I Don’t Want To Bring Baggage Into A Future Relationship

I Got Too Excited About a New Guy and Scared Him Off!

I came out of a long-term four-year relationship about 6 months ago. During the relationship, I made some mistakes – always putting my partner first over my needs and accepting his bad behavior (numerous times cheating on me, lying to me, diminishing my self-worth) I told my friends that I wanted to give the relationship 100% so that I could know that I tried everything to make it work.

It didn’t work out and he dumped me after four years, over the phone. I accept that I tolerated WAY more than I should have done. And I’m truly not bitter – just frustrated that I wasted the final years of my twenties on someone who said ‘forever’… but ended up making a different decision.

Here’s the thing though, I’m really concerned that I’ll bring ‘baggage’ into a future relationship… and I wondered if you had any advice on what I can do to make sure that I don’t cause any problems when I’m dating in the future. I don’t want to be a victim – and I will start dating again sometime… I just don’t want to be the stereotypical person who decides that they’re in their 30s and have had a bad experience so they take that out on future partners.


Dear Jess,

Kudos to you for your asking the right question. 

The number of people who blame the opposite sex for their dating woes is far greater than the number of people who try to assume responsibility for their past actions and choices.

Why look inward when it’s so easy to fault men for being selfish, broken, losers, players and egomaniacs?  (And a good number of them ARE!)

The key is in understanding the common denominator: you.

YOU choose this man.

YOU accepted his bad behavior.

YOU tolerated his lying and cheating

YOU tolerated his lying and cheating.

YOU thought it was okay that he put you down and diminished you.

YOU did this again and again for four years.

That is not an attack on you, Jess. It’s exactly what you said above – putting the focus on your choices – just using all-caps.

The good news is fixing this problem is incredibly simple and straightforward.

  1. Remember, the next guy has nothing to do with the last guy. Or even the last ten guys. If you always choose lying, cheating heartbreakers, it says more about your choice in men than it does about all men. There are always going to be bad men out there; you must develop the ability to identify them and leave them sooner instead of investing years of your life in them. 
  1. Choose different men. One of the core tenets of Love U is that you don’t have to change your personality or your looks to find a great guy. You just have to stop wasting your time on the wrong men. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t ATTRACT the wrong men, you ACCEPT the wrong men. Once you stop accepting relationships like your last one, you’ll never fall into the same situation again. Think of it like a hot stove. You just had your hand on one for four years. I don’t see why you’d ever put your hand back on. 

“But I can’t help it!” you say. “I don’t even trust my judgment at this point!” 

I get it. It’s hard to feel good about your judgment when you have a track record of failure.

That’s why it sure helps to know what a good relationship looks and feels like.

Indeed, you wasted a years on the wrong man (or men) but you’re not alone.

In fact, I know very few people who made it through their twenties without a lot of mistakes on their record. Honestly, I believe that’s what your twenties are FOR.

So if you don’t want to be a victim, don’t be a victim.

Try Believe in Love, a program designed to answer your very question in depth. Subtitle: 7 Steps to Letting Go of Your Past, Embracing the Present and Dating with Confidence.

Apply to Love U, my signature coaching program which spends an entire month on Confidence and an entire week on Past Baggage before teaching you to select Mr. Right.

No matter what you do, trust your gut feeling that tells you that something isn’t right. 

And if it’s not right, please have the courage to leave quickly instead of staying because you think you can’t do better. 

I promise: you can.

Join our conversation (53 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    Evan is giving you good advice, and you’d do well to try his programs. I’d only add the following: be careful not to ignore the lessons you should learn from your history, and be equally careful not to learn the wrong lessons.

    How many women who’ve been giving and got burned learn the lesson that they shouldn’t be so giving? The absolute wrong lesson. They didn’t get burned because they were too giving, they got burned because they gave to the wrong person and ignored the fact that their partner wasn’t giving back the same way. If you learn the wrong lesson and become less giving, you will repeat the mistakes of your past … Except you will be the one playing your past Bf’s role. That what you want, who you want to be?

    Decide who you want to be in a relationship and then BE that person. And realize that when you act a certain way, it’s because you hope your partner will act the same way, not because you want to forever play the giver to his taker. No one wants to forever be the wooer, wants his/her partner to forever be the wooee. The wooer always wants to be wooed in return – in concept if not in kind – else would not expend the effort. Wanting reciprocation doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you human. Watch for that reciprocation in the future. Leave if it isn’t forthcoming.

