The Secret to Keeping a Man: Forget the Future, Enjoy the Present


When you’re on the phone with women for 4 hours a day, you tend to hear a lot of recurring themes.

One of the most prominent themes is a “high-class” problem; in other words, if you’re having this issue, it means you’re doing very well with men.

Maureen and Cassie could not be more different as people, but they both have the agonizing problem of finding a man who absolutely adores them after less than one month of one-on-one coaching.

Immediately, our conversations turn from, “Why are there no good men out there?!” to “How can I calm down and make sure I don’t ruin it with this great guy?”

Both of them, unfortunately, had it quite backwards.

Because of their own fear — of being abandoned, of being not-good-enough, of being too old, too rigid, too masculine — they seriously ran the risk of alienating their new men.

Until I reminded them of a core principle in “Why He Disappeared”: men do what they want to do.

If we want to call you, we’ll call you.

If we want to introduce you to our family, we’ll introduce you to our family.

If we want to take down our profiles and commit, we’ll do it.

Which is why, when Maureen and Cassie breathlessly asked me to tell them what to do next, the answer couldn’t be more simple: NOTHING!!!

“Doing something” means you’re trying to keep your emotional tether alive, to nudge him into calling you, seeing you, committing to you.

The great thing about men is this: We don’t need to be nudged!

But the great thing about men is this: We don’t need to be nudged!

So when it’s been 10 hours and you haven’t gotten a reply to his text, you let it go.

When it’s Thursday night and he hasn’t called to see you on Saturday, you let it go.

It’s three weeks into dating and his profile’s up, you let it go.

Why? Wouldn’t it make more sense to call him, text him, and see him so he doesn’t lose interest in you?

Nope. All you do when you “nudge” a man to take action is let him know that he’s in control, you’re desperate and needy, and that you don’t trust that he knows what’s good for him.

The truth is, if you’re the right woman for him, you don’t NEED to nudge him.

Remember what it’s like when a guy’s excited about you?

The RIGHT guy steps up to the plate and commits to you in the first couple of months. The WRONG guy never escalates his efforts.

He calls, he follows through, he’s thoughtful, he’s chivalrous, he’s gentlemanly, he WANTS a commitment with you.

But sometimes it takes a few weeks for us to figure all of that out for ourselves.

Remember, men like to “buy”. We don’t want to be “sold”.

Anything you do to amp up the pressure for him to make a decision is just going to drive him away — the exact OPPOSITE reaction you want from your man.

But that leaves you with the same burning question: “what should I DO, Evan?”

Ah, the answer couldn’t be simpler:

Make your PRESENT so amazing that he WANTS to have a FUTURE with you.

It’s not about finding out in week 1 whether he wants to live in the city or the country, or hoping he says “I love you” by week 4.

Those are things you’ll deal with later.

For now, just have fun.

Laugh. Say yes. Be easygoing. Smile. Fool around. Enjoy the moment.

You never have more leverage over a man than when he’s CHOSEN you of his own accord, when he’s EMOTIONALLY INVESTED in you because he FEELS so happy every time he’s around you.

And if he’s receiving texts that say, “Where are you?!” or late night calls that plead, “Where is this going?”, you’re not making him feel too good in the present.

My wife was ALWAYS in the present and that’s why she’s my wife. Because she enhances my life and doesn’t provide emotional drama when it’s unnecessary.

Since he CAN’T know after a few weeks whether you’re “the one”, just relax and enjoy the ride. The RIGHT guy steps up to the plate and commits to you in the first couple of months. The WRONG guy never escalates his efforts.

It’s REALLY easy to tell the difference so you don’t invest more than 8 weeks in a relationship that’s a dead-end.

But in order to get a relationship off the ground, you HAVE to put off all fears, all nudging, and all thoughts of your future and just ENJOY the present.

He’ll know what to do next. I promise.

Join our conversation (108 Comments).
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  1. 21

    Guys, whether you like it or not, as has been mentioned earlier, you DO have a lot of power. When I was on sites like (actually was the worst for this), there would be alot of guys responding…..but most of them knew how to play the game and tell me that they wanted a relationship, so they could get laid. I figured this out after a couple of months on the site and decided to get the hell outta Dodge.

    And finally, I decided to listen to that saying, and also my Mom, and not allow you guys to have so much power over me. I developed an attitude of, whatever, if you call, fine, if not, whatever, you’re not ruining my day, my life, whatever. My world will never revolve around some guy who very likely could break my heart. I developed my own life and hobbies.

