How You Can Get Everything Wrong and Still Find The Man of Your Dreams

How You Can Get Everything Wrong and Still Find The Man of Your DreamsKarin is tall, thin and blonde. She’s a former dancer who makes a good living as a doctor. She’s a patron of the arts, an animal lover, and has a quick wit.

Karin is also 42, never married, and desperately wants children.

I took her on as a Private Coaching client because she’s highly motivated.

Yet the second we started working together, Karin began to dictate how our coaching would go – and thus gave me a small glimpse of why she’s single at 42.

“I’m not going to date online. Only weirdos who do that. What if someone sees me? I’d be too embarrassed. The kind of men I’m looking for don’t date online.”

“I think you tell women to settle. I’m not going to settle. I haven’t waited this long to find love only to be with a man who is beneath my standards.”

And so on. And so forth.

I reminded Karin that 50 million people have tried online dating. I reminded her that if a man sees her online, he can’t judge her because he’s dating online as well.

The first three weeks of coaching Karin, we literally didn’t do any coaching.

All I did was cajole her into putting her profile on so we could actually have, you know, DATES to discuss during the rest of her coaching.

I reminded Karin that 50 million people have tried online dating.

I reminded her that if a man sees her online, he can’t judge her because he’s dating online as well.

I reminded her that my wife, my mom, my sister, my sister’s husband, my wife’s best friend, my wife’s best friend’s husband and pretty much every other single person I know has tried it. And we’re not all losers.

Finally, Karin got her professional photos and professional profile up on Match.

It was like magic. Even though Karin was in a highly unpopular demographic (42 and looking to have babies) she still got tons of attention online. Scores of men. Attractive men. Successful men. Age-appropriate men.

Quickly, Karin realized that her fears were considerably overstated.

Within weeks, Karin found herself dating a good guy named Gary. They’d gone out 3 or 4 times and he always followed up immediately to see her again. Moreover, he was enthusiastic, cute, successful and very much interested in Karin as a girlfriend.

Naturally, Karin started second-guessing her own interest him.

“He’s too nice,” she said. “He always asks for my opinion on what to do on dates. Why is he so eager to please?”

Didn’t you complain that in your last passionate love affair, you never knew where you stood with the guy? That he wasn’t considerate enough?

“Yes, but—How about the fact that Gary is a teacher who drives a Toyota? How can he support me? What are my Mercedes-driving friends going to think?”

You’re a doctor; he doesn’t have to support you. And who cares what your friends think as long as you’re happy in your relationship?

“Yeah, well, the other day, in the museum, he made a joke about a modernist sculpture. I thought it was so classless of him to do that when an artist poured his heart and soul into creating it.”

He made a joke about a piece of art? And you want to break up with him for it?

“He apologized to me the next day because he saw how it upset me, but all I could think was: why did you make that dumb joke in the first place?”

Because it was funny? Because it was no big deal? Because everyone makes jokes about modern art? Either way, Karin, the fact that he apologized to you when he’s done nothing wrong means that you’re dating a saint. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss him.

After a half-hour of back and forth, Karin made her decision.

She was dumping Gary.

He was too safe.

He was too nice.

He wasn’t able to support her financially.

And if this wasn’t enough, Karin simply didn’t feel what she was supposed to feel.

Fair enough.

I told Karin that I didn’t care about Gary, per se, but that if she were going to achieve her goal of finding love, she should start giving men like Gary a closer look.

She’d spent 42 years chasing exciting, charismatic, unpredictable, wildly attractive men…and here she was with a dating coach trying to figure out where she went wrong.

“THIS is where you’ve gone wrong”, I told her. “THIS is your chance to correct it.”

But Karin’s mind was made up.

She broke it off with Gary and they agreed to “remain friends”.

She put herself back on and prepared herself for the flood of responses that she got in her first month online.

Two weeks later, Karin was crying to me on the phone.

“The responses have slowed down”, she told me.

“The quality of the guys has gotten worse,” she observed.

“I’m really worried that I made a mistake,” she whimpered.

Instead of playing the “I told you so” card, I continued to support Karin’s dream.

I spend a lot of time writing about sad things: men who lie, men who cheat, men who won’t commit, etc. This blog doesn’t change the fact that these men are still out there.

I didn’t tell her she blew it with Gary; I did remind her that the Garys of the world – cute, smart, thoughtful, patient, relationship-oriented – were the type of men she should consider whenever they come along.

I told her that everyone goes through online dry spells and that a new guy will emerge in a matter of weeks. Promise.

Two weeks later, Karin revealed that she and Gary were “hanging out as friends” when he suddenly kissed her.

And after further reflection, she would give Gary – and their relationship – another shot.

Sure, it was a happy ending – another client who achieved her goal and got her money’s worth – but I didn’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling about it. Why?

