How Do I Make Sense of All The Different Dating Advice Out There?

How Do I Make Sense of All The Different Dating Advice Out There?

Evan, I have been reading a lot of different dating advice websites, especially the ones written for MEN. I have noticed a trend in telling men to get the women to chase THEM. (Ask Men is one example) I see a lot of advice to women about why men disappear, what to do when they disappear, etc., but it seems that men are being COACHED to disappear, as a power play, a way to get the upper hand, and to get the woman to chase THEM. So if women are being coached to play hard to get, and men are playing the same game, what does this mean for male/female relationships?

In this incarnation of my dating life I have decided that I am not going to chase men. (In my younger days I admit that I did, and no good ever came of it.) This time around I absolutely I will not chase men, nor be baited into chasing one. (Yes, men are advised to bait, hook, and then ignore a woman, to get her to do the chasing). BTW, I am not a “rules” girl, I read that book, and feel dumber for having read it. I do want a man to pursue me, but when he does, I will be increasingly receptive to him, and once a relationship has been established, I won’t mind taking the initiative when appropriate. I won’t wait 2 days to return his calls, or only see him 2 times a week, or play all the mysterious stuff that Rules promotes. (They call it mysterious, but I call it secretive & evasive.)

So while I am not a hardcore Rules girl, I am a little old fashioned and want a man to pursue me, not hand me his business card and expect me to call him. Or e-mail me endlessly on but never ask to meet me face to face. What do you think of the role reversal being promoted by sites such as Ask Men (they call it “The System”) Do you think many men are following that advice ? –S.E.

Hoo boy. I’m not sure where to begin.

I would guess you’d be more interested in how you can understand and land the confident, successful, happily married guy, as opposed to the weak, insecure, jealous, inexperienced guy.

I guess I’ll start with how I give dating advice, and how I think it’s different than many of the other sources out there.

Like many people, my perspective has been shaped by my own experience. However, unlike many people, I had a few unique things going for me.

1) I come from a happy and highly functional nuclear family, so I not only had a model of the kind of marriage I wanted, but I strove to emulate it. Many people who give advice come from broken homes, abusive relationships and unfortunate backgrounds, none of which are a crime. But I think my past is a strength, inasmuch as I have a very healthy outlook on marriage.

2) I am – at the risk of immodesty – very confident and flirtatious. Let’s just say I had considerable practice in online dating, dating and relationships. Many people who give dating advice have been married for 30 years and don’t know anything about dating. Many others (think pick-up artists) came to do so because they are shy, awkward and insecure. But unless you want to attract a guy like that, why would you care what such men think?

3) I am married and in an incredible relationship because I followed my own advice. And I would guess you’d be more interested in how you can understand and land the confident, successful, happily married guy, as opposed to the weak, insecure, jealous, inexperienced guy. Then again, I could be wrong. I’m always willing to risk being wrong by having opinions. What kind of coach would I be if I didn’t have opinions?

4) I’m not afraid to stand on principle. Other coaches are marketers – their only desire is to a) pray that you like them and b) convince you to buy their products. My loyalty is not to my own biases or my own bottom line, but to the truth. I don’t view the world based on how I’d LIKE it to be; I pay attention to how it IS and advise on how you can best react to reality.

And very often, reality isn’t pretty. Would I rather tell you the truth or validate your worldview so that you don’t shoot the messenger?

The answer should be obvious.

Real men don’t play games, use power plays, or try to get the woman to chase them.

People come here because they expect to be told the truth, rather than some rah-rah “all women are goddesses” bullshit that I don’t believe and I don’t expect you to believe.

Unless you believe the equivalent bullshit that “all men are noble studs”.

Which, of course, they’re not.

Now that I’m done tooting my own horn, let’s refocus on the advice you’ve chosen to cite, from

I just went to Alexa to check out the site’s demographics. What did I discover?

The target audience for AskMen is men 18-24, men without children, and men who live at home or are in school. When I clicked to see their income, most of these men didn’t even HAVE income. Compare that to Esquire readers, the majority of whom make six figures. Which kind of man are you looking for, S.E.?

Basically, I’m asking you what difference it makes if a website for boys is giving those boys advice that will work on insecure teenaged girls with low self-esteem?

