a woman who is disinterested…. (cue impending disappointment).

    Under certain circumstances, it’s a good move. Better than I realized at the time. Thanks to your input, I have realized that I stumbled into an idiot savant level dating move without realizing it … purely out of necessity driven by the moment.

    My ultimate goal on this blog, however, is to educate others. Not to pat myself on the back for doing something great in 2009.

    1. 9.1
      Jeremy

      Good post, Karl. To clarify, when I wrote that “I cant reconcile it,” I didn’t mean that I can’t understand it. It took me years to understand it, but understand it I do. And it took me more years to understand how and when to act on it in such a way as to best evoke arousal in women (or, at least, a particular woman), but even that was understandable. No, what I can’t reconcile is how to deal with my own responsive desire in the face of women’s largely responsive desire.

      And I may be using the wrong nomenclature here, because “responsive desire” is most often used to describe a person who doesn’t much think about or want sex until some form of sexual or romantic activity has begun. That doesn’t describe me, I am male, after all. But I wonder if, at the base of that sort of responsive desire, the need is for a sexual context to awaken their desire, or whether it’s the feeling of being desired in and of itrself awakens their desire for the other. If so, that does describe me. It’s not that I couldn’t figure out how to use my desire for a woman to awaken her desire…. It’s that I couldn’t figure out how to awaken my own desire in the face of an overt lack of same from another until I did so. Or rather, reawaken it after it retreats, seeing no desire unless evoked. Does that make sense? At any rate, I say this not to overshare, but for the lurking audience, as you put it. To know that the expression of desire in an overt way is important to some men, likely more men than will admit it. If it wasn’t, porn wouldn’t look the way it does, with women doing most of the initiating and always screaming their desire. Strangely dissonant from reality.

      Oh, and I agree 100% with your thoughts about compliments.

    2. 9.2
      Emily, to

      Hi Karl,
      “For many women, “unapproachable” seems to become their default. Moreover, as I was discussing with Jeremy, what body language skills are those women practicing? Appearing “guarded”?”
      There’s another form of body language that conveys the woman wants to be approached but also doesn’t. Confusing, of course. Maybe she’s really attracted to the guy but he’s been flirting with her for months and she knows he’s never going to ask her out. So part of her is thrilled at seeing him but the other part is guarded because he’s not serious.

      For me, telling you that move was “panty-dropping” is the highest form of praise. I don’ care about the guy’s looks, his job, his status. But I do notice if he has some boldness or sexiness in him. So take it for what it’s worth. The compliment was specific to you. It wasn’t generic, such as “You are attractive.” Those kinds of compliments mean nothing to me.

      1. 9.2.1
        SparklingEmerald

        ““For many women, “unapproachable” seems to become their default.”

        When I was young and in my 20’s, when generally being out in public (on the bus, walking to lunch or work, running errands) and not really expecting to be engaging socially (such as being at a social event ) being “approachable” or “unapproachable” was a no win situation. If I failed to properly smile, so as to be pleasing to the male gaze, I had commands shouted at me to “smile”. If I smiled and looked “approachable”, I was crudely propositioned. If I dressed for warm weather (shorts, tank top), again harassed on the street. When I wore a buttoned up to the collar shirt and long jeans, some a$$hole guy reached toward my top button and told me I needed to unbutton my shirt. Eventually, I realized that it had NOTHING to do with my “approachability” or my manner of dress, but the manners, or lack of , from men. For a short while, I altered my comings and goings. No more walks to the corner store for a cup of coffee, I would get in my car and drive the one block. Started wearing ear buds, and stick my nose in a book on the bus to avoid talking to strangers. Eventually, I just decided to come and go as I please, dress as I please, where whatever facial expression came naturally, etc. But for several years, I was “guarded”, “unapproachable” when out and about.

        Didn’t have this problem at social events where polite behavior was generally expected, and there wasn’t very much annonymity, but out and about, there plenty of rude young men who felt like any female that crossed their path was fair game for leering looks, crude remarks, etc. (not all men of course)

        So for anyone who wonders why some women’s default setting is “unapproachable” it could be many bad experiences have shaped that.

