Are You Like the Man That You Don’t Want to Date?

Are You Like the Man That You Don’t Want to Date?

As you may know, I was an early adopter of online dating. Even though it was 1997, and I was only 25, it was far easier for me to get the guts to approach women via email than to risk getting shot down in person.

Years passed and I honed my skills, to the point where I was actually quite good at getting women to respond to me. But one thing hadn’t changed at all:

I was miserable.

I was a struggling screenwriter with a slacker writing partner, an indifferent agent, and no commercial successes to my name. To pay the bills, I sold shady hair restoration products over the phone in a boiler room.

Do you think that the right man will be able to see through this façade of negativity? That he’ll ignore the fact that you’re unhappy and bitter?

And although I fancied myself to be relatively cute, funny, and charming, nothing seemed to overcome the fact that I was pulling in less than $35,000/year all through my 20’s. My life seemed to be study in frustration, failure, and impotence.

One night, when I was talking to a German girl with strawberry blond hair whom I met through JDate, it all came to a head. I was talking on the phone with her, sharing details of my day job, my career, and my endless frustrations with life in Hollywood.

She listened patiently and then finally cut me off with this cutting line:

“You don’t need a girlfriend. You need a shrink!”

I’m sure I fought back. I’m sure I told my friends how rude she was. I’m sure this further cemented my story of awful Los Angeles JDate women.

But the truth is that she was RIGHT.

My negative outlook on the world seeped into my every word and action. I was a depressed and beaten man, and while I wanted to be light and free, I just couldn’t help myself. I was hoping that my dates would get a look of the goodness inside of me, but all they could see was my thick layer of hurt.

So take a look in the mirror.

Are you anything like me?

Do you complain about dating? Work? Men? Life?

Do you worry about wasting your time on the wrong men?

Do you go on dates with no emotional investment, just looking for faults that will allow you to not go out with him ever again?

Do you think that the right man will be able to see through this façade of negativity? That he’ll ignore the fact that you’re unhappy and bitter? That he’ll break down your walls because, at heart, you’re so kind and giving and brilliant?

Think again.

A happy, healthy man is not going to climb your emotional walls, wait for you to come out of your shell, and put up with your trust and fear issues. He’s going to find a happy woman who loves him and trusts him and makes him want to be a giver.

If you’re not finding this man in your dating life, I’m not going to say you need a shrink, but I will say you can use a shift in perspective.

I got mine in December of 2009.

My 40-year-old wife suffered her second miscarriage.

My mom decided to separate from her husband.

My home was robbed and over $30,000 in jewelry, watches and Christmas presents were stolen.

I’m not talking about getting caught in traffic or getting an unhelpful customer service representative from AT&T. I’m talking about 3 important emotional issues surrounding every aspect of life — love, trust, safety, family, future.

Just think of all of the ways I could have reacted to this flurry of events.

A happy, healthy man is not going to climb your emotional walls, wait for you to come out of your shell, and put up with your trust and fear issues.

I could have been depressed. I could have been cold. I could have strained my marriage. I could have questioned the point of commitment.

Many couples have been similarly tested and ended up falling apart.

My wife and I didn’t let the circumstances shake us. We pulled together. We got stronger. We didn’t even mourn and cry. We just moved on, believing that we could only control what we could control and needed to let go of the rest.

We did and we are now thriving as a boring, upper-middle class suburban family.

Today, I want you to take a good look at how you’re handling the emotional circumstances surrounding your love life.

Are you letting it beat you down?

Are you letting it put you in your shell?

Are you letting it keep you from being free and open with men?

If so, you’re no different than those sad men who have no idea how they’re coming across on dates with you. And it’s time to do something different.

If you want to relax, find peace and understand men, click here to find out more about Why He Disappeared.

And if you’ve already read Why He Disappeared, please check out the recommended books on my bibliography. I’ve read all of them myself and feel that The Untethered Soul is the best one for getting over negativity and Marry Him is the best example of my coaching philosophy.

But really, anything on there will be useful to you. Let me know what books have helped you find contentment and love. I’m always trying to learn more myself…

Join our conversation (31 Comments).
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  1. 1

    Actually Evan, I know a lot of guys who do just what you were describing. A LOT. I got detailed stories about how much alimony a dude had to pay his ex. Lots of stories about how crazy their exes are. How dating’s been a struggle. It just left me wondering if all there were, were mean, bitter, cranky divorced men out there.