Because Karin was still the same person she was before – neurotic, critical, unrealistic, and bound to dissect Gary and dump him in favor of a fantasy man who would never commit to her.

So imagine my surprise last week when I received this email from Karin:

Hi Evan!

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to tell you this, but… I’m married! To Gary – the man about whom you were coaching me when we parted. We had an amazingly beautiful and intimate wedding with 50 guests. We honeymooned in Tahiti.

Needless to say, this is a dream come true for me. I am so happy, because I feel safe and secure with a man who is devoted to me. He is everything I was looking for – although it took you to make me realize that. Of all the thank-you notes I have written (and have yet still to write …), yours is the most important to me – because there is no way I would be a happily married woman today without you.

Gary is everything I need, and more – but I still couldn’t fully accept that when you and I finished off in February. At that time, I still couldn’t help looking for perfection, magnifying shortcomings, and not accepting what was most important: unwavering interest in me as a person, following through on commitments, and truly wanting the same things I wanted in a relationship. I still wasn’t appreciating Gary’s amazingly hot body, razor-sharp intellect, and unique life experiences he had created for himself. Or that he made me breakfast in bed, put up with my neuroses, and just wanted to be with me. All I saw was that he didn’t create a Fortune 500 company, drive a Tesla, or lunch regularly with Gavin Newsom. Yes, I am ashamed.

There is no way I would have gotten to that point without you, Evan. No chance I have found Gary and let him into my heart if it hadn’t been for you. You were instrumental every step of the way: from that incredible online profile, to actually getting me to put it online (an entirely separate step, as you well know), to coaching me through all those first dates, to helping me realize why Gary was the kind of guy I should be with … I can’t thank you enough.

I continue to read your weekly post, and I couldn’t agree more with everything you say (yes, pretty much everything). For any woman who wants a real and meaningful relationship but continues coming up short, you are the man for the job to figure out where the stumbling blocks lie and implement a personalized plan to overcome them. Or via the ebook – I bet it is just as helpful for those who want a more economical approach to coaching (although you were worth every penny 🙂 I plan on reading it once the dust settles on setting up a new household (and those thank-you notes are written …) because it will not only speak to my fascination with human relationships but also keep me abreast of how you communicate your wisdom. Regardless of how women want to go about finding the relationship they want and need, you are the one to help them find it.

You sure did it for me. I have a mature, supportive, satisfying, committed relationship (it’s even a marriage!), and I am so happy. Thank you so much for everything!!

All my best,


You know what I did when I got this email?

I ran into the kitchen to find my wife.

Tears were brimming out of my eyes.

I couldn’t believe that Karin found true love – much less gave me credit for it.

I know this is a long blog post.

I know that it can be interpreted as egocentric or self-aggrandizing.

But you know what?

I just think it’s inspiring.

I spend a lot of time writing about sad things: men who lie, men who cheat, men who won’t commit, etc.

This blog doesn’t change the fact that these men are still out there.

Still, I think Karin’s email is a useful reminder that you MUST have hope.

Karin didn’t believe in online dating.

She dated online.

Karin didn’t believe in compromising.

She compromised.

Karin didn’t think she had to accept anything less than a perfect man because she’d held out for so long.

She accepted Gary.

And she WON.

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, wondering why love isn’t finding you, ask yourself if you’re willing to do what Karin did: look within, challenge yourself, and open up to a whole new way of thinking.

Who knows? You could be next.

Join our conversation (107 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    Cool. Truly impressed she made the leap. So many don’t.

    I’ve met men who I know won’t commit til they are pushed against the wall either by age, circumstance (feeling vulnerable), or acute loneliness finally sets in.

    You wrote: “I spend a lot of time writing about sad things: men who lie, men who cheat, men who won’t commit, etc. This blog doesn’t change the fact that these men are still out there.”

    Recently, after looking for a real relationship 1.5 yrs., I met a man who, right out of the gate, treated me like his girlfriend, did everything right, bent over backwards. Took down his profile after the second date. It floored me. It felt so nice. I was beginning to think these men didn’t exist anymore.

    But my point is I’ve met a lot of men the past few years who were some version of the above. Not bad men, most of them, though two were wolves in sheep’s clothing, but men who were supremely jaded, cynical imo. I think it’s cynicism, mostly unfounded, that keeps a lot of men from truly pursuing/exploring a woman, committing these days.

    The media is SO full of anti-marriage stats, stories, propaganda that it seems no one is willing to commit unless taken hostage emotionally, hijacked so to speak.

    I have felt cynical myself though I’ve been married twice! I love being single, but finally recognized given my sun sign and Myers Briggs personality type I prefer being in relationships, am happier in a good one (though I LOVE my alone time). It’s been quite a journey and though in my late fifties am STILL learning new things about myself.

