My Boyfriend of 3 Years Says He Isn’t Attracted to Me. Should I Still Marry Him?

After struggling in relationships, I finally read your book Why He Disappeared 4 years ago, did everything you said and finally found a guy that I’ve built a great relationship with. He takes me on vacations, makes dinners and packs lunches for me. Offers many surprises, backs me up when I’m mistreated. We have a lot of the same interests; we make each other laugh and can carry on deep, authentic conversations. He has introduced me to his friends and family and we moved in together after 1.5 years.

It did take him 2.5 years to say he loves me, and it was in the midst of me leaving because he hadn’t said it. A few months after he said it, I moved out because he said he wasn’t sure he could marry me. He fell completely apart after I left, couldn’t eat or sleep and begged for me back 3 weeks later with a promise to marry me. He had some things he wanted to work on for himself but he was definitely going to marry me soon. Fast forward 8 months… we’ve been in couples’ therapy since we got back together and have gotten to know each other on a deeper level than I could imagine.

But come to find out he isn’t attracted to me and he isn’t sure he can marry me because of this, and is nervous how our kids might look. He didn’t tell me this directly, but I came across notes he had written that said these things. I’m not ugly – I definitely don’t have the most adorable face but I do the best I can with what was given to me. I keep my hair highlighted and choose light makeup that accentuates the good features. I’m 5’5, 130 lbs, very active and have never had problems with dating or men checking me out. Our sex life has always been and still is great and frequent, he’s openly affectionate with me but he avoids any pictures and NEVER compliments how I look.

Do I leave and find someone who can offer all of these things and finds me attractive….or do I stay and hope he gets over his hang ups on his attraction toward me, but also worry he might cheat or leave me for someone more attractive in the future.

Erin

I’ve heard this story before and it does not end well.

I know a guy who had an amazing relationship with someone he liked, respected, had fun with, and was legitimately his best friend.

Privately, he always confessed his lack of attraction.

I told him I didn’t understand. Their sex life – if the reporting was accurate – was as active as ours. How could he spend two years sleeping with someone he wasn’t attracted to?

He couldn’t quite say. All he said was that, on a scale of 1-10, his attraction was 0.

So I did what absolutely no other guy friend in history has ever done before:

I told his girlfriend to dump him.

Predictably, she didn’t want to. She loved him and saw him as her future husband and the father of her children. There was no way she was letting go after two years.

My request fell on deaf ears. Except for my friend, who heard what I did and confronted me.

Him: “How could you tell my girlfriend to dump me? You’re supposed to be my friend!”

Me: “You’re not going to marry her. You’ve already told me.”

Him: “She knows that. I’ve already told her as well.”

But she’s 38 and wants to have kids. If you loved her, the right thing to do would be to let her go find another guy.

Me: “Then why don’t you break up with her?”

Him: “Because I enjoy the relationship.”

Me: “But she’s 38 and wants to have kids. If you loved her, the right thing to do would be to let her go find another guy.”

Him: “She can break up with me if she wants. I’m not going to do it.”

THREE YEARS LATER, they broke up. It was a mutual decision.

This only goes to reinforce a popular Evan-ism from a long time ago:

Believe the negatives, ignore the positives.

The positives? “He takes me on vacations, makes dinners and packs lunches for me. Offers many surprises, backs me up when I’m mistreated. We have a lot of the same interests; we make each other laugh and can carry on deep, authentic conversations. He has introduced me to his friends and family and we moved in together after 1.5 years.”

The negatives? It took him two and a half years to say “I love you.” He only did it at the threat of you leaving. He said he was going to propose to you quickly, and 8 months of therapy later, he still hasn’t. Finally, and most importantly: he said he wasn’t attracted to you, isn’t sure he could ever marry you, is worried about how your kids will look, and avoids taking pictures with you.

As always, the negatives win.

This isn’t putting up with a guy who likes video games, or has a crazy ex-wife, or has a slight potbelly. This is ignoring a disaster waiting to happen, all for the sake of continuity and not starting over.

You deserve better, Erin. The sooner you act, the sooner you will have it.

Join our conversation (193 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 21
    Jeremy

    I suppose I just couldn’t resist.

     

    A person whose sexual goal is validation needs to feel desired, thirsted after.  And not thirsted after generically, but thirsted after specifically for the qualities in which the individual invests their sexual value.  Without that feeling, of what value is sex?  Orgasms can be had without a partner, after all, and emotional connection can be had in other ways.  It behooves us to remember that none of us desires sex for the sex itself.  We seek goals, and our goals tend to be consistent.  People whose goal is validation need to feel that their partner thinks they are desirable – and what is “hotness” other than that?  Forget all the numerical scale bullshit – they want to hear “I want YOU” and know that it is the “you” that is wanted.  Not the novelty, not the relationship, not the disembodied sexual organs, not the pleasure, not the children, not the emotional connection.  The “you.”

     

    Why don’t people understand this?  Because not everyone has the sexual goal of validation.  To someone whose sexual goal was novelty, or relationship, or children (etc), this would all be gobbledegook.  “Why do I need my partner to think I’m hot,” they would ask, “as long as they are with me and the relationship is good and the sex is good, why should it matter how much they desire me relative to anyone else?  After all,  my partner obviously wants to be with me (and not another), or they wouldn’t be (and vice-versa).  So we both must be getting enough of our needs/goals met.”  And they are.  Because of what their goals are and aren’t.

     

    We all want our partners to find us attractive.  We all have some degree of validation-seeking in our psyche.  We all know on some level that if our partners don’t find us somewhat desirable they aren’t likely to stay with us.  That our other relationship goals are somewhat contingent on our desirability.  But to a non-validational person, thinking too much about this would indicate pathological anxiety about things that don’t matter.  To a validational person they indicate an inability to achive a goal – and not just any goal, but THE sexual goal of the individual.  That, IMHO, is the source of the disagreement, the miscommunication, in this thread.