    1. 1.1

      What if it’s baggage that you’ve been carrying since childhood and it was intentionally heaped upon you by others?

      As a kid I was constantly picked on because of my looks and often ignored and even sometimes laughed at when I tried to ask out girls. As a result I have been single for years and Iack self esteem when it comes to dating.

      Deciding enough was enough I recently lost 60 pounds by eating healthy and exercise. But more importantly I had a few plastic surgeries reshaping my face. My overall transformation has been amazing and the attention I get from women has been astounding!

      Obviously I don’t tell them that I’ve had plastic surgery but the baggage I can’t escape is feeling deep down that these women wouldn’t have chosen me if I still looked like I did even though I’m the same person on the inside.

      Separating the individuals that scarred you from all the individuals of that gender isn’t always so easy when you’ve been hurt repeatedly back to back. I’m only talking about within the realm of dating of course, outside of that I have no problem with interacting with, nor pre-judging women as a whole.

      1. 1.1.1

        Hi Andrew ~
        Congratulations on your new look!

        Perhaps reframing your experience would help. I may have interpreted wrong, but I got that girls rejected you BEFORE they got to know you on the inside. That is, they limited their knowledge of you to only your outer appearance, and then decided to reject you based on outer appearance. So they never got to know the inner You. The inner You is unknown territory for a woman, and unknown to you, also, regarding what you will learn of yourself in relating to someone intimately.

        Now you have removed that outer filter. Those women who use outer appearance to accept or reject will be less likely to reject you, as you have experienced. So your field of potential will include those women.

        Is your concern that you won’t know how to filter out those rejectors of superficial appearance? Or is your concern that you might lash out at women in general as if they ALL are rejectors of superficial appearance (and therefore new versions of the same women who hurt you before)?

        I would suggest that you have given yourself a chance to get to the juicy insides between yourself and women. These are opportunities you have NOT had before, so this is new territory: these are very different dynamics than you’ve experienced in the past, so previous baggage may not be relevant at all.

        There is also a chance that with new confidence, you will show up very differently than you did before, meaning holding yourself with more poise, speaking with more ease and polish. Poise and grace are inner qualities, but they can be eroded due to harsh circumstances.

        Warm wishes for a happy, healthy love life!

      2. 1.1.2

        We’re all human, Andrew. Question – now that you’ve improved your appearance, are you dating women who look like you used to look, or are you dating women whose appearance is on par with yours currently? If the latter, are you different from the women of your past, the ones you so resent? I mean, I’m sure you aren’t teasing women who don’t meet your standards the way you remember being teased – but are you rejecting them based on their appearance, at least initially? That’s what most people do, what our brains are designed to do. We’re all human.

        What is it that you’re really worried about? Is it that you’ll judge a woman harshly because she’d have rejected the former you? Or is it that you worry that deep down you’re still the same guy, and that she’ll reject you once she sees it, sees past the false front you’ve erected? That you felt unworthy of love and desire in the past, and still feel that way deep down, and so lash out at at the women who accept you before they can reject you? Before they can, with their rejections, make you return emotionally to what was once your baseline state, the hell in which you were trapped?

        When you think back to the person you once were, to asking a woman out and being harshly rejected, do you have any distance from the memory? Can you remember the young man you were in the third person, feel pity for him, feel empathy? Or are you immersed in the memory? Can you only experience it in the first person, relive the terrible emotions as if you’re re-experiencing them each time you remember? If so, Andrew, you might have a form of PTSD, and might benefit from some counseling. There is no shame in it. I have done it too, for similar reasons. Might not get rid of the problem entirely, but will give you insight into it, help you move past it.

        You’ve embarked on a journey from the person you once were to the person you want to become, kudos to you. But you’ve only focused on your body, the next step is to heal your mind. Give it the effort and the energy you’ve used for your body, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Envision the person you want to be and be him.

  2. 2

    Rampiance and Jeremy logically I hold no grudges against women for being attracted to who they are attracted to. But emotionally I struggle between accepting the reality of how people are with the ideals of how people are; and realize that I should not take it personal.

    It is like the numerous books you read of historical women and minorities who have contributed to our very foundations of society in science and literature etc. But had to pretend that they were white males because society rejected them based off of the way they were born. The same society that condemned them to their faces for being inferior without giving them a chance, praised them as the pinnacle of human enlightenment when they wore a mask society found acceptable.

