When Did Guys Lose All The Power In Dating?

Dear Evan,

I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and most of the comments are great to read as well. The one thing that bothers me a little is the sense I get from your posts and the comments that men have all the power in the dating/relationship game and it’s always the woman chasing the man for a date/relationship/marriage/babies/etc.

As an early 30’s male, I struggle with dating. It hasn’t been all bad, nor am I saying that I’m unattractive or in some way undesirable enough that I can’t get any woman to like me. I’m an average-looking (perhaps above average-looking) guy who isn’t very tall (5’7”). I do like to think that I have a lot to offer, including a good overall personality and sense of humor, but for some reason I tend to go out with girls who are ‘masculine’ like in their dating personalities (afraid of commitment, wants to date multiple men, A-type personality.) A lot of times I can get a girl to be initially attracted to me, but for some reason it never lasts. The girl almost always ends up telling me that she “doesn’t know quite what it is, but it’s just not there.” This frustrates me because I’m left confused, not knowing what it is I’m doing – or not doing – to turn these women off. I don’t think I’m being too clingy or anything like that. I have this feeling, though, that I’m being too ‘nice’ and not having enough of a masculine energy to sustain attraction in these women. Btw – most of the girls I date are from JDate, and no – I don’t only go for 9’s and 10’s.

I can’t be the only guy who goes through this stuff and I’m kinda tired of this stereotype that guys have all the power in the dating world. Do you have any words of wisdom for me?

Jay

 

Dear Jay,

Even though I bill myself as “dating coach for smart, strong, successful women,” 25% of my clients were “nice guys” for the first six years of my practice.

Smart, strong, successful women need to soften up.

Nice guys need to man up.

In fact, if I were to think about it, I have a lot in common with both my male and female clients. I’m the “smart, strong, successful” type myself, and I have the flaws that often go with that archetype — I’m driven, opinionated, bossy, critical, and difficult. At the same time, I’m a nice guy. I was the lovelorn teenager who’d befriend all the pretty girls in high school but didn’t lose his virginity until sophomore year of college.

So I have a real understanding of both sides and how each needs to make a few subtle shifts to have more success in love.

Smart, strong, successful women need to soften up.

 

Nice guys need to man up.

 

But the prognosis is good for you, Jay. You’re easier to help than many of the women I work with. I’m not making any judgments, of course, but objectively, it’s easier to find a wife for a 32-year-old relationship-oriented man who doesn’t need to date 10’s than it is to find a husband for a 43-year-old woman who wants her own biological children.

Where to begin in the space of a 1000 word blog post?

Let’s start with your mindset.

You nailed it. You’re not giving off a lot of masculine energy. And women (especially smart, strong, successful ones) want a man who is MORE man than they are.

I hearken back to Dr. Pat Allen who said, “If you tell a man what to do and he listens, he isn’t a man.” This is not a call to arbitrarily be more obstinate, but rather to have your own opinions and convictions. Make decisions. Take control.

(To the women reading this and saying, “YES!”, that means you have to LET him take control and make decisions, not micromanage him to doing what YOU want. )

Once you put a woman up on a pedestal, she’s immediately looking down at you.

Next, Jay, I want you to check out a book. It’s called “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Dr. Robert Glover. I read it to understand Nice Guy Syndrome and thought it was spot-on. He points out that being “nice” is a pathology and a form of martyrdom that is highly ineffective, and somewhat manipulative. As such, you can’t “nice” your way into a woman’s heart, but you can be a man and still be extremely nice.

I’d like to think that my wife thinks of me this way.

In any case, pick up a copy of the book here on my bibliography page.

 

Finally, I want you to keep in mind my Pedestal Principle, as outlined in my Finding the One Online audio series. It states:

“Once you put a woman up on a pedestal, she’s immediately looking down at you.”

And that’s the thing that nice guys don’t quite understand. You think you’re being good to her, but she loses respect for you because you have no balls whatsoever.

That’s what happens when you’re a pleaser and you’re not being pleased in return. A power imbalance results, and you never recover from it. I’m willing to guess that this has happened with most of your girlfriends who’ve dumped you. They had the power, you lost the control, and the rest is history.

