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. 61

    How many hours a week do you think teachers work?

  2. 62

    Amy, I have waited to respond to your comments because as they have unfolded, my perceptions have changed. I was quite irritated by your first few comments, because they seemed like blanket rejections of men in general tat had little substance to them. However, some of the more specific points you have said since then resonate with me, and I can definitely understand why other commenters are enjoying what you are saying.
    Overall, though, the tone you give off is that of someone who feels superior to nearly everyone else, something that undermines the valid points you are making. You also have an extremely narrow view of the intelligence and skills of teachers – people without whom none of us, yourself included, would probably be able to construct these sentences, to offer just one example. You, like many folks, DO disrespect teachers because you buy into the idea that they aren’t terribly important in society. Those doctors you uphold wouldn’t be there without all the teachers that helped them over the years, including their med school professors. Making a lot of money isn’t really a great predictor when it comes to intelligence, confidence, or even ambition. Many careers simply aren’t valued that much, and no amount of ambition and intelligence will make someone rich doing them. Conversely, there are careers that are highly overpaid, such as professional athletes, where you don’t even need to maintain a strong level of ambition in order to make millions. Guys like NFL receiver Randy Moss have ridden natural talent for years, but I doubt anyone would be attracted to him based on intelligence or ambition. Feel free to keep believing that wealthier guys are “better,” but know that there is endless evidence to disprove that point.
    I honestly don’t know if Karin “settled” or not. It does seem to me that she would have had to made some serious attitude changes to truly have a great relationship with her new husband. And maybe she did. I’d like to think so. At the same time, I can imagine that she will be challenged internally and also by those friends and others who she has surrounded herself over the years. in any case, I wish them all the best.

  3. 63

    Nathan, thanks for that kind prefatory remark.
    I don’t accept that I disrespect teachers. They do an extremely difficult job under frequently ridiculous circumstances — one I couldn’t and wouldn’t do — and while pay’s improved considerably over the last decade or so, they’re not exactly getting rich from it. For some children, they’ll provide the only consistent love and attention the child knows. And for others, they’ll be windows into worlds the parents never would have shown them. My daughter’s teachers are good people, and she loves them. She loves going to school, and she’s patient with the school’s limits. I’m grateful to them. They’re warm and thoughtful and intelligent, and many are intelligent about how children learn.
    However. I’m talking about relative intelligence, drive, and stamina. I have worked with and for large numbers of both teachers and doctors, and spent good time in conversation in both. And I mean no disrespect at all when I report that the doctors are in general, brighter, more driven, and go longer distances.
    As much as I respect the work that teachers do, I am not inclined to overestimate either their intelligence or the quality of their teaching. And no, they did not teach me to write. As it happens, I learned to read and write a few years before I got to kindergarten, and was one of those reader-aheads who’s got a nose in a book rather than eyes on the teacher. I left school early for university, where it was night and day, the quality and depth of the education, and my district was one of those that the ed people give all sorts of awards. I’m still learning from what my professors gave me, and our ongoing conversations are a source of great pleasure.
    Ironically, I’m now part of the K12 sausage factory, and it’s because I do believe that children’s teachers are extremely important that I’d like to see us with much higher standards for entrance to ed school and qualifications for teaching certificates. We’re very heavy on pedagogy now, classroom management and how-to-teach, and these things are important. You can’t teach an unruly class, and you must be able to reach children. But understanding what you’re teaching is also important, and not enough of our teachers do. Our ed system lags against other nations’, and the golden hue around teachers won’t suffice in changing that. Pretending to teach science, economics, government, writing, history…too much of this goes on. And it has serious consequences, some of which you can see as people struggle to understand the current economic problems, and fail to see the geopolitical problems they pull with them — and eventually give up and go to church. Or in the recurrence of measles, a dangerous, potentially deadly disease, thanks to parents who’ve been scared into believing that vaccination will make their children autistic.
    I can’t be specific, but inbetween posts here my work involves rewriting materials written by a highly-placed, highly-experienced, much-respected teacher, to be published by a prestigious publisher. I was actually hired to edit it, not rewrite. But it’s appalling. Plagiarized throughout, the pieces stuck together in ways that make plain that this teacher did not understand the subjects — which are the ones she teaches! It’s unusual only in how brazen this particular example is. So now my job’s changed. But this is what passes for top of the line in K12, and we have to do better than this. Being soberly respectful of teachers isn’t enough, it’s not doing the job.
    (The best book I’ve ever read by a living schoolteacher: The First Moderns, by William Everdell, who teaches at St. Ann’s in New York. He’s got a pack of fancy credentials, including a Fulbright, but the main thing is he’s a wonderful, clear, intelligent historian who means business. St. Ann’s must be a wonderful school — I’ve read other good things by their faculty, too. Here’s from the wiki: “Instruction at Saint Ann’s is departmentalized from fourth through twelfth grade, with a teaching faculty numbering 220, made up of scholars, researchers, mathematicians, musicians, artists, and writers.” Not, it seems, ed majors with certificates in various subjects. They go find these very bright people who really know their stuff, work in the subjects, and who also get children and understand how to teach them. Maybe they take some pedagogy courses to help them do that, I don’t know. But this, it seems to me, is a smart way of going about it.)
    At this point in the debate someone usually defends teachers by pointing to the miserable home lives of many of the children, and how it’s not fair to compare to private schools. I’ll concede that’s part of the problem (and, as you’ll see, take it back later). But only part. Another considerable part is — beyond the fact that teachers are so poorly trained in the subjects they teach, the requirements low compared with requirements for college students who will go out and be scientists and writers and engineers and historians and what have you — that they’re asked to, and acquiesce to, focus on hauling the least promising kids up over a test, while neglecting brighter kids. The combination of these problems…well, that’s how you get to 17th place. My kid watches docs on kids on China, Finland, and worries she’s not learning enough in school. She’s right. So she asks me for more, and I give it to her. (Why does she worry? Because over the past several years she’s asked questions about the economic news on the radio, and I’ve given her a baby education in banking and international trade and relations, and some history to go with it, and she understands that yes, she will compete for jobs with those children. Personally, I think she can relax a little while, but her conclusions aren’t bad.)
    I have been puzzled by how readily the teachers acquiesce to this focus on the bottom, given that person-by-person they seem to think it’s a bad idea, and that they have one of the few remaining powerful unions. But they do acquiesce. They fear they’ll lose their jobs if they kick, despite the fact that we’re hard up for good teachers, especially in STEM. I think that says a lot about the people who work as teachers.
    I think of what doctors would do if they were all put on fixed salaries, told not to schedule patients with a good shot at recovery, and to fill up their books with patients with poor prognoses. I think large numbers of them would go nuts. I think they’d organize and lobby like mad and fulminate everywhere about the waste of resources, and they’d grab money from wherever they could and break away into factions and start running their own medical groups and devise their own payment plans and means of treating the indigent. They wouldn’t stand for it, in other words. But the teachers do.
    In fact every time there’s a bad curriculum change here, you get this outpouring of doctors, scientists, professors at the school board meetings, ranting away about the stupidity of the new programs. And they’re right. Either they take over and win, or — if it’s a done deal — they go away and figure out how to help their kids better at home, teach them after school, weekends, summers. Make sure the kids get a good strong education despite the schools. So what you get is a two-tier education: ed for kids with doctor/professor/scientist parents, and ed for kids without. Guess who does better? In fact I will go so far as to say that when you see a wonderful school district, what you are probably seeing is a school district with a high concentration of very bright professionals: docs, profs, scientists, writers, engineers. Money helps. But it’s not money that makes the difference. These are people who’d run a good school sitting under a tree, if they have the patience and people skills — and many of them do.
    The main bright spot I see is the K-16ification of the academy, which has priced itself into a corner while producing a huge overstock of bright PhDs who adore teaching and love and know their subjects. The feds are already platting the undergrad years, standardizing, and the universities are already separating teaching from research. If your average PhD-holding adjunct finds that, as far as freedom in teaching, ed level, research time, and admin oppression goes, there’s no difference between a ragbag of no-security, no-benefits $2300/course adjunct jobs and teaching 8th grade at $65K with bennies and summers off — and all she has to do is spend a couple years getting a certificate — well, hell, it’s no contest, is it.  That shift ought to be interesting. If we get enough of them in there, they’ll push for research time, too, so they can stay fresh. I suspect the ed schools won’t react well until someone shows them how there’s money in it. But there’ll be a bumpy transition time where the certificate-earners are brighter and more rigorously trained than the ed-school faculty is.