    Like Karin I finally went for the “super nice guy” in my early thirties (first husband was a narcissist), but re-married because I just really wanted kids. My ex made me feel safe, but what he failed to do was fully feed me emotionally. If I had been reading Evan back then I would have realized he was the proverbial “good guy” but still not ideal for me ’cause of the latter (didn’t validate me enough). In short I would have waited a bit and found the right guy for me emotionally.

    It wasn’t til my fifties that I finally figured out the right guy for me emotionally. I’ve already told my latest boyfriend what I need emotionally to feel happy. Hopefully he’ll listen. God, I hope so.

    Evan you ARE changing lives.

  2. 2

    Evan, congrats on your success with this woman and breaking through her psychological barriers to love. It must have felt amazing to receive that letter 🙂

    However, my cynical side says, “Ooh big deal! The tall, thin, blonde, beautiful lady-doctor found someone who wanted to marry her. Surprise surprise. How about the short, fat, mixed race, divorced secretary with 3 kids? Can you find her someone to marry?”

    1. 2.1

      OMG I mixed race people seem to have a really hard time in the US, where there seems to be a silly obsession with blondness. How terrible! Anywhere else mixed race people are believed to be more attractive than average.

      1. 2.1.1

        What a strange comment.   I think that in the US, as in most other countries, an attractive woman will get more attention than an unattractive woman, whether or not she is of “””mixed race.””” 

  3. 3
    Christie Hartman

    Okay, this one really got to me, Evan. What a GREAT story! I practically got tears in my eyes too!
    This is a great example of what it’s like to really break through and find love. It’s also a good taste of what it’s like to be a dating expert, to feel the frustration of watching clients resist change, and then feel the happiness that comes when (if) they do. Excellent work, Evan!

  4. 4

    Hi Evan,
    I read “Marry Him”, Lori Gottlieb’s book that you were featured in, and thought a stand-out fact was that the average happily married person could list 20 “flaws” with their spouse.  The happily married ones just choose to not make a big deal out of those flaws, while the picky choose to focus on them, and think they can find someone without these “flaws”.
    (“Flaws” obviously does not mean true negatives such as abusive or mean-spirited or controlling. It means… makes jokes about art, and drives a Toyota).
    Congrats to Karin for having her eyes opened, and well done Evan!!!

  5. 5

    Evan I LOVED this post. I’ve also had clients who started off resistant to most everything I suggested, and who took time to allow themselves permission to change their mindset and approach. Kudos to YOU for holding a *nonjudgemental* space with your client long enough for her to pen her mind, overcome her fears and commit to the actions. I find most to the excuses I hear are rationalizations coming from a deeper fear. Emotionally they aren;t sure they are ready to be THAT close, THAT intimate, THAT happy with a man. As they feel more deserving and ready, the defensive walls (and resistance) go away.
    But it takes a HELL of a great coach to hold firm in the message, but not push too hard, to support the client to getting there. What a huge inspiration for you as a coach and I’m so happy for Karin!
    Ellen hits it on the head that she had to be ready to allow her life to change. Coaches like Evan (who is masterful at this stage) and my humble self are just facilitators once you are ready for that change.
    Often, the person wants to change deep down, but their fear makes them show us a different face. I always try to remember that even if a client is resisting, they came to me for a *reason* and that deeper purpose is what I must serve.
    You do God’s work, Evan. Thanks for lifting our spirit today. I know this event will help inspire you to go touch many more lives.

  6. 6

    I have read many of these posts, and never replied but this one touched me personally.  I am a divorced woman of hispanic origin, and my family is opposed to online dating.  It is just something thought of as “dangerous” and “bad” in many countries in Latin America.  Thankfully, I make my living in the online world, and can be called a mother thanks to technology, so I am more than willing to give it a shot.  This coming weekend I am having my online profile reviewed by an expert, and will also participate on a teleclass on online dating.  If one does not do anything, one cannot complain later on. If I fail, at least I know I tried.

  7. 7

    I have tears in my eyes too! So happy for her and congrats Evan!!

  8. 8

    I’m in tears as well. I’m new to your blog but I bought the book and have been using it. My marriage fell apart a year ago and I still feel like it did because I comprised on too much early on. I’m still learning that balance. I met someone a few months ago. I’ve used your tips in Why he Disappeared and even the small self sabotages I’ve done haven’t made him disappear. 
    I agree with Gary you are doing God’s work.  I’m sure for every email you get there are so many others out there who don’t email you. Thank you! 

  9. 9

    @Spiral I totally understand the last part about your cynical side! I feel your pain…Still very happy that Karin has found love and happiness.

