Why You Should Ignore Your Previous Experience With Men

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Hi, my name is Evan Marc Katz, Reverend of the Universal Life Church. Last year, I officiated the wedding of my little sister, Daryl, in San Francisco.

The event was incredibly meaningful to me for a number of reasons, but the story I want to share with you is how Daryl met her husband, Dave.

Daryl was in her 20’s, living and dating in New York City. She’s very bright, sarcastic, and intolerant of “games” and B.S. As a result, Daryl had a rough go with the lawyers and bankers available to her in NYC. She decided to branch out.

She dated a cute guy in Minnesota, followed by a charming guy in Chicago, followed by a separated heartbreaker in New York.

All were impressive men. None lasted. Daryl decided to go on “guyatus”, as she was burned out on both New York and long-distance love affairs.

It was around that time that I wrote my first book, “I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating”. Before I sent it to an agent, I wanted to get my bookish sister’s opinion on things.

The first thing Daryl said to me was, “Why would anybody read a book by YOU?”

The second thing she said to me was, “Online dating is creepy.”

I knew I‘d found my target audience.

Long story short:

Daryl enjoyed my book — even though she thought she wouldn’t.
She started dating online — even though she thought she wouldn’t.
After a few years of trial and error — and being thisclose to quitting — Daryl tried a different website I’d recommended, Nerve.com.
On a lark, she replied to a older, bald guy who wrote to her from San Francisco — even though she said she didn’t want to do long-distance again.
7 months later, she moved to San Francisco.

3 years later, they’re married.

I’m only sharing this with you because my extremely bright sister was WRONG about everything she firmly believed.

The only reason she is happily married and househunting today is because she was open to the possibility that her beliefs weren’t 100% foolproof.

Contrast Daryl’s story with Amy, a 42-year-old woman who reached out to me for dating coaching last week.

Amy believed — based on her experiences — that there was nothing she could do differently. The real problem is everyone else.

I like Amy. She’s successful, family-oriented, looks great for her age, and is an information seeker. After a few minutes of talking on the phone, it was clear that Amy had already read a lot of the books in my relationship book bibliography.

I LOVE clients like this.

Except Amy didn’t become a client.

She didn’t become a client because Amy believed — based on her experiences — that there was nothing she could do differently. The real problem, she claimed, is everyone else.

“I’ve used JDate for 10 years. There’s nobody on there for me.”

“It’s guys in Los Angeles. They’re Peter Pans who won’t settle down and are always looking for someone younger.”

“Men out here don’t appreciate someone with ethnic looks. They all want California blondes.”

“I keep meeting men who are so messed up. They’re all out for sex. They don’t have any money. I’m not going to support a man.”

Can you appreciate Amy’s point of view? I sure can. It’s built on years and years of failure, frustration and disappointment.

Amy’s experience is REAL. As real as the nose on her face. And because it’s real, she also believes that it’s TRUE.

Then again, my sister truly believed that no one would read a book by me, that online dating was creepy, that long-distance relationships were doomed, and that men were all heartbreakers. That was her experience before meeting Dave.

I could easily refute Amy’s point of view — but she would rather hold onto it, believing that she’s “right”— than open up to a new way of dating like my sister did.

And it’s a shame, because Amy has SO MUCH to give.

Amy’s experience is REAL. As real as the nose on her face. And because it’s real, she also believes that it’s TRUE.

As a result, she loses sight of the fact that I’M a guy who dated on JDate, I’M a guy who prefers older women to younger women, I’M a guy who prefers brunettes to blondes, I’M a guy who looks young for his age. I’M a guy who wants to be a good husband and father.

And if I’M that kind of guy, it only stands to reason that there are thousands of others like me in Southern California.

Amy’s just not meeting them. And she will continue not meeting them…

Because her online dating profile and communication need improving.
Because her attitude about men needs adjusting.
Because her radar for “quality men” is really off.
Because she would rather hold onto her glass half-empty worldview and be “right” than try my glass half-full worldview which will create better results.

Instead, Amy is going to keep reading my advice and hope that Mr. Right – an ethnic lover from another state, apparently – comes and fishes her out of her office.

I like Amy, but she’s going to be waiting for a while.

You don’t have to.

My question for you is whether you’re self-aware enough to know what disempowering and false beliefs that you hold to be true.

