What You Can Do When Things Go Wrong In Love

What You Can Do When Things Go Wrong In LoveI know you don’t read this blog to hear about me or my family.

You read this blog to learn something about men. Something about the human condition. Something that explains why bad things happen to good people.

But to me, any story can be extrapolated to something universal. It doesn’t matter if it’s an anecdote about me, my wife, or my private coaching clients – it all has to do with YOU.

So ask yourself what you would do, say, or think after getting suddenly axed by the same guy who wanted to commit to you only 10 days earlier?

If you’re like ANYBODY, you’d be pretty darned surprised and disappointed.

Given that 99% of men are definitely NOT your future husband, getting upset when this proves to be true is like getting upset that you didn’t win the Powerball.

But if you’re me, a professional dating coach who sees this every day, you’re not at all surprised or disappointed by what happened.

Before you accuse me of being callous, allow me to explain:

How many times in your life have you been in love? Two? Three? Four?

How many of those relationships lasted? Um, zero. (Widows are excused from this exercise.)

What percent of men are cute, successful, smart, kind, funny, compatible and emotionally available for a relationship? (I’ll let you answer yourself.)

What percent of those amazing men also think YOU’RE cute, smart, kind, funny, compatible and emotionally available for a relationship? (Not as many as you’d like.)

When you look at all of these things together, without any emotion, you’ll see exactly what I see: the fact that ANY relationship gets off the ground is remarkable.

And, to the naked eye, FAILURE is the default setting in dating.

You heard me. Failure.

Now, to be clear: I’ve failed a LOT more than you have.

I’ve gone on over 300 dates and committed to probably fifteen “girlfriends” before getting married. Which is why I’m not too fazed by failure.

You shouldn’t be, either.

Given that 99% of men are definitely NOT your future husband, getting upset when this proves to be true is like getting upset that you didn’t win the Powerball. Yeah, it’s unfortunate, but it’s also quite predictable.

Which is why I want you to write this down on a post-it right this very second:

“No man is real until he’s your boyfriend.”

A cute photo, a winning profile, flirty emails, an incredible first date, intense chemistry, mind-blowing sex… NONE of these things mean he’s your boyfriend.

It’s not that you’re “wrong” to get excited about a promising man; it’s that, in 99% of instances, it’s premature and you set yourself up for heartbreak.

No man is real until he’s your boyfriend.

Your takeaway is to not get too emotionally involved when it comes to a guy with “potential”. Start getting excited when he’s taken his profile down, called you his girlfriend, met your family, and started making vacation plans for the summer.

The other bit of perspective I want to give you about the disappearing man is that his disappearance should not be all that disappointing.

a) This wasn’t personal
b) You didn’t lose your future husband, so why be disappointed?

Although your man initially pushed for immediate commitment, he had second thoughts. Reasonable second thoughts, I might add.

His flaking doesn’t mean he’s evil.

It means he leaped before he looked.

He shot first and asked questions later.

He over-promised and under-delivered.

In short, he screwed up and ended up hurting an innocent woman.

No one is at fault.

And if no one is at fault, there’s no value in beating yourself up about what you did “wrong”. The answer is nothing.

There’s no value in getting pissed at the disappearing man. He’s like a guy who was driving 90 mph on the freeway and missed his exit. He was so enthusiastic that he was oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t really ready to commit after 4 dates.

Finally, there’s no value in lamenting what “could have been”. It’s over. Move along.

The right guy will come along soon enough – and he will certainly not disappear the way the last guy did.

But the only way for this to happen is for my you to let go of your negativity, to let go of your fear of getting hurt, to let go of your frustration at the men who don’t write to you online, and to embrace the unknown of the dating process.

Put another way: if you quit dating, you don’t meet ANYBODY.

If you persevere, another cute man may waltz into your life this summer – and never want to leave.

“Never, never, never quit,” said Winston Churchill, and he’s 100% right.

The only thing you can do when things go wrong in love is to keep going.

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  1. 31


    This post came right on time! Just been dumped by my boyfriend of 5 months–I sabatoged the relationship due to my own insecurities, but am seeing a therapist now–jumped back online and met three men who are interested in getting to know me better! I had myself a good cry over losing my ex, but now U am ready to learn from my mistakes and move forward. Thanks Evan, you are the best!!!