    And you know what? It’s working. I love my boyfriend but I love me more. He’s told me that he loves my independence and fesisty nature and that I do not need a man. When we started dating, I made it clear that I had my own life, I would not ditch plans for him, and on the first date when he said he’d call later, I just smiled, said, “OK, that would be great!” and walked in my front door, without a single glance backward. And put him out of my mind, because I’ve heard too many men say they’d call and wouldn’t. I assumed he would not call. And keeping such low expectations was the best damn thing I could have ever done.

    There’s a saying that I will forever keep in my mind with dating: “Blessed is she who expects nothing. Because she will not be disappointed.”

    1. 21.1
      Miss K

      Just wanted to say Thankyou!! – I was scrolling through and read your comment –   the last sentence really struck a cord!! It’s my new mantra on dating!! What a light bulb moment!!! Thank you

    2. 21.2

      I agree with your comment 100%

      I used to get jacked around by men too until I adopted the “I’m a valuable prize any guy would be damn lucky to get a chance with and if they can’t see that, F them.”

      Is it a coincidence that I have more men chasing me than ever before??? I think not.

      Putting up with a guy who doesn’t text back is allowing yourself to be devalued, period.

  2. 22

    I don’t think that it’s really productive for some commenters here to claim that they’re the powerless ones and that the opposite sex has more power. That is a victim mentality. All of us do have power. The mating game is not easy for anyone, for a variety of reasons that differ more among individuals than they do between sexes. But the very least, we always have the power to choose our responses. Waiting need not be just waiting; the time can be filled by meeting others and doing pleasurable activities that have nothing to do with dating. And if one spends too much time suspecting or resenting the opposite sex because of all their supposed power, it probably will backfire in terms of finding an LTR.

  3. 23

    That’s my point, Helen, is that I had to get out of the victim mentality and stop letting men lead me around by the nose, if you will. I had to choose to stop that, and not let them hurt me anymore. My point is that guys have more power than they think they have, just like we women have more power than we think we have. We just have to find our voice and use it.

    I now know that I am not a victim, I can stand up for myself and what I want and need and not let a guy take over my life. And it’s been nothing but good. If a guy was a jerk to me on a date, I rejected further advances, or called him out for misbehaving. And it felt GREAT. I didn’t sit around feeling resentful or sad. If a guy treated me nicely, great, and it gave me the option to consider whether or not I wanted to see him again.

    And like you said, waiting need not be just waiting. Part of my new attitude was OK, I went on a date. NEXT! I’d continue talking to other men, meeting them, going out with my friends. If I got a text or call, wonderful. If not, well, I had my answer and that guy wasn’t going to ruin my day, because he’s just not that special. Nobody is that special and nobody should have the right to ruin your day, or live rent-free in your head, so to speak.

  4. 24

    Ladies, this is classic by JB: “As for me? I date women I’m not “seriously interested” in most of the time because the ones I would be seriously interested in won’t date me. So rather than be alone and celibate I have to casually date. It is what it is.” Thats brilliant and this is what brings for some dating coaches (not talking of Evan here ) bread on the table and help to sell their books about “tips of how to make him commit more,” and “how to make him propose,” and “how to actually read his mind,” and “seduce,” and “turn tables around,” (when its actually wrong from the beginning.) So you see women following the “instructions, ” and it still does not work…Why – they wonder – as they look at their situation of dating a guy for like 5 years and no sign of him wanting propose?

    When all you have to do is actually keep it real, enjoy yourself and date in a pressure free manner, like Evan suggested.

    Again – I don ´t mean my comment in a bad way at all, on the contrary, it is very well said by JD. Hit the nail.

  5. 25

    Reading the comments section, i am thinking no wonder we have such high divorce rate.

  6. 26

    @Karl – maybe I didn’t express myself well (oh, thse late-night postings…!) but what I meant by “seriously interested” in terms of going on a second date was “as seriously interested as you CAN be at that stage in a relationship” , which is to say, you can at least see a possible, potential LTR. I would not go on a second date with someone I definately COULD NOT see LTR potential with – and yes, you CAN know that very early on… If he announces he’s leaving the country in a few months/spends every second evening with his kids and ex wife / is much younger or older than he said in his profile or has some feature which is a dealbreaker which was not apparent from his profile, then I will not bother to go on a second date with him, even if he’s sexually attractive. Unless the POSSIBILITY of a LTR is there, I wouldn’t waste my time. My point was that I think a lot of women operate this way, whereas a lot of men don’t – they DO live in the present more (is she hot? can I sleep with her?) and worry about the other stuff further down the line, when you have already become involved. Obviously there are exceptions but I still maintain that if a guy gets a second or third date with a woman he can generally surmise that she would consider him as a long term partner if things continue to go well – a woman can make no such assumption about what’s going through a man’s mind!