Have you had any experiences that have made you change your mind for the better about dating, online dating, men or relationships? Or do you have a negative attitude about the opposite sex that pervades your interactions. Don’t lie, regular posters. I know which of you are suspicious of men. And I know that you hate it when I point out that your attitude can change a lot more readily than men…

Join our conversation (45 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 21
    Nicole

    @Goldie, there is nothing wrong with a woman saying she is good-looking. But these women were protesting the whole “looking good for their age” as an insult, and you clearly wear that badge proudly without complaining that no one is telling you that you look 18.   

    But to me, there is a difference (and it’s just a tired cliche), for someone to say, oh, I’m 50 but everyone says I look 35.    It’s not the same as saying you look good for 50.   And personally once you try to throw yourself into the pot with the 30 somethings, you aren’t nearly as hot as you think you are.   

    Just my own opinion, but it reminds me of the personals section of my alumni mag where every older woman in there claimed to look like Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, or any other 50 or 60 something year old woman who is still considered “hot.”   Some guy wrote in a hilarious response asking there all of these women where when he was a student there, b/c yeah, if those women are so hot at 60 then they should have been hot when he was in school with them at 18-21.

    @Sayanta, I’m going to say it’s the same reality that has them thinking that in a crowd of young people no one can tell their real age or maybe someplace where all of the 20 and 30 something women look “rode hard and put away wet” …with mirrors that shave 20 years off to boot.

  2. 22
    Janice

    Funny story about looking good for your age. Went for my annual gyn exam and because I’m in perimenopause I asked for info about hormone replacement therapy for when I go through the change. It’s controversial. The doc began by saying that he was biased. OK, whatever. Then he said, “When I see someone like you, who is youthful and active–you look 35–I am all for HRT. But when I have a patient who is overweight and dressed slovenly, I don’t want to give it to her. She doesn’t deserve it. But you–you deserve to stay attractive and youthful looking.”

    He  told me he was 60. Overweight and a hairpiece.  

    Not going back to  him ever, obviously. Sometimes men project their own issues onto women. Especially their issues with age.  Sad, really. Best to run in the other direction  from these fellows.  

  3. 23
    Sherell

    OK I am on the East coast but what is this “ethnic” look people are referring.   Is just one look? Is it just not WASP?   Please explain.    Is it LA or NY where many advertisers are looking for what they call people who you can’t quite figure out their ethnicity to sell their products.   

  4. 24
    sephornet

    I either  think a person is  attractive or I do not. I find it curious when a qualifier (e.g. “for  her age”, “such a pretty face”) is used  as a descriptor.

  5. 25
    sephornet

    Sherell: “Is it just not WASP?”

    Yes.

  6. 26
    Trenia

    This was a great article! But Evan, I’m wondering, do you believe that love will happen for everyone who wants it and is willing to do whatever it takes to find it? I think it’s great how your sister met her husband, but there are lots of women who are that open but still haven’t met the right person. I don’t know, the older I get the more I’m starting to believe it’s just not going to happen for everyone, no matter how much dating they do or how open they are. Or maybe it’s just about not giving up no matter what? I’m not sure.

    1. 26.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Trenia, I’ll be the first to say that love will not happen for everyone who wants it. Love doesn’t happen because you’re nice. Love doesn’t happen because you’re attractive. Love doesn’t happen because you’re deserving.

      Love happens for a variety of reasons, chiefly, the willingness to make an effort to achieve it and the willingness to compromise. You can be the perfect human being, but if you never go on any dates, refuse to date online, hate going to bars, hang out with all married people and are generally negative about the prospects of romance, it ain’t gonna happen. Similarly, if you have distinct idea of what love should look like and it never finds you, that means that you’re probably not compromising.

      Here’s an example: 57 year old male client of mine. Worth $500 million dollars. Divorced. Wants a wife in her late 30’s. Thin. Curvaceous. Intelligent. Sophisticated. No kids. Doesn’t want kids. Willing to pick up and move to Seattle to be with him.

      I informed him that there were very few women in their 30s who want men 20 years older. I informed him that there are very few women who have all of the qualities he lists above. I pointed out that there are very few intelligent women who don’t have meaningful careers and relationships – both of which they’d have to abandon to be with him while he was wife shopping in Los Angeles. This man refused to compromise. That’s what he wants.

      And he will be alone – despite his many credentials.

      Now consider someone with fewer credentials – 57, average looking, out of shape, lives in a small town, lacks confidence, style, and charisma. How many men are looking to date her, no matter how thoughtful and kind she may be on the inside.

      Which is why love, unfortunately, is an economics problem. And you can tell where you stand by how much demand there is for you. 27 year old female model with a college degree? High demand. 38 year old marriage minded businessman with his life in balance? High demand. People in high demand can afford to be choosier. They may be so choosy that they end up alone, but still.

