Do You Stay or Do You Go?


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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  1. 41
    Susan Blackburn

    Hi Evan! This is an AWESOME post! Thank you. As a love and marriage success coach for women, I couldn’t agree with your approach more. You and your wife have obviously got a great thing going and the women you coach are truly fortunate.

  2. 42

    I so needed to read this!     My awesomely odd  man did something so totally off the wall bizarre and I took it in stride  and played along.   My closest friends were up in arms insisting I needed to dump him.

    He introduced me to his brother with a name other than my own, same initials, different name!   It was like he had a panic attack, stuttered and it just happened.       It didn’t ruin my wonderful evening at all.

    I wasn’t upset until 2  friends made me upset.   These friends have crappy relationships.       I shared with another friend who has a wonderful marriage.   She and I got to laughing!

    After 7 months, this is the worst thing he’s ever done?     I’m keeping him!

    He feels badly, he expects me to give him grief about it.   That ain’t gonna happen!     I may poke fun at him once or twice, but only if he laughs.

  3. 43

    Great topic. I stumbled across this and it really hit home for me on a personal level. I had been dating a guy for 6 weeks and things were progressing at a reasonable pace. We spent time together in public, in the comforts of our homes and just enjoyed one another’s company. We met on an online dating site and through out the 6 weeks I noticed that he was frequently on the site. I did not bring this up because honestly I was still getting to know him and taking my time to evaluate “is this someone I would want to commit to?” After a month I really began to see myself with him and when the subject came up in a casual manner about our mutual interest for each other it was always confirmed. However after a great weekend of spending time with each other he kissed me goodbye on a Sunday morning and I did not hear a peep from him until Tue evening when I got a random one sentence e-mail about nothing substantial. Not a sorry I’ve been busy etc etc. Side note: During his period of silence I DID NOT call, email, text, twitter or communicate with him in anyway! Long story short I felt it was not polite behavior so I acknowledged his “one liner” email and then politely responded about how I felt with the email below. I gave him the choice and at the same time I showed that I have respect for myself. It’s better to be honest and stand up for what you want in a respectful way. Walking away with your pride is a much better feeling than being a “doormat” that collects his B.S. excuses for how & why! He found my email honest & refreshing…..and you know what he and I are “friends” who simply had bad timing in terms of finding each other.  Some men really don’t know what they want and they also don’t see how they are treating you till you say “hey you need to respect me” in a polite manner.  Being in control of you and your feelings, expectations is important. It’s all about  how you communicate it to the opposite sex……complicated art…..No joke!     
    Email:      “I greatly enjoy your company and have enjoyed getting to know you. I’m not trying to make things exclusive or put titles on each other but I do however think it’s important to communicate whether or not the interest is mutually there. If it’s not, let’s keep it as friends. I’m selective on who I choose to date and I have standards for how I am treated.   This is to open the door so that we can both be honest with each other, nothing more, nothing less.”      

  4. 44

    @ JoJo 26 in the opening post, the guy who   repeatedly didn’t follow through is the   man who needs to be dumped and isn’t having a “bad moment”.   Sounds like the same situation you’re dealing with. The one who just went on about having sex with younger women was just having a bad moment

       Nowadays I’m really big on seeing if guys follow through with making plans, calling if they tell me they are going to etc.   From time to time a guy may forget to do something, but if he is forgetting he had plans, sort of made a date then did nothing about it, did not cancel   properly, or seems to be into e-communication yet only sort of hints at getting together etc, those are all character flaws in my book.   And if the guy starts off that way, that’s totally a sign to run.   Actually that happened with me recently   and I have to give myself a hug because in the past I think I would’ve done what Michaela did– being patient and responsive to him, then have him make empty promises of getting together then not following through over and over.

  5. 45

    Reading this again, it seems some guys deliberately will make plans and not follow through as a game to see whether or not you will call them.    It recently happened with another guy, at work who I am not dating but there is an attraction. We have just gone out to eat a few times and everything was cool.  he fell off the face of the earth for a bit and from his POV I was the one who fell off, though based on the situation   it was really up to him, not me, to get in touch if he wanted to speak to me.    I decided to let it slide since we don’t have any sort of commitment to stay in touch.. I also didn’t berate him for anything but I let him know it would’ve been fine to have contacted me if he wanted to speak to me.