  10. 10

    Karin, don’t read this. This is for Evan.
    Come back in five years and see if they’re still married. Because Gary is a nebbish with a hot bod, and Karin’s starved for sex and affection. That’s her short-term need. But what she was really looking for is a manly man to be the father of her children, and Gary’s not a manly man. Gary is a teacher who drives a cheap car. That doesn’t just mean he’s super-accepting and not materialistic. It means a host of other things, too:
    He’s likely to be earnest and hardworking but not, in the end, all that razor-sharp.
    He’s likely to complain a lot without doing anything about it.
    He’s likely to be good at taking orders and complaining about them.
    Pretty soon, Karin’s going to notice that she’s spending a lot of money keeping Gary, and she’s not going to be too happy about it, particularly when she gets serious about having the child, and she applies the same kind of drive she did to her own career and getting married. That’s not what Gary’s about. Gary’s a guy who threw a casual profile up there on Match. And he’s going to be surprised to find out how very serious she actually is.  Karin’s going to notice that in fact Gary’s not hella ambitious about much of anything at all. He’s just nice, accepting, supportive, and good with people. So if she wanted a wife, she just got one. But she didn’t want a wife, she wanted a husband.
    Furthermore, if she manages to have this kid, her mode of living afterwards will drive Gary nuts. She’ll hire a nanny, and pay the nanny almost as much as Gary gets paid to be a teacher. Gary will think this is stupid, sends all the wrong messages, is demeaning, and is embarrassing in front of his colleagues, who can’t afford nannies and don’t love rich parents. He won’t think well of Karin for leaving the baby with the nanny, and he’ll start fussing about how they don’t need so much money. She’ll tell him that if it’s so important to him, he should take a leave from his job. And he won’t want to do this, because he takes the schoolteacher hierarchy seriously. He may do it anyway, in which case he’ll sit home with the baby and plot and stew about how to save this child from her mother’s materialism while feeling his career slip away.
    The upside to this is that if she does manage to have a child, Gary will be a great divorced dad. Nurturing, loving, the whole deal. And he’ll still make out like a bandit, because she’ll be paying him child support.
    I know a couple who’re totally screwed up but a great match for each other. Both ambitious as hell. She’s a doctor and a lawyer; he’s a lawyer and a businessman; she gave it all up to be a housewife, which is what she really wanted all along. Lots of beautiful kids. Big fancy house. He cheats on her left and right, he’s never home. She’s furious at him all the time. But dang if they don’t understand each other and want the same things. They’ve been married nearly a decade.
    The values and sensibilities have to line up if it’s going to last. The question’s not just what do you want in a relationship; it’s what do you want from life.

    1. 10.1

      Sorry Amy, I cannot agree. Evan is of necessity limited in space and cannot give every single exact detail, and I would not fault him for that. I think your post makes too many assumptions that come across as related to you personally, instead of relating to the letter writer.
      I would say that the LW, based on her comments, does seem shallow. I say this because at 42, she bases a person’s worth on what he possesses (a car, a company) and is more concerned about the opinions of others than her own (which makes her seem lacking in confidence). Not surprisingly, she dislikes this same quality in Gary (he keeps asking for my opinion on what to do on dates). I think your comment about Karin’s “wanting a husband” relates to this. It is not wrong or right of Karin to desire a man who is confident. However, we do not know here if this is Gary’s desire to please her (a good thing) or his inability to make a decision (a not so great thing). I would guess that it is the former, but Karin’s fear makes her believe it the latter.
      Karin’s point about Gary’s joke is similar. Was her point to Evan that the joke Gary made, seems mean spirited in character, pointing out a character flaw? Or was it another point to Karin’s fear, we are not of the same class? If so, a better action would be for Karin to address her own thoughts about class and to realize that has very little to do with Gary but a great deal to do with Karin.
      However, Karin’s conclusion over time is this: “we truly want the same things”. This tells me that Karin has made a choice about what is most important to her. It tells me that her observations of Gary over time have made her believe that while his choices are not the same as hers, that his intention is the same as hers on a number of subjects. This leads me to believe that Karin has matured enough to realize that when she makes choices about what her deal breakers are, and when she has those, she has perfection. He might be short, balding, low income perfection that is perfect for her because it comes with good character and common intentions.
      Last, I would disagree with the characterizations of Gary as a “nebbish” (what is that, anyway?), not serious, not ambitious, not manly, a complainer. I don’t think the LW said this and I don’t think we have enough information to independently make that assessment. Speaking as someone who was married to a teacher and who therefore knew many teachers, I have seen many people choose this profession because they have another priority – family, free time, a low income profession that they need to subsidize. Therefore it is a logical method of providing income while mastering their passion (which may well blossom at a later time) but in the short term provides enough to take care of a family. This would tend to indicate common sensibilities of ‘family first’ as what they want in life. After all, that is what you (Amy) have said is important, no?

  11. 11

    This is totally fake.