  4. 64

    @ #67, it’s news to me that all teachers share the exact same level of intelligence and exact same quality of their teaching. This isn’t the experience I’ve had with my children, who have been in the school system since ’98. Going back to Gary, he could be teaching college-level courses for all we know…
    FTR I didn’t teach my kids on evenings, weekends, and summers — I do not have that kind of time, or that kind of thorough knowledge of all subjects at high-school and college level. My oldest son graduated 10th out of a class of 340 last year, and is now at sophomore level (all the AP classes that he took with those lowly teachers…) at a decent state university, where he got a full ride (thank you, son!) But it must feel good for the parents you describe to take full credit for the way their kids turned out, “despite the school”. Seriously, if the school district is so horrible that parents have to spend hundreds of hours with their kids, teaching them all over from scratch to undo the damage done by the school, why can’t they find a better district and move there? they should be able to afford it, being doctor/professor/scientists, right?
    This is getting very far offtopic, sorry Evan. I’ll make it up to everyone by commenting on something that caught my eye in Amy’s #10:
    “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.”
    They will likely be married for the rest of their lives — but not because they’re a great match, and not because they want the same things, unless by “same things” you mean the $$$$. They will never divorce because they cannot afford to. She won’t want to lose the lifestyle, and he won’t want to pay a ton in alimony and child support. I’ve dated those guys — good-paying profession, stay-at-home wife, big fancy house… now wife’s in the big fancy house and the guy’s in an apartment, barely making ends meet after his alimony payments. Match made in heaven, indeed. If that was an example of what Karin should’ve gone for instead of marrying Gary, then I think she made the right choice.