  7. 27

    Yes Ria, I know you didn’t mean it in a bad way. I was honest but you have to remember I’m not 32 and looking to get married and start a family. I’m 51 and have no desire to be married. The women I date are divorced (some twice) and most of them aren’t looking for a husband. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to be happy in a serious relationship. The woman I met 3 months ago who I would of gladly taken my profile down for and give it my all didn’t find me attractive and she took hers down for another guy. Yes, I had no power there. 🙁

    So my life goes on and I date and have “fun” until I meet another “special one”.

  8. 28
    Karl R

    The concern about power (that some of you seem fixated on) is foolish and pointless.

    If I don’t care about a woman, then I don’t want a relationship with her.
    If a woman doesn’t care about me, then I don’t want a relationship with her.

    In this situation where you’re claiming a power balance exists, it’s a BAD relationship. End it already.

    Choose a different way to perceive power in a relationship. Both people in a relationship have *equal* power. They both have power over their own actions. They both have the ability to say “No.” The only power one person can unilaterally apply to the relationship is to terminate the relationship.

    The person who cares less is more likely to exercise that power. They’re doing both people a favor by ending a relationship that wasn’t working. You can even turn things around. About three years ago I had a date who kept cancelling on me. After the third time, I pointed out that she seemed disinterested in dating and broke things off. She didn’t care, so I exercised my power.

    I had better things to do with my time.

    As Heather said (#23), get out of the victim mentality. sharon (#19) talked about powerlessly waiting for weeks to find out whether she’d be rejected or not. Get out of your egocentric mindset. The man doesn’t know whether he’s going to be rejected either.

    The difference is, I never sat around powerlessly waiting for a woman to return my messages. I’d be reading, playing on my computer, going out dancing, exercising, getting together with friends, dating another woman…. Empower yourself. Find something to do.

    JB’s example (#18) of women having 100 times more options doesn’t correspond to reality. Online dating certainly provides the illusion that people have options. But I remember leaving because I had a few relationships in a row. When I got back on (15 months later), about 80% of the women who had turned me down were still actively looking.

    I’m sure they were getting contacted more often than I was. But did they really have more options than I did?

  9. 29

    well – when the “fun” is only coffee ´s, and dinner and all that light stuff, fair do. What happens in the situation, where one person is only considering a casual aproach, whilst another person develops hope and feelings, it ain ´t fair. Yes, women often say things and mean other…But who says, life is fair anyway.

    Also, Karl, l agree with you – the option thing is overrated. Same as one might think that just because someone is “hot,” her or his dancecard lenght is from New Your to Tokyo and she or he has absolutely trouble free life when it comes to dating. Hell no. Like for instance a friend of mine met this hot 24 year old hot model, who complained that she is single and feels lonely most of the time (No, they didnt start dating after that, and my friend is still lonely as well, looking for the One:) so go figure.

  10. 30

    Heather, you would have been wiser telling him that you wish to marry again when you are in the right relationship for you. Saying you are in no rush to put a ring on your finger is giving away your feminine energy, because it is not you who puts the ring on, but HIM.

    Women have the power full stop, because women are the gatekeepers to sex. We are the ones who say yes or no to it. Men don’t.

    Oh and Karl, your fiancee has always had the power in your relationship and no doubt always will.

  11. 31
    Christie Hartman

    Helen (22), Karl (28): Bravo on your comments about who holds the power in dating. For ages I’ve seen some women claim that men have the power, some men claim that women do, and both argue vociferously for how unfair it is. There is no benefit to this kind of thinking. There is only one kind of power in dating (and anywhere else) – the kind you have over yourself.

  12. 32

    Jewel, I disagree with your assessment. Men can, and do, say no to sex all the time. I’ve said no plenty of times, either because I wasn’t interested, or if it was within a relationship, I just didn’t feel like it for whatever reason. I have a healthy sex drive, but I also am not dominated by it to the point of desperation. Some women think men are constantly pining for sex, are run by their genitals, and are always turned on an ready to go. It’s this kind of warped thinking that both leads women to give into men who are only interested in sex (out of fear of losing them), and also to keep men far at a distance with endless “tests” (because if he gets too close, he’s gonna be wanting some.)