    1. 21.2
      Emily, the original

      Jeremy,

      Thank you Jeremy. If you read any psychology, for a lot of women, the goal of sex is to be desired. Overwhelmingly so. So, in all seriousness, how does one screen for this if a woman wants to feel desired? Stay away from super practical people?

      1. 21.2.1
        D_M

        Emily,

        He takes his time and tries to savor the encounter. Every inch of you is caressed. It works both ways though. I you can’t reciprocate convincingly, his desire wanes.

      2. 21.2.2
        Karl R

        Emily, the original asked:

        “If you read any psychology, for a lot of women, the goal of sex is to be desired. Overwhelmingly so. So, in all seriousness, how does one screen for this if a woman wants to feel desired? Stay away from super practical people?”

        There’s a lot of ways to accomplish that goal.  In part, it may depend on the degree of validation a person requires.  It may also depend on how universally they are desired.

         

        Self-delusion:

        I knew a woman who wanted to feel loved, and when she had sex, she felt loved.  She and her husband had an open relationship, so she had quite a few extra sex partners.

        I doubt that any of the sex partners actually loved her.  (Most probably liked her.)  But she felt loved, and she wasn’t trying to get the men to dispel her delusion.

        Just persuade yourself that a man’s desire to have sex with you is all about you.  If you weren’t available, he just wouldn’t want to have sex at all.

         

        Aim Really Low:

        There are certain people (like Hawley in the previous thread, or the Michael with the extremely low self-esteem many years ago) who struggle so much with dating that they’ve barely dated.  Or maybe they’ve never dated before.

        They’re generally not very attractive.  They take very little initiative.  They have no game.  They’ve spent decades trying to “nice guy” their way into a relationship … with a predictable lack of results.

        For someone who wants to be the hottest, most gorgeous, most attractive, most beautiful, most desirable woman their spouse has ever dated, this strategy will get you to that goal.  And if you’re average attractiveness, you may have vastly exceeded this man’s expectations for how attractive a woman he could dare to hope for.

         

        Accept Flattery:

        One easy way for a man to build brownie points with his spouse is to flatter her appearance … or otherwise say things that can easily be interpreted as expressions of desire.

        If I whisper “sexy” in my wife’s ear while doing a little groping and fondling in the kitchen, that will probably make her feel desired.  And since I’m a fairly practical person who enjoys having sex, it’s in my best interest to have her feel good about being groped and fondled in the kitchen.

        And if she happened to be one of the women who wants to feel more attractive than any other woman in the world, she could bask in the knowledge that I’m not groping any other women, or calling them sexy … at least not since we started dating.

         

        Develop a Confirmation Bias:

        Take a page from the guys who read Infowars and develop a confirmation bias.  If you see some evidence that you’re sexy and desirable, it proves that you are.

        If you see some evidence that indicates you’re not sexy and desirable, ignore it.  It’s clearly not reliable.

        There’s no reason this wouldn’t work, even if you’re dating the most practical man in the world.  If he wants to have sex with you, it’s clearly because you’re too desirable for him to restrain himself.  If he says that’s not the reason (probably because you solicited the response, not because he volunteered it), then he’s clearly lying, because he’s afraid you’ll get a swelled head.

         

        These Don’t Work for Everyone:

        Many of these will work even if your partner is super practical.  (As a practical person, it was in my interest to ignore a sex partner’s  “sex = love” self-delusion.)

        That said, I could name a number of people on this blog whom these wouldn’t work for.  It’s not because their partners are too practical.  For the most part, they’re too practical to make these work.

        1. Marika

          Not to speak for Emily, but I don’t think the issue will be her finding a guy who desires her. It’s pretty easy to tell during dating when someone is physically really into you. And she’s written here about random guys at work making their desire clear. So that isn’t an issue.

          I think it will be about finding someone who makes their desire clear without coming across as in any way needy. That’s true for most of us, but I think particularly true for Ms Emily 😊

        2. Emily, the original

          He takes his time and tries to savor the encounter. Every inch of you is caressed. It works both ways though. I you can’t reciprocate convincingly, his desire wanes.

          A man who wants a girlfriend rather than a specific woman could do that. I’m not talking about sex per se but screening for someone whose sexual goal is to be desired rather than someone whose goal is to be in a relationship. Those are 2 different things. It’s not that he shouldn’t want to be in a relationship, but it can’t be the main goal.

        3. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          I think it will be about finding someone who makes their desire clear without coming across as in any way needy. That’s true for most of us, but I think particularly true for Ms Emily 😊

          Yes, Ms. Marika.   🙂

      3. 21.2.3
        sylvana

        Emily,

        pay very close attention to his physical response to you. There are countless signs, no matter how practical a person is. Yes, the “heated gaze” from romance novels really is a thing…haha

        I’m sure you’ve had a few occasions when you noticed a man being sexually interested in a woman (or vise versa). In a bar, at work, in daily life, etc. What were the signs that clued you in? Look for those signs in a potential partner.

        Once you learn to read them really well, you’ll never need words. You can simply tell. Even if a man is a bit shyer, or not as good at expression himself, you’ll still get the message.

        Focus on you and mental presence are some of the easiest ones. He’s “homed in” on you, because it triggers and heightens his arousal. I like to call it “the curtains are up, not down”. Meaning his mind is on you, not on someone else/hotter or a different scenario, or (a woman’s favorite go-to) the shopping  or to-do list despite him making an effort to see you pleased.

        He focuses on you to heighten, or because it does heighten his pleasure. Rather than focusing on getting laid, and trying to give you a good experience as well, or simply doing what it takes to achieve that.

        But there are countless other signs. The fun part comes when you learn to read them well, then see just how much more of a response you can get. Take a small spark, and turn it into a roaring flame, and you’ll never have to worry about feeling desired. But I regress.

        No need to stay away from practical people. Screen for physical response.

         

    2. 21.3
      Marika

      Ah, nice to have you back, J-ster 😊

      Is there such a sex/relationship goal as ‘understanding’ (or something to that effect?). I can accept pretty much any justification or situation or want/need (within reason), both theoretically and in practice, as long as I can understand the why. Maybe it’s something like the goal of validation from fulfilling their needs. 