  5. 65

    nathan and amy: I enjoy reading your comments, but think this discussion has gone off track. Even if it were true that doctors are “brighter, more driven, and go longer distances” than teachers (which I find debatable), why does that matter in the slightest in a marriage?
    Marriage is not about intellectual discourse. It is not about being driven. As for “going longer distances,” whether a spouse goes a longer distance for his beloved has nothing to do with the prestige of his job.
    I would say that if Karin cares about a loving relationship and a good father for any children she may have, she may indeed find it easier to come by these qualities in a teacher than in most other occupations.  If someone has been a teacher for a long time, he has learned a thing or two about getting along with all types of characters, and has dealt with some of the most difficult problems facing our society. 
    Congratulations to her.

  6. 66

    Helen, I totally agree with your comment. Having been a teacher of both children and adults for most of m adult life – until the past year or so – I felt a need to check Amy’s comments again what I have experienced. However, in the end, profession isn’t really a great marker of a good partner. Nor is being driven or not. Because both of those things can change greatly over the course of a life.
    Like I tried to say in my previous comment, the life expectations and connections Karin built up before meeting Gary could be the thing that most challenges their marriage. If she is surrounded by friends (and maybe family members) who don’t take Gary seriously because of his profession or lack of wealth, for example, that could be a major hindrance. And the expectations Karin had when she started working with Evan – I can imagine those were long held views that she slowly has had to let go of as she has been with Gary. And perhaps some of that is still lingering within her.
    In addition, it would be interesting to know if Gary’s desire to please has changed at all. Because that sometimes is a default in the beginning of relationships that people employ because they are “in love,” or are afraid that challenging their partner will lead to abandonment. I’ve been like Gary before in the beginning, but inevitably got sick of being in that role. Those who are questioning the potential of this relationship seem to be pinning part of their critique on the idea that Gary is passive and not terribly confident or ambitious. Which might be true. Or perhaps as he and Karin have gotten to know each other better, he’s become more assertive and willing to do much more than just be pleasing. I’d say a lot hinges on whether or not he’s just a passive guy. 

  7. 67

    Helen writes:
    “Even if it were true that doctors are “brighter, more driven, and go longer distances” than teachers (which I find debatable), why does that matter in the slightest in a marriage?
    Marriage is not about intellectual discourse. It is not about being driven.”
    I’d say it is. More precisely, it’s partly about how each person values ambition, drivenness, intellectual firepower, and what it means to them.
    Karin’s been trained in a hardcore environment and presumably has absorbed at least some of its values. If she hadn’t, it’s unlikely she’d still be working as a doc. Not only that, she pushed herself like the devil just to get to the starting line: not too many people can wake up one day and say, “yeah, med school, I think I’ll do that” and turn up the following year as an M1. Is she going to drop that so she can be home with family? …Mm, probably not. Will Gary be willing to be home alone? For years?
    I was thinking about it, and all the successful practicing-doc women I know are married to other doctors who get it, and who’re usually higher-powered than they are. I think there’s probably a good reason for that.
    As for intellectual discourse — hey, maybe that’s not what marriage is about for you. It is, and was, important for me. But that’s not even what I’m talking about. I’m talking about intelligence. Some people are quicker than others, see more, synthesize faster, move faster mentally. And you know what? It’s tough for most people to be with someone who’s quite a lot brighter and more energetic. Exhausting. It’s a dangerous thing for bright women, because so many men see it as a challenge. “Hey, I can keep up with her! Awesome run!” Only it’s not so awesome when it goes on for a year without letup, and when only the guy is running. Then it’s not so much fun. And it’s not the woman’s fault, either. It’s that he got in over his head without thinking how things might go.
    And stamina? Yeah, it’s good when people are well-matched, and you don’t have one zooming around while the other’s yawning. It’s a good recipe for frustration and people going their own ways.
    Now maybe Karin’s an unusually slow doc, and maybe Gary’s an unusually bright and energetic teacher, and they’re actually a match. Probably not, though.
    @Goldie: Nobody said all teachers (or docs) were identical. I said that if you picked a random hundred of each, the docs would be brighter etc. Meaning on average. As for moving to better districts: They do, whenever they can. And then everyone gets bent out of shape as the old district scores tank, yelling about white flight and unfairness. In the better districts the docs, profs, etc. still try to push the K12 people around and do extra stuff with the kids at home.
    @nathan…I’m with you on professions changing, but choice of professions tells something about character, and drivenness is, I think, relatively constant in people unless they get sick. The 14-yo entrepreneur doesn’t usually wind up writing the “I’m just an average guy” dating-site profile unless his tongue is firmly in cheek.
    There’s no crystal ball, y’all. But there’s odds, and averages, and patterns, and it’s best not to go in thinking you’re going to be the special case. Because probably you’re not.

