My Boyfriend Wants to Be a Dating Coach — Actually, a Pick-Up Artist.


My boyfriend and I have been together for four years and we have a very strong and healthy relationship. We have lots of fun together and we can always solve the problems that arise in our relationship. A few months ago, Luis decided to start studying strategies to be a dating coach. I support him, because I believe in him, but I’m very worried because I know he trains approximation strategies in certain circles of women. I am very afraid that in this research he will eventually find someone else. I have always supported him and we talked a lot about this issue. He is sincere with me, but at the same time I am very fearful that our relationship will be compromised…
What do I do in this situation? —Sofia

Dear Sofia,

There’s some information left out of your question that makes it difficult to give the most accurate dating advice.

How old are you? How old is Luis? Are you living together? And how are you doing financially?

All of this matters.

Sure, there are lots of people who give dating advice, but how many of them have you heard of? How many of them give good advice that makes you think or makes you laugh?

Because if you’re over 30 and you’ve been together for four years, you should be moving in together, getting engaged and locking it in — if, of course, marriage is something you desire.

If you’re under 30, I would probably just move in together to see what life looks like as a married couple. I know this isn’t your question; it’s just relevant when we’re assessing Luis’ maturity and career prospects.

So let me tell you something about being a dating coach: there aren’t very many successful dating coaches. Sure, there are lots of people who give dating advice, but how many of them have you heard of? How many of them give good advice that makes you think or makes you laugh? How many of them are making a good living, full-time, at this dating coach thing. Not many at all.

I’m extremely lucky that:

a) I got in early, before everyone in the world thought he/she could be a dating coach.
b) I’m an actual writer, not a dating coach who happens to write.
c) I had two “real” books and a lot of media attention to validate me.
d) I started a blog 5 years ago that got over a million viewers last year.
e) I have a crazy work ethic.
f) I figured out what I was doing wrong in love, admitted my failures, and chose my wife.

Without ALL of those things, I might not be a dating coach. Before you encourage Luis to pursue his passion, make sure he has the goods. He better be a great writer, a hard worker, amazing on camera, technologically savvy, and say something that we haven’t heard before.

Oh, and that’s the last thing that makes me worry about Luis:

He’s not a dating coach the way I’m a dating coach. My job is to help women understand and relate to men. What’s Luis’ job description that worries you so much?

It’s not dating coach.

It’s Pick-up Artist!

I talk on the phone with women around the world. We log into, look up cute guys, flirt with them, and talk about what’s happening on their dates.

Pick up artists go up to strange women wherever they are in order to a) get their number and/or b) sleep with them.

Hmmm. Which sounds like a better bet if you’re the patient girlfriend?

My concern, frankly, isn’t that Luis is going to fall in love with someone whom he’s “sarging” at Starbucks. It’s that his entire persona and lifestyle will be wrapped up in the active pursuit of other women. And even if it’s for educational purposes — even if he loves you and is pure of heart — he’s putting himself continually around a lot of temptation.

Pick up artists go up to strange women wherever they are in order to a) get their number and/or b) sleep with them.

Me? I work from home. I’ve got a kid. I live in the suburbs. I rarely go out without my wife. And even though I’m one helluva flirt, I’m about a safe as men come. In Luis’ role as a pick-up artist, he’s going to be about as risky as they come.

I know I’ve hijacked your question a bit, Sofia, but my bigger concern for you is not your boyfriend’s fidelity, but his income stream.

The PUA market is so oversaturated with guys who learn others’ techniques and recycle them under new names/brands that I would guess it would be hard to make a name and a living.

Why would anyone go to Luis when they could go to Neil Strauss or Love Systems or Pickup101 or David Wygant?

Until your boyfriend answers that question — how he’s going to differentiate himself from the hundreds of other guys doing the exact same thing — I don’t think you have all that much to worry about.

Join our conversation (16 Comments).
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  1. 1
    my honest answer

    I do agree with your advice. But I also think that just because there are lots of people already doing something, it doesn’t mean there is nothing new to add. No-one would ever start a clothing business, for example, if that were the case, because there already are so many.
    But that doesn’t mean this guy should be a dating coach.

  2. 2

    …he trains approximation strategies in certain circles of women.” Huh?