      If someone just says ‘I want this’ end of story.. um nope. If they say ‘I want this because of x, y and z’ – and x, y and z make sense – I’m happy with that and how can I help?

      How are you? Is life good?

      Emily: you were right!! 😉

      1. 21.3.1
        Jeremy

        Yes, she was, and I knew it even then.  I just needed a break from the negativity, but still like the discussions 🙂

         

        Emily, “how does one screen for this?” Honestly, I’d think this would be harder for a man than a woman, but perhaps that’s just my own bias.  Still, I think more men find women hot than women find men hot.  If a woman wants to be desired for her hotness, I wouldn’t imagine she’d have much difficulty…..as long as she chooses a man whose hotness is lesser than her own, and whom she finds attractive for reasons other than his hotness.  Of course, that’s the double-bind of the validational personality – the fact that if the partner isn’t also desirable, their desire is not terribly desirable…

         

        Marika – “Is there such a sex/relationship goal as “understanding“. Still validation 🙂  Let me explain my reasoning.  Validation doesn’t always come from being found physically “hot” by one’s partner.  Rather, it comes from being desired for the reasons you want to be desired, the qualities in which you invest your sexuality – which may have nothing to do with your appearance.

         

        I recently watched the show “Ozark” on Netflix.  The first episode had a particularly jarring scene where the male protagonist is dissatisfied with his marital sex life and goes to see a prostitute.  The prostitute is an attractive young woman – and that drew the man’s interest initially – but she then had a conversation with him that made her absolutely irresistable to him.  She spoke to him about how he must be the sort of man who always pays the bills, makes sure his family has everything they need, every advantage, never misses a birthday party, gets no appreciation at home.  And after telling him all of this and admiring the hell out of him, she slowly moves her head downward and tells him to do her a favour and not finish too quickly.  And then, of course, he wakes up and realizes that it was all a daydream because, of course, such a woman – a woman who not only appreciates a man for his providership but also sexually desires him specifically for it – does not exist outside of daydreams.

         

        The reason I bring this up is because for the man in the show (and for me, and many other men), the quality in which we invest our sexuality is not our appearance but our providership.  And to have a woman desire that aspect of us as a sexual attractant (and not a comfort attractant) is exactly what provides us with validation.  It isn’t about our hotness.

         

        In the same way, a person might invest his or her value in being the empathetic one, the one who solves unsolvable emotional problems for people.  Being the person who fulfills the needs of others and thereby earns their love/approval/desire – how validational!  In that sense a person’s empathy is the equivalent of their hotness, and they want to be desired for it.  Not saying that’s necessarily the case for you (we’ve never met, after all), but saying I’ve met people like that.

        1. Marika

          Yes, that makes a lot of sense, Jeremy. My brother is probably like you, and that explains why he always goes for women much, much less successful than he, and is happy to pay for everything. (Like everything, all the time).

          And, yes, being desired for looks just boils down to genes (with a little help from Maybelline / the gym). It’s quite another thing, for some of us, anyway, to be desired for something we’ve cultivated and which isn’t particularly common. Or at least you can’t easily get it at the local nightclub.

          I suppose if you pay attention to where your partner spends time and energy you can get a sense of what traits they want to be desired for.

           

        2. sylvana

          Welcome back, Jeremy,

          Once again, I think it all boils down to what a person considers “hot”

          To me, hot EQUALS sexual attractant, desire, and sex appeal. It is the one thing that triggers sexual response and arousal. It is something that “makes you hot”. No matter what that one thing is (looks/appearance, providership, energy, performance in bed, a certain kink,…whatever.)

          As I said, when someone whispers something “hot” into your ear, he/she whispered something arousing in your ear. NOT something good-looking/attractive.

          Hot is strictly sexual. It’s the short version of “makes me hot”.

          So when you say “to have a woman desire that aspect of us as a sexual attractant,” you’re saying that she finds that aspect of you HOT. Therefore, you are “hot” to her. That aspect of you makes her hot, regardless of your looks.

          You just defined the meaning of hot: Desires an aspect of us as a sexual attractant.

          And I think this is why we’re all talking in circles.

          You and a lot of others here seem to think hot equals just looks.

          There are plenty of gorgeous people in this world with absolutely zero sex appeal. Likewise, there are plenty of people who aren’t all that in looks, but their sex appeal is through the roof.

          If it makes you horny, it’s hot. That simple…lol

          So if you say that you do not find your partner hot, you are saying that your partner does not turn you on, and that you do not desire them all that much sexually. You are happy sleeping with them whenever you’re aroused for whatever reason unrelated to your partner, but your partner him/herself, or his/her qualities (providership, personality, looks, etc.) do NOT cause you to be aroused, or do not trigger a strong sexual response.

          As you said, most people do want to feel desired (for whatever it is that is important to them). I think we all agree on that.

          The argument is arising out of the meaning of “hot”. And the different interpretations of it. Hot/desired vs. hot/looks.

           

           

           

           

           

        3. Marika

          PS re the negativity, J-meister, yes, it can be brutal around here. But…once in a while you read something which really makes you think… and understand yourself and others better. So I do hope you stick around.

      2. 21.3.2
        Emily, the original

        Jeremy,

        If a woman wants to be desired for her hotness, I wouldn’t imagine she’d have much difficulty

        Well, she wants to be desired for who she is as a woman and as a person. It’s not just about sex.  I have a friend who goes on dates with guys she meets online. She usually gets asked out for  second date, but she has said several times that she gets the feeling they find her appealing enough and pleasant enough to talk to, but “Do they really want me?” she’s asked several times.

        Told you you’d be back. 🙂 Now we just have to find Adrian.

        1. Marika

          And Clare, Stacy and Tom! Or is it Claire…been so long since she’s posted, I’ve forgotten! Also, where’s Malika, my European doppelganger??!