That’s right. It doesn’t. Real men don’t read

Guys who play games eliminate themselvesJust as real men don’t play games, use power plays, or try to get the woman to chase them. This is run-of-the-mill pick-up artist advice for awkward teens, not advice that 40-year-old men and women are expected to utilize.

From this paragraph, it sounds to me like you know what you’re doing:

I do want a man to pursue me, but when he does, I will be increasingly receptive to him, and once a relationship has been established, I won’t mind taking the initiative when appropriate. I won’t wait 2 days to return his calls, or only see him 2 times a week, or play all the mysterious stuff that Rules promotes.

And if you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t impact you one iota if some guy is running a game on you. Guys who play games just eliminate themselves from dating confident, secure women. Right, S.E.?

At the end of the day, whether it’s a man playing games or a woman playing games, one thing is for sure: everybody ends up losing.

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  1. 151
    Karmic Equation

    LOL. Well, guess that’s another thing different between the sexes. Speedy men are not at the top of our lists 😉 Slow and steady wins the race. Comfortable men, maybe not… but men we feel comfortable around and who are willing and able to comfort us when we need them to, they are priceless.

  2. 152

    Speedy men are not at the top of your lists?  Maybe not all of your (collective) lists, but why do so many women chase alpha males?

  3. 153
    Karmic Equation

    Well, what I meant by not-speedy was slow love-making. You meant women who were quick to bed, I know. I was having fun twisting your meaning 🙂

    In all seriousness, I can’t answer for other women when it comes to “chasing alpha males” — I make it a point to not chase, especially not alpha males.

    Alpha males prefer to pursue. The pursuit demonstrates their confidence, so I let them. Because I want to see that confidence in action. And I want to know that he’s attracted enough to me to think I’m worth pursuing. If he doesn’t pursue me, then the attraction is just not there, so why chase?

    If I were to guess why some women chase the alpha male, I would say they want to “have a chance at a relationship” with him. I don’t think those women get that while an alpha man WILL date and bed her if he thinks she’s attractive, HER pursuit of him, just puts her in the pack with the other chasing females. She’s one amongst many, nothing special. Not a good way to stand out amongst the competition imo. While she could indeed be a great gf/partner, her chasing him shows that SHE doesn’t believe SHE’s a prize, so why would an alpha who can have anyone, want a woman who doesn’t think of herself as a prize? He can do better by finding one thinks she is, so he does.

    And if the male wants to be pursued? I would tend to think he’s not confident and wouldn’t characterize him as alpha.

    Personally, I think alphas give off a pheromone that is really difficult to resist. My ex-player-once-bf-now-fwb is one of those alphas. His smell shuts off my thinking brain. I’ve literally buried my nose in one of his shirts and purred like a cat in catnip. I was laughing at myself even as I was doing it and couldn’t stop myself. I Love. His. Smell. OMG.

  4. 154
    Senior Lady Vibe

    As suggested by one poster, I Googled “Doc Love” and took a quick peek.  I discovered he’s been a dating coach since 1965!  A lot older than I and I call myself “Senior Lady.”  LOL  Oh, well.  Good for him but I don’t go along with any advice that tells guys not to call for days and days.  I don’t like any kind of manipulative poppycock.

  5. 156

    I mentioned in posts 74 & 75, how dating on-line seems to have changed so much.  First, men, in general, seem to be far more sexually aggressive in the e-mail stage then they were before.  Second, men seem to be impatient if you don’t reply within a few hours when they contact you.
    Now, I have a third thing to add.  I’ve received a number e-mails saying how much they enjoyed reading my profile, it’s very well-written and funny, they think I’m very attractive, but they just don’t think we’d be a match, and good luck in my search.  What the hell?  I haven’t contacted them, this is the first contact.  Why do they contact me just to tell me that?  And why don’t they think that we are a match?
    After thinking about it, there is only one thing I can point to — it started as soon as I turned 50.  These guys, are the same age or up to 4 years older than me.
    It’s very disheartening.

  6. 157

    Cat5 #172
    That is indeed odd. I’ve never encountered that. I’m guessing these men really do find you attractive, etc. Is there something in your profile that could be off-putting? In other words, they really would like to meet you, but there is something in the profile that puts them off, and they don’t come right out and say what it is. Are you in the age range of the men who are contacting you? Since these guys are your age and even older, doesn’t seem like that should be an issue.