  2. 32

    Sorry, didn’t mean to depress anyone Mia and David! 🙂 I guess online dating has screwed up my head and I need to spend some time straightening it out again. I never used to think I was *old*. I only started feeling that way when I kept seeing man after man on these sites my age who prefer women in their 20s. I’m not trying to chase men half my age or anything (which would be illegal since he’d only be about 15, haha). I just want a peer who has the same points of reference and life experiences as I have. I didn’t think wanting a man around my age was so unreasonable, but many of my peers I’m interested in want women in their 20s. So then I tried to follow Evan’s advice to want the men who want me. I couldn’t bring myself to like the men in their ’50s and ’60s, but instead tried focusing more on the men in their late 30s to early 40s (but wouldn’t you know, those men weren’t interested either). I’m fighting through the negativity though. Right now I’m trying to remain open to the possibility of love, but also working on becoming happier within my own skin first and getting to a healthier mental state. Online dating did a number on my self esteem and I’m trying to build it up again. On a rational level, I realize I can’t hinge my whole self esteem on what a bunch of strangers think of me when they don’t know me. I just need to learn to connect my head with my heart, and feel deep down in my bones that I’m worthy of love with a great person, even after all these other rejections. I’ve become very frustrated and discouraged with dating, but I also ultimately see no alternative than to persist. I went through the same thing with job searches in the past, and would still be unemployed if I had given up every time I felt like it. However, even when that felt hopeless, I eventually got the job I wanted (albeit later than I had hoped for). So I’m thinking my search for love will go the same way–but it has a much bigger payoff if I succeed. Hope springs eternal!

  3. 33

    I think there’s a third option, aside from aggressively going out and pursuing new date prospects, and sinking back into your shell in a pile of despair. And for me, this third option has always been the most effective, and the most comfortable.

    It’s about being out in the world, living your life, in a state of receptiveness, in a state of faith. It’s about cultivating trust, trust in love, trust in the process, trust in yourself, trust in others. It’s about being open and warm, and holding a positive space in your life that your future partner will fill.

    I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone; it’s not about being passive, not at all. Cultivating an openness and receptiveness to love is actually an active state of mind, and we don’t realise how much fear we’re holding onto or how much we close ourselves off, until we embrace it.

    The way I see it, for us women, it’s not about chasing or being aggressive or too proactive (as Evan says), it’s about cultivating a warmth and openness to men, and letting go of how you’ve been treated before.

    1. 33.1

      I love your thoughts, Clare! 

      I will still do the work with online dating, but I see the value of your attitude… 

    2. 33.2

      I agree. Just having a fulfilling life is important. I have interests and activities where I’m just out there having fun. Through that, I meet people. Social circles also have expanded the events/get togethers that I attend, which helps, because I’m not going to the same old places all of the time. My routine has changed up. I have a life to live for me..being in a relationship is a great bonus to that. Being receptive to meeting new people and perhaps it blossoms into a relationship is important. Otherwise, it’s perhaps a friend or a new connection for business, never know! What I don’t accept for my life are the random men that have no intentions for me that do nothing but sap my energy from the dating process.

  4. 34

    It has to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Just got back together with the man who’d broken up with me last week. Turns out, what he really needed to do was sit down and talk about what bothered him. Instead he said he wanted to break up. Based on my previous experience, when a guy broke up and never wanted to hear from me again, I was prepared to go completely no-contact, but he wanted to talk about it all of a sudden and it all got better from there 🙂 Point is, at our age and with our pasts, nobody is a model of emotional stability and wisdom. We say things we don’t mean, do things we don’t say, and have no idea why we are saying and doing all those things. This needs to be accounted for. We’ve got to take a good look at the person and see what they are really trying to tell us. Mean jerks who use us and dump us are pretty rare — it just looks like they’re everywhere, because the few of them manage to get around a hell of a lot and hurt dozens of women in a short period of time. In my 2.5 years of dating, I only ran into one user. All the rest were decent people.