  12. 12

    Thanks so much for the personal insult. I’m not sure how you jumped to the conclusion of paranoia:

     Exhibiting or characterized by extreme and irrational fear or distrust of others 

    I just don’t believe anything about that story.


    bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic

    because the story seems artificially emblellished?   

    Sounds more like a chick flick plot. That’s why women like going to those things. They’re fantasy.         

    1. 12.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Yeah, except for the part where everything I wrote is true. So if you’re disbelieving something that’s true, what does that make you?

  13. 13

    a disbeliever

    1. 13.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      A moron. What do you want? Her home address? Get out of my blog. You’re bringing me down.

      When you can’t believe someone who tells the truth, there’s not much else I can do for you.

  14. 14
    mellie charnalia

    @spiral, I hear you. Would the Gary’s of the world go for us? I’m trying to gather the money together to hire evan as a coach. Because I’m really about to just give up. No matter how much I try to follow his advice, his book, his products, etc…it just aint working for me. And the energy I use in trying to maintain hope is actually exhausting me. Maybe one-on-one coaching is the way to go, particularly for us non blonde rich lady doctor types :-). 

  15. 15

    Evan, thanks for the laugh (#16). Amy (#10), I have a healthy cynical side, and in fact, found myself nodding along with Spiral (#2), but I gotta say, wow! That’s some deep cynicism.  Will Karin and Gary live happily ever after? Probably not. But there’s no reason why they don’t stand just as good a shot as any, especially now that Karin is focused on good she feels with Gary instead of her previous superficial laundry list.

  16. 16

    Susan – Calling someone (Evan) a liar is very impolite.
    Evan, you don’t have to go to every fight your’re invited to.
    But, I laughed out loud at your sarcasm and your clear directive to Susan “Get out of my blog.”  Wish I could be so blunt. It’s a gift. 🙂

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’m far from perfect, but I have no tolerance for being publicly tarnished when I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been giving dating advice for 9 years. 1.2 million people read this blog in 2011. I’ve had over ten thousand people who’ve paid for my products and services. Believe me, I never have any need to make up a thing for my blogs and newsletters. And if you believe I do, I simply feel bad for you. Life must be exhausting: questioning the moon landing, doubting Obama’s birth certificate, and worrying about whether Google is tracking your every action.

      As for you, Amy: tsk, tsk. Without meeting Gary or Karin, you already know both of them and know how their story’s going to end. Because a man can only be Steve Jobs or Jesus Christ, am I right? I will go out on a limb and suggest that Karin is currently in a happier relationship than you are, so perhaps you could stand to learn from her experience instead of criticizing it.

      Begone, cynics. You’re not wanted here.

      This is a place for people who believe in love and can see the goodness in men instead of believing that no one is happy and everyone is deluding themselves.

      1. 16.1.1

        Very well said Evan!!!!
        It is the negativity of my latest boyfriend, which matches the negativity of ppl like Amy that made me dump him.
        This story may help readers of this blog:

        Everything was always going to go wrong with us cause, you know, things went bad in his old relationships. So you know, after being compared to other women solely based on the fact that I am also female and so will of course be just like his Ex wife and his Ex gf, I left him.

        I wished him well and told him I hope he resolves his past issues and is able to open his heart to the world one day, that I just want him to be happy. Which HE was NOT with himself. Nothing I could do about that, not my work, that is his own work he needs to do.
        You see, it only takes one negative person in a relationship to exhaust the other party, I got sick of explaining to him that he needs to judge me by my actions, not by my sexual organs being female like his exes. The 90/10 principle was in effect. If I look at him a certain way, an unresolved negative memory was activated and suddenly my look hurt him. I did not DO it, I simply reminded him OF it.
        You see how pessimism alone can ruin a relationship that was wonderful and loving and the best he could have asked for for 4.5 mnths out of 6?

        I have grown a lot through this relationship and am grateful for the lessons. I know for a fact I will listen closely to a man when he has a Woe is me Attitude, I will bail ASAP, when he feels unworthy, when he feels self hate. When he trusts noone. You see, he admitted he knew he had trust issues, but admitting these things did not mean he was going to do anything about these things. After 6 mnths together and being lashed out at by email afterwards, I told him I will not contact him again.
        So now, he knows that I was willing to work on it and he was not. I was willing to go to therapy with him and slow down our dating till he resolves things, but he was not willing to face his fears.
        This made him the wrong partner for me, because I choose to be happy, while he chooses to always expect the worst of women. Disgusting to me to be around. HUuuuge turnoff.

        So yah, this is what happens when one party has done their ‘work” and the other party has not. It cannot work.
        2 complete ppl must come together to have a healthy relationship.