  7. 158

    Evan, why do you understand women so well?
    I think you should add a new set of clients to your portfolio: Men messed up by PUA, the Game and BS like that. While I am not saying all of this is wrong it does end up making men undateable.
    I dated a PUA briefly, almost a year ago. It was SO hard. He did some pursuing in the beginning but very shortly afterwards he started expecting so much from me. It seemed like he pulled away if I didn’t initiate contact maybe twice or three times as often as him. He was always so insecure and seemed to see a shit test or a low level of interest behind everything I was doing or saying, although he was extremely attractive. Finally I stopped contacting him and deleted his number.
    I have been an acttractive woman all my life and to all the Johns in this debate I can tell you one thing: I am not used to pursuing. I have learned that men who like me will pursue me for the first 3-4 dates. If they don’t get in touch or ask me out again I certainly won’t do it myself, because this is how I have experienced the world around me. I might check their facebook page daily because I feel so attracted to them but I would NEVER ask them out first. To me, they are not interested if they don’t do it.
    And rarely do women go on a bunch of dates with guys they have zero interest in. It’s not like it’s ANY fun being around a person who is obviously interested in you and you’re not. No, a free meal is not worth the hassle. So the fact women are willing to go out on a 2nd or 3rd date does mean something unless she isn’t totally insecure or has serious issues. If she, at some point, stops getting back to you, something must have happened. Maybe you did or say something that convinced her you are not the right person for her. But it happened along the way and wasn’t (completely) there from the beginning. If a situation like this seems totally odd for you ask her for feedback, you would be suprised! And has it never happened to you that you were interested at first but it changed? Dating is getting to know each other and not a contract.
    And what also happens to many men, they come off to desperate. Although they are nice they make you feel like they would take ANYBODY who would take them. Women want to feel special. Too many guys give off that desperate vibe and being on a date with them makes you wonder why they like you because all that it seems to take is a vagina. These guys will continue being extremely unsuccessful and never understand why, because they do everything by the book, maybe have the looks and money. But they fail to see the person behind a woman.
    Evan, you should really focus on insecure men a lot more. Don’t leave them to The Game!

  8. 159

    Thank you Lisa. This has been my experience completely and because I want a man who is both confident and wants me I would never pursue a man. I got a great boyfriend that way, I wouldn’t change my actions for the world.

  9. 160

    Karmic Equation #169
    LOL about the smell of alpha men! It is a too-little-discussed aspect of male/female relationships.
    My ex also has a smell that overrides any other process in my brain. His housekeeper uses a particular kind of fabric softener in all his laundry and his house smells of it, as do his clothes. That combined with the deodorant he uses, and his own particular smell, has an overwhelming effect on me. If I even smell that fabric softener I can barely control myself! LOL

  10. 161

    I know htis was a while back in the comments, Evan – but I just HAVE to quote you. I’m not sure you realize how profound of a statement you made:
    Evan #71
    “Women don’t initiate for many, many, many reasons – you just ASSUME it’s because they’re not interested. Here are a few others: -Because she generally doesn’t have to. Interested men have always pursued her so she never had to reach out.”
    What’s so profound about this? Since most men are doing the pursuing, they are setting the standard by which most women are going to compare us!
    Thus the “norm” is men pursue – men take overt action to go get what they want. So while you’re waiting for more action on her part – she’s likely to be taken by the guy who’s taking action.

  11. 162
    Evan Marc Katz

    Right you are, JoeK. “So while you’re waiting for more action on her part – she’s likely to be taken by the guy who’s taking action.”

    And that’s one of the things that I don’t understand about beta males who defend their passivity – waiting for women to call them and show interest. It’s generally not an effective strategy, since the man who actively pursues the woman is the one who is making her feel valued and special. The man who waits for her to step up is simply left waiting. The fact that beta males sometimes find women who DO step up to call them is not necessarily proof positive that this is the optimal strategy.




  12. 163

    I wrote the letter, fell asleep, and some dream napper fellow girl person stole and and sent it to this blog.

  13. 164

    I agree about the initiation for first contact, asking out for first dates, but if she did not show she is interested by being responsive, my patience was short.

    I pursued. I contacted women and I went out of my way to plan fun dates and would always have a good time going out. In those early stages, 1-4 dates in, I call with a suggestion or leave a voicemail/text to talk and if I didn’t hear back for a few days, I might try a second time, and if she didn’t make any effort, she would not hear from me again. Now, if the same woman reaches out to me a week or so later, I thought maybe she is interested but was busy, or some prospect she was also seeing turned out to be a creep or idiot, and might try the cycle with her again.

    What I stopped doing is continuing to reach out more than once or twice to women who weren’t courteous enough to reply in a few days to even say “I am really busy with work/my sister right now. Lets talk later.” That response doesn’t take much time and is all the encouragement that is needed. One of the women I stopped reaching out to after a few dates when she didn’t respond complained I was “another one of those guys who seems interested but then disappears.” I was not going to waste my time and emotional energy on someone who doesn’t show some interest. No matter how good looking they were or how impressive in their profile, these were not worth my time and there are many more out there.

    They didn’t get it. It blew my mind how many women were like this until I realized the ones who don’t get it end up overrepresented in the women who are single (I won’t say available, because they weren’t really available if they were not responsive.) About once a month I would initiate with a woman who DID get it and after a few of those I met my wife. I was not beta, but if every woman had behaved rudely or disinterested, I would have remained single and happy.

    1. 164.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Hey Allen, nobody ever told you to call women multiple times without a response. All I ever said was that if you like a woman, call her, instead of waiting for her to call you. If she doesn’t call you back, you don’t want her anyway.

  14. 165

    I lost my wife 5 months ago. My mind becomes open to the possibility that someone can fill the void. For this reason I was attracted to this site. I find it a different world from the one that I knew. I find it totally alien that for simple human relationships there is a requirement to apply complex tactics and strategy. I believe that if you find you need this, either you have lost the art, or you are wasting each other’s time. Certainly, if I felt that any overt tactics or strategy was in place I would walk away.  

  15. 166
    Sparkling Emerald

    Hi Raymond – I am sorry for your loss.  Yes, sometimes I wonder why I read the different blogs, etc on how to date and relate.  Have things really changed THAT much in the dating world, that one needs to hire a coach, or read a manual, or take a class on how to date ?  (Well, yes things HAVE changed a lot, and maybe that is why we need coaches, classes & “how to” manuals)  Sometimes I think “My goodness, what did people do before relationship experts put together “Love Scripts” providing exact wording for every possible relationship situation ?  How did the human race survive before men and women had professional script writers tell them what to say and what to do ?
    I am the Original writer of the above letter, and just when I thought it was confusing enough, I started getting e-mails from one of my subscriptions that the return address was from a well know FEMALE dating coach, but the signature at the bottom of the e-mail was from a lesser known MALE dating coach. (not EMK)
      Just made me go “hmmmmmm”.  Something doesn’t pass the smell test.  I wonder if these 2 coaches are even real people, or are just phantom online characters, devised by the same coaching company, only one geared for women who want the male POV and one for those who want the female POV.
     Anyway, I get the most useful info from this blog, but it’s probably confirmation bias on my part.  I had decided on my own, in my last incarnation as a dater (prior to my second marriage) to NOT CHASE MEN.  (I did in my really young and dumb days, and NEVER had a successful relationship happen like that) I aslo HATE the games playing, so I devised my own system of letting a man lead and pursue withOUT playing hard to get.  Just be receptive to his advances, and if he disappears, let him go.  Then I find EMK’s blog, and he bascially tells the same thing to women, that I discovered on my own years ago.  (He calls it mirroring) However, I did get his Finding the One Online and he had some very good concrete advice on writing a good profile and writing good e-mails, that I found useful, and didn’t think up on my own.

  16. 167

    Sounds like some of the male posters here lack confidence and self-esteem to me.
    I’d rather date someone like Evan. I’ve experienced the men who like to take a backseat and let the woman take the lead, and they are usually they flaky, blow hot and cold, oh so over sensitive ones that I now RUN a mile from.
    Give me an Evan any day, a man with confidence, secure in his masculinity and isn’t afraid to take some chances. 🙂

  17. 168

    Evan 71 – yes, if a man cannot pick up the phone and call me, I’d assume that
    I) He didn’t enjoy the date
    II) Doesn’t like me
    III) Or if, I and II, are not true, that he’s
    IV Passive.  Passive men drive me nuts.  (Been there, done that, and can’t be bothered).

  18. 169

    In my experience all dating advice books, websites etc are just rubbish. They just reinforce stereotypes and eventually lead to mental illness as you try to make sense of all the conflicting advice. You cannot predict the future, and you cannot manipulate people to like you. That is life. 

  19. 170

    Women’s emotion is incredibly irrational, and while there’s a lot of horrible dating advice for men out there (most of it written by women), the good advice for men involves manipulating women’s emotions rather than demonstrating practical appeal.


    And because being all of the things on your “relationship checklist” gets us rejected in a heartbeat. Because your checklist is a lie, it’s not a factor in your attraction at all, and trying to pass its muster means forfeiting the emotional appeal that actually does matter.


    Oh, and give the “chemistry” talk a rest. Being “easy to talk to” doesn’t spark a relationship; it sparks a friend-zoning. In fact, if there’s a single reason why dating is hard, it’s because the sum of what women think men should do amounts to an unabridged edition of “How to Friendzone Yourself.” As for “How to find happiness in a Relationship?” It’s simple for men: be the opposite of what women think they’re looking for.

    1. 170.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “The good advice for men involves manipulating women’s emotions rather than demonstrating practical appeal”

      And there you have it. Insecurity meet insecurity. Any man who does this is insecure that he can’t be himself. Any woman that this works on is insecure, because the confident ones would kick game players to the curb. Pretty much a recipe for the worst possible relationship: avoidant, amoral, game-playing man and insecure, anxious woman waiting for him to treat her well. Like Donald Trump says: Sad.

      1. 170.1.1

        There’s no insecurity involved. If “manipulation” were always bad, then all women would be terrible people, and if it required insecurity to do what you need to do to get what you want, everyone who achieves anything would be terribly insecure.

        You’re putting a more negative construction on what I said than is warranted.

        The point is, attraction is emotional, not rational, and most dating advice (especially any that starts with “looks don’t matter, because”) tells people to demonstrate rational value. As I said, this leads to friend-zoning, not emotional attraction.

    2. 170.2
      Karl R


      What “relationship checklist” of Evan’s are you talking about?  I searched the site, but the only reference to a “relationship checklist” I can find is this post of yours.  Whatever list you’re referring to, it seems to have a different name.


      Evan’s advice (specific to men):

      “Nice guys with an edge finish first.”

      “Nice guys with no balls finish last.”

      “Women are attracted to a combination of passion and proficiency.”


      JD said:

      “Being ‘easy to talk to’ doesn’t spark a relationship; it sparks a friend-zoning.”

      Okay.  Are you witty, charming, flirty and funny?  Or are you a good listener, patient and sympathetic, who makes all of the appropriate noises while the woman spills the sordid details of her worst trauma within an hour of when you first meet her?

      Technically, both guys are easy to talk to, but the first one gets a romantic relationship.  The second guy get’s to be the shoulder she cries on if things go wrong with the first guy.


      JD said:

      “being all of the things on your ‘relationship checklist’ gets us rejected in a heartbeat.”

      I can’t think of any piece of Evan’s advice that was guaranteed to get me rejected.

      If a woman found me unattractive, -then- I was guaranteed to get rejected, regardless of how much of Evan’s advice I followed.

      But the critical piece of Evan’s advice (in that circumstance) is, “The person who dumped you is not your boyfriend,” (or in your case, girlfriend).


      JD said:

      “most dating advice (especially any that starts with ‘looks don’t matter, because’) tells people to demonstrate rational value.”

      I can only think of one piece of dating advice that says “looks don’t matter” … and that’s from Ron White.  (Actually, I think he’s got a really good point, but he’s certainly not the best source for dating advice.)

      Once again, I think you’re missing the point of the dating advice.  Looks aren’t what matters most.  Therefore, if I pursued looks over any other consideration, I would have been making a mistake.  If you pursue looks over any other consideration, you will be making a mistake.

      Lots of men and women pursue looks over anything else … because this world is full of people making one stupid mistake after another.


      JD said:

      “The point is, attraction is emotional, not rational,”

      Attraction may not be rational, but I am rational.  Since I found multiple women to be attractive, I could choose which one(s) to pursue based on rational criteria.

      If you find more than one woman attractive, and if you’re rational, you can do the exact same thing.


      JD said:

      “If ‘manipulation’ were always bad, then all women would be terrible people,”

      Wow.  You have such a high opinion of women.  I can’t imagine why women aren’t falling all over themselves to date you.


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