    The ideal is that looks don’t matter, nor gender, nor skin color, nor social standing but the reality is much different. And this is the source of my cognitive dissonance. I think personally it would not affect me so much if after the surgery and the weight loss that I started to get a few dates after asking women out. But what happened was women actually started to approach me, ask friends to introduce them to me, and even contact me first online. To go from being invisible or laughter to being pursued I think is the core of my struggle because ultimately I am the same person on the inside.

    1. 2.1

      Andrew, you obviously have strong feelings and are experiencing an emotional struggle. But I don’t think those feelings stem from the rationale you described. I suspect you are trying to obscure the reasons from yourself in an attempt to self-protect.

      Think of it this way – if you really believed that what matters is what’s on the inside, you’d be willing to days women no matter how they looked. How many women have you asked out who looked worse than you did? Then or now? When you fantasize about women, what do those women look like? If you really believed that what matters is on the inside, why would you have expended all the time and pain and money to lose all that weight and have all those surgeries? I can think of only two reasons : 1) To have a better chance of obtaining a girlfriend, particularly a good looking one. Which would imply that not only did you know that what’s on the outside matters, you were COUNTING on it. 2) For the hope that changing your exterior appearance would also change something fundamental in your internal self. That perhaps where you were once hopelessly insecure, you’d now become secure. Become someone you could respect, someone you could like. Someone other than the powerless person you once were.

      Problem with reason #2, though, is that it just doesn’t work that way. As you yourself stated – you’re still fundamentally the same guy, aren’t you? And if you’re still the same guy, why should those women like you when they never did before? Why should they be chasing you? What’s WRONG with them, that the person they’d want to chase is you? …. Is how you’d see it if this was your true reasoning. How much of not trusting these women stems from not liking yourself, the person you were and still are?

      Of course, I could be way off base here. You might like yourself just fine, might have always liked yourself just fine, might legitimately just mistrust the motivations of women who are so swayed by looks (as you are). Could be, though IME people who like themselves a lot don’t expend as much effort to change themselves as you have. But if that’s all it is, just look at your own tastes and try not to be a hypocrite. Much easier problem to resolve than what I suggested above.

  3. 3

    Okay so let me ask what are your views on male physical beauty and attracting women?

    1. 3.1

      Can you clarify what you’re asking? I don’t want to misinterpret.

  4. 4

    Unfortunately, I have to note that it appears that Evan has double standards for men and women in terms of approaching relationships ; for women he puts: “ you chose” and “you accepted his bad behaviour “, “you are responsible “ and now you have to disregard and learn from your own experience; while for men he notes as to many of them are just out of difficult divorces and victims of that and thus approach to them should be easygoing and with understanding of their recent difficult experience; he never acknowledged their responsibility in choosing partners and asks for understanding in regard to their feelings. In essence, it is putting in favour experience of one group of people ( men after bad relationships) over another ( women after bad relationships)- it is unfair, in community services unacceptable, and can be devastating, for example for family violence and abuse victims.

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      This comment baffles me but I’ll do my best to respond and hope it suffices.

      Unfortunately, I have to note that it appears that Evan has double standards for men and women in terms of approaching relationships; for women he puts: “you chose” and “you accepted his bad behavior,” “you are responsible “and now you have to disregard and learn from your own experience.”

      This is true. If a man asked me why he stayed with a critical, irrational, emotionally abusive relationship, to the point where he was constantly miserable, I would point out to him that he can’t control her behaviors, he can’t change her, he can only leave and free himself up to find a happier, more peaceful relationship. The fact is that this question was asked by a woman, so I gave that answer to a woman.

      Then you wrote this, even though it was not part of my answer to the OP: “many men are just out of difficult divorces and victims of that and thus approach to them should be easygoing and with understanding of their recent difficult experience.” This is also true. It does not at all contradict the above statement.

      Furthermore: “he never acknowledged their responsibility in choosing partners and asks for understanding in regard to their feelings.” Why would I write about a man’s responsibility for choosing the wrong partner in a question from a woman who was asking me about her history of choosing the wrong partner? Why should my answer to a woman address a hypothetical male’s question?

      The reason is that you want to see me through a lens of gender bias, but I am not the one who is biased here. Really. If the OPs letter was signed “Jim,” you would have gotten the same exact answer from me. It seems you sympathize with the woman who stayed too long and accumulated baggage and you are upset that I placed the responsibility on her for her decisions, as opposed to blaming awful men for being awful.