    @ #34 Clare — exactly! In case the breakup had gone through, my plan was to take a lot of time for myself, (six months or so), catch up with old friends, travel, have fun, do some soul-searching and figure out what I want out of life, and out of dating in particular. I absolutely did not plan on dating again anytime soon. I have plenty of old friends who are always up for casual dating 😉 and anything else would’ve been too soon for me.

  5. 35

    Yes…I don’t understand the 9-12 date thing. If I am not interested in someone, it usually is something I know by the 2nd date. Hell, sometimes an hour into the first date, when you tell me about being: in the military, thats why you didn’t complete college, but your master diving experience wouldn’t travel over to to the states, so in the Bahamas you got certified, then you became a Paramedic, because you have a huge heart, and then you started building networks systems for huge law firms (but your business site for you internet company isn’t complete)…blah blah blah, can we start the worse date thing again? This was on 5 minutes of the crazytown I sat through.

  6. 36

    Christine, #33 –
    A friend of mine had an interesting theory about dating in your 30s. He said most men who wanted to get married early (25-32) did, and the ones in their early 30s, 32-38, still probably had lots of stuff to work out. His theory was that women in their early 30s all wanted to date guys in that age range and kept getting burned by them, and ended up bitter by 37. So the trick, he explained, was for someone like you to either go out with the younger-ready guys or the older 38-42 year old set, who would be so pleased to have a YOUNG 33 year old.
    Christine, you are young. Your body is young!!
    Trust me. I got married after 40. You are very young and should keep trying!

  7. 37

    @Amy 37, very interesting point. I’m around Christine’s age as well and I have to say some of what you say rings true for me. Lately all the men who have been interested in me have been around 30 or otherwise 40. Even though I prefer mid-30s I rarely meet them or ones who want to date me. No biggie for me because I like to go where I’m popular:).

  8. 38

    @ Claire #34: Exactly! Thank you for your interesting contribution!

    For me, plan A is a solid, balanced, and happy marriage. Plan B is a solid, balanced, and happy single life. Plan C to Z everything else including three-month thingies going nowhere and three-year relationships staying in the status quo. I’m not including internet dating with people who would consider me for the role of a glorified free prostitute because I’m simply not giving men a chance to ever toy with such an idea, consciously or not.

    Since plan A involves someone else’s will, and depends on this elusive magical succession of events of meeting someone, clicking, and discovering compatibility, which is for a large part out of my control, my best bet at happiness is creating the best plan B I can. Totally up to me. With the added bonus that it does not exclude the potential to shift to plan A if I keep myself receptive, as Clare is saying at #34, and end up meeting someone who qulifies enough for me to take a temporary risk of spending some time in plan C. That’s what I’m doing, and it’s working beautifully for me. I let time and circumstances do their magic, and after 3.5 years of happy single life full of friends, travels, and volunteering (and no dating), I met my boyfriend. I’m allowing myself to spend 12-18 months in plan C to see if this will become plan A. Not more though, because plan B is better than plan C for me. That’s where I do not go with Evan’s advice to give the man three years to make a decision. He’s got around 12 months : )

    A comment to Mia #1: Evan’s advice is spot on for his target audience which is the “smart, strong, and successful woman”. It’s a catchy title that will make most women want to identify with it, but we are not all “smart, strong, and successful women”. Those women are picky and limit their dating pool unreasonnably. On the other side of the spectrum, I (and I suspect you too) am “reasonnable, grounded, and content in life”, therefore while most of Evan’s advice is still spot on for me, some parts of it does not apply at all. I was too flexible: I needed to be more discriminative. I was too fun and easy-going: I needed to give men more of a homework to prove themselves to me. I was choosing men who were not compatible to my values and long-term goals: I needed to evaluate sooner who was worth my energy. We are all different and one advice-size does not fit all, even if the general wisdom still applies. Because it does. Evan’s approach is incredibly wise.