    Now as far as women go, oh I’m sure there are some who do. Not all of us, though. Matter of fact, it was a good long while before I talked to my boyfriend about my struggles with depression in detail. And there are still a lot of things he doesn’t know about me, and we’ve dated six months. I have learned that guys seem to want to run at any hint of drama and I’m just not interested in giving a guy any kind of fuel for a fire, to have him abandon me or throw things in my face.

  2. 2

    Even though I didn’t share my struggles with anyone I just started dating, I used to be in that place Evan describes. I moved to a big east coast city where I didn’t know anyone after college and was working at a prestigious company, but nothing — and I mean NOTHING– was going right for me. The job was not fulfilling, and it seemed impossible to make friends, and I was making in the 40,000s in a very expensive city.

    I tried dating but continued experiencing the endless rejection. I’m a very sensitive person and there were so many days I just hoped I would get hit by a bus. I was young and pretty and working at one of the top companies in my profession on one of the top cities on America and I was a broken, beaten person.

    Finally, I realized that improving my life was a bigger priority than finding a bf or even advancing my career. So this year I moved to a random city in the middle of nowhere, took a less pretigious job at a higher salary . My social life and mental health drastically improved. Now, my focus is on having a good social life and I do go out on dates regularly but it’s not my number one thing. Being in a new city has prompted me to look at men as potential friends, not husbands.

    If you’re really feeling that dispirited, it doesn’t matter if you keep it from your date — you have bigger problems you need to focus on and are probably trolliing as a distraction.

  3. 3

    For all that “He’s Just Not That Into You” got the movie deal & has become a catchphrase in dating lingo, the follow-up book “It’s Called A Break-up Because It’s Broken” is (in my opinion) even more insightful and – for a lot of singles – contains essential advice and techniques for the all important “getting over it & moving on”.

    What makes the difference between this book & others on the same topic is that it is written by both a man and a women (Greg Behrendt & his wife Amiria), and includes multiple personal stories that show that it’s not just women who suffer heartbreak or struggle to move on – men do too.

    They did co-author a subsequent book “It’s Just A Date” – which I happened to find in my old local library when on vacation in South Africa a month ago. It looks like only a UK edition of this book has been published – which is a pity, because there’s a lot of good stuff in this book too, which (IMHO) is totally relevant to the US market. But you can get used copies of the UK edition of Amazon for pretty reasonable prices.

  4. 4

    @ Mia:

    Yep, I agree with you. When asked by guys about my divorce and why I was divorced, I told them, but I didn’t boo-hoo about it. I just said the guy was an abusive asshole, I got out, and moved on with my life. End of story, and then I’d try to change the subject to something else. I’d heard so many rants from guys about how we women are all crazy, we all whine, blah blah freakin blah, that I just thought OK, keep personal struggles to yourself, your date does not care. Heaven forbid you share anything, or else you’ll be branded crazy, LOL.

    I had one guy tell me on the first date, that his pastor told him it was OK to leave his ex wife because his wife being whiny was considered “adultery” as in “ruining the marriage.” GULP. That did not go very far, thank heavens, the guy turned out to be a very shallow, selfish jerk.

    I’m sure my guy would tell you that while I will talk to him about things, often I just keep my own counsel. Easier to do that, than to have anyone, man or woman, use that information against you later down the road. People can be cruel, and when they learn your weak spots, will often use your weak spots against you.

  5. 5

    I agree with Mia @2. If you are that depressed or “broken”, the advice of “keeping it light and fun” on a date is not going to be productive because there are deeper problems to resolve before entering a new relationship.

    Depending on the depth, severity, and chronicity of these problems, you may need anything from some time out or focusing on other life areas, to solid self-help books study or professional help.

    If you were a victim of abuse, or have experienced one or more serious life stresses such as divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, etc, you may need professional help to address them and resolve them. Not because “something is wrong with you”, but because you need the focused attention and advice that only a specialist can give in person.

    When you become open, hopeful, and trusting again, then going back to the dating road can be considered, and very naturally your new sense of well-being will shine through, depsite the occasional low that any human being experiences once in a while. At that point, and at that point only, the advice of not letting yourself vent out negative stuff while on dates and “keeping it light and fun” makes sense.

