Why Would My Boyfriend Suddenly Break Up with Me?

I’d been in what seemed like the perfect dating relationship with a man for a couple months until just last week, when he broke up with me out of nowhere. I know a lot of articles tell people who were blindsided by breakups that just because the relationship seemed great to them, it doesn’t mean their partner had been feeling that way, too. In all honesty though, it had appeared to be great on his end, too…

The day he broke up with me, he’d left my place to go to work, kissed me goodbye, and said he couldn’t wait to see me that weekend. The day before, he’d texted me at work just to say how much he missed me, and told me just two days before that I was meeting all of his relationship needs and he was so lucky to have such a sweet girlfriend like me.

Every aspect of our relationship seemed great… The communication seemed strong, we had so much fun together, our goals for the future matched up, the sex was great, and we both showed our appreciation for each other through gestures (he’d surprise me with flowers and gifts, and I’d surprise him by cooking his favorite meal and remembering to check in with how he was doing on the anniversary of his mom’s death).

The night he broke up with me he’d called, and just sounded like he was in such a bad mood. Things just sounded so off compared to the night before, when he’d been at my place getting tickets for a show we were planning to go to that weekend. We got off the phone and I decided to call him back later, saying something had just seemed off and I was worried about him, and did he have anything on his mind he wanted to talk about? He then proceeded to say I liked him more than he liked me, he didn’t see a future for us (in spite of what he’d been consistently saying, even that week) and then blocked me on every social media platform, possible.

When he got his stuff from my place two days later, I asked if we could sit down and talk now that we’d calmed down and some time had passed, because it just didn’t make sense… He looked at me like I disgusted him, grabbed his things, and left without giving me a backwards glance. He even made sure to “unfriend” me on seemingly insignificant apps, like “MyFitnessPal.” I just don’t understand… There was no fight, no distancing, and plenty of letting me know he was crazy about me and loved where our relationship was going.

What causes a man to just break things off abruptly like that? And why did he go to such extremes as to erase me completely from his life, immediately, when I didn’t so much as raise my voice, call him names, or give him reason to think I needed to be blocked from even a food log app? I haven’t tried to contact him at all since he got his stuff, and I just don’t understand… I’m so confused, and it’s really making it difficult to move on. My brain just doesn’t seem to grasp that it’s over because it doesn’t make sense, and I have to actively tell myself each day that it is over and not to contact him because it won’t bring him back and I deserve better. Still…

How do I heal from this? How do I prevent this from happening again? What takes a guy from “I’m so lucky to be dating a sweet girl like you,” to looking like he hates me while saying, “I will never love you,”? 

Thank you so much, Evan. I’ve been listening to your podcast for years, and I greatly appreciate any advice you may have to give!

Katie

Aw, Katie… I’m really sorry to hear about your heartbreak. There’s never a good story about a relationship ending, but yours does seem like a particularly bad one.

As you know, it’ll get better. As you know, you may never get answers to everything. As you know, you came to the right guy for counsel.

Your situation brings mind two past relationships – both when I was the dump-er and when I was the dump-ee – in the same year. Here’s what I can glean from each experience:

This was a perfect example of “it’s not you; it’s me.” In January, 2004, I started dating Shari, a sweet, silly, cute, adoring therapist who I met online and lived only a few blocks away from me. We hit the ground running and were exclusive in a few weeks. Less than a month later, I broke up with her. I remember her tears like they were yesterday, wondering why? Wasn’t everything so good? What happened to all that sweet stuff I’d just said? What could she do different to change the outcome?

I had recently been to New York and felt a stronger connection with another woman I met there than I did with my own girlfriend. That cognitive dissonance was steadily pulling at me over the next four weeks, even though there was absolutely nothing “wrong” with Shari and I. As a man of integrity, I never dated anyone I had no intention of marrying, and while I could have kept it going, it felt more ethical to let Shari go find a man who WOULD be all in on her, since I wasn’t able to.

(Needless to say, the woman I fell for in New York didn’t feel the requisite chemistry with ME to embark on a long-distance relationship, so there you have it.)

Looking back, the one thing I wish I could have explained to Shari and will explain to you is that a good person may have second thoughts for a few weeks or months, but does not let it impact his interaction with you. Think about it. You have a sweet guy who doubts whether you’re on the same page long-term. What is he supposed to do? Be a dick? Start berating you? Do the slow fade to send a non-confrontational message?

A good guy will treat you well right up to the very last moment because that’s what good guys do.

No. A good guy will treat you well right up to the very last moment because that’s what good guys do. So while you’ll feel blindsided, he will have been thinking about breaking up with you for a while, as his is right.

I wish I understood this later in 2004, when I went out with Lori for three months and fell madly in love with her. Best relationship I’d ever had by far and I was convinced we were going to get married fast (I was 32 and she was 38). Suddenly, before I was to take her to Las Vegas for a weekend, she told me she needed a “break.” The official breakup came a week later. This time I was in tears, asking all the same questions that Shari did. I even asked Lori why I didn’t see it coming. She told me that since I’d mentioned that I’d had critical girlfriends in my past, she didn’t see fit to criticize me. She just had some doubts about whether I was the right long-term fit for her and it took her about a month of our three-month relationship to figure it out for sure. Completely knocked me sideways, but I don’t know how I could criticize her for how she handled it.

Perhaps the only thing one can criticize, Katie, is how your ex cut you off entirely without as much as a consoling conversation that might give you some measure of closure.

That kind of seems like a dick move. Mean at worst. Insensitive at best.

At the same time, if I were your dating coach, I’d recommend that YOU block HIM everywhere to better move on with your life, so while it may hurt, he’s actually put you on a faster path to healing. Perhaps you’ll realize that this guy wasn’t as great as he seemed – especially in terms of how he communicated with you through this break-up, and that will free you up to find a man who gets how special you are.

Hang in there, my friend. It gets better.

P.S. Shari got married after I dumped her. Lori never got married after dumping me. Just sayin’.

Join our conversation (259 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Emily, the original

    She just had some doubts about whether I was the right long-term fit for her and it took her about a month of our three-month relationship to figure it out for sure. Completely knocked me sideways, but I don’t know how I could criticize her for how she handled it.

    If she was feeling doubts about a month in … she should have voiced those to you. Someone can still treat you well while being honest. But continuing to discuss a future with someone who is probably not planning one (as the OP’s boyfriend did) is cruel and irresponsible. He probably wanted to avoid any kind of confrontation, so by the time he had the backbone to break up with her, he was just done.

    1. 1.1
      sylvana

      Emily,

      I fully agree. I understand having doubts, or meeting someone else. But don’t lie to the person, or even make everything sound as if it is perfect all the way up to the day you break with them. If that’s how “good” guys/women treat their partners, I’d rather be with a bad one.

      1. 1.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Slyvana,

        I understand having doubts, or meeting someone else. But don’t lie to the person, or even make everything sound as if it is perfect all the way up to the day you break with them. If that’s how “good” guys/women treat their partners, I’d rather be with a bad one.

        I agree. It’s selfish to keep someone in the dark like that.

    2. 1.2
      Adrian

      Hi Emily and Sylvana,

      As someone who has been in the boyfriend’s shoes I agree with Evan. I would like to just add that another reason he may have been saying all those sweet things and doing all those nice gestures-even if his heart wasn’t completely into it-was because he was also trying to convince himself with logic and reason.

      Emily you should know what I mean, you Jeremy, YAG, and Marika just spoke about something similar in a previous post. You can meet a person who is great, treats you great, and is everything you thought you wanted and yet you feel nothing for them. I do agree that anything longer than a month is extreme and I would never do that but from the times I have been in the boyfriends and Evan’s ex shoes it was my way of seeing if perhaps I would feel something if I’m with them long enough.

      It is like what the women say when they go on a date with a guy but are unsure; so they go on another. It’s not about lying, being deceitful or any type of malice it’s just you don’t want to REGRET letting such a great person go over something superficial.

      1. 1.2.1
        Emily, the original

        Adrian,

        Emily you should know what I mean, you Jeremy, YAG, and Marika just spoke about something similar in a previous post. You can meet a person who is great, treats you great, and is everything you thought you wanted and yet you feel nothing for them. 

        Yeah, but I’m different than you because if I felt nothing, I probably wouldn’t go on the date. Not anymore. I did date one guy a few years back I wasn’t sure about. It lasted a couple of months, but in that time I broke it off twice  and he did 90% of the communication. He acted surprised when I broke it off the third time (this time it stuck), but, really, why? Was it not obvious I was vacillating? I even told him I was vacillating.

        You can date someone and not be sure. Nothing wrong with that. Just don’t throw out a bunch of empty bullshit at them about a future.

      2. 1.2.2
        Marika

        Adrian 

        I’m not sure if the previous post you’re referring to is the one I’m thinking of, but if so I had an ah-ha moment with that one. For some people (I’m one of them), feelings for a person can grow with time/more exposure in different contexts. For others, they never do – feelings are there or not. Or at least they never have had the experience of feelings growing in the past.

        I could never understand people who would rule someone out and claim ‘no chemistry’ after one 2 hour date. Huh? You BARELY know them. They would similarly wonder why on earth someone would bother continuing to see someone they aren’t gaga over for a month or two.

        I don’t think we’ll ever understand their ways, or them, ours.

        I did challenge one such friend on the weekend, a ‘just know’ person whose latest ‘just knew’ lasted 6 weeks. Declarations of love, the whole bit. 41 and never married. We’d both been drinking and my tact was gone and I said: “but it never works out, right?”. He turned to me and said “could say the same about you” 😀

        1. Nissa

          @Adrian, think of it this way: when most people say ‘chemistry’ they mean ‘arousal’. For most men, they know right away if that woman is someone with whom they would have sex. No mystery there, right? They look, they feel a visceral ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

          However, this feeling does not tell them anything about compatibility, and therefore is a poor predictor of relationship success. Additionally, it provides no information of the feelings of the woman being evaluated. You might have that feeling about Jennifer Lawrence, but if she lacks the minimum arousal or attraction for you, then you get nowhere with her.

          For women, that internal ‘yes’ or ‘no’ can sometimes be stimulated by attraction factors as well as arousal. For example, if a woman wants to be a stay at home mom, and she sees something which makes her think a particular guy will provide that for her, she might be attracted in spite of low arousal (thinking that her attraction to ‘potential life I want’ is attraction to the man).

          Full disclosure: I’m one who has always known within 5 minutes for every man I’ve gotten serious about. In fact, both times I got the signal before we spoke. Neither one worked out, as the compatibility was low and the skills weren’t all there, but MY interest never wavered. Conversely, I’ve dated men that I wished I found attractive, and they were good people who doted on me, and the thought of kissing them made me cringe inside. In all cases, my within-5-minutes radar was accurate in my level of interest in that person. But that’s my personality. I like what I like – food, places, music, activities – I almost never shift from my original assessment.

          However, I have a friend that has to go on months of dates before she feels that she knows. She is this same way with food, places, music as well. Sometimes she likes it and sometimes not. So I usually see this as a level of personal knowledge. When you really know yourself, you know right off. When your own self is in flux or you don’t have strong likes of any kind, you have a much harder time deciding.

  2. 2
    Clare

    I have been on both ends of this, like Evan. Both the receiving end and the dumping end. It’s hard to say which is more difficult… honestly. As the person doing the breaking up, as Evan said, I’m a good person, and I’m going to behave like a good girlfriend right up until the moment I break up with the person. So the other person does not see it coming, and it’s very difficult to cause that kind of hurt to someone else. As the person being broken up with… I remember relationship where I’d been dating a guy for a month. We’d just had Valentine’s Day together, and he’d given me flowers, and a beautiful card and gifts… one of which had real sentimental value for him. 3 days later, he broke up with me via text and refused point blank to talk to me any further.

    I’d say, certainly, that break ups where you don’t see it coming. But the break up I just described and the OP’s situation are much worse because of the emotional shock of not even being accorded a proper explanation and the comfort of at least being able to see the person and talk to them to cushion the blow. Human beings’ egos are very fragile, and it seems to me that pulling the rug out from under someone like this, without even the courtesy to talk to them, is a particularly low blow.

    Likewise, I fully respect every person’s right to break up with someone for any reason and to leave a relationship whenever they choose, but it seems disingenuous to me to talk about the future and to make future plans and to reinforce how excited you are about the relationship if you are thinking of breaking up. When I have been the one doing the breaking up, I don’t exactly pull away, but I do put plans on hold while I am thinking about it. I try not to get the other person’s hopes up. And I think for me, when I have objected to someone breaking up with me in this way, it is usually because they have not been honest with me. Rather than make plans (as the OP’s boyfriend did) and gushing about how wonderful you are, wouldn’t it be better to just say nothing or be tentative? This will at least put the other person on notice that you are not sure about something. Of course it does happen that the decision to break up comes on suddenly sometimes, but in the majority of cases, like Evan said, the person has been thinking of breaking up with you for a while. In these cases, it would be a lot kinder to slow things down a little bit while you make your decision. That’s how I see it anyway.

    Why are some people so allergic to a bit more emotional honesty? I’ve known of couples where one person has broken up with the other by changing their relationship status on Facebook. That’s it. That was the break up talk. And you can’t say that the lack of honesty is to avoid emotional pain because the pain when you get dropped like that without so much as a conversation to explain it is surely much worse. I’m genuinely curious to hear from people what they think prompts this lack of honesty? How is it easier than having a simple but clear conversation?

    1. 2.1
      Nissa

      @Clare,

      In my opinion, the people who are honest are just avoiding conflict and saving themselves from pain. It’s not that they care so much about not hurting us (although some say this) as avoiding anything that makes them uncomfortable. My ex was like this – he would behave badly, then as you say “plaster it over with words”. When I would ask him what was wrong or what was needed, he could only say either “I don’t know” or give a list of all the ways I did not meet his needs (with no accountability on his part for choosing badly, choosing to remain in spite of his non matching wants, no negotiation of how to make things work, no recognition of his mismatch between his words & behavior, and no stepping up his personal accountability for his own wants). In short, it was all my fault.  Yet I was the one to leave him, because he never managed that simple conversation.

      Their inability to have this conversation is their flaw, based on their level of emotional maturity, not ours. It’s not isolated to men, either. My mom is happiest when I agree with her on all topics. When I finally tried to have a real connection, to tell her about myself and the things that were important to me, she hung up the phone on me and wrote me a long letter about how much she had done for me & how I was not properly appreciative. I gave up hope of having real connection & she is thrilled.

      Being honest with others requires being more honest with yourself, and some people just don’t want to do that. Or they don’t care about you enough to be honest. Even I, in spite of a true desire to have a relationship with my mom, finally gave up, because trying to share myself with her was just too darn painful (as it routinely resulted in judgement, blame and shame). I can see how some people, having experienced that in a previous relationship, might mistakenly think all women/men react like that. Or it could be as simple as they don’t have the balls to be truthful.

      1. 2.1.1
        Emily, the original

        @Clare,
        In my opinion, the people who are honest are just avoiding conflict and saving themselves from pain. It’s not that they care so much about not hurting us (although some say this) as avoiding anything that makes them uncomfortable.
        Totally agree.
        Being honest with others requires being more honest with yourself, 
        Also agree. I’d much rather be with someone who values being true to himself more than he values being seen as the good guy.

  3. 3
    Sam

    OP- hang in there. SERIOUSLY. I was dating this guy for 8 months and was madly in love. I thought the relationship was perfect. We were both 27 at the time and were talking about moving in together, and regularly discussed a future. He treated my like gold, and was constantly doing and saying things to make sure I knew he loved me. And in hindsight, I do know that he loved me. A little over 8 months into the relationship, he and I went out to a bar to get dinner and some drinks on St. Patrick’s Day, which fell on a Friday that year. Nothing unusual. Just three days earlier we spent 36 hours couped up in his apartment during a snow day and still, he didn’t even hint about his doubts at all.

    Anyway, while we were out, we got into an argument (this didn’t happen often, we maybe had 5 or 6 fights the entire time we were dating). This argument was about the future and we disagreed about a big thing. Eventually the argument settled down and after a long span of silence, he goes “I can’t do this anymore.” I go “we can go home.” But that’s not what he meant. Then he came back to my apartment just to pick up the bag he brought with him to sleepover that night. He acted cold and distant while I cried hysterically and then he left, never to be heard from again.

    He didn’t defriend me because I specifically asked him not to. A previous boyfriend who also blindsided me defriended me and unfollowed me and it devastated me. He instead deleted all evidence of me from his instagram, even changing my name in a caption to “my date” on a picture of cocktails.

    Fast forward, it’s been coincidentally a year and a half since and I barely think about him anymore. When I do, it is of the good memories we had. The hurt doesn’t even sting a little anymore. He looks really happy with the girl he started dating a few months after me. I have a new boyfriend I’ve been with for over a year and he is absolutely perfect. I’ve never been happier. We just signed a lease and are officially moving in together next month. Honestly, that break up was one of the best things that ever happened to me and was a huge life lesson. Though, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through to this day (I know, I’m lucky). It changed me, but definitely for the better.

  4. 4
    ScottH

    I imagine you’ll get a lot of people telling this same story about them.

    Mine was eerily similar to yours.  She told me many times how happy I made her, how I might just be perfect for her, how I was doing everything right, sending me cards telling me how special I made her life.  She went on vacation and kept telling me how much she missed me and couldn’t wait to see me, sending me hearts, etc…  Insisted on talking twice on the phone from a very long distance.  Tells me how she can’t stop telling her brother about me and how he wants to meet this “stand up guy.”  Then she gets home and starts acting a bit weird which I dismiss thinking it’s not about me and then a week later she breaks up with me over text message.  Talk about cowardly.   The pain was excruciating and very long lasting.
    I absolutely believe that when people do a sudden 180 like that, there is most certainly a pathology behind it, probably commitment-phobia.  “Healthy” people don’t do 180’s.  They just get to a certain point and state that it’s not working for them.  Their partner might be disappointed and crushed but to say all those things and then do a 180 without offering closure, that’s not what healthy people do and it is downright mean, at best.

    Katie-  you have a long road to recovery.  Don’t feel like you did something wrong.  You didn’t.  

    1. 4.1
      Emily, the original

      ScottH,

      I absolutely believe that when people do a sudden 180 like that, there is most certainly a pathology behind it, probably commitment-phobia.  “Healthy” people don’t do 180’s. 

      It could be that or it could be that telling someone what they want to hear makes the other person feel good. I tell her I love her, she’s smiling at me, she’s hugging me. A lot of positive reinforcement and dopamine dings and validation, even if I have doubts about the relationship. And they don’t want to give that up until they finally pull the plug.

  5. 5
    Tom10

    Question: “Why Would My Boyfriend Suddenly Break Up with Me?”
     
    Answer: because, unfortunately, HJNTIY.
     
    No matter how we wrap it up that’s what it boils down to at its core. In truth, Katie’s (the OP) boyfriend likely did like her. Quite possibly a lot. But just not enough. Further analysis won’t be of any benefit and will only potentially exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
     
    A more beneficial question would be: are there implicit unspoken signals that can be interpreted when someone we’re dating just isn’t into us as much as we’re into them?
     
    The answer is yes, but that some people just can’t read them. Therefore, it’s incumbent that every dater learns how to interpret these implied signals to save time dating the wrong people in the future, and to protect their self esteem.
     
    There is always a power balance, or indeed imbalance, in any relationship and a multitude of factors are constantly at play when trying to analyze it: failure to do so leaves one at risk of ending in the OP’s situation.
     
    So, what the factors that affect this power balance and what are the unspoken signals that someone we’re dating isn’t into us as much as we’re into them?
     
    –          Is one party initiating communication more often than the other?
    –          Does one party takes longer to respond to texts/emails/phone-calls?
    –          Is one party initiating dates more often?
    –          Is one party driving the relationship more than the other?
    –          Women asking men out first are at a particular risk of ending up in the OP’s situation, due to lazy male dating behavior.
    –          Are there noticeable differences in income/status/looks/intelligence/education level etc?
    –          Does one party have children whereas the other is childless?
    –          Other factors also come into play such as age/life stage/relationship history etc.
    –          It can be difficult for the subjective dater to read all these cues, therefore, the objective input of an impartial friend might be worth obtaining.
     