In a healthy relationship, there’s a mutual respect — a respect that’s earned with having your own convictions. Men with convictions have a LOT of power in the dating game — as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of heartbroken women who read this blog.

But you’re right about how frustrating it is — you watch a bunch of selfish tools use women for their short-term gain — and you wonder why they’re attracted to those men. It’s because they’re confident, unpredictable, and they don’t have all the control.

So what do you do now?

You make the immediate shift that SHE’S the lucky one in the relationship and that it’s up to YOU if you decide to be exclusive or get married. This is the exact same thing I tell my “nice women” who have given away their power to men.

And once you learn to say no and stand on conviction, you might be surprised when women start treating you differently — like a man, not a boy.

You’re the catch. You’re the commodity. And the right person is going to get that and hold onto you for dear life. If he/she doesn’t value you and want to commit? Fuck ‘em.

Move on.

It’s called the Power of No. And once you learn to say no and stand on conviction, you might be surprised when women start treating you differently — like a man, not a boy.

Good luck and thanks for the jolt of testosterone in today’s mailbag.

By the way, I do still work with a handful of motivated male clients.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Steve

    @Stacy #20
    Man, how can you stand to think like that?   LOL!   You just depressed me so much I think I will stay in bed all weekend :).     It is not that bad!

  2. 22
    Marc

    Sounds like Jay is going after the “Jdate Superstars” – women who have dozens, if not hundreds, of emails from men waiting for them in their inboxes. They can afford to dismiss men on a whim because they have so many options, They think Mr. Perfect is in there somewhere, so they don’t feel the need to wait it out with some nice guy who doesn’t get them super excited. I would suggest he contact women who are a few years older (late 30s maybe) who might be more willing to “settle” for a nice guy.

  3. 23
    Steve

    @J.A. #17
    Yes, you discovered my common source of typos.   No matter how I proofread things sooner or later I always drop words out of a sentence.     Yes, with online dating people don’t give each other enough of a chance.     If they don’t feel an orgasm coming on during that first date they move on to someone else concluding that other person just didn’t have “chemistry” with them.     Maybe it is like Evan likes to repeat that online daters have the “illusion of options”.
      
    I’ve met people in my life who never registered with me as potential dates.   Through associating with them over time I discovered their appeal and vice-versa.
      
    I’ve been on those coffee dates where I just knew the woman and I would have liked each other, but I could tell that I failed to hit her “instant chemistry” and that she had already written me off.     Not wanting to perform like a circus animal I enjoyed the remainder of the date and moved on.

  4. 24
    Steve

    JB #19 wrote
    “I personally can’t stand the adjective  being used to describe a man for the very reason that it has become a negative feminine connotation for a man.”
      
    Yes, the term “nice” has an instant negative meaning like “friend”.   A “nice man” is essentially a eunuch to the woman using the term.
      
    Calling a man nice is like a man saying a woman has a “nice personality” ( without mentioning her looks ) or calling the woman “matronly”.

  5. 25
    Christie Hartman

    Here are a few quotes from previous posts:
    “Evan i believe that men have all the power in dating and woman are the chasers.” (Sara)
    “Dating is like on-campus recruiting:  top 20% of candidates get 80% of all job offers.” (Stacy)
    “It’s real easy to tell everyone and anyone that “they’re the catch”,they’re the commodity” but the truth is everyone isn’t and can’t be.” (JB)
      
    I’m surprised at these glass-is-half-empty comments! And Sara, I completely disagree with you: men do not have all the power in dating. In fact, they often have less power than women do, and if you don’t believe me, you need to read my book 🙂 or at least send me an email…
      
    Power, in dating just like anywhere, isn’t something people or society gives you. It’s something you create for yourself through your attitude and behaviors. If you believe dating sucks, then it will suck. Don’t shortchange yourselves this way!
      
    And JA’s comment: “We met off jdate and after just 2 or 3 dates she was texting and calling me all throughout the day telling me that she misses me and that we have so much in common and she really likes being with me.   Then a week later she ends it due to “lack of chemistry.”
      
    Although that sort of behavior is more common in men, in either sex it’s not a good sign. People who come on that strong and then pull away suddenly have issues. The only thing I’d change is not continuing to see a woman who does this.

