Do You Stay or Do You Go?

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If you’ve ever asked yourself how long you should wait, or how much you should put up with from a man, this blog post is for you.

In fact, I’m going to give away, in the next 1000 words, the fundamental principle that I use for all of my dating coaching clients.

If you are dating and routinely questioning your own judgment with men, I can help.

What I want to talk about today is a phenomenon that comes up all the time in dating coaching: how do you know what behavior to tolerate from men?

As a man, I wasn’t sure I could be entirely objective about this… not until I learned that I have much better radar than most of my women clients.

Colleen went out with a man who lied about his age by 8 years, and then complained on the first date that he hadn’t had sex in 2 years. He couldn’t stop talking about how unfair it was to be an older man who wanted to sleep with younger women.

The thing for you to distinguish is whether a man is having a bad moment, or whether he’s a bad man for you. They’re two different things, entirely.

She was going to give this man a second date!

Michaela was corresponding with a man online. He told her he was going to make plans with her, and then disappeared without a trace. He came back two months later and did the same thing a second time. Then he came back a THIRD time.

She gave him another shot. He disappeared AGAIN.

So when I’m talking about how my radar is better than yours, it’s not because I’m smarter or more experienced…it’s because I’m a MAN.

And, as a man — a self-aware, moral man who always sought love – I can tell you if it’s a forgivable offense, or if you should cut him loose right there.

I am, in no way, an apologist for men.

I’ve done plenty of things that SHOULD have gotten me cut loose, but didn’t…

And I’ve done plenty of things that SHOULDN’T have gotten me cut loose, but did.

The thing for you to distinguish is whether a man is having a bad moment, or whether he’s a bad man for you. They’re two different things, entirely.

We ALL have lapses when someone could judge us harshly.

Imagine you were out with a man and you got on the topic of dating. And, somehow, organically, he asked you about your ex — the one who cheated on you with your best friend. It’s still raw, it’s still painful, and you never did forgive him.

And because your date is so cute and such a good listener, you feel comfortable telling him the truth about your ex — that he was really a jerk, who completely disappointed you and destroyed your trust in men. You share how you’ve tried to get over him for two years, and although you occasionally check his Facebook page (don’t we all!), you’re finally ready for a real, healthy relationship.

Would you be surprised if this guy said to himself, “Whoa! This woman has some serious relationship and trust issues, not to mention a lot of unresolved anger towards men. I think I’m going to pass on her.” No, you would not be.

But he’d also be missing out on you — smart, attractive, kind, wonderful you — and all because you were honest about your conflicted feelings towards your ex.

Wouldn’t it be a shame if you got judged for that one minor lapse on the date?

Yeah, it’s the same thing for us.

We’re not perfect gentlemen.
We’re not mind readers.
We usually say what we think — even if you don’t like it or agree.

We want to have sex but we also want to find love — and we want to do it at our own pace.

And sometimes, because we are independently thinking creatures, we’re going to do something that really pisses you off.

Commenting on another woman’s looks.
Moving too fast sexually.
Failing to do something you want, like picking up a check, opening a car door, or figuring out our future instantly after date 1.

These may be bad moments; they are not necessarily bad men.

You are entitled to break up with a guy who does these things, in hopes of finding a man who never, ever pisses you off…but that’s the wrong kind of calculus.

I know lots of men who flirt with other women, move fast sexually, and fail to intuit every womanly need you have. That’s because I’m one of those men.

And the only reason I get to give advice to you is because I had SO much experience and SO much feedback that I was better able to learn how to please.

The couples that make it are the ones who don’t sweat the small stuff; and don’t tolerate the big stuff.

Even today, as someone who coaches women in understanding men for 4 hours a day, I STILL do things that makes my wife cringe. I’m grateful that she sees the good in me, rather than focusing on the bad.

So what shouldn’t you put up with?

The couples that make it are the ones who don’t sweat the small stuff; and don’t tolerate the big stuff. But those aren’t always obvious.

A guy who finds other women attractive doesn’t necessarily have a character flaw. He’s a man. He’s attracted to other women. But if he’s going home with you, you probably shouldn’t care too much.

</divIt’s the man who ACTS on his flirtatiousness — who has strange women sitting on his lap, who gets phone numbers, who exhibits blatant unfaithful tendencies — that’s the guy you drop like a bad habit.

The man who moves too fast sexually is also known as…a man. If he wants to have sex, he’s acting in his own self-interests, just as you are by denying him. You need to let him know that you’re attracted to him, that you’re working at your own pace, and that if you reach the point where you’re in a committed relationship, you’d love to sleep with him.

The man who refuses to accept this explanation, that’s the guy you dump.

The man who keeps his online dating profile up after a great date isn’t necessarily a bad guy. It means he’s popular and he’s keeping his options open — just like you. So forgive him if he doesn’t cut off all the other women in his life within the first few days of meeting you.

By the same token, if you’re seeing him for 8 weeks, and he’s not escalating his efforts to commit to you, the writing’s on the wall. Leave him.