    So Mia, you might need to adjust your approach if your current method does not bring you what you need and burns you out instead. I agree with the recommendation of not letting failures make you lick your wounds at home for years, but running on the dating hamster-wheel like crazy is an unreasonnable investment of our limited energies. Finding the One is not just a numbers’ game. It’s also a matter of circumstances aligning somehwat magically, of people clicking energically in an environment that doet not involve a screen and tick boxes, of people meeting and joyfully starting exploring if making a team is an option. For people who can afford being out there a couple of times a week, it’s best to focus on meeting people in real life. Keep online dating and its superficial tick boxes as an extra and/or for difficult situations such as solo parenting of young children, disability, small town, late thirties with a desire for biological kids, etc.

    And finally @ Christine #28: I’m your age and found love last year after years of frustration and questioning. Still figuring out if this is the real deal, but in any case, for the first time I am at peace no matter what happens because I am a solid, balanced, and happy single, and this is a good life to go back to. There is not such a thing as “too old” at 33! And there is not such as thing as “too old” for a solid and happy relationship at any age anyway. It’s just easier at 33 than at 39, so use your time wisely. Be happy single in the meantime!

    1. 38.1

      Thank you for your insight, Fusee. I like your “system” with Plans A, B and C-Z. I could totally subscribe to that. After a few dating disappointments, which were largely in Plan C, I am now committed to choosing Plan B. I do want to become fully happy on my own (as much as this is at all possible). I was kind of devastated after the last break-up but now I am recovering and start seeing all kinds of possibilities for myself as a single person — I start remembering things I wanted to achieve but never did so far and making a mental list of them. I still feel some pain left, though, and it sabotages my goals to a degree because I still need to spend some time and energy on my recovery, processing painful and anxious thoughts, but I see the light at the end of a tunnel. I have read many of the comments here and they are very helpful.

  9. 39
    Laura S.

    I don’t take men and dating seriously until they are ready to get serious. Sometimes they think they are, but men are rarely fully in touch with their inner selves.

    A lot of men like to test to see how much they can get away with. So do women. We all have our ideal relationship: Free and Easy, right? I call it immaturity but it seems to be popular these days.

    Boundaries. I’m not going to give up my lunch because some guy’s a jerk. At a first meet he’s not even worth the effort to say the Magic Words (with a smile):

    “It’s okay to be an asshole, but you’re not allowed to be an asshole to me.”

    I agree with #34 Clare–It’s about getting out there and enjoying life and enjoying people. Sometimes we have to make ourselves do it.

    I was expecting a proposal or at least a very good proposition from my special man. Instead he broke up with me again, with the hours long good-bye kiss, kissing away my tears, his refusal to say why, but keeping our permanent friendship. His progressive illness is obvious now and he is dying. We are only now talking openly about it.

    This is tough, but I keep dating and enjoying the company of other gentlemen, some who know and some who don’t. One who doesn’t said on our 2nd date, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re not remarried already!” I’m sure the look on my face let him know he said something wrong.

  10. 40

    @Amy 37… I wholeheartedly agree with this theory. Probably because it’s the story of my life. I missed out on some men in their mid-late 20s who were the ones who really did want to get married, and it didn’t surprise me when I heard just 2-3 years later that they were now married. Meanwhile, when I was about 30-32, the men in that 30-36 age range (give or take a year or two) didn’t seem the slightest bit interested in being married!

    But then the group of men from 37-42? There was a bigger pool than I thought of never-married, serious men who were really looking for someone. So at age 31, I ended up with a 37-year-old guy… which to me, isn’t a terribly large age difference. He said I was actually one of the youngest women he’d dated, as he was usually dating closer to his age or slightly older. Many of them didn’t want kids (because they had some already) and he wanted someone who wanted to have kids (or have more kids). So a 30-35-year-old woman who wanted to marry and have kids would have been perfect for him.

    I suppose I could have said that six years was too much of an age gap or that a 37-year-old guy was “old” and that I wanted someone who was no older than 33, but Mr. 37 turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me… and we’re still in the same generational cohort and were born in the same decade, so I don’t feel like I’m with some really really OLD guy. LOL

    Anyway, I think 33 is a good age still… definitely consider the late 30-early 40 something guys who want marriage (and children, if you want children). You’ll definitely do well among that group.

