Is Evan Marc Katz a Sexist Who Tells Women to Settle and Looks Down on His Wife?

Is Evan Marc Katz a Sexist Who Tells Women to Settle and Looks Down on His Wife?

Dear Evan,

I was a close follower of your blog for a couple of years, and bought two products along the way. Unfortunately, I have to say I’m no longer a fan.

After reading advice from you (and I paraphrase here), to “be smart but not too smart, speak up but don’t speak too much, be funny but not funnier than him,” or something along those lines, I’m reminded of the movie “The Ugly Truth.” If you haven’t seen the movie, the Gerard Butler character advises a woman to toe the line in every way to get her man. But at the end of the movie, she realizes she has indeed gotten her man, but has been a fake the entire time.

Once you get the man, are you supposed to change your personality, wants, needs, in order to keep him?

I was also offended when you wrote recently about your current wife. You referred to “thinking you could do better” when you two were still dating. Does your wife read your blog? I cannot believe she could read some of the things you’ve written about her and not get her feelings hurt.

Here’s the thing. As I get older, I realize I would love to have a life partner. But what is equally important to me these days is creating a life I truly enjoy. And having to play an intricate game that seemingly doesn’t end even when you’ve “landed your man” is just not appealing to me.

Yes, I would be sad if I didn’t find the “one” and have a family. But I’m not willing to give up a sense of myself and look to the man as some kind of savior. I know many, many women give up a lot of themselves to get and stay married. I may be in the minority in not wanting to cut away pieces of myself to form a partnership, but I’m okay with that.

I think you have some intelligent things to say, but many of the things you say come across as downright sexist.

A Former Reader

Dear Amy (my former reader, who may not be reading this),

Thanks for taking the time to write. I usually don’t respond to negative criticism because, as you know, there’s not much of a point. You’re entitled to your feelings and I do not assume that I will be able to change your mind. At the same time, if you’re voicing these feelings, I can only suppose you’re not the only one. So against my better judgment, I’m going to engage you on your claims and do my best to explain myself.

But first, I want to grant one thing. Everyone is entitled to her own feelings. I will never tell you that you’re “wrong” for feeling what you’re feeling. All I can attempt to do is clarify my language, express my intention, and hope that you can acknowledge the nuance between what you’re interpreting and what I’m actually saying.

You begin with an assertion, which I believe to be a false one, “After reading advice from you (and I paraphrase here), to “be smart but not too smart, speak up but don’t speak too much, be funny but not funnier than him,” or something along those lines.”

Who you think I am and who I really am are two different things.

I can understand why you’d feel that way about my work; it just isn’t something I’ve ever actually said. I have never told you to not be too smart and am candid about finding intelligence to be the greatest aphrodisiac. I have never told you to not speak, since I talk a lot and have a wife who talks just as much. I have never told you to not be funnier than him, since, as a former comedy writer, I value a sense of humor extremely highly, and tend to surround myself with funny women, including my wife, mom and sister. So before we go any further, let’s establish this: who you think I am and who I really am are two different things.

Your whole email stems from the premise that you are correct – that I, in fact, tell women to dumb it down, keep quiet, and not shine. This is an inaccurate representation of my philosophy, but it’s a very common one. I’ve often wondered how I could avoid being misinterpreted, but then, just this morning, I put a meme up on my Facebook page, which said, “If you’re interested in him, act interested.” The first comment was: “Why be fake?” as if I was telling you to act interested in a man you’re NOT interested in. So if I can be misunderstood in one simple, declarative sentence, I need to come to terms with the fact that I will be repeatedly misunderstood somewhere in my 1000 blog posts.

So why is it that, in my estimation, so many people aren’t understanding what I’m saying and meaning? Well, I have to take responsibility for that. I write quickly, and never revise. After all, I’m not a professional blogger; I’m a dating and relationship coach who has a blog. So if I wanted to spend more than a half-hour on any given blog post in order to be more subtle and clear, I probably could. But I don’t and I have to own that, because it’s the only thing I can control. What I can’t control is what you, the reader, bring to the table. And if you are listening to all the women’s magazines who are telling you that you have to change to find love, my message might sound really similar. Except it’s not. Here’s why:

My coaching philosophy is not about “right and wrong,” but rather about “effective and ineffective.” If what you’re doing is working for you, if you find that people of the opposite sex flock to you, and if you are in a safe, happy, long-term relationship of your own choosing, by all means, keep up the great work. I don’t know why you’d be reading this blog, which is intended for people who are looking for advice, but if you’re happy, I’m happy. That goes for everything under the sun. If you want to be single for the rest of your life, I’m fine with it. If you want to sleep with guys on the first date, I’m fine with it. If you want to write “I hate men” in your online dating profile, I’m fine with it. But let’s not pretend for a second that all behaviors – however well-intentioned – are equally effective.

It’s very easy for a woman to understand the concept of ineffective when she goes out with a bunch of dolts.

A guy who doesn’t pick up the check is ineffective. A guy who doesn’t ask any questions is ineffective. A guy who only communicates by text is ineffective. A guy who thinks he deserves to get laid on the first date is ineffective. A guy who wants to marry you on the first date is ineffective. And so on. This is so obvious that it doesn’t seem to be worthy of mention, and yet millions of men continue to behave as described above. Why? Because they’re doing what comes naturally. They are being themselves – a little selfish, a little insecure, a little clueless, a little tone-deaf. It’s not a crime, but it’s all too common. If I were a dating coach for men, I’d spend all my time trying to get those men to “change” their behaviors, not because their actions are inherently evil, but because, for the most part, women don’t respond to them.

This was the starting point of one of my more popular blog posts, “Why Men Don’t Like Smart, Strong, Successful Women.” It’s not that men don’t like smart, strong, successful women. We do. We don’t, however, like the negative qualities that often come with those positive traits. In that post, I used myself as an example of a smart, strong, successful guy who inadvertently alienated people with his honesty, his arrogance, his sarcasm, his impatience, etc. I simply posited what would seem to be empirically undeniable:

a) Just because you’re smart, strong, and successful doesn’t make you a great catch for everyone.

b) Good qualities often come with bad qualities.

c) What men value in a partner is often different from what women value in a partner.

And THAT is the thing that most of my detractors, including Amy, I’d assume, don’t want to admit. Many women (not all of them, of course), want men who are taller, smarter, richer, funnier, stronger, braver, more educated. On the other hand, while men very much appreciate impressive women; we have also concluded that impressive traits are secondary to one thing: how he FEELS around his partner. And if she’s so busy that she doesn’t have time for him, he’s not going to feel good. And if she’s so smart that she’s constantly second-guessing him and telling him how he can improve, he’s not going to feel good. And if she’s so strong that she seems invulnerable and he can’t find a way to contribute to her life, he’s not going to feel good. And so on.

So the crux of the disconnect between you and me, Amy, is that I’m not telling you to be stupid, weak and silent. I’m simply saying what lots of men haven’t been able to articulate on their own; your greater value to him comes in your ability to make him feel smart, funny, sexy, interesting, and loyal. Thus, it’s not that your ability to speak in French isn’t attractive; it’s that it’s largely irrelevant to why he wants to date you. Same with your summer home in the Hamptons or your ability to analyze the Middle East conflict. This isn’t about him being intimidated by you; this is simply about how he feels when he’s with you.

I am not telling you, or anyone else to be fake. I am showing you how to be effective, the same way you’d tell a guy friend to listen to his date and pick up the check.

Some people are naturally good at making others feel important. They are good listeners. They ask questions. They don’t look at their iPhones. They don’t make you feel like a low priority. They are available, emotionally and physically. They don’t criticize or micromanage. They assume the best rather than the worst in you. These are the women that men want to date – whether they work at Target or run a venture capital firm. Both women can be 100% themselves, as long as they are evoking these feelings in their partner.

Which is why when you accuse me of telling women to “change their personality, wants and needs,” I have to refute it, unequivocally. I am not telling you, or anyone else to be fake. I am showing you how to be effective, the same way you’d tell a guy friend to listen to his date and pick up the check.

Furthermore, what you seem to be very willing to overlook in your “sexist” criticism of me is my target audience: smart, strong, successful women. Check out this page of smiling women, a small sample of happy clients who have worked with me. Do you think that they’ve all been brainwashed? Do you think that all their smiles are fake? Do you think that they all lied in order to “land a guy”? Do you think that these grateful women hired a man whose whole business is centered on their happiness, but secretly hates women? C’mon. I love women. I love my clients. I love getting emails when they meet a great guy.

These women read the same stuff that you read, but instead of assuming that I want to subjugate women (which couldn’t be further from the truth), they were open to the idea that they weren’t very effective in their dating and relationship decisions. Did any of them change their personalities? Not one bit. They are the exact same women they were when they came to me. All that changed was their choice in men. Instead of deifying men who are taller, smarter, and richer, they’ve started to value consistency, kindness, communication and commitment. In doing so, they finally understood what I mean by compromising. Now, I’ve been at this long enough to know that when I say compromise, you hear “settle”. But here’s the difference between compromising and settling: People who compromise are happy. People who settle are not. I would never tell you to do something that made you unhappy. Yet some people – once again, my detractors – think that compromising will do just that.

My happiest clients – doctors, lawyers, CEOs, etc – came to terms with the idea that dominant, assertive, difficult, “masculine” energy is not appealing to traditionally masculine men, and if they wanted to continue to always get their way at home, they’d be better off choosing an easygoing guy who will not fight with them. He may not make as much money. He may not be as charismatic. But he will be the one guy who lets everything roll off his back. Easygoing is one of most valuable and underrated traits in a partner (not just according to me, but according to studies on marriage). Who is a better long-term partner – the one who fights you, tooth and nail, on everything? Or the one whose default setting is “Yes”? This brings me to your mention of my wife, who is, fundamentally, a yes person. By the way, this does not make her a doormat, as has been suggested by readers in the past. You’re a doormat if you’re unhappy. You’re a doormat if your husband doesn’t respect you. You’re a doormat if he walks all over you. You’re a doormat if you lack self-esteem and you never get your way. My wife ALWAYS gets her way, because I greatly appreciate her easygoing nature and therefore do everything in my power to make sure she’s happy. That’s how love works.

All men want is to be accepted for who they are. And if you can do that, you won’t have to change a single thing about your smart, strong, successful self.

My wife is beautiful. My wife is smart. My wife is funny. My wife is kind and selfless and an incredible mom. But the reason I married her is because I can be myself around her. There are no lies in our relationship. She doesn’t take offense at things that aren’t inherently offensive. Let’s be honest here – not everyone is equal at all things. I am argumentative. I am short-tempered. I have a low sex drive. I like to talk about myself a lot. So if my wife were to say to me that she’s dated men who were less argumentative, more easygoing, had a higher sex drive, and were better listeners, is that an insult to me? Or is it simply a fact? And if we’ve been happily married for six years now, should that fact undermine our relationship? Should I pick a fight with her to tell her that she SHOULD think that I’m the best guy she’s ever met in every category? Or would it make more sense to assume that if she chose me over all other men, has borne me two children, and spends every waking moment making my life better that she probably loves me and respects me, even if she thinks I’m less than perfect?

I think the answer is obvious. In strong relationships, two people can speak their truth without drama, without ego, and largely without conflict. In a weak relationship, you need your husband to either believe (or to lie) that you are the smartest woman he’s ever met, the nicest woman he’s ever met, the sexiest woman he’s ever met, and so on. Sorry, but that just sounds tiring. Reality is much easier to navigate. And that’s what I choose. Reality. Where I can own my strengths and weaknesses, my wife can own hers, and we don’t have to pretend that we’re perfect.

Yes, I DID think I could do better when I was dating my wife. Why? Because I didn’t understand what was important. It wasn’t whether she read Philip Roth, whether she earned six figures, or whether she was a secular liberal. It was that she was the only person I’ve ever met that I didn’t make me bite my tongue, walk on eggshells, or apologize to her ten times a day. My wife accepts me, 100%, and for that, she gets the full-force of my love and devotion.

All men want is to be accepted for who they are.

And if you can do that, Amy, you won’t have to change a single thing about your smart, strong, successful self.

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  1. 21
    Ben Iyyar

    I wonder why it is okay for us to change our physical appearance, like straightening our teeth, a nose job for purely esthetic reasons, laser surgery to get rid of glasses, or even losing weight to make ourselves more attractive, but making our personality less abrasive to others or questioning our “absolute” ideals to make ourselves more open to potential partners is somehow morally wrong?   Evan, even if you are advising women to “settle” so what?   Every person grows and changes over time, as do our values and those attributes we consider essential in an intimate or married partner, so what exactly is “settling?”   Making a mature and hopefully more informed choice for a partner is my take, but if that is abhorrent to others, you don’t have to “settle!” You can do whatever makes you happy, just like Evan says!

    1. 21.1

      Ben, I think we all are a work in progress. Because I am a serious, pretty successful sort of type A chick in a region where same aged men are much less educated and ambitious, I am constantly checking who I am at the door. Not fun. I cannot speak my truth about who I am, my strong environmental beliefs. We women are told, in order to have the man WE are attracted to and who share our values, that yep, our bodies must be near perfect, that we not only have to have a high income, our own home,

      also do all the”women” stuff such as keep a clean, pleasing, household and cook good meals. I make very mature, informed choices of partners and reject those I can see have serious red flags and for this I am called too picky and elitist. I was married to an incredible man, for twelve awesome years who was in every way my equal and it was great. In many areas Ben, more successful women are unfortunately held to a very unequal double
      standard. Just tried hard to make it work with a very beta, unambitious man who told me I do “too much” in life. I felt he did too little. At this point, I am seriously considering bailing on mortgage and career, going back to my place in the north woods, just living totally alone and according to the dictates of the natural world. Constantly being forced to deny who you are, your truth, in order to”land” a guy is becoming too stressful and depressing, especially when one knows what a good rship SHOULD look and feel like.   Hey, Ben, hope you’re doing OK.

      1. 21.1.1

        Noquay, nobody could certainly fault you for choosing that option.   It’s just living according to what you value most.   I’m not trying to influence you either way.   But rather whichever path you believe is best for you is the one you should choose. I spent a lot of years living by everybody’s “shoulds” but mine.   

      2. 21.1.2

        Men who are successful, ambitious have relationships with and marry women who are ‘beta’ and unambitious. They aren’t obsessed with finding someone who ‘measures’ up to them in those aspects.

        Why cant women do the  same?     Don’t worry, I don’t expect an answer from you or any other woman. Just a simple question that popped in my head.

        1. starthrower68

          Well if a woman has that awareness, doesn’t seek a man out to try to change, and instead chooses to remain single and unattached, it’s not an issue. If she tried to change a man into something he’s not and/or doesn’t want to be, then it’s an issue.

        2. starthrower68

          I would also say the same about men who choose not to marry for various reasons.

        3. Tim

          See, such a difficult question to understand.

        4. starthrower68

          Evidently. I mean, is it a rhetorical question, or do you think women should be like men in this regard?

        5. EmeraldDust

          I think the problem with successful, ambitious women is that men who are the same way don’t want them because of the constant friction, and less successful men don’t want them because they feel inferior in these situations, even if the woman isn’t actively belittling him for say, being a teacher or a plumber, while she is a powerful CEO.   (If she is belittling him for that, than shame on her) So truth is, “alpha” men and “beta” men both have problems with successful, ambitious women.
          There was a study that was referenced on this blog about how a man’s IMPLICIT self esteem goes down if he becomes aware of his woman’s success.   He finds this out through a 3rd party, not because she is rubbing her nose in it. And it’s not his EXPLICIT self esteem that becomes eroded, but his IMPLICIT self esteem.  
          So these men aren’t intentionally pouting over having a more successful partner.   Since it is their IMPLICIT self esteem that is being impacted, they are not even aware of it.   I guess they just experience some gnawing dis-satisfaction, and they can’t quite put their finger on it.  
          As for me, maybe I am a square peg in a round hole on this blog, because I am a smart, strong, UNDERACHIEVER.   I do not have a   big deal career, and manage to live on a rather low income.   I am good at what I do, but I am not in management or a leadership position, so I don’t have a “bossy hat” that I have to take off when I get home. In fact, much of what I do could be considered “customer service” so I actually do a lot of butt kissing on the job.    So almost any man I date is going to have a better career, make more money, etc.   Heck, some of the retired men I have met probably make more on their retirement incomes than I made working TWO jobs.   Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my work, but I am not the typical career woman that makes up EMK target audience.   I am just a woman with a job.   (we are not all powerful career women, but that does seem to be the bulk of his female audience and to whom most of his advice is directed)
          So no, I don’t expect a man who “measures up” to me, as almost any man will be my “superior” in as far as career success and making money goes, without any special searching or check listing on my part.  

        6. Tim

          Evidently. I mean, is it a rhetorical question, or do you think women should be like men in this regard?

          Only if they aren’t more shallow and self-centered than men.    

        7. Henriette

          @Tim – more shallow & self-centred than men?   Or perhaps aware of human behaviour!  
          As Emerald stated, research shows that many men cannot help but feel diminished by a woman’s success.   And husbands are more likely to cheat if their woman out-earn them than if their wives earn less.   So, maybe women have always intuitively understood that one way to protect fragile male egos from being bruised is to only go for guys with greater success/ money?!   Just one theory…

        8. Noquay

          Because we arent men and men arent women. Yep, there are a good many men here with little ambition that are more than willing to let me raise them up to my standard of living; then they resent you. I’ve tried to do just that and it just does not work. You feel like you are doing all the work and getting little in return and because they, as men biologically want to be the providers yet are unable to be so they resent you. Relationships should be give and take. A good many of the men I refer to here would be considered almost gold diggers if they were female and I doubt few men would enjoy that. The other are men that, for whatever reason, really cannot be present for a relationship due to their own issues; a man would not want that either in a woman.  

        9. Lau_ra

          Yes, its indeed simple. Every man wants to feel “the man” in a relationship, even that  beta guy, so he will resent womans’ success, even if she couldn’t care less about whether he has a masters degree, earns n-figures and etc. In most cases a woman has to walk on eggshells in order not to destroy a mans fragile ego if she happens to do  better. Women are happy about their spouses success usually, which, unfortunately, is not the same with men.

    2. 21.2

      [email protected] 21
      I wonder why it is okay for us to change our physical appearance, like straightening our teeth, a nose job for purely esthetic reasons, laser surgery to get rid of glasses, or even losing weight to make ourselves more attractive, but making our personality less abrasive to others or questioning our “absolute” ideals to make ourselves more open to potential partners is somehow morally wrong?

      Nothing wrong with trying to improve your looks or disposition, as both will make us more attractive to the other.   Adopting a healthier life style is always good, even if it doesn’t result in a huge weight loss or bring hordes of suitors to your door.
      As for the “absolute” ideals ?   I can’t answer that unless I know what ideal you are talking about. Lets talk about a 30 year old woman who “absolutely” wants children.   Should she sacrifice that if she falls head over heels for a man who won’t have children ?   What about a man who CAN’T have children ?    What if he already has children, and is capable of having more, but says he doesn’t want any more ?   Now change 30 year old woman to 38 year old woman and imagine the same scenarios.   Now same scenarios and 30 year old man.   40 year old man.   50 year old man.   I don’t know if it is, as you say “morally wrong” for someone reject a potential romantic partner over the children issue, but depending on their ages, it could be unrealistic.   But a 28 year old woman refusing to date a 35 year old man with 3 children and a vasectemy ?   Is she being unrealistic ?   Is she somehow “morally wrong” for refusing to “settle” for a ready made family that offers her no chance for her own biological children ?   I don’t have really have the answers to these rhetorical questions, and neither does anyone else but the 2 people involved for that matter.   (and sometimes the answers don’t come that easily to them)
      You asked . . .
      so what exactly is “settling?”

      Very good question !   In fact, this whole “settling” debate seem to be EVERYWHERE in the Dating Advice Universe, and I am including the DAU that existed long before the internet and professional dating coaches.   (that would consist of family & friends in the real world, busy body strangers and Dear Abby)   So I finally decided to “settle” the question about “settling” and tried an online dictionary.   The few definitions I read didn’t really have a definition that fit in the sense of how it is used in the DAU. The closest was “settling down” as in getting married, but that doesn’t necessarily mean “settle”. So I have concluded that “settling” is some sort of colloquialism that has slightly different meanings to each person.  


      Another widely accepted “fact” in the DAU is that ONLY women use the term or even have such a concept.   I must admit I do hear the term used more in regards to women, but the very first person I ever heard use this term was A MAN.   He was very adamant that he wasn’t going to “settle” when he married, that he was going to have to be head over heels in love, or he wasn’t going to tie the knot.   He was very tall, very well built, very attractive, etc.    and very much a player.   (he was a friend of my brother’s this is how I knew him)   A man like him would never have to settle any way.   However, he was in his 50’s when he got married.   He does seem head over heels, and they do now have 2 boys, and they seem healthy.   Of course, I am only getting a superficial glance at his life through facebook.   He found me on FB through my brother, he is someone who otherwise would have disappeared completely off my radar if it wasn’t for the wonders of the internet and social media.   However, as good looking, charming, etc.   as he is, the number of women that he has dated, related and FWB’d etc, makes me think that a lot of very good women had their hearts broken by him, by his refusal to “settle”. (which is his right)   Maybe his refusal to “settle” was really, “I am going to play as long as I possibly can, because, well, because I CAN”.   That top 1% of men can and do.

      When I use the word “settle” I mean to get into an unsatisfying relationship because it’s better than being alone.   That’s it !   That’s my definition.   A woman who marries a man who she’s not attracted to because he is so good to her is “settling”.   A woman who marries a man who she has a level 10 attraction to, but he cheats on her & she accepts it, because she figures a guy this hot will always cheat, is “settling.”     A woman who marries a man who mistreats her, but she figures this is the best she can get is “settling”.   You could switch the genders here, and by my definition a man would be settling if he married a really hot 10, who was a high maintainence, ball busting, drama queen with a hot temper.   Etc.   He might not call it “settling”, and maybe he doesn’t mind the broken dishes, the stormy arguments, etc. in the beginning when the sex is smokin’ hot, but can he live with that for 40 years ?

      Someone who has always dated men with a 6 figure income and at least 6 feet tall is NOT settling if she falls in love with a man who doesn’t meet one or both of these criteria.   As I use the term it’s only settling if the RELATIONSHIP is unsatisfying in some way (no attraction, mistreatment by the partner, and in some cases, giving up on parenthood) Discovering that you can fall in love with and have a good relationship with someone who is Less than a “10”, works a blue collar job, only has an AA degree, is a meat & potatoes man (and you are a vegan) etc., etc. is a GOOD thing, and I don’t consider that settling at all.   

      And that’s seems to be what fuels the “settling” debate.   There is no “exact” definition to begin with.   One person uses it to mean one thing, and someone else understands it to mean another thing.  


      1. 21.2.1
        Ben Iyyar

        Like I said before, do what makes you happy.   By all means stand on your principles but you seem to disparage those who make compromises to find happiness.   I suggest that they have just as much right to their search for happiness as you do, but I also feel that those of us who compromise have a far greater chance of happiness than those who stick to their guns. After thirty four years of marriage I am even more in love with my beautiful wife than ever, and I am happier than ever with her, and our four sons.   Again though, do what makes you happy, that is what I did!

        1. starthrower68

          I don’t see where ED is disagreeing with you.   Mature, healthy people get that compromise is needed to have the same sort of relationship.   There are also people who will “get kidnapped” the minute they get into a relationship, i.e. they give up friends, family, hobbies, themselves, etc. to please the other person.   I don’t think that helps anyone.   I think ED was only pointing out “settling” has positive or negative connotations, depending on the person.   And if you were not responding to her, I apologize in advance. 😊

        2. EmeraldDust

          Ben, are you talking to me when you say that I am “disparaging” those who make compromises to find happiness.   Did you miss this part of my post where I said . . .
          Discovering that you can fall in love with and have a good relationship with someone who is Less than a “10”, works a blue collar job, only has an AA degree, is a meat & potatoes man (and you are a vegan) etc., etc. is a GOOD thing, and I don’t consider that settling at all.  

          Could you please tell me where I am “disparaging” in that paragraph ?   Could you please re-read my ENTIRE post, put everything I said in the CONTEXT of the ENTIRE post, and let me know EXACTLY where I “disparaged” people who compromise.   I also stated that I PERSONALLY do not consider “compromising” to be settling, and that I only consider it “settling” if the RELATIONSHIP is unsatsifactory, not if someone discovers that they CAN fall in love with someone who doesn’t fit their original template of who they thought they would marry.
          I understand EMK’s frustration, he tries very hard to explain a concept, and it gets COMPLETELY mis interpreted.   My post was NOT meant to be a dispargement to anyone, so obviously I did not do a very good job of explaining my self   (although StarThrower seem to perfectly understand my gist).
          So please, explain to me EXACTLY what was disparging in my post.   Thanks in advance, and if you were talking to another poster, I apologize in advance, but your comment appeared directly under mine.

      2. 21.2.2
        Ben Iyyar

        Emerald Dust 21.2.1 writes, “As I use the term it’s only settling if the RELATIONSHIP is unsatisfying in some way” seems disparaging to me in that it implies that only the weak and fearful “settle.”   Besides, in the dating context the connotation of “settling” is overwhelmingly negative.   My point is that in my experience every relationship is unsatisfying in some ways and it is more about how we react to that dissatisfaction than the fact that it exists.   Everybody has problems, and most of us make compromises, not out of weakness or lack of self assurance, but because we understand that any relationship between two intimate partners will always have some friction but we feel our relationship is more important to us than some minor and probably passing dissatisfaction.   We compromise, i.e., “settle”, because we care deeply about our partners and we want our relationship to succeed.   Well, anyway, I love my wife and I feel happily married, so it at least worked for me.

        1. EmeraldDust

          Ben said “Emerald Dust 21.2.1 writes, “As I use the term it’s only settling if the RELATIONSHIP is unsatisfying in some way” seems disparaging to me in that it implies that only the weak and fearful “settle.”
          – Thanks for proving how easily things can be misunderstood, which is the topic of this post. Not what I meant at all, never used the word “weak” or “fearful”.   Just because you “inferred” it from my text doesn’t mean I “implied” it.
          I thought I clearly outlined what I think the difference between “compromising” and “settling” is, but you have dug in your heels and are insisting that I am stating that “weak and fearful” people make reasonable compromises to be in relationships.
          I never used the words “weak” or “fearful” and the examples I gave of “settling” was not about minor annoyances, unless you think my example of a man who “settles” for a hot 10, who breaks dishes, and is a high maintenance drama queen, is a petty little annoyance that should be compromised on.   Or the woman who “settles” for a man that cheats is just making a reasonable compromise.
          I think I will have to come up with a different word for “settle”.   In other dating forums, it is commonly used to mean people who would rather be in a REALLY HIGHLY UNSATISFACTORY relationship than be alone.   Examples are putting up with a non-stop stream of criticism, cheating, physical abuse, sexless relationships, giving up on children at a fairly young age, etc.   Because no matter how carefully I try to describe the difference between   how I use the word “compromise” and “settle” on THIS blog at least everyone insists that the 2 words are SYNOMOUS.
          Oh forget it, if Webster’s came out with a single word that meant PRECISELY what I talked about, I would still be misunderstood. I swear, I could give an example of settling as being married to a serial killer, and someone would be sure to respond with “tsk, tsk, Emerald, every woman needs to learn to compromise”
          Sometimes I wonder if you even read me ENTIRE post Ben.   Or perhaps you read my entire post, but not with the intent to try and understand what I was ACTUALLY trying to convey, but with an eye toward “proving” that I was disparaging people who compromise.
          So for the record, when I say “compromise” that’s a good thing, I won’t use the term “settle” because to me it’s a BAD thing, but you and so many others seem to think that “settle” and “compromise” mean the EXACT SAME THING, and therefore are both good, and you won’t even consider how I and many other’s use the term.
          So the next time I want to describe a situation that involves the dreaded “s” word, I’ll simply say “someone entered into a toxic relationship, fraught with major problems” because they thought it was better than being alone.
          OK BEN ????
          And if you are so happily married to your beautiful wife, why are you here ?
          And now I question if your beautiful wife is the high drama, high maintanence drama queen I used in   my example, since you obviously think things like cheating, no sexual attraction, and breaking dishes, are no big deal, and are just something that everyone should “compromise” on.

        2. starthrower68

          Isn’t funny how we get caught up in semantics?

        3. Selena


          I never cared for the term “settling” and it’s beyond me why it continues to be so popular so many years after Ms. Gottlieb’s book was published. The term “Settling Down” has been around for god knows how long, and it merely meant one found someone they loved enough so they felt they didn’t need to date anymore. A positive thing.

          I’m not to keen on the word “compromising” as a toned down synonym for “settling” either.   Compromising is what people do when they are in relationship OFTEN. They make compromises on which family to spent this years holidays with; where to go on vacation; which restaurant to go to; whether to have steak or chicken for dinner.   Some couples may have to make very big compromises…leaving a job/home/family/friends they love because their partner was offered an opportunity they wanted to take which involved relocating. OR, a person might turn down an opportunity they would have liked to take because they DIDN’T want their partner to have to leave the job/home/family/friends they loved. That to me is what real compromise is.

          Years ago on a different advice blog, I read a post that went something like this: You really only need to have one thing on your list. Do you feel good being with this man? When he is around? And when he’s not?

          Very simple. If you don’t feel good being with someone, whether they are around or not, something is not right.   If you stop focusing on things like height, income, professional titles, etc., etc. and focus instead on how you feel when you are with that person…those other things you thought were so necessary no longer seem important. You don’t feel you settled or compromised – you just feel happy you found someone you feel good being with.


      3. 21.2.3

        Hi Emerald. I know the study you are referring to and I am going to link to an article that discusses it at the end of this post.   It just came out in November of 2015.   What it showed is that when men were asked if they found smart women attractive the majority of them said yes.   But I’m real life after meeting the women whom they were initally physically attracted to they were told that these women had out performed them on IQ tests or were better at them at tasks almost every man in the test group physically moved away from the women that he was told were smarter.   None of those women belittled the men or were argumentative they did not even have time to!    So what you are saying is correct Emerald very few women that I know that are successful uber smart professionals belittle men, but it is the man’s own insecurity before we even open our mouths that makes us unattractive to them in the long term so we already have one strike against us and a perception that we are going to belittle them or be condescending so anything that we say is going to be perceived as such.   It is not just the plumbers or the less educated men, it is also our equals.   Honestly I find that our equals are more insecure.   Make no mistake men want smart women just not women smarter than them. I’m a lawyer when I’ve dated other lawyers they always wanted to argue cases with me or who made more money or who made partner first. I never brought it up.   I was raised with no money my parents were poor, we collected food stamps and I put myself through school.   My Dad worked in a factory and my mom was a secretary I would never belittle anyone!    I read Evans book and I read it the same way this writer did.   Many of the commenters here repeat what the underlying issue is well that’s the same advice my grandma gave me and men want to see your femine energy and he does not care about your career or how many hours you billed it’s how you make him feel.   And you need to be more feminine at home and don’t ask men out don’t call him first let him lead you, let him make the moves,etc and like this writer says that would be me playing a game to get a man and I’m not willing to do that.   It’s not fair to him or me.   And if I changed my personality to get that man I would no longer be good at my job a job I worked my entire life for.

        Someone mentioned straightening your teeth or having plastic surgery etc well first of all I think that’s easier.   Second, I would never do that just for a man.   I am willing to make positive changes in my life overall appearance, personality behavior that will also help my dating life.   If my teeth are crooked and I don’t like it then sure I will change them, but I won’t change them for the sole reason to get a man.   But taking Evans advice in that book about embracing my feminine and acting less masculine is not a positive change for me and for many women it is what makes me a kick ass trial attorney.   Being a trial attorney has not given me this personality I’ve always had it so no I can’t turn it off.   So Evan is asking me and the writer to chose between my career and a relationship and that’s not a fair choice and I’m hopeful there is another answer.   The problem with your suggestion to date more easy going men is I have yet to find one that is not just as intimidated by me, meaning only alpha men will even ask me out and Evan says don’t ask men out and the ones I have dated are doormats.   I think that the advice Evan is giving career women like me is correct and I think the way the letter writer reads it is correct but I understand why she’s angry a lot of us are angry and upset.   Part of me wonders too if Evan is like the men in the study?Does he not see because of his biology the inherent insecurity or bias he holds with regard to highly educated women despite the fact that he’s a great dating coach?    We were raised as little girls that we could have it all and we worked hard to get it and would be accepted for who we are and now all we are being told is to change.   We just want one dating coach, just one book to tell is something different.

    3. 21.3

      Who do you know that believes it’s cool to get a nose job to attract the opposite sex. People (especially women) who get plastic surgery are usually considered vain and pathetic.

  2. 22

    Wow, what a blog. Didn’t read all of the responses but some. Sometimes you might be misinterpreted for true Evan, but I know you mean women well. I bought one of your products some time ago. As a matter of fact, I was a part of your focus coaching, but haD to close my account due to the expense-I live overseas where my currency is weak and the rate of one US to my dollar is ridiculously high so I often have to watch overseas purchases. I enjoyed the first product I bought from you and laughed in delight when u spoke some truths. I read and enjoy your newsletters a whole lot and what u write on your facebook page. Like some women, I still haven’t found Mr Right yet, but I know I will, one day.

  3. 23

    I started reading Evan 2.5 years ago after getting out of a terrible relationship. At 30 I never felt like I really dated and I had no idea what I was doing. He helped me in many ways from understanding the basics of online dating, to understanding when a man actually wants to be your boyfriend and the big one, how I can show appreciation and make him feel wanted. For awhile, I went after the Alpha males who were interested in me. In many ways it made sense, just as Evan stated above if you have a strong personality someone with an equally strong personality can be quite intoxicating. But many of them had serious flaws. I would try to go out with the nice guys but found the utterly boring. Then I met my fiance, a very nice, introverted man. In many ways he is quite beta, I will always take the stage when we are out in public but he was alpha in the ways that really count. He cares for me more than anyone who isn’t my parents ever have. He is giving in bed, he is affectionate, he shows his appreciation towards me. We are both yes people to one another, I don’t know if I could have gotten to this place without the work I did because of him.

    I think its easy to look at the many negative comments on this blog and get upset that if he isn’t disagreeing, that he agrees. I must point out though that I felt very disheartened after a post a couple weeks ago about how Smart, Strong, Successful women will ultimately leave their very nice husbands they have equal relationships with. I felt the post was a stark contrast to everything you teach.   

    1. 23.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      If I recall, Julia, that post was a link to an article that suggested it. And since I know you, you are bright enough to understand that just because an article refers to the Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon, where women, wanting to be inspired, leave their perfectly good, albeit flawed, husbands, doesn’t mean that YOU will. That post was food for thought and was consistent with what I share here – which is that you can look for the greener grass, but you may not be happier when you get it.

      When I see really bright people who get angry at me or take offense to articles/studies, it always baffles me. If I read a study that said 82% of Jewish atheists cheat on their wives, I’d find it surprising and alarming, but it wouldn’t make me think that I was going to be one of them. Nor would I attack the study if it was by a legitimate organization with a big sample size.

  4. 24

    I think this all comes down to one thing: are your “ineffective” behaviors, as Evan characterizes them, somehow tied to your identity? For ladies who don’t feel that they have anything to lose by changing their ineffective behaviors (or adding effective ones) Evan’s advice makes total sense. However, some people tie those behaviors in with their identity. For example, Evan mentioned women whose intelligence causes them to second guess/ correct everything their partner does. If you tell a woman she should stop correcting her partner at every turn, she can take this to mean that she should think harder about how what she say effects her partner and work on trying to word things differently or refrain from correcting when its not really needed. OR, she can take that suggestion as a criticism of her personality. If she thinks “Well, but that’s who I am. I don’t like it when people are wrong. I think they should be told the right way to do things. And if he doesn’t like it then that’s his problem,” then she is not going to like Evan’s advice. And, as Evan often says, that’s fine. If she wants to keep correcting away, then she certainly can. But she might be scaring away great partners with that attitude. Moral of the story, there is a big difference between improving how you treat and communicate with other people and changing who you are. If you think that changing how you treat and communicate with people will change who you are, then you’re pretty much stuck. You might find someone great who doesn’t mind those things, but you might not.  

  5. 25

    I would have greatly appreciated having Evan’s advice 20 years ago.   I was married at 23 and a mom at 24. My ex was only the 2nd boy I ever dated.   When I divorced at 34, I was quite naive to say the least.   The truth will set you free.   It might make you miserable at first, but when you get it, it’s a game changer.

  6. 26

    Although I’m not the target demographic in any way. I’ve enjoyed reading Evan’s blogs. I don’t always agree with what he says but no advice applies to all people all the time. But I do know his message rings true and is generally great advice.

    I think part of the problem, for men and women, is we hate to admit we are the one constant in all previous failed relationships. And since we can’t change others.(At least not long term.) Our options become 1) change the way we approach relationships or 2) don’t change and hope, against all past  experience, that results won’t be the same next time.

  7. 27

    I started reading this blog about a year and a half ago when I began what has been basically my first romantic relationship. Having spent my entire adult life focusing on career and establishing a life, I found myself very excited but also overwhelmed at the idea of being someone’s girlfriend. I was concerned that my intense independence and typically very emotional personality style would eventually ruin everything and I began studying up on the dos and don’ts of dating. When I found Evan’s website I was super relieved. Although I don’t agree with everything he says, I have overall found his advice incredibly helpful. I feel like there are many hard lessons that I won’t have to personally learn and a lot of drama I can simply skip because of this blog. I’ve learned that what is truly important in a relationship. Seriously, Evan, I can’t even articulate how much you have helped me. There is SO much I didn’t know. There’s a feminist book called the Mismeasure Of Woman by Carol Tavris and in a chapter the author discusses communication and stuff. She tells a little story about a wife and husband who sit together in the mornings and read the paper. The husband also likes to have a music or radio program on as well. One morning, the wife doesn’t feel like hearing the music and she gets up to move to a quieter room. The husband is like, “Where are you going?!” And she simply says she would rather not have the radio on but he should enjoy it and she will go to another area of the house. He then irritatedly turns the radio off. The wife is annoyed by him a bit but realizes that her husband would rather spend his morning with her than his radio program and she sits back down. Before reading your blog, if I were that wife, my reaction would have been to started crying and take his mild irritation personally and perhaps a big fight would happen. After reading your blog, I am like the fortunate woman in that story. So I totally just paraphrased that whole thing probably really badly but I kept thinking about it and wanted to share it. Again, this blog has helped me have a very happy relationship, in ways that I have trouble even articulating! Thanks, Evan!  

    1. 27.1

      Excuse the typos, I’m bit short on time!  

  8. 28

    Hi Evan,

    I’m the writer of the original email. After writing it, and reading that you’d be responding to it on your blog, I thought about it a lot (and hoped you, and those who left comments, wouldn’t blast me TOO much). My email to you was sparked, in part, by a couple of articles I’d seen recently on “why smart women often stay single.”  

    To the guy who wrote that I am oversensitive, just know that that is a remark made universally by people who are verbally and/or physically abusive. I have done a lot of work with adults and children who have emotional disturbance and also in domestic abuse.   

    I know that I am intelligent. I am considered attractive. When I was a reader of Evan’s blog, I actively dated and began a couple of relationships that did not end in marriage. I tend to seek my equal: men who are smart, driven, happy at work, and embrace life. I was previously married and, because we married so young, over the years we grew up and found we didn’t have a lot in common. That marriage ended when I was 27.

    I suppose a lot of why I feel snarky towards Evan right now is because I’m just plain tired. I’m taking a break from dating because of a number of factors, mostly because I’m exhausted by the idea of going on another date. This period is temporary, and I know it, but reading articles about who to look for, how to behave, what to do, what to say/not say on the first few dates, how to let things evolve, how to not be abrasive… I’m just done right now.

    Evan, I may have misinterpreted what you said about your wife. Yes, I read the many posts where you wrote that she is “the coolest.” And kudos to you two that you are able to laughingly talk about past relationships in which the partners were smarter, more attractive, had a higher sex drive, etc. etc. I guess your driving point in writing that she did not fit your list was to not have a list? I’m confused by that, but your wife may be more secure than the average person. I know many people whose feelings would be hurt if they were compared unfavorably to past persons, myself included. No, I don’t expect to be the queen of the world, but I’d like to think the partner I build a happy and healthy relationship with would think I was the best choice, and vice versa.  

    I referred to you advising women to be smart/not too smart, outspoken/not too etc etc because I remembered reading an article in which you advised such things. Without being able to refer to the article directly, it is taken out of context. Maybe it was your advice on first date behavior? Who knows?

    I have not seen many examples of good marriages. I am glad that you are in a good one, Evan. At the same time, I think there is a certain amount of luck involved. Personal histories, socioeconomic factors, history of abuse, mental health, on and on… there are so many reasons why some manage to find good partnerships and why others do not. I know a lot of married people. Happily married? Not so much.

    I currently work in holistic health and work with clients who suffer from a variety of physical and emotional ailments. I was also a special education teacher for several years. We are not all created equal. And please do not misinterpret what I say here: I believe we are all worthwhile human beings. I believe that so strongly that I chose to work with people to help them specifically because I believe we all can change, grow, and become happier and healthier people. But some of us struggle more than others in life. It’s just a fact.   

    Yes, in my heart, I would love to find a wonderful partner, be a wonderful partner to him, and settle down and raise a family. But I have also accepted that this may or may not happen, and I’m at peace with that, because I find a lot of joy and adventure in my daily (and very single) life.  

    Thank you for your thoughtful response.


    1. 28.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thanks for the reply, Amy. I don’t want to go back and forth, but just want to acknowledge the conciliatory tone of your letter. I much prefer getting along than fighting over misinterpretations of my words.

      Anyway, there’s one line I’d like to call attention to: “I’d like to think the partner I build a happy and healthy relationship with would think I was the best choice, and vice versa.”

      You said this in reference to my wife, and, in my opinion, this is another blind spot. To wit: My wife IS the best choice. By far. Not even close. I’ve built my entire life around her and spend every spare second in her presence. So to acknowledge that I dated some women who were younger, prettier, smarter, or more accomplished? Entirely irrelevant. I didn’t marry THEM. I married my wife. She married me. Obviously, we’re each other’s top choices overall, even if we’re not at the top of every single category. Once again, this is a mere observation, not an insult. In other words, if you want to take offense that your boyfriend has dated more attractive women, you may, but, statistically speaking, it’s highly likely that he has. So now you’re asking for him to lie to you because you’re insecure if he tells you the truth – even though he’s with you and NOT with his beautiful ex. You see the madness of that insecurity? That’s what I rail against on this blog; hypersensitive people who take offense when something objective is pointed out: sleeping with men is no guarantee of a relationship, cute guys online have a lot of options besides you, chemistry is not a great predictor of future compatibility. I hope that, however blunt and impassive I sound about presenting these observations, you understand my motive is to help and not hurt. My wife understands that when I talk about her in this fashion, it’s to help women in their relationships – it’s not to hurt her in a public fashion

    2. 28.2

      Hello @Amy28 – I’m glad you came back for a follow-up.   Some points in your letter resonated with me and if you’re the same Amy who used to post here a few years back (there’s a reason I picked “Henriette” ~ my childhood dog ~ as my online sobriquet: scant chance of being confused with others of the same name 🙂 ), I recall a few articulate, negative 🙂 comments you   submitted that had me nodding in agreement.   (Sorry EMK: it happens!)  
      Dating certainly can be disheartening.   After several failed LTRs, I ran out of time (biologically speaking) so had a baby on my own; I am currently on a Romance Hiatus.   And even reading about dating can prove upsetting; I took a brief “mental health break” from this blog over the summer bc the comment section took such an ugly turn.     
      And yet…   here I am.   I return time and again because much (note: I did not write “all”)   of what Evan writes makes sense.   Like you, I think that remaining contentedly single beats miserably wed and like you, I’m familiar with few happy marriages.   But the good ones I’ve witnessed make me long for one of my own.   Honestly, I doubt it’ll ever happen for me.   But I’ll be [email protected] if I don’t get back in the game, at some point, and give it my best shot.    
      I hope you’ll keep coming ’round here.   Often, argumentative posters are just pains in the a$$ but some bring up valid points that lead to thought-provoking discussions.   We’re all struggling to make peace with where we are as well as figure out how to reach a better place.   It would be great if you’d join us.

      1. 28.2.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        FWIW – that was a different Amy – that one was the worst – she’s continued slandering me all over the internet since she left here.

        1. Henriette

          Shoot- sorry, Evan.   In that case, I certainly don’t want THAT Amy back here (even though she did bring up a minor point or two I agreed upon).

      2. 28.2.2

        Henriette – I think you must be my “sister from another Mr. ”   Your whole post could have been written by me, except for having a baby on my own. (in my case, I thought I found the man of my dreams before my bio clock ran out, and my dream turned into a night mare)
        Thanks for this, at least I’m not the only one who feels the way I do.

    3. 28.3

      Hi Amy,  

      I too have read Evan’s blog for a few years, finding in almost the same manner you did, after a terrible breakup that took me a few years (too long) to get over.

      I’ve been seriously working on dating for almost two years now, but am also taking a break. Evan’s advice did work, but there were other circumstances that got in the way. I am in my mid 40s with a kid and a busy job, the same as the men I’ve met. ALL were good men. With some there just wasn’t chemistry even though I tried. But still with others, there was just too much baggage. For example, the most recent man I met was great; sweet, funny, great job, kind. And also fresh out of rehab. Now, everyone has their challenges, but this is a tough one and I told him he should have a year of sobriety under his belt before he started dating.

      Clearly, that is at the extreme of the stories, but yet many of the other men I met were seriously damaged from their failed marriages. Some of their spouses cheated. Still others were taking them through the ringer with alimony and child support. And they weren’t ready to really give much in a relationship with another woman.

      I find these issues aren’t addressed often anywhere, not really in the nitty gritty way they should be. It really is the reality of dating when you’re over 40 and have a lot of life under your belt. I don’t think it’s hopeless; it’s just exhausting and sometimes you have to call it quits for awhile.


  9. 29

    IRT the question   “Is EMK sexist”, I would like to say, that question would be moot if he was a columnist on gardening advice or some other gender neutral topic.
    However, since there ARE some general differences between men & women (despite it being risky to say that these days)   some of the advice will come off as sexist.   Some people are still very touchy about reporting some general differences between the genders, even if it is padded with all the disclaimers, that this isn’t true across the board, but this is how it is for most, and YMMV, etc. etc.    
    In the “Why Women Should Wait” Part 1 and Part 2, I have never seen such howling from the mere suggestion that women are more likely than men to have sexual regret if no relationship forms.   He didn’t say ALL women, and he even said if a woman is OK with NSA sex, she should definitely go for it.   He repeatedly said that his advice was FOR WOMEN WHO CAN’T HANDLE CASUAL SEX.   If you are cool with casual, the advice doesn’t apply to you.
    Another post about male/female promiscuity brought up the same howling.   One woman tried to “prove” that men and women all had an equal number of sexual partners because of some convoluted law of averages.   She was outraged at the idea that more men on average had more sexual partners than women.  
    And he never spoke to how women SHOULD feel about casual sex, he was just reporting the fact that more women are dissatisfied with casual sex.    
    Of course there were all the anecdotal “But I am a woman, and I LOVE casual sex” and “I met a woman who ONLY wanted casual sex” and “my sister NEVER wants to get married and her goal is 200 sex partners by the time she is 40,”   blah, blah, blah.”
    And yet, the MAJORITY of women who write to EMK, don’t want advice on the care and feeding of their harem of casual sex boy toys.   They aren’t complaining that their boyfriend wants to get married after 5 years of living together & she’s just ‘not ready’ yet.   But without fail, eventually someone will come over here and complain that EMK is a “sexist” because he gives women advice on how to find a HUSBAND.   (my personal favorite, a commenter who said “Ugh, why assume that all women want to get married ?)  
    However, if you want to see a REAL s—storm of controversy on this blog, let EMK write ONE column addressing men on how to court women.   An alarm must have gone off in the manosphere, because they all came slithering over here to call us a bunch of worthless, spoiled entitled women.   Suddenly he goes from being a mysogynist to a mangina.  

    1. 29.1

      ED, your third win of the Internet! 😄

  10. 30

    Hi Evan, the truth about the whole is pretence. The term is short and simple. If they do not lik ur blog,posts and all sorts, what are they doin here ? Why are they here ? Pls they are just haters.Pls do not alwz take ur time to answer some fraustrated ones that just want to pour everything on u and spoil your great work. Words can’t express how ur wonderful advices and work uplifted me was I was in my lowest ‘. I found u , I found u here, u   did not only gave my confidenc back but also my dignity.   Thank u Evan.  
    Now back on those who critize u. If they are happy,   they ll definitely not looking for something better , they ll rather not be here,   perhaps somewhere else, definitely not here ! And it’s so sad to see how some comment negatively about u opening while they go about in private to praise u, so sad no one knows who is who. But I do know some are just full of pretence cos I read ur posts a lot which ‘ public and hardly come across people appreciating ur works , but rather sees appreciating comments on posts that doesn’t really review the latter.  
    Evan, u r intelligent, so intelligent, unique   and brilliantly good at what u r doin- ur work ! And u know what, that is the reason why we are here, u r here- even those who can’t stop critizing ur great work- even u Emy.

  11. 31

    Hi Evan,

    Excellent article, and very cogent points you’ve brought up.   I wonder if I can share my POV on what specifically I think comes off as inadvertently sexist?   You’ve directed a lot of advice at women that I think actually is not gender specific. Thus you are implying that women have these issues but men don’t.   

    Here are some examples – I’ve taken some of your sentences and changed the gender, and you’ll find that the sentences are equally correct…

    “Some people are naturally good at making others feel important. They are good listeners. They ask questions. They don’t look at their iPhones. They don’t make you feel like a low priority. They are available, emotionally and physically. They don’t criticize or micromanage. They assume the best rather than the worst in you. These are the Men that WOmen want to date — whether they work at Target or run a venture capital firm. Both Men can be 100% themselves, as long as they are evoking these feelings in their partner.”
    “On the other hand, while WOmen very much appreciate impressive Men; we have also concluded that impressive traits are secondary to one thing: how She FEELS around HER partner. And if He’s so busy that He doesn’t have time for HER, She’s not going to feel good. And if He’s so smart that He’s constantly second-guessing HER and telling HER how She can improve, She’s not going to feel good. And if He’s so strong that He seems invulnerable and She can’t find a way to contribute to HIS life, She’s not going to feel good. And so on.”
    “…your greater value to him comes in your ability to make HER feel smart, funny, sexy, interesting, and loyal. Thus, it’s not that your ability to speak in French isn’t attractive; it’s that it’s largely irrelevant to why She wants to date you. Same with your summer home in the Hamptons or your ability to analyze the Middle East conflict. This … is simply about how She feels when he’s with you.  ”

    We all want relationships with partners who make us feel good, as well as feel good about ourselves, about them, and about the relationship.    While it might be true that women are more impressed by education, power, and net worth in a man than men are in women, once you are in the relationship, both genders want the same things.   No woman wants to be criticized, micromanaged, ignored, treated like a low priority, or assumed the worst of.   I can’t think of a single woman who’d stay in a relationship where the man made her feel dumb/stupid, unfunny, un-sexy, uninteresting, or disloyal.   The exceptions would be women who lacked self-confidence, were abused in their childhood, were in a race against time re having babies, or were looking for a mutual alliance with a powerful partner in which love & relationship were secondary.
    I know you’ve said you only provide advice to women and that’s why your advice is women-centric, but the sexist undercurrent is that this is advice that women need but men don’t need.    It’s actually advice that both genders need.   In fact, I know far too many men could benefit from it.

    Hope that helps clarify things, and keep up the great work!

    1. 31.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “I know you’ve said you only provide advice to women and that’s why your advice is women-centric, but the sexist undercurrent is that this is advice that women need but men don’t need.”

      Great. Then write a blog for men and give them that advice. It’s like you’re getting angry at a steak place for not serving salads. This is a blog for women to understand men and make healthier relationship choices. It is not my mandate – nor worth my time – to say in every blog post “by the way, this may not apply to you” or “this also applies to men”.

      This is not sexism. I am merely being practical. If you can’t discern the difference between sexism and advice directed to women, then you may choose to find a less offensive blog.

    2. 31.2

        You’ve directed a lot of advice at women that I think actually is not gender specific. Thus you are implying that women have these issues but men don’t.
      It’s easy to think that if you read a single post, or a single sentence.   But as a long time reader, while EMK tells us not to micromanage, criticize, make someone a low priority, etc.,   he also tells US to dump a man who does any of those things.   So even though he’s not communicating directly to men how to treat women, he IS communicating to women what type of treatment to ACCEPT from men.   Since women are his target audience, that makes sense.
      He did write a column directed at men about courtship, and the ship hit the sand on that one.   PUA and MRA types slithered over here to tell EMK he was wrong and the western women weren’t worth courting, blah, blah, blah.   Given their strong negative reaction to the basic concept of courtship I can see why EMK doesn’t advice men too often.

    3. 31.3

      Hello, Reflections.   You’re right that Evan gives advice to women. But did you know that he started out trying to work with both sexes ?   No great surprise: men ~ you know, the ones who refuse to stop the car to ask for directions ~ weren’t interested in being advised.   Women were the ones who requested help, bought his products, cared to hear what he had to say.
      Like any smart business person, Evan stopped expending valuable resources trying to attract a segment that showed it didn’t want what he was selling and instead focused on a more receptive audience: women 35-55 yrs.-old.     Sure, the occasional man or 24 year-old woman posts on this site but I’d guess that at least 90% of Evan’s income comes from this target audience.   I’ve no doubt that when men in droves start investing in improving their relationship skills, Evan’s blog will include more instruction for both sexes.   Until then, he’ll continue to direct his attention towards his customer base: women.

    4. 31.4
      Karl S

      Changing the genders around in such an example is not really useful because the crux of Evan’s advice (insofar as I understand it) is that men and women think differently and they want different things from each other. Yes, we all want love and affection, but the way we feel loved is different. Women write to Evan because he can help explain the way men think and behave by articulating it in a way that other men might not be able to (or haven’t realized).

      Most of the letters he gets are about friction in different values and ideas regarding relationship rules and expectations between men and women. We probably wouldn’t have half the issues that we do when it comes to love if we didn’t think differently.

      1. 31.4.1

        Actually no, were not that different. I’ve been with men who tried to micromanage and control me, who didn’t respect me and most importantly made me feel awful about myself. Now I have a partner who makes me feel wonderful and that’s what matters.

  12. 32

    Here’s what I’ve found. If you’re crazy about someone it isn’t hard to let him have the floor, to let him call the shots, to think he’s funny, to admire him, to let him know it. The problem I think is when you try to date someone who doesn’t impress you much. You’re just feeling “meh” but you also don’t want to be alone. I’ve just decided not to date until I meet someone I truly like. Then I won’t have to worry about second guessing him, or feeling superior to him and acting like it.

  13. 33

    I think people will never change. I would still be the awkward girl around hot guys, who blushes a lot and likes a guy easily. BUT Evan’s advice mad me realize that guys often don’t mean what they say, and some good qualities don’t merit them tobe put on pedestal. More effective yes, but essentially I am still the same girl.

  14. 34
    A former reader

    i stopped reading this blog a few years ago and, having turned  39 recently, realised that finding the right man and having children is a long shot so I stopped dating. I don’t necessarily think Evan is wrong that beta men prefer alpha women and alpha men prefer beta women. in fact it is clear to me that he is right about that and that is one of the reasons I gave up. No point blaming anyone for telling it like it is. I have however never been so unhappy as in the last few years when I started dating prolifically men who I would not normally have considered. i didn’t enjoy trying to create an attraction that wasn’t there which is what I was doing most of the time. I realised in that process that I would rather be alone than with the men who are interested in me who are generally not too smart, much older than me, or younger men looking for an older woman experience. This isn’t that surprising as the men of a similar age with a similar background that I find it easiest to relate to are in a minority and also considered a catch by women with more to offer from a man’s perspective than I have at this age. I am not however unhappy any more as it is a relief to let go of the dream and even more of a relief not to settle for what I don’t want, life no longer feels on hold until the right man turns up and I am moving forward with my life in other ways and taking control of all those things that I thought i’d deal with one day with a partner. I won’t pretend it is ideal as it clearly is not but life is short and we owe it to ourselves to be as happy as we can.

    1. 34.1

      I totally agree.   I am where you are, but I am 53.   Yet, having let go I am far more relaxed and fulfilled.   I finally realized that not everyone is going to find fulfilling love.   I would rather stay single than keep   banging my head against the wall.   The men my age who are in decent shape want women 10-20 years younger, and I don’t want to  be with a much older man, beset with myriad health problems and other baggage.
      This does not negate that Evan speaks the truth.   Some of us have just grown weary of the game.   I can honestly say I would much rather work toward social justice and be useful in the world.   It’s hard to do that when you are with a man.   Even the best men are high maintenance.

    2. 34.2

      Women want a Mr. Perfect who has everything and can provide her with everything she wants emotionally, intellectually, financially, etc.   Unfortunately the complete package is often difficult to find or hold onto.   Men can compartmentalize and have a wife for sex and children, while getting intellectual stimulation from his career.   If Alpha women just want a smart man, there are plenty of single smart, geeky men who may not be attractive.   There are plenty of places to meet smart men primary at work events for business and technology.   A woman can learn to love a rich successful ugly man.   Its not always just about looks for some women, they want a man who is educated, and intelligent.  

    3. 34.3

      Political Campaign Volunteering is the modern love-meeting for “passionate true believers.”   Instead of meeting your spouse at Church, people are joining liberal or republican campaigns.   Surveys show the highest compatibility between religious or political agreement.   Also, if you want to meet loud passionate smart, loud-mouthed strong-minded argumentative men and women, then joining a Political campaign is the way to go.   You can’t claim to be an alpha feminist if you aren’t willing to join a feminist political group. Or join a hippie unitarian church if you really don’t like patriarchal groups.

  15. 35

    By Evan’s own word, he doesn’t spend time editing his posts. He’s talking about dating, giving women advice on how to change to attract men. Even worded with the utmost care, this type of thing is likely to come across as sexist. The most sexist thing about the site is the way Evan occasionally dismisses feminism/feminist concerns. He can be rather… hmm, condescending perhaps?

    One thing I have noticed about dating advice on the internet. Women are often told to be less while men are often told to be more. This echos what women hear in real life, and what we typically see in the media. Men get to be brash, arrogant, opinionated and still get the girl. Women only get the guy when they are demure, quiet, and supportive.

    I don’t worry about scaring off men with my strong personality. In fact, men seem to like that I’m articulate and opinionated.  (Of course, the point is moot, since I’m engaged. But, I’m just saying… lots of men do like opinionated women. My fiance loves how passionate I am. He thinks it’s cute when I start yelling about how present tense is superior to past tense).

    Again, there sometimes a fine line between be nicer and ignore your feelings, be less abrasive and be a doormat, be affectionate and put out or you won’t get a second date. Since Evan, by his own admission, doesn’t spend a lot of time finessing his words, he’s going to occasionally leave readers with the impression that they are supposed to suppress their true selves in order to get a second date.

    And just for the record, I have never been in the demo for the site. I read it out of curiosity or perhaps boredom. I’m 25 and I’ve been coupled since I discovered the site. I’m engaged to the guy I’ve been dating since I was 18–breaks all kinds of supposed dating rules. Don’t care. I wasn’t looking to meet my future husband when I was 18. I didn’t even want a BF. But I really liked this guy, darn it.

  16. 36

    What I seem to grapple with is that following Evan’s advice doesn’t necessarily make me happy (Sorry Evan, I haven’t seen results) yet I am not happy with my current state.   Thus, I can empathize with the OP.   I’m not saying your methods don’t work, Evan.   Perhaps the lack of success comes from men who are lacking and perhaps from my lack of fineness in delivering warm and appreciation.   Nonetheless, trying to give appreciation to men haven’t yielded what I want (reciprocal appreciation) and thus, makes me question the ROI in contentment I’d get when I follow advice I don’t like (ie: sucking it up and not commenting about his choice of restaurant, not showing your accomplishments).   Perhaps Evan would say to keep moving and cut the men who are not delivering but yes, it is very disheartening and until there is any sort of ROI on contentment, I have to say I don’t like a big part of Evan’s advice.   It seems as if I have to choose between two states of discontent: 1) following advice that I naturally don’t like and hope for the best and 2) being single.  

    1. 36.1
      Evan Marc Katz


      Either a) you’re not really following my advice or b) you’re following my advice. I don’t know which, so bear with me.

      If you’re actually following my advice (which is to date online regularly, be open to men who may be an inch shorter or a different religion, and see if you’re attracted to him and if he follows through), then great. If you haven’t met that guy yet, no worries. You will. The advice isn’t bad or wrong just because you haven’t fallen in love yet. It’s like I’m giving you investment advice, but you’re not a millionaire yet, so therefore there must be something wrong with saving 10% of your take home pay. Nope. Still great advice.

      And if you’re not following my advice, or, more likely misinterpreting it to: “Go out with a gaggle of men you’re not attracted to under the guise of staying open, and continue to see men that you wouldn’t want to kiss because you’re getting old,” then, well, I’m not surprised you’re not enjoying it. Because it’s not what I said. 🙂

    2. 36.2

      Mei – expressing appreciation only works if the guy actually likes you.   You can’t just take a guy who is just meh about you, express appreciation, and then magically expect him to fawn all over you.   That’s not expressing appreciation, that’s kissing up to them to get attention.   I’m not sure you are applying or understanding Evan’s advice correctly.   He never said to not show your accomplishments.   He just said to emphasize your warm personality because your list of accomplishments is probably not that impressive to a guy, he doesn’t really care about that, he cares more about your personality and how he feels when he is with you.   All true.   One could hardly ignore my high powered career but I didn’t go around shoving it in people’s faces on dates.   And what tactful person would EVER comment on a guy’s choice of restaurant unless it is to say something good?   That’s just common tactfulness, not even a dating skill.   You might want to actually take a course from Evan if these things are confusing you so much.

  17. 37

    Hi Evan,
    Thanks for responding to my message personally!   I’m here looking for advice so I am coming from a position of wanting to improve my life and not trying to nitpick deliberately find fault (in either your advice or the behavior of the people I date).   I would have to say I’m not misinterpreting your advice and I have always been an equal opportunity dater (dated people shorter, much older, less educated, balding, etc…).   Perhaps if we were working together, you’d be able to tell me where I have my shortcomings.   Nonetheless, for the 2 years I’ve started reading your material, I’ve always felt really unhappy with the men who I’ve tried to show sincere appreciation and it has not been reciprocated.   I care very much about being appreciated, too, and crave the public adoration that guys who are crazy about their girlfriends or wife give.   This discontent is usually what makes me be the one to say lo siento, adios.   I would not say I’m not interested in betas (who might be more willing to give adoration) but it’s them who are not interested in me!   (Not to mention, the other type of discontent of having to make the first move with betas.)   You suggest that by giving appreciation, I will receive appreciation.   But I haven’t!   I can honestly say that me giving appreciation for what a man does for me does not get me appreciation (or the level of the very few private compliments hardly makes up for the appreciation I give them).   It seems a lot of men are unwilling to give public adoration lest it takes the limelight off them.   I can count the number of times I get compliments from guys and it has always been in private.   Blogs like therationalemale seem to suggest that a woman can’t compete with a man for appreciation.   I’ve ended the relationships that made me unhappy since I need the appreciation and adoration that I’ve not been given.   I’m still following your advice since I haven’t had luck any other way so I’m not suggesting it’s bad advice.   Nonetheless, the original issue remains: choosing between two states of discontent: 1) following advice that I naturally don’t like and hope for the best and 2) being single.    
    It’s hard to keep happy when you’re not given appreciation but expected to give.   Not expecting a second personal response, but if you do have thoughts I’d be most receptive.

    1. 37.1

      Mie, may I ask you a hard question? What would the average man (not you, yourself) consider your level of attraction? It sounds like the quality of men you are going on dates with aren’t really that attracted to you.

      Because everything you say, I and many others can show that when a guy is really attracted to a woman, he will show attention publicly, and he will work hard for her. And if you are attractive, then I would guess that maybe you have a self-esteem issue that is causing you to choose men who aren’t trying harder with you.  

      I have publicly -on this blog- stated how much I think courtship isn’t fair for men, but even I would shut up and court a woman who I thought I had a chance with who was sexy & hot (to me). Evan’s advice at times makes me so angry… but it’s good advice, I would want my younger sister to follow it. If a woman I liked showed me that she was interested in me, but wanted to wait for sex until I proved that I wanted a relationship with her and not just sex, then I would wait while still trying to win (court) her affection.

      The signs and ques that she is into me would encourage me to keep pushing through… again this only applies if I’m attracted to her -which is why I can’t understand the women who say that they will go on a date with a guy who they [aren’t] sure if they are attracted to-. Evan isn’t sexiest, he says things that are hard for both us men as well as you women to accept. But most importantly, if I don’t like what he says… I’ll just stop coming onto HIS site!  

    2. 37.2


      If it’s public adoration you crave – if that is your litmus for a ‘great’ relationship, then I suggest you reevaluate your criteria for choosing a bf.   (Or maybe get a dog – most are unrelentingly adoring).

      Men don’t exist just to shower women with attention.   (Just as women don’t exist to look sexy and dote on men, either.) Men and women are thinking individuals with individual likes and dislikes, moods, preferences and opinions.

      If you go around dating men and every time someone is not showering you with attention (no matter what type of day he’s had or whether he’s exhausted or whether there is any attraction), you’re bound to be disappointed with the dating process.   No one can keep that up over a long period of time, especially after the honeymoon period (up to 2 years). You’re not wrong to want that, it’s just unrealistic.   Just as if I told you that my guy friend who is under 4 foot 9 want a 6 foot blonde German bombshell to fall in love with him. He’s not wrong to want that, it’s just unlikely, so he’s still single in his 40s.

      So, look over your must-have list. Evan always advises us to look for kindness, easy-going, selflessness, qualities that make solid 40+ years relationship material.

      I’ve been reading Evan for a few years now and I have can’t agree more on what he preaches.   After dating 5 years, meeting many different types of guys, I finally found one who doesn’t have the same level of education, looks, wealth, intelligence compared with his ex-h.   But my bf is the most kind, considerate, loving, accepting, patient, giving man I have ever known.   I did not settle before he came along. It’s just that my must-have list consists of things that will have me ‘win’ at a long term relationship.   We have now been together for 8 months – not one disagreement. He’s easy-going and gentle.   We are talking about our long term future.    This relationship is the strongest and the most intimate I have ever had, we can tell each other anything, make requests of each other and I can be myself and relaxed when he’s around.   I know he loves me just the way I am – happy, sad, grumpy, impatient, giddy, scared.

      Thank you Evan for your consistent stand for us women here.   You are our constant advocate and you tell the truth.

    3. 37.3

      When you go after top shelf guys that every woman wants, you shouldn’t be surprised when he doesn’t value you the way you value him. To him, you are just one of many women he can have, and so your overall value is low. If the man is a decent catch, but not the guy every woman oohs and ahhs over when he walks into the party, you have a much better chance of being valued the way you want to be valued. It’s a tight rope act we have to walk, because as women, we want the best man we can get, but it is not the best man we can get that will value us the way we want to be valued. So we have to learn to find some middle ground, a compromise. We have to find a good mix of a quality guy, but also a guy who doesn’t have so many options open to him that he doesn’t appreciate what he has. That is what I am learning here. I do not feel I am being told to settle, I feel I am being told to expand my horizons. I feel like I am being told to try new things if I want different results.

  18. 38

    He does tell women to sette.
      The message of every article is lower you standards , date the men no one else wants . They are lonely enough to commit.

    The harsh truth is if your a woman over 25 your value is low.

    1. 38.1

      Lol, disagree with every sentence u said. Honestly Fantine, if u’re gonna so badly misunderstand stuff people say, I can see why u’d have trouble with dating. O_O

    2. 38.2

      Our value might be low when it comes to attracting men.   We should not be measuring our value by that. For me, my value to my family, friends, and community is of greater importance.

  19. 39

    Thanks Marie, Adrian and GreatGal for the feedback!   First of all, Marie, these were all men who pursued and dated me.   Thus, I am not “kissing up” to them for attention.   While you may find that commenting about a person’s choice in restaurant may be tactless, I am a foodie and I do not criticize (even constructively) on a first date.   Notice I didn’t even mention that I criticize.   I wrote that it doesn’t make me happy when I have to withhold comments even I may have my own ideas and I do so to make the guy feel good.   If I have been dating a guy for a while and I get them something or do something doesn’t like I am fine with it.   In fact, I’d prefer it so that I know what he actually likes!   Accomplishments – I understand that part about how a man might not find your accomplishments important.   Nonetheless, I do feel that a caring partner would want to want to take interest in her accomplishments (and by this word, I do not even mean just career-wise).   Adrian – thank for your that question!   I’d say I’m roughly a 7 look-wise.   I’ve had men who are 9s woo me so I’d say I’d have a certain je-ne-sai-quoi that gets them initially.   They may be into me but what I’ve found is that a vast majority will only compliment me in private, almost never publicly.   I do agree that I find men who adores their women will at length compliment them in the company of friends.   Now, GreatGal, perhaps you think of me as needy given your comment that I get an unrelentlessly adoring dog.   I would have to say that I’ve come to terms that this must be a primary love language for me.   I disagree with your comment that public adoration can’t be kept up.   As a fan of Evan yourself, would you say that he’s not keeping up with adoring his wife on a regular basis?    
    I’d like to add that the dating experiences mentioned above were in the suburbs of a smaller city.   I have recently moved to a much bigger city.   While I might be wrong in my assumption, I find that the guys were -dare-I-say-it- insecure about themselves since they almost never compliment me lest it takes the limelight off themselves.   Perhaps you could say that I’m insecure since I want public praise.   But at least I was giving them appreciation.   Publicly and privately.  
    I hope to date a more diverse crowd in the big city and make sure to cut things off soon if our love languages just don’t sync.   Marie, I’ll work on giving warmth, too.   However, it is hard to keep giving warmth if the guy is not reciprocating.  
    Thanks for reading, folks, and any other feedback is appreciated.

    1. 39.1

      Beautiful post Mei!!! I agree with you 100%. I want a man who is delighted to have me and isn’t shy about letting other people know it. I don’t want a man who hides his love and affection for me. I also love physical affection so I love a man who is not afraid to be affectionate with me in public. I am not talking about “get a room” affection, but genuine loving affection. Holding hands, hugging, a gentle caress on the cheek, playing with my hair. He would also need to be willing to and happy to receive a lot of the same kind of physical affection from me.

      I also agree that while a man may not put near the amount of importance on our accomplishments, a good man will still appreciate them, and make us feel special for them. And you are right, they don’t have to be academic or professional accomplishments. If I learn a musical instrument, it would be very nice for him to notice and be proud of me. If I cook a really great dinner, it is nice to be complimented for it.

      I also think a lot of that refusal to compliment is stuff these guys are learning from the PUA sights where they are taught not to build us up, but instead knock us down a peg in sneaky ways. I think women should start learning the PUA’s tactics and when you recognize them being used on you, RUN!

    2. 39.2


      I get that you would like an adoring partner.   I get that your love languages are words of appreciation with some physical touch.

      You don’t know if Evan is publicly adoring to his wife and at what level.   I assert there are moments when he is and moments when he isn’t.

      I, myself, have been at the end of public adoration and also not.   I’m just saying that public adoration is not in itself an indication of whether the guy is in love, whether he is a good partner, whether he is there for the long haul.   It just looks like he’s a good partner – it doesn’t mean that.
      It’s not wrong for you to want that – I just think you conflate what looks like a good relationship with what IS a good relationship.

      I am curious though.   Why is it so important that your man have to show you he likes you publicly?   What’s missing if he does so privately.   What is privately not good enough?   Why is it necessary for others to see?   I don’t know if you are insecure or not.   You are not any safer in love when a man declares publicly versus not.   

      If I were a guy who likes you but am not a fan of making a big display of it in front of your friends but you dump me because of it, then I would be disappointed that you couldn’t recognise my love.   It tells me you’d rather have the big show than to have my real love.   Or if you don’t tell me why you dump me, I’d be really confused why it went haywire.

      Hot, crazy-in-love feelings are moment to moment, month to month, they come and go.   I agree it’s really nice to feel adored, to be to told nice things, to be treated like a real lady.   I am not denying any of this. Men who are charming can do this without being in love with the woman.   I have some very charming European guy friends, that’s how they treat all women.   it’s not an indication of their love for a particular woman, though.

      I’m just saying, in my book, that’s not necessarily love.   It’s one possible manifestation of love or lust or attraction.   But I’d rather have the real thing – consistency, kindness, easy-going attitude, honesty, acceptance.

      1. 39.2.1

        I don’t believe a man who truly loves you would have a problem showing it in public. Does that mean he has to make a grand show of it, or do it every time you are around friends and family? No, but it is huge red flag if he rarely, or never makes any show of his love and affection for you in public. Men who truly love and adore you won’t be ashamed to show it in public. I don’t buy the line that a guy may just be very private. There are things that should be private, yes, but his love for me should not be something he feels he has to keep hidden. If you are a couple, and people know it, then why act like you have a cold relationship? There is a huge difference between being loving, and being lewd. There is a whole lot of room well below being lewd where a man can show his love and affection for his SO in a normal manner. And it’s not that an audience matters, it’s that they shouldn’t matter when it is innocent affection and displays of love. What matters more to the man? Keeping up appearances for other people, or showing her tender moments of love and affection, no matter where you are at, or who is present?

        But yes, it is also a given that con artists make their living by mimicking the genuine thing. So it is to be expected that some men will act like they are in love when they aren’t. That doesn’t mean I am going to then go with men who don’t act like they are in love. You just have to keep your head on straight and not ignore red flags, especially when they are big or numerous.

        1. GreatGal

          JennLee, why are you making the men who won’t show public affection wrong?    Why must it be that way? An analogy would be if a guy says to me ‘well, if you really love me you’d cook for me because that’s my definition of a woman’s love.’ ‘A woman would have on problem doing that of she’s in love.’ Yet, some women cook, some don’t. Some cook sometimes, some all the time with various skill levels. It’s a subjective measurement. When there is fewer and fewer compromises, we narrow down our own pool of available mates and make the opposite sex ‘wrong’ for not living up to our own expectations.   Not an effective strategy.   People come in all shapes and sizes with various levels Of affection.   You can slowly bring someone out of their comfort zone but not if you already assume he’s not in love with you and he’s wrong for not giving what you want.   That’s definitely not being easy going ourselves.

        2. JennLee


          Because for me he is wrong. I think there is something very wrong with a man who simply can’t show any love or affection for his SO in public. I don’t see it as an equal analogy to cooking. You might, but I don’t. A relationship for me would feel very cold if the man can’t show love and affection unless it is in private. Like it or not, he has a problem. He is somehow ashamed to be seen showing love and affection for his woman. There may be some women for whom that is OK, and more power to them, but for me it would be a deal breaker. We would never get to the “in love” stage because love and affection must be part of the building up of being in love.

          I can cook a meal for myself and feel just as satisfied as if somebody else cooked it for me. The same if the other person just takes me out to dinner. I still get a good meal and feel satisfied. I can’t get emotional uplifting by holding my own hand, or putting my arms around myself, or giving myself a hug, or caressing myself, and I certainly can’t kiss myself. And I can’t go to a restaurant and get it either. It’s not an equal analogy.

        3. Joe

          Requiring public adulation/affection just means you’re needy; appreciating it does not.

        4. EmeraldDust

          I agree JennLee, I consider it a red flag if a man won’t show some PDA’s.   To me, it’s right up there with not introducing a girl to friends and family.
          And I’m not talking about big sloppy making out sessions in public that border on foreplay.   (in fact, I don’t like going overboard with it) A few of the little things such as, a guiding hand on the small of the back as we make our way through the crowd, a touch on the hand, a pat on the back, hand holding, sitting close to each other, eye contact while talking, perhaps even foreheads touching. Psychologists have a term for it, it is called “mate guarding”.   It is natural for a pair to want to let others know that they are “taken”.   If a guy doesn’t want to appear to be “taken” then he isn’t !   He’s just biding his time until the real deal comes along.
          If a guy acts aloof, & distant in public, ignores you in public, refuses to introduce you to anyone, he’s JNITY.   If he doesn’t want people to know we are together, then he doesn’t want us to BE together.
          When EMK ran his column that men need affection, no one accused men of being “needy”.   (what the hell does that mean anyway, we all have needs, physical and emotional, getting our needs met makes sense, when did it become a bad thing ?)
          One poster did assume that men would use affection as a way to manipulate, I did not agree with that. But other than that, it was agreed upon that men need affection.   So why is it wrong when women need it ?   (the main debate seemed to be over who should initiate and how soon)
          Human touch is a very real emotional need.   Babies will not thrive without it.   Neither will relationships between men and women.
          There is a stray kitten in our neighborhood (being cared for by 3 households on our block while we try to find her a permanent home).   I leave some food, water & kitten milk on the porch for her, but you know what, she will not touch the milk (and hardly ever the food)   until I pick her up and give her some love.   When I am out in the yard, she comes and rubs against my legs, stands on her hind legs and wraps her front legs around my leg, and will not drink the milk, unless I pick her up first, snuggle with her, and then she does that faux nursing thing.   When I put her down THEN she will eat.   She craves affection MORE than food !     (and she’s a CAT, and they have a rep as being indifferent to human affection)   (and yes, the no-kill shelters are full, and YES, I am trying to find out about the free spaying for stray cats, because I don’t want to have to find a home for 10 cats ! )
          The need for touch and affection (not just sexual) is a basic need, present in other animal species, so one can’t fault “social brainwashing for that.   When did recognizing the NEED for human touch and affection, and looking to get that need met become a BAD THING ?

    3. 39.3

      Mei- please clarify what you mean by craving public adoration from a guy, because that phrase suggests a whole lot more than the affection that JennLee is speaking of. If a guy publically adored me like that especially early on in the relationship I would think it’s creepy.   On the other hand, if you are having trouble getting a guy to be affectionate towards you despite him being the pursuer, and this is happening to you repeatedly despite dating a wide variety of guys then I think there is something odd going on here and you really need to explore this.   Without knowing what exactly you are doing on dates its hard to diagnose the issue on a blog. I would work with Evan to coach you.

  20. 40

    Marie – mistakes in the above. It should read: “If I have been dating a guy for a while and I get them something or do something he doesn’t like, I am fine with him telling me about it.   In fact, I’d prefer it so that I know what he actually likes!”

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