          I suspect Clare and Stacy are too busy being loved up… 😉

        2. Emily, the original

          Marika,
          And Clare, Stacy and Tom! Or is it Claire…been so long since she’s posted, I’ve forgotten! Also, where’s Malika, my European doppelganger??!
          I suspect Clare and Stacy are too busy being loved up… 😉
          Tom just commented on the most recent post about how looks matter. BIG SURPRISE. 🙂

          It’s kind of sad. We had all those posts several months back about the strong community on this blog … and within weeks it fell apart.

          And thank goodness Big Jer is back. He is brains of this blog. You and Adrian are the heart.  🙂

        3. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “Tom just commented on the most recent post about how looks matter. BIG SURPRISE” 
           
          Hehe…I was waiting for that. 😉
           
          I tried to think of a non-looks angle about first impressions though to be fair!
           
          I tried my absolute best to stay out of the “out-of-your, well, you know, thread” too; but eventually succumbed to address Scooter. 
           
          We’re too far gone to change Emily 🙁
           
          “It’s kind of sad. We had all those posts several months back about the strong community on this blog … and within weeks it fell apart.”
           
          I’ve been struggling a bit lately with my c.i.p Emily; it’s gonna take a few more months before I’m fully ready unfortunately. March 2019 and my plan should be complete! How’s your a.i.p progressing? Rockin’ bod’ yet? 🙂

        4. Emily, the original

          Tom10,
          “Hehe…I was waiting for that. 😉”
          Geez, have I become that predictable? Poke the bear and she roars.

          “I tried to think of a non-looks angle about first impressions though to be fair!”

          I liked what you wrote about how much is conveyed not just in our looks but in a first impression. Have you ever watched a group of teenagers? You can immediately tell who is popular, who is picked on, who is nerdy, etc. We convey so much in posture, voice, the way we carry ourselves, our energy, etc. If someone wants to do better in dating, he/she needs to start from the inside and work his/her way out.

          “We’re too far gone to change Emily “🙁
          Totally disagree. I don’t even recognize the Emily from 2017.

          “I’ve been struggling a bit lately with my c.i.p … March 2019 and my plan should be complete!”
          Are you exercising it or keeping it under wraps for some big reveal? Be careful. The longer you wait … the TALLER the expectations.

          “How’s your a.i.p progressing? Rockin’ bod’ yet? “🙂
          I have lost my mojo, Mr. Tom. I can’t find it.

        5. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “Poke the bear and she roars.”
           
          Grrrr… 😉
           
          “Have you ever watched a group of teenagers? You can immediately tell who is popular, who is picked on, who is nerdy, etc.”
           
          Absolutely. They’re like wolf-packs with their social hierarchies. Whenever passing a sketchy bunch of teens I always eyeball the alpha in the pack and that keeps the whole group in order.
           
          “If someone wants to do better in dating, he/she needs to start from the inside and work his/her way out.”
           
          Hmm; I think one’s dating success is a function of both internal and external work; external validation will improve our confidence and vice-versa. But how does one improve one’s external conditions?
           
          Have you ever noticed that in rural areas/poor countries our social standing significantly improves, whereas in larger more hip cities we begin to slide into obscurity somewhat?  So moving to a different area, even for a short while, should give us the boost we need.
           
          “Totally disagree. I don’t even recognize the Emily from 2017.”
           
          I like that!
           
          That gives me an idea for another challenge if you were ever in the mood: both of us adopt new monikers and new personalities but keep posting comments here; the loser is the one who gets identified by the other commenters first. It would force us to adopt totally new attitudes to everything Emily!
           
          “Are you exercising it or keeping it under wraps for some big reveal? Be careful. The longer you wait … the TALLER the expectations.”
           
          Tell me about it. It’s the latter; indeed I’ve set a personal challenge in mental discipline and fortitude to see how long I can keep it under wraps for! A preparatory exercise for the journey ahead.
           
          “I have lost my mojo, Mr. Tom. I can’t find it”
           
          Aw Emily; come back on the horse; it’ll set you up nicely for the Christmas holidays! 🙂

        6. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          Hmm; I think one’s dating success is a function of both internal and external work; external validation will improve our confidence and vice-versa. But how does one improve one’s external conditions?

          The external is all about self-enhancement and yes, to a degree, validation from others,  but we look at it wrong. Self-enhancement is the icing on the cake. Not the cake, which is the internal. If you were a person who was bullied years earlier, you may still carry that trauma in your posture and in how you see the world. Work on that, process that, and THEN do the weight lifting and get better clothes and a better haircut. The haircut means nothing if you haven’t healed earlier traumas, and we all have them. Sounds corny, but there’s a lot of truth in it.

          new monikers and new personalities but keep posting comments here …. It would force us to adopt totally new attitudes to everything Emily!

          I’m not a fan of hiding behind new monikers. We already hide behind the name we’ve adopted for purposes of this blog.  🙂 Why not just adopt the new attitudes in our comments?

          Aw Emily; come back on the horse; it’ll set you up nicely for the Christmas holidays! 🙂

          I can hear it in my voice. I talk much more quietly and I’ve become … horror or horrors … so agreeable. I don’t even recognize myself.

        7. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          Whenever passing a sketchy bunch of teens I always eyeball the alpha in the pack and that keeps the whole group in order.

          Ah … the alpha … I just start watching “Mad Men.” The Don Draper. OMG, that guy is bold. He expresses things to his bosses I have only dreamed of saying.

        8. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “The external is all about self-enhancement and yes, to a degree, validation from others,  but we look at it wrong. Self-enhancement is the icing on the cake. Not the cake, which is the internal”.
           
          How esoteric. That all sounds very, um, Jeremy-esque.
           
          “If you were a person who was bullied years earlier, you may still carry that trauma in your posture and in how you see the world. Work on that, process that, and THEN do the weight lifting and get better clothes and a better haircut.”
           
          Emotional weight lifting or, um, weight lifting?
           