  11. 41
    Karmic Equation

    I have a simple rule…Don’t tell a guy you love him until he says it first. You can feel the love, act on the love WITHOUT BEING CLINGY…but don’t ever say it until he says it first. For two reasons:
    1) when you say it first, you’ll never know if he said it because he felt that way or only said it because he felt obliged by politeness/awkwardness/etc to say it
    2) When he says “I love you” first, it means it’s been on his mind for a while and he couldn’t hold it in!

    So how does one extrapolate this rule and apply it to handle men who may disappear? Simple…Don’t be more emotionally vested in the man/relationship than the man at any stage of the relationship. Leave him alone and LET HIM MISS YOU. Text him only when he texts you. Assume that when he’s not with you he’s NOT thinking about a future with you…so DON’T spend a lot of time thinking about a future with him.

    There was a one-liner that I always repeat to myself when I’m so intoxicated by a man that all I want is to stay in constant contact with him…”How can I miss you if you don’t go away?”

    I think Evan said it once, men figure out their feelings for you when you’re not around. If you’re always around, they don’t have any opportunity to notice they miss you and so they don’t expend any energy to examine their feelings as there are no feelings to examine. You HAVE to give men the opportunity to miss you if you really want to know how they feel about you. Stay away from them and don’t contact them when you most want be in contact with them. While this lack of contact can be *excruciating* and it can be almost physically painful to abstain from initiating contact, if you can resist that temptation, you will reap the benefits!

    I know because I recently ended a 6-yr relationship with a guy with whom I started the relationship as per above. He calls me every day apologizing for the bad behavior that forced me to end the relationship, begging for me to give him another chance. I won’t.

    I know because the “playah” that I decided to rebound from this LTR with offered to be my boyfriend after 7 wks.

    I wasn’t looking for a relationship with the playah (I just wanted to be distracted from the end of my 6yr LTR). Yet I employed the same behaviors with this playah as I would have were I looking for a “real” relationship with him: While you can allow yourself to feel the feelings, you need to employ the DON’T ASK – DON’T TELL – DON’T SHOW strategy about your feelings until he’s your BF. You can be feminine, friendly, flirtatious, approachable WITHOUT showing how you feel. If he disappears, you have have your dignity intact. If he stays, you have your reward. It’s a no-lose situation. It simply requires steely discipline and practicing deferred gratification to get a guy to the point where he wants to offer a relationship. THEN you can decide how much to tell or show. Just don’t tell or show until he offers the relationship you’re interested in.

  12. 42

    Karl #5: I agree. This advice holds true for men as well.

    Susan #10: I DISagree. I agree on the one hand that dating is difficult for women. Dating is no easier for men though. It might even be more challenging for us, because it is on us to initiate things and to pursue the woman in the relationship.

    I get that women have had men end it with them at all stages of dating. Well, we as men have had women ending it with us at all stages too. And usually it is NOT due to us being jerks. It is instead because the woman just wasn’t feeling it. Hey, ask all the Nice Guys who can’t seem to get past the first date because the girl isn’t feeling “The Chemistry” (whatever THAT means).

    I’ve read somewhere that over 70% of all breakups are initiated by women. Hmmm….

    And I’m not convinced that the WAY women end relationships is any kinder than the way men end them. We as men have had women end it with us by doing things such as disappearing (one day she just stops returning our calls and texts) or even cheating on us. This after not only lots of sex, but after a lot of effort and a decent amount of money spent on our part in planning and paying for dates and trips and whatnot.

    My point: Dating IS tough for women too, but it is just as tough for men. Our gender doesn’t have it any easier by any means.

  13. 43

    Love you writing, Evan. Seriously, why aren’t you in Hollywood writing scripts…you’ve got a talent.

  14. 44

    One thing where I disagree thought. When you “justify” actions of men who overshoot and under delivered as something trivial. A mature, responsible person should THINK before he or she acts. Mistakes are part of living, but certainly they can be avoided. I had never hurt a man, even though i did my share of breaks up, because i was very honest with them throughout the relationship so we both knew where we stood. If men attempt to do similar, instead of reacting to hormones first and thinking last – me thinks we got a future.