        Moral of this long story? If you sabotage your relationship with someone, do not be surprised when the person does not tolerate it and walks away. No one happy like me will put up with being punished for the behaviour of the women that came before me.
        After all this, how do I feel? That he came along to show me to change my pattern of nurturing damaged men. I broke the pattern, I did not take responsibility for things that I did not do. I stood my ground. And I am OK with the fact that I left him and lost him, because it was not healthy for me.
        I was only the second woman in his life, other then his ex wife, whom he ever introduced to his family. After 4 mnths together. He told me he had plans to see how things go and get a house and get married. But HIS fears took over this beautiful possibility. It is what it is.
        I have kept my word and after telling him I would not contact him again, he wrote two more emails which once again were angry at me, I did not reply to them. This was Dec 1st. I feel so much better every day about my decision not to reply again.
        No need to beat my head against the wall in a situation that HE will not change although he acknowledged and apologized for the sabotage. I also told him I forgive him and good bye.

        I feel that now thanks to him, I am able to select a man who is in the same place as I am, optimistic, happy with who he is, a man who actually wishes all his exes well, the way I wish all my exes well in their life journeys. I truly feel for the first time, that this time around, I will choose a different man, a man who is not too broken to love a new woman. I am a woman looking to love and be loved. I am not a therapist, or a mommy replacement or a doormat.
        I am sure a lot of ppl would feel very lost, but I feel found, reborn, optimistic about the future. I have better boundaries, no longer put up with what I used to. Above all, I maintain that each man needs to be judged on his own merit, since he is a whole new person. If everyone could do this, it would be wonderful. I hope to find such a man this time around.

  17. 17

    That’s the thing, Nadia. Her list wasn’t superficial. It was actually what she wanted.
    She wanted an alpha male, and she let herself be convinced that beta would keep her bed warm just fine. The Tesla and giant salary aren’t actually jokes. So she’s cool for now, but it’s not gonna last, and unfortunately you really start seeing those values clashes erupt only after a child is born. That’s a tragedy, and that’s why you don’t want to marry someone who doesn’t want what you want in life, and doesn’t broadly agree with you about what’s kosher in how one gets it.
    Money is not a superficial thing to go after. I’m about Karin’s age, and you know what? I’m done with men who don’t pick up the check, who don’t buy serious presents. Men are organized all around getting money, and I don’t date children. I don’t share her interest in flash, but that’s not superficial either. Flash is about power. Money and power, two serious things that’ll stand you in good stead.
    If you want to date Jesus, that’s up to you. But it’s not what Karin wanted. I’m glad she’s getting laid and hope she keeps her money separate, also that she’s not in a community property state.

  18. 18

    @amy #10
    How does being a teacher mean you aren’t smart or witty?  I am not a teacher, but I know some very intelligent people who became teachers because they are dedicated to the cause. I also know some idiot teachers. How does being content with living your dream job and living comfortably, if not richly, mean you are a ‘nebbish’ and a passive-aggressive whiner?
    Some people actually do care more about what they do and how they help people than how much they are paid. 
    You sure extrapolate a lot from a third hand written list of a few facts about a person. Impressive creativity.
    He cheats on her left and right, he’s never home. She’s furious at him all the time. But dang if they don’t understand each other and want the same things. They’ve been married nearly a decade.
    She throws things at him. She yells and swears at him in front of the kids. Sometimes she cries in front of them after getting off the phone with him when he said he will be ‘working’ late again.  The kids are insecure  and the older one has been referred into therapy after drawing a picture of mommy shooting daddy. The second child will try start sneaking liquor when she is 7 because it gives her some peace and solace from the screaming.  By 12 she will be trying pot, and will be on heroin by 16 to escape Mom and Dad. (How happy are their children? You did not say.)
    I  hope they divorce soon. They  and their children will be happier and live longer once they defuse their toxic household.

  19. 19

    evan, you and susan seriously cracked me up and i don’t laugh out loud very often, so thanks for that.  i think that people who can’t truely love focus on people’s bad points.  it’s like, unless the other person is absolutely perfect, they can’t tolerate them past the short term.  what’s amazing is that nice guy gary would even bother with somebody like karin in the first place (i can’t imagine she would have been so much fun to hang out with – she was being pretty judgemental).  and what’s even more amazing is that karin would change her attitude at a soul level in a relatively short time (that’s what i’m interpreting happened from what she wrote).  i just want to find a nice guy who is honest and kind. i don’t care what kind of car he drives or what his job is.  i don’t even care if he’s fat and that’s really saying something for me.  i’m just glad that i no longer feel attracted to these charismatic, self-centered, unavailable ass wipes.  it’s really a cruel trick of nature that we could be possibly attracted to these types of people in the first place.