        1. jo

          SE, I’m so sorry to hear that. The stranger reaching to unbutton your blouse sounds scary and horrid; this is what men do (or did) when they think they own women’s bodies and have a right to have us look exactly the way they want us to look. It’s such an icky feeling: rude, aggressive, and inappropriate. You’re right that any woman who suffered these things will learn by sheer survival to put up guards.

          If it’s any comfort to you, men nowadays are much better. I still get flirted with, even by (especially by?) police officers, in public places, but it’s much more friendly, fun, and hands-off. Women can also do more of the approaching. The funny twist to this all is, we women need to learn to read what makes an approachable man. But maybe it’s not as hard. I’ve found that it works to approach just about anyone, with no serious intention but just in a friendly way, and if they don’t respond in a friendly way after a few sentences, just move on.

        2. Emily, to

          Sparkling Emerald,
          “Eventually, I realized that it had NOTHING to do with my “approachability” … there were plenty of rude young men who felt like any female that crossed their path was fair game for leering looks, crude remarks, etc. (not all men of course)”
          I agree that you don’t have to be approachabale in the slightest when you’re young. Just be breathing and female and you will attract a lot of attention. As you say, some of the attention is crass and unappealing and certainly invasive. But with the leering and the creepers come the turned heads and the big smiles to greet you and the offers of help, and that’s cerainly nice and its something you miss once it dries up. Not in France, of course, but in this country. 🙂

    3. 9.3
      Mrs Happy

      Dear Karl,
      Re, “My ultimate goal on this blog, however, is to educate others.”
      Why?

      (Jeremy wrote the same recently. It’s an interesting position – to think your main purpose on a public discussion forum is to inform or explain things to others.)

      1. 9.3.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Because they are both married men who “get it” and ably explain it to others.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Evan, I know what they can do. I’m asking Karl why his goal is to explain things to others, in this forum. The men writing here are not paid university lecturers we are lining up to learn from. This comments sections is largely a bunch of people exchanging ideas and connecting, and sometimes some ideas can inform others on different ways of thinking, but it’s almost by chance, not by didactic, info-flowing-only-one-way statements.

          All the regulars like the sound of our own voices, and we all like presenting our individual ideas as gospel, but I suspect most regulars wouldn’t say their main goal is to educate others. I was not picking on Karl, I was honestly asking him, why that is his goal here, because I find that mindset interesting. Maybe he is like that everywhere. Maybe he is quiet in his day job and this blog unleashes the hidden teacher in him. Maybe many men think this way (I’ll educate others). I don’t know. Hence my question.

      2. 9.3.2
        jo

        Mrs Happy, I felt the same way. It felt like mansplaining. I could not imagine myself ever writing the same, even on fora on topics in which I am an expert. No matter how good the intentions, it comes across as arrogant. (That said, I do not recall reading that Jeremy ever wrote that.)

        1. Emily, to

          Jo,
          “No matter how good the intentions, it comes across as arrogant.”
          Agree.

        2. Jeremy

          To be fair, I wrote that my goal is to help people here who want to find good relationships. Not to educate them, per se. It may amount to the same thing, but context and presentation are important when dealing with people.

          Help is not unidirectional. I’ve learned a lot here and elsewhere when help with relationships was what I sought (and after). And I enjoy the interactions here, except when my comments are misconstrued. It’s not that in every aspect of my life I take the role of teacher (helper, maybe), but rather that the topics discussed here are things I’ve given thought to, perhaps more than most. Or at least, in a way that many others haven’t considered.