      To you, this is an indication of my bias. In fact, this is merely an indication that I’m a dating coach for women, who receives letters from women, and addresses women on what THEY can do differently to get a different result. The implication that I let men off the hook is so far from reality that I don’t know how to defend against it. More than any other expert I know, I tell women to DUMP men who make them feel anxious or fail to make them feel safe, heard, understood. Perhaps the only difference between us is that you want to continue to place the blame on men for being jerks, where I don’t see much value in that. A question from an OP will always get a response about what the OP can do differently, not what her shitty ex-boyfriend could have done differently – because HE isn’t the one asking the question.

  5. 5

    I’m just trying to clearly gauge how you are viewing the role of male physical beauty in attracting women. To you what is an idealistic belief concerning attracting women and what is a realistic one. Do you even see a difference?

    I think often times most men conflate the two and this is what leads to much of their baggage when it comes to women.

    Your assumptions above are very interesting (not completely accurate but not completely inaccurate) but again I don’t know how much of it is what you’ve observed to be human nature and what is just a projection of perhaps your own interactions and insecurities with women.

    If you heard from their mouths or the mouths of their friends that you were rejected by all these various women because of your looks so you finally decided to do something about it Jeremy would that mean that you didn’t love yourself or would that just mean that you decided to do what was required for you to get what you want it? To many idealist getting surgery, hiring a dating coach, etc isn’t authentic. They would rather be single and lonely than “sell-out” their ideals.

    If for example, you really want to be a professional baseball player but you lacked the qualifying skills though you practiced hard day after day for months yet still were rejected. But one of the coaches told you that if you gave him some extra money on the side you’re on the team. What would you do?

    Most people would say no then give up their dream and become an accountant and though they’re not doing what they always dreamed of they pat themselves on the back and tell themselves that they did the right thing. But the people who do pay the coaches the money and become players they are living their dream. To me the one who became an accountant is an idealist and the realist is the one who became a baseball player.

    Again I believe it’s mostly idealist that become jaded about the realities of attraction. When you said above that a person who really loved himself wouldn’t get surgeries my question is why wouldn’t he? You also mentioned that outside forces can’t shape or influence our internal believes and personality I described that also. A person who is constantly getting positive reinforcement praises a couple of minutes we have more self-efficacy than a person who just reads a lot of self-help books..

    1. 5.1

      Ah. I think I understand your question better now.

      To what extent do physical characteristics play a role in female attraction? A significant role, to be sure, as you’ve known all your life, and as you’ve begun to experience from the other side.

      Your baseball analogy is an interesting one, and sort of proves my point. If your dream was to become a professional baseball player, and if you loved both yourself and your dream, you’d put in the practice time and pay the coach. But what you WOULDN’T do, Andrew, is resent the coach and the fans once you’d made it to the big leagues. You wouldn’t think the fans were idiots for cheering you on if you truly believed you were a great player, worthy of cheering.

      BTW, I assume you just typed it backwards, that the person who became the accountant is a REALIST and the one who became a baseball player is an IDEALIST? After all, following a dream is the purview of the idealist, not the realist, especially when the odds of fulfilling that dream are vanishingly small. Conversely, your odds of better attracting women after losing weight and getting plastic surgery were not vanishingly small – they were far better than your odds of attracting the mate of your choice by staying as you were. You effectively chose to become an accountant – after all, women are also more attracted to stable men with good jobs. Stop being ashamed of your own rationality, stop judging women for not being idealists – or at least, aspiring to the same ideals you have of them but not yourself. My question to you, Andrew: To what extent does female beauty play a role in male attraction?

      Oh, and finally, it’s not that I don’t think external forces can influence our internal state, it’s just that they don’t necessarily. I encounter people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder on an almost daily basis, people who believe that changing some aspect of themselves will change their lives, change who they are. No. It won’t. I can help change part of their body, but I can’t change their mind, their soul, their affect. I am not a psychiatrist. And those people might find that others relate to them differently after I’m done, they might find that they get more dates….but they won’t be different people. Because there are 4 types of confidence, Andrew: 1) The logical confidence of the professor lecturing in his field of expertise – confident because he knows what he’s talking about. 2) The semi-logical confidence of the person who has no direct experience but is generally tactically intelligent and can usually figure his way through a problem on the fly. 3) The illogical confidence of the idiot who believes that luck or a higher power is looking out for him, in spite of lack of preparation. And 4) The pathological confidence of someone who builds his self-opinion upon the feedback of others. The narcissist whose self-opinion is chronically low and who craves constant admiration. His positive reinforcement from others does not lead to self-efficacy, it leads to a craving for more and more validation until reasonable amounts of validation fail to suffice and he begins to denigrate those who validate him….until he can shelve his craving for validation and learn to be happy with what he has.

