When Should You Give Up On Dating?

young woman sitting near the beach watching the sunset

You’ve had enough.

You’ve loved. You’ve lost.

You have no desire to go through it again.

You are ready to go on permanent guy-atus.

Then you read this letter by Emily Bracken posted on Medium and reposted on HuffPo. It’s astonishingly self-aware, and is the kind of letter I wish I received more, instead of the one blaming men for all the ills of the world.

Dear Future Love of My Life:

I know. I should have written before. Forgive me. But I got the feeling that you were beginning to think I didn’t exist. But I do. And I wanted to let you know that while I might be as elusive as a unicorn grazing in a field of four-leaf clovers, I’m close. I’m around the corner, down the street, on Facebook, in your office, at our local coffee shop, a complete stranger. I made eyes at you once on the subway. I saw you across the room at a party. I swiped you right on Tinder. But it’s not our time yet. And I know you’re wondering why.

It’s really not fair that you’ve had to wait this long, or go on blind dates, endure bad sex, settle for ‘meh’ relationships, feel misunderstood, cry from loneliness, wrap your arms around a pillow as you fall asleep at night. I’m so sorry, my love. You deserve an explanation. So, here it goes. It’s taken me a long time to even admit this to myself much less to you, so please know that everything I’ve written here is true.

The reasons we haven’t met yet, in no particular order:

1. I haven’t thrown out the list of things I think you should be.
2. I’m with the wrong person right now.
3. I’m not ready to be loved unconditionally.
4. Since my life isn’t together, I think you’ll reject me.
5. I still believe that drama is a show of love.
6. I’ve been intentionally keeping my head too busy to think with my heart.
7. I need to date more to understand what I do and don’t like.
8. I won’t be able to appreciate you until life has kicked my ass.
9. I’m too focused on my own needs.
10. I don’t know how to create the feeling of home that lives in my heart.

Clearly, I’m not my best self yet. Or even myself — I’m still figuring out who that is. I’m pretty sure even if we did meet, you wouldn’t like me all that much right now. It’s entirely possible that we did hit it off once, and I left without getting your information; or maybe I did get your number and never called because of any one of the above reasons.

This is a call for humility — stop blaming the opposite sex for the downfall of your relationships and take responsibility for the things you can control.

Be patient with me, darling heart. Know that I’m working my way toward you. So don’t spend any more time thinking about where I am or am not. Just keep making your life exciting and full, so when we do finally come together, we can bring each other joy, because we are already happy.

I know it’s taking longer than you’d like. It’s a hell of a lot slower than I could have ever imagined. But I’m here. This is me talking to you. And I’m not going anywhere.

Don’t give up on me.

Yours, in perpetuity,

The Love You Haven’t Met Yet

Flip the genders and it’s just as potent. I could have written the same thing ten years ago, if only I were more self-aware. When I was 31, I hadn’t thrown out the list, my life wasn’t together, I was dating the wrong person, I needed to date more to understand what I like, I wasn’t able to appreciate the right woman until life kicked my ass, and I was too focused on what I was getting instead of what I was giving.

This letter is a call for humility — to stop blaming the opposite sex for the downfall of your relationships and to take responsibility for the things you can control.

My new book builds on this concept and gives you a step-by-step blueprint to flipping the script from negative to positive, and turning the glass from half-empty to half-full.

And in case you’ve missed my video series about how to rejuvenate your faith in love, make sure you watch these three videos.

The first video shows you why “Comparison is the enemy of contentment“, next you’ll learn “How to make the most attractive men fall for you“, and finally “What you can do to find love“.

If you watch the third video, you’ll also be signed up to receive my special report “The Top Three Things You MUST Know To Persevere in Dating,” based on my last nine months of research. This is my best stuff and I’m giving it to you absolutely free.

Lasting love is real, but it takes a real self-aware person to be a worthy partner. Become that person and you’ll attract that person as well.

Have a great weekend and come back on Monday for a juicy reader question from a woman who is ready to toss in the towel on men.

In the meantime, which of the things on Emily’s list will you admit to?