          I was born with a visual-spatial deficiency. I have a hard time with direction and mental mapping of objects in space. I get lost in a closet and have trouble identifying houses I’ve been to many times unless I know the number. My wife, whose job it is to evaluate different forms of intelligence, finds my brain very incongruous, like a head of bushy hair with a glaring bald patch. Notwithstanding this, my job depends quite heavily on visual-spatial ability. Learning how to use my hands and mind together was something that was difficult for me, more difficult than for most of my classmates, because of my deficiency. So I spent every spare hour during my schooling practicing, developing techniques that would suit me where my instructors’ techniques failed me. It was like learning to walk by understanding walking…. As opposed to what most people do – just walking. I was the youngest person ever asked to return as an instructor because no one had done it like I had, from first principles upward. By understanding it and THEN doing it rather than the reverse. Not because doing otherwise never works…. but because it couldn’t work for me, and apparently didn’t with well for many others who lacked inborn gifts and luck. Success at the things that are important shouldn’t depend solely on gifts and luck. Understanding is the key. I like to help with that, and be helped too.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said “To be fair, I wrote that my goal is to help people here who want to find good relationships. ”

          I am already in a good relationship (married actually), and yet you lecture me that I expect men to do all the compromising while I do none, and tell me that it is impossible that I am in an even handed relationship. If your goal is to help people “find” good relationships, why do you lecture those who are already in good relationships, that there relationship maybe isn’t all that great ? Because five years ago, I ignored your advice ?

  10. 10
    LaureL

    Karl: what you say about unguarded and guarded body language is very interesting. I know part of my problem is that I have this guarded body language even if I don’t really feel that way. I would be willing to try and fix the situation but don’t know how to start. Any recommendations? Are there any books about it?

  11. 11
    MilkyMae

    J, “I’m told that I can give off an off-putting body language vibe, been told to smile more, give more eye contact, hold my shoulders differently. But when I do it, it is effortful and not genuine, and can result in the opposite of the intended effect.”

    It’s different for men and women. Availability makes women look hot but not for men. Availability, especially a forced look availability, is frequently a turn off. Men look like they are struggling. Women don’t get warm cozy feelings from men on the prowl. Women should act like they are looking but men should act like they are not looking. IMO

    1. 11.1
      Jeremy

      I agree, though it depends on what the man’s goal is. If he’s on the prowl for women, studies have actually shown that women are less attracted to smiling men than serious men. They don’t like angry men, just serious, driven, dedicated-looking men. Happy men aren’t driven. That’s the subconscious logic, anyway.

      But if a man’s goal is friendship, it’s a different ballgame. My wife is constantly criticizing my demeanor among other couples and in public places as offputting, especially the fact that I often don’t look people in the eye when I speak with them. My problem is that when I look a person in the eye, I can’t concentrate on what’s in my head anymore, lose track of the conversation. Something I’m working on.

      But honestly, I think I’m past the point in my life where I’m at all interested in games like “men should act like they are not looking when they’re looking.” Instead, if I was looking for a woman I’d want one who didn’t play games, who had the emotional maturity to grow beyond admiration of distant men, driven to a goal that isn’t her. And if I was looking for a friend, I’d want one who is ok with me as I am. I play childish games with my children.

  12. 12
    SparklingEmerald

    Emily to said “But with the leering and the creepers come the turned heads and the big smiles to greet you and the offers of help, and that’s cerainly nice and its something you miss once it dries up” Yes, you certainly have that right. In addition to the creepy attention, there was a lot of positive attention as well. I don’t think I ever carried a heavy package to my car until I was in my mid 30’s ! : D.

    A few years ago, a sweet young girl where I used to work be-friended me. She is absolutely ADORABLE, but she seems CLUELESS as to how much power her youthful looks, her Barbie doll figure, and her perfect complexion gives her. She makes “friends” with guys, and acts all clueless when they want more than friendship. Me, and one of my other older friends who hang out with her have told her she is just too young and pretty to play men like that. (she is now coupled up, so I think she finally has gotten some sense about that). I finally told her that she won’t realize how much effect she has on men just by existing, and that she won’t realize it, until it’s gone.

    1. 12.1
      Emily, to

      SE,
      “I finally told her that she won’t realize how much effect she has on men just by existing, and that she won’t realize it, until it’s gone.”
      And it doesn’t just go slowly. You wake up one day and you are invisible, at least to men who aren’t 15 years older than you are. I’m always shocked when I talk to men my age and they tell me their Hollywood crush is in her 40s. OMG, she’s not 25! Not an issue is HE’S 25, but a little creepy if he’s 50.