          Kidding aside it’s a fair point. I’ve studied the effects of trauma a bit as I’m from one of those unfortunate families who just seems to get one after another; from my understanding the biggest problem faced by trauma victims is predetereminism and catastrophization; the idea that they’re doomed forever because of their past pain/genetics/family history/bad luck/whatever.
           
          However, as you say, our future isn’t set in stone; everyone possesses the ability to reset and start afresh. Damaged goods can be repaired. It’s really hard work though isn’t it?
           
          Indeed, I’d say the ability to keep going, one foot after another, now matter how tough the road ahead, is the defining characteristic of life’s winners.
           
          “I’m not a fan of hiding behind new monikers. We already hide behind the name we’ve adopted for purposes of this blog. 🙂   Why not just adopt the new attitudes in our comments?”
           
          Okay, fair enough, let’s try that so. Jeremy seems to get a lot of traction in his comments from the female commenters here so I’ll look at his posts for inspiration. 🙂
           
          “I can hear it in my voice. I talk much more quietly and I’ve become … horror or horrors … so agreeable. I don’t even recognize myself.”
           
          Nothing a few shots and a night out on the dancefloor wouldn’t fix Emily; do it! 😉
           
          “Ah … the alpha … I just start watching “Mad Men.” The Don Draper. OMG, that guy is bold. He expresses things to his bosses I have only dreamed of saying.”
           
          I haven’t watched much of that show; but have you seen Suits? Each character is more hilariously and cartoonishly “alpha” than the next; they literally spend the entire episode trying to show how they’re the top dog (and guess what characteristics distinguish the top dog from the wannabees?).

        9. Emily, the original

          Tom10  (or is it taller than 10?)

          How esoteric. That all sounds very, um, Jeremy-esque.

          Nope.  Jordan Peterson. University of Toronto. His website is HighExistence.

          Indeed, I’d say the ability to keep going, one foot after another, now matter how tough the road ahead, is the defining characteristic of life’s winners.

          To a point, yes, but you also have to process the trauma. Just stuffing it down and moving forward won’t help. Look at people who were really successful and then imploded. Elvis. Marilyn. Mike Tyson. They never dealt with their demons. But you don’t have to have Elvis-level demons to need to clear out your past crap.

          Nothing a few shots and a night out on the dance floor wouldn’t fix Emily; do it!

          A couple of shots of vodka and I think I’m Beyonce. Seriously. 🙂 In terms of Mad Men, I find the Don Draper character interesting when he’s at work. He’s bold as shit. But in his personal life … with all these mistresses … he needs too much validation from women and a LOT of hand-holding. Not appealing. 

        10. Tom10

          @ Emily, the very original
          “Tom10  (or is it taller than 10?)”
           
          Perhaps I should amend my moniker to Tom12” mwah haha 😉
           
          “Nope.  Jordan Peterson. University of Toronto. His website is HighExistence.”
           
          Hmmm. Doesn’t Jeremy also live in Toronto? *rubs chin in a ponderous manner.*
           
          “Look at people who were really successful and then imploded. Elvis. Marilyn. Mike Tyson. They never dealt with their demons. But you don’t have to have Elvis-level demons to need to clear out your past crap.”
           
          Tell me about it. I’m surrounded by just-about-functioning Type A types, serial winners but whose lives seem to be like a car-on-two-wheels always just on the edge of careering into the abyss.
           
          It probably takes an especially tough personality to deal with the rigors and pressures of fame though. One of the qualities I love most in my life is my anonymity; that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want and no-one cares. Fame seems like prison to me; I don’t understand why so many people seem to crave it! Must be something to do with…that yearning for endless validation thingy again?
           
          “A couple of shots of vodka and I think I’m Beyonce. Seriously.”
           
          Don’t you just love that feeling? Teetotallers miss out on so much.
           
          “I find the Don Draper character interesting when he’s at work. He’s bold as shit. But in his personal life … with all these mistresses … he needs too much validation from women and a LOT of hand-holding. Not appealing.”
           
          Doesn’t Evan say that men don’t go both ways; we’re either one type or the other? And both types come with a good side and a bad side.

        11. Evan Marc Katz

          I didn’t say that it’s one type OR the other. I did say that it’s a tradeoff. And if you’re with a Marlboro Man, you can’t be too surprised if he doesn’t want to share his feelings or listen to yours. And if you’re dating a Sensitive Artist, you can’t be too surprised that he’s sometimes weak and vulnerable.

        12. Emily, the original

          Tom 12,

          Don’t you just love that feeling? Teetotallers miss out on so much.

          I don’t drink often but when I do, I don’t d*** around. No blueberry “taproom” beer or wine or girly drinks for me.  🙂

          I wish you luck. I’m done. In all seriousness, may you land the Victoria’s Secret model of your dreams. Or a 9.2777385 knockoff. 🙂 I need to find a blog with this much traffic (not easy) with more … artist types. I can’t understand most of the male posters on this blog. Too logical for me. Does not compute.

        13. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “I don’t drink often but when I do, I don’t d*** around. No blueberry “taproom” beer or wine or girly drinks for me.”
           
          Ditto!
           
          “I wish you luck. I’m done”
           
          Aw that’s a shame. 🙁 You should stay Emily; I’ll go instead. You’re the undercarriage of the blog remember 🙂
           
          I’ve shared all my ideas and don’t have much left to contribute. I was working on one final theory (I call it cycle theory: that events happen in cycles and if we can manage to learn how to sync our important life moments with global event cycles we’ll achieve great success) but I’ve been thinking lately about moving from discussing dating ideas into current affairs and politics instead so I’ll do it now.
           
          I’ve enjoyed all our chats. I wish you luck too and hope you find what you’re looking for. Take care 😉

      3. 21.3.3
        Emily, the original

        Jeremy,

        The reason I bring this up is because for the man in the show (and for me, and many other men), the quality in which we invest our sexuality is not our appearance but our providership. 

        That’s interesting. I’ve read on countless posts on here that men don’t want to be valued/sexualized for their providership. “Valued” and “sexualized” maybe not be the right words but you get where I’m going.