Join our conversation (127 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 41

    At least six-feet tall and making at least $150,000 a year. That’s what 97% of the women want. They want that when they are 25 and when they are 75. You’d think women would moderate their materialism with time, and their height discrimination, but no. The other 3% are usually obese which is something they can do something about. I ain’t going to grow any taller. And the less of a lady she is the more she demands a “gentleman.”   (Definition of a Gentleman: A domestic servant and economic slave paid in bad sex once a year.)   On-line dating reveals modern woman lives in a pathetic fantasy land… and then she wonders whey she is single. In her quest to “have it all” she has nothing which is a just reward.

    1. 41.1


      Perhaps 1 to 2% of men might actually meet those requirements, and be single, and be of marriageable age, and desire a relationship and /or marriage. So if these observations of yours were actually true, it would logically follow that 95% of   women would never be in a relationship, let alone ever get married. Now, since we all know that’s not what in fact happens in the real world, I think it’s safe to tell you that the premise you offer up in your opening sentence is false. Yes, I know your experiences have led you to believe it’s true, but in the universe most of us inhabit, it isn’t, and a lot   of us guys actually manage to find dates occasionally, despite the fact that we come up short on one (or even both!) of the criteria you say “97% of women” insist on; imagine that! Lest you think that meeting both of those supposed “requirements” would solve all your dating woes, let me point out that I also know guys who pass both with ease, and still couldn’t get laid in a Bangkok cathouse on a slow night. Women are complex creatures, and while being tall, good-looking and rich won’t hurt your chances of succeeding with women, those qualities don’t help as much as you think. On the other hand, believing that you have no chance with women because you don’t meet some supposed “requirements” of theirs, amounts to self-destructing before you even get started. If you believe that you’re going to fail, you will fail!

      1. 41.1.1
        Emily, the original


        Women are complex creatures, and while being tall, good-looking and rich won’t hurt your chances of succeeding with women, those qualities don’t help as much as you think.

        This is very true. There are some men who seem to have a way with women, and they aren’t always the richest, tallest, most handsome men in the room. Some men just have that certain something. Do men experience that with women? That some women seem to be very appealing and attract a lot of attention? (I’m not just referring to appearance.) And what makes her a man magnet?

      2. 41.1.2

        Eastern European and Asian women are a thousand times better than American women. Feminism has destroyed women from being what they should be.

  2. 42


    In answer to your question, yes, some women have “that something” that makes them more appealing to men than their physical appearance alone might suggest. Just as you and others have described with some men, we might think of it as an energy, or a vibe these women radiate. It’s a different sort of energy, of course; where the “chick magnet” man radiates masculinity, confidence, power, dominance, and a male edginess that’s extremely attractive to most women, the “man magnet” woman projects a striking feminine energy-very soft, feminine, seductive, and at the same time, confident and totally comfortable with who she is. Men will describe her as captivating, alluring, sexy, etc. and indeed she is. For most men, this energy only adds to whatever physical beauty she has; most men will perceive her as being exceptionally beautiful, whether she objectively is or not. This is where one sees the attractive, (but far from drop-dead gorgeous) woman who can take over a room, much as a charismatic man can with women.

    I think what’s worth emphasizing here is that, just as a man of rather average to slightly above average physical looks can raise his stock with women by the personality he projects, so can the woman who’s rather average to slightly above average physically raise her perceived attraction value to men; even where it’s not enough to make her seem totally hot, she’ll certainly appear hotter than she otherwise would; some hope there for those who didn’t win the genetic lottery. There are limits, of course; pure visual attraction is still primary for most men, at least initially, and no amount of personality will make a woman of below average looks into a “perfect 10” to most men, but it can certainly raise her perceived SMV, which can’t hurt. I don’t believe any of us, male or female, can just change our personality overnight to make it more attractive like this, but I do think that with work and practice, we can grow into it in time, if we really want to.

    1. 42.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Buck25,

      I think most women (and I’m making a vast, sweeping generalization here) like a man with a plan. A man who takes charge. A male friend at work told me he heard his wife talking to someone and she said, “Don’t worry. Bob will take control.” That is what most women want. A man you can trust to take care of things.

      1. 42.1.1


        Your post above confirms what I’ve observed,  and women’s opinions I’ve read (here and elsewhere). Having a plan, and being reliable when it comes to taking charge when it’s needed, is of course, a classic alpha male behavior. The good news here, especially for men who are not total alphas, is that this is a behavior which a somewhat less dominant man can learn to develop and practice. The trick is to be able to take charge, without becoming overly controlling;   and it’s in that calibration that so many fall short. I like to think of it as much like leading a woman on the dance floor-the object is not to jerk her around, but to provide a consistent, steady lead, so that she not only knows what her partner is going to do next, she also knows he’s going to make sure she has the room and is in the right space to do her moves, without her having to worry about it, or having to constantly look over her shoulder. It’s a bit more complicated to lead like that in a relationship, of course, but it is doable, and I can see where that would give a woman a pretty good feeling of security

        1. Emily, the original


          I can see where that would give a woman a pretty good feeling of security

          It’s not just security that it gives a woman. I think there’s a myth out there that a woman’s priority is security. While security is important, so is something primal! A man taking charge is hot! You mentioned in your first response to me that a woman who has a striking feminine energy is very appealing. A woman can emit that energy when she is interacting with a strong masculine energy.

  3. 43


    Indeed she can, and if one reads the comments of women on the subject, many do. Now do you suppose that is just because she’s turned on by her partner’s display of masculine energy/dominance, or might it also be that being thus led and cared for, she   can feel safe and secure in expressing her vulnerability (a big component of feminine energy), without feeling anxious or threatened? I wonder if it’s a little of both. What do you think?

    1. 43.1
      Emily, the original


      Do you suppose that is just because she’s turned on by her partner’s display of masculine energy/dominance, or might it also be that being thus led and cared for, she   can feel safe and secure in expressing her vulnerability without feeling anxious or threatened? I wonder if it’s a little of both.

      Yes, probably both. Most single women have to take care of themselves. They decide which job to take, which car to buy, which house to live in, etc. That means (and forgive me for sounding sexist) they are operating on a daily basis with masculine energy. They have to. It’s how they function in the world, and it is sometimes difficult to turn that off. However, when a woman is with a man who she instinctively knows is going to be the man, she can relax and that feminine, soft energy you mentioned can emerge. It takes two, right? A yin and a yang!   🙂

      That being said, there are women who are in charge in their relationships. I can think of several examples right off the top of my head. I have a friend who says her husband is the woman in their marriage. He’s a guy’s guy and very manly, but that dynamic seems to work for them. How do you explain that? I would be turned off by a role reversal like that.

  4. 44
    Jan Birch Mathisen

    Having seen so many crashed, wrecked, mauled and destroyed people during my now 48 years on this planet called Earth, it is truly neigh impossible to believe in happy relationships.

    Honestly – Why walk in front of that huge truck passing on the road if you don’t need to? Unless your intent is to get bruised or worse on intent. What person in their right mind would do such a thing?

    Exchange “Truck” with “marriage”, “Road” with our current society and you will see what I am getting at. Don’t be stupid. Don’t walk into certain doom if you still have hope and trust in other people.

    Being male, heterosexual, a decent good person caring for my family and friends never made me consider walking out onto that road blooded with the infinite leftovers from wrecked human relationships. It really is not worth the effort.

    Men are not required to throw themselves under the bus for women. Why should they? Besides from yet another “mishap” between a man and a huge truck?

    Being a quite happy bachelor at age 48 and having a wonderful life at that too is a thing I would never give up on. Having a great family, friends, a nice peaceful yet rewarding life seeking peace of mind and hope for a new day will not require a thing like relationships.

    But I agree in the essence of this article. I really do. Do not ever give up on love, caring and having a good life. Some people never were meant for being in relationships. Please respect that sort of people too.

    I choose to avoid getting hit by the truck of relationship as it gives so much more energy for creating, building, experiencing so many nice facets of life with a balanced calm view of the World. Not having tons of drama all day long gives so much peace of mind and the clarity to make sound and decent decisions. To help better yourself and others. To care for others.

    And no, you will not die alone without relationships, wife and children…. You make friends, family (perhaps) and meet people who will remember you for what you are. They respect what you do, you have done and what changes you brought for better or worse for Mankind.

    There always will be hope and love. Even if you are not in relationships. Being single is OK too…

  5. 45

    When I stopped caring whether or not there would be a second date, found the conversation to be contrived and scripted, and was more-so looking forward to getting home to my tech and maybe a good Scotch… That was when I knew it was time to stop dating! Instead of spending $100 or $150 on a date with someone I was likely never going to see again, I spend that on my kids now. Money much better spent in my opinion. That said, I realized that I really didn’t want a relationship, and that’s what dating is really all about. Some women were attractive and interesting as well, but when I thought ahead to the “relationship” part I just became disinterested in the entire affair. The sheer relief I felt after the date was over told me it was time to shut it down. On the last date I was on, I actually caught myself looking forward to paying the tab and getting home to do other things. Like tech, or a nice Scotch. That’s when I sighed in relief, and let the dating site memberships lapse. Freedom!

  6. 46

    Hello Jeremy,


    I think that I kinda get your point, although I do like the general sentiment of the open letterâ¤ï¸ I am 34 and just ending a 2 year relationship with us currently living together. As my life became more stressful (family arrest, homelessness, job layoff), I discovered that my guy could not handle the pressure of trying to love me through it. It seemed that the more challenges faced, the more withdrawn he became. In the full 2 years of us dating, he never made romantic date plans or discussed the future, sex became far a few between and I felt alone to deal with things. Anytime Id ask about his feelings , he would suggest that he was exhausted which is why he had grown distant. This sounds like conditional love to me. But now I feel that he was never truly present. At this point, I still believe in loves existence but not sure if my heart can bear the weight of attempting to trust someone again. We had started as friends and now that we have ended it, he has expressed interest in us being friends again but Im not sure if thats what I want since I dont think that I can trust him with my feelings ( hes avoidant dismissive and im anxious preoccupied). It just sucks. But yes, I do think that spousal love is a tad conditional and thats not the kind of love that I want

  7. 47

    Far and few between*

  8. 48

    This is a great article. I’m getting really discouraged with online dating and I’ve got one more month before I need to renew. I bought believe in love, why he disappeared, and finding the one online. They are great resources, I guess I’m just feeling defeated because I just realized today that I’m always doing the initiation of any correspondence on eharmony. I’ve really   working on improving my confidence but I’m about 20 lbs overweight and I wonder if that effects my chances.   I’ve been working on   I can control, trying to eat better, exercise,   improve my self image. Does anyone on here have any tips to keep up with the dating when you feel burnt out?

    1. 48.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Go to the top of the page. Click on Products. Scroll down to Believe in Love. Regain your confidence and faith.

  9. 49

    I cannot admit to any of the things mentioned above. I am not doing anything wrong to people, still I am alone and never even had a date. I really feel like giving up on finding someone. I feel as if I didn’t exist 🙁

  10. 50

    Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    For everyone who is so negative – remember that “this too shall pass”. It would be surprising if in 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years you still feel the exact way you felt when you wrote a comment on this blog because you had a bad run of dating or a bad experience. Those in their 20s, particularly, please, please do not give up on love! When you’re in your 30s and 40s, you’ll wish you’d had a chance to tell your 20-something self to be happy, enjoy life and learn everything you possibly can through your dates (and this blog!), without getting needy or bitter. Being in your 20s is a wonderful gift – you have the gift of time 🙂

    I love the post you wrote Evan about all the bad experiences you had – which were pretty bad! I don’t love it because you had to go through that, but I love it that you didn’t let it take you down. And clearly you needed to go through those things to fully appreciate, as much as you clearly do, your lovely wife. I’m sure the same applies to most of us!

    BTW, if it helps anyone, I got divorced about 2 years ago after being in a very difficult marriage, have had..umm..some interesting dating experiences since then and am still single now, but I am still very hopeful!!

  11. 51

    It is beautiful and all that, but I couldn’t even get into any number because men never EVER paid attention to me. I gave up exactly for this. It hurt too much every time I got interested in a man and he just ignored me for one of my pretty friends. Or he just ignored me. Or he said he would not date me   because I am ugly. Or because I was a virgin. It became too tiresome. I do miss having someone, mainly because I am 41 and live alone and get scared that I may die and there will be days before someone find my body and all the nightmares (real or not) that comes with living alone, but I just can’t fall in love… literally. I just can’t. I don’t even find men attractive anymore. I believe that some people were never mean to be loved.

    1. 51.1

      Trust me, being a pretty woman is not all it’s cracked up to be.I gave up ages ago because despite my 144 IQ, men were only interested in me for one thing.Also, I’m 5”10 and most men feel emasculated next to a tall woman.I’ve stopped lying to myself about there being any decent men left out there.Almost every man I’ve ever known has abused me in some way.And now there are perverts my age lusting after my 15 year old daughter.I just can’t trust men anymore.

  12. 52

    Nice sentiment, but I do wonder sometimes if we just placate ourselves with fantasy to make more life bearable and bring comfort. But honestly…..this is all based on assumptions that can’t be proven. What if there isn’t anyone right out there. What if you never get your life together enough to find this elusive unicorn. Sorry, but this is a crock of shite.

    The only line that wrung straight and true was this: “I don’t know how to create the feeling of home that lives in my heart.”     Awesome line.  How do you do this?  And if I knew how to create this on my own, then why would I need to go looking for someone?

  13. 53

    At age 34..   after a while I   just got tired of dispointment,rejection, and kept meeting the wrong women to where it just got to the point to where I was just turned away from the whole idea of it. I just started doing other things with my life. I learned that dating and marriage wasn’t for everyone and I just happen to be one of those people.

    1. 53.1

      I’m sorry J

  14. 54

    I’m 48. I’ll be 49 in a few months. Where I work is not a good environment for dating, because of the general “witch-hunt” atmosphere about sexual harassment. I avoid contact when possible, since my career is more important that trying to date at work. I’m not religious, so I’m not going to church to fake it to try and find someone. I have a 13-yr old boy I’m raising.

    I’m divorced. My ex was a serial cheater before she left.

    I’ve done the Match.com thing: one woman was married, one woman was passed out drunk when I went to go get her around noon Saturday for a second date, another woman late at night must have rifled through my wallet when I was asleep to charge something on one of my credit cards, so I had to get a new card after reporting the fraudulent charge.

    I’m just going through the motions now, but dating ends in the first quarter of 2017, and then I’m done permanently. I’m retiring from women. Its like in chess; there comes a time when you are playing and you know the right thing to do is to tip over your king.


    1. 54.1

      At least you have your son. Having been deprived of a family be the cheating nature of the women I was involved with, I am completely alone. I am just going through the motions now, but if I am still alone at 40… Society may have decreed that I will die alone, but I can still determine when.

      1. 54.1.1

        I am aware that everything is temporal; even my son will eventually get older and move out as an adult. And we all die alone, wife or not.

        Its not how or when you die, but how you live that matters. Live for yourself. Find things you like to do and do them.

        I’m picking up on stuff I like, including on stuff I used to do but stopped after marriage. (N-gauge model trains). I have gardening, I have guns, a few shows I like (“The Walking Dead”, “Game of Thrones”, “Better Call Saul”), I have games I play. I have vast amounts of music and movies to listen to and watch, in a theater room I made.

        I’m steadily improving my house. My place is becoming a place of miracles. I even ate my first miracle fruit this morning after getting some trees. It made sour lemon juice taste like lemonade.

        If I can do it, you can do it.

  15. 55

    I’m 33, I did everything right with theast girlfriend, treated her well, took her out, cooked and helped around the apartment, bought her gifts, opened the car door for her, gave her an orgasm during all the sex we had.


    It was a long distance relationship and she couldn’t wait for me for 6 weeks to get back and cheated. In the end she said it was because I didn’t resist her “manipulative games”.


    Never had a woman be so honest. She cheated on me with a guy who stood more firm against her bullshit. But I loved her, this last girl more than any other one of the 25 or so I’ve been with.

  16. 56

    No, sorry I’m giving up, I didn’t look for anything serious 17-25, then I seriously looked to settle down… 3 serious relationships… 33 years old…Heart destroyed twice.

    I’m done, this last one drove me back into deep depression and binge drinking. It’s just not worth it, all the lies, fake promises, pain in my heart for months.

    People can’t be trusted.

  17. 57

    I don’t agree well not for me. I have loved and lost and repeated it to many times. I dont want love any more. If love came my way i would push it away. I would resent the person and tell them i don’t want your love because you are going to end up like all my exes and be harsh, nasty and be there for what you can take. I don’t want you or your love. Even if it was the so called future love of my life appeared. I don’t want her she can go jog on and makes someone else’s life hell.

    Spending so much time planning a future it ends up as an image and that image their face does not leave your thoughts the thought of you and them getting married. Then it is gone years of relationship and all you are left with is resentment sadness and anger.

    I sometimes feel like doing the same to the next person. Get them to fall for me then treat them like shit then break their heart. I would do that to the so called future love off my life. That woman should never come to me. I resent her and never want to see her. She could be that cold evil woman at the bar or in the shop. Just like a landmine you don’t know how much it is going to damage you till you step there, so no love can go jump off a cliff and die bleeding to death at the bottom.

  18. 58

    Forced to give up by default. Son’s father walked out on us right after he was born, that was 17 years ago, no one has shown any interest since. Tried  the OLD thing, blind dates,etc. Tired of being treated like garbage because I am raising a child and I’m not an anorexic, size 0, 20year old blonde.

  19. 59

    FYI – This article only applies to white people.

    Seriously. Try being the black guy that is in shape, good job, kind, funny, a musician! I grew up listening to awesome 90s alternative like Nirvana and Third Eye Blind. I’m just looking for a woman who is into the same stuff.

    But when I get on dating websites and read profiles of my ideal match, their last line is ALWAYS something like, “Sorry, no black guys,” or “White guys only.”

    I’ve encountered my ideal match. My skin wasn’t the right color.

    Go figure.

    1. 59.1

      I assume it’s because you’re ONLY going after white girls?

      1. 59.1.1

        Nope. I’m into women who are into the same things as myself. It has NOTHING to do with skin color for me. In fact, for a person to think I should be with a black woman because we have that 1 thing in common is pretty shallow.

        Most women who are similar to me in a number of different areas also happen to not be black. When I do meet a black girl who is similar to me, she is usually dating a white dude with a beard and tattoos. I’m not mad about it at all. I’m upset that I can do everything else correct, but be brushed off because my skin is too dark.

        1. Does exist

          You sound like an amazing guy. And I’m white (not that it matters) and like that and many types of music. I’m also a single mother of a 10 year old.

          Keep looking; someone is out there for you. I’m a prosecutor by day, and a very fit, tattooed mom who enjoys gardening, hiking, and reading by night. 🙂

  20. 60

    1. I haven’t thrown out the list of things I think you should be. — I never had such a list. I only want to be with someone who genuinely wants to be with me.
    2. I’m with the wrong person right now.
    — I have been alone for years. The only way I am with the wrong person is if the wrong person is myself (which I am starting to believe).
    3. I’m not ready to be loved unconditionally.
    — I have never known unconditional love. I’m not even sure what that means.
    4. Since my life isn’t together, I think you’ll reject me.
    — I have my own business. I am successful in every aspect of life… except romance. I know of men who are sex offenders and drug dealers who are in relationships. Obviously having your life together is not a requirement.
    5. I still believe that drama is a show of love.
    — Actually, it’s just the opposite. Much of the reason I am alone is I avoid drama. I think it is a show of immaturity.
    6. I’ve been intentionally keeping my head too busy to think with my heart.
    — This means nothing. The heart cannot think. This is like saying “I think with my brain”. Well of course I do.
    7. I need to date more to understand what I do and don’t like.
    — And since no one will date me, I guess I am SOL.
    8. I won’t be able to appreciate you until life has kicked my ass.
    — Life tried to kick my ass. I kicked back. I am the engineer of my destiny.
    9. I’m too focused on my own needs.
    — Helping others has always been important to me, and I am finally in a position to be able to do that. I actually devote more time to volunteer and non-profit work than I do to running my business.
    10. I don’t know how to create the feeling of home that lives in my heart. — I don’t know what the fuck this means. Must be some neurotypical emotional riddle bullshit. Blood. Blood lives in my heart.



    My list is much shorter:

    1. I have Asperger’s, so I do not understand ‘flirting’ and all the other rituals that stand   between me and a relationship. The simple solution would be for people to actually talk to each other honestly, but someone decided that’s against the rules.   The unwritten rules that no one– no friend, family member, therapist, teacher, preacher, guru, pick up artist, astrologist, fortune cookie, or magic 8 ball– will explain to me.

    2. I am short (5’4″; 163 cm), so you are literally overlooking me. Yes, heightism is a thing. You know it’s true as well as I do.

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