  3. 3

    I don’t recommend moving in together if they are both in their 20s. Guys who live with their parents up until they move in with their 1st serious girlfriend almost never learn to do for themselves. They can’t cook, they can’t do laundry, they don’t know what a vacuum cleaner is for. A guy needs to live alone, independently, for at least a year, to learn essential life skills. Otherwise, she’ll be moving in with a man child who will just create a lot of drudgery work for her.
    Over 30 – moving in is trickier, as people tend to own real estate. I wouldn’t even consider selling my house to move in with a guy, unless we were already married. It’s way too much to ask!!! Selling your house and moving all your stuff out is a major big deal – much more so than moving from a one bedroom rental or college dorm into another apartment.

  4. 4

    @Vicki 3

    Why don’t girls who live with their parents until they move in with their first boyfriends have this same problem? You might be right, but I think parents who don’t make their kids learn to clean and cook and fend for themselves regardless of gender are dropping the ball.

    Also…really?   20’s covers a whole decade.   Do you think someone who is 28 is still living with their parents?   That is a red flag right there, even in this economy.

  5. 5

    @ Vicky #3:

    Why would you sell your house to move in with a guy?   Rent it out.

  6. 6

    If you’re threatened by your mate’s dream, there’s either a problem with you or there’s a problem with your relationship.

    If you cannot support your honey’s dream- for any reason, let them go.

    You have no idea how good they will be at a thing until they do it. You’re not married. This is his time to pursue his passion and take those risks before you’re married, before you have kids and tons of other responsibilities. If he fails, so what. At least he tried and he will know that you supported him. That will mean more to him than anything.

    My recent ex told me my goals and dreams were a fantasy and then broke up with me. She gave the occasional, “you can do it honey” a few times over our year together, but was usually so self absorbed in her own work, worries and fears that I never fully felt her support. You don’t have to understand every detail of someones business, but you can’t be a dark cloud hanging over their head when they are going after their dream. His job is to find his way and your job is to encourage him.

    If you don’t believe in him after 4 years, there is something wrong with you, your relationship, or both. You may not get it, but you have no right to ask him not to pursue his dream. Whether he fails or succeeds, he will never forget that you supported him (or if you didn’t).

    And for those of you with a dream, if your honey doesn’t encourage you towards your dreams every single day, your chances of succeeding are greatly diminished.

  7. 7

    Seriously right?
    I have plenty of friends who still own and rent out the houses that they were living in before they were married.   I also know people who bought extra houses as rental property AFTER getting married if the husband or wife already had purchased a home.   

    Unless you need the money or it somehow becomes a burden why would you even bother considering that it can be a good source of additional income and a tax write-off?     

  8. 8

    I think this is what’s going to happen in the future. Women who have jobs will reject   most of men and by the time they are ready to settle men will reject them because they are not in their prime. So two things will happen. Society will stop mating and/or men will start importing women from developing countries that have no other choices. Either way the future is hardly bright…capitalistic system of grass is greener and choices are infinite is screwing us all up.

  9. 9

    Bravo Evan! Evan’s right. The first question I thought of was how old are these 2? Trying to be a professional (making  your living)”dating coach/PUA” at this point in the world is like TRYING to be a professional musician. Get it. Music is free, so is tons of dating advice all over the internet. So the odds of Sofia’s beau becoming “successful” meaning earning a living is possible but not that probable unless he’s going to do it “on the side” for many years before he “makes it” while he works….dare I say it…. A REAL JOB.

  10. 10

    This is just my personal, attitude-filled opinion, but I wouldn’t want to be involved with a man whose career or passionate hobby was researching how to pick up chicks.  
    I think EMK gave the good, measured, fair, professional answer, and I agree with his reasons, but I’d like to add: Yuck!   Your boyfriend enjoys pursuing women so much, and thinks himself so skilled at it, that he not only doesn’t want to give it up despite having found you, but he wants to turn it into a career and is hoping you’ll endorse it?   Honestly, I think I’d rather just have a husband with a respectable job who flirts with Starbucks baristas without my ever knowing it.

  11. 11
    Some other Steve

    Were I a woman, I’d probably worry that the fellow would be beta testing new techniques before teaching them…