See, it’s easy to blow up every behavioral misstep as a larger pattern. Especially looking backwards on a failed relationship.

But the couples that make it are the ones who don’t sweat the small stuff; and don’t tolerate the big stuff.

The big stuff is how kind and consistent he is to you. The small stuff is everything else.

Do that, and you can be your own dating coach.

Join our conversation (59 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 21
    kenley

    I don’t feel it’s accurate to suggest that many men don’t let women be who they are. I’ve seen plenty of men who allow women to be themselves.   I actually think that sometimes women aren’t themselves because they are afraid of how they THINK their guy will respond, and they are often projecting their own feelings onto guys. I’ve experienced this myself.   

      

  2. 22
    Theresa H

    Such a great post Evan…I’m a dating moron and agonise about this stuff all the time..

  3. 23
    Blue

    I hope that my guy DOES find other women attractive.   After all, I haven’t and won’t  shut my eyes and will  continue to appreciate looking at men..doesn’t mean I am sneaking them into the bathroom to throw down.  

    I do not understand how we as women, can hold double standards for men, yet act completely appalled when they do the same.  

    EMK~   LOVED this article.   I, too, would be interested to hear from the lovely Mrs. Katz.  

    All in all, it’s how a man makes you FEEL, not what he does..If what he does makes you feel horrible, then you know what to do.

    I love the eight week “timeline”.   My life and my time is precious and I certainly won’t be wasting anymore of it with a man who doesn’t feel it for me.     His not choosing to commit to me isn’t my fault or about me at all…it’s just simply what does it for him…and that is okay.   Next!

  4. 24
    JoJo

    Evan, what about the man such as in Michaela’s case who maks plans and doesn’t follow through.   Is that a man having a bad moment? or is that a man who’s not interested and shouldbe cut loose?   I’ve had this happen to me and I try to be patient and understanding, but at what point do you say enough!

  5. 25
    Sherell

    What does decide to be your boyfriend men?   Hmmm I am just past the 8 week mark and perfectly happy.   No verbal declaration of boyfriend/girlfriend, but at our age I would say we are SO’s when it happens. But we talk almost everyday, see each other regularly, he initiates all dates and offers to pay 99% of the time.   Always tries to please me and last week we went on a 4 day trip out of town and he covered the airfare and hotel.   IMO as long as he continues in this direction, I will judget him by his actions and let him pursue me.   In some cases I suspect it takes more then 8 weeks but I agree with Evan regarding when to hold and when to fold!!!

  6. 26
    Goldie

    Here’s one thing I do when in doubt – I compare the life I had with my ex to what I will have with the guy if I stick around. Was I better off with the ex? If he saw the two of us, and could put all emotions behind him and assess me and the new guy rationally as a couple, would he say, “oh, I understand, they’re a much better fit than she and I ever were”, or would he roll his eyes and say, “Gee, she left me to be with this dude, who treats her like this?” In second case, no matter how attached I am to the guy and how great of a guy he generally is, time to walk.
      
    Another thing I wanted to add, it’s not necessarily always because the guy is evil that he treats the woman badly, or, I’d rather say, treats her in ways she cannot tolerate. Sometimes people are just not compatible. Like, in Evan’s example (#9), personally I’m at my most comfortable with outgoing, social guys. Like Evan pointed out, this means that the guy will be surrounded by women at parties. Cannot say I enjoy it, but that’s something I have to accept, unless I want a guy instead who doesn’t like to socialize and meet new people. On the other hand, to an introverted woman who is best compatible with an introverted guy, behavior like Evan’s would probably be a deal-breaker, not because it’s bad, but because she’d be highly uncomfortable and unhappy with it.
      
    The general principle stated in the post applies to all of us, but the details, IMO, will differ based on our personalities and family situations. For instance, re #6, personally it makes a lot more sense to me that the guy chose to pay his daughter’s college tuition rather than saving for his and his gf’s future, than it would’ve the other way around. Sorry, but my kids’ education comes first, and I expect the men that I meet to be responsible fathers to their children as well. Of course, in the situation described in #6, the guy would’ve lost me at “five hours away”…

  7. 27
    Teresa

    I read somewhere that the deciding factor on whether to stay or go is

    “How do you feel about yourself when you are with this person?”

  8. 28
    nathan

    @27 “But we talk almost everyday, see each other regularly, he initiates all dates and offers to pay 99% of the time.   Always tries to please me and last week we went on a 4 day trip out of town and he covered the airfare and hotel.   IMO as long as he continues in this direction, I will judget him by his actions and let him pursue me. ”  
    So, what if he comes to you at some point in the near future and says “can we start sharing the expenses of this relationship?”
    I don’t know. When someone constantly tries to please me and/or pay for everything while with me, I kind of wonder what’s going on. And while I know that some women still love having a man who will do all the planning, paying, and basically driving the whole relationship, I tend to question whether such arrangements actually last over the long run. What’s sexy in the beginning can become suffocating fairly quickly.
    I had a woman who acted very much like your man for the month or so we were together. I was pretty young at the time. I also didn’t have a lot of income, and she was significantly older than me, so I went along with it because I liked her. But then I started to get the sense that our relationship was more about being a cure for her loneliness than developing a partnership. She liked the idea of me she had in her mind, but really didn’t see who I really was. And when I tried to turn the tables and assert myself in the relationship, she didn’t take it well. Because she really didn’t want me as a partner – she wanted a kept lover.
    Hopefully, I’m reading your situation wrong. But it sounded too familiar to me to not comment on.
      