  13. 13
    SparklingEmerald

    Mrs Happy – Yes I have been “educated” by the mansplainers on this board that I was chasing “fantasy” men https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/newsflash-older-men-dont-want-women-their-own-age/comment-page-6#comments See comment #114. I have also been “educated” that I expect men to do ALL the compromising while refusing to compromise at all, and I have also been told that my even handed relationship where no one is keeping score is impossible. Compared it to “never in the history of telling someone to calm down, has anyone calmed down”.

    Silly, silly me. Here I thought I just wanted a man who was a good match for, but instead I was educated to the indisputable fact that I am looking for some “fantasy” man. And here I thought I was in an even handed marriage, but since I’ve been educated to the IMPOSSIBILITY of such a thing, I guess not. I also thought I knew my marriage better than a stranger on a blog, but turns out, thanks to the “education” I get here, I am a selfish taker, who expects my husband to do all the compromising while I don’t budge on one thing.

    I’m not on here to “educate” or be “educated”. Mostly for fun, also, to see other view points, but that doesn’t mean I will adopt those view points. I think stating that one is here to “educate” us women, smacks of arrogance, and implies that we are ignorant and or un-“educated”.

    1. 13.1
      jo

      SE – well, not only that, but this so-called ‘education’ is based on ignorance itself: of why women put up guards or let them down, of whom women would like to approach, of the benefits versus risks of approachability, of canine pack behaviours, of professional photography, of your personal life and mine and other women’s, 🙂 and of goodness-knows how many other examples of pretending to knowledge that they do not in fact possess.

      In this day and age, arrogance combined with ignorance does not inspire women to desire lordly men. Mansplainers actually work against men’s best interests, if they want to inspire respect and attraction in women. Kindness and humility are far more valued – they are the qualities that make the hearts of women yield.

    2. 13.2
      Emily, to

      SE,
      I don’t think there’s anything wrog with people sharing their stories, either of earlier dating or married life now. What I mean is that it’s ok to be married and be on a blog about dating. It’s also not wrong to seek community from a blog where I think there is some. And in and of itself, I don’t think the goal of educating is bad; it’s just the tone some of the posts take. We used to have male posters on here whose goal seemed to be to poke the bear and get women all riled up, but those guys seemed fallen away.

      1. 13.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        They were actually banned.

    3. 13.3
      Jeremy

      Omg, SE, this over and over. I did not accuse you of being a selfish taker who never compromises. It bothers me that that is somehow what you took from the conversation we had, because that is not the impression I get from you. The point I was trying to get across in that conversation was that while a person might ideate an even-handed relationship, might genuinely want to compromise equally and hold no power advantage, sometimes theory doesn’t match practice. Not because of malice, but because of ignorance. The not knowing when compromise is necessary, not realizing WHEN one’s partner is compromising and so not realizing that reciprocation is required. And not necessarily knowing HOW to best reciprocate even when we do realize that we should, because we confuse what our partner wants with what we do. If none of that applies to you, SE, than kudos to you.

      The “education” (or better to say, advice). I was trying to convey was to pause for a moment before assuming that this does not apply. It applies to me, never mind you. With this quarantine and my being at home all the time, my wife and I are trying to find our roles. I’m trying to help out as much as I can, because I see my wife’s mood deteriorating with the pressure of isolation. I see what she does all day and am trying to reciprocate, tried doing the cooking, doing the cleaning, Giving her as much time as she wants to go running and do her own thing. But I noticed that the more I did, the more irate she became. She didn’t want me to do the cooking – she wanted to do it, felt I was impinging on her territory. What she wanted was simply more verbal appreciation for what she does, and felt that when I appropriated her tasks I was devaluing her. Who knew? I had the best of intentions, I just didn’t know what she wanted, confused what I thought she’d want with what she actually wanted. This is common, was my point.

      1. 13.3.1
        SparklingEmerald

        Jeremy – You told me that I expect men to go out of my comfort zone, while never going out of mine, you also said anything that I do to reciprocate doesn’t count because I want to do the things I do to reciprocate, and many other lectures to me in that vein.