    I’m always hyper-aware of this sense of balance in any relationship – not just romantic, but friends, family and work too – therefore I’m never surprised when I’m faded out, dumped or ignored: I can sense it coming a mile off. So I’m surprised to read when others can’t see it coming down the tracks like a freight train.
     
    Also, it is important that when one is dumped, that the dumpee then accepts it gracefully, swiftly cuts all communication and moves on forever. Failure to do so only prolongs the pain and further reduces self-esteem.
     
    All that said it appears the OP’s boyfriend did act poorly by future-faking and sweet-talking Katie. Bad form. He liked her enough for a 3-month-relationship but not enough to progress beyond that. Then he weazeled out with a weak excuse.
     
    Although, that said, there’s really no way to sugar-coat HYNITY; so whatever the boyfriend said at that point would appear weak.
     
    Ultimately, I think every dater has to come to a point in their dating lives where we decide to either be the more interested party – which comes with the attendant risk the other party might suddenly break up with us – or less interested party – which comes with the risk that we lose interest in them.

    1. 5.1
      Emily, the original

      Tom10,

      Ultimately, I think every dater has to come to a point in their dating lives where we decide to either be the more interested party – which comes with the attendant risk the other party might suddenly break up with us – or less interested party – which comes with the risk that we lose interest in them.

      The key, Tom, is for two people be equally interested. Then all this power bullshit fades away. It’s a rare occurrence, though, because, as you wrote, there’s usually one party much more interested and driving the relationship. But it’s an ideal to hope for.  🙂

      1. 5.1.1
        Tom10

        @ Emily, the original
        Hey, how’s my favorite commenter doing? 🙂
         
        “The key, Tom, is for two people be equally interested. Then all this power bullshit fades away. It’s a rare occurrence, though, because, as you wrote, there’s usually one party much more interested and driving the relationship. But it’s an ideal to hope for”
         
        Agreed 100%. Indeed I believe Aristotle and Plato discussed this very concept thousands of years ago and concluded that love/eros/philia etc. is only attainable between equals. Even the slightest imbalance is perceptible and throws the whole thing off-kilter:
         
        https://www.iep.utm.edu/love/
         
        But it hurts so much less when we’re the dumper rather than the dumpee doesn’t it? Because that way we get to tell ourselves that we’re good enough for them; but they’re not good enough for us. So it’s onwards and upwards for us, but onwards and downwards for them.
         
        Which is where all this power play bullshit comes into play in the first place: self-esteem is so bloody difficult and takes so long to build up that we’re loathe to risk losing it. Even at the price of gaining true love…

        1. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          Because that way we get to tell ourselves that we’re good enough for them; but they’re not good enough for us. 

          Indeed. There are the ones who chase us, who we let chase us because they are doing all the work. And then there are the ones who we chase … oh the deliciousness of those few moments when we actually have them in our grasp … but they always prove elusive.

    2. 5.2
      Clare

      Tom,

      I respect what you’re saying here – particularly your go at compiling a list of signs to watch out for that indicate that one person might not be that into it. In actual fact, I think this is very important. I actually think it goes even deeper than this, and I’ve compiled lists of my own based on subtle cues I’ve seen. It’s kind of a curse actually, because I can always tell which way my friends’ relationships are going to go long before they can, and then I’m faced with that inevitable dilemma of do I tell them or don’t I. I pretty much always opt for silence about my opinions, but gently cautioning them to take it slow. (I’m always right about the direction their relationships will go in, by the way. I’ve predicted the success and failure of all my friends’ relationships.)

      Here are some additional things I pick up on:

      – The amount of affection they show to each other in public. If one person seems to want more affection, and the other is reluctant to give it. Alternatively, if one person shows no affection to the other while out in public or at social gatherings, this seems to be a pretty clear sign to me.

      – How involved the two people are in each other’s social media. Granted, some people don’t spend much time on social media, and that should not be held against them. But I’ve found that a pulling away in a relationship is often accompanied by less interaction on social media.

      – Does one of the people talk about not being ready to be in a relationship in any way. This is always one that I am flabbergasted that people miss (including myself, in the past). If someone is thinking of pulling away or not that into it, they’ll often start talking about how they don’t have much time available or just don’t feel emotionally ready. Any comments along this line should be taken as red or amber flags.

      – A reluctance to meet the other person’s friends or family is usually a sign that he or she is not planning on sticking around. This can be subtle – sometimes it could be that you had plans to do something with family and friends and something “comes up” at the last minute, or he or she is conveniently just not available when you try to make plans with family or friends.

      – Finally, and for me this is pretty fool-proof, if they are an infrequent communicator in a relationship. This means they are either just not that into you, or are emotionally unavailable. If they only communicate every second day, or only once a day with a very brief text, they are trying to tell you not to get too attached.

       

      This is my list to add to yours. But that said, I did just want to take issue with 2 things you said, Tom.

      1) You write “So I’m surprised to read when others can’t see it coming down the tracks like a freight train.”  I can’t speak for others, but for me, when I’ve been surprised when someone has broken up with me, it’s not that I couldn’t see the signs which both you and I have mentioned, it’s because the other person has seemingly taken pains to hide their intentions or plaster over them with loving, comforting words. You can see the signs, but when you question the other person about them, they reassure you and tell you everything is fine and that their stress is due to something else. This future-faking happens a lot too; the OP’s situation is not nearly as rare as all that. It’s happened to me before that a guy has taken me to meet his family and given me a long speech about how he is excited to build a future with me, and a week later has protested that I’m obviously further down the line in the relationship than he is. This kind of makes me agree with ScottH that this might be a bit of a pathology (commitment phobia). What defense has a person got against something like that?

      2) You said “there’s really no way to sugar-coat HYNITY.” I don’t get the sense the OP wants to sugar-coat her boyfriend’s just not being into her. But I can say from experience that the hurt in these situations comes more from the shock than from the break-up itself. It’s almost as if it’s not enough for these people to have the greater power in the relationship by being the one to do the breaking up, they need the additional ego boost of the other person believing that everything was great and then dropping the bomb so that they are sure to cause hurt. Some people seem to like it when another person is hurt on their account, it makes them feel even more powerful and like they’re a heart breaker. At least, this is how it has seemed to me.

      Either way, I feel that the main issue with the OP’s letter is not the tired old HJNTIY one, but rather an issue of honesty. People would get over break ups a lot more easily if there was more honesty and decency about them.

      1. 5.2.1
        Tom10

        @ Clare
         
        Good comment #5.2. Nice addendum to the list 🙂
         
        “I can always tell which way my friends’ relationships are going to go long before they can, and then I’m faced with that inevitable dilemma of do I tell them or don’t I.”
         
        Ditto; I can always predict which way my friends’ relationships go long before they do.
        And I almost always get it right too.
         
        What I often see from a male perspective are guys dating women for years and years (5, 8, or even 10+) who I’m pretty sure they’ve no intention of ever marrying. I feel bad for those women, but what can one do? There’s always the possibility that I’m wrong and they eventually marry so there’s nothing an external party can do.
         
        You’re right to stay schtum and not say anything; in all likelihood the recipient won’t take it well and will just turn on you. Only to anticipate you saying “I told you so” a few months later.
         
        Just smile-and-nod; then be there for them once the inevitable inevitably happens.
         
        “it’s not that I couldn’t see the signs which both you and I have mentioned, it’s because the other person has seemingly taken pains to hide their intentions or plaster over them with loving, comforting words.”
         
        Yeah this happens. Although sometimes it’s not necessarily with the intention of being nefarious; rather their inability to be honest and state where they really stand.
         
        In these instances it’s worth remembering that actions speak louder than words. In fact discussing these issues face-to-face is almost pointless as the party hiding their intentions will simply obfuscate, filibuster or just outright lie (“I meant it in the moment!”).
         
        In these cases, one has to make a mental assessment of the overall dynamic, examine the other party’s extenuating circumstances and make a unilateral decision whether to stick or twist.
         
        “I feel that the main issue with the OP’s letter is not the tired old HJNTIY one, but rather an issue of honesty. People would get over break ups a lot more easily if there was more honesty and decency about them.”
         
        I think this is a fair point; athough perhaps slightly unrealistic in today’s dating environment.
         
        Some people, probably men moreso than women, are simply unable to come clean and break-up honestly. So to avoid confrontation they’ll just string-along/disappear/fade-out/cheat/act like an a**hole until the other party eventually gets the message. BS I know. But as society currently doesn’t implement any consequences for this behavior those daters will simply continue to behave like this.
         
        Therefore it’s on us to identify them when we cross paths.

        1. Shaukat

          “Some people, probably men moreso than women…”

          @Tom,

          Got to be kidding if you think this is a gender issue. Women ghost and flake like crazy in this dating environment. You’ve never been on the receiving end of this behavior?

        2. Clare

          Tom,

          Great answer.

          And you’re right, it does come down to a judgment call that you have to make based on the whole relationship dynamic. But that can be really difficult because sometimes people have perfectly good excuses, and you’re left to wonder whether their slightly off behaviour is a result of these reasons or them considering breaking things off.

          Perfect example: in another forum that I read, there was a girl who wrote in about her boyfriend who had just started medical school. They’d been living together and he’d moved away to go to school. Communication has really tailed off between them and she can’t seem to talk to him without him shutting down, and she is really battling. Now, everyone knows how tough medical school is. It’s a nearly impossible, ridiculously stressful degree, so it should be clear that this is the reason for his changed behaviour and not the relationship, but I’m not so sure.

          I think sometimes stressful things that come along can be excuses to pull away from a relationship that you’re not actually sure about. It’s very hard because in a situation like this, you’re faced with the choice of being supportive  because this person’s actions might just be a result of what they’re going through, or interpreting that their actions mean they’re not as invested in the relationship as they should be. It’s hard to make that call.

          I agree that a big part of the reason why people are not honest is that there are no consequences for doing so. They can pretty much obfuscate all they like, and you’ll never really know the truth. But I do think chronic dishonesty in relationships causes cognitive dissonance which can make it difficult to be really emotionally present and available with anyone. You can’t connect unless you have the courage to be vulnerable.

          And I don’t think people are obligated to provide the full truth about how they’re feeling about a relationship or why they’re breaking up. But I do think they’re obligated at least not to lie.

        3. Tom10

          @ Shaukat
          “Got to be kidding if you think this is a gender issue. Women ghost and flake like crazy in this dating environment”.
           
          On second I have no evidence to contend that one gender is worse than the other for ghosting and/or flaking behavior.
           
          The only reason I suspect men might be worse than women is that men “usually” date with the goal of sex in mind; whereas women “usually” date with the goal of a relationship in mind. Therefore, men are more likely to date a multiple of women they’re vaguely interested with the goal of sex, whereas women are more likely to put their eggs in one basket at a time, so to speak. Therefore, by extrapolation, it leads to the inference that men will possibly fade out/flake on their options more than women?
           
          “You’ve never been on the receiving end of this behavior”
           
          I was on the receiving end of this behavior when I was younger; however, not anymore because, well, I can spot it before it happens by reading their implicit signals and anticipate what’s coming before they get to that point.
           
          Can’t kid a kidder 😉

        4. Emily, the original

          Hi Thomas,

          Can’t kid a kidder 😉

          This reminded me of something about men that I’ve always wondered about. A decent number of men I’ve encountered seem to think of themselves as players or ladies’ men. (I’m not saying you’re not. :)) Why is that? I mean, I haven’t known that many true ladies’ men, just as I haven’t known that many women who are Marilyn Monroe types. The two men I’m thinking of right off the bat both talked about (in an effort to attract me) other women who had come on to them, but there is nothing less sexy than someone telling you how wanted they are. And numbers don’t impress women.

        5. shaukat

          The only reason I suspect men might be worse than women is that men “usually” date with the goal of sex in mind; whereas women “usually” date with the goal of a relationship in mind.

          For sure there are men with that mentality who ghost (though I honestly think more and more women have adopted that mind set now as well). However, one could also argue that since women on average receive far more matches and messages on dating apps than men, they might, due to being overwhelmed by the sheer number of options, end up ghosting and flaking more. None of us really know what the numbers are though, and in the end I’d say that ghosting is a character, not a gender, issue.

        6. Tom10

          Hi Emily
          “A decent number of men I’ve encountered seem to think of themselves as players or ladies’ men….Why is that?”
           
          Well I suppose they’re trying to convince themselves and that they’re a catch aren’t they? A quality guy. A neat guy. A love machine even. Phwoar!!!
           
          “I haven’t known that many true ladies’ men, just as I haven’t known that many women who are Marilyn Monroe types.”
           
          So Emily, what is a “true ladies” man, for you, if you consider those guys as just wannabe-playas?
           
          “The two men I’m thinking of right off the bat both talked about (in an effort to attract me) other women who had come on to them, but there is nothing less sexy than someone telling you how wanted they are”
           
          Many women try the same trick; I was texting a girl on Tinder recently who was showing me screen-grabs of all the other guys messaging her. All I thought was; “if you have so many quality options contacting you why are you spending all your time texting me?”
           
          It was an obvious ploy to try and stoke some jealousy. Classic error of the insecure dater.
           
          However, as she couldn’t kid a kidder I just smiled-and-nodded.
           
          “And numbers don’t impress women”
           
          For women quantity just means heightened risk of STIs as well as less time and money for her. For many guys, however, quantity is quality. Source coding eh?
           
          But it’s a double-edged sword; women do actually find a man more attractive if they know he’s got many options yet deigns to pick her but, as you say, it doesn’t really work if he tries to artificially mimic this by blatantly telling her. If he’s a quality guy she’ll just know it.
           
          The proof of the pudding, as we always say, is in the eating (I love my clichés don’t I ;?)

        7. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          So Emily, what is a “true ladies” man, for you, if you consider those guys as just wannabe-playas?

          Someone who has, as Clark Gable said in “Gone With the Wind,” a “way with women.” Women are drawn to him. He doesn’t have to tell women how appealing he is. He just is, and women pick up on it.

          Many women try the same trick; I was texting a girl on Tinder recently who was showing me screen-grabs of all the other guys messaging her. 

          And didn’t that make you cringe and lose interest? Ugh. I HATE when someone does thatHowever, as she couldn’t kid a kidder I just smiled-and-nodded.

          I don’t even respond. I think they are trying to get a reaction , but it’s not coming from me with that obvious of a manipulation. If you are trying to manipulate me, at least do it well. “And numbers don’t impress women” But it’s a double-edged sword; women do actually find a man more attractive if they know he’s got many options yet deigns to pick her but, as you say,

          Actually, there’s nothing more attractive than that in terms of who he dates. That he can pick out exactly who he wants and if he picks out you, yes, very sexy. Every time I write it, some of the men laugh. But a selective man is a sexy man. However, I was talking about numbers in terms of bed partners. Women know that some men have low standards, so numbers don’t mean anything. And a little mileage is good but not someone who’s test driven every car on the lot. 

          The proof of the pudding, as we always say, is in the eating (I love my clichés don’t I ;?)

          I think you can do better.

        8. Tom10

           @ Emily, the original
          “Someone who has, as Clark Gable said in “Gone With the Wind,” a “way with women.” Women are drawn to him. He doesn’t have to tell women how appealing he is. He just is, and women pick up on it.”
           
          What every guy in the world wants to know though, Emily, is for the guy who just “isn’t” can you atomize what are the specific traits that make the guy who just “is” so appealing to all women?
           
          And more importantly, can those specific traits be mimicked? And if they can’t what are the other guys to do?
           
          “And didn’t that make you cringe and lose interest? Ugh. I HATE when someone does that”
           
          100%. Bemused and turned off.
           
          “Every time I write it, some of the men laugh. But a selective man is a sexy man”
           
          We don’t laugh because it’s not true (it is true); we laugh because you’re just expounding the female prerogative; i.e. wanting the highest-quality man to choose you (general you) above all other women.
           
          Whereas men approach dating from the male prerogative (to have as many of the highest-quality women as possible) and don’t care about the female prerogative.
           
          Therefore it’s in your interest for men to be selective, but not in a man’s interest to be selective; which interest is he likely to pay attention to?
           
          “However, I was talking about numbers in terms of bed partners. Women know that some men have low standards, so numbers don’t mean anything.”
           
          Yeah I don’t get men who would mention their high number as a way to impress a woman; indeed why would anyone discuss their numbers with current/prospective partners at all?
           
          “I think you can do better.”
           
          Ah I’m just yanking your chain Emily; only mentioning a drop in the bucket of what this old dog has on the tip of his tongue. 😉

        9. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          And more importantly, can those specific traits be mimicked? And if they can’t what are the other guys to do?

          I read this somewhere … Women value men who value themselves. Those who have a set of criteria they are looking for in a woman and will not settle just because the woman is hot or he is lonely. And if they do met his criteria, the woman is aware he will walk if she doesn’t treat him well. (And he doesn’t have to articulate that. She’ll know.)

          Therefore it’s in your interest for men to be selective, but not in a man’s interest to be selective; which interest is he likely to pay attention to?

          But we both want the same thing: the highest-quality partner.

          Yeah I don’t get men who would mention their high number as a way to impress a woman; indeed why would anyone discuss their numbers with current/prospective partners at all?

          I’ve heard some from GEN Y say they discuss numbers if they get serious with someone. I would NEVER ask someone that and would not want to be asked. I don’t want to know. And let’s be honest. Not all of it’s even worth talking about. Some of it was about as memorable as a takeout pizza.  🙂 only mentioning a drop in the bucket of what this old dog has on the tip of his tongue. 😉

          Ok … but beyond the tip of your tongue … what else you got?  🙂

      2. 5.2.2
        Heidi

        I think you’re right about those signs – especially about reciprocating affection in public and communication frequency.  Another one I would add is observing photos of the couple together.  Is he leaning towards or his body facing her more than she is towards him?  Does she have both hands on him while he’s just standing there with his hands at his sides?  Are they both equally engaged in the embrace?   You can tell a lot about a relationship (friendships, non-romantic relationships too) based on the way people pose together for a photo.

        1. ScottH

          @Heidi-  photos-  absolutely yes!  look at the body language and posturing.  Great comment.

        2. Clare

          Heidi,

          I forgot about that one, but you’re absolutely right! You absolutely can tell a lot about the level of engagement between two people from a photo, and this is something which is very easy for the person involved (or even outsiders) to miss.

          I remember hearing from a body language expert once that if there is a picture of the couple and one has his/her face turned to the camera rather than his/her partner, this means he or she is more concerned about the image or the “look” of the picture than the partner.

          It also makes me think of a friend of mine who started dating a guy, and she is someone who likes to make a big show to all her friends and on Facebook whenever she’s got a new boyfriend. She had taken all these pictures of the two of them together and sent them to me, obviously thinking that I would think how lovey-dovey and happy they looked. But the guy in the photos had this strange half-smile which was almost a grimace and his eyes were half-closed like he wanted it to be over. She also had both hands or arms draped around him while his arms were on the table. I remember thinking “these photos were taken against this guy’s will.”

          Predictably, to me anyway, he broke up with her a few months later and it completely blindsided her. To me, it was a valuable lesson about being more present and paying more attention in a relationship.

    3. 5.3
      Adrian

      Hi Tom10,

      I disagree that this guy was future faking. Assuming Evan is right and he is a good guy then I have to say as a person who has been in his shoes that the 2 reasons I did what you call future faking is simply because

      1). At the time I said those things I honestly meant them; even if I didn’t completely feel it for her I expected my feelings to change with time. There are usually a mixture of both good and lukewarm feelings when I’m with the person. She is usually a good catch so you expect that the good feelings/times, etc will win out.