  8. 68
    Christie Hartman

    Helen said: “Marriage is not about intellectual discourse. It is not about being driven.”
    Amy said: “I’d say it is. More precisely, it’s partly about how each person values ambition, drivenness, intellectual firepower, and what it means to them.”
    Amy, I think it’s about how YOU value ambition, drivenness, intellectual firepower, and what it means to YOU. It’s clear to place a high value on these attributes. It’s also clear you feel the MD is the embodiment of these attributes. You also seem to place an unusually high value on intellect, and your comments are a bit reminiscent of the book The Bell Curve. You will get little argument from me on the fact that doctors and teachers, on average, may show some differences in IQ and personality. However, I think you are strongly exaggerating what we would call the “effect size” of those differences. I’ve worked in academia for years – at a medical school – and I’ve known my share of teachers as well, and the points you make don’t entirely jive with what I’ve seen.
    I would agree that large IQ differences don’t work. But I maintain that the mean difference between a doc and a teacher isn’t so vast as you suggest. And, if Karin were some intellectual giant and Gary some intellectual slacker, she would not have married him. She wouldn’t want him and he wouldn’t want her. I also agree that large “stamina” differences don’t work well either, but I think your views on the stamina levels of docs vs. teachers isn’t based on much more than your own perceptions of such professions, based on your personal experiences.
    All in all, I doubt Karin “settled” for someone who wasn’t her equal. I think she simply changed her definition of “equal,” which is the entire point of this post and what Evan does. 

  9. 69

    @ Amy
    Nobody said all teachers (or docs) were identical. I said that if you picked a random hundred of each, the docs would be brighter etc. Meaning on average.
    But that’s the thing — Karin did not marry a random hundred of teachers, she married one specific one! Can’t we just assume that her judgement is good enough that she picked one of the brighter ones?
    As for moving to better districts: They do, whenever they can. And then everyone gets bent out of shape as the old district scores tank
    Meh. I’m not here to change the world. I’m here to give my kids a good education, because, if I don’t, no one else will. Who cares if everyone gets bent out of shape? it’s not like they’re going to egg my house for moving.
    In the better districts the docs, profs, etc. still try to push the K12 people around 
    LMAO they push them around huh? Must really suck to be the K12 people 😀 I tell ya, good help is so hard to find these days 😀 Personally, with my children’s better teachers, I worked with them, not “tried to push them around” geez. With the worst ones, I tried to study with my kids at home, while at the same time making sure my kids don’t get stuck with that teacher long-term. Being in the honor-AP track took good care of that.
    I have to tell a story that I realize has nothing to do with dating, but it needs to be told in this thread. My older son, up until his senior year, refused to even apply for college. He almost didn’t get his National Merit Finalist standing, because on the application form, he’d checked “do not plan to go to college”, which we got changed at the last minute — this is how dead set he was on not going. Naturally he wouldn’t listen to anyone trying to get him to change his mind. His gifted coordinator made an appointment with a CS professor at a nearby university, went there with us while on her summer break, stayed there with us for a 1.5 hour appointment, talked to my son on the way back, convinced him to apply, and helped him through the application process. He’s now at that school, doing great, and feeling pretty happy about it. So yeah, this experience makes it kinda difficult for me to look down on K-12 teachers. YMMV

  10. 70

    Thanks, nathan. I agree with this statement of yours: “the life expectations and connections Karin built up before meeting Gary could be the thing that most challenges their marriage.” I’m sorry for Karin, not in a putting-down way – she’s 42 and still so dependent upon what her peers think about something as intimate and personal as her own marriage? So concerned about prestige, even though she managed to achieve it herself?

    Not that blame can usually be attributed to one person, but if there is a failure in this marriage, it seems more likely to come from her side than his. He seems perfectly comfortable with their relative accomplishments in life. She, on the other hand, was (is?) nursing all these hangups that are really unnecessary.

    amy: 1) it doesn’t seem that you have much first-hand knowledge about physicians (honestly, some of these comments sound like they’re based on TV shows of docs), and 2) what you describe seems to be unique to your own preferences, and not representative of many besides you. 

    I call BS about the woman who was supposed to be both a practicing physician and a practicing lawyer. Yes, one can have both a MD and a JD, but one does not get to practice both simultaneously. I’m surrounded by physicians every day in my job. The female physicians are not by-and-large married to other physicians, nor do any of the physicians (male or female) strike me as being better spousal material than teachers.

    Intelligence is NOT constant over a human’s lifetime. Being a teacher forces you to learn and adapt constantly, rather than an occupation in which you do the same things day after day. The day-to-day challenges of one’s occupation directly affect intelligence across multiple areas.

    Finally, it is unusual to find someone who wants to be intellectually “on” 24/7 – even the most brilliant physicians (or physicists, for that matter) want a break. My husband and I fit society’s narrow definitions of prestigious and smart. How much time do we spend discussing the Poincare conjecture and Nietzsche and string theory and gnosticism? Close to nada. When we do, it’s not because one of us wants to knock the other down or put on a display of grandiose intelligence; it’s because it’s actually relevant and interesting. For heaven’s sake, most of us want to be married to someone whom we trust and like, around whom we can just relax.  No one likes to be constantly in the ring. One would hope that one’s job allowed enough of that intellectual challenge so that we don’t constantly subject our loved ones to inquisition.

  11. 71

    I would not assume that sb who has been studying like crazy for years and years, like most physicians, would be brighter than any other profession. If anything, they could be LESS intelligent because of all the time they have spent studying instead of LIVING (i.e. traveling, reading, discovering art and culture, searching their own soul, trying new things, meeting other people etc.), which is the very activity that gives you the wisdom that makes a human being intelligent and bright…. 