    There is a difference between being occasionally down and being chronically negative and broken. For some, a “ah-ah moment” triggered by a discussion or a blog post is enough to change perspective. For others, more in depth inner-work – perhaps with a professional – is required.

    Readers’ comments illustrate pretty well examples of people who have truly resolved past wounds and those still functioning from a place of hurt and distrust.

    Just two cents.

  6. 6

    Heather and Mia: This is my take, as a guy…

    Yes, we are evaluating you as to whether letting you into our lives will tun out well or not, just as you are evaluating whether letting us to your lives will turn out well or not. I can speak from experience though, I would NOT write a woman off for having gone through a rough break-up or otherwise a tough period of her life IF she was past and over that AND this sort of thing wasn’t some pattern for her. If you’ve gone through a tough time or one or two tough break-ups and you are past that, then that makes you human and it certainly does not mean you can’t be a great partner. You definitely can mention your tough time or tough break-up to me on the first date, but do it in a matter-of-fact way and don’t dwell on it.

    If say, a woman has always dated jerks though, then I would wonder about her people-picker and whether she needs drama in her dating life and even whether I’d have to deal with her cheating. So I’d cut her off. Self-protection mechanism, and a smart one at that.

    Also, there are several women whom I met from online who portrayed themselves one way–positive, upbeat, and energetic–but then when we met in person, they come across as gloomy and sad. They are NOT past the tough time in their life. That might be quite understandable, but besides thinking that this person isn’t really to date, I also leave the date feeling somewhat mislead. She represented herself one way when really she is another way, even if it is just for this time period. It might be like a guy showing up for a first date with you being only 5’8″ when he said he was 6’0″. There’s nothing morally wrong with being short, but you wish the guy was more straight with you about his height instead of lying to you.

  7. 7

    Well, sometimes I can barely handle dating bc I’m too soft-hearted to deal with so much pain and rejection. But I feel like if I don’t make an effort to go on regular dates I am wasting the most valuable years of my dating potential, being 2 months shy of my 28th bday.

    Normally I am good at pushing that pain of past rejection out of my head when I am on dates with people. I don’t date players or abusers- most men I’ve been with say I’m a wonderful woman who is beautiful. Yet there is always some reason they can’t be with me — and plenty of them have their own issues that are beyond my control. I have suffered a serious dating disappointment on average twice a year for the last decade.

    I think it’s bc I follow some parts of Evans advice TOO well and others badly. I am nearly as warm and welcoming with a new man as if I’ve never been hurt, am open to a variety of different types, and mirror. I just don’t cut them loose soon enough when they show they are not going to be my bf. I recently suffered one of my most devastating dating disappointments in years and am still going on dates today and tomorrow even though I feel sick to my stomach over being rejected by the guy of my dreams — i feel like taking a break is not going to help me feel better.

    Sometimes I feel cursed that I won’t ever get to experience the love and commitment that everyone else has, and I’ve been told by numerous people that there’s nothing really wrong with me. It must be bad luck, or a matter of numbers. I just force myself to push through the pain and get out there once again as best I can.

  8. 8


    Thank you for your candid and helpful thoughts. I think your perspective is one I will really think about before mentioning my divorce experience to dates.

    For me, I don’t even know how to explain the situation with my ex-husband to dates. Not only did he cheat on me and have a substance abuse problems, he got involved with one of my superiors in my large workplace and caused problems for me there. I kind of feel like saying to dates that it was a really bad experience and then leaving it at that, but the last guy I dated wondered why I didn’t emote about it and said he didn’t trust me because I didn’t cry or yell about it. For me, I can’t even begin to think about all the injustices of the situation because it is too overwhelming. For me, moving on means leaving it in the past. Don’t you think most guys should understand this and not expect me to jump up and down and cry about it?

    EMK, I really like what you had to say about putting your past in your past and moving on. Just a couple of days ago, I was working with a wonderful man whose ethic heritage is Middle Eastern. He’s a great person: pillar of the community, involved with his family and small business owner. He opened up to me and shared some of the discrimination that he’s experienced since 9-11 over the years. He’s constantly harassed every time he travels and he’s even experienced harassment by law enforcement officials at his business. It would have challenged me, but he told me that he forgives them, is determined to be a better person and tries to not let it get the best of him. I was blown away by his example. It provided a lot of inspiration for me to continue to keep my past in my past — right where it belongs.