  15. 45

    Yay! My boyfriend has done everything on your list Evan. It’s always nice to get confirmation from a professional that I have a wonderful boyfriend.

    It’s also good to know that it was natural for me to get as excited as I did. Frankly, though, the getting excited (falling in love, chemically) was a bit annoying. I thought we were very compatible and I was excited, but rational. Then ‘love’ hit, hard and it really threw me off balance. I don’t know if it’s b/c I’ve read so much about ‘the dangers of mistaking chemistry for love’ or if it’s because I’ve never fallen in love like this before, but it was a bit scary! I don’t know who would want to feel like vomiting from giddy excitement forever, but it’s not me! I’m so glad that only lasted a couple weeks. I also found myself feeling more insecure, which is normal when you allow yourself to be vulnerable with another person, but I’m glad I had the sage advice from you, your wife and other posters to keep me grounded and focused on compatibility.

    Still, I worry about making mistakes in this early dating period when I’m still high on love (just not nauseaus anymore).

    Never mind. I just received flowers at work again. Literally, at this moment. He’s such a great boyfriend!

    Thanks Evan!

  16. 46

    Fusee – I agree. I don’t rely heavily on online dating, and see it as more of a backup option. Especially since I recently moved to a less diverse area; being half white and half Asian when I lived on the East Coast, my match account was still flooded with responses. Now hardly anyone emails me though I’m considered sufficiently good looking in real life by white guys here. Annoying.

    Anyway, the Western dating system is just dysfunctional. I find it reprehensible that people could disappear on others, have sex with no feeling, that people with no big deal breakers to the mainstream population – being fat, ugly, overly annoying/pushy/controlling, slutty, unemployed – are still forced to date hundreds of people.

    I have family that comes from an Asian country where arranged marriage was common, and even those now in this country basically have their parents/ family friends set them up. They meet that person a couple times and decide whether their life goals are compatible. If not, they’ll get set up again, but they’re generally not meeting more than 6-8 people before deciding, and not going out more than 4-5 times before deciding on an engagement. It usually works out, and it’s not about these stupid ideas like fireworks, chemistry, hard to get, strategies, etc. It should not have to be as complicated as these stories convey.

  17. 47

    Michael17, I agree that dating can be difficult for men too. Some women can be incredibly cruel in how they deal with us and other women sometimes don’t appreciate this because they don’t date women, but in general I find most women are decent and reasonable.

    However, on balance I think women in their late 20’s and 30’s who want to get married and have a family have it a bit more difficult because of the inherent inequality in fertility. It’s like buying a house; each party wants to get the best deal possible. But if one party knows that the other has a time-limit in which the sale can be agreed, they’ll wait as long as necessary to get the best price. I think the men in their 30’s that the posters here have discussed are subconsciously doing that. This scenario obviously doesn’t apply when having children isn’t an issue.

    As well as that, men usually don’t mind the number of sexual partners increasing ad infinitum until they meet someone, whereas many women are uncomfortable with doing the same.

  18. 48

    Dating is difficult for everyone, no one is immune.

    The table can be turned very easily by saying that men who reject a woman on looks or body type are just as harsh as women who reject men because they don’t feel chemistry. I don’t think it’s fair to blame women for men’s daing woes because they want to feel a connection.

    Men are NOTORIOUS for just disappearing or cheating, that behavior is not reserved for just men or women. That’s a character thing.

    Also, when dating a woman for longer than a few dates, a good woman will return favors by the man in kind. It may not be exactly has he expects, but she may make dinner, buy tickets for an event, etc. (Not to mention the time, effort and energy she takes to get ready for dates–totally disregarded.) Again, if she’s not doing that, it’s a character issue. Anyway who wants to keep score? I know that’s a huge turnoff for me.

    I agree with Tom, I choose to believe most people are ‘good’. As Evan said, it’s VERY rare for all the planets to align and a relationship to start AND continue for a long period of time. It’s the risk we all take.