  12. 72

    @ Helen, as I found out from experience, I prefer being able to have intellectual discourse in a marriage or relationship. I was married to a very bright, capable man who has never worked an extra hour in his life, and whose interests consist mainly of TV shows, fishing, and tequila. He’s just a laid-back guy who wants to relax, all of the time. Whereas I on the other hand, get bored out of my skull just sitting around and watching TV, I’ve got to have more intellectual stimulation of different kinds. As a result, we couldn’t talk about anything; when kids became teenagers, he and the kids couldn’t talk about anything; he had his friends and I had mine. And it only got worse over time, no matter how hard everyone tried. I felt like a fish out of water around his friends and he felt the same around mine. His friends’ wives were shocked that I don’t watch American Idol and The Next Top Model (or whatever that thing is called)… “what do you even do for fun if you don’t watch TV?”, they asked. You just don’t think these things are important because you have them readily available in your marriage… to you, they come so naturally that you don’t even notice.
    That said, agree about teachers and constant learning. Also, as a former teacher friend of mine said, you cannot teach middle school unless you have a sense of humor. And I bet that bright middle school/high school students keep their teachers on their toes intellectually at all times.

  13. 73

    Goldie, unless you know me personally, it is rather presumptuous to make the statement at the end of your first paragraph in 76.

    Hub and I actually enjoy watching TV and doing outdoor activities together, like your ex. If that makes others despise us, so be it.

    If people expect to always have easy, fluent conversations with their spouses, they are setting themselves up for disappointment. So that no one gets the wrong idea about marriage, I’ll give the insider’s view and fully admit that there are times that hub and I go out to dinner while someone else watches the kids, and we find it hard to figure out what to talk about. This is even though we’re both stuffed up to our eyeballs with philosophy and literature and science (and TV shows!).  That just happens. It’s not a reason to automatically think there’s something wrong with the spouse or the marriage. Bill Cosby said it himself in one of his old books, about how when he’d go out to dinner with his wife, he’d find it hard to converse about anything but the kids, and there would be plenty of awkward silences. So what – it’s not a big deal. It’s what happens when two people have known each other a long time.

    You can’t always be chasing after excitement. What is true of chasing hot bodies is also true of chasing deep and thrilling intellectual conversations. It’s not sustainable, and the latter doesn’t get a pass because it’s somehow “deeper.” 

  14. 74

    @helen: I’ve worked in a large teaching hospital and count many docs among my friends. Yes, I know something about docs, med school, hospital culture. As for “calling BS” on my friend who’s got the MD and JD — hey, you’ll have to talk to her if you want to insult her degrees. If you’d read carefully, you’d see that she doesn’t practice either at this point; she’s a housewife.
    I’d say you’re also wrong about intellectual conversation. The bright people I started out with as intellectual playmates are still, by and large, part of the gang, and yes, the conversation is as lively and salon-ish as it ever was. The only reason it’s unsustainable is if you haven’t got a continuously roving, seeking mind. On the contrary, a really bright person’s conversation will deepen and broaden over time, and get much smarter. I’m sorry if your relationships go a bit dull, intellectually. I’ve never been in a relationship where we had nothing to talk about except my marriage, and my ex later admitted he’d tricked me, told me lots of lies about what he knew, what he’d studied, etc. The conversations I thought might happen — there wasn’t any chance, it was all a fake.
    If you and your husband don’t know what to talk about, why don’t you bring journals along — one ex and I never went to a restaurant without NYers and NYRB in hand — and have fun sharing what you read?
    @Soul: It’s a matter of quickness. You have to be very, very quick, not to mention ambitious in the scope of the info you’re willing to go after and assimilate, to get into med school and make it. In general I have not — in 40 years — found teachers on the whole to be that bright. If you’re very quick and ambitious, and you’re with someone who’s slower, then it doesn’t much matter how much wisdom-developing’s gone on over the years. The slower person simply won’t be able to keep up the pace, and it turns out that this matters, esp. when the slower one’s the man.

    I know y’all find these distinctions offensive, but life is what it is. Med school’s a tougher gig than ed school. Men don’t like being consistently shown up; women don’t like feeling that they have to hobble themselves in order to preserve the guy’s ego; nobody likes to be bored.

  15. 75

    amy: “I’m sorry if your relationships go a bit dull, intellectually. I’ve never been in a relationship where we had nothing to talk about…”

    And how successful have your relationships been? 

    Somehow it doesn’t seem that these intellectual conversations have exactly translated to a long-term relationship, which is what this blog is about.  Or, for that matter, faith in men in general, based on a variety of your comments.

  16. 76

    Since people are encouraged to be explicitly candid on this blog, what a lot of crap from one particular female writer here!!!

    In #40 she imputes that she is an almost perfect person because she has met Nobel nominates!!  By the same logic could I promote myself to be G_d because I took university undergraduate chemistry and physics classes from four different Noble prize winners!!????