  9. 9

    Nicely written! I keep running into the guy that is happy online but a real cranky complainer in life. I can’t help but lose interest as I sit and listen to his tale of woes (examples are; rough divorce, ex wife was on pills, she took everything, even the tool box and stove….). The question is trying to determine if I stick around for a few dates to see if he’s always like that, or cut bait and run. Frustrating!

  10. 10

    Sarahrarah #8

    “I kind of feel like saying to dates that it was a really bad experience and then leaving it at that, but the last guy I dated wondered why I didn’t emote about it and said he didn’t trust me because I didn’t cry or yell about it.”

    You can’t win, can you? If you were crying about it, someone else would think you were depressed or a drama queen. Sounds to me like you have a healthy perspective on an experience that must have been very painful, and therefore have the ability to learn from it and move on. That would seem to make you more trustworthy, in my book.

  11. 11

    My last date from online site presented himself as a happy chap, well over his divorce. After a 4th date, he sent me messages saying how lonely and empty he feels. How much he is missing me. Apparently had a cry too. Then he said that in the past he solved his problems with pills and alcohol. Now and this guy is a therapist! Thought I ain’t going to be one for him.

  12. 12

    Mia @7 I am the exact same age as you and from previous posts share some similar traits. I just wanted to say I feel for you and that it is so awful to feel like you’re just not getting something that everyone else seems to just know. Of course, that probably isn’t true but it certainly feels like it at times. We differ because I get past the dating stage but then I eventually end the relationship for reasons that are unclear to me. However, before this stage I went on plenty of dates and for some reason men would always act very interested in me and then turn around and ask my less threatening roommate out or something like that. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I think part of the problem is that it is hard for everyone to find someone to meaningfully connect with and in random forced dating it will be less likely than say meeting someone through a friend or shared activity. Also, your attractive qualities will open the door to plenty of dates but the vast majority just want those superficial things from you. You have the mixed blessing of having to wade through many men to find someone worth your time. Finally, as much as you think you’re not projecting your current negative state of mind to your dates, you probably are on some level. I bet if you stopped actively looking you would find someone. I don’t know why that always works but it does!

  13. 13

    Hey sarahrahrah! (always fun to say out your screen name, haha):

    Yes, SOME guys will hold it against you for not telling them your life story on the first date. Here’s the thing though. Those guys–the type who presses you for details about your divorce (or break-up for that matter) on a first date are showing bad boundaries, and are showing BIG red flags.

    The kind of guy you want to date–the mature type with good boundaries–cares only that you are ready to date again, and you have solid boundaries yourself. So tell your dates that your ex betrayed you and it was rough but you have moved on AND that you are ready and open to date again, and change the subject. If you and a guy don’t go out again because you didn’t “open up” to him on the first date (or even in the first month or two for that matter) about your divorce, then you dodged a bullet.

  14. 14

    This is totally applicable right now. I have been seeing an amazingly successful, kind, articulate and giving man for 8 weeks. There was no signs, I swear, that he had a past that was unresolved, other than the comment “I just ended a long term relationship.” When he flew in to see me, he was distant and I got the dreaded text “can we be friends I am having more of a problem with dealing with my past relationship then I thought I would.” I responded back by text “we are doing this by text?” He called me right back, we briefly talked and he seemed hurt, and totally consumed by this grief. I backed off and in two days he asked if he could cook me dinner. My ex boyfriend, now best friend, told me to remain open, while all my girlfriends were like: you don’t owe him anything he made this decision walk.

    The old me (right out of divorce and completely new to all of this), at the slightest hintof pulling back would have lashed out, tried to force the issue, or just generally had a f you, you’re iced attitude (sound familiar?). However the present me, with lots of work, was warm, thankful, appreciative and supportive. Most of all I listened to what he said and accepted it, rather than tried to change it, manipulate it, or think I could make it better with time and energy.