        1. Jeremy

          We do and we don’t.  It’s kind of like women and hotness – they want men to find them hot, they just don’t want that to be the only thing they want.  There is a fear that if hotness is the only thing a man desires in a woman, he may leave if her hotness decreases.  And in the same way, if a man’s providership is the only thing a woman wants, what will happen once she is legally entitled to it regardless of his presence/absence?

           

          I once wrote to Marika that it’s important to ask ourselves the right questions when we are searching for a partner – what do we want vs what do we need?  Which goals of our past should not remain the goals of our future?  If I was raised with a quagmire of beliefs that what a woman should find arousing in me is my providership, but I also realize that no woman actually finds providership arousing, how should I proceed?  Should I continue to search for a unicorn or adapt my preferences?  Should I perhaps find a woman who appreciates and admires me for my providership (among other things) even though she may have other reasons for her sexual attraction to me?  Would that not be good enough and better, in fact, than a perpetual search for something that does not exist?

           

          In the same way, I don’t think it’s necessarily delusional to want a man to desire you with single-minded devotion…..but such a man will, necessarily, be somewhat needy.  How could he not be?  If he needs you that badly, he is needy by definition.  So which do you want, the single-minded devotion or the guy who isn’t at all needy?  There are 2 ways to compromise on this – find an avoidant guy you can admire for his independence and realize he isn’t single-mindedly devoted to you, or find a guy who is more on the anxious side of secure who will be totally devoted to you and realize that his “neediness” is a positive, not a negative.  Trying to have both is like searching for the woman who finds providership arousing…

        2. Emily, the original

          Hi Big Jer,

          There are 2 ways to compromise on this – find an avoidant guy you can admire for his independence and realize he isn’t single-mindedly devoted to you, or find a guy who is more on the anxious side of secure who will be totally devoted to you and realize that his “neediness” is a positive, not a negative.  

          I see what you are saying but there’ s a difference between devotion and desire. Remember. I’m an idealist. It’s all about identity for me. I want a man to pick me out for me. And needy/insecure men give off the vibe that they have to be with someone.  A man who is independent … can he not really see a woman as an autonomous person with all of her qualities more so than a man who needs her (or needs her more)? I’m just pontificating. I have to be frank: I don’t know that many independent men, and I watched a lot of men at my former job lap up any and all female attention. For many, there never seemed to be enough, and 95% of these guys were married.

          And remember. Hotness to me is chemistry. Being attracted to the whole person. Not just what someone looks like. Jack Nicholson is not a young man, but pull up the video on youtube of him talking to Jennifer Lawrence after she won the Oscar. He’s still sexy as shit. You can lose your appearance as you age but you can’t lose your fundamental appeal.

        3. Karl R

          Emily, the original asked:

          “I want a man to pick me out for me. And needy/insecure men give off the vibe that they have to be with someone.  A man who is independent … can he not really see a woman as an autonomous person with all of her qualities more so than a man who needs her (or needs her more)?”

          That’s the wrong question.  More accurately, it encompasses a fundamental misconception.

          You’re seeing (or at least hoping for) a correlation that doesn’t exist in real life.

           

          I see my wife’s identity as unique.  It’s part of what attracted me to her.  It’s part of what makes our relationship work.  And in the likely event that I outlive her, I don’t have any expectation that I’ll find someone who is exactly like her, or have another relationship that is exactly like ours.

          But as an independent kind of guy, I realize that I will find someone else.  There will be trade-offs, but that woman will be approximately equal to my wife.  And that relationship will be different, but it will be approximately as good as the one I enjoy currently.

           

          I expect that finding a woman like that, and a relationship like that, would/will be time-consuming.  It was time-consuming and challenging the first time.

          But it’s not impossible.  It’s actually highly probable that I could find someone like that.  (And if I’m the one to die first, I believe my wife could do the same thing.)

           

          Emily, the original,

          I think I understand the point that you’re trying to make.  If a man is needy/anxious, his selection of you may represent an “any port in a storm” attitude. On a certain level, he’s chosen you and stays with you because it’s better than being out in the storm.

          But there’s the other side of the coin which occurs with the independent man. His selection process represents a “plenty of fish in the sea” attitude.

          I’m not sure whether or not that gets you what you’re hoping for.

        4. Emily, the original

          Karl R,
          On a certain level, he’s chosen you and stays with you because it’s better than being out in the storm.
          Yes. I’m convinced that’s what keeps some marriages together. It takes too much work to good out and look for something else.
          But there’s the other side of the coin which occurs with the independent man. His selection process represents a “plenty of fish in the sea” attitude.
          But I want a man who has a wealth mentality. He has options and makes the selection he wants. Or at the very least doesn’t grab an option out of fear. He knows it’s not like having a job. He doesn’t need the money.

        5. Marika

          Big Jer…hehe 😁 Love it!

        6. Marika

          Em-ster

           He is brains of this blog. You and Adrian are the heart.

          Awwww x

          And you are the sass 😉

        7. Jeremy

          “Big Jer?”  Is that a weight joke?  With all the greasy food and baskets of chocolate this time of year, I think I have an AIP travelling in the opposite direction of yours, Ms. O’riginal.  Hopefully no one starts calling me “Big Jer” in real life…though I don’t mind you and ‘Merica using familiar names on the blog 🙂

        8. Emily, the original

          Marika
          “And you are the sass 😉”
          No. I’m the undercarriage. 🙂

        9. Emily, the original

          Little Jer,

          “Big Jer?”  Is that a weight joke?

          No. It’s about your level of importance.

           With all the greasy food and baskets of chocolate this time of year, I think I have an AIP travelling in the opposite direction of yours, Ms. O’riginal. 

          You let that AIP get big. Look at a young Marlon Brando. That man had a big rectangular can … and the women loved him.  🙂

        10. Marika

          Emily…nooooo!!

          We just got Jeremy back, now you’re leaving??

          (I don’t even have your address for the needle party yet).

          :(((

  2. 22
    Marika

    Hi Sylvana:

     I don’t think that’s somehow flawed human behavior, it’s just normal.