      1. 5.1.1

        The TL;DR version of the above, without the lens of my projection is this: When I see a patient who has changed part of his body and reports an improvement in his life and interactions, I rejoice in something meaningful accomplished. But when I see someone whose interactions worsen, who begins to tell me how his newfound perspective makes him realize how much people suck, I gently steer him toward counselling – in which there is no shame. Because there is something within him that needs healing, beyond the change in body he initially sought. That’s all I’m trying to suggest, and it’s no more than I’ve done myself.

  6. 6

    Jeremy I originally wrote a reply but then I erased it because I feel that we are getting off track and just going in circles.

    So instead of going back-and-forth about beauty I prefer to discuss any methods you know of to build self-esteem & self-efficacy?

    1. 6.1

      Deep topics, but important. Much has been written about self-esteem, but ultimately I think a synthesis between 2 opinions makes the most sense to my life-experience: The opinions of Jordan Peterson and David Keirsey.

      Peterson claims that contrary to what is commonly touted today, self-esteem is something that should result from our actions and successes, not something that should come before those things so as to build confidence/esteem before the fact. Self-esteem that’s built on nothing is insubstantial. We must successfully meet at least some of our goals before having meaningful self-esteem.

      Keirsey, on the other hand, describes personality archetypes and predicates self-esteem not so much upon successful achievement of goals, but rather on states of being. For example, he claims that the “Explorer” personality will feel self-esteem when being audacious and adaptable. The “Guardian” personality will feel self-esteem when seen as reliable, respectable, of service. The “Idealist” personality will feel self-esteem when they see themselves as authentic, benevolent, empathetic. And the “Rational” personality will feel self-esteem when seeing themselves as ingenuous, autonomous, and having will-power.

      Combine the two philosophies above and you get a synthesis that I’ve observed to be useful – to have true self-esteem, we not only need to successfully achieve at least some of our goals, we ALSO need to have done so through BEING the way our personality dictates we be. Audacious or reliable or authentic or autonomous. Attaining our goals through other means does not make us feel self-esteem, it makes us feel….fake.

      So take, for example, a person whose goal is to better attract women. He sets his sights on that goal through the pathway of the Rational. What do women like, how can I be that way? If the method he uses to achieve his goal allows him to be the way his personality dictates he should be, he remains in harmony with himself. But if he must depart from the way he feels he should be, achieving his goal may result in dissonance he isn’t able to resolve on his own. Especially if his personality is highly idealistic, meaning that his own authenticity (and that of others) is of paramount importance to him.

  7. 7

    Jeremy are you sure you’re not conflating confidence with self- efficacy? Confidence is self-worth in specific areas whereas self-esteem/efficacy is the overall general feeling of self-worth.

    I think that the solution to gaining self-esteem/efficacy in the realm of dating probably has nothing to do with dating. It probably has something to do with or is in some way related to building and strengthen your foundation of self worth and I belief that repeated failure does it mean that you can’t accomplish your goal .

    The question is just how?

    For example What do you think of a person who, let’s say, was neglected by their parents as a child and grow up with a anxious or avoidant attachment style. Yet years later they have a healthier relationship with their parents so why do they still transfer that neediness and security to dating?

    They are no longer children depending on their mother fathers love or acknowledgment.

    If they address the thing that once caused them to develop those attachments in the first place, then how can they still be displaying symptoms of it?

    This is why I believe that the solution to self-esteem/efficacy is not as easy as a solution to confidence.

    1. 7.1

      I don’t like the way you’re defining your terms, and I’m not just being pedantic about definitions. I think that defining confidence and self-efficacy as you do tends to muddy the waters. Rather, I’d suggest thinking of it like this: We have a baseline self-opinion that is largely set by our genetics. Our propensity to look at ourselves through either rose-tinted glasses or un-tinted ones, and that is inborn – much like our baseline happiness levels from day-to-day (I can send you a link on this if you’re interested). Those individuals who are born with naturally high self-esteem have it regardless of their experiences. Those (like me) who aren’t born with naturally high self-esteem will never have it….globally. But may develop it circumstantially, through positive experiences in a focused field.