  20. 20

    Honestly, I have no idea if this story is true or not. I do feel like I’ve heard certain elements of it before. The teacher who drives a Toyota (how plebian!), the upset because her date made fun of modern art, his eagerness to please. It all sounds a bit cliched. But then I read a response like Amy’s (#12), which is so cynical, so snobbish, so entitled, that I would much rather believe Karin’s story, true or not. Because Karin, initially, is just as insufferable as Amy, but at least she decides she’d rather have love than hang on to her b.s. sense of superiority. And the Karins of the world – even despite their supposedly “highly unpopular demographic” – still have it much easier than the Spirals. 

  21. 21

    @ Amy: Wow. Just wow. Where’d you get your crystal ball? Because, dang, I’m sure the rest of us would like one of our own.

    Or maybe not.

    Note to self: If I ever get as cynical, negative and smugly bitter as Amy, consider the possibility that the rest of humankind might be better served if I just kept that to myself. Or at least limit it to a few paragraphs, as opposed to a novella.

    Amy, while it’s hard to decide which one of your arrogant predictions is most offensive, I’d put this one right near the top: “Gary is a teacher and drives a cheap car.”

    You know, I had no idea that driving a Toyota meant a guy is — although earnest and hardworking — but not the sharpest tool in the shed. Not to mention he’s most likely “nice, accepting, supporting and good with people.” And we all know THOSE are some pretty obvious red flags.
    Poor Karin. Here she thought she was all happy, when really she’s just stuck with ol’ Gary Manly-Manless. Oh sigh.

  22. 22

    Wow, I guess I’m kind of shocked by these comments!! I thought we were grown ups trying to better ourselves and learn from people who wanted to help us. Ladies…!!!! STOP IT!!! I’m embarrassed, we subsrcibe for a reason (because we haven’t been able to achieve our relationship goals on our own) , plse leave it at that and understand someone is trying to help us regardless of whether we agree or not! Evan…don’t get into it, that’s not why the majority of us subscribe, your advice is appreciated.

  23. 23

    I don’t understand why you girls are having a problem with this. Is it because one of the sisters had to compromise to find love, and you are unwilling to do so ?

    I actually know a kindergarten teacher with absolutely no ambition that is about to marry an ambitious professional woman.
    He is handsome, talented, kind. She is nothing to write home about in the looks dept.
    “She wants someone ambitious” my female friend says.
    “But he’s handsome !” I say
     There is a look of incredulity on her face

    Men and women are SO different 

  24. 24

    @Amy – WOW, Are you still single? I would hookup w/you in a Heartbeat!

    I almost slit my wrists just reading your post, that has got to be the most negative outlook on life/relationships I have ever read 🙁


  25. 25

    ah zaq, men and women aren’t as different as we think(though I agree we are).

    I wanted for the longest time, a man who was not ambitious because I had an absentee father(due to work). I didn’t want my kids to have that. Till I got one. Then I wanted a man who was ambitious, but misunderstood again. Got him, wasn’t so happy.

    Then I realized it was more a matter of how ambitious a person was about life and their passions and wether our life goals were similar. They would understand money and responsibility was important but not everything. 

    Amy’s post @ #10, was probably more accurate than people probably realize. Just from reading evan’s post, it looks like a co-dependant relationship in the making. A woman that obsessed with her own unrealistic demands, isn’t going to change quickly. And a man who tolerates it, won’t change quickly either.

    It’s a wonderful thing to find love, and I do wish the best for them. I would like to see the results 10 years down the track though.  That isn’t always cynicism. It’s reading the red flags and knowing what they represent.

  26. 26


    Yes there are potential problems, not least of which is how the guy is going to be able to fit in with her rich cultured friends.

    I can’t help but think an older man with the same lifestyle would have been a far better fit.


  27. 27
    Karl R

    amy said: (#20)
    “[Karin’s] list wasn’t superficial. It was actually what she wanted.
    She wanted an alpha male, and she let herself be convinced that beta would keep her bed warm just fine.”

    Do you really think Karin would be happy with an alpha male? It may seem attractive at a distance, but I wouldn’t want that kind of dynamic in my close relationships.

    My fiancée’s dog has dominance issues. I have to be the alpha male with him, or his behavior becomes unmanageable. That means we do things my way, no exceptions. As long as he does what I want, we get along great. If he challenges my authority, we have a fight, and he loses. In order to be the alpha, I can’t let the challenge pass.

    Since he’s a dog, he accepts this dynamic. It provides a stability and structure to his life that works well for dogs.

    I would hate to have an intimate relationship based on an alpha/beta dynamic. I find it more harmonious and more fulfilling to have a partnership between equals.

    However, I recognize that you (or Karin) may value a different dynamic in a relationship. It is possible to have a harmonious relationship with an alpha … as long as you’re willing to be the beta. If not, there’s going to be a fight … and if he accepts losing, then he’s not an alpha.

    Zaq said: (#30)
    “Yes there are potential problems, not least of which is how the guy is going to be able to fit in with her rich cultured friends.”