  19. 49

    Well, wise words and good mindset to have, but after each heartbreak I be able to implement this mindset only after at least two month of crying… What can I do? I’m a human being…

  20. 50

    Not sure if this will help, however, after each breakup, I spend a lot of mental time thinking about what my part was in the breakup and what I learned–even if it’s one thing. I find the agonizing time after each breakup becomes less and less because I know I’m getting closer to what I desire.

    Regardless, so what :), we’re sad for a little time after a breakup, nothing wrong with wallowing in that for a LITTLE while, then picking ourselves up and persevering on. Persistance and patience.

  21. 51
    David T

    @H_Int 50 and Michelle 51

    Wise points Michelle and H. Let yourself be human. As long as heartbreak doesn’t include not getting a second or third date and as long as you are not wallowing excessively (2 months is kind of long unless it was an LTR) sadness is normal and OK!

    @Michelle 49 “Men are NOTORIOUS for just disappearing or cheating, that behavior is not reserved for just men or women. That’s a character thing.”

    Men may be notorious, but there is some evidence women think about it and do it at about the same rate.

    Percentage of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had: 57%
    Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had: 54%
    Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 74%
    Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 68%

    (no references to these stats, so they could be fabricated, but they do agree with other things I have read and heard).

  22. 52

    Tom #48: Good point. Women do feel more urgency to find “the one” than we as men do. Women tend to be much more attuned to emotional energy than we as men are. Which might explain why as a guy, I’ve seen both (a) women wanting to tie me down ASAP and (b) women not wanting to go on a second date with me because “The Chemistry” (i.e., this invisible energy that women feel strongly and that many men have a tough time sensing and that has little to do with things such as emotional stability, career success or even looks) wasn’t there for them on the first date. This behavior from women seems crazy to many of us as guys (“what’s this girl’s rush for commitment??” “what does she mean “The Chemistry” wasn’t there?? Why can’t women actually give things a chance and go on a second date instead of expecting life to be a rom-com??”) but when you think about it, it makes sense. Women are looking for a guy who satisfies them emotionally too, and as they don’t have much time, they feel they have to weed through guys quickly.

    It might also explain why women complain about dating more than we men do. The clock is ticking for them in a way that it isn’t for us. Our preferred way of dating–let’s hang out a few times and hook up and then see if we are right for each other–doesn’t really work for women. Women feel the need to screen through guys fast. And so they might be pushing guys away with their urgency to settle down, or not be giving guys a fair chance, which might be why they might see the dating world as mostly either charming rogues who won’t commit, or boring Nice Guys whom they don’t want to see again.

    EMK is I think, pushing women to (a) give certain guys a chance–maybe the fellow in front of her isn’t a boring Nice Guy but someone who needs time to warm up, and (b) stop pressing guys for commitment–many of us aren’t rogues so much as we need to see she’s a great woman before she commits.

    That said, I am learning a lot from the opposite gender from reading the women’s comments on here!

  23. 53

    What about when the guy is your boyfriend, has talked about getting married end of year, goes on about a place where he wants your reception to be…then disappears and ends up marrying someone else after 4 months?

    Finding it very hard to persevere and be positive after that!

  24. 54

    @Mia #47: You say: “Anyway, the Western dating system is just dysfunctional.”

    I totally agree with you. The whole system has become a shopping experience. You now click on tick boxes to make your selection, you read some description, you try, you don’t like, you return, you start over. Soon they are going to add the possibly to write reviews on your online dates!

    If you become emotionally devastated by the process, you are encouraged to look at it as if you were simply practising playing darts. You miss the target. Oh well, try again. Persevere. No doubt that some of us can approach it that way. Some are more resilient than others. Some see it with more humor than others. Not all of us though. Emotional investments take their toll on more sensitive people. But wait a minute! We must not become emotionally invested before months in the process, possibly not before marriage which has to be waited for for three years…

    So now we have a whole culture practising very hard at deshumanizing a process that should be about mutual respect and appreciation. And we are teaching other cutures to do the same…

    Let’s be clear: I’m glad the feminists fought for more equality, I’m grateful for the freedom I enjoy that my grandparents – and parents to some degree – did not have. But the loss of societal pressure to feel content by sharing life with a decent companion and honor commitments will also have a negative effect on humanity.