    1. 25.1
      Mickey

      Christie Hartman said:
      I’m surprised at these glass-is-half-empty comments! And Sara, I completely disagree with you: men do not have all the power in dating. In fact, they often have less power than women do, and if you don’t believe me, you need to read my book or at least send me an email…
      That’s a rather interesting take, considering that many women are open and notorious with their dislike of men, a family court system that routinely destroys husbands and fathers, and a dating system that where most guys normally don’t have a prayer of succeeding, I think Ms. Hartman might want to re-assess who has the so-called power in any relationship.
      When a guy has to jump through a zillion hoops just to get a date, let alone get into a meaningful relationship, well, that’s just too discouraging for words.

  6. 26
    Bill

    “Dating is like on-campus recruiting:  top 20% of candidates get 80% of all job offers.” (Stacy)
    At the end of the day those bottom of the 80% still need jobs.
    The problem I have seen is that women/men who are on the lower end will dismiss each other because there not that great. Although they forget they aren’t all that great either. It seems people just need to give each other a little more time and respect.

  7. 27
    Bill

    Who ever is the better catch in the relationship always have the power in the relationship it does not matter if your a man or a women.

  8. 28
    Ruby

    “”I tend to go out with girls who are ‘masculine’ like in their dating personalities (afraid of commitment, wants to date multiple men, A-type personality” and “…after just 2 or 3 dates she was texting and calling me all throughout the day…”
      
    The OP is picking women who are wrong for him. It seems to me that he should be choosing women who are definitely seeking a serious relationship and are less driven, more low-key, more balanced, and probably more like him. Nobody should be calling/texting someone throughout the day after only 2 or 3 dates. That kind of obsessiveness   should raise a red flag. There is nothing wrong with being a nice guy (as long as you’re not a wimp or a doormat). Women who are seeking serious partners want “nice”. But a woman who is very high-powered and Type A, commitment-phobic, or unstable might not be placing a high priority on that quality.
    If you want to have “power” in dating, go after those who want you back, not the ones who don’t.
      

  9. 29
    Selena

    I’m thinking Ruby #28 might be onto something here J.A.. The pattern you are seeing may not be because you are “too nice”, but the result of you choosing women who the same or similiar qualities.   The male version of a woman who is attracted to “bad boys” and finds herself continually getting hurt.

    Examine what it is that leads you to pursue particular women over others. Perhaps you will  recognize a pattern in terms of similarity in personality. As Ruby suggested, you might have more success with the women who are more like you.

  10. 30
    Denise

    Women don’t realize the power they have with men and they give up their power time and time again.    If she understands and embraces her femininity and what that’s all about, and has strong boundaries, she absolutely holds power.

    What I have learned for myself  I feel like I do hold too much power in a potential relationship, he’s probably not the right man for me.   I want a PARTNER.   Someone who doesn’t intimidate me,  and  at the same time,  someone I can’t dominate.  

  11. 31
    Stacy

    Bill #26

    Correct, and the reason they dismiss each other is the failure to recognize themselves as the bottom 80%.

  12. 32
    Karl R

    Jay said: (original post)
    “I have this feeling, though, that I’m being too ‘nice’ and not having enough of a masculine energy to sustain attraction in these women.”

    I doubt that you’re being too nice.

    Twenty years ago I thought nice guys never got anywhere. As time passed I realized that confidence   (whether real or perceived) was the main attribute that defines success in the early stages of dating.

    A few tips:
    Have a plan. Which sounds more confident:
    “So, would you like to get together this weekend to do something?”
    -or-
    “I’m planning to go hear [live band] at [venue] Saturday evening. Would you be interested in joining me?”
    It takes a little research to come up with a plan for a date. The results are worth the effort.

    Have opinions. Be willing to share your opinion when it’s different than hers. You don’t want to belittle her opinion; you  want to be able to  state what you believe and why you believe it.

    Have boundaries. Don’t do anything that you don’t want to do. I’ll try new things to find out whether I like them, but I won’t suffer through something I don’t like just because a woman wants me to.
    An ex-girlfriend once mentioned that she occasionally liked to smoke pot, particularly before sex. Since I’m allergic to smoke, the following conversation ensued:
    “Not while I’m in the house.”
    “Are you telling me what I can or can’t do in my own house?”
    “No. I’m telling you that if you light up, I’m out of your house until the smoke clears.”