    It’s not normal for everyone. It was a massive eye opener for me to learn that some people (most?) can easily compartmentalise and separate sex and relationship.

    Even now, I believe you, I even believe it is likely very common (I’ve certainly heard it many times on this blog), but I can’t personally get my head around it or how it works. It’s definitely not normal for me to see things that way. That doesn’t mean I think it’s flawed behaviour, I just think it’s important to recognise it’s not just the way it is for everyone.

    1. 22.1
      sylvana

      Marika,

      I was referring as normal to those of us who do separate the two. It is normal for us to have sex with partners who have a higher sexual than relationship value. And even to simply choose a willing partner.

      As for if it’s normal to separate the two? I think it’s normal if you do AND if you don’t. Nothing unusual about either. But we weren’t talking about separating the two, but rather about the partners we choose if we are in the “separate” camp. The “flawed” was in reference to partners we would never date.

      Hope that clears it up 🙂

      And I can totally understand where you’re coming from. I have a friend like you. And I could never quite wrap my head around how you could NOT separate the two. Actually, I have a problem trying to combine the two (emotions and sex), even in relationships. So I can relate that understanding the other side can be hard (if not impossible).

       

      1. 22.1.1
        Marika

        Thanks a lot for clarifying, sylvana. Now I understand what you mean. Can you explain more what you mean though about not being able to combine the two? I really don’t understand that!! (but I’d like to!) 😊

        Shaukat:

        On this topic: It’s not a myth. Why would it be? Why would people who feel as I do make it up? Don’t you think it would be easier if I could happily have one night stands whenever I’m horny with no emotional fall-out? As you (rightly) said to Tron, you’re not a woman, or at least a woman like me. Just because you can’t understand it, doesn’t make it mythical..

        1. sylvana

          Marika,

          I’m not sure if I can explain it well, but I’ll try.

          The two are very separate needs for me. And the kind of sex I like is not conducive to emotional components. It’s mostly about stimulating my mind.

          My biggest pleasure comes from physical stimulation and mental aspects. A “lovemaking” (for lack of better term) session with heavy focus on emotional bond will have me a) bored and itching for action within a few minutes (kind of like vanilla sex). It’s like cuddling – only I’m getting sexually frustrated/teased. Or b) actually lesson my pleasure, because my focus is shifted away from the physical and mental, and has to stay with the emotional. The emotional aspect is rather distracting.

          There can be a lot of passion and heat during sex. But, once again, only due to the way we make each other feel physically, or how well we stimulate each other mentally.

          Emotional connection/romance and sex (physical and mental stimulation) are simply two totally separate things to me. And I have a hard time doing both at the same time.

          In relationships, it can be a problem because I don’t have that “softer” side in bed. And because I expect my partners to “perform” – physically, as well as in a sense of keeping my mind entertained and interested. They also have to set any sort of romance aside, and focus on the physical and mental.

          With other words: Don’t come home thinking we’ll have us some simple sex, and expect me to be all fulfilled and satisfied because I love you, and it’s an emotional bonding act for me, and you’re so nice, and kind, and…. You get my drift. While the physical aspect of that can be very nice and fulfilling, my mind quickly gets bored with it, and starts running down shopping lists, or things I have to do. Or simply starts wondering if he’s done yet, so I can go fantasize and get myself off.

          I’m a bit demanding, I guess. And I expect him to be the same.

          Sexual pleasure, to me, is about 60% mental, 40% physical. And being in love with someone doesn’t heighten either one.

        2. shaukat

          On this topic: It’s not a myth. Why would it be? Why would people who feel as I do make it up?

          Just saw this. I was not suggesting that the claim is entirely mythical, Marika, nor was I questioning or doubting your own experiences/feelings. I was simply saying, or trying to say, that in my experience, and from what I’ve heard, the number of women  it is claimed hold such sentiments is exaggerated, that’s all.

  3. 23
    Nathalie

    I’m so sorry to write this because it is just so awful to read. This is really mean and as of today, I still can’t believe I heard those words. But a man already told me that for him and a couple of his friends (not all) it’s really not a problem to have sex with any kind of woman… even “ugly”… as long there is a hole to put it in. He added that “ugly” women are more willing  to do everything and anything in bed at anytime they want it. I just hope that only a few men think this way. A woman also told me that she married an “ugly” man because she thought he would be more faithful and difficult for him to find other women. What she didn’t know, he had lots of confidence so he was with “beautiful” women while she was away visiting family. He would flaunt it (him and the new girl) in front of everyone with whom he works with at a Xmas party.

    1. 23.1
      Scooter

      NathalieI’m so sorry to write this because it is just so awful to read. This is really mean and as of today, I still can’t believe I heard those words. But a man already told me that for him and a couple of his friends (not all) it’s really not a problem to have sex with any kind of woman… even “ugly”… as long there is a hole to put it in. He added that “ugly” women are more willing  to do everything and anything in bed at anytime they want it. I just hope that only a few men think this way. A woman also told me that she married an “ugly” man because she thought he would be more faithful and difficult for him to find other women. What she didn’t know, he had lots of confidence so he was with “beautiful” women while she was away visiting family. He would flaunt it (him and the new girl) in front of everyone with whom he works with at a Xmas party.

      Nathalie, I hate to tell you this, but from my experience, many guys think like this.  I’m absolutely not one of those guys.  I don’t get it; perhaps I am atypical for a guy, in that I associate sex with emotional connection(s), and I must possess a baseline level of attraction for any woman with whom I have sex.

      I also know some attractive women who expressed the same sentiment, to me: “Marry the less attractive guy.”  They don’t say it directly. For example, one of them said she did the smart thing and “married the opposite of her type”.

      And I know a couple of these women have their cake, and eat it too.  They go and have their guy on-the-side.

       

  4. 24
    Adrian

    Hi Karl R and Jeremy

    Karl R said, “I eventually decided not to pursue that woman, because I followed Evan’s advice to evaluate the quality of my relationship, not my partner.” 