      So whether you’re a multimillionaire man with an unrealistic set of expectations for a partner or a less attractive person who lacks social skills and money, you STILL have to compromise and find the person who appreciates you for who you ARE.

      If you push away every person who loves you for who you are, you’re essentially insisting on being alone.

      A shorter answer is that, yes, love can find anyone who’s willing to work for it and willing to compromise.

      1. 26.1.1
        judy

        Thank you Evan.

        After reading many comments by you, I’m now taking a leap into the dark with a man I’m very attracted to (not my usual physical type but incredibly attractive – maybe the guy is a 6 on my own “scale” but he has qualities like discretion, kindness and hurray, brains as well!)

        Yes – I will have to compromise and adjust. He’s quieter than me but he’s fun.   I know that I will have to shut up more (:o) and listen to him much much more.

        But after two low key meetings (couldn’t in all honestly call them dates), I know this guy is special.

        Whatever happens – I am keeping my heart open (and it has been closed for a long time).

      2. 26.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        I think this is the most brilliant thing you’ve written on this blog–(and you’ve written many other brilliant things), Evan. It should be a post all it’s own.

        1. judy

          Yes it is Karmic.   The truth is simple really – it just takes a good brain to say it! (And even better ears to hear it!)

          Hugs.

           

  7. 27
    Trenia

    I’m with Sherell #24 on this whole “looking ethnic” thing. What exactly does that mean? Evan certainly has some ethnic readers, not just in terms of looks but culturally, racially, and nationality. Lots of men are attracted to “ethnic” women, so maybe that’s a personal issue.

  8. 28
    Craig

    Evan my uncle is in the circumstance of having a partner who is over 30 years younger than him. I am not sure whether or not he realises that she is there for what she can get. It worries me as well as I wonder whether or not he has allowed his feelings for her to multiply as time has passed. Deep down I am sure he must realise that she cannot possibly be happy with such a relationship when things begin to become more difficult.

  9. 29
    Optima

    What strikes me most about this post is that Daryl felt confident enough about   the relationship to leave NYC and move to SF after only seven months.   I would love to hear more about her story, Evan. Did she have a job to go to as well? Did she have friends or any kind of support network there?   Did she feel it was a big risk? Did she have a safety net in New York?   Is it different when you’re in your twenties?

    Whether you’re in your twenties or your fifties, moving away from your support network and work for a man (or woman), seems like a risk. It worked for Daryl and her husband which is wonderful.

    I’m 50 and feeling slightly burned out after several shortish relationships with men over 100 miles away, who I met online.   After 3-5 dates, and a lot of potential, things start to founder.  

    This is partly because we cannot meet up regularly and email, text, phone and skype just are not the same, even when we talk at length most days, usually by phone or skype. I get to the point where I realise that we just can’t meet up enough for me to really get to know them.  I don’t live in a large city. There just aren’t enough men in my locality on the various online dating sites I have used to make it at all easy to meet someone within, say, 60 miles of my home.

    Someone said to me recently that relationships need a shared context in order to grow – i.e. seeing how someone is on ordinary days, with their family, their friends, their work colleagues. Not just dates for the two of you.   And i’m realising that, despite being open to dating different kinds of men including online and at a distance as Evan advises, at this stage of life, both men and women are deeply embedded in their locality – work, social network, and often family (though not in my case). To sell up and move miles away could mean losing a great deal, if the relationship doesn’t work out.   

    What I would love to know is what persuaded Daryl that it was worth the risk?

      

  10. 30
    thin and intelligent

    Evan,
      
    I am a perfect fit for your 57-year old guy. where can i send my resume?:)

  11. 31
    Erinlee

    Ok, I just have to comment on the whole ‘young for your age’ bit.   Why are women being so uptight about this?   Get over being so damn picky and learn to accept a compliment.   Most guys are trying to please you by saying this, so don’t let your insecurity about your AGE get in the way of a guy trying to be sweet.   Graciously accept the compliment or he may not be so quick to compliment you again, for fear of saying something that will upset you.   Don’t turn a molehill into a mountain.  