  9. 29
    Sherell

    @ Nathan Lol!!!!!You are so reading my situation wrong.   I have a very active life,   full of family and friends.    We both enjoy our lives outside of our relationship We both make a very good living and I offer to pay many times and  most   times he says no.    But There are times when I pay.     I love that he takes the lead in many things but often decisions are  based on our conversations.    Ours is a true partnership.  
    I truly  accept, appreciate, admire, encourage and trust him.   And he  respects, cares,   understands and is devoted to me.   I hope it continues

  10. 30
    jack

    starthrower:

    Compared to me, most men look like quite a catch, purveyeor of conversational vinegar that I am.

    As far as suggesting that I desire women to be talked down to like “bad little children”, I think we both know that this is a clear mischaracterization of my point. I was quite clear that both sexes need to undestand that they have flaws.

    I’m not sure what you hope to accomplish by mischaracterizing my point, unless it is an attempt to shut down discussion. You should google the phrase “catalog of shaming language”.

  11. 31
    starthrower68

    jack, “shaming language” psycho-babble is nothing more than a technique designed to shut down the opponent because *nowhere* did i “shame” you. and as i stuck up for men in another post, quite frankly that technique falls rather flat since i’m not bashing men. but as evan has done quite well for himself, his approach must be working for him. but please do tell how he should do it better.

  12. 32
    nathan

    #31 “We both make a very good living and I offer to pay many times and  most   times he says no.    But There are times when I pay.     I love that he takes the lead in many things but often decisions are  based on our conversations.” Well, this definitely presents a better image than I had from what you first wrote.

  13. 33
    Ronnie Ann Ryan - The Dating Coach

    Evan – this is a fabulous post. I am in complete agreement with you. This is the type of thing I share with my dating coaching clients too –  women who are over 40. It is amazing what women (and men) will put up with and make excuses for. Sometimes when the heart is involved, common sense goes out the window. That’s why my advice is to date with your HEAD and your heart to make better decision. Thanks for explaining things so masterfully.

  14. 34
    starthrower68

      @ nathan #31, i find that sometimes i write a post a little too quick because the mind moves quicker than the fingers and while i understand what i am trying to convey it reads differently than my original intent. that would explain why evan thought i misunderstood him in my first response. i in no way believe the lovely mrs. katz is a doormat. based on how evan speaks of her, she seems very warm and down to earth. now, it does make it easier to be open when a man acts with integrity but i realize we have to be open first and trust. there’s not guarantee a good man who behave with integrity will want to be your boyfriend but if we follow what evan says the chances are a lot better. y’all have to be patient with me as i’m still learning. i was not a dater in my teens and 20’s as i started dating my ex at 16 and we were married with 2 babies by the time i was 26. i’ve had to learn alot about others and do a lot of work on myself. i’m still at it!

  15. 35
    nathan

    Starthrower – what you write makes sense to me, but maybe you’re speaking to someone else? I was responding to Sherell’s posts.

  16. 36
    Annie

    @36

    Heheh…internet chat’s can go like that. I find if I don’t sit there and re-read what I’ve written a gazillion times, it ends up sounding nothing like I intended..lol!!

    I get your point too though, sounds like you guys are doing well 🙂

  17. 37
    starthrower68

    @ nathan 37,

    LOL see, I did it right there!   I was just commenting that before Sherrell clarified her situation with her bf, it “read” a bit different than maybe what she was actually conveying, that’s all.   I was commenting on your sentence that “this presents a better image than I had from what you first wrote”. 🙂  

  18. 38
    Darren Miller

    A reply by my girlfriend:

    I found myself in this predicament last year. My boyfriend wasn’t exactly behaving like a boyfriend should. He just let me down time after time, yet again and again I would forgive him. I convinced myself that he was having a ‘bad moment’ and would become that loving boyfriend that I knew he could be.

    However, after nearly 8 months of him neglecting and disrespecting me I finally looked at it from an outside point of view. Yes, I loved this man, but if it was my friend in this situation what would I advise her? Of course, I would have told her to get shot of him a long time ago. This is what I would have to do…

    I think this is a good piece of advice when you are trying to decide whether to stay or go. What would you advise your friend to do if she was in this situation?

  19. 39
    jack

    I already made my point to EMK in my first comment. I can’t make it any clearer, Starthrower.
      
    If you cannot apprehend my point from the comments I have made previously, then so be it.

  20. 40
    starthrower68

    @ Jack #41,

    Wow.   Just…..wow…….  

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