        1. Jeremy

          Why would I lecture you, Sparkling Emerald? Why would I presume to know what you never do or always do, or do most of the time or even some of the time? How the heck would I know? What I was talking about on the thread you are referencing was SPECIFICALLY about reciprocation of men’s courtship efforts. You wrote that you wanted an even handed relationship and power dynamic while courting, but you had previously written that you thought men should learn female body language while women should not have to learn to communicate like men. My comment was that these two statements, ideations, are contradictory. Not that you never reciprocate – or don’t usually, or don’t most of the time. Not that you don’t want to reciprocate, try to reciprocate, sometimes do more than your share of reciprocation. Again, how the heck would I know? I was referring specifically to the very narrow context of the discussion we were having, which you somehow extrapolated to the very general. My only “lecture” to you was to please refrain from straw men arguments.

    4. 13.4
      Jeremy

      And not to beat a dead horse into the ground, but I find the concept of “mansplaining” here to be so very ironic. Because that word is a conversation-ender. No matter the value of the message, if it comes across as “mansplaining” to women, it is immediately ignored. Archaic, misogynistic, arrogant. And if a voice of reason pipes up, “Wait a second, maybe there might be something here worth listening to,” that voice is immediately silenced by a chorus of, “Well, even if the content might have some value, it needs to be articulated differently – more positively, inclusively, less decisively – more like, you know, a WOMAN would say it. And then people might listen to it. So advice to the mansplainer – learn to communicate like a woman if you want to communicate with women.”

      So very ironic, in light of the feedback I got when I suggested that women learn to communicate like men when they want to communicate with men. It is the same. EXACTLY the same. And you know how you feel when you’re with a man who won’t communicate the way you want? Who won’t just validate you when you vent, who wants to try to solve all your problems when that’s the last thing you want? That’s EXACTLY how men feel when we feel that eliciting your desire in a way that’s meaningful to us is like pulling teeth. Do you notice how women in porn don’t just sit there with heads uptilted, waiting for a man to kiss them? Communication.

      Is equality a world where no woman perceives a man “mansplaining”? If so, the converse in that equal world would be a world where no man would be asked by his partner to “just listen and not try to fix it.” Is that the world that men and women actually want? Or do women want men to sometimes just listen and validate? And if so, perhaps they could give the whole “mansplaining” trope a bit of a break.

      1. 13.4.1
        jo

        Jeremy, I don’t know if your comment was directed to me along with others (my comments here were never directed to you, nor were they about you). For right or for wrong, ‘mansplaining’ is not only associated with a man explaining something to a woman, but explaining it wrongly; i.e., getting the information wrong, yet he claims to know more, and claims to be educating others. That is the frustrating part: the combination of arrogance and ignorance. If it were just one or the other, it might be annoying, but not worthy of notice. If it’s both, together – that is mansplaining.

        I did not apply that term to you because I did not see any evidence that you had done this. I haven’t read (and probably won’t read) previous threads that may have led to this current disagreement with others.

  14. 14
    SparklingEmerald

    Thankfully, Evan banned the “red pillers”. The “educators” on this blog probably mean well, but it is very off putting when they attempt to “educate” us about how we REALLY feel, or how are relationship REALLY is, etc. and claim that they know us, better than we know ourselves. And the tone sometime definitely comes across as arrogant. Of course, it is hard to read tone accurately on a medium such as this.

  15. 15
    Jeremy

    That’s fair, Jo. I find the mixture of arrogance and wrongness annoying too.

  16. 16
    jo

    Jeremy, per your most recent comments, you seem to encourage women to initiate; while Evan’s advice has seemed consistently NOT for women to initiate, but to ‘mirror.’ At some point, it seems most logical that women should just do what they want to do: what comes most naturally to them.

    Some women are natural mirrorers, so to speak, and they’ll do best with men who prefer that type of woman. Some women, on the other hand, are natural initiators, and would have been doing so all this time, had it not been for hearing advice from countless sources that we are not supposed to initiate. They would do better with men like you.