    Ria “What happens in the situation, where one person is only considering a casual aproach, whilst another person develops hope and feelings” There’s always a chance that you will develop feelings for someone who doesn’t feel the same in return. It’s one of the risks of dating. You can mitigate some of that by choosing people who have a goal of a long term relationship or marriage, and aren’t just looking for a bit of fun. The point is that just because you have a goal to be in an LTR or get married, doesn’t mean you have to act like you are with someone the moment after you meet them. That’s really what Evan and others are talking about here. Choose people who seem to have similar long term goals and desires, but then spend time getting to know them without obsessing about whether he or she is “The One.”

  13. 33
    Katherine Wakefield

    This is just so true! Enjoy the journey of dating, its not a competition! Enjoy the scenery! Never chase a man.

  14. 34

    Nathan – If you are saying no to sex, you have been approached by a woman who has taken on a masculine role with you and put you in the receptive feminine position. This is exactly my point. No man has ever turned me down for sex, because I would never put myself in that situation with a man.Its a choice

  15. 35

    Helene #12: Well a couple of things.

    (1) Many a guy feels that women have all the power in dating partly for a similar reason. There are a lot of “good” first dates that don’t lead to seconds because the woman doesn’t feel The Chemistry was there, and the man is left scratching his head. I mean, they’re both cute and have their lives in some semblance or order, and they both seemed to have a good time, so what else is there at this point, after one date? They still hardly know each other!

    (2) If you want to get more power, go on second dates with more of the “Nice But Not Enough Chemistry” guys. You just might find yourself surprised, and so you get yourself some more options after all.

  16. 36

    Michael17 #35

    Do you seriously think that the only reason many “good” first dates don’t lead to seconds is because “the woman doesn’t feel The Chemistry was there?” Did it ever occur to you that sometimes it’s the man who doesn’t feel the chemistry was there, and the woman is left scratching her head?

    Sometimes – often – the attraction is there for one person and not the other, regardless of gender.

  17. 37

    Nathan, my response was more to JS approach in geenral, not my own view. I second what Evan has said – dating should be fun at first and getting to know the person without pressure. My point rather to JS response was that as he was dating women, who he considered “casual,” it might not have been the same for the women he was dating.

    I personally like to think that l tie the knots because l love the person, and he loves, me, not for the sake of being married. Simples.

  18. 38

    The argument over power in dating is really upsetting, maybe if you didn’t view the opposite gender as an enemy or something to conquer you would have more success.

  19. 39

    #12 Karl R, I date through Match and I would not go on a first date w someone who has basic characteristics that I screen for. I have nothing against people who are very involved w politics, or who go to church or temple- several of my best platonic friends are religious. But not for an LTR ! I don’t want constant disagreement, or constantly keeping quiet about my own opinions.
    I wouldn’t get to the second date if any of a number of basic features about a guy weren’t present. That’s what I mean about possibly getting serious about someone.

  20. 40

    @ Christie & Karl

    The power I’m talking about is the “power to hurt” someone not so much the power in dating in general.

    I guess I can say it in a different way. Yes, I know that “people can only have the power YOU give them or let them have”.
    It’s real easy to say, but we’re talking about human beings with feelings and emotions here. Sometimes you can’t help how you “feel” about someone thus it creates the “illusion of power” because you know they don’t feel the same way but you just can’t turn it off and forget it that easy so it feels like they have some power over you. The power to hurt you emotionally and it’s real. There’s been plenty of times I’VE had the power(upper hand) in dating scenarios and I knew it and usually know when I have it. Even down to the moment when the shift happens and I attain it. Certainly a woman I’m not attracted to and don’t like has absolutely no power to hurt me.

    @ Karl, I think it’s very rare that “both people in a relationship have equal power” all the time but “at times” I would certainly say yes.
    This book was by Dean C. Delis was life changing for me and explains everything we’re talking about in this thread it’s called
    “The Passion Trap: Where Is Your Relationship Going?”
    You’d love this book Karl.

    @ Christie, I read your latest and enjoyed it as well as your others. Just like with Evan’s stuff I don’t agree with it 100%…lol (I rarely do) but I know a lot of guys would get a lot out of it. I suggest the guys on here give it a look. She deserve’s it. 🙂

    @Ria, Nathan’s right. One of the risks of dating is the monster of you developing deep feelings for someone that has little or none for you. It doesn’t feel good on either side and I’ve been on both recently. I try and be careful not to lead anyone on into “seriousville” if I know I’m just casually dating them. I try and discuss it if I think they may be headed that way or start to feel that way. Nip it in the bud so to speak. That’s why communication is important!

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