      2). The person you are dating is usually pressuring you for signs. This can be consciously or subconsciously but they are always there. Remember how Stacy (1) and a few other female commenters said that if a man didn’t say he loved them by a certain time limit they would dump him-regardless of how good he or the relationship was? It’s the same thing just on a smaller scale. I have found that many women throw things out there to see how you will react and this sucks because as Evan said I’m still trying to figure out how I feel.

      When you are trying to figure out how you feel about a person you want to be able to sit back and observe the relationship in its natural state. You can’t do that if because of your answer the person is now agitated, insecure, defensive, or just distant. Like I told Emily above; who wants to lose out on a great relationship over something silly or because you were too slow to start feeling something.

      I would never lie and say I love you if I wasn’t feeling it but if a woman stated “wouldn’t it be fun if we went to__ together?” What am I supposed to say, “No because we might not be together by then.” Or “We shouldn’t make plans about the future this early on since there is no guarantee we’ll still be together.” The alpha females of this site would love frank answers like that and it wouldn’t affect the dating but from my experience everyone else off this blog would react negatively to answers like that and probably end the relationship; at the very least there would be tension.

      1. 5.3.1
        Emily, the original

        Adrian,
        Assuming Evan is right and he is a good guy then I have to say…  because as Evan said I’m still trying to figure out how I feel.
        But you can’t hide behind the “I’m a good guy” reasonaing and not understand that you may be misleading someone. If you’re not sure how you feel, SAY SO

        The alpha females of this site would love frank answers like that and it wouldn’t affect the dating but from my experience everyone else off this blog would react negatively to answers like that and probably end the relationship;

        Much better to be honest than dogdy so you can keep things going. Why not just say, “I like you very much but I”m seeing how this goes and how things play out naturally,” when she asks about the future. It’s a lot better than the OP’s boyfriend rambling on about the future and telling her she’s meeting all his needs. There’s a big difference. 

        1. Marika

          I agree with Adrian. If you’re out and about on a date and start saying things like “well, I’m not sure how I feel”, or “let’s see how things go” etc, it’s a massive buzz kill. It’s definitely tricky when the other person talks about a future…but the frustrating thing here is the OP’s boyfriend was the one mentioning the future. I’ve been in that situation, where the person who claims they aren’t sure is the one making future plans, saying the L-word, mentioning holidays, buying tickets etc. That’s highly confusing & frustrating.

        2. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          If you’re out and about on a date and start saying things like “well, I’m not sure how I feel”, or “let’s see how things go” etc, it’s a massive buzz kill. 

          You only say them if you’re asked. Adrian wrote that he was feeling pressure by women to respond in a certain way. You wouldn’t go airing those statements unless directly asked but at the same time you wouldn’t be acting “all in” if you had doubts.

        3. sylvana

          Emily,

          I agree.

          And if a woman ends the relationship because you’re being honest, then she wasn’t the right one to begin with.

          Stringing someone along because you hope you might develop the right feelings later on is selfish and dishonest. Not qualities I’d associate with a “good guy”.

        4. Adrian

          Hi Sylvana,

          You said, “And if a woman ends the relationship because you’re being honest, then she wasn’t the right one to begin with.

          I disagree with this. Go back and listen to the podcast Evan did where he was talking about letting someone know about your high debt, or that you go regularly to a psychologist, or whatever flaw. He advises you to wait until the person is emotionally invested before revealing it.

          It’s sad but because people “think” they have so many options in dating today they quickly disqualify great potential partners for the silliest of reasons.

          Things we would not even bat an eye at if a friend, coworker, family member, or even a stranger on the street admitted to us we treat like it is an abomination or the plague if the person we are looking into dating confesses.

          This doesn’t mean the man or woman wasn’t right for you if they left because of your honesty it just means they are human.

        5. sylvana

          Adrian,

          What if she ends up dismissing potential partners, and possibly even someone who would have been a long-term partner, because she is invested in a relationship that is based on lies?

          If you’re not sure how you feel about someone, but tell them that you are, even talk about the future, she might just miss out on giving her future husband a chance, since she’s not likely to give anyone else a chance while she’s with the person lying to her.

          To lie just so the person doesn’t break up with you is totally selfish. If you’re not sure how you feel, the other person should have a chance to explore other options. Maybe not actively chase them (through online dating, for example), but people do still meet in person sometimes.

        6. Emily, the original

          Slyvana,

          If you’re not sure how you feel, the other person should have a chance to explore other options.

          I agree, and the unsure party doesn’t have to come out and announce their uncertainty. His/her actions tell a lot, too. An unsure party doesn’t … call/contact everyday, see the other person several times a week, ask to be exclusive/boyfriend/girlfriend. If you aren’t sure, that’s fine, but keep things casual so the other person knows that he/she should still be looking around.

      2. 5.3.2
        Nissa

        @Adrian, I have to admit I’m one who would prefer your straight answer, at least in theory, but I would also be satisfied with “I do like to ___” or “it’s something to think about”. Both are non committal yet not insulting.

        1. Adrian

          Hi Nissa,

          I agree with you but remember how attracted the person is to you and how attuned or sensitive-as Marika would say-to people’s body language, voice inflection & tone, etc could affect this.

          They would easily pick up on your non committal comment. Like I told Emily it’s usually very subtle… at least with women perhaps men are more blunt when they are fishing to gauge your level of interest.

          Most women use small and spaced out tactics because they don’t’ want to come off as desperate, needy, or as Tom10 and Emily spoke about they don’t want to give away all their power by showing how into you they are.

        2. Nissa

          @Adrian,
          I can only say that from my experience, it’s not something men need to worry about. Women in general tend to find ways to excuse just about anything when they are interested in a man. It’s how so many women end up in marriages hoping a man will change, when he is exactly the way he was when she was dating him. Women tend to be attracted to fewer men and thus tend to dismiss things until a trend emerges.

          Men, on the other hand, are attracted to the majority of women that they meet and DO (in general) tend to next a woman based on something they perceive to be a potential issue. It’s so common that you can find examples of it on tv ,like Seinheld’s jokes about “man hands” or the “jimmy-legs”.

        3. Nissa

          I’d say it would be a GOOD thing that they pick up on your non-commital-ness. It’s true. They don’t even need to know the reason why. If you think it’s going to be an issue, it probably will be – at least on your end.

          Just consider this: if you’ve gone on a few dates and you still don’t know, that it itself is something you know. You know you are having a less-than-enthusiastic response to this person. How does that NOT tell you everything you need to know?

      3. 5.3.3
        Adrian

        Hi Marika,

        I actually learned a lot from observing that previous post where you and Clare were the most sensible. As a person who lets his emotions dictate his actions I realized that I had no excuses since you and I are so similar and yet you are controlling your anxious attachment style induced actions when you date.

        You said, “I could never understand people who would rule someone out and claim ‘no chemistry’ after one 2 hour date. Huh? You BARELY know them….I did challenge one such friend on the weekend, a ‘just know’ person whose latest ‘just knew’ lasted 6 weeks.

        It reminds me of a psychology paper I read once about a certain type of romance movie. Movies where people who crash weddings at the last minute, confess their love, and then they and the bride/groom run off into the sun set.

        The author was like okay but they never show what happens next! I feel that people who only chase chemistry or only chase connection once they get it never have a plan for what is next-it’s the short view and not the long view to dating.

        You said, “If you’re out and about on a date and start saying things like “well, I’m not sure how I feel”, or “let’s see how things go” etc, it’s a massive buzz kill.

        More like a major emotional disconnect. Once the momentum is broken it’s almost impossible to reestablish. This is why Evan tells people to wait until the person is emotionally invested before telling them something that could cause them to leave you pre-maturely. Saying I don’t know how I feel about you is seen as a rejection by most. We on this blog can only analyze it logically because we have the 3rd person emotionally-detached perspective; let someone we really like tell us that and see how joyful some would be that their partner was honest.

        Also keep in mind that most who comment have said they can’t relate to people that say they didn’t feel attraction at first and now they are deeply in love with their partner.

        1. Marika

          Adrian 

          I’ve come to the full understanding that the ‘just know’ people will never understand the ‘feelings can grow’ attitude/people.

          My sister just knew at 17 and she’s now married to that same guy at 35. She got a bit worried as she had that same feeling with a guy from work just before she got engaged, but she’s a loyal chickie who’s not excitement seeking and very content with a relatively quiet life. So she managed that and it all worked out.

          So people like her clearly exist.

          I’m not one of them and she and I are very different. And I guess there is no right or wrong, just individual preference.

          The thing is, though, she’s not on a dating blog. The guy I mentioned who had a most recent lasted-6- weeks- ‘just knew’ and who is never married at 41, also isn’t on a dating blog. He’s fine with how he’s approaching dating and also fine with being single.

          So I guess I don’t get why you’d come to a blog (particularly this one) if ‘just know’ is keeping you single, to keep saying that it works. You know? That’s my confusion.

          I make the same mistakes over & over, I’m too bleeding heart and not self protective enough. I over value detached guys. I get that & I want to work on it, and understand practically other ways of doing things. I like Jeremy’s calmness & empathy, Karl’s no-nonsense, no drama approach to relationships, Karmic’s tips on being an awesome gf and making men feel good. Sparkling’s persistence. Helpful stuff.

          There’s more than one way to get to the same outcome. Thinking your way is the best or only way (particularly if it’s not working) seems like an odd mindset for a blog reader & commenter. Those conversations where someone keeps insisting…frustrating.

        2. Adrian

          Hi Marika,

          You said, “My sister just knew at 17 and she’s now married to that same guy at 35.

          I’m glad for your sister, she is rare. From what I have seen most couples that get married that young start having cravings to experience other people sexually and other relationships. How is your friend’s marriage doing? Remember you said her husband refused to get in shape and she is losing attraction for him.

          You said, “So people like her clearly exist. I’m not one of them and she and I are very different.

          What is the biggest difference (as it pertains to dating and relationships) between you and your sister? Was she just lucky that she found a great guy or is there some other reason she is still with the same guy and you are single?

          You said, “The guy I mentioned who had a most recent lasted-6- weeks- ‘just knew’ and who is never married at 41, also isn’t on a dating blog. He’s fine with how he’s approaching dating and also fine with being single.

          I don’t get people like him. I would be afraid to be that old and still be single. The post from last week with the 43 year old sexual goddess I think was rare because she could always find guys she wanted to date, but from what I read on here the older you get the harder it is to find dates with people you WANT to date. Sure you can still get dates but they are never your first choice; at least that is what the majority of the older posters are leading me to believe.

          So why do you think older people like this guy are so cool with being single? Or do you think the dating market for older people is just as good as the market for younger people?

          You said, “So I guess I don’t get why you’d come to a blog (particularly this one) if ‘just know’ is keeping you single, to keep saying that it works. You know? That’s my confusion.

          I rolled my eyes so hard on this that I think my eye sockets got friction burn. NOT because of you but because personally I think the majority of the regulars don’t come here to get help. As they’ve said some come just to talk, some come to troll, and some actually have the balls to say they come to teach the opposite sex.

          Now don’t get me wrong I to enjoy our conversations, I enjoy the commenters, I even like the trolls because their attacks cause people to produce good thought provoking rebuttals, and I do learn from many of the commenters as well as from Evan. But my main reason for being here is to understand women, become a better dater and enter into a long-term relationship.

          Almost everything Evan has is against the “just know” philosophy.

          You said, “I make the same mistakes over & over, I’m too bleeding heart and not self protective enough. I over value detached guys

          You really are my Aussie twin! (^_^)

          What are your definite deal breakers? I’m trying to compile a list and differentiate between an actual deal breaker and something that is normal and worth compromising on. For example the debate GoWithTheFlow and Jeremy had on dating someone who is in a lower socioeconomic and education class left me unsure.

          Therefore so far the only thing I have on my list is that I don’t want to date a smoker or any type of drug user. Since we are so similar I respect your opinion on many things and I know you usually see a lot of things I don’t.

  6. 6
    Duke

    Ultimately, I think every dater has to come to a point in their dating lives where we decide to either be the more interested party – which comes with the attendant risk the other party might suddenly break up with us – or less interested party – which comes with the risk that we lose interest in them.

    I hope you don’t actually believe that most people are capable of this, although there may be some truth to it. People sometimes wear masks and act differently than how they truly are, but it’s usually the more infatuated person that doesn’t see the warning signs. The people that see it from a mile away are usually judged as being emotionally unavailable or some other shaming term, when in reality they are just being rational.

  7. 7
    Mrs Happy

    On one hand, I thought, thank God you only spent a few months with him, didn’t move in together, combine assets, or have children, because a man who just suddenly walks out without much explanation, and is that poor at communicating, is going to be a terrible long term partner.  The way people handle themselves in times of stress is valuable information to have, and his behaviour wasn’t impressive.

    On the other hand, he did tell you why he was breaking up.  Most people don’t tell the whole story about why they’re leaving a relationship, and he gave you some information – you were more into a future together than he was.

    His behaviour and rushing out and ultra-blocking seem very avoidant things to do, so he may not have been someone who could stay the distance and develop increasing closeness with you over the years anyway.

    Next.

    1. 7.1
      Adrian

      Hi Mrs. Happy,

      You said, “His behaviour and rushing out and ultra-blocking seem very avoidant things to do, so he may not have been someone who could stay the distance and develop increasing closeness with you over the years anyway.

      I’ve done this a few times and I can tell you that as someone who is very aware of his attachment style issues they were never the motivation for my actions. These were usually women who would CONTINUE to contact after I brokeup with them. They would continue to find ways to invoke conversation and draw me back in-sometimes waiting an entire month or two before trying to reinitiate contact-or they would want to give me a deep interrogation as to why because the answer I gave them wasn’t satisfying enough.

      I don’t want to say anything that will damage your self esteem or make the breakup worse-even if it’s the truth-I just want a clean breakup so of course I’m going to pick the least worst reason I’m breaking up with you and ONLY tell you about that one. Trust me when a man or women gives you a generic “we are just not compatible or I just don’t see a future with us” most times the more detailed reason is hurtful.

      So again I’m going to go with Evan on this one and assume that this is a good guy. Also I must add that every person I’ve know to have this done to them NEVER saw this about themselves. It was always he or she is such a user, or emotionally unavailable, or liar, etc… for cutting me off like that. However if you spend a little time with them then eventually it becomes clear why this person had to cut off all contact.

      1. 7.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Adrian,

        Also I must add that every person I’ve know to have this done to them NEVER saw this about themselves. It was always he or she is such a user, or emotionally unavailable, or liar, etc… for cutting me off like that. However if you spend a little time with them then eventually it becomes clear why this person had to cut off all contact.

        There’s a big difference between cutting off contact with someone you are no longer seeing (of course you would) and blindsiding someone with the breakup because you gave no indication there was anything wrong.

      2. 7.1.2
        sylvana

        Adrian,

        well, if the reasons the person had to cut of all contact are that clear, why in the world did he talk about a future together, declare his love, etc. until the last minute? Why not actually start doing a bit of a fade, at least?

        The cutting of all contact isn’t the problem. Stating a more harmless reason for the breakup isn’t either. It’s lying about everything, and pretending everything is not just fine, but wonderful right up to the point of breakup. That’s the issue.

  8. 8
    Marika

    Emily

    You only say them if you’re asked. Adrian wrote that he was feeling pressure by women to respond in a certain way. You wouldn’t go airing those statements unless directly asked but at the same time you wouldn’t be acting “all in” if you had doubts.

    Sure, but I was just agreeing with Adrian that if, for instance you’re out at dinner enjoying a nice date & maybe talking about your fave holiday destinations, & she says: “we should go to Fiji together one day..”, hint, hint, and you say “oh, I think we should just take it slowly and see how things go” (or something along those lines), that’s a date killer.

    You definitely shouldn’t say: “fo’ shure, and let’s go with your parents!”, but a change of subject or something is much better than a blunt statement that kills the mood completely.

    Then again, Adrian and I are quite sensitive and on the anxious attachment side, so we are very attuned to that kind of thing. I wouldn’t like anything which came across as flippant or rejecting. Then again, I don’t test guys and future plan early on.

    That being said, they sometimes future-plan and say the L-word at points in our dating when I don’t think it’s genuine/they’re just in the moment. I don’t think it’s unusual for men (maybe women too?) to give mixed messages and false hope from throwing things around too soon or in a moment of chemistry. Or making general comments about marriage, which may or may not apply to marrying you. The last guy would throw around the L-word, talked about ‘when the kids come along’ etc. then backtracked. He wanted to spend all our weekends together, but then ‘wasn’t sure’, but then the L bomb again, very affectionate at home, not so affectionate in public (but claimed that was to do with being introverted) etc etc… so it’s not always clear cut what people want and mean, even if you are paying close attention to cues (and I do agree and thank Tom & Clare for their lists).

    I just try as much as possible to not be the one initiating stuff until it’s clear we’re on the same page, and even then not more than he does, and I’ve never said Love first. I even time sms’s so as not to respond too quickly or more quickly than he does. Because, it the current dating climate, I feel like you honestly can never be clear on exactly where you stand until well into it being an actual relationship…or maybe that’s because I’m drawn to the avoidants..! 😉

    1. 8.1
      Clare

      Marika,

      “if, for instance you’re out at dinner enjoying a nice date & maybe talking about your fave holiday destinations, & she says: “we should go to Fiji together one day..”, hint, hint, and you say “oh, I think we should just take it slowly and see how things go” (or something along those lines), that’s a date killer.”

      I agree that sounding negative or unsure would be a date killer. If I’m having doubts about the guy, I usually offer something a bit vague, yet positive. Like in the Fiji holiday scenario, I’d say “Fiji sounds absolutely wonderful, I’d love to go there.” That kind of comment can be interpreted in a number of ways, but I find it segues nicely into a discussion of Fiji-the-place rather than us going as a couple.

      I agree with you also that, even when you are paying close attention to the signs, it is sometimes hard to know where someone is at, as I wrote above. People can have legitimate excuses for pulling away a bit, or they can alternate slightly distant behaviour with very all-over-you behaviour (I have experienced relationships like the one you mentioned).

      I personally have come to believe very strongly in the maxim that a person who rushes in to a relationship, rushing all the milestones (“I love you,” future talking, meeting parents, etc.) usually rushes out of it just as quickly. The relationships which start out a bit cautiously but progress slowly and steadily are a far better bet.

      Finally, I’m exactly the same as you regarding not initiating until the relationship is on much more solid ground. I don’t initiate much or at all in the first few weeks. And then I ease up to maybe 20% of the time, and gradually up to 50% of the time. But honestly a lot depends on how secure and comfortable I feel with the guy. With some guys you can just tell that it’s perfectly fine to initiate because they’re able to put you at ease.

    2. 8.2
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      Then again, Adrian and I are quite sensitive and on the anxious attachment side, so we are very attuned to that kind of thing. I wouldn’t like anything which came across as flippant or rejecting. Then again, I don’t test guys and future plan early on.

      I don’t think you have to be mean, of course. It depends on the context. And I agree with Tom that there are often (though not always) signs … a man doesn’t usually have to say anything at all. You can tell in his manner and in the amount of communication/way he is escalating things that he is distancing or doing what I call the “dip and dodge” …. He’s in , he’s out ….

      I feel like you honestly can never be clear on exactly where you stand until well into it being an actual relationship…or maybe that’s because I’m drawn to the avoidants..! 

      I’m drawn to avoidants, too, but I am an avoidant … so you can see the problem. 🙂

       

  9. 9
    No Name To Give

    There’s a lot to be said for just smiling and nodding.

  10. 10
    agatha

    I think the boyfriend gave some signals. “I am lucky to have such a sweet girlfriend” is not what you say when you are madly in love. The same with “you are fulfilling all my needs”. You are not ticking boxes when you are in love, you just live it. He had doubts. It was a dynamic of unequal feelings and involvment, which emphasised little by little the discrepancy between their attachment. When she called back because he was moody and seemed off, it was the final straw: he felt controlled. It would have happened anyway, later, but basically, as he said, they were not equally involved or they didn’t know how to regulate uncertainty. Anyway, it was only a 2 months relationship. At this level, you can really change your mind without having to explain yourself a second time. I don’t think he felt “disgusted” by her when she tried to sit him down. He was leaving, in a rejection mode: when you try to confront such a move, you meet hostility. He certainely liked her a lot. Just not enough to commit.