    Shay #6 and Goldie #7.   My take on this subject lands somewhere in the middle of you two.   A man can be a player for many years and then decide to persue a different type of relationship.   I don’t think it’s a certain woman they meet that warrants the change, which is why woman who ‘think they can change him’ are fighting a pointless battle, you CANNOT change him!!   I think this type of man makes a conscious decision to ‘settle down’ and persue a  longterm relationship.   There may have been many women who would have fit the bill that he has dated in the past, but he wasn’t in the right frame of mind at the time.   So now that’s he’s ready, he’ll look for a woman who possesses qualities he seeks in a longterm partner.   I also believe, like Shay, in searching for the good in people.   Unfortunately though, there is evil in the world and not everyone has the best intentions, so to a certain extent you have to have your guard up a bit.

  12. 32
    AS

    If I’ve got this right, you’re saying not to tarnish everyone with the same brush? If you  start accumalating  beliefs about men based on your  challenging experiences and bring these beliefs  into all of your new interactions with guys,  effectively you’ve already pre-judged him without giving him an opportunity. You’re not being fair to him, or yourself as you could be losing out  on an opportunity.     

  13. 33
    Zaq

    Evan Marc Katz @29

    This should have been a new blog post. Lots of excellent points which get at the heart of the issue that need to be discussed.

    The two points I pick up on is:

    1. Whether we like it or not, we have a value in the dating market based on a number of criteria which includes age, physical looks, status etc.
    The demand for our ‘goods’ will be based on those characteristics.

    2. Since we cannot easily change our value to others, in order to find love we have to compromise on the value of characteristics we seek in others.

    I wonder what your view of the ‘equity theory of love’ is. That we will be unhappy in any relationship where those characteristics are in imbalance.
    The requirements of the millionaire on that basis seem reasonable, because the woman needs to bring to the table those qualities that he values that are equal to those he is offering.

    As far as the unattractive 57 year old woman is concerned, how will compromising help her ? She probably will not attract anyone that she would find attractive.
      
      

    1. 33.1
      Sabine

      Hey Zaq – I have a friend (okay acquaintance) who would fall into your 57 year old demographic. She is 60 and really takes no pride in her appearance. Zero. Zilch. And, she somehow believes that her appearance does not have anything to do with her meeting a nice, well put together guy. She cuts her own hair, wears sloppy clothes, makes excuses for not taking care of her health (eating well) and says that she wants a man to like her for her. This is not a lie!!!  
        
      Taking advice for my Dad (who is honest and doesn’t mince words in a loving un sugar-coated way at times) says you could be totally awesome, the kindest, sweetest, most loving person but you have to make your packaging attractive so someone can be enticed to find that awesomeness.   With that said, how many big box retailers make things pretty just to entice you to buy them…all of them. Even bandaids have a cute box.
        
      For anyone male or female…it’s true that looks should not matter, however PRESENTATION does matter. I don’t care if a guy has a gut. Really, I don’t. However for anyone who wants to attract someone well put together there are things you can do to improve your appearance…easily.
        
      Dress nicely. Have a nice hairstyle. Wear perfume or cologne…to a noticeable minimum. Clean hands and fingernails (I am really into a man with clean hands, trimmed nails). Do something with the face (shave or trim, wax, make-up both). For your own self -esteem, you don’t need to be high maintenance, but maintained. Coiffed. I take the time to be stylish and make myself appealing, my main man should put in some effort too. This increases value in my eyes. Respecting ones self is a key indicator of how you will respect others. Once you put your best foot forward and attract some folks then you can see where you stand on the the type of person you attract.   On a personal note, I have started doing crunches twice a day. Yes, I am putting that out there because I too want to look as fantastic as possible !!!

  14. 34
    Carrie

    I’m just recovering from a guy who was all nice and then pulled away. He still says nice things but doesn’t do anything.

    I’ve been heartbroken a lot so came looking for some inspiration to not give up. I think my heartaches have done 2 things: I ve become more appreciative of affection, I’ve also become a bit stupid because I believe more easily (in face value) because I want to believe. I don’t do very well with rejection though. I’m an emotional person and it hurts me a lot. Maybe I’ll take a break and get back. But statistically speaking it’s very hard to find a nice guy. 🙁

  15. 35
    Star

    I am trying to shake off negative views of men. I know there are men out there who are suitable partners for me, versus the ones with whom my experience has been painful, but it’s easier said than done.
    I am trying though. When I think of men in general, my “exes” face blots everything out. All I see is his behaviour, all I feel is the hurt I experienced with him.
    It’s not easy, but I am trying, and I think with time it will disappear completely.