    Then when we got back in touch, he asked me out for dinner on a weekend but I said   no    since I am not in this city where I work on weekends usually,  although I appreciated him asking.   And I let him know I’d still be ok with catching up over lunch some time. Sidenote-   I also had planned to let him know how I felt about going out with a coworker on a weekend, over lunch, since we don’t know each other that well..without making him feel rejected
         Then we finally agreed on a day to do lunch again and   agreed to go over it during the week, but I heard nothing from him.   If he were a close friend, or maybe even if lunch were my idea, I would’ve tried to see what was up. But  I don’t know him too well and figure if it was really important to him, he would’ve   checked to see if we were still on.   I haven’t heard a thing from him. Understand that before I was able to set aside a day, he has mentioned it a number of times so he couldn’t just forget. And I gave him enough green lights to let him know I was open to the idea. It’s too much of a coincidence to just disappear when I said yes   Reflecting on what I’ve  picked up over time on his personality, he might be the type to play this strategy of trying to get a woman to chase. I feel like i will hear from him again and he’ll try to make it seem like it’s my fault we didn’t get together..then just call it a “misunderstanding” and try to reschedule. but I’ve already made up my mind    to not make plans with him anymore because it will likely happen again.   

  6. 46

    Rochelle 47
    Yes, forget it. If  he can’t treat you with the same common courtesy he would a client,  dentist or doctor (ie make an appointment and turn up) then  you don’t want him anyway.   I don’t care what his motives are.
    I might make an exception  if he was on mind-altering medication (not recreational drugs) but even that might get old.  
    Some men avoid this dilemma by not making plans at all, but calling you up last minute. Forget them too.

  7. 47

    Exactly MaryMary, it doesn’t matter what the motives are, it’s basic courtesy. He never followed up to set a time and a place, when lunch was HIS idea, so   I didn’t do anything.       My other male acquaintances who I am not dating always follow up with plans and   cancel properly. And I show them the same respect. Whether it’s a “date or “friend” I don’t want to deal with a boy who needs a woman   to   chase after him just so he can prove something to himself.

      And yes, I also avoid ones who call at the last minute.   basically if it’s important enough, they will make sure it happens.

  8. 48
    Karmic Equation

    For some reason, most women like to keep score when in a relationship with a man, whereas in many other relationships (with family, close friends, for example) she doesn’t. I don’t count the times my sisters hugged me when I was feeling sad nor do I hold it against them if they don’t hug me when I’m feeling sad. I just simply appreciate the hugs when they’re given. Why can’t women simply appreciate as good man as he is and the good that he does do instead of nitpicking on the flaws? And if the flaw is so bad that she’s unhappy, why doesn’t she walk away? I don’t get it.
    If a man is treating you shabbily, you should walk away. There is no excuse to stay. If a man isn’t meeting your legitimate needs (as opposed to your “wants” that you’ve labeled as “needs” so that you don’t sound high-maintenance) — then you should walk away from the relationship.
    If he does things that annoy you, but in and of themselves are not indicative of bad character, e.g., farting too much, tells bad jokes, wears mismatched socks, yada yada — a woman needs to decide if that annoyance is something she can ignore over time or if it’s something that would only become MORE annoying over time. If it’s the latter, then walk away. If it’s the former, then just let it go, accept it, ignore it. Consciously turn a blind eye. We turn blind eyes to other things (like shabby treatment) — why not consciously turn a blind eye to insignificant things? If he doesn’t care, why should you?
    Love a man for his totality, for the “sum of the whole that is greater than its parts”. Stop dissecting the parts. It’s a waste of energy.
    Good men — and bad men — don’t walk away from confident women — with boundaries — who accept them totally.
    If you want your pick of men, accept them as-is, but you need to choose wisely to be happy. Don’t shirk that duty.  
    And most of all, don’t be afraid to dump him if you chose badly. You don’t have to suffer for “five years” as a poster has done. Dump him and choose again AS SOON as you come to the conclusion your legitimate needs aren’t being met. Simple. End of story.
    Don’t let fear guide your decisions. Make decisions from conviction.

    1. 48.1

      As a woman whose historically kept much more of a score with other women I have to say that had I kept any score in some previous relationships I would’ve walked away much sooner. No relationships are not about 50/50 but if he’s 95/5 its not a relationship you want to be in. So keep enough score to see if you are actually with a man who cares at all about your feelings and not just about what you do for him.

  9. 49

    But you’ve said to ignore the good and believe the bad.   Aren’t you contradicting yourself here?

  10. 50

    Good to know I am not the only one who doesn’t know how much bad behavior is acceptable.

  11. 51

    I read somewhere about the rule of 3s and it made a lot of sense.

    When a date does ANY of the following for the third time it’s time to let them go:

    A broken promise

    Letting you down over an important matter

    A lie

    That would have filtered out my ex after about a month or less, and saved 20 years of heartbreak!

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