  11. 11
    Noquay

    An important point here is that the rship was only two months in. Folk are just beginning to unfold, show their true selves, really integrate the situation into their lives. I think it was Evan, years ago, that stated that any rship could fall apart with little warning until about 6 months in. Regrettably, words, gestures are just that and aren’t always consistent as feelings toward another change. Men seem particularly good at bailing quickly and moving on whereas we women tend to ruminate over the past. From the description of his behavior by the LR, it seems that he’d been having doubts and perhaps felt trapped, hence the anger and complete cutoff. Unfortunately, finding a rship takes a certain amount of risk and time is lost when things don’t work out. My only advice for the LR is not to blame herself but also don’t emotionally invest too much too soon.

    1. 11.1
      Selena

      Noquay # 11:

      An important point here is that the rship was only two months in.

      That is what struck me also. Two months? You don’t know each that well, and whatever *limerence * there may have been in the first weeks, might have started to fade.

      Noquay: My only advice for the LR is not to blame herself but also don’t emotionally invest too much too soon.

      Yes.

  12. 12
    La Miss

    Marika, I’m also anxiously attached and have ended up in relationships with avoidants. In the book Attached, Levine argues that the worst thing we can do is allow avoidants to set the tone of the relationship by not initiating first etc. Because that way we end up in relationships where our attachment system is constantly on alert and we can’t get our need for regular and predicatable closeness met early on. He argues that it’s better we make and request contact as much as we’d like early on so we know whether we are compatible with our partners from the get go rather than waiting till we’re in too deep to realise. It has given me food for thought. And I’m also wondering about Evan’s thoughts on this as it seems to contradict advice that women should only mirror at the start of dating. My understanding from Levine is that if anxious attachers do this we run the risk of falling into a relationship with an avoidant. And that’s not a good match.

    1. 12.1
      Emily, the original

      La Miss,

      Because that way we end up in relationships where our attachment system is constantly on alert and we can’t get our need for regular and predicatable closeness met early on. He argues that it’s better we make and request contact as much as we’d like early on so we know whether we are compatible with our partners from the get go rather than waiting till we’re in too deep to realise.

      I can’t speak for Marika, but if you hold back a bit and wait for him to initiate and if he doesn’t as much as you like, you have your answer that you’re not a match. You don’t risk getting in to0 deep because you don’t invest in anyone until you find out you’re a match. You’re always in a bit of a a “wait and see” mode. The more you do, the more invested you become in that person, but the other person doesn’t necessarily become more invested in you so it’s better to wait for him.

      1. 12.1.1
        Clare

        I agree completely with Emily.

        You can see just as easily from the guy’s behaviour, on its own, whether you’re a match. Sure, you can request more contact/time together/closeness, but you wouldn’t do this until you’re actually in a relationship. The early dating phase is just that – dating. You don’t have a “need” for closeness from that person yet.

        Once you’re in a relationship, it is still beneficial to hang back a bit and see what they are willing to do on their own. You can get a very clear sense of who this person is if you just leave their behaviour to play out naturally. You can gently ask for more contact or closeness, or initiate more, and see how they take it. Secure people will usually step up at this point and try to meet your needs.

        Avoidant people, on the other hand, might try for a little bit, and then resent doing what doesn’t really feel natural to them and pull away. You might be able to drag a bit more contact or closeness or affection out of them by initiating more, but one thing I can guarantee is that if that person really is an avoidant, they will still pull back at times and that is still going to be frustrating for you. Moreover, you are still going to be faced with the choice of whether or not you are happy being the one to draw the avoidant person out all the time. It takes a lot of energy out of you, and the pay-off is not always that great. And as I say, the chances that you are going to meet with resentment from the avoidant person at some point are high.

        I don’t know that this kind of investment is one I’d be willing to make for an avoidant person. I’d rather be in a relationship with someone who was investing equally with me and not sucking me dry.

        1. Emily, the original

          Clare,
          I don’t know that this kind of investment is one I’d be willing to make for an avoidant person. I’d rather be in a relationship with someone who was investing equally with me and not sucking me dry.
          I get a little tired of the hate spewed at avoidants on this site. I am an avoidant (I’m working on it), but I can assure you that anxious people are equally capable of sucking you dry.

        2. Clare

          Emily,

          Sorry, I was certainly not meaning to spew hate at avoidants. I’m attracted to them also, and have been in relationships with a few. They have many admirable qualities. They are self-contained and independent (I love these qualities and find them very sexy), they don’t overreact to things, they’re on a fairly even keel emotionally, they’re good at meeting their own needs and not making their problems everyone else’s, they’re strong and really good in a crisis, I’ve found. And maybe best of all… they don’t blow up your phone with text messages and phone calls and demand love and reassurance! These and other qualities are some of the reasons I am drawn to them.

          Equally, I can certainly attest to the truth of your statement that anxious people suck you dry. I have been in longer relationships with two very anxious men (and some shorter dating experiences as well), and my God, does a very anxious, emotionally unstable person know how to suck you dry. In fact, I have never blocked an avoidant person I have been in a relationship with after we have broken up, but I have pretty much always blocked an anxious person.

          Added to that, I certainly have avoidant tendencies myself. I can’t stand drama or neediness or excessive texting, and I’m looking for someone as strong and independent as I am.

          So this was not hate directed at avoidants, I promise… just me expressing a desire for more equality/balance in relationships. I’d like to be evenly matched with my partner. I don’t want to be constantly reassuring someone or constantly drawing someone out.

        3. Emily, the original

          Clare,

          Sorry, I was certainly not meaning to spew hate at avoidants.

          It wasn’t you, specifically. Aside from this blog, I used to read the blog Hooking Up Smart, and OMG the comments at avoidants whenever there was a post on attachment theory. Between the two, I got tired of reading it.

          They are self-contained and independent (I love these qualities and find them very sexy), they don’t overreact to things, they’re on a fairly even keel emotionally,

          All true of me, at least, except that I am fairly emotionally.  Sometimes I have to wait 24 hours before responding because I know I ‘ll end up saying something regret.
          Added to that, I certainly have avoidant tendencies myself. I can’t stand drama or neediness or excessive texting, and I’m looking for someone as strong and independent as I am.
          Avoidants, at least in the beginning, seem to have a bit of game in that they aren’t glued to you or blowing up your phone. They know how to pace their interest and keep you interested. The problem is … their interest stays at that pulled back level.
          So this was not hate directed at avoidants, I promise… just me expressing a desire for more equality/balance in relationships. I’d like to be evenly matched with my partner. I don’t want to be constantly reassuring someone or constantly drawing someone out.
          That’s totally reasonable.

        4. Clare

          Emily,

          “Avoidants, at least in the beginning, seem to have a bit of game in that they aren’t glued to you or blowing up your phone. They know how to pace their interest and keep you interested. The problem is … their interest stays at that pulled back level.”

          Absolutely true. But I, likewise, am not glued to anyone or blowing up anyone’s phone in the beginning. It’s too much in the beginning, so I appreciate being given a bit of space. I’m fine, even, with only communicating once a day until well into the relationship. The frustration comes in where you expect closeness to be increasing and the relationship to be progressing and the avoidant person remains aloof. This is where I admit I have trouble distinguishing between avoidant behaviour and commitment phobia. I think the two concepts are probably very intertwined. What do you think?

          What I have noticed is that avoidant/commitment phobic people display one of two patterns: they either prevent a relationship from becoming serious altogether (one of my exes was a master at this), or they marry someone who is quite unsuitable for them but who is happy with the lifestyle they offer. This lets them off the hook for any real emotional intimacy. Predictably, these marriages often end in divorce as the inevitable pulling away by one or both partners occurs.

          To go back to your original point, that lovely amount of space which an avoidant person gives you in the beginning becomes quite a lonely place eventually. My avoidant ex-boyfriend recently asked me if I would like to get back together. I said no, but I thought it would be something to consider if in, say, 20 years I am still single and could be happy with a very emotionally superficial relationship. I am pretty sure he will still be single.

           

        5. Emily, the original

          Clare,

          This is where I admit I have trouble distinguishing between avoidant behaviour and commitment phobia. I think the two concepts are probably very intertwined. What do you think?

          Yes, but I also think people use both as an excuse. With the guy I was talking about with Marika, it wasn’t (at least with him) that I was an avoidant. It was that there wasn’t enough there to get serious. No “there there” as Gertrude Stein said.

          To go back to your original point, that lovely amount of space which an avoidant person gives you in the beginning becomes quite a lonely place eventually.

          I think in the beginning with an avoidant it’s an exquisite mystery. What is this guy doing, you wonder. But you’re right in that it stays on the surface. No depth.

  13. 13
    Marika

    Thanks for the reminder, La Miss.

    Emily and Clare, you’re both right, I think. But us anxious types are not good at observing, letting things play out,.etc. It’s 100 % necessary to do so early on, but we’re particularly bad at ‘just seeing how things go’. When they pull back or act inconsistently, that triggers in us a response to try to “figure them out” and “work harder”. Ugh.

    To pick the mind of an avoidant, Emily, is the scariness of someone moving closer more threatening than them getting sick of trying and moving on? Do avoidants ever worry about losing a great person that way?

    1. 13.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Marika,

      It’s 100 % necessary to do so early on, but we’re particularly bad at ‘just seeing how things go’. When they pull back or act inconsistently, that triggers in us a response to try to “figure them out” and “work harder”. Ugh.

      Even though I’m an avoidant, I do this exact type of behavior if I really like someone.

      Emily, is the scariness of someone moving closer more threatening than them getting sick of trying and moving on? Do avoidants ever worry about losing a great person that way?

      I tend to be attracted to people who are also avoidant so the person is usually being hot and cold. What I mean is … I’m not losing a great person. There wasn’t much going on between us in the first place. The few times I’ve been attracted to anxious types, it lasted about a day. I lost interest with what I considered too much communication too soon.Can I say this … in the past, when I do turn those guys down, I worried I would be facing long dry spells and wondered if I should reconsider … because Mr. Avoidant’s is not showing up.

  14. 14
    Gab

    I think he met someone else or was dating more than one person. By her account he was being loving, future planning, and acting like a boyfriend. Even if she was more invested than him and he was just seeing how he felt, it would not go from loving one day to I am cutting you out and deleting all traces of you the next. She dodged a bullet which ever way you look at it. Compassionate, respectful, and mature adults do not break up in this way. In my experience in both positions, there is always a period where the dumpee might have questions, want clarification, want to express their feelings, and that should be given to them, within reason (no threat to safety, time limited, at a mutually agreeable time and place). Closure is important for both parties. It is the grown up thing to do and if a person is so conflict adverse that they cannot make themselves available in this way, then they need to press pause on dating and work on their own self-development.

    1. 14.1
      sylvana

      Gab,

      very well put.

    2. 14.2
      agatha

      Closure after two months only? I don’t think he was pathologically  avoidant. But the fact they were so linked on all social media after two months might have been too much.The same with letting stuff at her place… after two months? You barely know each other. The LW treats this breakup as if they were engaged.

      Indeed he might have met someone else.

      1. 14.2.1
        Clare

        agatha,

        I must say that I partially agree with you. I still think the OP’s confusion and hurt is down to all his future talking and lovey dovey words about her being the perfect woman for him etc. But,… at two months, you hardly know each other. Anyone can put their best foot forward for two months, and most people do.

        I’ve had boyfriends who have done a complete 180 at around about the 3-4 month mark. Hence, I try to hold back some of my emotions for the first few months and remind myself that we are only getting to know each other, we don’t know each other all that well first. If you think about it, seeing someone once or twice a week for 2 months, most people have only had about 10 or 11 dates by then.  It’s too soon to be leaving stuff at each other’s houses etc.

        The OP also talks about them being linked on some fitness app… that also seems to be something only people who were in a long term relationship would do. There’s definitely something to be said for not overdoing all the linking up on every kind of social media… less hurt and less unlinking to do if things do go pear shaped.

  15. 15
    Marika

    Emily 

    That’s fair. Even I’ve found anxious men can be draining.

    I’m happy to work with an avoidant person to get both our needs met. Any advice you could give I’ll take on board 😊

     

    1. 15.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Marika,

      I’m happy to work with an avoidant person to get both our needs met. Any advice you could give I’ll take on board 😊

      You’re a sweet person, Markia. You really are. You never lash out and are always understanding and compassionate in your responses.

      Of course, the avoidant has to work with you, too. But that’s hard for me to answer because I’m a woman so the roles are flipped. I mean that an anxious man would be pursing me, and I usually find he does too much. Example: Years ago, this guy at work asked me out for lunch. Just to give context: I did not know him well. The next day, he showed up unexpectedly to sit with me during lunch. The next day, he asked me out for the weekend. I said something about sticking to lunch. It was Friday. Monday he showed up to ask me to lunch. For me, it was too much. I could sense an internal pressure in him and in made me uncomfortable. I would have preferred … Take me to lunch mid-week. Maybe shoot me an email that you had a good time and want to do it again. Then maybe early the following week ask me out for the weekend. I think the idea of spacing it out a bit was easier before all this instant communication. Someone got your number, he called a couple of days later, you went out a couple of days later. I don’t mean waiting weeks to contact someone. There has to be a happy medium.

      1. 15.1.1
        Marika

        Ah thanks. I’ve lashed out..but only at bonehead comments 😊 You have a complete absence of boneheadedness in your nature!

        That example would freak me out too. Unless it was against his nature to be like that. My ex husband did things like that when we worked together, but the contrast of this cool, popular guy being a puppy dog around me was very disarming.

        I meant, eg, if you are a few months in with an anxious type who wants to please you, and you get triggered, what could they do to help? I know pull back, but then that triggers them…I’ve had a few relationships that were awesome in terms of sex, laughs, companionship, intelligent conversation…if we were both able to manage our triggers better they could’ve worked.

        I don’t think Clare was being cruel…probably more just smart and savvy. But since I’m less savvy and more bleeding heart, I like to throw myself in the fire 😁

         

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,
          I meant, eg, if you are a few months in with an anxious type who wants to please you, and you get triggered, what could they do to help? I know pull back, but then that triggers them…
          I did date one anxious type many years ago. He’s the only one I made it past one date with. I don’t know if I so much pulled back as I was fairly checked out the whole time. He just kept pressing on with his agenda of wanting things to get more serious. I don’t think he ever heard me when I told him I wasn’t ready for that.
          I don’t think Clare was being cruel…probably more just smart and savvy. 
          I don’t think so, either. There’s just a lot of vitriol aimed at avoidants in general, and I think that’s unfair. My comment wasn’t necessarily directed at her.

  16. 16
    ezamuzed

    Given the suddenness, his “disgusted” vibe and the all encompassing blocking he found out something he didn’t like about her.

    Perhaps he found out she lied about something or found out she had a history about her that was unacceptable to him. It sucks that he couldn’t provide her with any reason beyond he didn’t see a future with her. The man is likely too cowardly to be honest with her about his reason.

  17. 17
    Marika

    I get where you’re coming from, thanks Emily. He can’t force you to want to take things further, and not listening to your needs and pushing his own agenda is not good. Avoidants both don’t do that themselves, nor tolerate it well. Would things have moved forward if he was less pushy?…

    Would he have been better off:

    – Giving you longer to figure out your feelings without bringing up the future, just having fun

    – Breaking up with you

    Or:

    – Seeing other people and being less available

    I don’t blow up people’s phones or ever need to be blocked or anything like that, but I’ve probably pushed my agenda in a time frame and pace of development I felt comfortable with. It’s good for me to be more mindful of how best to handle a person who works differently.

    1. 17.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi Marika,
      Would he have been better off:
      – Giving you longer to figure out your feelings without bringing up the future, just having fun, Breaking up with you, Seeing other people and being less available
      You’re probably asking the wrong person. I wasn’t serious about this guy. In all honesty, as I have been doing a lot of self-assessment lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve never been serious. I thought I was, but I would have dated different people.

      1. 17.1.1
        Marika

        That’s why I’m asking you, though, Emily to understand this, as we’re so different. The best way to connect with avoidant people and show you care. Without freaking them out. Or writing them off.

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          The best way to connect with avoidant people and show you care. Without freaking them out. Or writing them off.

          Yes, that’s probably true.  With the guy I mentioned, he would have had to be a completely different person. I just didn’t like or respect him enough to want to work through it. That was a bigger issue than him being an anxious type.

          But I may look at dating differently than some. To me, in the very beginning, things should progress like a friendship you would have with a female friend. If I meet you at a meet-up on Monday and we hit it off and make plans for girls’ night on Saturday, when would you expect to hear from me? Maybe Friday to confirm? If I contacted you Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday, you’d think it was odd. We just met. The level of rapport and amount of communication should develop over time. I realize that things can happen quickly when two people are dating,  but it creeps me out if I am immediately at the level of daily contact with someone in the first week or two.

        2. Clare

          Emily,

          “The level of rapport and amount of communication should develop over time. I realize that things can happen quickly when two people are dating,  but it creeps me out if I am immediately at the level of daily contact with someone in the first week or two.”

          I agree with you so much, and for the life of me, I don’t know how to handle this. You go on a date with a guy, you have a nice time, he seems cool, you’re not sure if you’re excited about him, but you’re a good sport and willing to give him a shot with a couple more dates. And yet there the guy is – doggedly messaging you every day, often twice a day (morning and night) with the kind of communication that you’d expect from a couple who has been married for 8 years. Come to think of it, this applies to guys you’re excited about as well.

          How do you get someone to slow down with this kind of thing? I’m much more of a slow-to-open-up, but when I do it’s the real thing kind of a person, rather than a person who can twitter along superficially all day. I also don’t like sitting there typing out texts for hours on end. The beginning stages of dating need more breathing room.

          How do you get guys to realise this without offending them?

        3. Emily, the original

          Clare,
          And yet there the guy is – doggedly messaging you every day, often twice a day (morning and night) with the kind of communication that you’d expect from a couple who has been married for 8 years. . How do you get someone to slow down with this kind of thing?
          I don’t think you can. I had one who was texting me at least 15 times a day, from morning until night. This went on for two days. The third day, I texted that I was going to the mall with friends and I would text later (meaning: I’m busy but I’ll get back to you). Two hours later, I got a text from him saying: “You must be really busy.” I was done. We met at a party and had talked on the phone once. We hadn’t even gone out yet and it felt like we’d been dating for months. And when I texted that I thought we shouldn’t go out and that he wanted more from this than I did, he implied he wanted something casual. That wasn’t reflective of his behavior.

          I actually think it’s good to see how much someone contacts you in the beginning and if you like that level. If it’s too much, I think that will be reflective of how much he’ll need if you get into a relationship and it may not be what you want. You two may be a not match.

        4. Nissa

          @Clare,

          This happened to me this week. I gave my number to someone, he texted a few times, I talked to him once on the phone to set a date, and he has texted again after we set a date. It just felt like too much. After some thought, I responded with: Can we put texting on hold until we meet in person?   I appreciate the thought but I’m not a fan of texting as context gets lost and I’m not checking my phone unless I’m waiting for a call. Talk to you soon. 

          But I admit it made me feel really pressured. There’s an artificial intimacy that comes with all that calling and texting that dissapates when you meet them in person and there’s just no chemistry.

        5. Nissa

          @Marika,

          That’s really an excellent question. I am one who does not like texting, and generally am overwhelmed by it. I tend to think of texts like tennis. He sends me one, and I respond. He sends me another, and I respond again. Now, what I think about this process, and what he thinks about this process may not be the same. I’m noticing that a lot of men (in their 40’s!! I’m not talking millennials here) seem to feel like that’s not enough for them – they are interpreting this as a lack of interest. It seems that even in the very very beginning stages (before I’ve even met them in person) they expect texting on a daily basis as being the litmus test for interest.