    Mr. Katz implied in #24 that she should take her “crap” elsewhere because a) her speculations about the future evolution of the marriage illustrated in this story are simply that!!!, her SPECULATIONS, based upon NO KNOWN DATA, b) her other commentaries are a classic Psychology 101 university freshman-level course example of the psychopathology of the neurosis known as “projection”!!!  Watching her mind, displayed from the commentaries that she wrote on this particular blog, remind me of watching a sewer overflowing after a violent storm!!!

    She claims to be intellectually superior, well-educated,  sublime genetic material (from bragging about her daughter), and we are “ordered” to accept everything she states simply because she is “intimate” with the upper echelons of society!  Aside from all of it being a boxcar load of BS, I can certainly MATCH AND BEAT her on any and every claim that she makes about her supposed superiority!!!  So what!!

    The purpose of the blog was a story about what might be considered a conventionally highly fortunate woman (financially endowed, in a respected secure career) whose life was “unfulfilling”.  And, who therefore learned a very valuable lessor from life by re-looking over that which she had already overlooked!  Perhaps #40 could learn something from such a metaphor!

  17. 77

    Observer, that’s a bit harsh, but there’s some truth to what you say. amy has made many good and interesting points, but has also made points that are irrelevant, arrogant, or unsupported – particularly her comments regarding teachers and the importance of intellect in long-term relationships.

    Her assumption seems to be that because Gary is a teacher who drives a Toyota, he is intellectually inferior to Karin, and therefore, the relationship will fail. There are two leaps in logic here: first, that teachers are intellectually inferior to doctors, and that intellect is the critical ingredient in relationships.

    amy, I crave intellectual discourse as much as you, and am delighted when I can find someone with whom to exchange philosophical thoughts and witty repartee. But intellect turns out to be no better than looks in the success of long-term relationships. Far more important are kindness, patience, and thoughtfulness.

    I felt sorry for you when you suggested that my husband and I bring reading material on our dates, saying that you and an ex had done this. I wouldn’t give the time of day to anyone who brought reading material to a meal with me; nor would I ever treat another person that way. That is just plain rude. If you can’t devote your full attention to a date, then there is no point in going out with him or her. Doing that smacks of one who is either so desperate to be intellectually stimulated all the time, or so desperate to prove s/he’s intellectual, that basic manners and regard for others just fly out the window. Not a good sign for an LTR.

    If Gary is a good guy as Karin states, then she has found the most important thing to make a LTR successful. A lifetime together means many practical trials, which are best handled with a good, thoughtful, and patient mate. I wish them the best.

  18. 78

    Tastes change over time: I started out over impressed with intellect. In time, like Helen #81, I started putting less emphasis on a man’s intellect and WAY more on his character, kindness, maturity.

    Even a man who’s only been two years to technical school, is well-read per se,  can be fascinating if he has true intellectual curiosity.
    And note Amy that not everyone “leads” with their intellect: I no longer do. I am pretty comfortable with who I am, and despite 20 years schooling and a master’s degree, I don’t spout my knowledge, opinions much anymore to the point where I am sometimes patronized by strangers. One obnoxious co-worker noted my diploma from UNC-CH the other day and acted genuinely surprised. 🙁 oh, yeah, go Tarheels. lol

  19. 79

    @Amy: how about that story: Gary was a happy teacher, liked what he was doing never really dreamt about big career. All he wanted was to have his job he liked and a great wife he could cherish and spend his life with. He wanted to be a father. He met women in his life but nothing turned into a lasting relationship. And he met Karin. Karin was so great and successful, he admired her for that so much, he fell in love and could not imagine his life without her. When she finally agreed to marry him he could not believe in his luck. Karin made him feel so great as a man that he actually found in himself so much potential. He decided to change his career and open up his own business. He has never felt such a drive to do more as now. Having Karin opened him up to the new possibilities. Now he has his own company and is doing really well. Karen cant believe that apart from having this wonderful man he also become more energetic and ambitious and is so proud of him and changes in his life he made, not for her but for himself.
    Have you considered that? Why all the relationship that might start as it seems from settling in in some little areas cannot change into even better and more positive. Some people need only a little bit of that to grow and if they have behind them someone who truly love them they do things they could never think about ???? But that would be too happy for you Amy wouldn’t it?

  20. 80

    That woman will eventually get sick of Gary and divorce him – guaranteed!  She will start to think that he isn’t good enough for her and then will lose attraction.  She is the type of neurotic self-centered white collar professional woman whom successful men generally try to avoid.  I’ve met my share of women like that who are quick to judge a man based on the most superficial reasons and those women are just plain crazy and should probably be seeing psychiatrists.

  21. 81

    I feel physically ill after reading Amy’s comments.

    I’m not sure I can comprehend how one gets to be so hateful and disdainful of men, teachers, people who aren’t as wealthy as others, and who knows who else.

    It isn’t possible for everyone to be a “high achiever,” whatever that means, because then who would work at burger joints, perform janitorial duties and do a host of other jobs that are all important for our society? Moreover, doctors are just people, they have utterly no more or less morality than the average joe, and guess what: in a few short years they’re going 6 feet under along with the rest of us. So there’s your great equalizer.

    I want to get married in my life, but the more comments I read on these threads of the contempt women have for men, maybe it’s best if I never do and die alone. I want someone who genuinely loves me for me, not for my bank account, and even if I am never loved, I’m just as worthy of it as any other man or woman. 

  22. 82

    M, I agree with what you say. Every emotionally healthy person would want to be loved for who he/she is rather than how much he/she earns or shows up others in intellectual conversations.

  23. 83

    Evan  – Thank you so much for sharing Karin’s story. I really enjoyed hearing about her success. Her story made me feel optimistic, especially as I have made changes within myself that have resulted in positive changes in my dating life. I feel like I’m on the right track! 
    @amy – Your negative comments brought me down a notch or two. I’ll breeze past your comments in the future. Who needs it? Ugh!

  24. 84

    The stereotypical remarks made about teachers are cute at best.  At worst, they show a severe underestimation of the intelligence of teachers and a very judgmental view of individuals who are NOT doctors.
    My mother was an elementary school teacher, and I would never say she was not bright.  She’s trilingual and comes from a family of doctors.  Whatever my mother wants to do, she does, and she does it better than everyone else.  She is most certainly THE MOST driven person I know.  She is undeniably the hardest worker I know.
    So why is she a teacher?  Because it makes her H-A-P-P-Y.  She enjoys teaching children, and she does it quite well.  Parents want my mother teaching their kids.  I can name a dozen doctors I know that are only doctors for the money.  There are several intelligent people who take jobs where they make less money because it’s what they want to do. At least they’re happy.
    You know a doctor/lawyer in a horrible, adulterous marriage.  Quality life right there.  No, my mother would NOT rather have a great professional life and a sad personal life.  I’m sorry if my mother’s choice of happy home and acceptable job offend your business-savvy and investment-happy mindset.
    It’s people like you, Amy, who generate assumptions about people, call yourself picky, and are still single.  If I were a man, I wouldn’t touch you.  I wouldn’t want to hear you voice your pretentious, long-winded thoughts any longer than it would take me to finish my coffee.  You obviously know everything there is to know about the general population, census be damned.  Copy and paste all of your comments into your biography and hand it to the next guy you date.  He can take it home for nightly reading if he’s “driven” enough to tackle it. 

    And my goodness, I’m only 27, but I hope to never be as cynical as some of the women on here.  I suppose these comments are born from some horrible dating experiences, but that is inexcusable.  “Wait five years and see if they’re still married.”  How about congratulations?  IS. THAT. SO. HARD.
    Btw, I have a high-paying job in the metro DC area, and I have a long-term boyfriend..but I’ll let you know how it’s working out in five years.
    To send this off:
    Congratulations to Karin.  I wish her all the best.  😀

  25. 85

    Very awesome story! Made me cry… that you cried.. 🙂
    Though I give guys like Gary a chance, if I’d meet one…. even when I think I’ve met one, I find that they drink tons more than they say, can’t stop talking about their ex, or are trying to figure out covertly what my net worth is….
    I’d love to know where the guys like Gary are.. b/c I’ve never been after the charismatic, smooth types…  I seem to attract the wounded…who can’t handle real intimacy.. ugg
    I love the happy ending… awesome job!

  26. 86

    I don’t know if amy’s comments are entirely off-base.  I know plenty of couples where the woman earns or has inherited significantly more than her husband and in every last one of these couples, it has become a major problem in the relationship.
    That said, I certainly am cheering for Karin and Gary.  Not only because the story is heart-warming and I always enjoy seeing true love triumph, but also because I want proof that high-earning women and moderately-earning men CAN find ways to be happy together, long-term.  Although I haven’t seen a single example of it in real life, yet, we need this combination to stand a chance.  Because, soon (if not already), at least half the Alphas “out there” will be/ are women.  And if we want our society to continue, they’ve got to pair off with someone.  We’ve already established that Alpha males rarely want to marry Alpha females (the 4 most Alpha males I know IRL ~ 2 billionaires & 2 hundreds-of-millionaires ~ are married to: a model who barely finished high school; a fashion publicist; a beautician [well, they’re currently engaged, but will be wed in 2014]; a woman who went to secretarial school but never held a job… which is not to say that these women aren’t worthwhile people but they make Gary’s teaching job look positively ultra-high-achieving) 
    Since Alpha males often don’t want Alpha females, let’s hope and pray that the Alpha female & slightly less-hard-driving/ high-earning male can find ways to survive & thrive together.  If not: we’re all screwed. 
    Go Karin & Gary!!!!

  27. 87

    @ Helen #77. Although she probably won’t see this comment. I’ve come back two years after the initial discussion, to partially agree with you.
    First of all, I love outdoor activities! I love hiking and trail running (or rather, in my case, trail jogging/walking lol) Only outdoor activity my x liked was fishing with his guy friends. Which was basically half a dozen men sitting around all day, pole in one hand, beer bottle in the other, then at the end of the day they cook their fish, break up the hard liquor, and have that for dinner. No one is ever sober on those fishing trips. And yea I’ve seen them drive back home completely sh!tfaced. Something tells me this isn’t an activity you and your hubby would enjoy. 
    Anyway I just came out of a 2 year relationship with a college prof. He finally ended it, saying something was missing. After an email conversation about it, we both agreed that the reason was, we wanted different things. He wanted something similar to what Amy is referring to. Intellectual discourse 24×7. Constant interaction, at any given minute we had to either be going to a cultural events, planning a cultural event, or just sitting on a couch having an intellectual discourse. Yes we did the “read magazine articles and discuss them together” thing too! Some of the exact same magazines that Amy is referring to, plus NYT. While I loved it, and still miss the life we had together, I was getting increasingly tired and stressed out. Turns out I cannot keep an intellectual discourse going all day long. Sometimes I need to check out and do something silly that doesn’t require much thought. Sometimes I even *gasp* need my own space and would rather be by myself to recharge. The 70 mile commute between us was not helping either. So towards the end, I was always falling asleep on my feet, not able to concentrate, not capable of intellectual discourse, basically I stopped being fun. And then he ended things. I was devastated at first, but quickly realized that our relationship was running me into the ground and undermining my health. So yeah I admit that even the most intellectual relationship should have its “boring” moments. Everyone needs some mental R&R. With that said, I still stand by my statement in 76, that you called presumptuous. There has to be some common ground. And since you guys have never experienced having ZERO common ground with your husband, you probably do not know how it feels. Hint, it doesn’t feel good.
    I’d date a teacher anytime! At least with a teacher, I would know that he believes in constant learning, and facilitates that constant learning for other people. If we’re talking HS teachers, most of the ones my sons had have Masters degrees and teach college-level courses. I cannot for the life of me see a reason to look down on them.
    I wonder how the doctor/lawyer are doing in their adulterous marriage. They reminded me of a movie I saw recently, “Blue Jasmine”. Very similar situation; didn’t end well.

  28. 88
    faded jade

    [email protected] (and all of your other blah blah blah)
    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.
    I am floored that you think having lots of money in a big beautiful house is the holy grail of relationships at the expense of kindness & loyalty.  I would MUCH rather be snuggled up on the couch with a blue collar hubby, who LOVED me and would claim me as his own, and would cut off his right arm before he would even think about betraying me, than to be trapped in a gilded cage, filled with rage as my “ambitious as hell” horn-dog hubby ambitiously bangs every bimbo that crosses his path.
    Let’s see, since you made an unfounded hypotheses about the couple featured in the OP (he’s just stupid,  lazy and unmanly and his super alpha wife will grow to hate him) let’s fast forward to the future with your “great match”
    She will eventually crawl into the bottle in an attempt to numb her chronic rage, and her accompanying grief over the suicide of her middle child.  She tries desperately to pull herself together as she is now a stay at home grand ma to her middle daughter’s out of wedlock child.  (which she birthed, because she just couldn’t bear to get a 3rd abortion)  When she is sober enough to drive, and she doesn’t have to pull grand-ma duty, she tries to find time to visit her oldest son, who is on jail for pimping and drug dealing. 

  29. 89

    @Faded Jade
    I also notice a certain air of arrogance about this as well… With just about every coach I’ve read they have covert remarks about financial wealth or status as a reason to “choose” someone… Like say that a woman that is a Dr… is a good catch..?? ( why?-does that have anything to do with her ability to love deeply, be compassionate?). though I have to give it to him at least the “teacher” was good enough for the Dr.  I wonder sometimes if really what people are looking for is “true love” in the form of financial and social status circles… another words I agree.. I’ve dated men that were wealthy and were control freaks, and I’ve dated men that were barely making it financially.  I’d rather have what you described… a man that loves me to the moon and back.. rather than the social status the picket fence and the luxury cars….  b/c that is, as you said a prison and it is hell… it just looks good on paper…. it makes me wonder about what all this is really about…. it seems father from true love… it’s more about “do you fit into my category of status” and then lets love each other… I don’t know… pretty crazy reading these…

  30. 90
    faded jade

    [email protected]
         Perhaps I spend to much time surfing the net, attending dating seminars  and reading relationship forums, but it does seem to me that relationships these days aren’t about connecting with someone at the heart level at all.  Lots of talk about “leagues” and “social proofing” and “social value”, men with “options”, etc.  Gosh, is this HIGH SCHOOL ????????? Sometimes I think nobody really wants to love and be loved any more, they just want to prove to the whole world that they can eat lunch at the “Cool Kids” table in the cafeteria.  The homecoming queen and the captain of the football team don’t always make for the happiest couple.  Perhaps they get to die with the most toys, and the most sparkly  shiny toys to boot, but that isn’t happiness.  Sometimes I think people would rather be popular than happy.
        I remember when I was a teenager, I babysat for a “plain Jane” couple.  Seriously, they  were probably both “4”s and I’m being generous, plus she was way taller than her short, slightly chubby bald hubby. But together, they were one of the cutest couples I had ever seen ! They and their 4 kids and counting were the happiest family I’ve ever seen, and I watched their kids a few times a month so they could have “date night”.  They always looked like a couple of love struck teenagers going out on a first date and their kids (they seemed to make one every spring without fail) laughed and smiled ALOT.  There house was usually a train wreck from all the mess and commotion of kids, but I saw the way those two looked at each other, and I saw a very happy family there.  Sure, they might have married each other, because neither one had other “options”.  And maybe they don’t cheat on each other either, because neither one has “options”, but who the flip CARES, if they are happy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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