    Both men and women come in all different types. We may as well be true to who we are from the start (within the bounds of basic social decency, of course), because that is how we draw the people to us who would be right for us – and we for them – in the long run.

    1. 16.1
      Jeremy

      I guess I tend to be pragmatic about this sort of thing. On the one hand, one wants to be true to one’s self, to stay within the bounds of one’s nature. On the other hand, there’s what “works,” what members of the opposite sex find attractive. Or rather, specifically what [those members of the opposite gender who possess the qualities you want in a partner] find attractive.

      When I teach my residents, I try to encourage them to avoid dogmatic approaches by considering their goal and working backward. If X is your goal, what must your penultimate step be? And therefore what must be the step before that, and so on, leading to where you are in the present. This is often difficult for the residents, because they tend to approach problems from a present-forward perspective – where am I now, and what should my next step be. I find that when people take that approach, they tend to lose sight of their goals and end up in a quagmire.

      I am hardly a dating expert, just a watcher of people. But it seems to me that most people adopt the latter approach when it comes to dating and relationships – instead of envisioning the goal – what sort of person should I look for, what do I need, what do I want, what can I live without and what am I better off without (in spite of what I might think/want) – they instead look for attraction in the moment and hope that good fortune will bite them in the ass. No. Choose 3 qualities in a partner that you can’t live without, let obtaining a partner with those qualities be your goal, and then work backward to determine what such people will find attractive in you, and how best to present yourself.

      If a woman wants an alpha man who takes the lead with confidence, she should absolutely not do any initiating. It would screen out the men she wants. If she wants a man who is kind and humble (to use your words), she should realize that such a man will need more signals from her, because he won’t want to distress her with unwanted advances. Humility, by definition, is the setting aside of one’s ego in favour of another person’s. So a woman who wants such a man must learn to be clear, even if she’s been brought up to believe she shouldn’t have to be. Because if her goal is a man who values her opinion, the penultimate step is making her opinion known, and gauging the man’s reaction. Otherwise she’s just waiting for good fortune to bite her in the ass.

      All this to say, I largely agree with your statement, but I also agree with Evan. Your point is about who the woman is. Evan’s is about what works. Mine is to bridge the two by asking the question “works for whom?”. What is the goal?

      1. 16.1.1
        jo

        Jeremy, you’ve got ass-biting on the brain today. 🙂 Must be all that physical distancing.

        Yes, I like men who are kind and humble. It does not follow that they do not need with confidence, as I have known many men who have all these good qualities combined.

        You wrote: ‘Because if her goal is a man who values her opinion’… EVERY woman’s goal should be a man who values her opinion. Why would a woman tolerate a man who did not? Women need respect as much as men do. How insufferable it would be to live with a man, or really anyone, who did not respect her opinions. If faced with a choice of a ‘man’ who didn’t value my opinions or living alone, I would choose living alone every time.

        Somewhere on this blog is floating around a quote: ‘If a woman tells a man to do something and he does it, he is not a man.’ I would argue just the opposite: if he’s that ego-driven NOT to do something just because a woman asks it, he is no man. I can’t tell you how many female friends have shared how they beg their husbands to be careful during this time of coronavirus, and the husbands deliberately defy this and go out and put themselves into situations of high risk. WOMEN SHOULD NOT PUT UP WITH THIS. Why? Because not only are these men endangering their own lives, they’re endangering the lives of their wives and families! All for the sake of ego-stroking. It serves no purpose, and men should stop equating that bull-headedness with manliness. It is intolerable – and, as we see today, irresponsible and dangerous. It is the exact opposite of manly. It is fragile, selfish, and immature.

        Whew – didn’t mean to go off on that, but needed to clear my head. Again, Jeremy, this isn’t something I’m accusing you of. I think you’d be sensible enough to do right by yourself and your family, and society at large. You’re not such an ass. Okay, let’s end here by circling back to asses again. 🙂 Stay well.

        1. Jeremy

          Jo, you wrote, “EVERY woman’s goal should be a man who values her opinion. Why would a woman tolerate a man who did not?”