    For me, meeting my man and growing a solid friendship-based relationship with him happened when I opted out of the “dating culture” and chose a middle way between this ridiculous system and the more traditional old-fashioned ways. Instead of keeping accepting dates right and left and going the “trial-and-error route”, I focused instead on aligning everything in my life with my values and investing my energy in less but more promising options. I was ready to go for years without a date. I was not going to kiss without being in a relationship. I was not going to have sex without the goal of evaluating the relationship for marriage (I made friend with the vibrator : ). I had to be patient for sure, but there was no more burn-out, no more wasted time, money, and energy, and much more respect and love to give to my man when he found me. I was totally refreshed.

    1. 54.1
      Dina Strange

      Totally loved your response. What a great comment.

  25. 55

    @Michael17 #53 “what does she mean “The Chemistry” wasn’t there??”

    I think we all know what THAT means….lol SHE doesn’t find HIM attractive enough(usually physically) to want to kiss him now or ever no matter what happens in the future.

    Men are a little more flexible in this area. I date women I’m only vaguely or hardly attracted to all the time that I have very little “chemistry” with. It’s either that or nothing so I take what I can get or go without (as I do a lot of the time). For women it’s mostly all or nothing. Just my observation.

  26. 56

    JB # 56: Physical attractiveness actually matters less to women than it does to men. Or should I say, it is easier for us as guys to make up for whatever we are lacking in the looks department if we have a terrific personality. A guy will be more likely to be open to a second date with a woman who is just his type physically but the conversation is only “average” than a woman would be with an extremely handsome man in a likewise situation.

  27. 57

    Thank you for the encouragement Amy and Fusee! I’m trying my best not to become bitter and just enjoy my time being single, while remaining open to love at the same time. I really value that input. Interesting you say that JB, I have often said the exact same thing. I’ve dated a ton of men who I was not immediately attracted to, hoping that something more would develop once I got to know them better (including this brilliant and educated but socially awkward scientist–think of a real life version of Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory”). However, often times, these guys weren’t willing to try a second date because they didn’t instantly hear violins and get instant fireworks. I guess there’s enough of that “all or nothing” thinking on both sides. In terms of chemistry, I’m trying to learn to balance between crazy hormonal attraction that clouds your judgment (I’ve had that too!), and being repelled by someone (which I had with “real life Sheldon”). After making all those mistakes and swinging from one extreme to the next, I’ll keep trying until I find the right balance.

  28. 58

    Fusee #55

    You are blaming feminism because some people aren’t “content with sharing life with a decent companion and honoring commitments??????”

    I ve always considered myself a feminist but was married for 20 years Your correlation that feminism is to blame doesn’t make sense to me.

  29. 59

    Fusee, I might have said this before, but I totally agree with you and what you did… I basically did the same. I know, I know, everyone would say that limited the number of possibilities I had, but you know what? That was a good thing. Because no matter what might be said about understanding men, there are some things that an individual has to decide she’s not going to compromise on. Compromise is fine if we’re talking about certain physical characteristics or a set dollar amount he must make (which is totally different from understandably wanting a guy with a good work ethic). But when you’re talking about general values, beliefs and ethics, then no, I don’t think it’s healthy to surrender those.

    I did not want to fully operate under today’s “dating culture,” and luckily, the guy I found abhorred it as well… I think that helped us easily transition into a relationship and later a marriage. We knew we wanted something more than the “shopping” experience that modern dating often can be.

  30. 60

    Thank you, Clare, Fusee and SS for sharing how you found your loves. These are the stories I come to this blog to read and be inspired by! You may have found love in similar ways or different ways but what I heard in all three posts is that you were happy with yourself when you met the right guy.

    Evan says men like women who seem happy and are fun to be around. (At least I think that’s what he says.) I know he says men like women who make them feel good. Women feel good when they find a way to attract men while still liking themselves. When a woman feel good she can make a man feel good. There you go. For some it’s being open and receptive, for others it’s narrowing choices and holding out for that one right guy.

    Both ways are valid! All that matters is that you find that right person and are happy and open to that person when you meet. I’m glad to hear success stories from people who find that in all different ways.

    Thank you.

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