      This is what I was getting at in my comment to you about confidence, the 4 etiologies thereof. Those who are globally confident – what you refer to as having high “self efficacy” are so due to their genetics, not due to their adolescent attachment mechanisms or experiences. I’ve literally seen boys miss every single shot they take in a 2 hour basketball practice, and still believe they’re Michael Jordan, still believe that their missing was everyone elses’ fault but theirs. Rose-tinted brains. Whereas those who develop circumstantial confidence might do so logically (due to expertise) or pathologically (due to narcissism), but it will never be global. Will never transfer from one domain to another without good reason.

      Why do our adolescent attachment mechanisms stay with us even when we mend the relationship that formed them? My guess is that in part our attachment mechanisms are also inborn, and in part they were somewhat malleable when we were young, but far less so once we reach a certain level of maturity. I was born with a naturally anxious attachment mechanism, and developed avoidance due to exactly the parental situation you described. And I’m stuck with both. Regardless of how much I’ve learned. So I’ve learned to make the best of it and compensate for it. But I can’t change it too far from its baseline anymore than I can change my introversion. I’ve learned to speak publicly like a dynamo, to seem like the extroverted leader when such is required of me….but internally I still am who I am. Best that I know it.

      1. 7.1.1
        Emily, to

        “I’ve literally seen boys miss every single shot they take in a 2 hour basketball practice, and still believe they’re Michael Jordan, still believe that their missing was everyone elses’ fault but theirs.”
        So, is this just innate cluelessness? Or self-delusion? I mean, I’m all for feeling good about yourself, but at some point doesn’t a person have to realize his/her limitations? Or understand what he has skills/talents for and what skills/talents he lacks? Isn’t that … growing up? Wouldn’t that be the very definition of being healthy … knowing what one is and what one isn’t?

        1. Jeremy

          Not really. Self-delusion is a compensatory mechanism to drive a desire for living. I mean, if all of us really took a good hard look at the world and ourselves, we’d all realize the shortness of our lives and the fact that we will all one day die and do everything we do is ultimately meaningless. The first chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes does a great job of summarizing the perspective of harsh reality – the perspective of a depressed mind. There are those who believe that clinical depression is the removal of the rose tinting of our brains that allows us to ignore reality and be happy. Curing depression necessitates the reestablishment of rose tinting.

          Look at it this way, Emily – here you are asking me whether accurate self-opinion isn’t part of growing up…. when the one thing you’ve always told me you find attractive in men is their confidence. If so, would it be to men’s evolutionary advantage to ever “grow up” by your definition? As I’ve written so often, the reason women’s use of confidence as a heuristic for quality drives me bananas because it doesn’t mean what they think it means.

          I’ve been teaching high level students for almost two decades. The girls are usually the best students, the boys are usually the most confident. The girls look at the boys admiringly, wondering how they can be as confident as those boys. The world standing in its head… if you consider confidence to mean anything or to have logical, experiential derivation.

        2. Emily, to

          “Look at it this way, Emily – here you are asking me whether accurate self-opinion isn’t part of growing up…. when the one thing you’ve always told me you find attractive in men is their confidence.”
          Well, you made a reference to a child who is horrible at basketball but thinks he’s Michael Jordan. That’s not confidence. That’s delusion. But having confidence in, say, one’s intelligence if one does well in school is, yes, attractive. Or having confidence in one’s personality if one is socially adept. Of course there’s a theme here. Maybe we’re relying too much on the outside world to inform our self-worth. But we are all social creatures and it’s almost impossible not to take into account others’ opinions. But as you wrote, some confidence is innate. Some we acquire as we move about the world. If a man does well with women and he derives confidence from his success, yes, I think a lot of women would find that attractive.
          “As I’ve written so often, the reason women’s use of confidence as a heuristic for quality drives me bananas because it doesn’t mean what they think it means.”
          YES, I remember 🙂 but it’s like me getting upset that men like younger women. It is what it is. A woman’s response to a man’s confidence is a gut response. You’re looking at it too intellectually.

  8. 8

    Confidence only matters if a man meets at least a woman’s baseline level of attraction. A guy can be the most confident man in the world but if a woman doesn’t find him attractive than it’s useless.

    Women often speak about certain things that they’ve seen or heard men do that they consider a show of confidence and always comment how such a move would make any woman sworn, but the truth is many of those women neglect to take into account that those man were either attractive enough for his confident moved to count or the image of man in their imagination while they’re hearing/retelling the story is attractive to them.