          Indeed, why not? This is a question I’ve asked wonderingly all my life. And yet, so many do, don’t they? I won’t deny my gender’s culpability in this, but I can’t help but observe that this is selected-for by female behavior, by what women tend to find attractive in men, and this was the point of my comment above.

          It seems to me that many women believe that men who initiate physicality with confidence are good at reading female signals. They see your signal, value your opinion, want you themselves, and so initiate confidently. Their confidence is logical because they understand your opinions via your signals. But suspend disbelief for a moment and consider – what if these men aren’t actually good at reading your signals at all. What if they are only concerned with what they themselves want, and pursue it regardless? That rather than their confidence at initiation being based on the logic of understanding your signals, it’s based on the cluelessness of only considering their own wants? What sort of long-term behavior would that translate into? Why, it would translate into selfishness – not necessarily malicious selfishness, but the clueless selfishness that most married women indeed complain about. Perhaps valuing your opinion when they are aware of it, but not necessarily seeking that awareness, and certainly not often intuiting it, in the face of their own desires.

          Put this way – I’d have no beef whatsoever with women being attracted to confident men, whose confidence was due to their actual ability to intuit a woman’s desires – logical confidence. Hell, such a man would make an excellent partner, better than me. But it stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if a man was so good at intuiting a woman’s romantic desires, he’d be equally good at intuiting her other non-romantic desires? How good is THAT correlation, I wonder, in the long-term?

          The TL;DR version of this is that women’s signals are not as obvious as women seem to think, and that men’s confidence does not necessarily mean what you think it does. Which is why I have such a problem with that heuristic.

      2. 16.1.2
        jo

        Jeremy, sorry, I meant, ‘lead’ with confidence, not ‘need’ with confidence (quoting you). Although I suppose needing with confidence is its own kind of virtue.

      3. 16.1.3
        Jeremy

        By the way, Jo, it isn’t just men. I spent an hour on Sunday talking on the phone with my pig-headed sister. My pig-headed sister who has a husband and 2 kids, who has stage-4 cancer with lung lesions. She insisted that she wanted to go shopping and not just order food to be delivered, since only she could pick out the best produce in person. I spent an HOUR convincing her of the danger, lack of logic, of her plans. And then I heard, yesterday, that she’d gone first to Costco, didn’t find everything, then went to Walmart, then to No Frills (a local produce store). Then back to her family, proudly with her produce – and hopefully only that.

        AAAARRRGGGHHH! You’re not the only one who needed to vent. Motivations. It’s not about actions, it’s about motivations. The man who takes care of his family, who seems to prioritize his family, the woman who does the same – are they truly motivated to prioritize their family, or are they simply acting out a personality-algorithm driven by their own values of who they should be? Does it really have nothing to do with their family and more with their idea of who they feel they are, want to be?

        It’s frustrating as hell. I hope you’re well too.

        1. jo

          Jeremy, who was it that said: ‘Heaven is other people. Hell is other people.’? Was that C.S. Lewis, or one of our favourite philosophers?

          In any case, it’s true. I’m sorry to hear about your sister, both her stage 4 cancer and her pig-headedness. The more we hear about coronavirus, the more we realise it can be transmitted via air even in the absence of coughing and sneezing. So scary. Hope all your extended family stays safe.

    2. 16.2
      SparklingEmerald

      Jo said “Some women are natural mirrorers, so to speak, and they’ll do best with men who prefer that type of woman. Some women, on the other hand, are natural initiators, and would have been doing so all this time, had it not been for hearing advice from countless sources that we are not supposed to initiate. They would do better with men like you.”

      Yes, yes, yes. I am now naturally a mirrorer, and mirroring has served me well, but I don’t presume that it is what is best for all women. We are not cookie cut outs of each other. What works for me, will not work for everyone.

      All the angsting on this log about reciprocating in the way that other person wants, and not the way you want to, etc. etc. I say that if two people are so incompatible, that everything the woman wants to do to show affection, interest, appreciation, etc. is the antithesis to how the man wants her to show her interest, the chances are, they will not become a couple in the first place. To try on a fake personality, because you read it on some internet board is ridiculous, because 1.) it will come across as forced and 2.) you will attract someone who is seeing a false version of yourself.