          So I find myself gritting my teeth and pushing myself to respond faster than feels natural and to choose responses that seem overly excited (to me, anyway) – at least until I meet him in person.

          I’m just surprised that so many men are operating like this when it seems…ineffective and counterproductive, which I would think would be the determining factors for which behaviors to continue. Men seem to be perfectly happy to chat for ages without making a date. This baffles me. When I spoke to a coworker about this, his comment was “Most people who are dating online are just lonely as hell”. Now, that makes sense. It perfectly explains the feeling that I was having, that these men were using calls to prospective dates to make them feel less empty and alone, but the idea of an actual date was too threatening, so they never got to it. It’s a way to generate friendship for those who don’t know how to find it elsewhere.

        6. Clare

          Nissa,

          “But I admit it made me feel really pressured. There’s an artificial intimacy that comes with all that calling and texting that dissapates when you meet them in person and there’s just no chemistry.”

          The situation you described happens to me frequently. I’m not sure if there’s some secret night school where men are taught that they need to check in, follow up and confirm by text constantly, or whether it’s just something they enjoy doing when they like a girl, or whether it’s done out of fear. The message you sent about putting texting on hold was quite bold, and good on you for doing that. I have occasionally sent a message like that myself, but most often I think I don’t want to be that honest with someone I don’t know.

          The artificial sense of intimacy created which is burst when there is no chemistry in person is one problem with the frequent texting. The other problem of course is all the time and energy it consumes when you’re not even sure if this is a relationship you want to invest in. Finally, I far prefer to reveal details about myself slowly and have a little mystery… Along with confidence, a man’s ability to create and respect a little mystery has got to be one of the sexiest things there is.

          Either way, texting too much is too invasive. To me it’s like a constant reminder that, thanks to technology, strangers have near 24 hour access to us.

        7. Yet Another Guy

          @Nissa

          But I admit it made me feel really pressured. There’s an artificial intimacy that comes with all that calling and texting that dissapates when you meet them in person and there’s just no chemistry.

          I do not believe that men are trying to create artificial intimacy by communicating before a date.  A lot of women who post on this blog are of the man pursues, plans, and pays school of thought.  Have you ever given thought to the idea that a guy may be attempting to ascertain if you are worth it before committing to or following through with a date?  Have you ever had a guy plan a date, continue to communicate, and then cancel the date?  I am willing to bet that what happened is that he discovered enough about you to make the call that you were not worth it.  He either did not like something that you said or wrote or he is just not comfortable with your communication style.  I have written many women off within the first five minutes of a telephone conversation because I did not like their communication style.  I am a guy who communicates quite a bit before I meet a woman from online. Why? It is not because I am lonely.  It is because I want to determine if a woman is worth it.  It costs me nothing to send texts or hold a telephone conversation.  I do not have to stop what I am doing to text (e.g., I can text or send a message via a dating site between sets if I am working out).  A date requires me to expend real effort, allocate time, and shoulder expense, and it comes with the risk being rejected.  If women had to pursue, plan, and pay while risking rejection, they would want the same kind of assurance that men are seeking.  Women complain about being rejected by a date, but all they had to do was show up.   A man has to pay for privilege of being rejected.

        8. Clare

          YAG,

          I don’t want to get into another lengthy discussion about men paying, but there are two points I want to make in response to your post about a man deciding if a woman was “worth it” before going on a date with her.

          1) There is absolutely no way to determine if there is real chemistry or attraction unless you meet in person. Photos can only take you so far. Texting can only take you so far (and can actually give you a false impression of the person). Phone conversations, ditto. Meeting is the only litmus test.

          2) There is a lot of moaning (especially by you) about the fact that guys have to pay for dates. But I know that Nissa, and I, and most likely other female commenters, have talked about the low cost or no cost dates, and the response is always crickets from the likes of you and the other moaners. I, for one, always suggest only one drink as a first date. Why? Because I also don’t want to be on a lengthy first date with someone I don’t necessarily click with. How much is one beer or glass of wine? The equivalent price in South Africa is about $2 or $3, plus tip.

          A walk on the beach or trip to an art gallery or museum is fine too. A meet and greet really does not need to be all that expensive.

        9. ScottH

          YAG:  “Women complain about being rejected by a date, but all they had to do was show up.   A man has to pay for privilege of being rejected.”

          YAG- I agree with you.  These words could have come out of my mouth.  I have been laughed at for suggesting a simple meet and greet.  I have been scoffed at for suggesting happy hour dinners by women who haven’t offered to pay a dime.  I have been told by a woman that she wouldn’t come into my house because I was a “stranger” but she didn’t mind this stranger buying her dinner.  There are so few women sympathetic to the cost burden on men for dating.  This is my hot button dating topic for sure.

          I thought I was the chief “moaner” on this topic?

        10. Clare

          ScottH,

          I’m sure it’s been said to you before, but these are the wrong women. To me, a fancy dinner for a first date rarely makes sense unless the two of you knew each other beforehand.

          Isn’t it a turn-off to have a woman scoffing and whining before you’ve even met her?

        11. Nissa

          @Clare,

          You are killing it this week. I’m wiping away tears of laughter, which I very much appreciate. I needed that today.

          @YAG,

          Your argument that you are pre-qualifying your date is more sound if you are talking about actual phone conversations. But text? No. Text by it’s nature does not lend itself to subtlety, nuance, or even full explanation.  How are you getting a sense of the person when common texts are:

          Arrived home.
          The panel will be at  Ballroom B. (This actually is the first text I ever sent).
          Ok/thanks.
          Meeting has been changed to 9:45 AM
          Still alive.
          Class is cancelled.
          Running late. Expect to arrive at 2:25.
          Please order me the Kung Pao Chicken
          Feel like talking?
          Feel like playing tennis?
          Yes, I’ll attend.
          Call me.
          Call me  ASAP.
          Address is 6121 Winsome Apt 7B.
          Can you pick up the kids?
          Do you already own this (include photo of product at store)
          I’ll remain here until 11:00 PM.
          Don’t forget to feed the dog.
          Joanna isn’t here yet and not answering her phone. What’s up?
          How much does it cost?
          Gotta go.  Too Busy.

          How does that give you any sense of who I am? How does that help you know if I am “worth your time”? In fact, multiple messages come across as needy, which is one of the things that almost universally turns women off and increases the risk of being rejected. After all, she doesn’t have to bother actually going on a date with you to have that yummy rush of excitement when you text, or to chat with you on the phone like you’re her girlfriend. It’s like all the work of dating and none of the possibility of having any physical contact.

          Women are still risking effort, time and rejection when they turn up for a date (assuming he shows up). And since men have 100% control over how much money (if any) he spends on this date, that’s his choice about what feels right to him.  I’m not going to waste my time second guessing someone else’s choices, I’m going to say “thank you” and move on.

          Last, both men and women grossly distort who they are in their self-representations. “I’m active” can mean “I walk all the way across the parking lot when it’s my turn to pick up doughnuts for the office”. “Charity is important to me” can mean you gave a guy $5 one time when you wanted him to get away from your car. Self reporting in dating works about as well as it does for fossil fuel companies – which is to say, not much at all.

        12. ScottH

          Clare:  “I’m sure it’s been said to you before, but these are the wrong women.”

          You are absolutely correct.  But there are so many wrong women.  And to make it worse, some women have told me that when they do offer to contribute, some men take offense so they are afraid to do so.

        13. Clare

          @Nissa,

          Very glad to help. If you can’t laugh at these sorts of dilemmas, it would all be too much, right? Laughing puts things in perspective.

          And what a surprise that there’s crickets again from YAG about the low cost/no cost date thing?

          @ScottH

          I always offer to pay my own way on a first date. Even though I appreciate men paying, I like to feel that it is an equal exchange. I can think of maybe 2 first dates out of maybe 60 or 70 where the guy has let me. I wouldn’t say any guy has taken offence as such when I’ve offered to pay, but I do remember an ex-boyfriend in the beginning of our relationship telling me firmly when I offered to pay for breakfast, “I appreciate the thought, but it irritates me.” Most guys honestly seem to enjoy paying when it’s a relatively inexpensive date. They like being the one to take out their credit card and wave me away and feel like they’ve been a gentleman. I like watching them be a gentleman and it makes my attraction grow a lot. I don’t think either of us would have felt good if he, a stranger, had been paying for an expensive date for both of us, and that’s why I try to avoid these for a first date. To me, expensive dinners are for special occasions or stable relationships where you want to have an experience together. Not for people you’ve just met.

        14. sylvana

          Clare,

          I guess this whole “who’s paying” thing is part of the modern dating world, where meet-and-greets are considered actual dates.

          It somewhat makes me wonder if this is a positive trend, though. I’m not saying that there aren’t women who take advantage of men paying. Because there certainly are. But by offering to pay themselves, women are technically allowing men to put no effort into dates at all.

          And then, at the same time, women complain about men dating multiple women at a time for weeks/months, using whoever is willing for sex for a while, not really deciding whether they want to commit, etc. Fading, coming back…gee. I wonder why.

          Don’t you think this whole paying for yourself thing rather much feeds this atmosphere? If he’s paying, he’s likely to be a bit more selective about who he dates. Like back in the days where a man would actually put some effort into one women, instead of juggling a bunch of “no effort” ones at a time to see which one will “put out” first?

          And, as a woman, I would have to say that going into something knowing we’ll each pay our share would not be considered a “date” by me. It would be a casual meeting. And I wouldn’t put that much more effort into my appearance (hair, makeup, clothes, etc.) than I would when meeting a friend. He’s obviously not trying to impress, so I’m not triggered to impress.

          With online dating nowadays, I can see having that kind of casual, no pressure meeting a time or two. But then it would be time to decide if we want to go on an actual date or not. If it stretches out over a longer period of time, I think a woman starts setting a very low standard for her value. A guy would have to start showing some serious effort in other ways, or he’ll quickly end up in the friend or friend-with-benefit zone with me.

          I fully agree with you that it doesn’t have to be expensive, or could even be free (although this very much depends on the type of woman). But the man does still have to display some sort of effort.

          Think about this from a man’s perspective. He’s pretty much looking to get laid. Which (like finding a relationship) is a numbers game. And women who pay for themselves just made it that much easier for him to accomplish his goal. They’re willing to meet him, and keep meeting him, for free.

          He doesn’t have to be all that picky about whom he takes out on a date. It doesn’t cost him any more than an evening out with friends. A quick shower and clean set of clothes, and he’s ready to go. No effort needed on his part, really, at all.

          If he meets enough women, enough times, he’s bound to get lucky and get laid. Who needs commitment? Then there’s the variety factor. Why focus on one when he can have a few on rotation? A relationship might happen if there’s a promise of regular sex. Unless he’s already found that.

          As I said – a few original meetings to see if you want to go on an actual date, fine. But no more than that. Sex is already available easier/cheaper than before. If you take basic courtship behavior out of the equation, you also make it much easier for men to find the opportunities to get laid.

          And lowering the chances of actual relationships, I’d say. Since you’re competing with a much larger number of women, and particularly with those who will “put out” without commitment.

          But the trend I’ve noticed isn’t a few casual meet-and-greets before it evolves into a bit of a courtship which might lead to a relationship. Rather, it tends to drag on for weeks and months. So sexually frustrated chick is doing her best to hold out, trying to achieve that coveted commitment, while dude is setting up a few more dates, hoping one of them will lead to sex while this one holds out.

          And since it’s acceptable to fade in and out these days, it’s not really all that hard to keep a few of those hold-out types on the backburner, just in case.

        15. Clare

          sylvana,

          A lot of my opinions and comments are coloured by what dating is like in South Africa, and I think it’s important to remember that dating conventions are not the same all over the world.  I don’t have a visceral experience of what dating is like in the U.S., so I can’t really contradict a lot of what you say (although I suspect you’re painting it as more cutthroat than it really is), but there seems to be an assumption on this blog that men everywhere behave like this. They don’t. At least not where I come from.

          Admittedly, South Africa is more traditional when it comes to dating and relationships, but I don’t think it’s that unusual. If you read my post above, I specifically said that out of 60 or 70 first dates that I’ve had over the last 4 or 5 years, maybe 2 guys have let me pay for myself. The rest have all paid for me.

          Furthermore, for whatever reason (and I think the gods for it), the hook up culture has not caught on here. Most men here are not actually looking for easy sex. They won’t turn it down if they find it, but by and large, men here want relationships. Even the ones who don’t are not out hooking up every night of the week. The man whores are extremely rare here, because it’s somewhat frowned upon and also probably not that safe. People just simply don’t sleep around here the way they evidently do in the States.

          Finally, as I have written numerous times on this blog before, there is definitely not the same culture of dating multiple people for weeks or months on end. Doesn’t happen. That would be very frowned upon. People here would not be able to distinguish between that and cheating or being deceitful. Here, once you meet someone that you like, you keep seeing them. If they found out you were dating others after you have seen each other at least a few times, that would be considered wrong and they would walk. Exclusivity is assumed here if you have gone on more than, say, 3 or 4 dates.

          So I must say, I find it hard to relate to the endless moaning about the hook up culture and guys who won’t commit or guys who just want easy sex, because it’s just not like that here. Honestly, to your point about guys making an effort, I find it extremely easy to find guys who will make an effort. Here, a guy who likes you will actually start becoming quite single-minded about contacting you and planning dates. He’ll want to have you all to himself until one or both of you decide that the relationship isn’t working.

          If anything, my suggestions about a meet-and-greet, and about slowing things down (including so much contact) in the beginning were about taking the pressure off me. I often feel pressured to act like a girlfriend from the get-go, before I’ve even figured out my feelings for the guy.

        16. sylvana

          Clare,

          thanks for that info. What a wonderful approach to dating. I’m glad to see some cultures still use this approach. It certainly makes things a lot simpler.

          To me, dating has always been something that has the intent of meeting someone to see if there is a potential for a relationship (whether it turns out to be so or not), so your way of doing things is the logical way. The American approach is somewhat mind-boggling to me. Here, dating is more of an umbrella term that can mean just about anything.

          And just because you’ve been going on dates with someone/seeing someone ten, fifteen times over the span of weeks or months doesn’t mean you’re exclusively seeing each other. That has to be specifically discussed. And then even when you’re exclusively dating someone, it still doesn’t mean you’re boyfriend/girlfriend. That involves a more committed form of dating, which once again has to be discussed.

          While I agree with you that I wouldn’t want to be considered someone’s girlfriend after just four or five dates, I believe that if you keep dating the person after that, it should be with focus on just that one person to see if you might want to start a relationship. Basically, really focus on getting to know them better, instead of continuing to divide your attention between multiple people. Heck, I could neither keep track of more people at that point, not could I find enough time and attention to actually see if something could develop.

          What’s the worst that can happen? You wasting a few more dates on one person who doesn’t work out? Big deal.

          Personally, I have no problems with the hook-up culture or casual sex. But to me, that’s not dating, since the focus is not on possible compatibility for a relationship. I really don’t care to get to know a person I’m only planning on having sex or a FWB relationship with all that well. And, oftentimes, people I chose for sex actually disqualify for any sort of relationship potential. They’re generally people I’m NOT interested in dating.

          In my opinion, if you’re only looking for something casual, THAT should be what is defined. Not the other way around. Once again, that doesn’t mean you go on every date expecting a relationship. It just means you actually pay some attention and focus on one person at a time.

          I often like to refer to American dating culture as the “paranoid I might miss out” culture. Then next best thing might be just around the corner. But that seems to be American culture, in general. Never happy with what they have, because something better might be available.

        17. Clare

          sylvana,

          I honestly think if you sat down with the average South African and explained the American system of dating in detail and asked what they thought, they’d say it was nonsensical. I’m pretty sure that’s why it hasn’t caught on here. I believe that in Europe it’s much the same, ie. you focus on one person at a time and are exclusive after a few dates if you both like each other. This distinction between being exclusive but not being boyfriend/girlfriend would also short-circuit the minds of most South Africans/Europeans. They’d say they’d never heard of anything so crazy.

          By and large, I very much prefer our system of dating. And I agree with you that actually being in a relationship with someone makes it easier to see if he or she is relationship material and if you’re compatible. If you’re not, or they’re not, you can end things with no real harm done. I very much get the sense that the reason people date exclusively in this country is to protect the feelings of the people involved. The hurt that you would feel at having to share this person with others by far trumps any benefit you would gain from being able to explore your options. It gives both people a lot more security to know that they’re only seeing each other and allows them to relax into the relationship a bit more.

          Similarly, I think it is because people are so relationship-oriented here that the hook up/casual sex culture hasn’t really caught on (except among people in their early twenties at drunken parties). If you have casual sex with someone here, it will not last. One of you will either want to turn the arrangement into a relationship, or will end the arrangement to find a relationship. So again, as I say, I find it hard to relate to all the moaning about guys wanting easy sex. If a guy likes you here, he girlfriend-zones :D. If he doesn’t like you enough to make you his girlfriend, he finds someone else. Which I frankly think is healthy.

           

      2. 17.1.2
        sylvana

        Scott,

        cost burden is a tricky thing. Remember, men focus on looks when it comes to women. Those looks cost a lot to maintain. Hair, makeup, nails, skin care… not to mention cosmetic procedures. You expect her to look decent or a certain way when she shows up, right?

        If you want a cheap date, look for a woman who is comfortable throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, leave her face make-up free, and not worry about any sort of hairstyle – just put it in a bun or ponytail. And no – I’m not talking about the ones who let themselves go, or frumpy ones.  

        Once again, it all boils down to what kind of woman you are going after. If you expect class and high-end, you have to put in your share of effort.  

        1. Marika

          I personally think you ladies are being a bit tough on the guys. When they are paying for dates, the least you can do is recognise it and be grateful to them for that convention.

          I’m not sure guys particularly like paying to take out lots of strangers from the Internet.

        2. ScottH

          Sylvana-  you’ve clearly demonstrated that you have no idea what it’s like to be a guy in the dating pool.
          “But the man does still have to display some sort of effort.”  Right, and I supposed putting on makeup and painting nails is “effort.”
          “Think about this from a man’s perspective. He’s pretty much looking to get laid.”   Some of us are actually looking for relationships.
          I can’t help but think about the difference in dating responsibilities for the different genders.  He’s supposed to be the aggressor, plan, pay, entertain.  And she’s supposed to do nothing except evaluate and appreciate his efforts.

          I remember taking one woman out.  I initiated and planned and paid.  Apparently she didn’t want to continue because the next day, she disappeared from bumble without a peep.  I hope swiping left wasn’t too much effort on her part.  God forbid she actually sent a text saying that she wasn’t interested.  Nah, that’s messy.

          I am seriously sick of the inequality in dating when you all want equality in every other aspect of life.  It’s a hell of a lot of effort initiating, planning, paying, and doing everything else that’s expected of us while you guys put on your makeup and fix your hair and just sit back and smile and decide if you like us or not.  Sure, we get to decide if we like you too but I’m looking for the unicorn who actually participates in planning and occasionally paying.  I really don’t mind paying when I’m in a relationship but to go through all that effort for women who are “figuring out what they want” is something I won’t do anymore.

          Then again, maybe I’m clueless about what it’s like to be  woman in the dating pool.  maybe that’s why I’m still single.  How I hate this scene.

        3. shaukat

          @Sylvana,

          Those looks cost a lot to maintain. Hair, makeup, nails, skin care… not to mention cosmetic procedures. You expect her to look decent or a certain way when she shows up, right?

          You ladies need to stop with this canard. First, unless you’re putting out for every guy you go on a date with, the fact that you look nice and are dolled up is cold comfort to a man if the date doesn’t go anywhere. Secondly, you don’t deserve to be compensated for dressing up and looking nice; that would make you a high end escort. Third, men put plenty of effort into appearance as well, and contrary to another myth peddled here, women are just as focused on looks as men.

          Personally, I’ve never even been that big on women who get all dressed up for a first date anyway. And how much effort someone puts into a date should be measured by how enthusiastic they seem, the conversation, escalation, etc, not by how much cash they drop.