    If Karin’s friends can’t be polite and gracious to Gary (just because he’s her husband), then perhaps Karin needs to find some classier friends.

    One of my fiancée’s close friends has 12 cats. I’m allergic to cats. Furthermore, we have nothing in common. That’s fine. She’s a sweet lady, and we can be nice to each other. We don’t need to socialize more than that. They can do girls’-night-out without me.

    My fiancée and I are a couple, not siamese twins. It’s not that hard to have her friends, my friends, and our friends.

  28. 28

    SalsaQ – Unfortunately most schoolteachers really aren’t all that bright. The ed colleges pull from the bottom 25% of college classes; the kids who can’t make it in biz and sci routinely switch to ed. You get a lot of genuinely nice people who’re willing to take orders from admins mired in politics and mandates, and who admire intellectual and artistic work but aren’t cut out for it themselves. They’re mostly very good people. Brighter than the 50th-percentile mark in your room full of random people, too. Totally hardworking and patient. But razor-sharp intellect? No, she’s kidding herself there. And boatrockers, no.

    As for your fantasy about that couple: no, that’s not how that demographic does it. The children will go to excellent schools and develop eating disorders. One will get involved with booze or drugs or some equivalent and make a mint writing about it. The others will marry well.
    KarlR – If Karin’s hung up on Teslas and fat incomes, then yes, she digs the dominant man. Her net came up empty and she went back to the nice fellow who gave her tea, sympathy, and hot sex. But that’s not what she was really after, and it’ll show through in a while. The girl wants her man dressed to impress.
    Evan – there’s only so many stories. Sorry. A temporary marriage isn’t something to get excited about, esp. if there’s going to be a kid involved. But wait and see, maybe I’m wrong. Come back in 5 years and see how it’s going.
    zann – Hey, I was married to a Toyota guy, and his car was nicer and newer than mine. The guy I almost married before him, also a Toyota. But the midlife Toyota means the guy’s never going to walk into anyone’s office and demand money. He’s not going to play the game of Take Everything You Can. I’m not interested in that, but Karin likes to see a man play that game. To her, it means he has self-confidence, self-respect, and she finds it sexy. Gary, he’ll take what the school board and union say he’ll get, and like it.
    One thing that I notice happens with people who don’t care about money: they assume the people they like don’t care about it, either. That money happens accidentally. So I would lay odds that at some point, Gary will get very cavalier indeed with Karin’s money, and Karin will be offended as hell and pull him up short. Which will humiliate him, and he’ll wonder who exactly’s in charge, here.

    Personally? I think Karin just wanted an unlikely set of things. She wanted her manly guy, she’s 42, and she wants at least one baby. At 42 and with moxie and brights, she’s attractive to established guys in their 50s. They don’t want any more kids, though. So then she has to decide: what’s more important, baby or husband? She’ll go with “baby”. Fine, maybe she’ll get one. But if she hasn’t done this carefully, it’s going to be very expensive. (I also hope she and Gary are on the same page when it comes to chromosomal defects.)

    There is, of course, the possibility that Karin has no idea who the hell she is, or what she really wants, in which case Gary may be her lifesaver after all. But I’m thinking probably not.

    One thing I think all y’all are missing is that Karin’s been fighting her way through a boys’ club for decades. She knows how to survive there, and she’s tough. I don’t doubt that it’s a temporary relief for her to be calling the shots easily here, and to get warmth instead of static or a knife in the back. In the end, though, the question is still “did she actually want a wife (but one who still has enough male ego to bristle at the idea of losing face at work)”, and my guess is the answer is “no, she wanted a husband.”

  29. 29

    Amy @ 20 –
    You stated, ” Money is not a superficial thing to go after. I’m about Karin’s age, and you know what? I’m done with men who don’t pick up the check, who don’t buy serious presents. Men are organized all around getting money, and I don’t date children. I don’t share her interest in flash, but that’s not superficial either. Flash is about power. Money and power, two serious things that’ll stand you in good stead . . .  and hope she keeps her money separate, also that she’s not in a community property state.”

    Wow!  How can I say this nicely??  …. I hope any man that takes you out keeps a firm grip on his credit cards and realizes that with some people, a prenuptial agreement is not an option.   Your attitude regarding Gary (who will make out like a bandit) and your self-professed gold-digging standards are more than a little askew.  

  30. 30

    Love this story. I think Evan’s blog post about maximizers vs satisficers relates well. Karin may always be drawn to more flashy men, but she can choose to stay in a loving, fulfilling relationship. Being a maximizer in relationships left her single and looking for too long… She needed Evan’s advice to show her a different way to approach dating.
    @amy. Being with a man who is wonderful, supportive , and relationship oriented is one of the happiest experiences of my life.  Rejecting men becuase they weren’t successful enough or weren’t alpha types left me lonely and miserable. I have no doubts about my choice of partner.

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