    The reality is that I had an awesome time with him, didn’t compromise myself or give too much.He pursued and courted me, and I mirrored back his behavior with a little less effort. He was honest and stand up with where he was at. He is just out of a long term relationship and started dating me a month after that (3 1/2 years). The break up was bad, like he left her
    in another state on vacation, and they haven’t talked since February. He reached out twice and she has written him off. He was lonely and heartbroken and thought he could swing himself back into dating, and casually he probably could. But then I came along. We could have had lots more dinners, maybe had sex, he would have called, texted and done what a boyfriend is suppose
    to do. But he wouldn’t be able to offer me the depth, and intmacy that I want. I want to love someone and be loved back, not just be with someone. He told me he is seeing a therapist next week, and he wants to be able to heal before taking on something else. Which was awesome. I don’t know if it will work but you never know. I certainly would not have worked it I employed the old stuff and I wouldn’t feel good about it. He has been wonderful since this talk and I think he appreciates there was no lashing out, and that I want him to take care of himself and his son before taking on me. His last email was “you are completely wonderful, I will work on all this I promise. Thank you for sticking with me.”

  15. 15

    Nobody should be verbally sharing their negativity on a date. But if you are unconsciously projecting negativity, I’m not sure what can be done. Getting your life together and trying to feel better about it is important, but I think you still need to continue going on dates weekly regardless of how you feel, bc you need to learn to feel better about dating by being in the field, not withdrawing from it.

    After this last painful breakup, the me from one and a half years ago would have locked myself in my bedroom all weekend drinking, eating pizza and watching sex and the city. But despite feeling like shit, I continue to accept invitations from nearly every man I meet, even if he’s unattractive. One or 2 dates a week doesn’t prevent me from continuing to sort through my own pressing life issues and keeps me in the game. I really believe in Rori Raye’s approach of getting out there and being in the company of men and developing healthier patterns for yourself even when you feel like a mess. Just put on a pretty dress, smile, don’t complain, and experience the nice man in front of you.

  16. 16

    @Michael17#6- so very, very well said!
    A book that I found really interesting (and helpful) is Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. It discuses adult attachment styles.
    When I first heard of this book I was so not interested- I could’ve cared less about attachment styles. When I finally got around to picking it up though I realized it was about so much more than that.

  17. 17

    Mia #15: I’m not sure I agree with you. The men you went out with probably felt that you led them on. I mean, you gave them the impression that you were available and open when in reality you were not. You’ve heard of karma, right?

    Jennifer #16 and Jen #9, thank you both!

  18. 18

    Rori Raye, is, in my opinion, a female version of the PUAs, the less ethical ones in fact. What do I mean by that? Well, the less ethical PUAs teach men how to act so that men get their sexual needs met by women, nevermind what the woman is looking for herself. You know, what to do so that she feels there is this amazing connection and chemistry between the two of you, and not that this is a show that the guy puts on weekly to get his physical needs met.

    Rori Raye teaches women how to act so that women get their emotional needs met by men, nevermind what the man is looking for himself. You know, how to carry yourself so that HE feels that you are going out with him because you’re actually interested in him, and NOT that you’re going out with him to get your attention/validation needs met.

    It’s not all bad. Many great guys get from PUA training that missing ingredient that gets that one great woman they’ve always wanted for a relationship, to bond with him. And I’m sure many wonderful women used Rori Raye’s teachings to become a better partner to a really lucky guy.

    Getting back to those women I went out with (in my post #6) who represented themselves one way in their emails and profile (adventurous, happy, and open) and who were really another way (hurting and really unavailable for anything except this one date), I would have rather we just had never gone out. As I said there, I left the date feeling mislead. There are other ways to heal than wasting other guys’ time and energy. The advice I gave in #6 was for women who are ALREADY more or less past their bad experience and who are truly available.

  19. 19

    Michael, I’m not leading anyone on. The men I accept social invitations from know I just moved to a new city and am simply interested in meeting new people. I usually give off a friend vibe if I get along with the guy but we seem to not have a romantic connection, and it’s not exactly like I’m breaking hearts here or have men beatingg down my door all hung up on me. Even if I’m upset about another guy, I’d be thrilled to meet someone and have a relationship, provided we take it slow.

    My point is, why would I take myself out of the dating field to sulk over a guy who rejected me? HE isn’t thinking about me one bit, and I’M trying to find someone who IS crazy about me. So I’d rather continue to date so as not to give him any power over my life, and that’s what I’d advise anyone else feeling negative about romantic rejections. Beats crying in your pajamas.

  20. 20

    Mia #19. OK, that’s cool. Glad to hear!

    Please take my #18 as my general musings of Rori Raye….

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