          I stopped paying for dates that go beyond one drink quite  awhile ago. In my experience, most quality, considerate women understand this, ,and the ones who don’t are really just the entitled, artificial, selfish ones, and I’m glad to weed them out in this fashion. There is also no correlation in my experience between paying and having a successful date. The model died when the swiping apps came out. You can’t be dating ten men at once and expect them to all drop $100 for the privilege of meeting you.

        4. sylvana

          Scott, Shaukat,

          I think this is actually really interesting, because this clearly shows how the feminine and masculine dynamics come into play when dating.

          I’m not trying to be mean. But let me ask you both this: Are you aware that women, in general, are forever being told that they have become too “masculine” when it comes to dating? (Well, American women, at least)

          Now, given by the responses you two just gave, a woman doesn’t have a choice but be more masculine. Based on those responses I would say that you are both looking for women who are at least even in energies, if not a bit more masculine than feminine. But is that what you are actually looking for? (Actual question)

          I’m asking because this is something I have noticed quite often. I’m not saying you two are part of this group, but there are quite a lot of men nowadays who expect women to remain feminine while doing nothing to actually enable her to do so. Basically they expect a woman to use masculine energy but to be feminine at the same time. That’s impossible.

          The energies work like a scale. One side goes up, the other goes down. There is no other way.

          If a man is meeting the wrong type of women, maybe he should evaluate either his own play of energy, or the play of energy he expects in his partner.

          He’s supposed to be the aggressor, plan, pay, entertain.  And she’s supposed to do nothing except evaluate and appreciate his efforts.

          Appreciate being the key term. And yes – for any woman who wants a masculine man, this is absolutely the advise.

          Once again, it very much depends on what the woman and man are looking for in a partner. Any tip of the scale in one direction has to be balanced by the opposite.

          What we do see a lot nowadays, however, is women wanting a more masculine man while using more masculine energy themselves, and men wanting a more feminine partner while not providing enough masculine balance.

          And speaking of appreciation, Scott…

          Right, and I supposed putting on makeup and painting nails is “effort.”  It’s a hell of a lot of effort initiating, planning, paying, and doing everything else that’s expected of us while you guys put on your makeup and fix your hair and just sit back and smile and decide if you like us or not.

          You obviously have no appreciation whatsoever for anything feminine. Neither do you seem happy with being in a masculine role. And you expect to be appreciated for your efforts while not showing any appreciation for her efforts at all.

          I’m a very masculine woman, and let me tell you: I’d rather get throttled than deal with hair, make-up, skin care, nails, girly outfits, etc. Hours of my day wasted on idiocy. I swear they invented all that crap to torture women. I also have no problem whatsoever initiating or planning. Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is with that. But I’m used to being in charge and making decisions. Don’t really have a problem with paying, for that matter.

          BUT…

          If I’m actually doing all of that, don’t expect a softer, more receptive, or feminine woman to show up. Shoot, depending of how much of it I have to do, I might end up expecting YOU to wear the dress, and pretty hair, makeup, and nails.

          Now, being very masculine myself, and only attracted to very masculine men, I actually had to learn about the dynamics between the energies. But there are a lot of women out there unconsciously using more masculine energy in an effort to actually show more equality in the dating world, and wondering why men aren’t attracted to them, or even complaining about them coming across as too masculine, despite the feminine clothes and appearance.

          It seems to me like both of you had problems dating because you went after a) high class bitches, who are easily spotted by appearance alone, or b) women who are looking for men who lead with dominantly masculine energy.

          Either way, when I listen to the attitude you describe in these women, at the very least you seem to be going after women in high demand or with high sexual attraction value. In which case, you can’t get mad if you get burned.

        5. Adrian

          Hi Sylvana,

          Not to speak for Scott or Shaukat but I think you are missing the point.

          Men want feminine women we just want to be shown appreciation for our effects. Some women treat the things men do in courting as if it is mandatory and not voluntary.

          I do agree that it seems that some are mistaking effort for masculine energy… on both sides

        6. Emily, the original

          Sylvana,
          He’s supposed to be the aggressor, plan, pay, entertain.  And she’s supposed to do nothing except evaluate and appreciate his efforts.
          Appreciate being the key term. And yes – for any woman who wants a masculine man, this is absolutely the advise.
          I agree with you here. And, for what it’s worth, because this argument will go back and forth and never be resolved, many female posters have written over and over again on other posts that they understand a man being tired of paying for dates that go nowhere. They have suggested very cheap or even free dates and  the suggestions have been ignored. Keeping it simple and cheap the first couple of dates is totally reasonable. But I agree that, if you want a man to lead, you have to let him. (And the makeup, hair, nails issue will go back and forth, too.)

  18. 18
    Adrian

    Hi Emily,

    You said, “Yeah, but I’m different than you because if I felt nothing, I probably wouldn’t go on the date.

    Yes I agree with you. I should have worded my position better. I meant going out with someone you were not sure about, the thing is it takes some a few days, it takes some a few weeks and apparently it takes some a few months.

    The problem with people who take longer is that they become “almost” identical to people that are stringing someone along. This is why I fall back on Evan’s motto of assuming that the person is a good guy who is just a normal human with flaws and bad communication and decision making skills.

    You said, ” I’d much rather be with someone who values being true to himself more than he values being seen as the good guy.

    Why not a little of both? I’ve known many people who have crushed others in the name of just being honest. If he is making her happy and not lying to her while he makes up his mind then no problem.

    You said, “But you can’t hide behind the “I’m a good guy” reasoning and not understand that you may be misleading someone. If you’re not sure how you feel, SAY SO…Much better to be honest than dogdy so you can keep things going. Why not just say, “I like you very much but I’m seeing how this goes and how things play out naturally,” when she asks about the future. 

    Don’t take this the wrong way but I think I will have to refer to Marika’s advice to me about your dating comments: “You are intentionally not actively dating and you haven’t been on a date or in a relationship in years.” Also I would like refer back to one of Evan’s core motto’s when it comes to being successful in the game of dating and that is, “it’s not about what is right or wrong, fair or unfair, it is about what is effective.”

    I say this because most people go on and on about character and personality but you have to get in the door first and regardless of what anyone says about wanting 100% honesty in the beginning, if you tell them something to break the momentum most people won’t stick around. Two people who are unsure about each other could probably get away with this but tell someone who really likes you this and they will back off to find someone that shows the same enthusiasm. Most of your stories are about men you either want or don’t want but I think if you start dating more you will find a lot of men in the middle; men that you are not sure about at first and it would take you a few dates/weeks to figure out if this is someone you want.

    By the way I completely agree about NOT lying to someone or future faking.

    You said, “You only say that if you’re asked. Adrian wrote that he was feeling pressure by women to respond in a certain way. You wouldn’t go airing those statements unless directly asked but at the same time you wouldn’t be acting “all in” if you had doubts.

    I am sure that both Nissa, Marika, and anyone else who is actively dating now can co-sign my statement when I say that most people who put pressure on you to know your feelings don’t do it in an aggressive or overt way-it’s usually subtle. It’s never “let’s go to Paris together next year” it’s usually “Wow! You also like___? We should definitely check it out when it comes arounds…”

    You say sure but they hear, he/she just made future plans with me. Saying, “Naaa! Let’s see if we will even know each other by then” will definitely be honest; probably the last time you see them but it will be honest. (^_^) Again I am assuming you already have at least 2 of the 3 “C’s” [Connection/friendship, Chemistry/attraction, Compatibility/synced values] Jeremy listed and you are trying to see if the 3rd is present or not.

    That’s why I say when you start back actively dating Emily like Marika, Tom10, and myself you will see that you don’t always know right away because chemistry isn’t all you need and lack of chemistry isn’t always permanent. Some of us need to spend a little time with someone before we know.

    You said, “There’s a big difference between cutting off contact with someone you are no longer seeing (of course you would) and blindsiding someone with the breakup because you gave no indication there was anything wrong.”

    I want to tell you about a statement I read from this celebrity radio host’s biography.  He was saying how everyone keep calling his marriage a failure because he and his wife ultimately got divorced, however, he said that how can you call something that had so many good times and produced wonder children a failure.

    I agree with this statement. People are quick to bring up the time they wasted on being with someone that broke up with them without warning but what they don’t bring up are the good times they had with the person; nor do they bring up all the loneliness they experienced when single. I’m not saying being in a relationship is better than being single but what I am saying is that people who make those type of statements act as if every moment of being single is a full ride with no idol or wasted moments just sitting around doing nothing… a.k.a time they are wasting.

    If your time with this guy wasn’t so great you would not be so upset that he left so why not just be appreciative of the fond memories and the experiences? It’s better than remembering the time you sat on the couch for 6 hours watching tv or the time you spent with yet another bad first date.

    1. 18.1
      Emily, the original

      Adrian,

      Why not a little of both? I’ve known many people who have crushed others in the name of just being honest. If he is making her happy and not lying to her while he makes up his mind then no problem.

      Because people who are primarily concerned with being the good guy are not as good at saying how they truly feel. They’d rather be liked and seen as a nice person.

      Most of your stories are about men you either want or don’t want but I think if you start dating more you will find a lot of men in the middle; men that you are not sure about at first and it would take you a few dates/weeks to figure out if this is someone you want.

      Fair enough. And a few dates/weeks to figure it out is fine. The issue isn’t having doubts, Adrian. It’s having the doubts and letting the other person think everything is fine. If you’re not sure, don’t ask a woman to become your girlfriend. Keep the dates to once a week, etc.

       lack of chemistry isn’t always permanent. 

      I have to be honest. I’d at least hope the person I was dating felt chemistry. Not what you write about : sounds good on paper. It can take time to figure out compatibility but there should be at least a decent level of chemistry on both sides. Don’t most men know pretty quickly if there is or there isn’t at least some chemistry? That’s one part of the equation I wouldn’t want a man waiting to develop.

      If your time with this guy wasn’t so great you would not be so upset that he left so why not just be appreciative of the fond memories and the experiences?

      I’m not sure how this has anything to do with what I wrote about not blindsiding someone, but you feel manipulated when someone does that. And that makes you angry. Maybe a good part at yourself. Maybe you should have been reading the signs better. Who knows.

      1. 18.1.1
        Adrian

        Hi Emily,

        You said,  “If you’re not sure, don’t ask a woman to become your girlfriend.

        I think everyone agrees with this. No one has said the opposite.

        Encase I haven’t been clear I am not speaking of a person who future fakes, or lies KNOWING they want the opposite, or someone that is just manipulating; I’m speaking of someone that likes their date but are not sure if they want to enter a relationship with them.

        You said, “The issue isn’t having doubts, Adrian. It’s having the doubts and letting the other person think everything is fine…I’m not sure how this has anything to do with what I wrote about not blindsiding someone, but you feel manipulated when someone does that.

        This is why I say that once you start actively dating you will see things differently. No one goes on a date and says out loud I have doubts; how many comments by men have been made over the years about women using them for free meals, free entertainment, or just because they are bored, or that he is a placeholder until someone she really wants comes along?

        Whereas the women always reply we were not using men, we just were not sure about him so we went on 3-5 dates until we knew/made up our minds… This is all I’m saying Emily. The person who really liked the their date felt tricked and used while the person that was making up their mind never had that intention.

        You said, “I’d at least hope the person I was dating felt chemistry.

        I realize that for myself I need all 3 of Jeremy’s “C’s” to feel attraction. That is why I can visual acknowledge a woman is attractive but still feel detached if our Compatibility/values are so out of sync or if I feel she is not someone I would have a Connection/friendship with.

        From reading this blog I am realizing that I don’t look at it like most men do. For many the chemistry is usually all they need to make someone their girlfriend and they try to find out the rest as they date.

        1. Emily, the original

          Adrian,
          This is why I say that once you start actively dating you will see things differently. No one goes on a date and says out loud I have doubts;
          Of course not. Not in the very early stages. I’m not talking about the very early stages.
          Whereas the women always reply we were not using men, we just were not sure about him so we went on 3-5 dates until we knew/made up our minds… 
          3-5 dates (spread out over a month or so) is fine. But two months in, and you’re calling someone everyday and hanging out at least a couple of times a week, acting as if things are fine … and then, out of nowhere, you dump her. That’s what I’m talking about. If you’re that involved, then, yes, you should have said you had doubts.
          I realize that for myself I need all 3 of Jeremy’s “C’s” to feel attraction. That is why I can visual acknowledge a woman is attractive but still feel detached if our Compatibility/values are so out of sync or if I feel she is not someone I would have a Connection/friendship with.
          Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have that ability!  🙂
          From reading this blog I am realizing that I don’t look at it like most men do. For many the chemistry is usually all they need to make someone their girlfriend and they try to find out the rest as they date.
          I must be a men, then.   🙂    I don’t mean the “I find you reasonably attractive” chemistry but the “you wipe away all thought and logic” chemistry. If that’s there (and it’s rare), oh help me.

    2. 18.2
      sylvana

      Adrian,

      Two people who are unsure about each other could probably get away with this but tell someone who really likes you this and they will back off to find someone that shows the same enthusiasm.

      And what, exactly, is wrong with a person going to look for someone who shows the same enthusiasm? Doesn’t the person deserve that, instead of being strung along? Especially once someone’s feelings are involved, they deserve to be treated a little more carefully.

      Most of your stories are about men you either want or don’t want but I think if you start dating more you will find a lot of men in the middle; men that you are not sure about at first and it would take you a few dates/weeks to figure out if this is someone you want.

      For me, the “want or don’t want” comes down to attraction and a desire for connection. I’m not sure, but Emily might have referred to the same. I can either picture myself having sex with them or not – which I know right away. And there’s nothing that can change that later on. Then again, I don’t have an attraction scale, either. It’s really a simple question of yes or no.

      I can see a couple of dates if they pass “yes to sex” to decide if I want to continue to date them or not. But definitely no more than that. If I don’t feel a desire to connect with a person by then, it won’t happen (this goes for everyone I meet, not just dates). Maybe it’s because I’m an Aries. I cannot relate to people who cannot make up their minds, or take forever to make a decision. Drives me nuts.

      But it’s partly also because people, in general, do not “grow on me”.  And past dating experiences have taught me that neither attraction nor desire for connection, nor interest overall improve with time.

      “it’s not about what is right or wrong, fair or unfair, it is about what is effective.”

      I think this, right here, is reason enough for a good person to never date. I, for one, am not willing to achieve success of any kind at any and all costs to others. I’m way too much of an empath to utilize that kind of cutthroat attitude. Although I think Evan might have been referring more to bias and double standards.

      The problem with people who take longer is that they become “almost” identical to people that are stringing someone along.

      Not almost. They DO become someone who strings people along. Just because it’s not maliciously done doesn’t mean you’re not stringing someone along. And it’s purely selfish in nature. You (not you, yourself, but in general) keep telling lies or letting someone believe something which isn’t true, or worse, let them develop feelings for you, just so they won’t break up with you. Then, when you decide that you aren’t feeling it after all, or meet someone more interesting, you dump them without a second thought.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      1. 18.2.1
        Adrian

        Hi Sylvana,

        You said, “And what, exactly, is wrong with a person going to look for someone who shows the same enthusiasm?

        Nothing is wrong with this. My only point was that if you like a person and see a possible future with them but you are not 100% sure about entering into a relationship with them, then it is best not to do anything to chase them off until you know.

        You said, “I can see a couple of dates if they pass “yes to sex” to decide if I want to continue to date them or not. But definitely no more than that.

        I actually agree with you and Emily on this. I myself have trouble understanding someone who would take 2 or months to know if they want to enter a relationship with someone or not. That’s why I’m following Evan and taking the high road by assuming they are still good people just doing silly things.

        You said, “I think this, right here, is reason enough for a good person to never date. I, for one, am not willing to achieve success of any kind at any and all costs to others. I’m way too much of an empath to utilize that kind of cutthroat attitude. 

        You have to read a lot of Evan’s old post to get a feel for what he meant “it’s not about what is fair it is about what is affective.” It wasn’t in a machiavellian sort way. He doesn’t endorse lying, cheating, using, manipulating, etc. But at the same time a lot of what it takes to be successful in dating requires us to stop complaining about what is not fair.

        You said, “For me, the “want or don’t want” comes down to attraction and a desire for connection. I can either picture myself having sex with them or not – which I know right away. And there’s nothing that can change that later on. Then again, I don’t have an attraction scale, either. It’s really a simple question of yes or no.

        If I remember correctly you said in another post that you have decided to no longer try to date. If it’s not to personal may I ask why?

        Also does that mean you just seek friends-with-benefits, one-night stands, and no-strings-attached sex? Or are you completely done with men?

        You said, “Not almost. They DO become someone who strings people along. Just because it’s not maliciously done doesn’t mean you’re not stringing someone along. And it’s purely selfish in nature. You (not you, yourself, but in general) keep telling lies or letting someone believe something which isn’t true, or worse, let them develop feelings for you, just so they won’t break up with you.

        Again I can’t speak on people who take months to decide but they do exist. If you and I went out on a date and you knew you liked me but were not sure if I would be a good person to be in a relationship with then are you supposed to not smile or laugh, don’t be warm and friendly, be quiet & reserved, and avoid sharing anything that could cause a connection on each date until you know? Or should you still have fun, relax, treat me kindly, tell me funny stories about your life, and enjoy yourself?

        You never lied or tricked me just because you are causing me to have fun on our dates. But many people do take it as deliberate deception. Like you they are yes or no people, no the date sucked I won’t see him again, or yes the date was great “I” think “we” will make a great couple…. This person is assuming the other person feels the same way and when they discover they don’t then they are accused of being deceitful??? Why because they chose to smile instead of frown when with you?

        You said, “What if she ends up dismissing potential partners, and possibly even someone who would have been a long-term partner, because she is invested in a relationship that is based on lies? If you’re not sure how you feel about someone, but tell them that you are, even talk about the future, she might just miss out on giving her future husband a chance, since she’s not likely to give anyone else a chance while she’s with the person lying to her.

        I think you and I are talking about 2 different type of people. I agree that someone should not lie or enter into a relationship if they don’t mean it. I was only speaking about someone who wasn’t sure during the first few weeks; anything longer than 2 months is wrong in my opinion. Even that seems long to me but I know that some people only see each other on the weekends and two months is about 8 weeks.

        Here in America some women make men wait 3 or more months before having sex because they say they are not sure or that they are not comfortable yet. In other words they are still making up their minds, it’s the same thing with this going out on dates with a person that isn’t sure.

    3. 18.3
      Emily, the original

      Sylvana,

      Maybe it’s because I’m an Aries. I cannot relate to people who cannot make up their minds, or take forever to make a decision. Drives me nuts.

      Well, I am a Cancer, and I’m the same way. Flim flam drives me up the wall. You almost want to say : Make up your mind or go away.

    4. 18.4
      Nissa

      @Adrian,

      On one hand, I agree with you that these kinds of comments are subtle. On the other hand, it sounds like you are taking them a bit too seriously. You are interpreting it as ‘pressure’ – why not see it as an offer, a bid in the vein of Gottman? It’s like business – you make offers, sometimes they get accepted, sometimes they don’t. No one’s soul is crushed over it.

      I get the feeling that these ladies are trying to feel you out because they are getting conflicting signals from you, and that causes them to make a higher-than-average number of this type of comment. For me, even though I *know* how I feel about the other person right away, I still assume that he doesn’t know until he asks me to be his girlfriend. I don’t typically make those “we should do this!” statements because, well, I see that as the masculine role. If he’s not asking me on dates, and talking about the future, that’s all the information I need. His silence clearly tells me HJNTIMe. A less confident woman will push the issue by trying to get him to tell her he likes her. And I only know what I do, because I did it too when I was younger, and it just never worked. I finally got the memo that when a man is into you, he says it. Anything other than that is a lack of interest, whether he says so or not.

  19. 19
    Jeremy

    Regarding the issue of anxious/avoidant attachments, I find it interesting how this topic dovetails with self-esteem issues as well as gendered expectations.

     

    A person with low self esteem will often seek a partner for validational purposes. They somehow feel that if a high-quality partner values them, that means they have value (which is something they doubt, deep down).  But what makes the partner high- quality?  How do they assess “quality”?  They often do it by a combination of that person’s status – how well esteemed are they by society, how well-liked are they by others, how well do people of the same gender follow this person’s lead and how desired is the person by members of the opposite gender.  But oftentimes a major heuristic that people use is how aloof the partner is about them.  They figure that if only they could win the affections of that person it would mean that they had value, that the deep seated doubts they have about themselves could finally vanish (which, of course, they won’t).  And conversely, if the partner goes out of his way to pursue, it triggers contempt in the mind of the low self-esteem person.  After all, if the partner so desires a person of low value (the self), that MUST mean that the partner has low value as well.  Otherwise he wouldn’t be so “desperate.”  It’s not just that the person is anxious or avoidant, but it’s the way their attachment system combines with their low self-esteem.  The person who is already avoidant by nature already doesn’t want to be actively pursued, but combine that with the notion that the pursuer must have low quality and that doubles the contempt.  The person with anxious attachment already feels she has to qualify for love, but combine that with the notion that the very definition of a high-quality partner is one who makes her jump through hoops and you have a double-bind.

     

    Actually, a triple-bind.  Because in our heavily gendered society, aloofness is also associated with masculinity and a certain degree of neediness with femininity.  For all that women want equality with men, their attraction is like a beam balanced on a fulcrum at the point of equality.  When they are less than equal the scale balances toward attraction, but the moment it exceeds the equality point attraction vanishes.  When a person expresses anxiety and neediness, it makes their partner feel protective.  The difference is that men still want to have sex with women they feel protective of, whereas women do not want to have sex with men they feel protective of.  When a man expresses anxiety, he not only shows an anxious attachment system, not only shows a heuristic of low quality…..he also shows a heuristic of femininity.  And conversely, the man who is avoidant not only show a heuristic of high-quality, but also of masculinity.  And not only is that all kinds of F-d up, it’s also the reason why men are trapped in an objectified box when it comes to their emotions – that in spite of women telling them to express themselves, they can not.  Because when they do, and when those emotions display any degree of anxiety, women lose attraction. Even when they believe they won’t.

    1. 19.1
      Adrian

      Hi Jeremy,

      As always I learn something from your comments-Thank You.

      You said, “For all that women want equality with men, their attraction is like a beam balanced on a fulcrum at the point of equality.  When they are less than equal the scale balances toward attraction, but the moment it exceeds the equality point attraction vanishes.

      What is the solution?

      I know you are against strategies like YAG’s dating down for easy attention and sex, but it sounds like men who date women that are equals risk losing her respect and attraction. But this seems to contradict what you said about needing connection for a healthy lasting relationship. How can a man be connect and be emotionally vulnerable if by doing so it causes women to lose respect and attraction for him?

      You said,  “A person with low self esteem will often seek a partner for validational purposes. They somehow feel that if a high-quality partner values them, that means they have value (which is something they doubt, deep down).They figure that if only they could win the affections of that person it would mean that they had value, that the deep seated doubts they have about themselves could finally vanish (which, of course, they won’t).  And conversely, if the partner goes out of his way to pursue, it triggers contempt in the mind of the low self-esteem person.  After all, if the partner so desires a person of low value (the self), that MUST mean that the partner has low value as well. 

      So what is the solution?

      If you are a low self-esteem person it sounds like you shouldn’t date until you fix yourself and build your own self-worth. How does one go about doing that?

      1. 19.1.1
        Noquay

        Work on getting to a place where you’re perfectly OK on your own, without a partner.

        1. No Name To Give

          PREACH.

    2. 19.2
      Emily, the original

      Jeremy,
       Because when they do, and when those emotions display any degree of anxiety, women lose attraction. Even when they believe they won’t.
      I don’t know how much anxiety you’re talking about but there is a difference between being vulnerable and being needy. As a general rule (I’m making a sweeping statement), women want a man to express vulnerability, but too much anxiety, particularly when he talks about himself or their relationship, can become draining. It also goes back to respect and attraction.

    3. 19.3
      Jeremy

      Emily, I get what you’re saying but in my experience this is an area where a lot of women have cognitive dissonance.  They say they want a man who is vulnerable, but often have trouble defining what they mean by that.  When pressed, essentially they want a man who expresses vulnerability when they (the women) want, in amounts the women deem appropriate.  Vulnerability outside of that envelope becomes unattractive – but, of course, staying inside that envelope is not genuine.  The attractive man is the man who is 99% invulnerable, a rock in the face of the stormy world, and 1% vulnerable, especially in ways that the woman can help so as to irrevocably win the affections of the high-value, masculine, avoidant man.

       

      Adrian, how do you fix it?  It’s hard.  I read so many articles written by women complaining about their relationships.  I hear women talking about their relationships with their girlfriends.  Always about the short-comings of the men they are with, the ways the men have lost the women’s respect and are now seen as children.  And so often it’s due to hedonic adaptation, as we’ve discussed before.  How do you fix this?  My opinion?  By choosing someone that in some important way you are so much better than (regardless of all the other ways in which you are equal or she exceeds you) that she can’t realistically forget your value, at least in that regard.  You are equals in terms of complimantarity, but very unequal in the ways you each contribute to the relationship.  Doesn’t always work.  But IME works better than choosing someone who is fairly equal to you in most respects but who secretly believes she brings so many intangeables to the relationship that she contributes much more than 50%.  Now, how many women secretly believe that?  IME, most.

      1. 19.3.1
        Emily, the original

        Jeremy,

        The attractive man is the man who is 99% invulnerable, a rock in the face of the stormy world, and 1% vulnerable, especially in ways that the woman can help so as to irrevocably win the affections of the high-value, masculine, avoidant man.

        Everyone on this blog (myself included) sees things black and white on their personal issues. I’m not saying you “have an issue.” I’m saying we all have personal agendas we push. There has to be a happy medium between a man who needs a lot of reassurance and direction–almost a life coach (which a lot of women don’t find appealing) and a man who needs nothing and reveals nothing. I had a male, middle-aged co-worker who told me his group of guy friends were going to have to support one of the other guys pretty soon because his mother was dying. “When a tough guy loses his mamma, it’s hard,” he said. I was touched by that. That’s vulnerable and also caring.

      2. 19.3.2
        Karl S

        They say they want a man who is vulnerable, but often have trouble defining what they mean by that.  

        I suspect a lot of people in general don’t know what vulnerability is. I studied acting for years at drama school and being vulnerable is a key part of the training.

        It doesn’t just mean admitting feelings of being scared or sad or what have you, it’s exposing yourself to attack by having a variety thoughts or opinions that might be criticized.

        It’s letting down the mask we all use to protect ourselves to fit in. Vulnerability, when understood properly, is a very attractive qualities because it’s the other side of the coin to being bold.  A vulnerable person is one who says “This is the truth of me, take it or leave it.”

        I suspect the kind of man you might think is “99% invulnerable” is actually very vulnerable. What makes them appear invulnerable is that they’d rather be honest than liked.

        1. Emily, the original

          Karl S,
          It’s letting down the mask we all use to protect ourselves to fit in. Vulnerability, when understood properly, is a very attractive qualities because it’s the other side of the coin to being bold.  A vulnerable person is one who says “This is the truth of me, take it or leave it.” I suspect the kind of man you might think is “99% invulnerable” is actually very vulnerable. What makes them appear invulnerable is that they’d rather be honest than liked.
          Yes. What you described as vulnerable is very attractive. It takes guts to be yourself.

        2. Jeremy

          Karl, you make an interesting distinction, but I think that when we discuss the role of vulnerability in attraction (and particularly female attraction) we need to break it down even more to understand it.  “Vulnerability” as you describe it is not just the other coin to being bold, it IS being bold. And I’d agree that most women find it attractive.

           

          To contrast, the type of vulnerability I was talking about was specifically confined to the domain of emotion – and particularly the emotion of fear.  IME, while women want the men they are with to express themselves, they often surprise themselves at just how turned off they get when a man expresses uncertainty, doesn’t know how to proceed, is afraid.  I’ve observed many female commenters on this site – women who have written that they’d like men to express emotion and who take me to task for my opinions on this topic – write that men who express anxiety turn them off.  They feel for them, but don’t want to date them.

           

          Emily wants a happy medium between a man who needs a life-coach and a man who expresses nothing.  But then gives an example of a man expressing sadness (not fear, not anxiety) due to the rare and extreme event of losing his mother.  That ain’t a happy medium, it’s a 1%.  It ain’t about anxiety, it’s about sadness – an emotion and circumstance that falls within the envelope of acceptability.  I wish women would acknowledge this.  What bothers me far more than the fact of this is the refusal to admit it.

        3. Adrian

          Hi Jeremy,

          You said, “I wish women would acknowledge this.  What bothers me far more than the fact of this is the refusal to admit it.”

          You say this in almost every other comment. I’m just curious as to why you believe that women know these things or that they are that self-aware?

          I of course could be wrong but from what I have gathered most people aren’t as smart as you when it comes to motivations and relationships. There have been many times you have said something about dating or men that has caused me a-straight man-to say, “Ah! That’s why I do/feel that when__ happens!”

          Why do you feel women are different?

        4. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          It ain’t about anxiety, it’s about sadness – an emotion and circumstance that falls within the envelope of acceptability

          Then give me an EXACT EXAMPLE of what you are talking about. Not a generality.

        5. Jeremy

          Emily, you asked for an exact example.  Sure, I’ll give you some from your own posts.  How about a man who asks you what you like, sexually?  I mean, he can’t know until he either asks or tries, and if he asks he’s too timid, and if he tries and fails to please he may be bold but is unattractive.  How about a man who asks if he can kiss you?  I mean, society all around is is stressing over the #MeToo movement, men are being told to be extra careful not to violate boundaries.  Tell me, is a man who asks for permission to kiss attractive to you or not?  And if not, why not?  How about a man who, instead of choosing a location for your first date, asks you where you’d like to go?  He wants your input because he can’t know what you like until you tell him.  Attractive or not?

           

          Hell, let’s look at the whole concept of confidence, which is almost universally agreed as THE prime factor for female attraction.  What is confidence but the absence of overt fear?  Confidence is not at all the same as “bravery,” because bravery is being afraid but going on anyway.  Confidence is going on while appearing not to be afraid.  Showing anxiety is exactly the opposite of confidence – so if confidence is the prime attractant, what is anxiety?

           

          Adrian, it’s not that I think people should have so much insight into their own motivations so as to come up with this stuff on their own.  I just wish they’d acknowledge it when they hear it, rather than denying it or making excuses for what they believe should be the case.

        6. Mrs Happy

          It is impractical to expect the general public to have that much insight into their own emotions and behaviours.  The degree of introspection and awareness one might desire others to have is the exception, not the rule, and is a result of some combination of education, training, undergoing therapy, high intelligence, or analytic thought processes, that most of the world do not have access to.

        7. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,
          How about a man who asks you what you like, sexually?  I mean, he can’t know until he either asks or tries, and if he asks he’s too timid, and if he tries and fails to please he may be bold but is unattractive. 
          I hate being asked. In the absence of knowledge, just do it. It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and a bold move will not be unattractive because it’s so rare. I’ve never been with a man who fumbled a bold move. But that’s me. I like someone who’s a little aggressive. Some women hate that and want a romantic, slow approach.
          How about a man who asks if he can kiss you?  I mean, society all around is is stressing over the #MeToo movement, men are being told to be extra careful not to violate boundaries.
          I think the #MeToo movement lacks nuance.
            Tell me, is a man who asks for permission to kiss attractive to you or not?
          Not attractive.
          And if not, why not?
          It comes off as insecure.
          How about a man who, instead of choosing a location for your first date, asks you where you’d like to go?  He wants your input because he can’t know what you like until you tell him. 
          As much as I hate to quote YAG, he gave an example of asking a woman what movie she’d like to see. She told him and then he picked out a day and time and got the tickets. Sounds pretty good to me. A woman gives the input but the man picks it up from there.
          Hell, let’s look at the whole concept of confidence, which is almost universally agreed as THE prime factor for female attraction. 
          You sound angry about this in the same way … women are angry that men don’t value their accomplishments in the same way they do. A woman can claw and scrape her way to the top, but that’s not one of a man’s primary attractants. You can’t change what the other side likes.

        8. Jeremy

          My frustration here, Emily, isn’t about what the “other side” likes.  It’s about their failure to acknowledge it under the haze of their own desires.  You raise the issue of men not being attracted to women’s professional accomplishments and how that fact irritates women.  But imagine if men everywhere refused to admit that they didn’t care about women’s accomplishments and continued to advise women that if only they would focus on their careers then men will be more attracted to them.  How much more infuriating would it be women when they follow men’s bad advice, only to result in worse attraction, not better?  It’s not about trying to get women to admit to some conspiracy, it’s about getting them to admit to a general tendency.  If you say that confidence is your prime attractant, you must admit that anxiety is a disattractant.  If anxiety is a disattractant, you can’t advise men to show their emotions….unless you’re willing to do the work on yourself to accept the total humanity of men rather than desiring a false persona.

           

          Personas.  I might just be in a glum mood because I recently went to the funeral of a man and all the speeches revolved around what a good husband, father and provider he was.  That was what his family said about him.  But that isn’t who he was.  It’s what he did.  The role he adopted.  Did they love the man, or the persona?  Strip away the “good husband” and “good father” – who was he, what did he like, what did he feel?  Did anyone care?  My wife has an aunt who was widowed decades ago.  Her husband spent his days toiling to make a living and left his widow millions of dollars.  She spends her days vacationing and going on cruises, telling others that it’s what her husband would have wanted.  It’s not, though.  What he’d have wanted was to be alive and to reap the benefits of his work.  When she says it’s what he’d have wanted, she confuses his persona with himself.

        9. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “In the absence of knowledge, just do it. It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and a bold move will not be unattractive because it’s so rare”
           
          Can’t do that anymore Emily.
           
          Verbal request and consent is now required prior to any physical contact whatsoever.
           
          And to be safe, the consent should really be on paper, signed and obtained prior to any touch no matter how small.
           
          Ideally the signed affidavit will be witnessed by a third party to prove each party acted of their own volition and were of sound mind and body when granting said consent.
           
          Once the consent has been granted and documented then it’s okay for one party to make a move.
           

        10. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,
          It’s not about trying to get women to admit to some conspiracy, it’s about getting them to admit to a general tendency.  If you say that confidence is your prime attractant, you must admit that anxiety is a disattractant.  If anxiety is a disattractant, you can’t advise men to show their emotions….unless you’re willing to do the work on yourself to accept the total humanity of men rather than desiring a false persona.
          I’m not sure I ever said that anxiety wasn’t a disattractant. Do you find neurotic, insecure women attractive? I’m also having trouble following you. I gave you an instance in which a man showed emotion toward his friend and the potential loss of a parent, which I did not find to be a disattractant, and you said that he wasn’t showing anxiety but grief. I then asked for examples of anxiety, and you provided a list of qualities that make a man sexually hesitant. Can one not be confident and show emotion? Are they mutually exclusive? Again, I need an exact instance from your life (not mine) that shows you revealed what you consider to be anxiety to a woman, who then was less attracted to you. What did she say and do? How could you tell she was less attracted?
          Personas.  I might just be in a glum mood because I recently went to the funeral of a man and all the speeches revolved around what a good husband, father and provider he was.  That was what his family said about him.  But that isn’t who he was.  It’s what he did.  The role he adopted.  Did they love the man, or the persona? 
          Ah … I thought meaning and identity were the purview of an Idealist.  🙂  And I understand exactly what you mean when you talk about roles. I sometimes get tired of playing “the caring daughter,” “the accommodating employee,” “the supportive friend”    ….

        11. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          Once the consent has been granted and documented then it’s okay for one party to make a move.

          Does the consent form list each individual act that each party agrees to? 🙂

          And just to be clear about the bold first move: I know how hard it can be to get up the nerve to do it. I’ve done it myself. But once you have the ability to pounce on someone, it sets you free.  🙂

        12. Clare

          Tom,

          “Can’t do that anymore Emily.

           Verbal request and consent is now required prior to any physical contact whatsoever. And to be safe, the consent should really be on paper, signed and obtained prior to any touch no matter how small. Ideally the signed affidavit will be witnessed by a third party to prove each party acted of their own volition and were of sound mind and body when granting said consent.”

          Thank God that in South Africa, “Me too” is still just the response you give your friend when they say they feel like going out for burgers and cocktails.

          Because I agree with Emily. Asking for permission to kiss you or to touch you is unsexy and totally ruins the mood. Although I’m sympathetic to why men do it, so I try not to judge.

        13. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “just to be clear about the bold first move: I know how hard it can be to get up the nerve to do it. I’ve done it myself. But once you have the ability to pounce on someone, it sets you free. “
          Ha. Men aren’t allowed “pounce” anymore Emily! Bravo though; I admire your gusto!
          “Does the consent form list each individual act that each party agrees to?”
          Interestingly, in my case the consent form lists each individual act that I don’t agree to, and if not stated then consent is automatically granted. The following outlines the acts I don’t agree to:
           

           

           

           

        14. sylvana

          Jeremy,

          I’m not quite following with the anxiety thing, either. You do realize that anxiety is only one emotion, right? And definitely not one that shows vulnerability. Actually, I think it crosses into mental issues territory.

          But let’s break down this whole “showing emotion” thing. Trying to make it easier to understand, I would say that any emotion which displays care or empathy in a reasonable way is found to be very attractive by a lot of women. Basically, emotions that display a positive trait (someone who has care, empathy, and compassion). Emotions that display negative traits (high aggression, anger, high anxiety or fear, etc., particularly when going into the extreme) are not attractive. I think this pretty much goes for both sexes. Once more – questionable mental health and/or stability come into play here.

          I know one could debate “reasonable”. And that the limits of what is reasonable will vary from person to person. But I think we can all agree that displaying deep grief over losing a family member is reasonable, and spending a week in mourning over losing half an inch of hair during your regular trim at the hairdresser’s appointment is not so reasonable.

          I would also like to mention that there is a huge difference between anxiety and a bit of nervousness. Once again, if you are a little bit nervous, it shows that you care (a positive thing). Whether it is before the first kiss, a competition, a test…it shows that the outcome actually matters to you.

          There is a big difference between displaying vulnerability, and having people worry about your mental health. And, as Emily pointed out, you can still be vulnerable and mentally strong, confident, etc.

          Overall, the term “emotions” is often used instead of “show you care”. Any type of vulnerability which displays care, empathy, and compassion is a positive thing, and usually perceived as such by women. Well…until it comes to whacking the spider on the wall.

          Vulnerability that displays a form of submission or is coupled with a form of submission is one of those fine lines that can go either way. Here, perception really depends on the situation as well as the woman you’re dealing with.

          …and all the speeches revolved around what a good husband, father and provider he was.  

          If these people actually meant it, they just said a thousand things about who he was, what he felt, etc, by using those umbrella statements. Every person plays a role in life. Your actions, the way you treat others, is what shows your character, your feelings, what you like/don’t like, etc.

          One of my great friends passed away a year ago from cancer. At his funeral, all I could say was that he was the greatest friend a person could have. Yes, he liked cake, and fishing while watching the sun rise over the lake. But none of that really mattered. What truly mattered was the kind of person that he was. And that single statement included a hundred positive things.

          And don’t forget that not everyone is good with words. And then there is the fact that, culturally, being a good husband, father, and provider are still things considered high compliments for men.

          When she says it’s what he’d have wanted, she confuses his persona with himself.

          Well, I’m sure he would have preferred to be alive. But let me ask you this: In the event that he died early, what would he have wanted? Not saying that you’re wrong in this particular case. But in general, who’s to say that this is NOT exactly what he would have wanted in case he died? Living is no longer an option. Maybe he actually told her to have a nice life, find all the joy she can while she is alive. Unless she’s blowing money he allotted for others, or other things/causes, what do you want her to do? And maybe it’s her way of dealing with the grief of losing him. A kind of tribute. Granted, most of these women are cold (and had crappy marriages), but not everyone is like that.

          I’m asking you this because that’s exactly what my friend did. Told his wife to go and do whatever she wanted, because life is short. And while he might not get to enjoy the money as he planned on doing, at least a person he cared about will get to experience a wonderful life because of his hard work. Otherwise, it would have all been for nothing.

          If people have a party at my funeral, it’s not because they’re confusing their personas with mine. It’s because that’s truly what I would have wanted in case I die (and have told them to do).

           

        15. Emily, the original

          Tom10,
          “Men aren’t allowed “pounce” anymore Emily! Bravo though; I admire your gusto!”
          Are you serious that you never pounce? I can’t tell if you’re joking.
          You’ve heard the Gloria Steinum statement: We became the men we wanted to marry. I tweak it: I became the lover I wanted to seduce me. Watch what a woman does. She’s probably telling you without saying it that that’s what she wants you to do to her.
          “The following outlines the acts I don’t agree to:”

          HA! A man without limits …

        16. Emily, the original

          Thomas10,

          Men aren’t allowed “pounce” anymore Emily! 

          Are you serious? I can’t tell if you are joking. If so, I fear for your generation. Is that what relations between the sexes have come to? There is nothing like a good pounce and an extended throwdown.   🙂

          I say go ahead and pounce. You’ll be one of the few men doing it … and it will be remembered.

        17. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “Are you serious? I can’t tell if you are joking”
           
          Ha; a girl I used to work with could never tell when I was joking or being serious; so would often stare blankly waiting for the punchline when I was actually being deadly serious.
           
          Ah i’m half-joking Emily; part of it is just the natural progression in life; losing the energy/drive/need that forces young men to make all the moves.
           
          “If so, I fear for your generation. Is that what relations between the sexes have come to? There is nothing like a good pounce and an extended throwdown”. 
           
          But I’m also half-serious. Dating and sex is a lot riskier now Emily; it only takes one bad “pounce” with the wrong person for your reputation and career to be finished.
           
          We’ve entered a dating twilight zone where there’s lots of online messaging but very little action; everyone just spends their time on their phone now rather than actually dating/having sex. 🙁
           
          “HA! A man without limits …”
           
          Hehe; I have a veeerrry dirty birdy in me Emily 😉

        18. SparklingEmerald

          Jeremy said: I might just be in a glum mood because I recently went to the funeral of a man and all the speeches revolved around what a good husband, father and provider he was.  That was what his family said about him.  But that isn’t who he was.  It’s what he did.  The role he adopted.

          First of all, sorry for your loss.

          ****************************************

          But let me tell you my experience, having to plan a funeral for a narcisstic, bully, where not ONE of his family members shed a tear.  That was a tough one for me, as this man was my father.  Not one mention was made about him being a “good father, good husband or good friend”  because he wasn’t.  Trying to plan a dignified funeral, of which only 6 people attended was quite a task.  What struck me about the fairly generic tribute I helped the minister concoct, was not what was said, but what was NOT said.  And at the reception afterward, the silence about what was NOT said was deafening.    As part of the funeral, I learned of a tradition of everyone writing last letters to the deceased, and throwing them into the ground along with flower petals.  When I invited the participants to write one last “love letter” to my father, I and only one other person wrote a letter.  Everyone just sat at the table staring blankly. My last letter to my father was pretty generic.  Even my cousins knew how he was, and politely declined to write a last letter to him, or say much about him.

          I shed no tears and felt no grief when he passed.  I spent my life watching him bully and abuse my mother, siblings, and the world in general.  I listened to him brag about it.  My childhood memories consist of him whipping his kids on trumped up charges, to punish my mother for his percieved narcissitic injuries. I remember crying in my room, as I heard him scream, threaten violence, rant and rave at other family members over the most trivial things.

          *********************************************

          You mentioned “meta emotions” as being feelings about emotions.  I have more feelings about my lack of grief over his death, than any feeling about his death.  I felt pretty guilty about that, until my siblings and I had a post funeral convo (away from the other attendees) about our childhood.  I learned even NEW stories from my siblings of how he bullied and abused them, from what I already remembered, so I feel a lot less guilty now.

          ********************************************

          So even though the attendees at the funeral  you attended didn’t write the tribute in the manner you thought it should be, at least it was POSITIVE, and painted a positive picture of the deceased.  And likely, the person being buried was beloved and will be missed.

          ******************************************

          Believe me, sitting through a tortured tribute, trying NOT to say anything negative about the deceased, and remaining dignified through the process, is no easy task.

        19. Emily, the original

          Thomas 10,
          “But I’m also half-serious. Dating and sex is a lot riskier now Emily; it only takes one bad “pounce” with the wrong person for your reputation and career to be finished.”

          Then pounce on someone other than a co-worker. 🙂 Or do what I inadvertently did … take a job in which the atmosphere and people are so dry, every ounce of sexual energy you have will disappear the minute you walk into work.

          “Hehe; I have a veeerrry dirty birdy in me Emily”

          I do, too, but I have limits and the dirty birdy only comes out with very specific people. I’m sure some men have found me dull because, sometimes, once you get in the room with someone, you start to think … let’s move this along.

        20. Mrs Happy

          Re “..all the speeches revolved around what a good husband, father and provider he was”,

          I think that’s the norm in funerals, and I agree, it is upsetting sometimes.

          I’ve long been unimpressed that funerals of women are all about their roles – how good a wife, mother, homemaker, friend, they were, what they did for the community, school, church, etc.  Never much about them, their personality, what made them tick.  Just about their service value for others.

          In fact the only funeral not like that I’ve attended was my grandmother’s, who was a never-married sometime single teenage mother (very frowned upon in her day); I suppose people couldn’t talk about her serving others because she basically lived her life for herself and didn’t stride to society’s drumbeat.

          At least at men’s funerals there is discussion of roles outside the domestic sphere – their career progression, travel, work achievements, etc.

          Anyway we should remember that people giving eulogies at funerals are usually very upset if not still in shock; it’s easy to fall back upon tried and true templates at such a time, and they shouldn’t be judged harshly for that.  I cannot imagine being strong enough to give a eulogy at such a time.

      3. 19.3.3
        Nissa

        @Jeremy,

        I don’t think I’ve ever said the words “I want a man who is vulnerable”. I haven’t ever heard them from my friends or co-workers either. It may not be as common as you are assuming.

  20. 20
    Marika

    Clare

    I think that can be handled quite subtly. I definitely wouldn’t tell them the communication is too much (unless it was stalkery or you weren’t very interested), I would just take hours to reply, write short (but sweet) replies, or not reply to the night one until morning. Show through your actions how much and what type of communication you prefer. They’ll get the hint?

    1. 20.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      They’ll get the hint?

      I tried that with the example I gave of Mr. Texts Too Much. It didn’t work. He was too busy  plowing forward with his agenda, and he thought I was the weird one for not wanting all that communication. I’m sure there were other women who would like to hear from him that much. Don’t you think he’d be better suited with them?

      1. 20.1.1
        Marika

        Hi Emily

        He sounds extreme…wasn’t open to change and killed all the attraction.

        I guess, following on from your black & white point, I just think there’s a way to try to show someone what does/doesn’t work for you. Rather than nexting anyone who communicates in a way you don’t like [or something else that’s not a huge issue].

        I personally would want that. But I’m sensitive, can read cues and don’t blindly push my own agenda.

        With him, you tried, so there’s not much more you can do.

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          I guess, following on from your black & white point, I just think there’s a way to try to show someone what does/doesn’t work for you. Rather than nexting anyone who communicates in a way you don’t like [or something else that’s not a huge issue].

          I understand what you are saying, but my point was that was that you don’t know the person at all. You don’t have the rapport to be showing them what you like (unless they can pick up subtly, which that guy didn’t.) Maybe a few dates in, but who wants to be instructing someone how to communicate before even the first date has happened? And how they communicate with you is very indicative of who they are and how they will act in the future. Plus, super pushy/eager tends to kill my attraction.

    2. 20.2
      Clare

      Marika,

      I’m kind of like you, in that I definitely think that it’s possible to encourage behaviours we want in others and discourage behaviours we don’t want in subtle ways, often without even saying anything. You simply act in such a way that they understand what you like and the way that you are. In this way, I get what you’re saying.

      I will say that sometimes, with the over-communication stuff, this does work. There have been some guys I’ve dated who have backed off a bit when they realise that it’s too much, and I’ve really appreciated that.

      However, the high level of communication early on in the dating phase is rarely just about the communication itself. It is, most often, a signal for someone who is emotionally needy in some way. After all, what they are trying to get out of you by communicating so frequently is more connection, more validation, more affection etc. They are trying to push a closeness that’s just not there yet. In that way, yes it’s about the fact that I don’t want to sit there texting, but it’s more than that. This is probably someone who is a bit more clingy than I am, or at the very least, someone who likes/needs more togetherness and conversation than I do.

      In this way, I agree with Emily. There are women who enjoy lots of texts and phone calls, even early on, and who need more togetherness/closeness than I do, and I kind of feel these guys would be better suited to those women. It’s worth mentioning that I don’t write a guy off just for this reason (unless it’s excessive… I’ve experienced a couple of guys like Emily mentioned, and that’s an immediate no for me), I give it a bit more time to unfold. But, I do end up thinking, in the back of my mind, “I don’t think you and I really understand each other.”

      I know that I am looking for something (a type of man) which is probably quite rare to find. So I am at least aware of this.

      1. 20.2.1
        Nissa

        @Clare,

        Yes, yes, yes. What you said. Except I don’t think it’s rare to find a man who is less interested in texting. I think they do it for 3 reasons: 1) They get excited about a fantasy of who you are in the beginning, someone who will meet all his needs and wants. Then as they get to know you and find you are a real person, the excitement wanes, and he has to experience you as an actual person…about whom he is less excited. 2) Men have been told that women like this, so they do it thinking it will please us. If that’s why he’s doing it, he’ll be perfectly happy to text less, since his objective is to please you. 3) Men also realize that all this texting and calling creates an artificial sense of intimacy…which makes it easier to have sex with you. So it’s worth their time to do this, at least until he hooks up with you.

        1. Emily, the original

          Nissa,

          Men also realize that all this texting and calling creates an artificial sense of intimacy…which makes it easier to have sex with you. So it’s worth their time to do this, at least until he hooks up with you.

          I guess I’m just the opposite, though. If a man wants to hook me, he should let me know he’s interested, but let me discover the depth and the extent of it.  Besieging me with communication causes my lady boner to die.  🙂

        2. Clare

          Nissa,

          I agree with you about all 3 of those points. Point number 2 is what makes me particularly sympathetic, so I really try to see it for the effort that it is. It’s just that I know, in myself, that artificial intimacy in the beginning kills the relationship later on.

          It’s perhaps not rare to find a man who is less interested in texting, but I think it is rare to find a man who understands the need for the right amount of breathing room for a relationship to develop in a healthy way. I have experienced, almost without exception, one of the following in dating: 1) the guy comes on very interested, hot and heavy in the beginning and then becomes suddenly distant, or 2) the puppy dog adoration and desire to see you all the time is there from the beginning and continues until I realise we are not a match.

          I’ve rarely, if ever, met (dated) a man who understands the need to pace things properly. I either get hot and cold or hot all the way through. Maybe I’m just completely out of sync with other people’s timing.

          I mean, what happened to actually getting to know the other person before you make up your mind? To observing them and letting them unfold slowly, instead of letting your feelings run away with you like a runaway freight train?

        3. Nissa

          @Emily, the original,

          This made me laugh out loud, which then descended into coughing. You crack me up! Lady boner, ha ha! *wipes away a tear*

          I do feel for men, though. I can just hear Adrian now, saying, How is a man supposed to know which level works for you….we guys don’t magically know these things! Which is true enough. It’s why I went back and added some things to my profile, such as:  I’m much happier to spend a few minutes in person to see if there’s chemistry instead of spending time on the phone and also I’m old fashioned enough that I prefer for the man to take the lead, so if I’ve ‘liked’ / hearted someone, I’m waiting for him to contact me and invite me on a date. I figure if they still can’t figure it out when I’ve said it that explicitly, that’s too large a communication gap to bridge anyway.

        4. Nissa

          @Clare,

          You say: I mean, what happened to actually getting to know the other person before you make up your mind? To observing them and letting them unfold slowly, instead of letting your feelings run away with you like a runaway freight train?

          When I was first dating after my divorce, my Dad gave me some great wisdom. He said: If a man comes up and talks to you, don’t worry about whether or not he likes you. He wouldn’t have come up to talk to you if you didn’t already decide he liked what he was seeing. This really gave me a lot of peace and confidence in my dating because it started me off with the idea that this person already liked me, and I didn’t have to worry or work or try so hard.

          It also showed me why I had such a horrible experience when I approached men. Because I saw it as equality, I was happy to make it easy on men and do the approach. After all, it would give me an advantage, because I could just approach men I found attractive, as opposed to being hit on by men I didn’t find attractive? Great theory, horrible results. These men were sometimes amused, sometimes acted like deer in the headlights, sometimes made an assumption that I was hitting them up for sex. None of this achieved my goal of finding mutual attraction and interest in an LTR.

          What has been effective is waiting for men to show interest, turning away the ones for whom I have less than 5 chemistry, and agreeing to date anyone who is at least a 5 for me and has no deal-breakers, at least once.

          I truly believe the reason men don’t do this, is that their ‘test’ comes before they contact us. So you might see this as (as a friend of mine does) treating you like a piece of meat, like he has no standards. That’s not it. He saw you, he decided you met his minimum standards, and came over to know more. He hasn’t made up his mind.  If he finds he likes you less, he will probably still be open to sex while he “lets it unfold slowly”. While you or I might not see that as “letting it unfold”, I think men do.  Lastly, I think men in general enjoy the fantasy, and have the luxury of few consequences of remaining in a fantasy (at least biologically, he’s not stuck with a baby if he picks badly – he can walk away without harm). If women didn’t have those consequences (as we are seeing now with better birth control), we are more likely to want to do this too. After all, it’s pleasurable to dream about getting what we want, and exciting to think about receiving it.

        5. Emily, the original

          Clare,

          I’ve rarely, if ever, met (dated) a man who understands the need to pace things properly. I either get hot and cold or hot all the way through. Maybe I’m just completely out of sync with other people’s timing.

          This is exactly what I’ve experienced. They either come at you like a freight train or they’re doing the hokey pokey. I think I’ve dated one guy who paced things properly .. and it did gell into something. It didn’t take long but it didn’t happen in the first two weeks.

        6. Clare

          @Nissa,

          Thank you. You’ve actually reminded me of something pretty important about men and helped me to understand them a little, or at least put my dilemma into perspective.

        7. Clare

          Emily,

          You crack me up as well. Doing the hokey pokey… for some reason I’m imagining a man in a flamboyant outfit doing an outrageous dance where he jumps into a circle and then jumps out again, as if he’s on fire. Don’t ask me why.

          I’m thinking back on all the guys I’ve dated, and all of them started off hot in the beginning. It ranged from immediate declarations of love to wanting to be inseparable, to planning our hypothetical future, but at the very least always, always daily contact. Ok. I knew deep down, instinctively, something was amiss because no one is naturally at the level of daily contact when you’ve known each other for a few days. There always felt something forced or artificial about it to me, but I tried to go with it as best I could. Then, as I say, the guy either decided to attach himself to me for life, but realised we were not a match, or the fantasy wore off, real life would intrude, and off the guy would go with barely so much as a goodbye.

          What Nissa said really does make sense in terms of an explanation for this behaviour. But where does that leave someone like us? Getting caught up in all this nonsense in the beginning really interferes with my ability to get to know the person. I’ve recently made the decision that I am going to go at my own pace in dating, and that includes communication, and the hell with the consequences.

        8. Yet Another Guy

          @Nissa

          I truly believe the reason men don’t do this, is that their ‘test’ comes before they contact us. So you might see this as (as a friend of mine does) treating you like a piece of meat, like he has no standards. That’s not it. He saw you, he decided you met his minimum standards, and came over to know more. He hasn’t made up his mind.  If he finds he likes you less, he will probably still be open to sex while he “lets it unfold slowly”. While you or I might not see that as “letting it unfold”, I think men do.

          Bingo!  That assessment is spot on.

        9. Emily, the original

          Clare,

          Doing the hokey pokey… for some reason I’m imagining a man in a flamboyant outfit doing an outrageous dance where he jumps into a circle and then jumps out again, as if he’s on fire. 

          Can he be dancing to disco? I love disco. How about K.C. and the Sunshine Band?   🙂
          but at the very least always, always daily contact. Ok. I knew deep down, instinctively, something was amiss because no one is naturally at the level of daily contact when you’ve known each other for a few days. There always felt something forced or artificial about it to me,
          That’s exactly how I would describe it. When someone came at me like a freight train in the beginning, it felt like it wasn’t due to interest in me but  … it was their panic (maybe they just got out of something and they didn’t know what to do with themselves when they were on their own) or need for reassurance.
          What Nissa said really does make sense in terms of an explanation for this behaviour. But where does that leave someone like us? 
          There have to be men out there who also want to take things at a reasonable pace. What’s ironic is that all you ever read about is women doing too much. Ah … no.

        10. Clare

          Emily,

          Can he be dancing to disco? I love disco. How about K.C. and the Sunshine Band?”

          Absolutely. Or Kool and the Gang. Some form of 70s disco anyway.

          “What’s ironic is that all you ever read about is women doing too much.”

          Whenever I hear someone express this opinion (that it is mostly women who do too much), I take pains to point out that this is not the case, and that there is ample evidence to support that this behaviour falls equally on both genders. The whole “women coming on too strong” thing has been popularised in the media, but honestly in reality it happens just as much the other way.

          I think it just goes to show that, as we have observed so many times on this blog, behaviour most often attributed to one gender is actually exhibited by the other gender far more often than most would like to admit.

        11. Emily, the original

          Clare,

          I think it just goes to show that, as we have observed so many times on this blog, behaviour most often attributed to one gender is actually exhibited by the other gender far more often than most would like to admit.

          Totally agree. There are just as many stage-5 clingers on both sides of the aisle.  🙂

        12. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          There have to be men out there who also want to take things at a reasonable pace. What’s ironic is that all you ever read about is women doing too much. Ah … no.

          I believe that what we are highlighting here are the differences in between how men and women date, or more accurately, the difference between being the pursuer and the one being pursued.  In my humble opinion, men are more on and off than women because they are pursuers.  Women have more shades of gray between on and off because they are usually pursued.  The pursuer knows that he/she wants to date the person who is being pursued.  The pursued has to be convinced because the chemistry/desire is not as strong as that felt by the pursuer.  After all, that is the real reason why the person being pursued really wants to take things slowly.  Sure, there is a base level of attraction, but it is the not the same as being the pursuer.  It takes a fairly high level of desire to initiate pursuit.  Women complain about not wanting to be the pursuer because men do not reciprocate their interest.  However, that is how men feel when a woman wants things to progress slowly.  It feels like she is not reciprocating his interest.  A man who has to be pushed is just not that interested.  If sex is available and does not require much in the way of effort, he will pursue in a weak way.  In this case, the woman in the relationship is basically a woman of convenience.

        13. sylvana

          YAG,

          you do make an interesting point. That being said, I still think there’s a huge difference between the “stage-5 clinger” (thanks for that hilarious term, Emily), and someone who strongly pursues.

        14. Yet Another Guy

          @sylvana

          That being said, I still think there’s a huge difference between the “stage-5 clinger” (thanks for that hilarious term, Emily), and someone who strongly pursues.

          The first time I encountered that term was when Vince Vaughn used it in the Wedding Crashers.

           

Leave a Reply

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