  16. 36
    Sabine

    Evan advice is spot on! Be objective about your “methods” and not overly self-critical while keeping an open heart (with the fear set aside, which is tough). My story (which is on going): I have been playing cat and mouse with a guy I work with for a while. My long term relationship ended some time ago and even before he (work guy) pursued me he told me that I was “not ready” when it first ended (he didn’t take advantage of an “easy situation”, hurt and needing to feel beautiful again) which actually places him high on my list.   Oh, he is a total cutie but the fact that he didn’t want to hurt my feelings or take advantage of me…wow.
      
    I read “Why He Disappeared” and I tried to let him go. However,   the more I seemed to try, the more this guy seemed to want to be in my life. So, I just went…slow, like a burrow on a   long journey. I was myself (helpful, kind, caring, silly) and slowly we became friends. I didn’t judge or criticize him when he said things; I responded honestly but kindly (what do I have to lose, right?).
      
    I really thought he friend zoned (a perpetual benchwarmer) …but he kept coming up with “reasons” to spend time with me alone for “help” with personal stuff. I referenced the book and the blog again and again. He kept talking future stuff (yes, with us) and it confused me….once again, I have to let him go. Friend zone. Friend zone. Seems he just didn’t want that to happen but didn’t want to be more than work friends either. Literally if we didn’t have contact for 24 hours, he made a point to “bump into me”. Can you imagine how hard it is to let someone go who you work with if they are seeking you out??? Yup, searched the blog for answers…
      
    I have been reading the mirroring advice which was tough for me to accept but I accepted it since I had not figured this guy out…if he does not text first, don’t text even as a helpful friend. FRIEND.  Today on the east coast, business closed early due to an in-progress snow storm. This was the first time I DID NOT TEXT HIM before work about an early closure. Yes, I kept my thumbs in check…
      
      
    So, I see him in the hallway at work and he is really chatty. He made the point to strike up conversation (which wasn’t odd), but the fact that he made the point to stop me to talk when I already passed several feet by and had to turn back and return to him to chat (yes this sounds like high school). I bumped into him again a short while later and I made small talk. How convenient that he stopped so I could catch up with him because I had to go his direction (it was obvious, yes). He saw where   I was going because a minute later, there he was right next me. Ha! The mirroring works! And, he chatted about getting together out outside work …alone which is a new “milestone” instead of a happy hour type thing. Ironically, for real personal reasons, I could not do the happy hours and thought I blew it with him for being unavailable (with genuine explanation). Ironically, I mentioned to my girlfriend that this guy doesn’t even notice me. Her response: he probably does but you don’t know it.
      
    I know he has little “dating” experience. In some ways (and based on our talks) he seems to want to go from zero to relationship. He married his college girlfriend which ended a few years back. He has had “girlfriends” though based on all of our talks, I am not sure these are “dating relationships” as in “courting”. He’s fished for places I would like to go to dinner, food I like, etc. and I am agreeable (if you live on the east coast, you like food). With him, I am just plain curious at this point to be honest.  
      
    From our talks it seems he wants something more…without the drama he experienced before. His best friend at work told me that ideally, being his friend first would be he path to least resistance because we would be good together.   Am I placing all my eggs in one basket? Of course not! However, I do know that some sort of “barrier” was crossed…finally.   
      
    Honestly, I think in some way I was subconsciously afraid for something to happen. And for what? The possibility of something magical to happen!!! It’s so worth the risk!!!

  17. 37
    Jacquie

    I just recently found your page and I’m so glad I did! My dating life has been an unsuccessful roller coaster of emotion. I am just beginning to open my eyes and see the truth (and my role in that) for what it is. I love your straight forward approach. Your posts are thought provoking and helpful! Thank you!

  18. 38
    Nia

    This is a really interesting article.   Honestly, I usually end up liking younger men, however they are too young, I also usually have a problem with ignoring guys that aren’t so good looking, I’m looking for that “click” I rarely get that “click” and I’m starting to think wanting that click is a bad thing.

    I only seem to find a guy that seriously catches my interest,   every couple of years, I’m not totally sure what my type is so I have tried just going on a lot of dates with many different guys to try to figure me out what I truly want. Just the other night, I realized that I hang too much on these dates and if the guy disappears it really sucks for me…I get too attached too fast and it’s not good. I cannot change the fact that I get my hopes up so quick but I can try to relax a bit more and not try to make up my mind about people so quick, at least that is something new I am trying to do. I know I am learning a lot but just not sure what the end result is going to be.

    All I can say for sure is that I grew up on a farm and I like really hard working men, I like a good listener and I like someone who can be my rock and let me be his, beyond that, I’m not really sure.

     

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