    During my research on what attracts women and dating I came across a group called PUA’s who believe that confidence is everything even if you’re physically unattractive and then I came upon another group called Black Pill who believe that looks are everything and conference doesn’t matter.

    I personally believe the truth is somewhere in the middle; you need both. Both men and women are attracted to confidence because it projects a level of worth. I think men are attracted to conflict women because they assume that she will be more adventurous and take charge in the bedroom and I think that women want confident man because they believe that he will be more adventurous and take charge in and out of the bedroom.

    Both genders project an ideal that a confident person is not boring.

    1. 8.1

      Buck’s comment below is a good one. But keep one other thing in mind – confidence is bullshit. I feel like I’ve written this a million times on this site, but I continue to do so because it’s so against mainstream advice, and so important for both men and women to understand. Confidence is BULLSHIT. In February I saw the Covid epidemic coming and figured the stock market would tank. I called my financial advisor and asked to cash in most of my equities and buy bonds, and he chided me for not being more confident in the resilience of the market. I ignored him. When the market crashed in March and then began to recover in late April, I again contacted my advisor (who now thought I was something of a savant) to cash in some of the bonds for certain equities. He told me that he advises against it…..because the market is so unpredictable right now. OMG! It’s no more unpredictable than it ever was!! Proof? It crashed when they thought it was predictable! It’s exactly as unpredictable now as it ever was….people have just lost confidence in it when they never should have had it to begin with. The only thing we know is that it is lower than it usually is, and if we think things will one day return to normal, it’s a good buying opportunity for those stocks we think will normalize. Why didn’t everyone sell in February? They were too confident. Why isn’t everyone buying now? They lost their confidence. It’s not about confidence…

      Confidence is simply optimistic self-opinion. Women are attracted to it because in the absence of a better way to assess a man’s “quality”, they use their intuitive assessment of the man’s self-opinion as a heuristic. With the subconscious assumption that men are unlikely to raise “false flags” – ie. men who don’t deserve to be confident rarely are, and men who deserve to be confident rarely aren’t. Ha! Bullshit! And this, BTW, is why women so hate pickup artistry. Because while BBQ is right that men have been picking up women for as long as we’ve existed, what’s new about PUA is that it hacks the heuristics by deliberately raising false flags. Sure, men have been picking up women forever….and women have been rejecting most of those men based on their intuitive and socialized heuristics. But teach a man to ACT confident when he otherwise wouldn’t be? Teach him to ACT cocky and funny? To display high value, to take down the alpha male of the group, to maintain frame, to peacock, to neg a woman so as to flip the power balance from her as judge to her as being judged? This hasn’t been around forever. And women HATE it! Hate it because if they can’t trust their heuristics, what have they got? How will they judge? They will be forced to make an intolerable decision – whether to go with their gut and perhaps be fooled into accepting the wrong man, or to demolish their system of heuristics and go about searching effortfully, thoughtfully, for what makes sense. Too difficult. Rock and hard place.

      Anyway, I’ve digressed – back to the topic at hand. Your baseline self-esteem is set genetically. You have the ability to develop situational confidence through life experience, which moves you from the anchor of your baseline. And you also have the ability to FAKE confidence to attract women, just as women have the ability to have fake breast implants, fake makeup and fake spanx to attract you. But at the end of the day, the makeup will come off. And your reasons for effortfully displaying fake confidence will erode….ironically as you become more CONFIDENT in your relationship (think about THAT for a moment.). So why not be who you are, if authenticity is important to you? You’re right that women need both looks and confidence to be attracted, just like they need both comfort and arousal. But each woman will have a different mix that’s right for her. Rather than being dogmatic and changing your mix to attract the most women, why not aim for those women who like the mix that is your natural state? Worry less about what they want. Worry more about whom you want to BE. And be that person for you. If any given woman doesn’t like that mix, drop her. No matter how she looks, if she doesn’t like the real you, she’s not worth having.

      1. 8.1.1

        Jeremy and Andrew, my take on male confidence is a bit more optimistic than Jeremy’s. 🙂 (As he thinks, yeah, well, you’re a woman.) I think that the KIND of confidence matters. The kind of confidence that attracts women most are when men are skilled at something that has nothing to do with them. Is he great at his job, a sport, writing, guitar, teaching, being a leader, working with kids, or something else? There, we can judge his level of competence, and his being good at something is a turn-on, because it stems from real, deserved confidence. Where I agree with Jeremy is that fake-confidence is a turn-off: when a man (or really anyone) just makes a bold claim or confident statement that has no basis in reality.