      If it is going out of a man’s “comfort zone” to initiate, then he would better off responding to a woman who initiates. (there are women who like to be the initiators).

      When meeting someone on match.com or some other OLD service, it’s not like you exchange a list of “love languages” and precise instructions on how to interact in the date. Who would write to a prospective date on match and say something like. “I will initiate the date, but I expect you kiss me first, I will then initiate a 2nd date, for which you will pay. Then on our 3rd date, I expect a BJ from you, with no prompting on my part . . .if a relationship should occur you must overtly initiate sex 50% of the time, pay for exactly half of everything, and I will do half the housework . . .”

      I think people can best figure out if they are a match, if the bring their best authentic self to table. If the man finds the more pro-active woman off-putting, she is free to find a man who appreciates her boldness. If a woman likes a man who responds to her body language, facial and verbal expressions, and the man is completely incapable of reading that, and expects her to make the first move, they will weed each out as a match fairly early on.

      If a man likes to “woo his baby” and meets a girl who like to be “wooed”, well they could just end up married 2 and half years later. That’s how it happened for me ! I did not need to act in any way contrary to my nature, and neither did my honey, and we are a natural fit for each other. Neither one of us is perfect, but we ARE perfect for each other !

  17. 17
    jo

    SE, yes, that’s exactly it. Bring your BEST authentic self to the table, for everyone you meet. Of course, be polite and pleasant, but if you are an initiator, show it. Flirty, coy, shy, aggressive, show it. Of course rejection stings – I think that’s the whole original point of this post. But you might as well find out earlier rather than later, because it stings less since you didn’t get yourself invested in someone who only liked the first fake you, and then didn’t like as much the true you that revealed itself with time.

    That’s the thing: we can’t hide our true natures forever. Imagine a poor man marrying a woman who acted all coy and never initiated (despite that she was an initiator at heart), and then after she got the ring, started ordering him around and initiating all activities in their lives. He would rightly feel duped. Or a woman dating a man who was told to be the initiator on dates, but then after they got married, he would sit on his duff and never start anything. Evan’s advice to wait a couple of years before committing is important to weed this out, but I guess if people are desperate enough to get married, they can put up a front for a long time. (I know at least two friends who did this!)

    I think we need to trust in the world a little more. There are so many people, we are bound to find not just one, but possibly many people who would be a good match for our authentic selves.

    I’m so glad you’re happy with your man who wanted to woo his baby!

    1. 17.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @jo

      “That’s the thing: we can’t hide our true natures forever. Imagine a poor man marrying a woman who acted all coy and never initiated (despite that she was an initiator at heart), and then after she got the ring, started ordering him around and initiating all activities in their lives.”

      Lol! You just described my marriage.

  18. 18
    SparklingEmerald

    Jeremey said that I said “You wrote that you wanted an even handed relationship and power dynamic while courting ”

    I said that I wanted and even handed relationship, period. I did not say I wanted and even handed relationship while courting. Maybe that’s where the confusions lie.

    1. 18.1
      Jeremy

      Exactly. Which is why, on that thread, I personally thought the breakthrough in our conversation was at comment 25.1.1 (the last asterisked comment, my reply to you), where I wrote that the thing to understand is that if a woman adopts a stance to protect herself against being used, she will, by definition, not be reciprocating the man’s courtship efforts. She might do so later, once she lets down her guard, provided that she 1) recognizes that there is indeed something to reciprocate for, because the man wasn’t expending courtship efforts because HE wanted to but because she did, and 2) that when she does decide to reciprocate, she does so by giving the man what HE wants, not what she does (or what she things he should want if he shared her values-system/fantasies). I made no accusations against you that you did not do these things.

      On the original thread from years ago, you were among the only women who attempted to answer the question of how a woman might reciprocate. And while I disagreed with what you wrote, I appreciated that you wrote it. It was a beginning, the most important step in the beginning IMHO. Because no beginning is possible until there is a realization that men don’t court women because men want to. They do it because they want something in return. Even when they say otherwise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *