Why Do I Still Get Dumped Even When I Settle?



I read your newsletter “Why Chasing Attraction is a Losing Strategy in Love” this morning. It was, of course, spot on and the same thing all of my non-single friends have been telling me for the past 5 years. As a woman in my mid-40’s, I’ve actually come to (mostly) accept that advice.

I met a guy that normally I would not be physically attracted to and decided to give it a chance. Guess what? The dude broke my heart just like the hot men that I normally meet. Turns out he really wanted nothing more than sex. Now I hear from him every couple of weeks when he’s in the mood for a bootie call. Unfortunately, now I’m attracted to him for reasons other than just the physical – which makes me feel worse! I’m attractive, physically fit, have a successful career and a sense of humor. What gives?

Honestly, getting my heart broken by the non-stud was more disappointing and heart-wrenching than getting it stepped on by the hotties. At least with the hotties I know what to expect. Any advice? I feel like I should just give up, stick with the hotties who want only one thing, and realize maybe that is all that is in the cards for women my age. But I’d really like to have a real relationship.


Dear Nancy,

Sorry about your most recent heartbreak and thanks for your kind words about my newsletter. To synopsize what others may have missed, I made the radical suggestion that if you’ve spent your life chasing hot, brilliant men, only to discover that they are arrogant, narcissistic, selfish, emotionally unavailable and commitmentphobic, then it may be time to choose men who are slightly less attractive and intelligent but make up for it in love, devotion, kindness, humor, effort and loyalty.

Sounds like a good trade-off, no?

When you make yourself emotionally vulnerable to a man: it doesn’t guarantee reciprocation.

Anyway, the positive takeaway from your email is that you tried it “my” way and, sure enough, you ended up falling for the guy. Hallelujah! You’ve just proven that it is possible to become attracted and emotionally connected to a man who would not have ordinarily been on your radar. Consider this a great new paradigm for the rest of your love life.

But there’s a catch when you’re making yourself emotionally vulnerable to a man: it doesn’t GUARANTEE reciprocation.

And thus, you’re left with this irrational feeling that it’s better to get used by a hot player than to open up to the possibility of love with a “regular” guy.

Sorry, but that makes no sense whatsoever.

Unless, of course, you take some pleasure in getting used by hot men who have no capacity or desire for commitment. If so, fire away!

Essentially, you’re saying, if I’m GOING to get hurt, it might as well be by a 10.

Um, I guess you could take that philosophy.

I would sooner look at it like this:

Men who are 10’s on paper aren’t always 10’s in relationships.

You’ve established that men who are 10’s on paper aren’t always 10’s in relationships. In fact, many of them are 3s and 4s in terms of consistency, effort, and commitment.

Thus, you’ve deduced that it may be wiser to date a man who is a 6 or a 7 in looks/brilliance, but a 10 in other areas that matter more in the long run.

Sound reasoning.

But men are still men — and just because he’s not Brad Pitt doesn’t mean that he’s PROMISING to fall in love with you, that he’s GUARANTEED to be ready for commitment, that he KNOWS that he wants to build a family at the same time you are.

In other words, 7’s are men, too. Men with reasonable doubts, fears and issues.

You can wall yourself off from all men for fear of getting hurt, but that would accomplish absolutely nothing.

If you go out with a guy for 3 months and he says he’s not ready for a serious relationship, what does that mean?

Does it mean that you were an awful girlfriend? No.

Does it mean that he’s a selfish bastard? No.

Does it mean that you should never date another man like this? No.

All it means is that you invested in a man, the investment didn’t pay off, and now it’s time to find another man who gives you a greater return on investment.

That’s it.

So stop with this silliness that all “lesser” men are obliged to worship you because they’re not Brad Pitt. This is dating. You could have done the same thing to him.

It’s not personal. It’s life.

Join our conversation (58 Comments).
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  1. 41

    I have dated a man for 18 years; and I still do not know him.

    At one point we lived together in the beginning of the relationship; we helped each other, I was sick could not work full time; but did a lot of the housework so I did end up working more than full time but he did too.

    I moved on my own   8 years later,   we began dating about 5 months or so after my solo move.   Here it is 18 years total and I am not sure.


    Now I want to move on.

    And I will and take my chances.

    We do the best we can.



  2. 42


    Many women’s biggest issue with men is that they don’t typically say “I’m not ready for a relationship.” I unfortunately know very few truly completely and totally honest men. I know many more liars and cheaters and dishonest men than I know honest men. Some of the biggest liars and cheaters I know are actually married. I feel for their wives.

    At any rate, my point is, many men are not being honest about how they really feel, and what they really want. They do and say whatever they have to in order to get what they want from women. If she starts doing too much and their back is against the wall, and/or if they get caught, then they are honest.

    1. 42.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You overestimate the problem based on your life experience. 20-25% of married men cheat over the course of their lives. 15-20% of women do as well. So if the majority of men you know are dishonest, I feel bad for you, but don’t think they’re a representative sample of all men. The second you, as a woman, feel you’ve cornered the market on being “good” and that “men” are XYX bad traits, you’re sunk. You may believe it with all your heart, but it’s a biased, false and disempowering narrative. The reason you’ve found men to be so troublesome in dating is because you date men. Start dating women and you’ll find the exact same thing. Promise.

      1. 42.1.1


        I’m well aware that everyone lies and cheats. I’m not being biased at all.

        But even from an internationally cultural standpoint, men tend to cheat and desire more than one woman at a time moreso than women cheat and even desire more than one man. How much do you hear about women desiring more than one husband? I don’t think men like to admit this flaw that they have, but it is. In fact it’s in the bible. How men women desired multiple men as opposed to men desiring multiple wives and women. Even where the bible speaks about homosexuality, it’s from the perspective of men desiring sex from men because they couldn’t get it from women, not women desiring other women. I understand that this is something innate that’s in men. Not necessarily the desire to cheat, but the desire to spread their seeds and a typically a stronger sexual desire than women. This is also medically proven through science.

        I also understand that the guys I know don’t represent all men. I do know some truly honest men, however, my point is they are the exceptions, not the rules.

        By all means, if you know a large number of honest, truthful, respectful, and consistent men, please share them with the good women that you know.   *smile*   🙂

        1. Karmic Equation

          Hi Jenai,

          Noticing other women is different from lusting is different from acting upon that lust.

          A) Almost all men will notice other attractive women.

          B) Some men will notice and lust.

          C) Some men will lust and act upon that lust by approaching her.

          Most men lie somewhere between A and B.

          It’s only the men in C that you have to worry about. The A-B men are normal. And how much they love you and value your relationship will determine where in the continuum between A and B he lies.

        2. Jenai

          Key Karmic,

          I agree with your points. One thing I’ve learned from all the men I’ve ever known is that even when a man cheats, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t love his wife/gf and/or is not in love with her. Men cheat for a variety of reasons,  some different than women. I do believe that most men that do cheat will Not leave their wife/sig other. People do crazy things in the heat of the moment, it’s human nature. As Evan said, it doesn’t make them a bad and horrible person.

          Sometimes cheating doesn’t always happen out of sheer lust. I’ve had married men and men in relationships bond with me the same as they did their wives when they first started dating them. Like in the workplace for ex. If your working closely with someone, going to lunch with them often, working on a project with them, sharing with them, talking to them and you both get along usually you end up bonding. This imo is the most dangerous type of affair because it’s of the heart where the man can fall in love with the other woman. Most all men I know can fairly easily walk away from a woman they just lust after, regardless of whether they sleep with her or not. It’s not so easy if they’ve formed a bond with her and find themselves falling in love with her.

          From what I’ve seen, heard and experienced, the root of the problem is in weakness and not knowing how to say no and draw the line. Knowing when to stop the formation of a deep bond with someone else before it even starts. Knowing how to resist temptation. Since the beginning of time this has been mans biggest weakness, and downfall.

          Men have told me that no matter how much they love their sig others, they are weak and have a hard time resisting temptation when its always there. I think this is something men have to learn to work on and this is an area they need to strengthen themselves in.

          At the end of the day, regardless of whether a man is super fine and sexy, or fat, ugly and unattractive, or very attractive but broke, a weak man is a weak man. And unfortunately he will almost always succumb to temptation when he’s presented with it, until he learns how to resist.

          I understand from a psychological standpoint how damn near impossible it can be unlearn something that is natural to you, and something that becomes a part of who you are. It’s a process that takes time and patience, like anything else.

  3. 43

    This advice makes perfect sense but I also understand the disappointment that Nancy is feeling. Having adopted a strategy of giving more men a chance over the last few years I haven’t had much success with it and it is frustrating to be dumped by men I wouldn’t have even considered ten years ago. I can’t help but wonder if it is really worth the effort. Life is hard enough without all of this. So I have pretty much decided only to date men on a similar social level where there is some sort of spark and walk away if they turn out to be interested in just one thing and spend the rest of my time on other things I enjoy more than bad dates. Is it working? Maybe not so far and maybe it won’t but then nor was anything else and at least this way I have more time to do other things I like instead of spending all of it on a potentially endless quest. Just my two cents.

  4. 44

    I personally think love and finding “the one” is about 80% chance. There really is no rhyme or reason to it most times. I think really good dating coaches, and people in general can match people with the people better suited for them if they get a good idea of who the person is. But a persons family can also do this. Regardless though, there are no guarantees.

