You Didn’t Lose The Person You Thought You Lost

You Didn't Lose The Person You Thought You Lost
You know what it’s like to get devastated when a promising new relationship doesn’t work out? Well, take heart – you didn’t actually lose ANYTHING.

In fact, you gained the freedom to find the person you ARE meant to be with.

It may not seem to be the case, but I want to point out to you that it’s a blessing when your dead-end relationship finally comes to a close…

A client of mine shared a story with me recently.

A lawyer in her mid-50s, Carol said that she’d gone out with this new guy three times.

He was older, divorced, and a real gentleman.

Unlike many men she’d met online, this man made a great effort each time.

He’d make plans in advance, email her in between dates, compliment her when he saw her, pay for everything, and talk about having a future together.

He was even a great kisser!

But one night while the new couple was fooling around on the couch, things got a little weird.

To avoid going too far, too fast, Carol (after some heavy petting), said what I told her to say when putting on the brakes:

“I also want you badly, but I only sleep with guys that I know I’m in a committed relationship with. That doesn’t mean that we can’t do a lot of other fun things together, but I don’t want the man I have sex with to be hitting on other women on tomorrow.”

The idea behind this is to let the man know that you ARE into him, but that you have just this one very reasonable boundary.

Generally, guys can understand this.

If he’s really into you, this is his chance to step up and become your boyfriend. If he’s not, this is a clear sign to get out.

Either way, it’s impossible for us to disrespect a woman who says she only has sex in a committed relationship. Even if we’re not getting our instant gratification met, it’s impossible for a man to find fault with a sexual woman who values herself.

A man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

Alas, Carol never heard from her guy the day after, or the day after that, or ever again. And when she started thinking, she started to get upset with me. After all, it was my advice that had killed her relationship. For all she knows, maybe if she would have slept with him, he would have asked her out again.

Uh uh. Nope. Fuhgeddaboutit.

Setting down boundaries for sex is a truth test – and this guy failed with flying colors.

I’m not suggesting that you “test” men. Not at all. But a man’s failure to step up to the plate and act like a boyfriend is Red Flag #1 that he’s not a keeper.

And this is why, despite her disappointment, Carol really shouldn’t be all that upset. Nor should you be upset if you ever set a reasonable boundary and the man walks away.

What’s a reasonable boundary?

Wanting to talk in between dates, making weekend plans in advance, committing to a relationship after three months.

If you suggest these in a reasonable way at a reasonable point in time and a guy refuses, then guess what?

When you choose to be devastated by a man who is not your boyfriendHe’s NOT the guy she thought he was. You didn’t lose your future husband. You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband. See, your future husband, when faced with the prospect of waiting for sex will do one of two things:

a) Decide that, yes, he does like you enough to be your boyfriend. He was just too afraid to push things that fast, but he’s glad you suggested it.

b) Decide that he’s not ready to commit yet, but he appreciates your respectable stance. You’ll both get semi-naked, have a little fun, and no hearts will be broken.

Your future husband does NOT:

c) Bail like a rat leaving from a sinking ship.

So if you’re worrying about why some guy disappears suddenly on you – without any reasonable explanation – the thing to know is this:

You didn’t lose your future husband.

You lost the ILLUSION of your future husband.

You’re OVERRATING that person’s character.

He is NOT a good partner for you.

Be GLAD that you learned that this person is not in it for the long haul.

Remember, despite all your bad experiences, there are good men out there – men just like you, who are wondering where to connect with you.

The only responsibility you have is to continue to make the effort to meet them.

Join our conversation (177 Comments).
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  1. 61

    Evan, It doesnt apply to me and never has. I never mentioned sleeping around, that is your perception of the posts. I do set the bar quite high and take time in getting to know a guy, so by the time we are ready to become intimate I feel secure and connected. I have never once had to suggest to a guy that I want to be exclusive or committed as they have always brought it up with me. And I think that is how it should be. I would never give away my female power by telling a man in words that I needed to be exclusive before having sex. I give him space to figure that out all by himself and for him to be the one concerned about me being exclusive with him.If a man wants sex before I know if the relationship has legs, I simply tell him that I dont know him well enough yet. Guys understand this, they are very intelligent 🙂

    There are some women who naturally attract men and have men falling in love with them, and some women who are pretty clueless and look to men for validation, which sends men running.

     If a woman chooses to sleep with someone before emotional intimacy develops, and before she knows the guy fairly well, then the outcome is a calculated risk probably not in her favour or his.

  2. 62

    Jojo has a very good point in #56. If Carol had known beforehand that her strategy should be “no sex without commitment”, then why did her 3rd date take place at either her or his house? (which is the only rational way that can explain why they were making out on a couch.) If you’re in your 40s or 50s and you’re on a date at a guy’s house, isn’t it obvious how he expects this date to go? and shouldn’t you say something to him while the date is still in its planning stage?
    And yeah, count me in the “it doesn’t apply to me” camp. Guess I’m just lacking this whole oxytocin thing. I do not know how people automatically bond to anyone they’ve had sex with even once – never happened to me – I’m curious at this point, to tell you the truth. I’d like to feel it, but can’t. I am more likely to use a guy than a guy is likely to use me. I am also the one more likely to disappear. Which probably explains why I have so many questions about this post that I still have no answers to.
    Selena #48, I really like that analogy, even though I’ll now probably have the damn song stuck in my head all weekend 🙂 Fits perfectly.

  3. 63

    Question for Nancy #55- what guy thinks women will answer him if he doesn’t have his profile up for all to see ? I would not have answered a message from someone w a hidden profile.
    re Goldie #67- right. Why on earth are people in one person’s house, making out on their couch, if they aren’t planning to have sex ? Going to someone’s house can be read to mean- I’m going to hv sex w you. Have that exclusivity conversation, if you need that conversation, before you get in the door.

  4. 64

    I never knew going to someone’s home implied sex was to follow. I’ve had many dinner/conversation/movie/hanging out dates at my house or the guy’s without automatically ending up in bed. Just part of getting to know each other.

  5. 65

    If there’s any chemistry, how would it be avoidable ? I don’t understand this. (I was married since college and have had only this one bf since then- I have never gotten as far as a second date except w this bf and my ex-h).

  6. 66

    In order not to give the man the wrong impression I think it is wise to keep all dates in public UNTIL you have exclusivity/commitment from the man.

    Very few men won’t expect sex if a womans invites him over to her place for a “date”.

  7. 67

    That is too bad he left after the third date, on account of what she said.   Many men don’t know that, getting on the ‘ship, doesn’t always, mean permanency, there are still other hoops to jump through.  This man sounds like a nice guy. 

    1. 67.1

      Hunter-he doesn’t sound like a good guy.  He left “on account of what she said”? He left because he left. His behavior is much more “high school” than hers.  She stated her boundaries, and he showed his true colors, which was part of her goal anyway.  We don’t know who started the heavy petting or even exactly what that means. She has the right to say no at any time.  I commend Evan for encouraging women to come from a place of empowerment and self esteem, instead of being afraid that a man will leave if we don’t have sex with him.  That is not a real man.

  8. 68

    @ Selena #69, to my close friends it doesn’t imply any such thing, but to a lot of people it does. With someone I’ve only been on two dates with, i.e. still a relative stranger, I probably wouldn’t assume the former, just because I don’t know the guy and don’t know what he thinks.

  9. 69

    Even if a man doesn’t expect sex when he’s invited to a woman’s place, I think avoiding homes/couches/hotel rooms in general is a good idea if a person wants to keep sex out of the equation for a while as he or she sees how a potential relationship might develop.
    Let’s face it, it’s rather easy when two people are in a private place, on a comfortable couch, to let their guard down and start kissing/making out/petting heavily. And once that starts, it can take a good amount of willpower to stop it or at least slow it down.
    So why not just avoid the situation altogether by not putting oneself in such a position in the first place?
    While I don’t think it was wrong for Carol to get hot and heavy with the guy she was dating, and while I believe that a woman can have a man in her private quarters without it being an invitation for sex, I think that if women want to avoid being put in the position where they have to say no to sex or put up boundaries, it’s better to take the whole “come up to my place” thing out of the equation altogether.

  10. 70

    Agreed. But they seem to be the rule rather than the exception.
    I never said I answered any of them. First of all, if their profiles are down, you can’t respond, secondly it is a red flag. These men are doing this to serve as a placeholder, a bookmark, if you will. They compile lists of attractive females to contact when their significant other is least likely to suspect. They are scum.

  11. 71
    Still Looking

    [email protected]
    Yes there are some men who fall into the category of cheating scum but there are often very valid reasons to “hide” a profile.  I’ve hidden my profile when I’ve wanting to take a break from dating, when I’ve been overwhelmed at work, and when I’ve been dating/corresponding with several women and just couldn’t be bothered with initiating or responding to new prospects.  I’ve also hidden my profile when I was in the early stages of a relationship and I wanted to focus on one woman to see if it would lead to a committed relationship.  If one assumes the worst case scenario of why a profile is hidden, he or she will be protected to some extent from the players/married daters but he or she is also risking missing out on someone who has a valid reason for hiding his or her profile.

  12. 72

    This was such a timely post for me…

    Written the day after a guy I thought could be my future husband dumped me.

    We were exclusive, he called and emailed every day, asked me twice if I wanted kids, suggested we go away for the weekend in the next month (…and plan the wedding), regularly told me how much he liked me, saw me at least 4 times a week including weekends, sent my photo to his siblings and his mother was upset he didn’t send it to her, told me I was the coolest girl he’d ever dated, said he looked but couldn’t find fault with me then……….

    He dumped me. He wasn’t ‘mentally engaged’. But he was so nice ( I say) sarcastically, he told me ‘there was nothing wrong with me’ . Yeah thanks buddy.

    I didnt lose anything but an illusion.

    Thanks to EMK and his books and blogs, although i allowed myself a day of misery, I’m not devastated and ONWARD AND UPWARDS I say as I have the freedom now to meet the RIGHT guy.

  13. 73

    @Snazzy-77, good for you. You did the right thing with this one: quickly flushed the handle on the toilet…

  14. 74

    Evan, I almost never disagree with you, but I have a quibble tonight.
    As a guy, if a woman was (as the OP said) “heavy petting”, and THEN brought up the “I only have sex in a committed relationship” line, I’d think she was pulling a bait-n-switch – trying to get me to commit just to have sex.
    If that was important to her, she should’ve brought it up before. Because now she’s got me worked up for no reason – she’s TEASED me (and not in a fun way!).
    Had she talked about her boundaries/limits before hand, I would have no reason to complain, something you’ve said countless times regarding women believing what men tell them. I would’ve known in advance, and simply “not gone there”.
    She was a tease (intentionally or accidentally), and that’s flaky for someone her age. We’re not in high-school any more – I’d run from her too.

  15. 75
    Evan Marc Katz

    Hey Bill,

    I would think that, as a man, you’d know this really basic fact about women:

    They’re not obliged to have sex with you under ANY circumstances.

    They’re not obliged to have sex with you after you kiss.

    They’re not obliged to have sex with you after your third date.

    They’re not obliged to have sex with you if your pants are off.

    In other words, it is 100% reasonable for a woman to “hook up” because she’s attracted to you, you’re having fun, and you’ve had a few drinks – and yet not want to sleep with you – especially if you’re just going to go home and search on for other women. The mere fact that you can suggest otherwise illustrates the exact PROBLEM that women face.

    She’s not extorting you for a commitment, Bill. She’s protecting herself from fucking a selfish jackass. It’s different.

    You don’t deserve sex because you’re turned on. You deserve sex when you demonstrate to her that you’re going to be exclusive with her. Anything less is simply selfish on your part, and completely oblivious to what HER needs are.

    It’s guys like you who give men a bad name. You get to sleep with her simply because she invited you inside…and she gets what, exactly? That’s right. Nothing.

    Put yourself in HER position for a second and then get a clue.

    Sorry for ripping on you, bud. But, then again, you are the one who suggested that if you get to third base, you’re obligated to get to home as well.

    That’s as stupid as suggesting that a woman should get a ring if she’s gone out with you for six months.

    1. 75.1

      Some of these guys who believe they are entitled to sex on their terms would be ready to shoot any guy who behaved that way with their daughters or sisters.

  16. 76

    This is at Bill and Evan’s last comment. My initial post on this subject didn’t get through because I believe it was too explicit. Anyway…here goes: Would you guys define “foreplay” for me?? This is why I ask: There’s a guy I currently like. We’ve gone out twice so far but have known each other for awhile. Our last date was movies and not sexual at all, just tongue-kissing in the theatre a couple times.

    Anyway, here’s the thing. I did not want to have sex with him on our first date, but it was at his house and the chemistry was off the charts, add to that an intimate setting and a couple bottles of wine downed.

    I ended up staying over because of driving considerations and ended up in his bed sem-naked. Things got hot and heavy and then…he got “inside the gate” so to speak TWICE, once that night and once in the morning. BUT, I made him stop and “retreat” after one thrust. So, in my mind we didn’t have sex, just heavy petting. And yes, after that we had another date. So my question: is what we did “foreplay”? I don’t think I teased hime because he said he didn’t want to go all the way that night (and I didn’t either) and I was just making sure that didn’t happen.

  17. 77
    E. Foley

    “She’s not extorting you for a commitment, Bill. She’s protecting herself from fucking a selfish jackass.”

    Yes, yes, yes.

    When I was on Match, I also had the rule that I wouldn’t have sex with someone until it was clear we were exclusive. Did a few guys bail? Yep. Did a few beg and plead like pathetic puppy dogs and then bail? Yep. Did I have my heart broken a few times? Yep.

    These things happen. The question you need to ask yourself as a woman is this:

    Which will hurt more: This guy dumping me for another woman AFTER we have sex? Or this guy dumping me for another woman when we’ve only fooled around a little?

    If you’re the type to see sex as FUN and not coupled with love, then by all means, have all the (safe) sex you want. Have (safe) sex on the first date. Have (safe) sex with total strangers.

    But if your worldview has sex & love tied together (even a little bit), you need to make a decision about your level of sexuality on a date long before your hormones enter the picture.

  18. 78

    Well here’s a tibit for all you ladies: the man I’m currently interested in says that when he gets “it” right away, he’s basically done. He told me, but I think the percentage of men who actually tell women the truth like that when it comes to sex is low (I could be wrong). He emailed the next day from work, so maybe he’s not done with me. Haha. As in my previous post, I almost went all the way, but tried to salvage it in the end the only way I knew how.

    So, I believe the reality is that if a woman gives it up too fast, most men will take what is on offer then not respect her in the end.

  19. 79

    How awesome are guys with that mentality going to be as long term partners, though?* Are women who exercise conservative sexual behavior okay with the double standard that men who’ve been around the block and back/men who’ll “go as far as you’ll let them” often espouse when it comes to who they decide to pursue for relationships and how relationship-worthy they think *they* are based on their own sexual behavior? From a medical standpoint, a woman stands to inherit the sum of that man’s sexual behavior no matter how low her “number” is or how many dates it takes for her to get comfortable with him when he’s in “relationship mode.”

    *A lot of women say they can rid themselves of such men through engaging in early sex, but that seems like an inherently faulty method – there’s got to be a better, more effective solution that doesn’t enable them.

  20. 80

    Evan I linked over from Facebook (under my other name:), to read your response @80.

    I am clapping in agreement to SS @74 wrote

    “So why not just avoid the situation altogether by not putting oneself in such a position in the first place?”


    If a woman is heavy petting (and knows that she’s not going all the way) and if the guy is getting hot and bothered *ahem*, it is her responsibility to stop it immediately. 

    Trying to be empathetic and walking a mile in a man’s shoes … if I were a guy I’d feel wronged. Women know how simple men can be they get hot and bothered very quickly.

    As Evan so wisely said, men have sex with women they don’t even like.

    True, he’s responsible for his self control.

    As always Yes Means Yes No Means NO but women need to realize that men don’t think as women do. Again, if I were a man & a lady I whom I was dating for a brief time got kissy on a sofa or car, my male brain would be hardwired for sex.

  21. 81

    @Flower 85, do we let the man off the hook? What if he starts the seduction from the start, and even invites the woman to take her clothes off in his bed?

  22. 82

    In my situation, I don’t care because I like this guy, but I still fill I had the right to insist he stop because I was seduced from the minute the wine cork was popped.

  23. 83


    I hope you meant to be satirical, but I think you might have been serious. Flip it around. Suppose the woman gets hot and bothered and the man says “this is too soon.” Has she been wronged?

  24. 84

    I never said she was <i>obligated</i> to have sex Evan, please don’t pull a strawman argument – you’re better than that. What I <i>did<i> say was that she was being flaky, behaving like a teenager when it comes to sex, and that if she had these concerns about intimacy, she should’ve brought them up much sooner.

    Notice I said I would <i>run</i> from her, because she was acting flaky. NOT because I didn’t get some “obligated” sex, as you put it. I’ve sent women packing over this very issue, and have no regrets about it – it’s enabled me to discover the best woman I’ve ever met.

    1. 84.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @ Bill: You said: “Because now she’s got me worked up for no reason – she’s TEASED me (and not in a fun way!)”

      Then let’s agree to strongly disagree.

      You seem to think she’s a tease or “flaky” if she invites you inside, goes to second base, and doesn’t sleep with you.

      I think she’s smart for protecting herself from a man who will gladly sleep with her without commitment and may or may not ever call her again.

      A woman doesn’t have “intimacy” issues for not sleeping with virtual strangers, nor is she pulling “a bait and switch” for not bringing up at dinner how far she’ll go later that night.

      Your refusal to concede the validity of this stance – from the standpoint of a woman – leads me to believe that the women you’ve “sent packing” have dodged a bit of a bullet. Sorry if you feel that this is insulting. I think it’s insulting to women that you think they’re playing games when all they’re trying to do is assess whether a man is interested in THEM or interested in SEX.

  25. 85

    @Al # 88
    Yes – regardless of gender, this kind of behavior is flaky.
    Have the cojones to stand up and let people know what your limits are, like a responsible adult, BEFORE you get into the situation where it’s of importance.

  26. 86

    Wow, so you’re not going to apologize for insulting me, or putting words in my mouth?
    You’ve just lost a lot of credibility Evan. Would you have tolerated that kind of insult from a reader?

  27. 87

    And you continue to use ad-hominem. Wow.

  28. 88

    You called me a “fucking asshole”, and you think that’s acceptable behavior?

    1. 88.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Bill – Talk about putting words in one’s mouth. I did not call you a “fucking asshole”. In fact, I didn’t use either word in reference to you. I did imply, however, that you were a “selfish jackass” for thinking that women were “flaky” for not sleeping with you or not setting their sexual parameters before the hookup.

      I certainly apologize for the harsh words or the misunderstanding, but until you can successfully explain exactly what you WERE talking about, I’m going to stick to my guns. Because there’s a big difference between a man bringing her to orgasm orally, only to be “blue-balled” (a no-no)…and a good, old-fashioned blow job to release your tension after you get worked up (perfectly acceptable for a woman who doesn’t want to have sex without commitment).

      Are you saying that the latter woman should have told you during the date that she wasn’t going to sleep with you? Personally, I’ve always found it weird when women blurted out such proclamations like “I’m just letting you know I’m not going to sleep with you tonight” while I was parking the car.

      To which I used to say: “That’s okay. I don’t sleep with women who aren’t my girlfriends.” (A very effective move, by the way, if you ever want to turn over a new leaf.)

      So what ARE you trying to say that I’m so callously twisting, Bill? How do I see these woman as normal, sexual, interested, and rightfully wary, while you see them as childish and manipulative?

      Here’s your chance to explain yourself – or hang yourself with your own rope.

  29. 89

    Sorry, Bill, but you sound entitled.  Let me guess:  you are considered an attractive white male?

    “Because now she’s got me worked up for no reason – she’s TEASED me (and not in a fun way!)”

    I take issue with this statement because you put the onus of your sexuality on another person.  Actually, YOU are the only one capable of getting yourself worked up and only YOU “teased” yourself.  I understand that people can be aroused by another person, but if we are responsible human beings we should always *own our own actions.*  You sound suspiciously like a date rapist who excuses his actions because he was “led on.”  

    Also… what is the BIG DEAL if you make out, but don’t have sex?  I’ve dated guys with certain moral inclinations who didn’t want to have sex but wanted to do other things that contributed to my feeling very aroused.  Did i get mad at them?  No, of course not.  Getting sexually aroused and *not* having sex is not a national tragedy, Bill.  If you think it is, you might have some sexual addiction/compulsivity issues.

    As a general aside to all:  I’ve not dated a lot in my adult life and only have dated a little since becoming single again.  It saddens me a bit to learn that so many people seem to have such a limited view of physical romance.  While I love having sex, I also enjoy kissing and touching for a long time without having sex, too.  I don’t know if that makes me a “tease” or not in people like Bill’s eyes, but I don’t care.  If the Parisians do it, then I figure I’m in good company.

  30. 90

    Well this is the entire problem is that we don’t keep sex in its proper place.  There is a sense of entitlement out there.  Sex is a wonderful thing but we have this notion as a society now that we’re entitled to a test drive.  Being a responsible adult, Bill, is learning to control our urges.

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