  12. 12

    Hey Evan, I think you gotta get over this thing where everyone’s dying to get married. Lots of us really, truly aren’t. I mean I know that’s your clientele, but there are plenty of actual grownups who have no problem committing to other people while maintaining their own houses/apts and not being interested in the legal tomfoolery. Or having good reason to avoid it.
    I could meet the GreatestGuyEverTM tomorrow, and I still wouldn’t want him moving in. Or to move in with him. I like my house, and no, I don’t want another grownup living here in it, man or woman. I think the default charge when people say that to the marriage-minded is “oh, you’re just selfish”, but I think you’d have a tough time making that stick to a single mom who’s shaped her life around her kid’s wellbeing.  
    Anyway, if chica here is worried about her guy, it’s simple: Follow him and see what he does. If he’s all flirtalicious with his clients, refuse the excuses and say goodbye. It’s also possible that the clients don’t actually exist, he’s unemployed, and he’s spending his days mooching around town.  
    As for room in the market: I used to work in corporate valuation, gauging companies’ worth by (in part) checking their position in markets against others. Business owners almost never have a clear-eyed view of the lay of their competitive land. Here’s what I see in industry after industry: There’s room for about a zillion copycats, because in the end what counts is marketing and the ability to take an opportunity, and it’s a big world with lots of opportunity. And in the end most people aren’t looking to make huge bucks; they’ll settle for getting by and hobby businesses. There’s getting-by and hobby money out there for lots and lots of people.

  13. 13

    FWIW, there is a difference between a pickup artist and a dating coach.   Read the book “The Game”, it is the best of the genre and the rest are essentially poor copycat works.   In the book, pickup artists focus exclusively on getting phone numbers only.     Even the star pickup artists in the book do not know what to do with women and their own happiness after that.   The book honestly portrays them as fumbling around.

  14. 14

    I am currently in the same boat and don’t know what to make of this situation. My boyfriend of 3 years now spent his life as a geek with no social skills so he did alot of research which is what he is great at to become the man with the skills he is and has today. He is currently working a good 9-5 but he claims he is so gifted in this field that he just wants to make it an internet business and help guys. My boyfriend is not at all a pickup artist but he calls his field a Self help coach who can help with attracting hot women for friends and getting what he wants. We have a cute story we met in Las Vegas while he was working there and I was at the end of my marriage and things escalted while I was vacationing. 2 years later we met up again as friends and then Surprisingly he moved back to our hometown and we started to date. He is amazing person with a big heart and his intentions are just to help but by helping he has to day game and night game and as She mentioned in the above, The thought of what he has to do to demonstrate and knowing he is putting himself out there for the world as a percieved single man doesn’t sit right with me and really bothers me.

  15. 15

    What the fuck? Women, if your supposed “boyfriend” dares to call himself of pickup artist under your tenure consider yourself a moron for letting him piss all over you like that. Honestly, if you let him, it’s your own damn fault. 🙁

  16. 16
    Joe Fratelli

    You are assuming that Luis is going to be a Pickup Artist because Sofia is alluding to that in her letter. But I’m not sure. I am a men’s coach, not a pickup artist. I do a very similar job as you do, only for men who find themselves a little scared or feel awkward around woman. Most of my clientele are great guys, they just get so nervous around women that they (as I like to say) can’t get out of their own way. There is a real need for men who can mentor men. Some of your concerns are legitimate. In fact I don’t do this full time, but I do it because I get so much more gratification out to helping a man find the love of his life then money can buy. Your article smacks of siding with a stereotypical opinion for self-promotion. There is a saying I use when working with men “Commitment BEFORE ego”. You have committed your life to helping women, but this article doesn’t necessarily fulfill that commitment. There are a few reasons why you don’t hear of a lot of successful Dating Coaches, a lot use an alias due to prejudice that you perpetuate in this article.

    Let me help to clear things up. Men don’t usually get the hint when you are alluding to a question, so be direct. Ask Luis a few questions…
    Have you drafted a list of ethics that you will work by? I have a Ethical Doctrine in my agreement with men. It includes moral statements that I will no bend or break. If the men I’m working with can’t abide by this agreement I won’t work with them.
    What will be your specialty? In every industry there are niches. If you’re a Doctor, you could be a General Practitioner, Otolaryngology, Urology, etc… Find out what he wants to specialize in. If he doesn’t know, he should really rethink it.
    What type of training are you planning? What certification? There are many training and certification programs for Dating Coaches, Life Coach, Personal Coach, Relationship Coach, … All of them have a structured training program, some better than others. This will give Luis a good idea of what he’s getting himself into.
    How much are you willing to give away? When you first start working on this endeavor, you give A LOT of your time away for free. You receive calls at all hours of the day; have to schedule appointments during lunch, weekends, nights, anytime the client is free. This can put pressure on all relationships in the Coaches life.
    Think along these lines and you’ll come up with your own questions. Some of what Evan said was true, this business take a lot of time, with little pay off. It takes years to build up a good reputation. But like I said, there are things more important than money.
    Good Luck!

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