    I watched that show married at first sight. Only 2 of the couples stayed together in the beginning.

    But even those couples eventually after more time together broke up.

    What’s needed is programs to teach people how to love and how to compromise, and how to be reasonable, and how to have staying power in a long term relationship. Teach them how to debate, how to handle disagreements, hardships, trials, and tribulations. This imo seems to be the root of many peoples problems.

    I honestly don’t know any married couple that has been married for well over 10 years that didn’t go through some very serious issues. So serious that many people would have walked away. But they chose to stay together. That is what made the difference.

  5. 45
    camillian airbag

    Get real… Looks is important… Feeling great with my looks and there looks is ATTRACTION dammit and for some humans it’s needed. Get off your high horse and stop dissing poor Nancy. This is all contingent on ” our thoughts ” Now really think on that. Go date. Make mistakes. Get dumped. It’s all a learning experience in the end.

  6. 46
    Kimberly Ann Smith

    This is another bullshit article. There are no guarantees in dating, love,and relationships. The woman did as you said, to date a guy below her standards and still got hurt.



  7. 47

    It’s sad that ppl r jumping to conclusions on how “Nancy” is rather than trying to understand or at least be compassionate towards what she might be going through. Everyone has a rough image in mind which they might not even be aware of consciously of how their prospective partner should look like and/or be like. Brad Pitt may not be image resembling to for everyone. “Settling” might also mean looking beyond that image, that expectation. Apart from the looks, there might be so many other nuances to which Nancy might have adjusted herself to and might have given her care, affection, time and stuff only to find out at the end that it was all an illusion and hence, felt heart-broken. Anyways, who cares, right?

  8. 48

    I could have written this. I had the exact same thing happened recently. It’s probably one of the most devastating breakups I’ve ever gone through partially because I really did fall deep for this guy. I felt like we had so much in common and he seems so gentle and sweet. I really let myself trust him despite how much I’ve been hurt by other men. But in the end he did a 180 and hurt me just as much if not more than all the other guys have. I’m just becoming so bitter now. I just want to hurt men now before they can hurt me. I’ve given up on the idea of a good man I don’t think there is such a thing. So now I’m playing this guy from Europe and he’s got crap loads of money and I’m flirting with him and being sexy with him. He’s going to take me on a trip to Europe hoping that will have all kinds of sex but I’m not going to have sex with him. I’m just going to use men like that and flirt with them until they buy me things or take me places. But I’m not going to put out ever. That’s all men want and I’m not going to give any man sex ever again. I’ve given up on finding love and I’m just going to use men now and not give them anything in return. They’ve used me my whole life for sex and now it’s my turn to use them. I guess that’s the female version being a player. I can take care of my own sexual needs.   I want to hurt them I want to make them cry. I want to make them want me so bad and never ever have me. I literally think every man in the world is horrible now and I’m going to spend the rest of my life hurting them.

    1. 48.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re going to be horrible to men who haven’t hurt you to avenge men who have? That sounds like the single worst idea I have ever heard in ten years of doing this. I’m sorry you’re in pain but becoming a shitty person does nothing to balance the karmic scales. If anything, it makes you no better than the men you decry. I hope you rethink your position and cancel that trip to Europe ASAP.

    2. 48.2
      Maria Almudena

      Jesus, Julie, your post reads like the beginning of a Stephen King novel. Please realize that this, too, shall pass. Be kind to yourself, give it time.

      Using men is not as easy as you think it is, and it may be dangerous. So please take safety precautions if you decide to go ahead with the whole diabolical plan.

    3. 48.3

      I thought like you a couple of times in my life. The problem is that your plan of revenge is not realistic. The men you want to hurt – selfish, people-users, narcissistic – cannot be hurt because they have thick skin and learned to guard their own interests. That’s why they can use people so easily, because they have no remorse and are immune to hurt. You can’t beat psychopaths at their own game if you are not a psychopath. You can’t surpass the cruel in cruelty if cruelty is not in your nature.

      It’s like in that parable with Buddha and the scorpion. Buddha and his disciples were crossing a river when he saw a scorpion on the point of drowning. Buddha saved the scorpion, which proceeded to sting him. “But Buddha – asked the disciples – why don’t you take revenge? Throw the ungrateful creature back into water”. “Taking revenge is foolish – said Buddha. It’s in the nature of the scorpion to sting and it’s in my nature to be kind. The scorpions can’t change their nature and I cannot change mine.”

      What helped me most as an immediate aid in those moments was a sense of humor – I laughed at everything, including my own past blindness, stupidity and wrong choices. Those who can laugh in times of defeat cannot be defeated.

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