    Would you mind explaining this? I thought the person (partner) was the foundation of the relationship so how can you judge them separately?

     

    Jeremy said, “We all want our partners to find us attractive.  We all have some degree of validation-seeking in our psyche.

    So how does a person tell the difference between someone who has a meta-goal of validation and someone who just has a normal healthy need for basic validation?… besides lots of time invested.

    ……………..

    On a personal note I Jeremy I wanted to apologize for my part in causing you to leave the blog.

    1. 24.1
      Karl R

      Evaluating the quality of my relationship, not my partner….

       

      Adrian asked:

      “Would you mind explaining this? I thought the person (partner) was the foundation of the relationship so how can you judge them separately?”

      The easiest way for you to learn the difference will be through experience.

      Back in 2008, I dated an absolutely amazing woman: brilliant, very attractive, great dancer, sweet personality, funny, etc.  But she had the absolute worst work-life balance.  She was a great person who lacked the time to put into a relationship.

      It was a frustrating relationship, for the short time it lasted.

       

      This blog is filled with letters written from women who are dating some incredible guy … but the relationship has stalled, and it feels like he’s pulling away, and she feels anxious all the time, like she’s going to lose him….

      And all she wants to know is how to keep him.  Because he’s an incredible guy.

      You’ve been around the blog for a while.  What advice does Evan give all of these women?

       

      When you’re in the relationship, how do you feel?  That’s going to tell you a lot about the quality of the relationship.  (The quality of the relationship can change a lot over the course of the relationship.)

        1. Adrian

          Thanks Karl and Evan. This makes makes sense.

    2. 24.2
      sylvana

      Adrian! You’re back, too. I’m glad to see it.

      1. 24.2.1
        Adrian

        Hi Sylvana! (^_^)

    3. 24.3
      Jeremy

      No worries.  We all like to intuit – it’s fun, after all.  But the common pitfall in intuiting is that we take the situation of the other and imagine how we would react ourselves, then extrapolate.  The reason I like to talk about personality archetypes is to remind myself (and others) that in order to intuit correctly, we must begin with the base assumptions of the other, not our own.  And that often changes everything.

       

      How does one tell the difference between someone who has a meta-goal of validation and someone who just has a normal healthy need for basic validation?”  With this razor: Are you ok with a person desiring you for their own reasons, or do they have to desire you for YOUR reasons?  Think about that for a while….I think about it entirely too much 🙂

  5. 25
    Jeremy

    I’d like to share one more thought about the subject matter to help us all bridge our differences and better understand each other. Sorry for the length, but I hope it will be worth the read.

     

    I’ve always found Chapman’s concept of “love languages” helpful, especially during turbulent times in my marriage.  But the more I consider it, the more I think Chapman missed something important.  Sure, we all receive love differently, and our differences are systematic – so far so good – but what is missing from the model is that “love” isn’t a uniform concept.  That people not only differ in the language they use to express love, but also in what they mean by love itself.  Sure, one person might receive love through words of affirmation and another person might want physical touch….but are these simply different rivers to the same ocean (“love”) or are they roads to completely different destinations that we each call “love” because that’s what we each perceive love to mean?

     

    For years I thought my primary love language was a combination of “acts of service” and physical touch.  But I had an epiphany watching an episode of “Breaking Bad” (sorry for all the tv references lately, but hopefully they make the subject more relatable).  The protagonist was a meek man leading a non-descript life.  It was his birthday and no one really seemed to care.  His wife’s birthday “gift” to him was a half-hearted hand-job, given distractedly with one hand while she use her phone in the other hand to concentrate on things that interested her more.  As she administered her “gift” she spoke to him about all the various minutiae that interested her.  Her gift lacked any passion, desire, enthusiasm.  And as I watched this on tv, I had a visceral reaction of disgust, the intensity of which surprised me.  I took stock of my emotional state and came to a realization – I had the idea of love languages all wrong.  “Physical touch” was no more my love language than it was for the character on the show.  I receive love through DESIRE.  Not physical touch, not acts of service.  I may receive desire through acts of service and physical touch, but not via the acts themselves but rather the emotions with which they are given.  Acts of service and physical touch are rivers to the ocean of desire, which I interpret as love.  Without the desire, the roads go nowhere.

     

    My wife, on the other hand, has the love language of “words of affirmation.”  At the end of the day she talks with her mom and friends on the phone, checks social media, wants to talk with me about our respective days.  Wants to hear that I love her, wants me to express gratitude for all the things she has done, wants to express the same back to me.  “Words of affirmation” is her love language, but they are not a river that leads to the ocean of desire.  They lead to the ocean of CONNECTION.  Connection is her goal, is what makes her feel loved, feel safe, feel emotional pleasure.  Connection is not a lake with a further egress to the ocean of desire (as I once thought), but rather is the terminal stop, the end-goal.  It’s not that by receiving words of affirmation she feels connected and therefore feels desire.  Desire, for her, is just desire.  Connection is love. Words give connection.

     

    No one wants breakfast in bed brought by a surly, unwilling partner, and no one wants a half-hearted handjob.  No one wants a conversation with a disinterested partner who smiles and nods while thinking of other things.  At least, no one would consider any of those things to be expressions of love.  But what is missing from the first two examples is desire, and what is missing from the third is connection….yet the net result in the partner’s neglectful expression is the feeling of being unloved.

     

    So how important is desire?  How important is it that our partner desire us and not others?  How can a person remain with a partner whom they don’t desire, and how can a person remain with a partner who doesn’t desire them?  Answer – depends on what desire means to us.  It’s not just a sexual meta-goal, not just about validation…it’s a love language, the aspect of love languages that Chapman missed.  He described the roads, but not the destinations.  Ask the question “what does love mean to me?  What makes me feel loved?  What does my partner do that has made me feel unloved in the past?”  And your opinion on the subject of this blog posting will make more sense to you.

    1. 25.1
      sylvana

      Jeremy,

      that’s a fantastic way of describing desire. Thanks for taking the time to post that.

       

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *