Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy

How’s this for a doozy of a first paragraph?

“There are three things, once one’s basic needs are satisfied, that academic literature points to as the ingredients for happiness: having meaningful social relationships, being good at whatever it is one spends one’s days doing, and having the freedom to make life decisions independently.

But research into happiness has also yielded something a little less obvious: Being better educated, richer, or more accomplished doesn’t do much to predict whether someone will be happy. In fact, it might mean someone is less likely to be satisfied with life.”

Now this may not come as a huge surprise to anyone with eyes and a bit of life experience, but it still remains counterintuitive. How can someone appear to “have everything” and yet be so unhappy…especially as others are striving to also “have everything.”

Raj Raghunathan, a professor of marketing at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, tries to make sense of in his recent book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?

How can someone appear to “have everything” and yet be so unhappy…especially as others are striving to also “have everything.”

In it, he claims that striving for achievement is the equivalent of a big dopamine hit. It’ll feel good when you get it – like a raise, a new title, a new car, a bigger house – but eventually, the thrill wears off and you need something new. That’s a recipe for unhappiness.

Says Raghunathan, “If you were to go back to the three things that people need—mastery, belonging, and autonomy—I’d add a fourth, after basic necessities have been met. It’s the attitude or the worldview that you bring to life. And that worldview can be characterized, just for simplicity, in one of two fashions: One extreme is a kind of scarcity-minded approach, that my win is going to come at somebody else’s loss, which makes you engage in social comparisons. And the other view is what I would call a more abundance-oriented approach, that there’s room for everybody to grow.”

Sounds a lot like what I’ve been preaching here for a decade. You can see it in the comments section. Men who think American women are selfish and would rather fly to Thailand for a bride. Women who are disgusted by men’s willingness to separate sex and love and have convinced themselves that no men are kind and commitment-oriented. This type of scarcity is not only untrue, but unhealthy as well.

So what does the professor recommend? A shift in focus – not unlike the one I try to provide in my blogs, newsletters and podcasts. I call it “short-term pessimism/long-term optimism. Raghunathan calls it “the dispassionate pursuit of passion”.

Life is benign; it is what you make of it.

“Basically the concept boils down to not tethering your happiness to the achievement of outcomes. The reason why it’s important to not tie happiness to outcomes is that outcomes by themselves don’t really have an unambiguously positive or negative effect on your happiness…Everybody’s got some kind of a belief about whether good things are going to happen or bad things are going to happen. There’s no way to scientifically prove that one of these beliefs is more accurate than another. But if you believe life is benign, you’re going to see lots of evidence for it. If you think life is malign, you’re going to see lots of evidence for it. It’s kind of like a placebo effect. Given that all of these beliefs are all equally valid, why not adopt the belief that is going to be more useful to you in your life as you go along?”

Thus, men aren’t bad. Online dating isn’t horrible. Marriage isn’t dead.

Life is benign; it is what you make of it.

I hope you’re having a great day and are starting to see how much power and control you have over your own romantic destiny.

Your thoughts below are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    ScottH

    So many relationship and happiness issues seem to me to boil down to one thing:  are you secure (in your attachment style).  If you are, and have financial security, then the world is a place of abundance and happiness naturally follows.  I think security is the fundamental and all the higher order derivatives naturally follow.  You can’t start with the higher order derivatives and work backwards.  Energy only flows one way.

    1. 1.1
      Rocky

      One caveat here. Not everyone can be secure, so this position, stated too strongly, sets many people up to fail.

      You are who you are. Fortunately, it’s a continuum and you can move towards more secure territory. But an anxious person who becomes more secure is probably still going to have some anxious tendencies and I think we should recognize that.

      1. 1.1.1
        Marsupilami

        I am very smart, very happy and extraordinarily free.

    2. 1.2
      Sabrina

      Personally understanding your own adult attachment style can provide great understanding & comfort (especially if one is anxious). However the author is on target with his premise that happiness shouldn’t be tied to outcomes. No matter how I play out the scenario in my head, tying happiness to outcomes to happiness only provides a short term high. It’s more about attitude & appreciating the smaller, daily occurences in life.

      1. 1.2.1
        ScotttH

        If happiness or other reward isn’t tied to a successful outcome and disappointment isn’t tied to failure, what incentive is there to achieve success?  What’s wrong with wanting a series of short term highs?

  2. 2
    GoWiththeFlow

    Three thoughts:

    Maybe people who are process oriented are happier than people who are goal oriented?

    It’s not necessarily having what you want, but wanting what you have.

    Blaming everything on biology (or eve psych) as a way to not act or take responsibility for your own happiness.  We see this in medicine every day.  A patient says both my parents have diabetes, that’s why I have it:  It’s biology. Instead of focusing on the role their behaviors have on their health and what they can do to change it.  It’s the path of least resistance.

    1. 2.1
      ScottH

      Why does blaming mean that someone isn’t taking responsibility?  Blaming and taking responsibility are two different things.  I blame my mother for me being the mess I am but I also take responsibility for my mess and have been working feverishly at it for decades.

      Likewise, I take the blame for messing up my kids but I hope they take responsibility for growing out of it.

      Laziness and ignorance are paths of least resistance.

      1. 2.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Scott,

        It’s when someone blames biology or another person, but doesn’t take on the responsibility to change or work with what they inherited or had placed upon them.  For instance, it would be like me saying that I went through the trauma of my mom dying when I was a kid, therefore that’s why I have problems as an adult.  Instead of doing the hard work of examining and adjusting my own mindset and behavior, I can absolve myself of responsibility by saying, not my fault.  It’s the immediate easy way out, but it prevents you from growing past your hurts.

    2. 2.2
      Caroline

      Absolutely agree with your “diabetes” analogy.  I know for me personally, it’s about taking responsibility in your own life. I think no matter what your gender, an important quality is not that you’re perfect but always improving. It’s all about the process. And as far as health, I think way too many folks are looking for the magic pill or magic bullet. I’ve been making a lifestyle change myself since last year. Once again, it’s about the process. The more you do, the more you learn and improve. You really gotta start somewhere and it takes time.. It gets to where more is just on auto pilot now. Now, if I just could get over my craving for icecream!

  3. 3
    Stacy2

    “striving for achievement is the equivalent of a big dopamine hit. It’ll feel good when you get it – like a raise, a new title, a new car, a bigger house – but eventually, the thrill wears off and you need something new. That’s a recipe for unhappiness.”

    Huh? I agree with the premise, I disagree with the conclusion. If you’re a generally happy/content individual, you can definitely get high on achievement, only to return to your normal base-level happiness level after it wears off. That describes me perfectly. I get something I was striving for, I feel elevated for like a week, reward myself with a new designer bag to enhance the impact, read my credit card bill, and come back to earth. Kidding. Sort of. Setting goals and consistently achieving them is not a recipe for unhappiness.

    Also, when it comes to money, a credible study (to which i can’t be bothered to find a link but inquiring minds can google) found that there actually is a direct link between money and happiness (which is completely intuitive) but it seems to be maxing out at a certain income amount. I read it about 10 years ago and at that time they said $70K or so. I guess we should index that for inflation.

    Lastly, even if you agree with the premise and the conclusion, this is hardly a concept that can be applied to relationships, or at least i don’t see how. If you de-link your happiness from achievement (in this context, i am assuming achievement would be actually being in a relationship), then why would you make any effort to find a relationship in the first place? Seems like a faulty logic to me.

     

     

     

     

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That study points out that the big leap in happiness goes from $25K to $75K, where you start off trying to survive and can finally breathe easier at $75K. After $75K, there’s incremental increases in happiness, from like a 7.1 to a 7.4, but the big one is getting out of survival mode to stability mode.

      As for your other points, Stacy, I’m not even going to respond to you, since we rarely seem to be on the same page with this stuff. But as long as you’re happy, my friend, keep doing what you’re doing.

  4. 4
    AAORK

    It’s inaccurate to say that “all American women are selfish”. However, it is accurate to say that it has become extremely difficult for a quality, marriage-minded man in America to find an unselfish woman who is also marriage material and not already married. Not impossible, just much more difficult than it should be.  And it’s completely inaccurate to say that men “would rather fly to Thailand for a bride”. For so many obvious reasons, these men would very much prefer to find a good woman here. But, considering the (increasing) rate at which this expensive and laborious activity is occurring gives compelling evidence not only to the genuine struggles American men are experiencing today but also to the perseverance of these same men to accomplish a life goal that is important (to them at least).

    1. 4.1
      Stacy2

      it has become extremely difficult for a quality, marriage-minded man in America to find an unselfish woman who is also marriage material and not already married

      No, not really. It all depends on your definition of “a quality man”. Unfortunately for most men, the standards have risen over the last few decades. It used to be that if you had a job (any sort of average job with income) and were somewhat decent looking and lacked homicidal tendencies you were considered “a quality man”  – since women needed to get married.

      Now women don’t need to get married. Literally everything a man can do, a woman can do better: make money, maintain a home, have own biological children. As far as companionship and emotional support goes? Most men are not emotionally intelligent and aware enough to be providing those. And most men are not good lovers either.

      So, Aarok, you are correct that it is more difficult for average men to get married, and that is because average is over, if you are not at the top you are in the bottom. On the other hand, men that do meet the new standard of “quality man” are awash in female attention and have no issues getting married if they’re so inclined.

      I kind of feel for average Joes out there…I can see how this totally sucks for them.

      1. 4.1.1
        Chance

        I think when one considers that it’s still women who typically push for marriage, one sees the evidence that women still need to be married.  Also, while women can choose to have biological children on their own, those children really need a father.  Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well, and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.

        1. Stacy2

          oh no-no. Women want to get married, but they don’t need to. There’s a huge difference.

          Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well,

          Meaning, becoming the POTUS for example?

          and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children

          Give me a break with this BS pls.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          It’s not BS. It’s statistics. Just because our President didn’t have a father doesn’t mean there’s not ABUNDANT evidence that kids born out of wedlock are more prone to violence, drugs, jail, and further kids out of wedlock. By your logic, if 5% of children with no Dad make good, then there’s no difference between their chances and other kids’ chances. Except it’s not true. Kids with two parents, in general, fare much better in life. You can look it up.

        3. Stacy2

          Evan, actually it is BS and it is for the most part BS statistics. You should really reflect on this subject before you jump on Jeb Bush’ wagon on shaming single mothers. Most of the times, the differences in substance abuse rates, etc. are very small and these studies can hardly be controlled for other variables such as I don’t know … the socioeconomic status of said single mother? Do I really need to say what that really was for most single mothers  over 20 years ago?

        4. Evan Marc Katz

          Don’t fuck with me on statistics, Stacy. From the liberal Atlantic:

          “The bottom line is that there is a large body of literature showing that children of single mothers are more likely to commit crimes than children who grow up with their married parents. This is true not just in the United States, but wherever the issue has been researched. Few experts, including Cohen, dispute this. Studies cannot prove conclusively that fatherlessness—or any other factor—actually causes people to commit crimes. For that, you’d have to do the impossible: take a large group of infants and raise each of them simultaneously in two precisely equivalent households—except one would be headed by a father and mother and the other by a lone mother. But by comparing criminals of the same race, education, income, and mother’s education whose primary observable difference is family structure, social scientists have come as close as they can to making the causal case with the methodological tools available.”

        5. Shaukat

          Kids with two parents, in general, fare much better in life. You can look it up.

          Errr, I hate to say it, but I actually agree with Stacy2 on this issue. We all know what Mark Twain said about statistics.

          First, the article in the Atlantic that Evan linked to relies heavily on a study by Cynthia Harper and Sara Mclanahan which utilized a longitudinal data set. However, the findings of these authors are far from conclusive on this point. This is from their study’s abstract:

          “Results from longitudinal event-history analysis showed that although a sizable portion of the risk that appeared to be due to father absence could actually be attributed to other factors, such as teen motherhood, low parent education, racial inequalities, and poverty, adolescents in father-absent households still faced elevated incarceration risks. The adolescents who faced the highest incarceration risks, however, were those in stepparent families, including father–stepmother families.”

          Moreover, it is now recognized that the crime rate in the 1990s began to decline even as single parent families were increasing. It should also be noted that while regression analyses is a useful tool, it is often only as good as the assumptions of the authors. For instance, the authors of the Bell Curve excluded education as an independent variable, and thus were able to conclude that race was the significant factor responsible for IQ and success. Finally, it should be noted that regression analyses conducted by the economist Steven Levitt, popularized in his book Freakonomics, employing a data set of thousands of adolescents, found that there was no statistically significant association between family structure  and the success rates of the subjects.

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          “Moreover, it is now recognized that the crime rate in the 1990s began to decline even as single parent families were increasing.”

          Completely elides the point by pivoting to a different statistic. You assume that there’s something transitive: if there are more children of single parents, crime should go up. Crime has gone down, ergo, there’s no difference in outcomes between children of single parents.

          The problem, of course, is that – per the quote and study cited – children of single parents, on the whole, fare worse than children of married parents – not just in the US, but everywhere in the world. This seems to be some sort of confirmation bias. It’s like you don’t want the study to be true because maybe you were the child of a single mother, so you try to find ways to shoot holes in it.

          I really have no horse in the race other than truth and logic. My beliefs are formed by facts, not feelings. Show me the study that illustrates that out of wedlock kids fare as well as children from in tact nuclear families and you may have a point. Until then, you just sound like birthers who don’t want to believe that Barack Obama is American.

          More: http://nydivorcefirm.com/single-parent-households-does-affect-children/

          Varied research shows that children in single-parent homes fare worse than those with two parents. There is a prevalence of lower birth-rates and higher death rates among infants in one-parent homes. The number of children aged 15 to 17 years in school and in good health is much lower in children from single-parent homes as compared to two-parent homes. The number of children becoming pregnant at these ages is also increasing.

          In addition, children who have gone through a divorce are more likely to suffer from depression, emotional stress and difficulties in school. Adolescents from single parent families were found to be three times more likely to be depressed than those living with two parents. Criminal activity is also more associated with single parent homes. Children from single-parent households account for 72% of teenage murderers and 60% rape crimes. Children from single-parent homes are eleven times more likely to exhibit violent behavior.

          This does not mean that problems found in single-parent homes are because of the parent who raises the children. It can be related to things other than single parenting. Single-parent households are generally less well-off financially and this may be a major reason for family problems. Low income families face issues of lower education levels and lower economic achievement which can often leave the child feeling lonely and isolated. Also, children in single-parent households are generally less supervised and there is also less communication between the child and the parent.

          As already mentioned, single-mother households are the most common types of one parent family. Compared to single fathers, single mothers face different challenges. Nearly 70% of single parent mothers live in poverty and earn less than $13,000 annually. They have a tough time providing for their families because they usually have lower paying jobs.

        7. Shaukat

          First, in response to your personal attack, I grew up in a two parent household until I was fifteen, so I really have no vested interest in defending single mothers/parents. I’m interested in the data, the underlying assumptions behind the data, and how it’s interpreted. I could just as easily say that you have confirmation bias since your business is based on promoting marriage. Not that I ever would have, but you threw down the gauntlet for some reason.

          Regarding the studies, you linked to a law firm specializing in divorce cases, hardly a scientific source. There are studies, on the other hand, that support my position. For example, a meta-analysis by Petrosino, Derzon and Lavenberg (2009), published in the Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, concluded the following:

          “Contrary to common notions, family factors may have a role to play in criminal offending but are not the major reason why most persons become criminal . For those meta-analyses that examined a range of variables and their association with the onset and continuation of crime, family factors were never the largest correlation; in fact, the average correlation across family factors never surpassed the average correlation across all predictors. ”

          https://web.archive.org/web/20150906004802/http://swacj.org/swjcj/archives/6.2/3%20Petrosino%20et%20al.pdf

          My point was not that there are no studies illustrating that family structure has a significant impact on the  well-being of children, but rather that the latter variable is often bound up with other hidden variables that are not tested.

        8. GoWiththeFlow

          Evan,

          If you are interested in studies and statistics on the effects of family structure on kids please consider reading  Single Parents and Their Children:  The Good News No One Ever Tells You. By Bella DePaulo.  She is a professor and researcher at UCSB (Ph.D. from Harvard) and the book contains essays on current research that she wrote on her “Living Single” blog at Psychology Today and her “Single at Heart” blog at PsychCentral.

          The overall impression of what she presents, single parent families are not all created equal, nor are all two parent families.  There are many confounding factors that affect how kids will do, including conflict within the home, the presence of grandparents in the home, socioeconomic status, and social support to name a few.  And overall, the kids from single parent homes are doing just fine.  From the first essay of the book which appeared in Psychology Today:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201507/10-ways-the-children-single-parents-defy-all-stereotypes

          “On any particular measure, the vast majority of the children of single parents are doing just fine. For example, in a national survey of substance abuse among more than 22,000 adolescents from many different kinds of households, the rate of substance abuse among the children of single parents was 5.7%. That means that more than 94% of the adolescent children of single mothers did not have substance abuse problems.”

          “When the children of single mothers have higher rates of certain problems than do the children of married parents, often the difference is very small. In the same substance abuse study, for example, the rate for the children of married parents was 4.5%. If a study such as this one made it into the media, the headlines would probably shout, “Children of single mothers abuse drugs and alcohol.” But look at the actual numbers: 5.7% for the children of single mothers, compared to 4.5% for the children of married parents. That’s a difference of just a tad more than 1%.”

           

        9. Evan Marc Katz

          Bella DePaulo is just about the best example of walking confirmation bias there is. She starts with an agenda and works backwards to find evidence to support her point of view. She’s publicly attacked friends of mine who are pro-marriage because she’s anti-marriage. I think she’s far more suspect as a source than you believe her to be. Anyone can cherry pick a number: I’ve reported that EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD, there has proven to be a stubborn correlation between lesser outcomes in life and single parenthood. This is not an attack on you if you’re a single parent or the child of a single parent. I am just perpetually surprised at people’s inability to accept news that may be less than flattering. I’ll bet if you did a study about Jews and argumentativeness, you’d find a high correlation. That’s been my anecdotal experience, anyway. Why would I be surprised that a larger study pointed out what we observe to be true? Why, indeed, would we assume that children without present fathers, few male role models, no second incomes, with unstable families, with less money, in less educated areas have the same outcomes in life?

        10. Stacy2

          I think others have presented compelling arguments against flawed “single mothers studies”. It should be intuitively clear to everyone that most single mothers were in fact disadvantaged – economically, racially and socially. As somebody mentioned – 70% lived below poverty line. And, as one can surmise, these women were raising their children in crime-ridden neighborhoods with poor schools and were racially disadvantaged. I can’t find another word for linking life outcomes to single parenthood given this backdrop, other than total BS. It’s like saying that 100% of people who ate cucumbers have died. Duh.

          Moreover, considering this socioeconomic composition, it is actually quite remarkable that the difference in outcomes is so small. One could make an argument that these mothers as a group have done a phenomenal job overcoming the adversities they faced and had an excellent track record.

          Lastly, taking these numbers, which reflect the realities of economically disadvantaged demographics from 30-40 years ago (when today’s adults were growing up) and extrapolate it forward to imply that an educated, economically stable single mother today runs the risk of raising a child with worse life outcomes, is simply foolish. And this is basically the premise from which this discussion started in the first place – that a woman today can do everything a man can better. I will rest my case here.

        11. Evan Marc Katz

          Actually, Stacy, “foolish” is ignoring the facts because they don’t confirm your feelings about how things should be. You’re trying to separate single motherhood from poverty; but it IS linked. People with less education, fewer role models, less impulse control, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, with religious upbringings – have sex, accidentally conceive, choose to keep the child – and bring a baby into an unstable situation. Those babies – not surprisingly – turn out to be more likely to do drugs, commit crimes, sire kids out of wedlock, etc. As such, I have no idea what you’re actually arguing. That it’s not fair to point this out? That Barack Obama and Bill Clinton came from broken homes so it’s really not a disadvantage to be raised by a single mother alone? That men provide so little in terms of emotional and economic support that there’s virtually no difference between kids with in-tact families and kids who have no fathers? None of it holds up to logical scrutiny, or larger statistical scrutiny. So you can believe whatever you want. But it’s not “conservative” to point out facts that contradict the all-options-are-equal narrative: people who have NSA sex are, on the whole, less happy (even though I did it myself), people who get married in a year are more likely to get divorced than people who wait 3 years. People who are college educated and over 30 have a much lower divorce rate than under thirty and high school educated. And children with two married parents, a steady home environment, masculine and feminine energy, and dual incomes are more likely to succeed than out of wedlock children. The fact that you know a bunch of 40 year old rich single moms who got some Ivy League sperm or made a killing in a divorce settlement doesn’t change the underlying facts on the ground.

        12. GoWiththeFlow

          Evan,

          I believe you when you say you are not trying to attack anyone specifically.  I would, however, like to point out that this sub-thread began when Chance @4.1.1 wrote this doozy:

          “Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well, and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.”

          If I had written that motherless children typically don’t fare well, and single fathers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children, I expect that I would have been on the receiving end of a written tirade by every man on this site for noxious and untrue generalizations about single dads.

          If your position is that children of some single parents are at greater risk in life for certain bad outcomes, I agree with that statement.  But what is the degree of risk?  In the survey of adolescent drug use, kids of single parents had a 1.2% greater rate of substance abuse that kids of married parents.  Here in this thread the language used implies that the risk is HUGE.  According to Chance ALL single mothers are doing a bad job of raising kids, and it’s the moms’ fault that the fathers aren’t there.

          What this whole thread is missing (and that Shaukat makes a good argument for) is that there is huge variance in the economic resources, social support system, and stability in the many forms single parent households take on.  A teenage mom that lives in poverty in a crime ridden neighborhood is very different from a 32 year old college educated mom who’s husband was killed by a drunk driver.  And they are both very different from the 39 year old single mom who adopted a girl from an orphanage in Russia and the 45 year old divorced mom who’s ex-husband has the kids alternating weeks.

           

        13. Chance

          GWTF,

           

          “Here in this thread the language used implies that the risk is HUGE.”

           

          I’ll take responsibility for the lack of clarification in my original comment as I was quickly responding to Stacy2’s comment.  I was trying to say that children of single mothers typically do not fare well, relatively speaking, when compared to children with two parents.  (On a side note, GWTF, how would you respond if I said that men can do everything better than women?  No offense taken there?).

           

          I would still argue that the risk is huge that fatherless kids don’t typically fare well.  When having these types of discussions, I think people focus too much on the worst possible outcomes of childhood.  However, just because a kid doesn’t drop out of school, get involved in crime, get into drugs, or has a kid when he/she is a teenager doesn’t mean the kid fared well.

           

          When I was growing up, the kids who were raised in a single-parent household almost always had much less time and money available to him/her to ensure that he/she was effectively prepared to be successful as an adult.  As a result, often it was the case that no one was looking over them to ensure that they kept their grades up, and they were often left unsupervised.  It was much more likely that their parent didn’t have the money to set them up in extracurricular activities, which carried over into high school.  The vast majority of them simply hoped to tread water, and perhaps, attend a local community college (on their own dime).  As they moved on into adulthood, the vast majority of them are just working class people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

           

          On the contrary, virtually all of the kids who did well in school, and moved on to live in conditions that are above working class, came from two-parent households.  Forget about the most extreme negative outcomes of childhood, most people – almost regardless of background – don’t encounter them.  One has to look at the relative outcomes.  Who dreams of having their child scrape by as an adult?

           

           

          According to Chance ALL single mothers are doing a bad job of raising kids, and it’s the moms’ fault that the fathers aren’t there.”

           

          I think anyone who has an adequate command of the English language, and who isn’t trying to prop up a straw man, could understand that I was speaking general terms as opposed to saying that “ALL” single mothers are doing a bad job of raising kids.  More often than not, a woman becomes a single mother due to some very poor choices, and more often than not, the woman wants someone else to pay for it.  If the father can provide her with more money than the government, she wants him to pay without regard for whether or not he wanted the child in the first place (once again, she made the choice to raise the child in such bad circumstances, which were laid out before her before the child was born).  If the father has no real means to support the child, it’s common that she wants him to stay away because the government can provide more money.  Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society.  A woman who knowingly brings a fatherless child into the world under the conditions that I discussed above is no better than a man who recklessly spreads his seed with no intent to ever pay child support.  I didn’t say it was all the mother’s fault, but they have a lot of the responsibility – probably the majority of the responsibility – since they have sole access to the rights that allow them to make the decisions to avoid such an outcome.

        14. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          “On a side note, GWTF, how would you respond if I said that men can do everything better than women?  No offense taken there?”

          Then why didn’t you respond to Stacy about how this statement offended you?  Instead when she said, “Men are losers!” you answered tit for tat with “Oh yeah, well women are losers too!”

          “When I was growing up, the kids who were raised in a single-parent household almost always had much less time and money available to him/her to ensure that he/she was effectively prepared to be successful as an adult.  As a result, often it was the case that no one was looking over them to ensure that they kept their grades up, and they were often left unsupervised.”

          Goes to the point that socioeconomic status and social support can have a great impact on how well a kid will do.  Outside of having moms who were single for part of their childhood (and that’s another point, single moms can get married and married moms can wind up divorced or widowed) Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s mothers were able to complete advanced educations that led to good paying jobs, and they had very involved extended family networks, namely their grandparents.  BTW there was one study that looked at how kids fared in 10 different family structures.  The one with the best outcomes?  Multigenerational households, including homes with a single parent, their child(ren), and one or two grandparents.

          As far as your classmates that you say didn’t do well, the assumption that you are making is that their adult lives would have been better if they had married parents.  If these kids were from divorced families living in a home where there was high conflict prior to the divorce, that’s a very damaging environment.  They could have been worse off in their intact two parent home than in a low conflict single parent household.

          “. . .virtually all of the kids who did well in school, and moved on to live in conditions that are above working class, came from two-parent households.  Forget about the most extreme negative outcomes of childhood, most people – almost regardless of background – don’t encounter them.  One has to look at the relative outcomes.  Who dreams of having their child scrape by as an adult?”

          If this means you grew up in a working class community it’s not shocking there is little upward mobility.  Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign in part, was about the class divisions we have in this society and the lack of upward mobility.  If the parents, married or single, are just scraping by, the majority of their kids will follow the same script.

          “Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society.”

          Bull sh*t.  Where is your economic data to support this statement?  Do single mothers not pay sales, property, and income taxes?  Are they exempt from government user fees to register their cars or get a driver’s license?  Do the large majority of single moms not pay rent or make mortgage payments?  Do they not have jobs and use their wages to buy food and clothing and pay utility bills?  It seems that you have relabelled the 1980s era welfare queen caricature a single mom and want to blame all of societies ills on them.

          “I didn’t say it was all the mother’s fault, but they have a lot of the responsibility – probably the majority of the responsibility – since they have sole access to the rights that allow them to make the decisions to avoid such an outcome.”

          Women do not have “sole access” to birth control or responsible informed decisions about who they have sex with.

           

        15. Chance

          First, I wasn’t offended by Stacy2’s comment.  I just found it fascinating that you took exception with my observation while you didn’t take exception with her proclamation.  Also, my comment to her didn’t have anything to do with women being losers.  I was pointing out where she was wrong.

           

          Second, you’re either missing or ignoring the main issue surrounding socioeconomic conditions, which is that socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood.  Evan already addressed this, and it clearly had no influence on your viewpoint so it’s pointless for me to discuss it any further.

           

          Bull sh*t.  Where is your economic data to support this statement?  Do single mothers not pay sales, property, and income taxes?  Are they exempt from government user fees to register their cars or get a driver’s license?  Do the large majority of single moms not pay rent or make mortgage payments?  Do they not have jobs and use their wages to buy food and clothing and pay utility bills?  It seems that you have relabelled the 1980s era welfare queen caricature a single mom and want to blame all of societies ills on them.

           

          While I don’t know if there is any study out there that specifically examines the median amount of financial support that single mothers receive from sources outside of their occupations (e.g., money from the government, child support, etc), and compares that figure to the median amount of money that they pay to the government, there is a lot of data out there that points to the fact that they are typically net takers.  (Also, I’m talking about women who chose to bear a child without a father, btw.  I think it’s a questionable practice to refer to all divorced mothers as single mothers.).  I believe I read that the median income for single mothers is around $26k.  Women earning that kind of money aren’t paying very much at all in income taxes, aren’t paying that much in sales taxes, and are likely paying $0 in property taxes.  The money they make doesn’t contribute much to the economy, and the money they spend is often driven by wealth re-distribution.  Finally, I never blamed all of society’s ills on single mothers.  I just find it fascinating how much people push back against idea that these women aren’t victims of some kind of societal ill, but are more often than not the primary cause of the problem.

           

          “Women do not have “sole access” to birth control or responsible informed decisions about who they have sex with.”

           

          I’m talking about after conception (i.e., after the mistake was made).  Women do, in fact, have sole access to the rights that allow them to avoid the outcome of a fatherless child.  Again, I did not say that men are not responsible.

        16. Shaukat

          Second, you’re either missing or ignoring the main issue surrounding socioeconomic conditions, which is that socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood. 

          The acknowledgment that ‘socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood’ does not establish anything except for a simple correlation. To take another example, for centuries (and even now) certain theorists and political economists believed that overpopulation within a specific geographical area was responsible for poverty. The correlation was there, and still is, but they had misidentified the causal variable. We now know that fertility rates decline as national income increases.

          In other words, the only way to show that single parenthood is responsible for family dysfunction is if you can establish that the former is in fact the independent variable responsible for impoverishment. While this is certainly the party line among right wing ideologies like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, it is not something that is taken seriously by credible economists, who recognize that poverty is caused by labour market and economic variables, such as interest rates, housing availability, fixed capital formation, employment opportunities, etc. These variables don’t change just because someone who makes 20k a year decides to marry someone who might make less or the same.

          The economist Steven Levitt has argued that upward mobility is influenced by genetics and one’s social and economic environment, and his regression tests found that there was no statistically significant association between family structure and the performance of adolescents in school tests, grades, etc. I was accused in a post above of being anti-science, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s what would change my mind on this issue: a study that controls for socio-economic status (not just income, which can fluctuate mildly within a specific band) and other relevant variables such as geographical crime rates, and which illustrates that single parenthood still has significant negative material effects on the well-being of a child.

          On a side note Chance, in a previous thread ( I don’t remember which one, or else I’d link to it) I recall that in response to one of EMK’s pro-marriage comments you responded by stating that the stats on single parents on their offspring were simply illustrating a correlation, not causation. I even remember that I responded to defend your viewpoint. You now seem to have changed your mind, and I would be interested to know why.

        17. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          “Second, you’re either missing or ignoring the main issue surrounding socioeconomic conditions, which is that socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood. “

          No they are not.  A teen single mother in an impoverished area is in a completely different situation than a woman with a professional level salary in her late 30s who has IVF.

          What you seem to be doing is taking single mothers who live in poverty, have low education and work skill levels, poor employment prospects, poor marriage prospects, and who are often racial and ethnic minorities who face discrimination, and assuming that their single status is THE major determinant of their children’s lot in life.  Then you apply the greater risk these kids face (that isn’t solely determined by their parent’s marital status) and assume ALL single mom households have the same risk profile.  The meta-analysis study that Shaukat linked to finds that family structure (single parent vs. TMC households) has no effect on adolescent criminality, which is linked to poverty and other social ills.

          “I’m talking about women who chose to bear a child without a father, btw.  I think it’s a questionable practice to refer to all divorced mothers as single mothers.”

          While you may want to give a goodwill exemption to divorced moms and not group them in with those bad, bad never-married single moms, most studies place both groups of women in the same single mom category.  Because whether a parent is single via divorce or was never married, many function very similarly and there is overlap between the groups.  A divorced woman’s ex could be completely out of the picture while a never married mom, and her child, could be in an ongoing supportive and loving relationship with the kid’s father.

          “While I don’t know if there is any study out there that specifically examines the median amount of financial support that single mothers receive from sources outside of their occupations (e.g., money from the government, child support, etc), and compares that figure to the median amount of money that they pay to the government, there is a lot of data out there that points to the fact that they are typically net takers.”

          You are correct:  There are no studies that support your assumption that single moms are “net takers.”

          “I never blamed all of society’s ills on single mothers.  I just find it fascinating how much people push back against idea that these women aren’t victims of some kind of societal ill, but are more often than not the primary cause of the problem.”

          The issue here is that the subset of single mothers you want to focus on as being representative of all single moms are born into circumstances that they did not cause;  poverty, family dysfunction, failing public schools, high crime and violence prone communities, and extremely limited access to upper mobility.  Marina Ashdale and others have economic models that show that women born into such circumstances have no incentive to delay having sex since there is no long term payoff–a college degree, a husband, a future high paying job–to protect.  They also have little incentive to marry a spouse who is experiencing the same poverty,  employment insecurity, and very limited opportunities for upward mobility that the women are.  Marriage won’t make her life better.

          Now coming full circle to the issue of confirmations bias, I will freely acknowledge that I like the fact that there are studies that show that kids of single moms will turn out alright.  What’s more, the research does suggest and sometimes shows that there are actions that single moms (and those that love them) can take to improve outcomes for their kids.  For instance having grandma and grandpa live with mom and grandkids or at least be very nearby.

          Chance, what I want you to ask yourself is whether you have a confirmation bias thing of your own going on.  The disdain you have for single moms just rolls off the words in your comments.  You use all inclusive statements, it’s never some moms, or a subset of moms, or a few moms.

          “. . . single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.”

          “. . . fatherless kids don’t typically fare well.”

          “Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society.”

          There is no appreciation of the wide range of circumstances and experiences.  No acknowledgment of other factors that worsen outcomes for kids that coexist in some single parent homes but are independent of marital status.  And no mention that there are situations where a single parent household is preferable to what the alternative would be.  When it comes to single moms it’s all black and white which suggests that this is more on the level of a religious belief for you than a reasoned set of tentative conclusions that are open to modification.

        18. Chance

          Hi Shaukat,

           

          First, I appreciate the rational debate.  I can tell you are coming from a place where you have sincerely tried to correctly interpret my stance.  Now, to a couple of your points:

           

          “The acknowledgment that ‘socioeconomic conditions are linked to single motherhood’ does not establish anything except for a simple correlation.”

           

          You are absolutely right.  Indeed, I was not implying causation.  When I told Stacy2 that single mothers do not have a very good track record, the reason I believe this is the case is because a disproportionate percentage of them are below the poverty line or have generally lower income levels.  As a result, they often cannot support these children in a manner that they need to be supported.  These women are often bringing the child into the world knowing that the father isn’t willing and able to take care of the child.  If the majority of single mothers followed a more responsible path to single motherhood (e.g., a woman who makes a lot more money who chooses to adopt or opts for IVF, and has ensured that the child will have a good support system), then I believe the track record for single mothers would undoubtedly be better.  However, my second point to Stacy2 is that children still need their fathers.  I don’t see how anyone could debate that the additional time and money that can be provided by a second parent (assuming that the parent is employed and doesn’t neglect the child – a fair assumption in most cases) doesn’t benefit a child.  That’s the primary issue with so many single mothers:  they are choosing to mate with men who aren’t willing and able to do both, and then subsequently choosing to bring the child into substandard conditions despite other options that are available to them that could spare the child from such an outcome.

           

           

          “On a side note Chance, in a previous thread ( I don’t remember which one, or else I’d link to it) I recall that in response to one of EMK’s pro-marriage comments you responded by stating that the stats on single parents on their offspring were simply illustrating a correlation, not causation. I even remember that I responded to defend your viewpoint. You now seem to have changed your mind, and I would be interested to know why.

           

          I think you might be referring this blog post on Dateonomics:  https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/dateonomics-by-jon-birger-book-review-by-evan-marc-katz/comment-page-2/#comments

           

          I wasn’t arguing the same point in that thread that I am arguing here, although I can certainly understand why you thought that I was.  In the Dateonomics post, I was arguing that if two parents are loving and committed to raising their child, then it doesn’t matter if they are married or not.  I wasn’t arguing that children didn’t benefit from having a second parent in their lives.  You will see that my last comment in that thread is consistent with my stance here.

           

        19. Chance

          GWTF,

           

          I wasn’t going to reply to your post because it is against my better judgment, but I feel compelled:

           

          “No they are not.”    (as it relates to single motherhood being linked to low income)

           

          Yes, they are.  Unless you are arguing that there isn’t a causal link, I cannot see how anyone could say that the two aren’t linked unless that person is willfully ignoring reality.

           

          “What you seem to be doing is taking single mothers who live in poverty, have low education and work skill levels, poor employment prospects, poor marriage prospects, and who are often racial and ethnic minorities who face discrimination, and assuming that their single status is THE major determinant of their children’s lot in life. “

           

          Not even remotely.  I’m saying there is a notable correlation between people from this kind of background and the incidence of single motherhood.  There is no statistical method  that can prove causality.  It often can only be proven in a controlled experiment.

           

          “While you may want to give a goodwill exemption to divorced moms and not group them in with those bad, bad never-married single moms, most studies place both groups of women in the same single mom category.”

           

          The reason that I think it is a questionable practice to include divorced mothers in the stats for single mothers is because, often times, it is merely a technicality (i.e., they are single and they are mothers).  The father is often very involved in the child’s life.  When people talk about the struggles that single mothers face, it is implied that they aren’t getting any (or getting very little) assistance from the father, but that often isn’t the case with divorced mothers.

           

           

          “You are correct:  There are no studies that support your assumption that single moms are “net takers.””

           

          I said that I didn’t know if there is any study out there that specifically examines the median amount of financial support that single mothers receive from sources outside of their occupations (e.g., money from the government, child support, etc), and compares that figure to the median amount of money that they pay to the government.  Therefore, I am similarly unaware of any studies that indicate that single mothers are net contributors.  However, I noted that there is data out there that certainly indicates that, on average, they are taking more from society than they are giving back, financially speaking.  You are supremely confident that I am wrong, which leads me to believe that you have data to back up your stance.  Could you please provide the evidence?

           

          “There is no appreciation of the wide range of circumstances and experiences.”

           

          You and I are doing the same thing, GWTF.  We are focusing on a subset of single mothers to support our respective stances.  The difference between you and me is that I am focusing on the majority (mothers who make very little and who made the choice to bring a child into a bad situation), while you are focusing in the minority (more financially stable mothers who choose IVF, adoption, etc., or widowed mothers).

           

          “No acknowledgment of other factors that worsen outcomes for kids that coexist in some single parent homes but are independent of marital status.”

           

          I have been acknowledging them:  women should consider the conditions they live in before they choose to bring a child into those conditions.

           

          “And no mention that there are situations where a single parent household is preferable to what the alternative would be.”  

           

          This is a painfully ironic comment coming from someone who has yet to acknowledge that children need their fathers.  Is there evidence to suggest that this is the case in the majority of situations?  Are most single mothers better off without the father around?  Please provide evidence.

        20. Shaukat

          Hi Chance,

          Thanks for providing that link. You are correct, you were discussing a separate, though related, issue. Since you’ve now clarified that you do agree that we are looking at a correlation when it comes to poverty and single motherhood, then I think our remaining disagreements can probably be reduced to these two points:

          1). Single mothers are net takers;

          2). The offspring of single mothers would, in general, be better off having their fathers in the picture.

          Regarding the first point, I think we would both agree that we lack the data to reach a definitive conclusion, and quite frankly I’m not motivated enough to check to see if there are any studies that examine this topic in depth. I will say this though: In order to make this determination it would be necessary to not just look at how much single mothers contribute in terms of rent/property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, social security contributions, their own sources of income, but also whether they work jobs that the majority of citizens are not willing to do, etc.

          Regarding the second point, there are a of couple things to say here. First, if we hold variables such as income, socio-economic status, and geographical area constant, then it would seem to me that in order to reach this conclusion you would have to argue that the primary benefit to having two parents in the equation would be related to the emotional development/health of the child. This could be true, but such a study would be very difficult to design since such intangible indicators are, by their nature, very difficult to measure.

          Moreover, we should keep in mind that the nuclear family is a fairly recent institution and phenomena, and even today in other cultural contexts children are raised by extended family and kinship. In my mind what is important is that the child has access to a wide social network of various role models making up  a tight support system. Also, as GWTF mentioned, in certain situations (abuse, neglect) the child would be better off being raised by one parent, but that’s only assuming all else isn’t equal, which goes without saying. Hope this clarifies my position a little.

        21. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          I said:

          “And no mention that there are situations where a single parent household is preferable to what the alternative would be.”  

          You replied:

          ” Is there evidence to suggest that this is the case in the majority of situations?  Are most single mothers better off without the father around?  Please provide evidence.”

          Listen to the podcast of Evan’s interview with Rhonda Britten.  Her father shot and killed her mother then turned the gun on himself when she was 14.  She witnessed the whole thing.  Some two parent families are not safe places for children to be.  Caroline in 4.1.5 said the alternative option of staying in her marriage would have been worse for her kids than divorcing and being a single mom.

          When one parent is abusive, an addict, or involved in criminal activity, you bet it’s in the kids’ best interests to be safely away from the parent who is the bad actor whether they are then being raised by a single mother or a single father.  In Evan’s post Should Men Be Forced to Pay For Children They Didn’t Want, a researcher quoted in the linked article said that by forcing an unwilling, abusive dad to pay support, it opens up the mother and the child to danger from him.

          Hopefully these situations are rare, but they are out there.  (And no I DID NOT say most single mothers would be better off without the father around.)

          “This is a painfully ironic comment coming from someone who has yet to acknowledge that children need their fathers.”

          Go back and read over the comment thread you and I engaged in from the above mentioned post.

          Should Men Be Forced to Pay For Children They Didn’t Want?

          I saw a poignant comment written by a now grown woman who grew up without her father.  You can feel the pain of her father’s rejection in her words.  Against MY better judgement I replied in support of her position.  (And it was against my better judgement because I knew someone would get the howitzer out and start firing away and my nature is to avoid conflict especially when I know I’m not changing anyone’s mind.)

          In multiple comments, I explained how my son not having his dad for the first part of his childhood affected him, even though two uncles and a family friend were, and still are, a big part of his life.  I also explained that part of the reason that I was against allowing dads to legally be excused from paying child support is because kids need to be important to their dads, and no child should ever be on the receiving end of a court ruling that says their biological dad doesn’t think they are worth even a check in the mail.  (Not to mention a policy like this might throw more kids into poverty.)

          “You and I are doing the same thing, GWTF.  We are focusing on a subset of single mothers to support our respective stances.  The difference between you and me is that I am focusing on the majority (mothers who make very little and who made the choice to bring a child into a bad situation), while you are focusing in the minority (more financially stable mothers who choose IVF, adoption, etc., or widowed mothers).”

          Where are your statistics to support your claim that this subset of mothers constitutes a majority of single mothers?  You are making assumptions.  You are also assuming that unmarried fathers are not involved with their kids in any meaningful way.  I don’t hold men, especially poor young men, in such low regard that I would assume they just all up and walk away.

          As for why I responded on this thread, it’s not because I think you can be persuaded that a lot, if not most single moms are very aware of their limitations and are consciously doing every thing they can to raise productive well-adjusted kids.  It’s because no single mom reading this blog because she believes in love, marriage, and the positive force a good man can be in her and her kids’ life deserves to be condemned by your gross mischaracterizations:

          “Fatherless children typically don’t fare very well, and single mothers (almost always by choice, btw) don’t have a very good track record of raising children.”

          “More often than not, a woman becomes a single mother due to some very poor choices, and more often than not, the woman wants someone else to pay for it.”

          “Single mothers are bad for society because they are typically net takers from society”  (And p.s. receiving child support from the father makes the mom a “taker.”)

          Lastly Chance (and I do mean lastly because put a fork in me, I am done with this sub-thread) IMO the reason you have such a need to point out what a horrible scourge single motherhood is is because the thought that a single mom can raise a happy, well-adjusted child makes you feel on a very deep level that that means men don’t matter, that you may not matter.  Instead of lashing out at a group of women, live your life so that you DO matter to the people around you.

           

        22. Evan Marc Katz

          GoWithTheFlow – I’m not done with this thread because you’re too bright and valued here to leave without a better understanding of what’s really going on.

          Broad studies ALWAYS show that, in general, two parent families produce healthier, happier kids. That is like saying that, in general, men are taller than women. Which is true. So you can come back with any number of anecdotes – I’m 5’11” – lots of men are shorter than I am! That doesn’t change that, on the whole, men are taller than women.

          So it goes with studies. No one is saying (not even Chance) that ALL children of ALL single mothers are fucked up. No one is saying that there aren’t really bad marriages with really bad men who really mess up their kids. We are merely stating that – on the whole, in general, when you consider hundreds of thousands of families around the world, a child is more likely to turn to drugs and crime, etc, if he comes from a single parent household. That doesn’t mean that mother is doing something evil or wrong. It means that raising a child by yourself on one income is a lot HARDER than having a stable, two income family. Acknowledge that, and this thread can finally be over.

        23. Chance

          GWTF, IMO the reason you have taken such offense at my rather innocuous comment to Stacy2 is because, on a deep level, you are questioning whether you have done the right thing by choosing to raise children without a father.  Like Evan, I am not judging you as I don’t know your circumstances.  Do the things you need to do to give yourself the comfort that you are making the right choice.

        24. GoWiththeFlow

          Chance,

          I am at peace and comfortable with my life decisions.  I took offense because your initial comment and subsequent ones are not innocuous, they ARE offensive.

          If I made an exaggerated blanket statement about how a subgroup of men were societal failures, I don’t get to decide if they should be offended by my comments or not.  The target of my unfair comments has every right to be offended.

        25. Chance

          GWTF, let’s put it this way:  your threshold for what is considered “offensive” is apparently much lower when someone says something that indirectly relates to you.  More offensive comments are thrown around here all the time, and I don’t hear a peep from you – especially when the comments are directed towards men (again, I’m not saying that I’m offended by those comments).  Why do you think that is?  Peace.

      2. 4.1.2
        Sarah

        Stacy2: I agree with your general overall point. What do you think about the magnitude of “relationship” that some women expect  from men? I tend to think women want way too much in the form of , you need to be nurturing and compassionate like my women friends (on top of everything else)I think more women would be happier if they realize men cannot bring everything to the table. Women need women in their lives for a lot of stuff that is just not in a man’s radar. And that is not a dig on men either. But I do get hot under the collar when I am told we are too independent! We have to be independent to have the freedom to choose an SO appropriately ,and not because we need someone to help us pay the bills. My mom went through 2 bad marriages …and all of those thinking that is my problem… you may be right but I have no problems being alone ,when needed , because that helps me NOT choose the psycho down the road. (Well, I learned my lesson on that one too.)  And I also  don’t hold men hostage because they don’t want to watch Downton Abbey with me…or don’t  know what to say, when our women friends know exactly what to say when we need that “nurturing” voice. I just don’t think most men have it, but I may be warped. Anyway I was just thinking about the definition of “a quality man” and it got me thinking…

        1. Buck25

          “…men cannot bring everything to the table”

          Sarah,

          Absolutely spot on, and I wish more women realized this; many do not. and end up disappointed with men who are doing their best.

          Most men simply are not geared to be as sensitive to feelings and as nurturing as women. It’s not as if we can choose to be otherwise; most of us simply don’t develop that level of empathy, and even if we did, we still wouldn’t understand a woman’s emotions well enough. We’re simply not that nuanced, and in most cases, we can’t even talk about feelings the same way women do; don’t even have the vocabulary for it, usually. It’s not just that we come at a relationship differently; our same-sex friendships aren’t like yours either. Our lives just don’t have the same emotional content yours do. As I’ve said repeatedly here, women sometimes act as if they think men are simply women with different plumbing… and we aren’t.

          Actually I’m with you on the independence issue. Yes it makes it harder for us men, because women have more choices; they no longer have to choose between a life of economic hardship and settling for any average guy who will have them; we’re punished far more for mediocrity in the dating/mating marketplace because of that, than used to be the case. I still think this is actually a change for the better, in that it makes it more likely that a woman will be with me because she wants to be, not because she has to be, and I prefer that. Doesn’t say much for a man,  in my book, if the only reason a woman will have him is out of hard-pan necessity. Damned if I want to be any woman’s port of last resort in a storm; there’s no honor or dignity in that, for either party. That’s not even a relationship, or a marriage; just an exercise in mutual using. If there’s much real difference between that, and a “sugar-daddy” / “sugar-baby” relationship with a woman trading sex and companionship for economic support, I don’t know what it might be. All I know, is I don’t want any woman in my bed, who silently resents having to be there.

        2. Emily, the original

          Hi Buck25,

          I wish more women realized this; many do not. and end up disappointed with men who are doing their best. Most men simply are not geared to be as sensitive to feelings and as nurturing as women.

          You wrote that women have unrealistic expectations for men in terms of their ability to be emotionally evolved, sensitive and intelligent. What do you think men expect of women that is unrealistic? I don’t mean “likes to play video games” but maybe qualities that men don’t seem to understand that most women don’t have.

           

        3. Caroline

          Sarah-you are so right about needing to be independent so you can make better choices in a partner. And yes, we all need lives full with people we love like family and friends.

          Buck-you nailed it with “being punished for mediocrity in the dating marketplace”. There’s a big difference between average and mediocre. Men expect better of women also and why shouldn’t they?! As I get older, I realize how much a man’s outlook on life and his temperament are of such value. His playfulness, his serious side and how he balances both. I love a man who can find joy not just in those big events but the everyday stuff. Caring and loving your partner isn’t reserved for those romantic candlelit dinners and tropical vacations but also just a morning hug in the kitchen while pouring coffee.

        4. Buck25

          “What do you think men expect of women that’s unrealistic”

          Emily,

          Fair question, even if it does further open up this can of worms.

          One obvious one is that men, who can easily separate sex from most of its emotional content, just don’t understand that most women can’t do the same. For men, sex is a primary goal; relationships and love are byproducts, when and if they happen. For a woman, some sort of committed relationship is the goal; sex is either a potential stepping stone to that, or an adjunct that naturally is associated with commitment/love,  not the primary object of the exercise.

          Another, is that the world is a far more threatening place to most women than it is to men. Social conditioning, being raised to be more cautious, sensational news stories, smaller physical size, less physical strength, less aggression, all combine with some very real dangers to make life more fearful to many women than it is to men. Is some of this exaggerated? Sure, but it’s no less real from the perspective of the woman experiencing it, and if she’s had some real trauma, or even a near miss, that makes it worse. Overcautious, defensive, on guard? Yeah, happens a lot, and sometimes we guys find that annoying; we know we’re not bad guys, rapists, abusers, cheats or con men, and if anything, our instinct is to protect a woman, not harm her, so why doesn’t she see that…but the woman we met just doesn’t know that; all she knows in the beginning is that we’re generally bigger, stronger, and she’s vulnerable. That’s easy to forget, when we want her to show a little more courage than she may feel at the moment.

          I think the biggest and dumbest, though, is expecting a woman to choose a boyfriend, or a life partner, by the same logic and values a man would use, and that..well, it’s just not going to happen! When we complain of a woman being “too emotional”, what we often mean is, she operates off how we make her feel, in a way that confounds us, instead of doing what men’s values and logic say she “should” do. This makes no sense to us, but to a woman, it makes perfect sense; she’s operating from a different perspective, and a thinking and emotional process that values things we don’t think important, while ignoring other things we think “should” be important.

          I’m sure there are some others, but those are the first that come to mind.

           

        5. Emily, the original

          Hi Buck25,

          For men, sex is a primary goal; relationships and love are byproducts, when and if they happen. For a woman, some sort of committed relationship is the goal.

          Thanks for answering. But how does that explain the large number of men who really want/like to be in a committed relationship? I am assuming that some men date with the objective of being in a committed relationship. Isn’t a committed relationship then their goal? I’m not saying they don’t want sex, but I know a lot of men who do not do well on their own.

          I think the biggest and dumbest, though, is expecting a woman to choose a boyfriend, or a life partner, by the same logic and values a man would use …  When we complain of a woman being “too emotional”, what we often mean is, she operates off how we make her feel, in a way that confounds us.

          From what I’ve read on this site, don’t men also choose women based on how they make them feel? Wouldn’t that be using the same logic and the same values a woman uses? For some women, I think there is more “logic” and less “emotion” in picking a  partner. They are asking — does he have a good job? Can he provide for children? Does he want children? Do we have things in common? Is he responsible? etc.  …

           

        6. Evan Marc Katz

          Men look for sex and find love. And if we’re looking for love, we’re glad to have sex with many women we don’t along the way. Not sure what’s hard to follow.

      3. 4.1.3
        AAORK

        It does seem that over recent decades, the definition of a “quality man” has indeed changed. It wasn’t long ago that our culture defined this as someone who had gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions. Today, this type of man is virtually invisible (“boring” being most popular catch all descriptor) if not outright ridiculed by the women he might otherwise consider marriage material (more on that in a moment). Instead, he witnesses what women really go after. This “new standard of quality man awash in female attention” you refer to (otherwise known as the top 10%-ers) do indeed have no issues getting married, but what you fail to realize is that they simply have no incentive to do so. And as these guys roll through scores of women, they no doubt reinforce the idea that there really are no good men left.

        Now, given that women’s standards have increased, what do we see of these same women over that same time? From my perspective and that of the countless other men I’ve read and had conversations with (family included), the phrase ‘disappointing’ stands out. Aside from the widespread adoption of a narcissistic/entitlement mind-think along with relative abandonment of femininity in general, health agencies also report some sobering statistics: over two-thirds overweight or obese and over one-third currently prescribed some form of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication. It is a great irony to men when these same women never ask themselves what makes them so deserving of these newly-defined “quality” men they believe they should have. Marriage material indeed.

        I am fortunate to have found a great (Lebanese) woman so at this point I am able to reside on the sidelines and observe the lions den instead of being inside of it. But I do not pity the “average Joe”; he will either respond to the new incentive structure (btw, this is where most ‘players’ come from) or simply disengage and instead leverage the freedom he gains (from not having to support a family) to focus his energies on things that make him happy (and this where most online gamers come from). No, I pity the 30 and 40 something women who eventually realize that they’ve been sold the false “empowerment” meme that they don’t need a man. And this is born out by the endless online articles produced by these very same women writing about their anxiety of being 30-ish and having no man or family to show for it (all the while rarely questioning the life decisions they made to get them there). Some seek out people like Evan, but most just declare (here and to anyone else nearby) that all men fall short and they can do better than them anyways. Whatever. You can’t help those that don’t want it.

        A final point: regarding your assertion that most men “are not emotionally intelligent” and “not good lovers either”, assuming that you have not had relationships with most men, this can only be a reflection of the men you have chosen, not men in general.

         

        1. Stacy2

          Lol AAROK, defensive much? Classic. I am not inclined to respond to your erroneous statements and conclusions, just one thing:

          I hope you and your foreign bride are very happy together, but I also hope you and other guys here realize that you are nothing but a meal ticket to a green card. As a foreign-born woman myself, I find it really hilarious that any American average Joe would think orherwise and believe in these stereotypes about what women are like in Asia or Eastern Europe or what not. If you actually spoke their native language and could read dedicated message boards on the Internet, you would be up for a rude awakening, my friends.

        2. GoWiththeFlow

          AAORK,

          “Aside from the widespread adoption of a narcissistic/entitlement mind-think along with relative abandonment of femininity in general. . .”

          We hear this complaint a lot from the red-pill men who frequent this blog.  The problem is, these are generalizations.  It’s akin to women saying “where have all the good men gone?” or “all men suck.”  So please guys, if you’re going to opine, give specifics.

          HOW have women abandoned femininity?

          WHAT behavior do you think is narcissistic?

          WHY do you think women have a sense of entitlement?

          As for this statement:

          “. . . over two-thirds overweight or obese. . .”

          Do you believe this statistic only applies to adult women?  I remember once in a comment here Obsidian said that this was a common complaint he heard from his white male followers.

          For caucasian men in the U.S., 71.4% are overweight or obese.

          For caucasian women, 63.2% are overweight or obese.

          http://stateofobesity.org/disparities/

           

          On this subject, the saying people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones seems to apply.

        3. Buck25

          “…you are nothing but a mealticket and a green card”

          @stacy2,

          You sure are quick to generalize, given that you don’t know AAROK or his wife, and don’t know how he met her – I don’t believe he’s told us that (or what his own ancestry is)., but here you are again, going for the jugular, when you don’t like what someone (especially a man) has to  say here. Foreign-born or not (and I’m not sure what that has to do with anything), no one will ever accuse you of not being argumentative and confrontational; this is the latest in a long stream of examples you’re posted here.

        4. GoWiththeFlow

          Buck,

          I understand your frustration when generalizations are thrown about.  Especially when they are accusations of bad behavior directed towards the opposite sex.  You do take the time to give specifics in a way that is understandable and free of flaming and I and other blog readers really appreciate it as we are here to learn.

          So I am going to ask you and any of the other men who contribute regularly here to please expand upon some of the generalizations that get thrown about repeatedly in the comments here, where we’re told women are doing “something wrong” but the nature of the infraction isn’t being disclosed.  It’s like your mom sending you to your room for punishment but you aren’t told what you did wrong.  Was it because I ate mom’s (supposedly) secret stash of candy or because I’m getting a D in math?

          Women today have  a “sense of entitlement.”— What do men think women feel entitled to?  What do women say or do that gives men this impression?

          Women don’t want “average Joe’s.”  AAORK describes an average Joe as a man who has “gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions.”  Well I’m thinking that sounds really damn good!  And since 80-90% of people will wind up getting married, statistically that’s going to include a whole bunch of average people, the 4s, 5s, and 6s out there.  So where is the disconnect?  Do “average Joes” really struggle with women as AAORK and John @6 have said?  Or could it be that the average Joes don’t want an average Jane, their equal in SMV?  Did John’s average Joe friend travel abroad to get a 9 because he was rejected by average Janes here, or because he was rejected by 9 & 10 SMV women here?

          Women aren’t feminine–This HAS been touched on, but often specifics are lacking.  What is missing?  Not feeling nurtured?  What are nurturing acts or behaviors you want?  Not viewing women as being warm?  What conveys warmth to you;  a smile when you enter a room, a hug once or twice a day;  terms of endearment?

          Independent is a dirty word— Why is “independent” such a pejorative adjective?  If single women don’t rent their own housing, purchase their own cars, clothe themselves, and contribute to their 401ks while dating and looking for love, what are they supposed to do?  Live with their parents and bury the money they earn at work in a coffee can in the back yard?  If independent=bad does that mean dependent=good?

          Sorry I’m picking on you here Buck!  I appreciate anything you can give me!

           

           

        5. Rocky

          GWTF-

          I am not Buck, but I want to step in to offer a levelheaded defense of the one generalization on that list I semi-agree with (only to a point): the “women don’t want average Joes” one.

          To me, it comes from the way many women talk here. How they are attracted to very few men. How they decide within 30 seconds of a man is do-able or not. Evan has published letters about women who find no or almost no men attractive. Women post it in the comments. Suffice it to say that the famous OK Cupid study is not the only evidence for the point that women generally want the best of the best from a physical standpoint.

          When this is brought up, these women respond that no one expects men to date someone they are not attracted to. What they fail to understand is that a man can date only those he immediately finds attractive, but have a MUCH larger dating pool than the woman. If I go on the subway during the morning rush, I will find at least 60-70 percent of the women in my age range attractive. For many of them, it’s more like 1 percent of the guys — at leas the way many of them talk here.

          I part company from the generalization in that I believe this is about looks, not status or character. To me, an “average guy” is an average looking guy. People’s minds tend to be made up long before they have a clear picture of someone’s character. And as a lawyer who attended an elite law school (but only brings it up if asked, “where did you go to law school?” Which I would say only happens on about half my first dates), I’m not convinced that credentials or even income really matter much either.

          I also part company in that you won’t get anywhere by complaining incessantly. I complain to my friends to get it out of my system, then move on to look for the next opportunity.

        6. Caroline

          Hi Rocky-I think many of we ladies get what you’re saying. I’d like to point out that many of us who have had relative “success” in dating know it’s not all about looks (I’ve personally found many a man to be much more attractive after getting to know him).

        7. Adreana

          AAORK-I’m glad you find a great woman. But as a Lebanese woman myself, I can tell you that most of us are taught to have very high standards when it comes to men. Men are expected to finish their education, have a well-paying job, open doors for women, ask them out/make plans, pay on dates….etc.  The “entitled ” American women you guys complain about look like angels compared us.  I don’t know what your girlfriend is like, but most Lebanese women are just as “independent” and “feminist” as American women, yet for some reason men  with similar ethnic backgrounds or even European men don’t use that as an excuse to why they can’t or shouldn’t step up to the plate and become a modern “quality man”. Just someyhing I observed.

          It doesn’t matter if the women is foreign or not, if she’s sought after and she can take care of herself she will almost always have high standards.  I’ve been hit on by many much older average Joes who thought I was easy because I look exotic. I think they assume all of us worship American men no matter who they are or what they are about.

           

        8. ScottH

          @GWTF-  I think it’s easy to generalize when most of the people you meet are not the right person for you.  There’s always going to be something wrong with the wrong person and with the catalyst of frustration, it’s easy to extrapolate and generalize.  Also consider that in mid-life, most of the good ones really are taken (as explained in the book Attached and others), it’s real easy for these generalizations to happen.  I personally think the tendency to generalize is gender neutral.  We just need to keep looking for the lid to our pot.

          From one of those books:  “As you age past 40, the percentage of the dating pool that is able to form a secure, stable relationship drops to less than 30%” – Bad Boyfriends Attachment Theory Partner

        9. Emily, the original

          Rocky,

          If I go on the subway during the morning rush, I will find at least 60-70 percent of the women in my age range attractive. For many of them, it’s more like 1 percent of the guys — at least the way many of them talk here.

          How old are you? And how many women are in your age range on the subway? In any given day, how many women do you see and/or interact with who you find attractive enough to ask out?

           

           

           

           

        10. AAORK

          @Adreana – Having had exposure to numerous cultures across Europe and Asia, I value the special qualities my Lebanese Queen brings to the table (most of which you noted). She does have very high standards which include requiring those traits I had described in a previous post about what used to be the primary qualities valued by American women as a whole. She has dated many very wealthy men and even at my wealth position in the upper five/six-percentile group (relative to American averages), I’m certain that I must be the least wealthiest man she’s ever dated.

          As to your comments about comparisons to American women, I’m not sure what point you were trying to make, especially while painting with such a large brush. Except to point out specific cultural contrasts, I don’t make a habit of diving into the “foreign vs domestic woman” discussion but whenever I (or any man here) does, it always seems to elicit such an immediate negative reaction from women in general. The irony in this is that these women would not even want the men they complain are going elsewhere to find happiness! And a side note to all the ladies: using the phrase ‘mail order bride’ (or quoting from a source that does) just robs you of any credibility in the eyes of anyone who is actually educated in that space. There’s just no such term outside of Western-centric gender discussions. In fact, the expression doesn’t even make sense in most other languages.

          Regarding entitlement, personal experiences vary but anyone who has had extensive exposure across multiple cultures would easily conclude that the Westernized culture promotes a distinct brand of entitlement, and it’s not confined to just Americans but any other culture that adopts Westernized traits (and yes this even includes some Lebanese women).

           

           

        11. Rocky

          Hi Emily,

          I am 32. So, the solid majority of the people on the subway are in my age range. (For purposes of this discussion, I’m referring to 20s and 30s. If you’re curious, online, I set my age range at 25-36 but almost always end up going out with women in their early 30s.)

          numbers, I would say I see an average of 10 or more attractive strangers. I see them on my commute, I see them going out to get lunch, and if applicable, I see them going out to get dinner. I will see more if I get out a lot, fewer if I do nothing that day but work and go home. These women are not all equal; some are absolute knockouts, while others are just cute. But I know I’m not going to get one of the former, and we are just discussing women who I find attractive enough to date. (I am one of those people who can elevate someone from “cute” to “hot” over time.)

          one caveat to this in the interest of full disclosure.  I’m not really an approacher in these situations. It isn’t my personality. So these are women I find attractive enough to date, not women I actually ask out. However, I think the same truths hold online: the solid majority of women in my age range are attractive enough to date. Some of them even have decent profiles. I email a range of them who I have something in common with. On the whole, I am happy with what I am getting from a looks standpoint. But I get passed over by many, many women on the same level. And most of the time, it is the woman’s decision to decline a second date.

        12. Buck25

          GWTF,

          Thank you; now, let me see if I can answer your questions about men’s generalizations about women. You’ve put these in a good form to respond to; but I think at least a couple of these have more than one dimension, so it may take more than one post. Let me start from the easiest.

          “Women aren’t feminine”

          Here, I believe the thought is that women are “not as feminine as they used to be”. I think guys are speaking not of women as a whole, but of a certain type of  aggressive woman, often found in corporate executive offices across America. Bright, intelligent, driven, competitive… and hellbent on proving “I can do anything better than men!” I believe it might have been you who commented about knowing a couple of examples. These usually have a chip on their shoulder, a heart full of grudges, and a rather ruthless mean streak, expressed on the slightest provocation as “Boys, I’m Taking Charge Here!”. Prickly as a porcupine, cold as a feeding shark, and as purposeful as a Black Widow spider, the type efficiently poisons and eats her competitors,  and her prey…as well as her mate, and occasionally her own young, should they get in her way. They’ve become a sort of caricature of the educated, high-achieving modern woman. I think it gets more conflated with the attitude of women as a group, when women come into a forum like this, forget that it’s not the ladies locker room, and start venting their frustrations with men in an angry and not especially feminine tone. Men, who’ve usually had some experience with the aforementioned “corporate executive bitch, pick up on the tone, and decide that high-achieving women must all be like that; after all, here’s a number of them here, screeching like harpies (from a male point of view, that’s how some of the more strident women here come across). The fact that most of the same women probably wouldn’t be nearly so nasty in the real world, especially in her relationships, is lost in “See, Joe, what did I tell you? There’s another one!”Add in the fact that most of the guys here are out there in the dating game, experiencing a lot of frustration and rejection themselves, come here looking for answers, and find this (it really gets pretty hateful, at times). The stereotyping and over-generalization that follows, obscures one very real problem; the woman who is out there in the executive and professional workplace and NOT trying to be a man, but having to exert masculine energy along with her feminine self, often needs (and wants) a relationship that allows her to really express her feminine side at home; something she can have a hard time finding. I think that side of the coin is under-appreciated by most of us guys, honestly. A woman works hard to build a career, is proud of her accomplishments, and the independence these have brought her…and then finds that this is not what men really value in a woman; and on top of that, many seem to be repelled by it. Perhaps it’s not too dissimilar to a man discovering that the career success he’s been led to believe was the key to an abundance of women…really isn’t, after all.It’s easy to forget, that a lot of success, like a lot of anything really tends to make one an outlier. Be enough of one, in enough areas, and you have trouble finding dates, let alone a mate.

          “Women are too independent”

          This one can be tied right back to  the “women don’t want average guys”. Reality is, the dating/mating game has become a lot tougher for guys in their twenties/early thirties today. Women ARE more independent; they Do have more options. It’s longer “either find a guy to marry while you’re young and at your peak, or be consigned to a miserable life in the secretarial or steno pool at slave wages, or as the spinster schoolteacher or librarian.” Women back in the bad old days HAD to settle for whatever they could get, if Mr. Right wasn’t available. What’s easy for younger guys to overlook is what happened later, which was not an unmitigated blessing for the men involved. I remember being a kid in the fifties, and it was easy for even a boy to see. Those women seethed with resentment at the mediocre men they had to marry. I remember some of my parents’ friends. The women were marginal to downright homely, their husbands were …well, the best word that comes to mind is nebbishes; drab, colorless, insipid beta drones with mediocre  white collar jobs they could never rise above; corporate wage slaves, about as dynamic and exciting as a concrete post, and utterly emasculated; these lived in abject fear of the rage of their wives, most of whom cordially resented them for not being the fairy tale prince they thought they’d been promised. I shudder to think of what their sex life (if they even had one after she pumped out a couple of kids) must have been like.A disapproving scowl from wifey, and even a boy could watch them cringe and wilt like a whipped, beaten dog, crawling on his belly and sniveling before his mistress; these men were everything I never wanted to be when I grew up! They are probably the reason I still struggle with being a little too macho even today (but I’d rather be that, than ever be the least bit like them!).

          So I’m actually glad to see that women do have a choice today, that they are independent enough to get a man they want instead of having to settle for a nonentity; the nonentity will be punished for it anyway. I said it before, I’ll say it again; after seeing how things were back when, I never want a woman in my bed who doesn’t actively desire to be there! If that means I have to be better at the game, or do without, so be it. I think I’ll leave the whining about “women not needing us anymore”, to those so desperate to get married, laid, or whatever, that they don’t care if that’s the only way they can get it. I’d add the caveat that a man who gets a woman that way, usually gets what he deserves.

          That brings us to “women feel entitled”

          Entitled to what, exactly? Well, a lot feel entitled to the storybook partner and romance of Hollywood RomCom movies, and bodice-ripper romance novels. Young women especially; and of course, few if any real life men are like that; but hey, a twenty something attractive woman has a lot of options, which have only been increased by online dating, and apps like Tinder, and the corresponding illusion of infinite choice. The problem comes, after she spends those peak years being maybe a little too picky, ends up alone, and her biological clock starts ticking; her SMV to the men in her typically desired age group is either declining precipitously, or about to; but she still wants her fairy tale prince. The only thing that’s really new, is that woman today are a lot more vocal about this, and became indignant when the massive advantage she once had in the process begins to wane. That draws little sympathy from most men in her age group, who have spent the last decade or so having a lot fewer dates and a lot less fun than she had, and frankly, resent the hell out of it; after all, she got what they wanted (sex); doesn’t matter that she ultimately didn’t get what she wanted (commitment). From her perspective, all the men she chose (mostly players/alpha jerks) used her, therefore all men are assholes, and round and round we go, all playing the blame game. Reality is, the average looking guy spends his early adult life getting rejected, even by rather average girls who get the message early on that they need to set their sights as high as possible so they can have it all. Society encourage it, her friends all encourage it, the women’s magazines encourage it; even past the point where what began as a harmless fantasy becomes a futile dream. And this is where “Women don’t want average Joes” comes from.

          Remember where we left the average looking, 20 to early thirties guy? Mostly out in the cold getting whatever sex he can from other men’s rejects, frequently dateless and rejected by hot women and those a little less hot as well; (Remember that less hot woman still can get attention and even occasional sex, from super handsome guys who are slumming a bit. The average guy never gets anything approaching that from a hot woman, as women don’t slum. Tell me again who’s more likely to get an inflated sense of their own SMV?) Now, let’s look at his options. He can (a)give up and drop out (b) remake himself in the image of the guys he watched have success (if he can’t look like a social alpha hunk, he can act like one) or (c)settle for the dregs he’s getting, while resenting both women and the hand he was dealt. Option (a)  is MGTOW, (b)  can eventually became anything from a PUA player,  to an evolved alpha (given enough basic ability, time, and intelligence), while (c) lies to himself, lies to woman, and becomes the stereotypical “nice guy” who isn’t really so nice at all, and is actually more a manipulator than any PUA  ever thought of being; frequently he hates himself as much as he despises women (he will rarely admit this). Of course, option b requires massive self-confidence, and to pull that off, a man simply has to internalize the idea that he’s at least as much of a prize as the woman he’s pursuing; so this guy will hit on any woman, in or out of his league, (won’t apologize for doing so either) and he will usually not invest anything emotionally early on; his goal in any interaction is to be totally independent of the outcome, so that repeated rejection doesn’t faze him. He turns it into a simple numbers game, one that gives him a decent chance in the long run. Bottom line, the “average Joe”( looks wise), really does struggle early, and maybe later too, unless he finds a way to turn whatever strengths he has or can acquire into a package that can attract a woman he actually wants. This usually means he gets into a relationship or marries later, rather than sooner.How much later, depends upon what he can feel attracted to. A note here; women speak of “learning to be physically attracted to a partner”. That is not a part of my experience, or that of any other man I’ve ever known, in that if we’re not attracted to a woman initially, we never will be, not in a hundred years, no matter how nice she is! Whatever the initial chemistry level, it doesn’t increase, not for a man. EVER! Once a woman goes in my friend zone, that’s permanent and irreversible. Whether that’s different with a woman’s attraction to a man (some women say it is) I wouldn’t know; I have exactly nothing to relate that to.

          That’s long, I know, and a lot to digest, but it does give you a bit of the view from the other side, so to speak.

        13. Evan Marc Katz

          I may quibble with a little bit of this, Buck, but it’s largely well said and valid. Thanks for doing my job of explaining what real guys are thinking.

        14. Adreana

          AAROK, I appreciate your response. As to your last comment about Westernized culture being entitled, I hope u realize that very much includes the American men who complain about western women. Many seem to think if a woman has a  career and isn’t submissive, she shouldn’t be expected to being treated like a lady… “Hey, she wants equality right? Why should I pay for the first few dates and open the door? Why should I ask women out and take initiative  if they  also have a job? I paid for dinner and we didn’t have sex so she must be a goldigger”.Some even take as far as not stepping-in to help a woman if she’s in a dangerous situation, because she’s an independent “feminazi” and she can defend herself. They also promote the belief that women “hit the wall” after 30, when in other cultures beautiful is beautiful no matter what the age.

          I don’t intend to generalize and this may sound harsh, but American men need to look in the mirror before blaming American women. I’ve dated men from several cultures, and almost always American men seem to have the hardest time with women. Overall, they seem to lack confidence and I don’t know why. Maybe they are too isolated and they don’t spend enough time with friends and family ,and thus they lack the “emotional intelligence” as another person said.  But, if they think attracting  sought-after, quality “foreign ” women is any easier, they  must understand they will be competing with men from other cultures who already know how balance their masculine role with today’s modern dating.

           

           

        15. Emily, the original

          Buck25,

          Three things:

          1.) Remember that less hot woman still can get attention and even occasional sex, from super handsome guys who are slumming a bit. The average guy never gets anything approaching that from a hot woman, as women don’t slum.

          Yes, they do. I’ve done it. I would bet (though don’t know for sure) that a big portion of other women have, too. Sometimes it’s been forever since you’ve had sex and you think — Why not?

          2.) A note here; women speak of “learning to be physically attracted to a partner”. That is not a part of my experience, or that of any other man I’ve ever known.

          Not a part of my experience, either. You either get them “‘gina” tingles or you don’t.

          3.) Have you thought about writing some of these thoughts down on a blog? You are very eloquent. 🙂

           

           

        16. Emily, the original

          Hi Rocky,

          One caveat to this in the interest of full disclosure.  I’m not really an approacher in these situations.

          That’s understandable. A cold approach is hard for anyone. Maybe if you ride a certain subway train every morning and see a woman repeatedly and strike up a rapport over time, that could be a way to do it.

          As a whole, I do think women are pickier, but certainly not all women. I will admit that I find it difficult to understand the sheer volume of women men find attractive. I think most women want to feel singled out and special to the man they are with, not the tenth woman in line who finally said yes.

           

        17. Caroline

          Hi Buck and Emily-for me it’s not “learning to be more attracted” to a guy. Sure, there’s obviously men who I absolutely know by looking at them I’m attracted (sometimes though when they open their mouths it can evaporate-am sure this can happen to men too).  It’s more like I’m on the fence about them. I guess looking back I’ve dated quite a variety of looks/types of men. Sometimes, some guys just can floor you with their charm, wit and intelligence. They might not read anything but flat in an online profile but in person, well they can make it sizzle. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit guarded and I have to let it unfold? Attraction can definitely build for me as I learn more about them, observe their body language, enjoy their sense of humor, flirt with them…

        18. Henriette

          This “new standard of quality man awash in female attention” you refer to (otherwise known as the top 10%-ers) do indeed have no issues getting married, but what you fail to realize is that they simply have no incentive to do so. And as these guys roll through scores of women, they no doubt reinforce the idea that there really are no good men left.

          @AAORK You make an interesting point here.  But, thanks to EMK’s help (or, his rather hard shove), I’ve come to see that for “the Top 10%er men,” settling down with a good mate isn’t necessarily easy, either.   They indeed might be awash in female attention (although not necessarily, bc reaching and remaining Top 10 %er status often requires long days at the office followed by, if lucky, trips to the gym to keep up that Top 10% body) but that doesn’t mean it’s simple to find an attractive-enough, kind, feminine, mentally-stable women.

          And I’m only acquainted with one Top 10%er man who rolls through scores of women (although many Manosphere blogs like to explain that every Alpha is systematically humping and dumping its readers’ future wives). The rest of the 10%ers I know want to find wives but in the meantime work hard; are swamped by women whom they realise are also throwing themselves at every other successful, handsome guy they meet; date the occasional woman only to be put off by the neediness or materialism or anger they see.

          Long story (comment), short: 1)Top 10%ers do tend to marry and settle down even if they have the opportunity to bed lots of women and 2) finding and maintaining a great relationship isn’t a piece of cake for anyone.

           

        19. Emily, the original

          Hi Caroline,

          They might not read anything but flat in an online profile but in person, well they can make it sizzle.

          That I definitely agree with. And, like you wrote, I have been on the fence about some men, but “on the fence,” at least for me, implies there’s at least a possibility and I feel some attraction. If I meet someone and there’s no attraction (and I know that pretty quickly), there’s not much point in a second date. For me it won’t grow from nothing.

        20. Stacy2

          Rocky:

          one caveat to this in the interest of full disclosure.  I’m not really an approacher in these situations. It isn’t my personality. So these are women I find attractive enough to date, not omen I actually ask out.

          Why not? I am almost the same age as you and it always baffles me. Why not strike a conversation? Seriously, man, I guarantee you that a lot of those women would want to go out with you. I have a friend who met his girlfriend on the subway (though in all honesty their train was stuck in the tunnel for an hour so it helped). I myself was approached by a guy on the subway once, and had I not been wearing an engagement ring at that time, I would have gone out with him. Forget the subway, a guy approached me yesterday on the street (again, would have totally gone out with him). Seriously, this is what separates men with balls from men without.

           

           

           

        21. GoWiththeFlow

          Buck,

          Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to answer my questions.  I’ve read through your response 3 times and am sure I will re-read it many more.  🙂 <3

        22. GoWiththeFlow

          AAORK,

          You said about your girlfriend/wife:

          “She does have very high standards which include requiring those traits I had described in a previous post about what used to be the primary qualities valued by American women as a whole.

          The traits and qualities you say American women don’t value you list as:

          “. . .gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions.”

          Au contraire!  Evan’s blog is full of posts about women asking for advice on assessing and choosing a man for kindness, stability, honesty, integrity and character.

        23. Emily, the original

          GoWiththeFlow,

          Au contraire!  Evan’s blog is full of posts about women asking for advice on assessing and choosing a man for kindness, stability, honesty, integrity and character.

          The problem can be finding a man with those qualities who you also want to go to bed with. No, as per this post, he doesn’t have to a “top ten-percenter” in looks and income. An average-looking guy is fine, but sometimes you can really like a man as a friend and admire him as a person but feel little to no attraction. What works in the “real world” — humility, a sense of balance and fairness, etc. — doesn’t work in the “seduction world,” where boldness reigns.

        24. Nissa

          the definition of a “quality man” = someone who had gainful employment, exhibited integrity, courteousness, honesty, and always took responsibility for his actions

          I just wanted to speak to this because as a single woman, those are qualities I look for in a man. What I wanted to point out is that those qualities don’t exist in a vacuum. When I was younger, I had a few male friends (who wanted to be more than friends) lament that women did not appreciate those very qualities in them. What I observed, and why I myself did not find them attractive in spite of those fine qualities, was that those qualities were accompanied by a consistent lack of confidence, lack of initiative, lack of self awareness, poor physical presentation, and often almost textbook ‘Nice-guy syndrome’ a la Robert Glover.

          This lack of confidence and initiative was insurmountable. It also did not allow for the expression of my feminine qualities, because I had no male initiative to which I could respond.

          For men who do have those qualities, looks matter much, much less. That is why men like Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins, Bruce Willis, Eddie Redmayne, Hugh Grant, Justin Long and Yul Brenner have inspired scores of admiring sighs.

      4. 4.1.4
        JB

        Stacy is right about one thing………….

        I kind of feel for average Joes out there…I can see how this totally sucks for them.

        An “average Joe” has very little value and basically no chance on an online dating site. Even an “average or below average Jane” won’t respond to them.

        Thank god I’m an “above average JB”. 🙂

        1. Buck25

          JB,

          True. Think about the nature of OLD; primarily age and photo driven. If the average guy can’t stand out on those, he simply gets lost in the noise. What else could make him stand out? Well (if he has it), in the real world, confidence, charisma, intelligence, humor, and perhaps material success. The first two are hard to project online (even for a really good writer); and the last is taken by most women online as lying at worst (even if true) and pretentious at best. All that leaves is intelligence and humor, which in turn makes a lot of us feel online, like we’re having to compete with one hand tied behind our back; I know I have felt that way. I think this is why a lot of guys with “big” personalities and active social lives pull a far better group of woman in real life, compared to what they can pull online. Oddly enough, a guy with a more introverted personality, who can still write well, may actually do better online; showcases what he does have, puts less emphasis on what he doesn’t.

      5. 4.1.5
        Caroline

        This is a reply to GWTF, Chance, Stacy and Evan-about the single parent stats. The stats overwhelmingly about women below the poverty line. I wonder if there is a more comprehensive(perhaps in the works) which pulls the numbers our in regard to economics? It’s quite disrespectful to lump all divorced/single moms together. The stats as all stats don’t put a face to the situation. Overwhelmingly , the stats reflect a socioeconomic phenomenon. Not ladies/moms who read evans dating blog.  I personally believe it’s terribly hard fir mom alternating weekends too. My ex actually never paid close to 30k in support. But although the circumstances were not ideal, the alternative was absolutely the worst case scenario. Btw-Chance we heard it loud and clear-women must responsible no matter what because men in your thinking bear no responsibility. Ain’t that convenient?

        1. Chance

          No one is lumping all single/divorced moms together.  Also, no one said that men don’t bear any responsibility.

      6. 4.1.6
        Karmic Equation

        I’m a relatively high-income earner who have friends from all over the socio-economic scale.

        So I’m with Stacy2 and GWTF on this one.

        The ex-girlfriend of one of my friends has 4 children, all DELIBERATELY out of wedlock cuz my friend couldn’t afford to be a dad. The state pays her a better living than he could ever have provided her. She and her mother have been on the welfare rolls forever. In fact my friend said something along the lines of “she and her family had brochures and stuff on how to live off welfare.” Their children have now had children out of wedlock. So the cycle continues. I don’t know the children personally, nor the ex-gf, but I’m pretty sure that they all struggle and they’re all probably living at the poverty line. However, they seem to be decent kids in terms of not being drug addicts or criminals.

        The cousin of an ex-boyfriend, she’s a welfare mom also. Her kids are definitely NOT well off  because she’s a bad mom.

        I have four female friends who are single moms; one separated; one (recently) divorced; one widowed (technically they were not married, but in an LTR); one by artificial insemination (AI). None were on welfare that I’m aware of. Except for the AI friend, they were all in committed relationships when they had children. They all worked hard and instilled a strong work ethic in their children. And their college-age children have gone or are going off to college. And from their FB posts, they all seem happy and well-adjusted.

        Since the majority of the demographic that participate on this blog are the “smart, strong, successful” women who are not in any danger of ever going on welfare, I don’t think the study Evan writes about applies.

        If the there is a study that normalized for welfare/well-off single parent homes, the data would be more significant and meaningful.

        JM2C

         

      7. 4.1.7
        ScottH

        Scott wants to throw his confirmation bias in here to and I have only experience and observation, and no studies.

        There are so many factors that determine how well adjusted a kid becomes and whether the parents are married is just one, and probably not the major factor.
        Kids need at least one competent adult in their lives, parent or otherwise.  Having two parents increases the chances of that happening but in no way guarantees it.  A single parent just isn’t going to be around as much and that makes it harder but a determined single parent with a good support system of family and friends increases his/her chances of having that competent adult around for the kid(s).  There are plenty of contiguous families, even middle and upper class ones, where both parents are flamingly incompetent and the kid(s) turn out to be disasters.  Just watch Dr Phil every once in a while.

        That’s it, plain and simple.  I know this topic has been beaten to death here but these are my thoughts and I felt like throwing them into the ring.  Most of the studies I come across are by academics who are under immense pressure to publish any kind of fodder they can.

  5. 5
    Erin

    I like the idea of the triad, but the economic freedom portion for me is paramount.  Five years ago I was incredibly unhappy.  Money – or rather, fear of not having it – consumed all my days and turned me into a horrible workaholic.  I told friends that once I paid off my student loans and had a certain “magic number” in savings, I would shed all that baggage.  Two different boyfriends said “no way, you’ll just keep revising your magic number upward and you’ll never be happy.”  Then they dumped me.

    I’m pleased to report that aspect of my life has worked out exactly as I said it would.  As soon as I hit that number, all my stress and anxiety started to melt.  I have perhaps 4x my magic number in savings now, not including my home equity..but I don’t keep track anymore and no I have NO desire to “adjust my lifestyle upward” since that would just put me back onto the mental hamsterwheel that I worked so hard to step off!  I also do not stress about work and do not care if I ever get promoted, or anything else – heck, if I made a huge mistake and got fired, I would view it as a once-in-lifetime chance for a yearlong vacation! 🙂

    In retrospect, I wasn’t able to be a good friend or partner to anybody when fear of economic insecurity was eating me alive, which contributed to more insecurity about my abilities in my career.  So I think the “freedom” element is essentially necessary before you can make any real progress on the other two.

  6. 6
    John

    I would agree that once you make $75k or more all money concerns evaporate if, you are not leading an extravagant lifestyle.

    I’ve never had a problem getting women, but most of my buddies are average guys and they struggle to get women.

    The reason average guys are going to developing nations to find wives is because they automatically have a higher financial status. My friend, who is an average guy, married a beautiful woman from Eastern Europe. He is very happy. She is 20 years his junior and is definitely a 9 in the looks department. They’ve been happily married for 10 years. Her lifestyle was upgraded and he has a beautiful woman by his side. Some women in his family gave him a hard time about it. They asked him why he couldn’t find an American woman. Who cares as long as they are happy? The reason average Joes are marrying women abroad is they have a better chance of getting a good looking woman than in the USA. Should an average guy stay here and have a limited selection? Why do women care? If women in the USA don’t want the average guy, why shame him for bettering his odds to find an attractive woman by going elsewhere?

    1. 6.1
      Caroline

      @John-I totally respect your friend’s decision. If one desires having a marriage/relationship that boils down to be a business transaction and both parties are happy in their situation-good for them. I learned a long time ago that isn’t what I desire. I’d never find fault with what makes someone else happy. I also know there are plenty men who want what I desire and I will look for them.

      1. 6.1.1
        Caroline

        I loved this quote from HRF about mail order bride stats. “When it comes to the online side of the business, the women tend to see the men as egotistical and slightly unintelligent”.

        it also noted that there was 1000 women (nonAmerican) for I think every 65 men. It appears from the article the women were looking for American men.

        I’d also like to note that the average income for the male seeking was $100k-average joe?  I personally think a dating blog as here tends to reflect those struggling with dating. Therefore, there tend to be folks who are struggling with the reality if their SMV. Overwhelmingly the majority of folks marry or find a ltr.

        1. Caroline

          @Aaork-hello, in reference to the term “mail order bride” -I am from the US. I certainly was only using this term to describe something mostly American in nature. Young women came to the US in colonial times in a similar fashion. They also went to Canada (New France) in the 1600’s. Then later,  after our civil war many women went west answering ads for brides. Our southern states were particularly hit hard. There were 4-5 women per every man left after the war. The term didnt have it’s derisive quality until I believe the NY Times ran a story in 1929 about such a bride killing her new husband. I believe I used the term correctly when I referred to John’s post. I wrote that because he said it was his American friend who exchanged his wealth (her “lifestyle upgrade”) for her beauty. Maybe you’d prefer “international dating”?  I have no problem with any of it if they are both happy. You’re absolutely correct in that I wouldn’t want a man who only valued me for my beauty. It’s like the men searching for someone decades younger. Why would I subject myself to wanting a man who didn’t want me because I’m not young enough or pretty enough. There’s absolutely enough good men my age who will desire me because I’m attractive enough, I won’t micromanage him, I’ll encourage him in his endeavors and he in mine, we will support each other in good times and bad.

  7. 7
    Noquay

    One definitely needs to be secure in many ways before one can focus on being a good spouse/partner/parent. A  secure job with a salary commensurate with the cost of living, ability to save for emergencies, access to health care, ability to maintain a vehicle, look and dress appropriately are all necessary before looking to date/marry/start a family. Otherwise, not only are you one illness/accident from total ruin but anxiety over making ends meet makes one a very poor partner plus you’ll attract only the bottom of the dating barrel. Took a break from all socialization when my income was low, my job insecure, focussing my efforts instead on finding a better job elsewhere. True, there were events where an educated, outdoors chick like myself could meet like minded men, but most everything was beyond my means if I wanted to budget responsibly. Sometimes the fix is to leave if you can.

    Was following the arguments about biology/upbringing etc. As someone who was raised in multiple abusive family settings, my take is that it’s not your fault how you were raised, who you were born to but it is very much your fault if you fail to get insight into the situation, fail to break away, and repeat the cycles of abuse and dysfunction. When you start out at the very bottom, you just have to work that much harder to rise above. Life ain’t fair and doesn’t owe you squat.

    Happiness is possible when the following are met:

    some degree of financial security as described above

    a like minded, age appropriate peers, true sense of community; we all need folk to talk to, confide in, relate to. This may or may not include family, depending on circumstance.

    Living where the environment suits you, the city, near wilderness, all places in between; you need to like where you live

    Hope for the future

    A dynamic, varied life, no robotic routines around waking up, work, eat, watch TV, sleep

    As to the issue of average Joes/Janes not faring well in this country it’s kind of surprising. In my age group anyway, on line is mainly average Joe/Janes; White, average looks, height, weights, income, interests. What you don’t see online are us outliers as to race, income, education, activity level, and so on. What average means is highly variable; the average Joe described by other writers would do well here where the average local is barely/unemployed, a ski bum, living in substandard rentals, often with drug/alcohol issues. Theoretically, average folk should have tons of choices similar to themselves. Most folk statistically are average, right? Thing is, folks want to date only up, not equal or down. Heavy men want thin women, short men want taller women, poor men want well off women, drop outs want PhDs and so on, a desire for attributes in others you yourself do not possess. I assume women do the same. You truly have to BE the person you want to date or adjust your standards accordingly.

     

    1. 7.1
      Henriette

      Happiness is possible when the following are met:

      some degree of financial security as described above

      a like minded, age appropriate peers, true sense of community; we all need folk to talk to, confide in, relate to. This may or may not include family, depending on circumstance.

      Living where the environment suits you, the city, near wilderness, all places in between; you need to like where you live

      Hope for the future

      A dynamic, varied life, no robotic routines around waking up, work, eat, watch TV, sleep

      If all of these are necessary prerequisites for finding happiness, I’m surprised that I  know any happy people at all.  I would suggest that, in fact, happiness comes from being content with what one has in life.

       

      1. 7.1.1
        GoWiththeFlow

        Henriette,

        Anyone who has taken care of young kids knows that they find comfort and security in predictable routines.  Adults are much the same.  I think they key is adding in new experiences and novelty–getting the adrenaline/dopamine hit–to keep the brain happy while still having baseline comfort and security needs met.

      2. 7.1.2
        Noquay

        Henriette

        With all due respect, I cannot think of a single person of my acquaintance that was truly happy and content when they didn’t know whether they could pay the bills, disliked where they lived, felt isolated and alone, or lived life on an unchanging treadmill or had zero hope. Note I said nothing about material stuff or whether or not they were in a relationship.

        1. Henriette

          Noquay, I’m sorry you don’t know anyone who is happy under these circumstances and hope you will have the honour of meeting at least a few, some day.  I know many, and am awed by their humility and grace.   Eg. people who live a life of drudgery of unchanging treadmill but are proud that their boring routines allow them to support their cherished family.  Or an elderly relative who knew she was dying of an aggressive cancer (and did not believe in heaven, so “zero hope for the future”) after wonderful life.  Or a friend who lives in a city she loathes because it has the best services for her special-needs son.  These individuals were/ are truly happy.  Please note I said nothing about material goods or whether or not they were in a relationship.

  8. 8
    John

    Hi GWTF,

    My friend who married the Eastern European woman couldn’t get a date in the USA. He happened to score a 9 without really having an idea that he would get one. He just went to EE because he could not get a decent woman here and got lucky. I have a lot of average looking guy friends that are lonely and miserable. They tell me they get shot down all of the time. Some choose to go to other countries because women will give them a shot over there. We could argue many reasons why, but if a guy can’t get a woman here, he is going to solve his problem. Men are extremely practical. if they can’t get their needs met here,  they will go somewhere else. My male friends don’t endlessly wonder why they can’t get a woman here. They just want to solve the problem.  I have women friends who say it is difficult to find a good man. I tell them good men are all around and they want to be in a relationship with you. The problem is that my women friends dismiss these guys before they take the time to get to know them. Why do they do it? They don’t want to settle for good guys. They want great guys. When I tell my women friends this, they roll there eyes and tell me I don’t get it.

    1. 8.1
      Caroline

      John-please explain what is in your opinion a “decent” woman for the average “Joe”?

      1. 8.1.1
        John

        Hi Caroline,

        The way Evan describes his wife is an illustration of what women should aspire to be. She sounds like a good woman. He describes it better than I could.

         

        1. Kristyn

          Evan is not the “Average Joe”; not in any way.

           

           

        2. Caroline

          Hi John-maybe you meant “high quality”? Decent is defined as an acceptable standard; satisfactory. By writing “he just went to EE because he could not get a decent woman here”. Then you go on to talk about your women friends “They don’t want to settle for good guys. They want great guys.”  Do you see the disconnect? You’re criticizing the ” average Jane” for desiring exactly what your “average Joe” friend wants. Perhaps the problem is that some “average” folks (both genders) are unrealistic. This ties into the thought of a “new standard of quality man awash in female attention”. This idea of the top 10% is hardly new but perhaps our connectedness with media has somewhat permeated our 20 somethings. I find it comical how some not very aware young people (and perhaps older) follow the life of celebrity (Kardashian etc) and somehow after being constantly exposed to unrealistic lifestyles by tv, instagram, internet and even pinterest seem to jump to the idea that that is how life should be and they want it and even deserve it without considering the factors to achieving it. I believe there are some men who fall into this trap by concentrating on this highly desirable 20 something demographic of woman. They have the youthful bodies, faces, disposition, etc but many times also the unrealistic idea of what they want and even deserve. I recall a thread on this blog where a young woman expounded on how she “needed” a million dollar home, and a man who could make a certain amount of money if she was to raise children because they needed to go to expensive private schools so that they could ultimately go to an ivy league school and thus implying that was the route to happiness. Whew, that was an extreme load to digest. Hey, I’m all for education and being your best but that’s extreme. Most folks eventually get “real” on this when the reality of life sets in and age a bit and get realistic. If they do n t, they tend to be lonely and disconnected from life. I absolutely don’t think these people are “average Joe’s or Janes”. These are the people who have  not tried or succeeded in improving the true root cause of their perceived problems.

           

    2. 8.2
      GoWiththeFlow

      Hi John,

      While this thread has been evolving, my brother is visiting from out of state.  We have had some interesting conversations about a very good friend of his who will be getting married to woman from southeast Asia next month.

      I know this friend too.  He is mid-late 40’s, is hysterically funny, intelligent, outgoing, has a solid job, with average looks. My brother says that his friend “so wants to be in love and have a wife and kids.”  The downside is he had an extended partying period–well into his 30s–the result of which is he wound up in AA 10 years ago and he is about 15 years behind his peers financially.  By that I mean he is able to get credit and handle a car loan, rent, and his expenses just fine, and absorb life’s money emergencies, but he has very little saved for either the purchase of a house or retirement.  He was blowing all of his money at the bar.  He is also well below average height for a man, which isn’t a thing for me since I’m 5’2′ but my brother says it does limit his appeal.

      Anyway, our friend has had 2 LTRs that got to the engagement stage before they fell apart.  My brother says his friend has consistently put himself out there and has gotten shot down a lot, but he is also been very picky and will write off a woman for what my brother says are minor things, to the point that friends of theirs wouldn’t set him up because he would invariably find something wrong with the girl.  He is also really into the cultural aspects of his religion (he certainly doesn’t practice the celibacy thing!) and wants a woman with similar views.

      He met his soon to be bride on a large, established OLD site based on their religion (no Evan, not JDate).  He has been on this site off and on for years and has met other women through it.  The couple have been messaging and talking on the phone for six months and he recently went to visit her for two weeks.  My brother and his friends were initially alarmed at the thought he might be getting taken.  Turns out the bride is a high educated professional in her country and it sounds like our friend will likely move there to live with her since she can’t easily practice her profession here due to licensing issues.

      So what brought this man we’ve know for over 25 years to the point where he is taking both a huge risk and a huge leap of faith in marrying a person from another country and culture with very limited pre-marital interaction is a combination of factors that were both in his control and out of his control.  Sure he has the disadvantage of being a shorter man, and a less financially successful man in the dating market and some women undoubtedly took a pass on him because of it.  But he also passed up many women along the way for minor imperfections.  I wonder if this scenario is true for your friend as well.

      1. 8.2.1
        John

        Hi GWTF

        My friend who married the woman from Eastern Europe is a guy who has no major addictions and owns a million dollar business. He is under six feet tall and very average looking. His wife died suddenly after they were married for about 20 years. He re-entered the dating scene after a long absence and was in his forties and found that the dating scene had changed. He tried online dating for a year and got zero responses to his profile or the many emails he sent out. He dated off line and had one bad experience after another. He said that one woman he dated said he called her too soon after the first date. She said she wasn’t interested in dating a desperate loser who doesn’t know the rules. He went on a business trip overseas and started to date. He had 4 dates in a week. He realized that women over there would give him a shot. He was marriage minded and so were these foreign ladies. My fiend also mentioned that many women he dated in the USA didn’t know if they wanted kids or to be married. He never dated overseas and didn’t know how to deal with such a long distance scenario, so he just let go of the women he met there when he returned home. He realized how he got dates so easily from women who were serious about marriage and so he went to EE determined to find his woman. He met his future wife and courted her for a year. They got married and they are truly in love with each other.

        Your brother’s friend sounds like he had some issues and he has dealt with them. If he is dumping women because he is too picky, then he is foolish. He sounds a bit like a 40 year old adolescent.

        I have been in a relationship with two foreign women and dated a few more and they lived in the USA.

        The reason I didn’t marry one of them was because I dated all of them before I was 25 years old. I was immature and not financially established enough to marry any of them. It was heart breaking.

        These women wanted marriage above all else. Their careers were in second place. I couldn’t give them marriage so they left. I don’t blame them.

        I have a few friends married to ladies from overseas. I asked them why they went so far away to find a woman. They all say basically the same thing. They said they preferred a woman who was focused more on family than on their career.

         

        1. Caroline

          Oh man! According to John-average guys own million dollar businesses! Dang, our economy really is on the upswing!!😂

        2. Caroline

          Hello John, I’m really not trying to give you a hard time; but in actuality my posts are. I think there is an overall disconnect of opinions here. I think if you would have just started your 40s American friend was searching for a woman who was very traditional, wanting to have babies and maybe no career since he is financially successful and since he found nobody in his eyes that fit the bill; he looked abroad I’d have gotten it from the start. I’m glad they’re happy but please don’t try to  imply American women are not marriage minded, loving and nurturing by saying no “decent” woman would give him a chance. Just because a woman doesn’t want those things doesn’t make her a “high quality” or “decent” woman. I think if you polled all adult American women you would find a staggering majority who say family is what is most important. Even though I love my career, my family, friends and relationships are what are of utmost importance. In fact, I wouldn’t have the privilege to enjoy my work if my family didn’t support me emotionally. When my son’s are struggling I find it hard to throw myself into my work even. Even as they are truly becoming adults I still worry. They are now  becoming self sufficient and happy souls which allows me to experience the next chapters in my life and experience new things. I would have never believed how all encompassing it is to be a mom until I had my sons. It’s definitely a 24/7, 365 day thing. It’s life changing to be a parent. On the flip side, if a woman doesn’t want to be a mom; it doesn’t make her less of a partner in marriage just as it wouldn’t a man who didn’t want kids. I find the idea that a guy in his 40s who is average looking, financially successful and wanting kids odd. Sounds like if he was early/mid 40s there’d be quite a lot of 30 somethings/early 40s still wanting a fAmily. It perhaps is  he was searching for someone much younger as he was able to find abroad? No problem, once again. Glad  he had the means and they’re happy.  Saying he could find no “decent” woman in America is just like the women who say there are “no guys” left.

           

           

        3. Caroline

          Sorry I meant so say it would be odd he couldn’t find a decent or high quality women wanting the same thing.

  9. 9
    John

    Buck 25,

    You articulated the bullet points that GWTF asked you to answer brilliantly. Thanks for saying so concisely what many men do not know how to say.

     

  10. 10
    Annie

    Buck25,
    Thank you for the long and detailed explanation. What I find curious about your comments, however, is that they very much apply to men, too:
    “Men aren’t masculine.”
    Of course, we can argue back and forth about what words like “feminine” and “masculine” mean. I did notice that you define un-feminine women as the go-getter types in business. Have you perhaps considered that women feel pressured to act in certain ways to get ahead professionally? Women who are too “feminine” in business (not aggressive enough) may be dismissed as emotional or not as motivated. Yet when they try harder, they get pegged as unfeminine. It’s a tough position to be in.
    As for men, I notice men whining all over this blog and indeed all over other sites about how awful women are, how women take men for a financial ride and so on. Do you think all the whining is masculine and attractive? It’s not. Neither are the Peter Pan men who don’t commit and never quite seem like adult men at all…
    “Men are too independent.”
    I see some men giving up dating entirely – and completely flouncing off  because of a few bad dates seems un-masculine and independent  to a ludicrous degree to me.
    “Men feel entitled.”
    Your explanation about women being entitled made me laugh—thank you for that. In reality, I see examples of men acting entitled all the time. I see men rating women on 1-10 scales and refusing to date below a 9, feeling they somehow are owed sex and a beautiful partner, no matter what they themselves look like or how poorly they are aging. I see men who feel entitled having an affair and then fuming because their ex-wives get child support and half the marital assets after raising the children for years.
    While we’re discussing unfairness and entitlement, I’d also like to point out that when women over 30 ask Evan for advice (as is the case with this post) I notice he asks them to consider men 10+ years older. Fair enough…expect that the advice given to men is very different (https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/how-come-older-men-cant-get-younger-women/). In fact, in the link I just posted in the last sentence, Evan tells a 56-year old man looking to date someone 20 years his junior to consider “older” women – as a third resort after he has considered reverse matches and sugar daddy sites. Hmmm.  That makes no sense, especially given the fact that women statistically die later than men and reach their sexual peak later. But of course, some men feel entitled to a much younger partner…and then complain about women’s entitlement.
     
    I don’t disagree that some women treat men terribly. I have seen it for myself. I have also seen women used for sex, emotionally and verbally abused, strung along, and dismissed solely on the basis of looks and age. Some men treat women terribly and as a whole, I think they are much harsher in the dating game (https://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/dating-tips-advice/if-men-like-hot-women-where-does-that-leave-an-average-woman/). Human beings in general treat other human beings badly (hence…wars and inequality). I think we all think we are the exception. We think we are a good partner, without always taking the time to put aside anger and really checking to see whether we are as kind and loving as we should be…and whether we’re the type of partner we want to attract. I think that applies to both men and women, BTW.

    1. 10.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You’re mistaken about my take on older men but I don’t have the patience to find the post from a guy in his 40s complaining that younger women don’t want him and I tell him to suck it up because women in their 20s have better options. Don’t cherry pick lines to make me look like a hypocrite. I’m many things, but that is not one of them. I’ve repeatedly told men to date their own age and pointed out that only 5% of marriages have a 10 year age gap, not to mention the higher divorce rate. So please don’t distort my views on my own blog.

      -The man with a wife who is three years older

    2. 10.2
      Buck25

      Annie,

      I see I must have struck a nerve. Well, first of all, I wasn’t addressing the myriad of female complaints about men on this blog; that’s a separate issue, and one I’ll be happy to discuss ( on a rational, nonjudgmental, and civil basis) with you or anyone else here. I don’t run and hide from tough questions. In this instance, GWTF specifically asked four questions about why men make certain generalizations about women, and I endeavored to answer these, as honestly possible, and without attacking or judging anyone. I definitely did not take a “Men good, women bad” slant on this. I did not, however, pull any punches to be politically correct or appease anyone either; I simply related what I’ve observed and experienced, and, since the question was about men’s attitudes, what I’ve heard from other men.

      Your response, I note, was an immediate, “Yes, but men….” followed by an entirely predictable attack on everything you don’t like about the male gender. Excuse me for finding this a rather transparent attempt to deflect, dismiss, discount, denigrate and deny the validity of a point of view and perspective different from your own. I don’t see, in either your tone or content, any attempt to better understand why men feel and act as they do; what I see, is a desire to justify your own continuing attitude and behavior, and highlight women’s feelings and problems, while belittling the feelings and problems of men as insignificant and unjustified. It’s natural enough, but I have to ask how productive that is.

      Here, I’m going to bring up a word very popular among the distaff set on this very blog: EMPATHY. You appear a little short of this commodity, so frequently described here as something women have and display in abundance, and men should have but almost universally do not. I don’t know what you think the word means, but to me, it means a willingness to try to look at an issue from the point of view of someone whose experiences, perspectives, and objectives may be quite different, even diametrically opposite, from my own, and understand that the feelings they have as a result are as real and valid to them, as mine are to me. That’s not so hard in the abstract, but it can be a little difficult, when we feel our own emotional toes getting stepped on in the process. Now, for a moment, let’s leave the whys, the wherefores and the justifications aside, and ask one simple little question: Do you like being told what to feel? Do you like to be told that you have no right to feel as you do? Do you like being judged for expressing how you feel? No? I didn’t think so. Why then, would you believe that men like that any better? We don’t, Annie. Suppose you go through one dating relationship after another, and you get sex from the men you want to get it from…but none of them commit to you. You feel cheated, used and rejected, you didn’t get your dream, and it hurts. Now, consider the men you rejected along the way. Some of them got the same treatment from one woman after another; maybe they rarely even got a date from the women they desired. They didn’t get their dream either, and they feel as frustrated and confused and rejected as you do. Now judgment says, if they had been more realistic in choosing which women they approached, in the first place, and you had been a bit more realistic about which men you selected, the outcome might have been different. Emotion says, “I really tried, men are dogs!” or “I really tried, women are stuck up!”. Empathy says “Hey, they (the opposite sex) have feelings; I might not understand why they hurt/feel disappointed/ feel confused…but they do…and I do know how that feels; maybe even the devil needs a little sympathy. Maybe, I’d resent them less, and understand them better, if I tried to see that warped reality of theirs through their eyes; it might look different.” You know, now that I think on it, maybe that recognition that the feelings and perceptions of those we sometimes see as adversaries are as real, as valid, and as important to them as our own feelings and perceptions are to us, is a greater gift to  ourselves, than to the ones we’re so often quick to judge and condemn.

      Seems to me that might be better than continuing to ride the carousel of blaming and shaming, which somehow never appears to have much effect in altering the attitudes and behavior of the gender being thus attacked.  We’re not going to solve all the world’s dating/mating problems here. No one’s going to be pleased with everything they hear or read from the other side of the fence; in fact, sometimes, some observations might sting, because they cut a little near the bone for us personally.  About the best we’re going to accomplish, is that occasionally someone gets a little insight, or finds a glimmer of understanding, in the midst of the tempest. I think the best I can do here, is offer some honest observations, with the occasional bit of good advice sprinkled in; I am getting a bit old, after all, and don’t have quite as many opportunities for setting a bad example as I once did. 🙂

  11. 11
    Caroline

    Buck-I gained insight from your reply to get-thAnks.  I do think dating is evolving for and it may be hard for some to “catch up”. But I’d also like to add that in my own personal world I don’t see millenials having such polarity of views between the genders. I’m in NO way saying your points aren’t valid for some but I see people finding loving relationships everyday without such angst. I have 3 sisters and between our 9 kids (ranging in age from 18-34)- 5 are married (3 with kids), my two (the youngest) have steady girlfriends, and 2 nephews who are in late 20s who both have never had a date in their lives (brothers who socially awkward). My guy has two daughters, both married, one with a kid. Two nieces in fact make much more than their husbands but apparently their husbands feel they possess enough femininity they make great wives. I see young people at work finding partners. While I’m sure there have been dating struggles for indeed most everyone who as ever dated; I find it hard to grasp that the average guy or gal struggles to the degree painted on this blog. We all make our way usually at a one step forward two steps back pace until we break through to success. While I’ve personally known or met women who possess the negative aspects pointed out; they are just a small snapshot that doesn’t reflect the majority of folks I come across in life. Maybe I’m just a glass half full gal but it seems to me that most people manage to find happiness in their own backyard.

  12. 12
    Sarah

    ScottH:

    I am in the older 40’s market. Thanks for the link to the book. It looks very good and I just ordered it. I love to read anyway.  I  think I need to learn to read signs, better, regarding men that just can’t commit. I know its not perfect science but I would like to increase my odds on choosing correctly.

    Thanks again!

    Re: Bad Boyfriends Attachment Theory Partner

     

    1. 12.1
      ScottH

      Sarah- disclaimer- I haven’t read that book, just the synopsis.  the book Attached is one of my bibles along with all the Steven Carter books.  I hope that book serves you well.

      1. 12.1.1
        Sarah

        Hi ScottH: Was there supposed to be an attachment or link via your reply to me?  I did not see one.

        1. ScottH

          Sarah- I didn’t intend on attaching a link but I will this time on the Attached book:  http://www.attachedthebook.com/qa/

    2. 12.2
      Sarah

      ScottH: Thanks, I got it! Will read this too. Have a good week.

  13. 13
    GoWiththeFlow

    Buck, Rocky, ScottH, John, and JB,

    Thank you for the insights!  What struck me the most was the responses to “women don’t want average Joes” statement.  That average Joes’ internal experience of relating to women and dating is often one of rejection and  powerlessness, and possibly resentment and hopelessness.

    @Buck:  “Remember where we left the average looking, 20 to early thirties guy? Mostly out in the cold getting whatever sex he can from other men’s rejects, frequently dateless and rejected by hot women and those a little less hot as well”

    @JB:  “An ‘average Joe’ has very little value and basically no chance on an online dating site. Even an “average or below average Jane” won’t respond to them.”

    @Rocky:  “To me, it comes from the way many women talk here. How they are attracted to very few men. How they decide within 30 seconds of a man is do-able or not. Evan has published letters about women who find no or almost no men attractive. Women post it in the comments. Suffice it to say that the famous OK Cupid study is not the only evidence for the point that women generally want the best of the best from a physical standpoint.”

    @John:  “I have a lot of average looking guy friends that are lonely and miserable. They tell me they get shot down all of the time.”

    I also think I see where the disconnect is:  Average Joes experience women as being powerful in the dating and mating world, when in reality, many women’s experience is one of being invisible, overlooked, and powerless.

    Many women, even young ones, will go weeks or even months between the times when a man expresses interest in them (flirting, dating).  In between those times a woman will spend time in the friend zone, and the closet they will ever get to the “bad boy” experience is silently pining away for the school quarterback or the cute guy in accounting who doesn’t know they exist.  And for many the idea that she can score a hottie for a ONS isn’t appealing because 1) casual sex isn’t what she wants 2) not many want to be in a situation where it’s apparent they are the dreg, the slumee, or the beer-goggle consolation prize.  As I mentioned in a comment thread on another post, for women that want or need a relationship with a man as a basis for sex, they may feel deprived of sex to the extent that they are “deprived” of a relationship.  Vibrators aren’t called Battery Operated Boyfriends (BOB) for nothing!  😉

    Susan Walsh at Hooking Up Smart has a great post about how it’s 10-15% of college students that get the most sex.  Despite the view that hookup culture is rampant on campus, the average student will have 3 “hookups” in their college career, less than 1 a year!  In the book Erotic Capital, the author presents the results of national sex behavior surveys (which started to be done in the wake of the AIDS epidemic to target public health resources) that shows that 15% of the population is responsible for 80% of all sexual activity.

    So I wonder if single men and single women are focusing on the 15% of the opposite sex that seems to have no problem “getting it” and deriving their assumptions of what is and what should be based off of the narrow experience of the few.  Especially given that, as Evan says, the default setting for dating is failure.  If you wind up with one (okay maybe two or three) spouse(s) in a lifetime, then the chances that any one person you talk to online will be IT are slim to none.  I guess the key is to figure out a way to remain optimistic about dating and the opposite sex given that short term dating failure in the norm.

    1. 13.1
      Buck25

      GWTF,

      First of all it would be interesting to know how that 15 % overall breaks down; is it about even male to female, more male than female, or more female than male? Any stats on that? If not what would be your guess? I have a guess of my own, but I’m going to withhold it, for now. 🙂

      My guess is that the group of young women you’re talking about would be average-to-below average in looks (by the prevailing standards of most guys); either that, or the attention they’re getting is not from the guys they want it from. I have a little evidence for that, anecdotal  though it is. When my youngest little girl (stepdaughter) was in college, she had several girlfriends who would come over to our house and hang out. A couple of these girls were just a bit above average, objectively; most guys would have considered them cute, but not all that hot. My youngest was actively dating around; she attracted a lot of guys, but at the time hadn’t met one she wanted to date more than casually. One night these two came over; and I overheard part of the conversation. GF #1, to my child, “You dropped____/? And you already have a date for Saturday night? Seriously? Girl, you are so lucky; I’d have hung onto him anyway; I haven’t had a date in two whole months!” GF #2, “No kidding! Oh my god, I’ve forgotten what having a date is like!” Now, I have to tell you, GWTF, I thought this was kinda sad, because these two seemed to be ok personalities, and I would have thought the average college guy would be happy to date them (average guys when I was in college often dated worse). I asked mine about it later. She laughed, “Oh, both of them have had several guys ask them out; it’s just that the guys were, well, kinda geeks and dorks, if you know what I mean.” “Real losers, huh?” “Oh, I wouldn’t say that, just… well, just ordinary and kinda boring, is all.”

      Now, I took this to indicate, that these two young ladies, while bemoaning the fact that no one asked them out, had in fact been approached for dates more than once during the time they were whining about; but since the guys didn’t particularly excite them, those didn’t even count; they were, in effect, invisible, as far as these two girls were concerned. And you know, over the years, I’ve known a lot of younger women who could find all sorts of ways to make facts inconvenient to their personal narrative somehow magically disappear; like slightly tipsy sex that “never happened”, rationalized with, “Y’all, I was sooooo wasted, I don’t remember what I did….did I really go home with him??? EEEEWW!” The girl involved was nevertheless able to correct the girlfriends who were with her in the bar on their recollections of the earlier phase of the encounter…in exquisite detail!  Oh well...it never happened, all the same! I think there’s a reason the Southern sorority girl’s mating call is “Y’all, I am soooo drunk!!”, but I digress 🙂 I could tell you a few other stories, ( like the several girls who literally went through every guy in the frat house, but once “pinned” to a brother…Shazam!!! Instant, retroactive, and unquestionable virginity!!), but let’s just say I’m a little skeptical of the self-reported romantic activities (or lack thereof) of college girls and other twenty something year old women-in both directions!

      With all that said, I know there is nothing more powerless, alone and invisible in the mating/dating world than a really homely woman. I want to touch on that for a moment because it brings up a real dilemma, for me, anyway.

      I had a woman friend, many years ago; bright, funny, extremely intelligent, great personality… trapped in a face and body that was well, misshapen and grotesque by almost any standard. She was born with a number of birth defects; the numerous surgeries to fix her face enough so she could eat and breathe left her face a twisted mass of scars; her body was distorted, and she walked with a painful limp. The only place it didn’t affect her was in the water; she could swim like a fish, was a certified SCUBA instructor and rescue diver (that’s how I met her). She never had a boyfriend, or a date, just a little house she shared with a bunch of stray cats. She’d come home from work, fix something to eat, feed the cats, read, and then drink herself to sleep. I’ve heard it said here, rather often, that any man will screw anything that’s vaguely female. I beg to differ. I still remember sitting at her house one night, drinking beer and talking, and the subject of sex came up; she looked at me, and with that twisted smile, said “You know, I’ve never had sex with a man…ever…”. She didn’t say anything else for a while, and then she said, “I don’t suppose you could…” I looked in her eyes, and I think to this day that was the worst, most rotten feeling I’ve ever had in my life, because I knew what she was asking, and there was no way, not with the best will in the world, that I could make myself make love to her; and yet, she was my friend, and she was hurting so much…and honestly, in that moment, I felt like such a complete jerk, and lower than the lowest piece of whale feces in the Mariana Trench. All I could come up with was some beggarly story about having some problems right now, and I just couldn’t: but she knew; all she said was, “It’s the scars…isn’t it?”. There was something in the way she said that, and the look on her face; I couldn’t even look at her when I left,  a few minutes later. The subject never came up again, and about a year later, she found a job out of state; I never heard from her again after that. After all these years, sometimes, I still remember that moment. What the hell do you do with that? Damned if I know; but maybe, I understand all too well what it can be like to have to reject somebody really nice, because there’s no way you can be physically attracted to that person. It’s a piece of knowledge I’d rather not have. Well, now I’ve gone and done it, and I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this one, but the truth is the truth…

      1. 13.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Buck25,

        Your story about your friend was very moving and very sad. I didn’t respond to your post last night because the story weighed on me. I’m not really sure how to respond to it, other than I wanted to tell you the story didn’t go unnoticed.

        These two young ladies, while bemoaning the fact that no one asked them out, had in fact been approached for dates more than once during the time they were whining about; but since the guys didn’t particularly excite them, those didn’t even count.

        It’s that horrible joke that it’s only sexual harassment if you don’t like the person (but there is some truth to it!). We all what we want. Doesn’t make it right. It just is what it is.

        I’ve known a lot of younger women who could find all sorts of ways to make facts inconvenient to their personal narrative somehow magically disappear; like slightly tipsy sex that “never happened”, rationalized with, “Y’all, I was sooooo wasted, I don’t remember what I did….did I really go home with him??? EEEEWW!”

        You are allowed to rewrite your own narrative. It’s the only one you have any control over. You don’t have experiences you’d rather forget or interactions with women that didn’t make a dent in you psyche but maybe really had an impact on them?

        1. Buck25

          Hi Emily,

          Thanks. As for that little story, sometimes, life just presents us with situations that just don’t have any good alternative solutions, and I think this may have been one. Doesn’t make them feel any better, though.

          Maybe that ties into your last question. Sure, I’ve had experiences I’d rather forget (or sure would have liked to in the immediate aftermath). Some, in retrospect, are kind of funny; others, not so much; and then there are the ones where I’m left to wonder what I might have done inadvertently. I expect we all do some evil, (and maybe a little good, too) that we just don’t notice in the moment.

          I think, as far as rewriting the narrative, I see your point; it’s just that for me, I think it’s best to remember even the cringe-worthy moments. For better or worse, I did it, I own it; the question is, what did I learn from it. I’ve done a lot of reflecting, in the journey I’ve been on lately, and one result is that I’ve come to terms with some experiences I had nearly buried for a long time; if that process hasn’t been entirely pleasant, it’s been enlightening, and if/when I get back in the dating game, or even I never do, I’ll be better for it.

          A lot of things have become clearer recently, though I still have questions to resolve before I try dating again. Re-examining everything has left me still trying to figure out what my  objectives are, and what I could be open to, should the opportunity arise. I think I need to have a better handle on that, before stepping back into the game. One thought troubles me in particular-at this age, how many good years do I have, realistically, to offer someone in a potential relationship, before the inevitable decline? Is that time enough? Legitimate question I think, and not to be glossed over, much as I don’t like thinking about it. Any thoughts?

        2. Emily, the original

          Buck25,

          One thought troubles me in particular-at this age, how many good years do I have, realistically, to offer someone in a potential relationship, before the inevitable decline? Is that time enough?

          No one knows how many “good years” they have left, as trite as that sounds. I don’t remember exactly how old you said you were, but I have a good friend in her mid-70s who met a great guy on match.com. Both are widowed. They are now very committed to each other and are having a great time together. To be honest, she went through a lot of duds to get to him, but it was well worth it.

          I think it’s great you are doing a lot of internal work now. If you do decide to date again, there will be women out there who appreciate that. A lot of people take no time to self-reflect. I’m doing a bit of that myself.  Hope it pays off.

      2. 13.1.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        Hi Buck,

        In regards to personal narrative revision:  It does happen!  I don’t know if this is a uniquely female thing or if men revise their history as well.  A few years back I mentally and emotionally owned ALL of my history.  For myself, and I think for many women, there is an element of shame in having sex.  I was raised in a religion that really fetishized chastity and purity in women, and on top of that I came of age in the era of resurgent conservatism under Reagan and the specter of HIV/AIDS when being a born-again virgin was very popular.  So what I had to do was let go of the shame and own that I’m a sexual being who wants to feel good.

        The biggest type of history revision I see these days are young women who have blown ten guys, had anal sex with two of them, but call themselves a virgin.  Um, well you may technically have an intact hymen, but I don’t think you can say you are sexually inexperienced!

        As for the whole “women don’t give regular guys a chance” issue, as your story about your friend illustrates, sometimes you can get to know someone very well, recognize their inner beauty, but still not have the attraction required to have a sexual interaction/relationship with them.  So when a man says “she didn’t give me a chance” would it be easier for you to be turned down at the beginning or would you rather have her spend time with you, and then still say, “Sorry, but I’m not feeling it.”?

        Also, sometimes women do have very good reasons for turning down a man even though it’s not apparent on the surface.  When I was in college, I had a boyfriend from about 8 weeks into my freshman year until the beginning of my senior year.  We had broken up and gotten back together twice before that last break up when I was determined to make it permanent since our issues were unresolvable.

        Right after the break up, a guy started to chat me up and do the “we should hang out” thing.  I sidestepped when he tried to ask me out directly, and I did nothing to encourage him.  I was still grieving and figuring out how to manage having friends in common with my ex, and running into him on campus and at parties.  I was in no mood to date, period.  On top of that this guy was in the same fraternity as my ex (Yes I was in a sorority and am familiar with the mating call:  “OMG, I’m sooooo drunk!) and I found that to be awkward.

        One weekend, a bunch of the guys from the fraternity went down to Tijuana to party.  Early the next week, I was hanging out with some girlfriends/sorority sisters and one of them, who was dating a guy from that fraternity, said “OMG, you know M (my pursuer)?  You will never guess what G told me he did down in Mexico!!!”  Let’s just say it involved public debauchery with a beer bottle, a prostitute, and oral sex (him on her) in the middle of a nightclub.  The very next day I run into M and the dude asks me out.  With a rather disturbing vision running through my head, I said, “No! And don’t you ever ask me out again!”  Now M may have thought I was being an uppity b*tch for “not giving him a chance.”  I maintain I had reasons.

        “One thought troubles me in particular-at this age, how many good years do I have, realistically, to offer someone in a potential relationship, before the inevitable decline? Is that time enough?”

        Buck, if you have taken care of your health, and continue to do do, there is no reason why you can’t live into your 80s and 90s and be active.  Many times I, and other people I work with, nurses, doctors, aides, have all commented that compared to 15-20 years ago, we are seeing many exponentially more patients who are in their 80s and 90s, who are active and have no or only minor health issues.  You have plenty of time 😉

        1. Buck25

          GWTF,

          I expect a lot of the “personal narrative revision” I’ve seen women do, resulted from just the sort of sexual shaming of girls and women you described (still too common in this society, IMO). It’s not that young men don’t get some of that too, mostly from the same purveyors; we do, but our high aggression level and higher sex drive usually leads more of us to either ignore most of it, or rebel and turn hostile to those who promote it. (One big reason, (though not the only one) why I parted company with organized religion). I decided years ago, that I’d be damned if I’d let a bunch of eunuchs in clerical robes, their guilt-ridden, shame-filled flocks of dysfunctional weaklings, and other assorted busybodies and bluenoses tell me I couldn’t act like a man. I don’t like their company, I don’t need their permission or their approval, and on the off chance there is a hell, at least if I go there, I don’t suppose I’ll have to put up with their noxious species there (according to them, anyway). 🙂 I like sex, I won’t apologize for wanting it, or chasing it, and so long as I do that openly and honestly, and don’t use or mistreat anyone in the process, I see nothing to be ashamed of. Frankly, I think women should be just as free to enjoy their own sexuality, and perhaps society is finally evolving in that direction, albeit slowly.

          Thanks for the encouragement on the age issue. It occurs to me that at this age (68), I wouldn’t have to worry, if I had reached the point where one is primarily seeking companionship, and physical attraction matters little, if  at all. However, I’m not there yet; I’m not ready to give up that part of being a man, and that part of a relationship, while I’m still fully able to enjoy it. The implication of that, is that I want and need a partner who has (at least to me) some modicum of sensuality and physical attraction left. That reduces the pool to a small percentage of women over 65, or a somewhat larger pool of women a few years younger who are still willing to consider a man my age. The alternative is a “relationship” with zero chemistry, and to me that’s not a relationship at all; better to remain as I am, than try to fake what I just can’t feel for a woman I have no physical attraction to. In effect, where I used to be comfortable dating just slightly above average women, I now find myself trying to date the most attractive 5-10% of my age group. Those women, however, can date, and prefer to date (according to online profiles), men 5-10 years younger. On top of that, since I’ve been reading here, I have learned what women (including women over 55) think of men my age, and it’s not flattering. Even though I don’t fit the stereotypes, at least not yet, I am left with the feeling that many consider a man over 60 or 65 a bad bet and a poor investment (“He may be fine for now, but what about ten years from now?”), and much as I hate to admit it, there’s at least some valid reason for the concern. After all, I’m sure a woman wants her last great adventure to be an exciting one, that lasts as long as possible, too, and “ten years from now” is 78, for me. That does pose a bit of a dilemma, when you think about it like that; go for what I want, one last time, and maybe cheat a woman of what she wants, or go for what I can right now, and let fate decide the rest? We try so hard to sell ourselves in the dating and mating game, and we have to; but… at what point is it overselling, maybe irresponsible, even if it’s true? I hadn’t thought so much about that until recently…but maybe I need to; I’m not sure.

           

      3. 13.1.3
        Caroline

        Buck-nobody is going to “flame” you. Hopefully we all learn from life’s experiences- some good some not and those heart wrenching ones for me personally are the ones which impacted me the most. Maybe that interaction was put at your feet to help you reflect upon how you will react and gracefully accept to being rejected or how you will deliver rejection?

        Enjoyed your story about the young college students. I think many of us (male or female) were pretty full ourselves at that age.

        Reflecting on finding love at our respective ages- I recall the first time I met the elderly couple across the street from my employer. I had observed them several times hand in hand during their early morning walk. Upon introduction one day the Mrs.  told me they were newlyweds! She absolutely beamed as her husband told the story about how he “convinced” her to be her bride. They had met at church and started eating lunch together after Sunday services. Apparently he “proposed” the idea that they would both save on gas and car expenses each Sunday if they just rode together! And then it was they’d both save on household utilities, etc, etc..well he finally fessed up that he really cared and couldn’t imagine anything better than living out the rest of his years with her😊

        1. Buck25

          “Maybe that interaction was put at your feet to help you reflect upon how you will react to and graceful accept being rejected, or how you will deliver rejection”

          Caroline,

          I don’t know. As an adult, long I’ve known that there’s only one way for a gentleman to accept rejection; calmly, quietly, and with few words; if  I need to say anything, “I wish it might have been different” will suffice. Acting angry/upset is for adolescent boys. If I have anything else to say, I vent it to a blank wall; no one else cares anyway. If I’m angry, there’s a speed bag and a body bag in my exercise room to take it out on.

          I will have to say that the cold impersonality of online dating made me inclined to be a little mean handing out rejection in that venue for a while, mostly out of frustration with some of the nasty rejection I experienced there. I don’t do that in the real world, though.

          That said, I think the main takeaway from that particular experience was a feeling for how hard it can be to reject someone you think a lot of but just can’t be attracted to, for whatever reason. In that instance, it was compounded by the fact that the woman involved had been a good and true friend at a very difficult time in my own life; although, I can’t think of anything else I could have done that would have been any better, in that individual situation.

      4. 13.1.4
        ScottH

        Interesting that you mentioned narratives.  I was reading this article that mentions narratives,  http://www.psychalive.org/anxious-avoidant-attachment/
        “The key to “making sense” of your life experiences is to write a coherent narrative, which helps you understand how your childhood experiences are still affecting you in your life today. In PsychAlive’s online course with Drs. Dan Siegel and Lisa Firestone, they will walk you through the process of creating a coherent narrative to help you to build healthier, more secure attachments and strengthen your own personal sense of emotional resilience.When you create a coherent narrative, you actually rewire your brain to cultivate more security within yourself and your relationships.”

        Boy, I’m chatty on this topic…

      5. 13.1.5
        Erin

        Hi Buck.  You once replied very kindly to a post of mine, and I’m pleased to respond to your query below about having good years to offer somebody at your age…

        My grandmother was widowed at 76 and started dating her most recent beau at 78.  He was a touch younger.  She passed away a few months shy of her 100th birthday with him at her side.  They had over 20 good years together, and were playing golf together right up until the month before her death!

    2. 13.2
      ScottH

      GWTF- the average joe comment struck me between the eyes.  Many times I feel like one, especially after being dumped by an alpha woman i believe because she needed someone who earns more than I do and that made me feel very inadequate.  Two other gf’s didn’t seem to mind my status.  All have told me what a great guy I am.  Then again, I’m probably somewhat-above-average-joe but it FEELS like most women on OLD are looking for the charismatic alpha high earning guy and that’s not me.   Just gotta keep plugging along.  I do get a fair amount of action from the dating sites and I have had a lot of meetings and follow-up dates.  I’m also wondering if I’ve become as damaged as the women I complain about.  quite possible.  mid-life dating is tough and I thank Evan for his newsletters and blog where he helps us to keep things in perspective.  We all want instant gratification, especially when it seems like the clock is running down.

    3. 13.3
      Stacy2

      This discussion has indeed been very helpful. I had no idea men internalize so much angst in dating. I honestly always thought that men have an upper hand in dating. They’re the one who’re doing all the asking, and they have a great deal of control over their overall attractiveness.

      I am going to go out on  limb and say, that few women are holding out for George Clonney’s look alike, and very few men are so physically unattractive that you can’t dress them up. I mean, a guy would need to be physically disfigured somehow to be in that territory, short of that – good physical shape, good haircut, stylish clothes and proper hygiene will do the trick – and all controllable.  And so are other aspects of male attractiveness.

      One of the most impressive guys I’ve ever dated, for example, spoke 5 languages, played several instruments, had an ivy  PhD and was very successful financially (as in top 0.5% earner). He was also in no way geeky – very stylish, cultured, world traveler and had a lot of interests. We belonged to the same yacht club and this is how we met. He was tall but not conventionally super attractive – and it didn’t matter. None of these things that he was were innate. He made himself into that exceptional person – and that made him extremely attractive to women. I was crazy about that guy.

      On the other hand, most “average Joes” I encounter in life can only be described as a “warm body with a penis and a mediocre job that paid for their Ikea-furnished apartments”.  I think I rejected advances from hundreds of them in the last 10 years during the periods when I was not married, and may be it left a lot of them hurt, but I honestly do not regret any of those rejections at all. Not only were they boring and unimpressive, but more importantly they lacked emotional depth, life experiences and intelligence needed to successfully connect with someone like me. I would much rather be alone than with any of those guys.

      But the thing is, it was their own making. I think it would behoove them to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves how they can better themselves. Not just for the sake of their romantic lives- but because there’s gotta be more to life than a boring job, bbq and football? Very few people will have the ability and motivation to become the kind of person in my example above – but even if they did 10% of that, the outcomes would be so much better for them. This isn’t about collecting diplomas and triathlon medals on the walls. It’s about collecting life experiences that make you grow, make you able to relate better to others, make you a better person.  If that is something they are not willing/able to do, there are actually a lot of women in the same range of shallowness and mediocracy – just don’t go for the 8s and 10s. Life is about trade-offs.

      I don’t think expecting your date/mate to be more than a “warm body” is entitled. I also think, I have probably never dated a conventionally attractive person, and I am a solid 9. That said, I have dated some very impressive and accomplished men.

      1. 13.3.1
        Chance

        You’re making the flawed assumption that these men are only asking out women who are as impressive as you dubiously claim to be, or at the very least, are more impressive than they are.

      2. 13.3.2
        ScottH

        Hi Stacy- I agree that this has been a very interesting discussion.  I’d like to challenge you on the concept that men get to do the asking.  Yes, we do the asking but women have equal control in deciding whether to accept or reject.  We get rejected as many times as women don’t get asked when they want to get asked.

        Also, this impressive guy you mentioned does sound impressive.  I don’t come close to him.  However, as Evan keeps repeating, a good partner doesn’t have to be as impressive as your example.  A regular guy can be a better (or worse) partner than your impressive guy and many times these impressive guys are bad partners.  Were you crazy about his accomplishments or the way he treated you and the way you connected with him?  I agree that a warm body (male or female) won’t make much of a good partner, at least not for very long.  When your impressive guy was amassing his credentials, I was raising a family with an incredibly difficult partner and going to a corporate job making a decent salary.  I didn’t have time or resources to do what he did but I’m back in the dating pool much more experienced and i think I’d make a great partner to some lucky woman.  On the outside, I look like just a regular guy.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Dear ScottH @ 13.3.2,

          I think the gender who gets to ask, has the advantage.

          Say I go to a dance, and there are 100 single men there, and I would go have an initial coffee date with say 40 of them (given my age ranges and racial preferences). I have to wait until one of the 40 asks me. If nobody asks me, no coffee date for me.

          But imagine I am a guy, at the same dance.  Say there are 100 single women and I’d go drink coffee with 80 of them.  All I have to do is ask enough of those 80, and surely eventually the maths is, I’m likely to be drinking coffee with one of them pretty soon.

          Having the power to ask must be freeing. Waiting feels powerless. I only have any power once asked. You have power before any move is made.

        2. ScottH

          Mrs Happy-  I think we could turn that around and come to the same conclusion that women have the advantage.

          The chances of someone attractive to me accepting my offer is the same as someone attractive asking you to coffee. And to Buck’s comment below, he’s right about us getting slammed.  So often I’ll make initial contact and the woman will just outright BLOCK me like I have leprosy or something.  Or we might exchange an email or two and then she BLOCKS me.  Like, wtf???  That sure makes it feel like women have the power.

          And there are clear ways that women can take make things better for themselves by winking (online or in person) and letting the guy know that she’s receptive.  If we know that, we’re a LOT more apt to make an advance.  I did have one woman wink to me and then she blocked me after I wrote her (nothing obscene, no dick pix this time (kidding, I’ve NEVER sent one)).  It really is demoralizing to get outright blocked but then we have to tame our lizard brain and realize that it really isn’t personal.

          But I’ll tell you what… it sure feels to this somewhat-above-average guy that you women people have the distinct advantage .  I must admit that my Match account was on steroids on Sunday.  For some reason I had something like 7 women contact me.  Very unusual day.  The Gilligan’s Island references are pure gold.  I do think my profile is pretty awesome.

          Maybe since men think you have the advantage and you think men have the advantage, it really is a level playing field.  It would be good to hear from more fishies here.

        3. Emily, the original

          ScottH,

          It would be good to hear from more fishies here.

          Men have the power in dating. Women are the gatekeepers of sex, which isn’t that hard to find. Plus, men find a wide selection of women appealing so they shouldn’t have that much  trouble accessing sex.

          Men, however, are the gatekeepers of commitment, which is a rare commodity. Any time you have something the other side wants, something somewhat difficult to obtain, you have the power. If you want less from the relationship (meaning you don’t want commitment and the other side does), you have the power.

      3. 13.3.3
        KK

        Stacy said, ” Not only were they boring and unimpressive, but more importantly they lacked emotional depth, life experiences and intelligence needed to successfully connect with someone like me. I would much rather be alone than with any of those guys.”

        Did you really just say that THEY lacked emotional depth??? LOL.

        And then you said that these guys that don’t have impressive credentials are shallow???

        Thanks for the chuckle.

      4. 13.3.4
        Henriette

        Dear @Stacy2: It seems you’re missing (ignoring?) one of Evan’s key messages, that he preaches day in day out.  A man can be impressive ~ a high earner, speak multiple languages, stylish, member of a yacht club, even a “deep” person ~ and yet be a mediocre partner.  Traits that allow a person to be great partner include kindness, strong communication skills, a forgiving nature and integrity.  Even men with boring jobs who enjoy beer and bbqs can embody those characteristics.

        No one will tell you that you shouldn’t expect your date to be impressive and interested in self-improvement but with that focus, you will overlook some potentially wonderful partners.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Dear KK @ 13.3.3 and Henriette @ 13.3.4,

          if Stacy2 @ 13.3 needs or wants her man to be intelligent, have emotional depth, be able to relate to others, and have interesting life experiences, well those are her wants, and I can’t understand why she gets so attacked for wanting those.

          When dating I broke up with men because they didn’t have those, and I’m not a bad person, I just know what I want in a partner.

          Likewise Stacy2 is allowed to have those high on her list. The more she brings to the table, the longer her list can successfully be. I imagine Stacy2 is adding the above, to the basics of kindness, consideration, an easygoing nature, etc, that make for a good partner.

          If Stacy2 is smart and successful, she’d be irritated with a dumb boring man, and any relationship with such wouldn’t work. Thus she is being sensible. She doesn’t want to wallow in mediocrity.

      5. 13.3.5
        Buck25

        Stacy2,

        I believe you make some valid points here. I want to respond to is the idea that men have the upper hand in the initial phase of the dating game, as expressed by you, and Mrs Happy in her follow-on post. As you have discovered here, it’s almost an article of faith among men, that the opposite is true. Who’s right?

        Obviously, men do the vast majority of the approaching, inviting and chasing whether that’s approaching and sticking up a conversation in the real world, or sending an email online. It can be argued that they have the advantage of having the initiative, and it is a significant advantage. That advantage, however, comes at a cost measured in the effort it takes for the average man to first of all approach, and should he meet with any success, plan the dates, court, and otherwise do what he can to get past a female section process that is rigorous in real life, and frequently ruthless online. Do understand that the average Joe is not a hyperconfident social alpha, nor is he strikingly tall and handsome; by definition he’s more or less average-in intelligence, looks, achievement, etc. In short, as he is, he is NOT what any woman (yes, including those average and below) actually wants. So, when he summons up what confidence he actually has (usually less than he’d like to believe) and approaches, most of the time he’s rejected (sometimes politely, sometimes not) out of hand, whether he hits on an average Jane or a hot number. Direct rejection hits straight at his ego; being “good with women” is something every guy prizes as an affirmation of his manhood. Understand that Joe Average thinks the standard of “success” is what he’s always seen the “cool guys”, the social alphas, do with this. So far as he can see, they don’t struggle, they never lose, never get rejected. The fact that many of them will further promote that idea by embellishing their already considerable success in bragging about it only confirms this, in Joe’s mind. In truth, it’s rather like baseball; The very best hitters have a batting average somewhere in the .300 range; two thirds of the time, they don’t get a hit, much less a home run. Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron both had lifetime batting averages in the low .300s, and both struck out almost twice as often as they hit a home run. The most successful players in the dating game do about the same; strike out as often as they get a date. Joe Average doesn’t see their strikeouts, just their hits (dates) and home runs (dates with the hottest women). Just like looking at the great ballplayer; Joe Average sees the 714 home runs, and forgets the 1330 strikeouts that went with them. His confidence is quickly eroded; these guys, he reasons, must have something he can’t have. So he studies PUA techniques, usually executes those badly, and fails again. There’s no use telling him that it’s a numbers game; so long as all  he gets is failure he can’t see that. Like a hitter whose form and timing are off, the more and harder he swings, the worse it gets. He can’t see why, but eventually, the truth is that he can’t even hit a hanging curve over the middle of the plate, much less a 100mph fastball. and, since he can’t see the errors in his form…he assumes the pitcher (that would be women, in this case) must be putting something on the ball to gain an unfair advantage, so he cries foul! All that advantage he had(and he did) is wasted; he simply does not have the tools, the experience, and the confidence, to exploit it. He then assumes that he “just can’t play this game” because he’s not a “natural” at it…and thus discouraged, simply quits; and to save what’s left of his pride, blames his opponent (yep, you  again) for not playing fair, and Fate for not making him a “natural” who “has it easy”.

        What alternatives does he have? Actually he has plenty. What he needs is batting practice. Even a “natural” needs that; the difference is, they get it in the course of just playing the game and being in the starting lineup every day, not just occasionally pinch hitting. Joe Average needs more time in the batting cage, until he can crack the starting line-up. Maybe he needs more time in the gym, too. IF he does both, he’ll get stronger, and his  batting average will almost certainly improve; he’ll still strike out a lot, but he’ll get some hits, maybe even an occasional home run, and gain some confidence, He might not ever make the Hall of Fame, or even make it to the majors, but he can still be a star in his own league.. Of course, there’s one other key thing, that actually makes the game of dating  easier than baseball. In baseball, the number of at bats even the best player gets is determined by the flow of the game. The really great, really confident hitter will never get to the plate as often as he would like. In dating, even a chump who can’t hit a Little League change-up can step up to the plate and take his swings as ofter as he wants; he’ll usually strike out, and often look foolish doing it, but he’ll see a lot of different pitches, and a lot of different pitchers, and with time and patience he might actually learn how to hit.

        So in that regard, I think, on reflection, that we men do have an advantage; we just don’t see it, or use it, as often as we could. Something to think about.:)

        P.S. I hope you’ll forgive me, for writing this for us guys, under the guise of replying to you; but it seemed like a good opportunity to make a point and give myself a reminder or two.

        1. Kristyn

          I really like your analogy.

           

           

        2. Emily, the original

          Hi Buck25,

          There’s no use telling him that it’s a numbers game;

          On some level, it isn’t a numbers game. I emphathize with men having to do a lot of the approaching, but most men do not know how to read the signs and signals women give them. If they did, they would know who to approach/ask out and who to avoid.

          For example, there is an attractive guy who is a contractor who used to come out to where I work about once a week. I spoke with him at one point. He was friendly, pleasant … but I got nothing back. No energy, no flirtation, no “green light,” so to speak. I’ll never no why, but he wasn’t interested. I think, in that situation, if the roles were reversed, a lot of guys would have continued to try to engage me, even though I wasn’t throwing anything out at them.

          I don’t know how one is expected to read the signs online, but women who are interested irl will let you know. Better to target a few women who seem receptive than just throwing out attention/energy to a bunch of women with no strategy and no discretion.

        3. Buck25

          Emily,

          Yes and no on the numbers game. For a guy who’s pretty well socially calibrated, and not uncomfortable talking to any anyone he meets, you have a fair point. I’ll talk to anyone, male or female, because that’s what I naturally do in a social situation, but, it’s very, very neutral, unless I see eye contact, a sideways glance or two, or something else from a woman that indicates interest, in which case, I may send some flirtatious signals of my own early in the interaction.

          Joe Average, however, isn’t typically that extroverted; he needs practice just talking to women (not necessarily hitting on them, just polite friendly conversation) until he learns they don’t bite. Don’t laugh; a lot of average guys act like they think a woman will slap them just for saying hello. The only way I know of to develop some social calibration, including the ability to read the signs of interest women display, is to practice until it gradually becomes more comfortable, paying attention to how people react all the while. It’s a learned skill, and a lot of average guys don’t practice it enough, especially meeting and talking with women. There’s a lot of good advice on the subject, but it’s fundamentally useless,without repeated practice, trial and error. In the beginning, most guys will mess up, a lot; they’ll keep going too long, try too hard to impress, miss signals of interest/disinterest, etc. I’d tell any guy starting to do this, not to even worry about getting a phone number, much less a date; his job is just to meet, converse politely, and move on; batting practice, remember? Besides, if he learns to just give something (a smile, pleasant conversation, maybe even a moment of humor, and genuine interest in whatever the woman is saying), without expecting anything in return, that will become his default mode; he’ll not only not offend the women he talks to; eventually he’ll become interesting, if only for conversation. He can be open to possibilities, but expecting nothing more than a brief, pleasant interaction, he’ll worry less about the outcome, i.e. whether he gets a phone number or a date, and just enjoy the moment, and he won’t fear rejection so much. Just like a baseball player learning proper hitting technique (stance, balance, timing) his skills will improve, until he thinks about them less, and just enjoys swinging and making contact with the ball.

          Online is an entire separate universe, with its own separate skill set. Most of what we use in real life doesn’t translate there, except that a man can showcase whatever humor and intelligence he has to offer, (assuming he can write well). Confident, easy bantering and teasing doesn’t have the same effect; a little in an email, otherwise, pretty useless. I think this can work to the advantage of the less extroverted guys, in that it doesn’t show up  as much of the shyness that’s usually a weak point for them in the real world (provided they write well enough to showcase some wit and a modicum of intellect, of course). Sometimes an email is the guy’s best shot at getting his profile read, but what he writes in that profile has to be strong enough to hold any interest he captured in the email. It’s going to be mostly a visually driven game, basically a photo contest (as it is for women).  Other than that, a man can target his marketing to those women who appeal to him (not just looks, but interests, writing style, and most important, those whose criteria he mostly meets). This is where reading women’s profiles is key; no point emailing a woman when you cross one or more of her stated deal-breakers. Online is much more a numbers game than real world; comparatively, it’s low-effort, low (and usually infrequent) reward. Probably the most frustrating aspect for a guy who does reasonably well in real world dating, is the lack of the non-verbal cues we normally rely on for feedback; without those, it’s hard to know where exactly we’re missing the mark with our online marketing. It also helps to have a lot of women in one’s target geographic area, age group etc.). Aside from looks, the best things a man can have going for him are creativity, originality, a lot of imagination, some real writing skills, and sheer persistence enough to keep trying different approaches until he finds one that seems to resonate with his target audience

        4. Emily, the original

          Buck25,

          Joe Average, however, isn’t typically that extroverted; he needs practice just talking to women

          I understand that and I think you gave some good suggestions about how the more introverted guy can learn to interact with women by taking the idea of dating and getting her number off the table and just practicing engaging with them.

          But I still stress that a woman will let a man know if she is interested. For example, there was a guy I work with who used to live in my apartment complex. Several times over the course of a few weeks, he came to my office and askes me if I was going to the apartment’s Christmas party.

          “No. I didn’t even know there was one,” I said.

          He said he was going.

          Let’s replay that: “Are you going to the Christmas party?”

          “No. I didn’t know there was one?
          “I plan on going.”

          Same conversation three times. If I had been interested, I’d have said … “Yes, I plan to go. What are you bringing? I hope to see you there.”

          He threw it out at me, and if i was interested, I would have picked up the que. Maybe I would have, at some point, gone to visit his office “just to say hi.” That’s showing interest.

          I then heard through a mutual friend that he was planning on asking me out. He had hesitated up until that point because I think he had a feeling I’d say no. It wasn’t just what I was saying. There was something in my manner that was putting the brakes on it. And I was doing that intentionally because I didn’t want to encourage him.

           

  14. 14
    Sabrina

    I’m blessed to be incredibly happy. Almost every single day.  Here are my secrets.

    1) Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate! It sounds funny but when I started praying (in my 20’s) I thanked God for my washing machine every single day. Growing up without one, this was such a luxury. To this day I am still thankful for all the things our society takes for granted- electricity, safety, free speech, clean and freely available water. We can lose all of these in an instant (que recent active shooter events… now!).

    2) Attitude. Seriously. You choose whether the glass is half full or half empty. Mine is always half full. Not only is it full, it’s clean & I can drink it without getting sick!

    3) I don’t tie happiness to an outcome or material possessions. These are temporary, I can’t take them with me and the happiness that I get from them is short lived.

    4) A few people have talked about adult attachment theory in the comments. Whoa- learning about this also made me much happier because it helped me understand myself & other people much better. Not familiar with the theory? A good read is the book Attached. No, I am not affiliated with the book in any way, other than as an avid fan.

    5) I can’t believe that I’m about to confess this (not just to you, but to myself), but making more money than I need leads to less happiness. Why? It’s sets my expectations too high for my lifestyle, I spend it frivolously on stuff that is supposed to make me happy but ultimately just makes me feel guilty, and it gives me the false illusion that I am better than others, which makes me judgemental. Now, I can’t tell you the magic income number that maximizes happiness for you, but when this is a challenge for me, I allocate a large peon to savings, charity or something else that I’m passionate about.

    On the surface level, that’s it for my top 5 keys to happiness. I read a research study 2 years ago that people are most happy when they are challenging themselves. I DO believe in this also, so I am always setting goals, growing & stretching. I encourage you to do the same & I’d love to hear what makes you happy.

    1. 14.1
      ScottH

      I would agree with you on point #5.  After the alpha chick dumped me, I was thinking about the life she lives.  It’s all about big houses, fancy trips, fine dining, keeping appearances up, worrying about keeping her income.  NO THANKS!  If salary is a higher priority than a personal connection, I feel sorry for her.  I like my simple lifestyle.  I think those people are trying to make up for something that was missing.  I’m probably sounding like I think everybody should share my values.  To each their own.

      1. 14.1.1
        Sabrina

        That’s awesome that you recognize that. Having too much money makes keeping up with everyone else exhausting.

      2. 14.1.2
        Christine

        Scott, no disagreement here.  It’s the “alpha chick” I really pity. I don’t know her so it’s hard to speak for her, but I doubt she’s really happy.  I know because I once was her, all about appearances.  However, in hindsight, I really was trying to compensate for something missing.

        But after a financial scare with pay cuts at my job, I became more frugal.  I started living way below my means.  I also started making a habit of sticking more money into my savings account every month.  Um, to keep your income, you obviously need to spend less of it–and you know, keep it!

        I wonder if it’s a coincidence that that’s when I found love, and met my guy?  The frugality turned me into the type of partner he was looking for.  I doubt my guy would have been attracted to how I was back then.  His ex was a lot like yours (and dumped him when he was unable and unwilling to fund her lavish lifestyle).

        In hindsight, that financial scare was actually a blessing in disguise, in kicking me in the pants and forcing me to rearrange my priorities.  I’ve acquired a new peace of mind in knowing that with my savings, I can ride out any tough financial times that come my way. I can honestly say I don’t miss any of that fancy “stuff” I used to get.

        It also attracted a partner who is so compatible with me it’s downright eerie.  I am personally much happier with my personal connection and simple lifestyle, than I was alone with a fancy one.  To each their own but I think it’s her loss.

        1. ScottH

          Hi Christine-  money is a really hard thing to talk about, at least for me.  I wonder what other peoples’ experiences are.  I feel like if I have to consider cost when doing things with my partner, that it will be looked down upon and I do feel like less of a man.   I need to find someone that I don’t feel that way about but I’ll admit that it makes me very uncomfortable.  I do ok financially but I have a kid in college, another in private HS, and child support to pay.  I make ends meet just fine and have plenty of enjoyment but I do have to watch things.  I had another gf who mentioned my money concerns when she broke up with me.  She wasn’t anything like the alpha chick but she also can’t get a credit card because her credit is so bad.  My credit is nearly perfect.

        2. Christine

          Scott, you dodged a bullet by not being with those women any longer.  Being a man isn’t about how much money is spent.  I’ve had fantastic dates at low cost or free events, and awful ones at high end restaurants.  It doesn’t take a ton of money to have a good time with someone.

          Actually, I find it commendable that you’re careful about spending your money, in light of your children’s needs.  I’d think a lot less of you if you were spending money left and right, and taking money away from supporting your children.  Of course your children should be your priority, in terms of what to pay for first.

          I also can’t help thinking that other gf is mighty hypocritical to mention your money concerns, when she obviously has money concerns of her own!  Maybe she was looking to have someone bail her out of her credit problems (if so, you’re lucky she didn’t drag you down with her.  My guy’s ex wreaked havoc on his finances for a while and it took him years to recover)

    2. 14.2
      Caroline

      Sabrina- great post. I especially like the thoughts on gratitude. And while I also pray and thank God; one can also just note or write out or say out loud what they are grateful everyday (I like to start the day that way) and experience what I’ve noted as just an overall shift in my outlook. So much better😊

    3. 14.3
      GoWiththeFlow

      Sabrina,

      Excellent post.

      About #5, for the first 5 years of my career I worked in a very busy group practice and in my best year financially, I made more than I ever thought possible.  I was also chronically sleep deprived, could only exercise sporadically at most, ate poorly, and had my cable and power turned off because I was too busy and tired to go through the bills. Changes in the group and the nature of our practice prompted me to leave for a work situation where I don’t do call and have no nights or weekends.  I’m often done with work by 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  I make about 40% of what I did before but I am much healthier and happier.  No one on their deathbed ever says, “Gee, I wish I had spent more time at work.”

      Also, appreciation and gratitude.  Also keeping in mind what’s really important.  I don’t know how many times when a situation sucks just saying to myself, “Calm down, nobody died here” can bring everything into perspective.

  15. 15
    John

    Kristyn

    I agree that Evan is not an Average Joe. That doesn’t change the fact that it would be wise for women to follow his wife’s way of being. What Evan’s wife does is not difficult but it is rarely done.  She chooses to love him with all of his flaws and he does that for her.

    1. 15.1
      Adreana

      She chooses to love him with all of his flaws and he does that for her.

      Yes. Now Evan isn’t “average” and nor is his wife, but how many average Joes do you know that are living in fantasyland? Hoping just one day the top 10% of women will notice and be in a LTR with them, and then calling them “entitled” when that bubble bursts?

      Sorry, but I cannot take the complaints of Average Joes seriously when there are plenty Average Janes available.

      1. 15.1.1
        John

        Adreana

        I see it different. I acknowledge both sexes can live in Fantasyland.

        Wouldn’t it be wise to treat below average, average and above average guys the way Evan’s wife treats him? Does a man have to be above average to receive love and respect from you?

        Your comments say you can’t feel sorry for Average Joes when there are plenty of Average Janes around. Well many Average Janes will NOT give Average Joes the time of day. That is why Average Joes go abroad and like my friend, are called losers. Average Janes, especially in online dating, will not even consider them. If you really want to know, make a fake profile with an average guy’s photo and send some emails. Step over to the guy’s side of online dating and you will learn what I already know. Average Joes finish behind Average Janes all day.

         

        1. Adreana

          “Wouldn’t it be wise to treat below average, average and above average guys the way Evan’s wife treats him?”

          I don’t understand this comment. Are you suggesting I behave the same way with all men as I would behave with a guy I’m in love with and attracted to?  I might be friends with average Joes and treat them nicely but no,  they wouldn’t receive any love or affection from me . I don’t feel desire towards them in that way and I wouldn’t date them.

          As for Average Janes not giving them a chance , this is not true. Average Joes don’t send them emails until they are frustrated from being rejected over and over again by  the top 10%.  In most cases, they just want to use average  Janes for sex. I’m curious though, when you hangout at local bars and social gatherings, who do you usually see the “average Joes” approaching?

           

      2. 15.1.2
        ScottH

        Evan might not be average but his many flaws are.  Are you suggesting that because he’s not average that his many flaws should be more tolerable?

        All women should do what Evan’s wife does, whether they are married to the CEO of GM or to the average Joe.  The world would be a better place if that was the case.

        1. Adreana

          “Are you suggesting that because he’s not average that his many flaws should be more tolerable?”

          No, I’m simply saying the average Joes need to humble themselves and give average Janes a chance. Perhaps then they wouldn’t be so miserable about dating. If you can’t tolerate a person’s flaws I don’t see why you should continue seeing them let alone marry them. lol

        2. Caroline

          I’m sure Evan’s above average wife has many average flaws that he also accepts. I think what it truly is, is that they both accept each other’s flaws, they listen to each other especially when they really need to be heard yet stand their ground when needed and compromise when they can. The world would be a better place if everyone behaved that way😊 …and forgive when the other doesn’t or makes a mistake knowing they can improve and have the best intention to behave that way

        3. Stacy2

          I’d like to point out that the CEO of GM is actually a woman. The fact that some men not only don’t know it, but automatically presume otherwise says volumes (… and that’s another reason why you are single LOL )

        4. scotth

          @Stacy.   Wrong… The reason I’m single is because i know the CEO is a woman but said what I did anyway.   She actually served me lunch last year.  I live in Detroit.

    2. 15.2
      Kristyn

      I totally agree.

       

      In truth, though, I don’t think women with the attributes of Evan’s wife are as rare as you think.  Every woman I personally know is the type to accept, love, and nurture in any relationship (this could be because I live it Utah, it is culturally the “norm”.) I only know one woman who could be described somewhat as the “high maintenance” type.  Interestingly, she is the one’s the guys swarm around.

       

      Evan has said many times that initially he looked past some of his “requirements” when he first met his wife.   But in doing so, he realized that some things that looked like they were necessary for a partner to have were really not important while other things (easygoing, accepting, etc) grew in value.  These are things that are important to everyone, not just men.  does any one enjoy constantly being criticized, nagged or made to  feel that they are “WRONG”?  I think everyone wants to be loved and accepted, flaws and all.

      Above average Evan snagged an amazing, above average wife.  I still think this is the Average Joes pursuing the above average women.

  16. 16
    FG

    Sifted through the comments. May have missed it, as the comments digressed from the smart/happy topic, but to be as pertinent as can be in the title’s context, the issue or dichotomy in the smart/happy or likelier smart/unhappy boils down to “unrealistic  expectations”.

    Cheers.

  17. 17
    Sarah

    Evan: These posts are interesting. Have you ever thought of having a National “Meetup” for all these posters? What an interesting couple of days/nights that could be. I bet you could make some money on setting this up.  It seems most are single  on these blogs and it would be fun to meet the people, we really don’t know here….JUST a crazy thought . Its really not much different than going on a singles cruise etc…(which I have never done). Anyway, I live in IL. You could be our keynote speaker and make fun of all of us…Haha.

    1. 17.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I’m always glad to speak if someone puts together an event, gets a crowd, and compensates me properly. I do not, however, see myself putting together an event and attempting to fill an auditorium in Illinois all by myself. If you build it, I will come.

    2. 17.2
      ScottH

      Sarah- I suggested that very same thing not too long ago.  At least Evan responded to your post.  And I live just around the lake from you.  well, in the big city on the SE side of the state just around the lake, if you know what I mean.  I would love to chat face to face with these people too.  do you live in a windy place?

      1. 17.2.1
        Emily, the original

        ScottH,

        Would you have us all wearing name tags with “Anxious,” “Secure” or “Avoidant”? C’mon… that was funny.   🙂

        1. ScottH

          How about big red hexagons with white borders for the avoidant people, green circles for the secures, and yellow triangles for anxious?  The question is:  in what proportion should we order each type???   funny!!!

        2. Emily, the original

          ScottH,

          The question is:  in what proportion should we order each type???

          Depends on the age of the participants. According to you, the older the group, the more Avoidants and Anxious types there are. Let’s face it: This is an advice site for dating. Probably not a lot of Secures reading it. They are probably at home, happy, with their partners or spouses!

        3. Emily, the original

          ScottH,

          I’m pulling your leg, of course, but I think there is some truth about what you’ve written on past posts in terms of what’s left in the dating pool past a certain age. I seem to run into two types of men: Those who come at me like a freight train or those playing dating hokey pokey. I am hoping that I just need more practice at recognizing the Secure types.

        4. Caroline

          @Scott and Emily-love that (need to find a yield sign to put my name:)

          I think there is a positive spin on this as to being was it 30% of the aging daters as “secure”. The fact that while it may usually remain at 30% but one has the ability to break into that 30% by owning their sh*t and improving. I like the idea about changing your personal narrative.  Most of us have this stream of thought of I’m single because x or for me personally it’s I’m divorced because my ex was an alcoholic. Well the truth is that we both made a mess of our marriage. The truth is very freeing.

        5. Emily, the original

          Hi Caroline,

          I didn’t realize the percentage was as high as 30 percent in terms of the number of Secure older daters. That’s not as bad as I thought.

          I am working on being able to identify the Secure people. I can usually tell when a man is too pushy/clingy or when he is not doing enough and not much is happening, but I still struggle with knowing what is a “normal” level of communication and togetherness, particularly in the beginning.

  18. 18
    Sarah

    Yep! That makes sense to me. Thanks for your reply. I can barely get friends to confirm a night out; can only imagine getting something like this together.

  19. 19
    Sarah

    ScottH:  I am not originally from IL, but have been here several years. I am sorry, I am not completely ignorant of what you mean but I am directionally challenged! I have lived in 4 states  and traveled alot in my career. I am not sure if that is the reason, but I don’t know what “around the lake” means but I am thinking Indiana..or OH? Well, is there a way we can exchange emails, privately?  I am always looking for another friend. I realize this is not a matching site or whatever…

     

    1. 19.1
      Scotth

      im in Detroit .   I guess there’s nothing wrong with saying that.   Yes, it would be nice to make private contact with others here if that’s possible.

  20. 20
    John

    Caroline

    It’s true that my friends was a millionaire and in reality, he wasn’t average. The funny thing is that the women who dated him never knew how much money he had, because they wouldn’t give him the time of day or hang in there long enough to find out. On the surface he was average. He didn’t whine and complain and blame the women for ignoring him or dismissing him. He went and got a good wife and you said in an earlier post you were happy for him. It seems to bother you that my friend found his happiness with an above average woman. How dare he get a woman who is above average. Yet if one of your women friends said she landed a good looking rich guy and she was an average woman, you would say she deserves it.

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