    Have options. I’m currently in a long-term serious relationship. But at the beginning of the relationship, I didn’t know whether it would work out. If it hadn’t, I knew who I would have asked out next.  Based on my  experiences I learned that I could repeatedly end up in long-term relationships with amazing women. Success was inevitable; I just had to keep trying long enough. That confidence permeated my behavior.

    As a final thought, all of these recommendations (have a plan, have opinions, have boundaries, have options) can be done while still being a nice guy.

  13. 33
    Steve

    Selena 29

    I’m thinking Ruby #28 might be onto something here J.A.. The pattern you are seeing may not be because you are “too nice”, but the result of you choosing women who the same or similiar qualities.
      
    That is a good point.   I’ve noticed that many of the women on online dating sites are workaholics or who are very into traveling.     It makes sense, if you are working all of the time or traveling a lot, it is harder to meet people.     I’ve dated   a few women from the former group.   They talked about their boring jobs too much and were hard to get out of the office onto a date.

  14. 34
    Steve

    @Stacy and Bill
    “the bottom 80%”?     Am I the only one who sees the irony in that term?

  15. 35
    Selena

    LOL Steve. No you are not the only one. 😉

  16. 36
    Michael17

    Interesting blog!  A couple of comments…
      
    (1) I really like what Denise #3 and #12 has to say. I will add that boys are growing up really confused about their role when it comes to women. It’s gotten so bad that I am hoping that mothers *as well as* fathers step in for their son’s sake. A lot of boys are going out into the dating world handicapped. It’s like cats in the jungle declawed.
      
    (2) I can understand each gender feeling that the other gender has the power. See we all like to date “slightly up”. Most of the winks that I get I’m not interested.
      
    (3) I can see shorter guys feeling that they don’t have much power. Except for maybe 1 wink or email a *month*, pretty much the only way a woman will contact me is if I write her first. I have about a 30% response rate though, so my emails must be pretty good.
      
    (4) Yeah, there are a lot of unrealistic expectations and porous boundaries of people online, at least when it comes to dating people in the 28–40 year-old age range. Second dates are hard to come by.

  17. 37
    Michael17

    As for the OP’s situation, women coming on strong and pulling away, what Christine Hartman said, but I will hazard a couple explanations:
      
    (1) In the end, this is like musical chairs. It’s Reptilian instinct to want to have the power when it comes to the decision making. There is a tendency to want the other person to be into us and THEN we decide whether we are into them. I suspect that these women are doing that to the OP–trying to charm him by cheerleading his butt off so he’ll be into them (and they’ll get ti decide whether to keep seeing him), and then deciding from among a few suitors whom they want to keep seeing.
      
    (2) There are a lot of perceived options in online dating. She went out with the OP, but she is getting emails from guys who have amazing profiles. So she is comparing the OP, something of a known quantity because she already went out with him, to all these mysterious men who just wrote her and who have these awesome profiles.
      
    (3) I’m wondering how the OP acts towards the women when they tell him how into him he is. Is he indulging them by texting back and forth with them? Maybe he is like water to their thirst, quenching it too easy….

  18. 39
    Steve

    @38     Hey Evan, I didn’t know your blog no longer took HTML tags.   Could you edit them out of my comment number 38?
      
    BTW, I use the same kind of blogging software as you do ( wordpress ).   There is a plugin that will allow people to edit their comments.     It could be nice.

  19. 40
    Christie Hartman

    Yeah, as Michael17 and some others have suggested, I think a woman who texts and says she misses him that much after 2 or 3 dates is a HUGE red flag that the OP isn’t picking up on. Many guys would get really uncomfortable at that.
      
    As far as the challenges of online dating go, I think the best way to arm yourself is the have realistic expectations (know that you’re going to deal with a good amount of weird people, rejection, unrealistic expectations for instant chemistry, etc) and to learn as quickly as possible how to read people. Studies have shown that people have more picky/stringent requirements when dating online than they do when dating “offline.” You kind of have to weed through the crap until you find the gem.

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