        Andrew, you’ve probably heard more than enough advice, so my apologies for adding to it: try to become really good and competent at something other than romantic relationships. Ideally, it is something you care deeply about. Women will see this, understand you better when they see it, and have a better chance of being attracted to the real you. If I’m not mistaken, Evan wrote a past post on this: how we women are attracted to kindness and competence (being really skilled at something). Yes, that is true.

        1. Jeremy

          So I have to disagree with this, Jo. Or perhaps better to say – agree with it only in the short-term. I’ve BEEN the person who impressed women with my confidence and expertise within a domain….and came to disappoint them when it came to that confidence not being transferable to other domains. For example, one former girlfriend became infatuated with me when she saw my confidence in school….and then promptly lost infatuation when she saw my lack of confidence as a driver (I have difficulty with visual-spatial stuff). She took my confidence in a specific domain and assumed it was generalizable – generalizable from an evo-psych perspective to mean that I would be *competent* to deal with any situation that might arise. When confidence does not equal competence, it is deemed to be fake. When it isn’t generalizable, it’s not considered to be useful.

          I once ran a very small social experiment, posing the following question to all the women I knew: Imagine 2 men driving to a foreign city. One has consulted a map, packed a GPS, and planned a route. The other has done none of these things, but is simply certain he’ll find his way. Both of these men are confident in their ability to get where they’re going, but for very different reasons. Which one do you find more attractive?

        2. jo

          Jeremy, how did the other women answer? I choose the first man. Then again, I have a healthy respect for technology.

        3. Jeremy

          Perhaps you would. Would you believe that, of the 40-50 women I asked (of varying ages and backgrounds), all agreed that the 2nd was the more attractive? The one whose confidence didn’t depend on preparation but rather on internal quality (assuming his confidence is type 2 of the above, not type 3).

        4. jo

          Jeremy, wow. I’m surprised that the women you tested never had the irritating experience of driving with someone who insisted he or she knew the way and refused to ask for directions – or, if they did, it didn’t register with them. I’ve already experienced it many times, and would prefer not to take a trip with someone like that (or would just take the wheel myself). Does that mean I’d rule him out for relationship possibilities? Not necessarily, if he was otherwise a kind and compatible person. But overconfidence is not my preference. And that’s okay. Evidently many women like that type.

        5. Emily, to

          “I once ran a very small social experiment, posing the following question to all the women I knew …Which one do you find more attractive?”
          When you started the sentence about a social experiment, I thought you would give an example of the man being very competent at work or socially in a group but when the woman gets him alone he is shy and awkward at making a move. That would be a better question. Would that disappoint them or would they understand that no one is competent in all areas of life?

        6. Jeremy

          Do you think they’d answer it honestly if the question was posed so blatantly, Emily? I don’t mean that I think they’d lie deliberately, but how many would think about the situation you described – confident at work but a bit shy to initiate physically – and think, “Aw, a bit shy. That’s kind of endearing.” Just like when posed with the theoretical question, “Do you want a man who expresses his emotions,” most women today think “Yes, a man who expresses emotions is more attractive.” How many feel differently when the situation is no longer theoretical, and when what is expressed falls outside of their expectations? Expectations based on his confidence at work translating to sexual confidence, expectations of the emotions he’d express falling within the bound of those expected from a man?

          I asked about driving because it’s far less of a fraught subject. Far less societal messaging, far fewer “shoulds”. And yet even so, the woman who lost attraction to me when she saw my nervousness driving in an unfamiliar place…. never expected to feel as she did. Saw herself as empathetic, understanding. Wanted, above all else, a nice understanding guy. At least, that was what she wanted when she thought about it. Her instinctual mind had other ideas. We did not break up over that issue. But she was disappointed, and I was disappointed in her disappointment. Because – and this brings it back to Andrew’s question – there was a time in my youth that I’d try to change myself if I saw that women didn’t like what they saw in me. But as I grew older I grew less patient with desires I saw as masochistic – to both women and me. I now advise men to steer clear of women with unresolved dichotomy issues. And worse yet if they aren’t even aware of their issues.

        7. Emily, to

          Yes, the not be good with making a first move would bother me. I don’t care about needing the maps for driving directions.

      2. 8.1.2
        Mrs Happy

        “Your baseline self-esteem is set genetically. ”
        This doesn’t seem right to me. Self esteem is much more likely to be dependent on life experiences than genetics (aside from good looks, and other advantageous genetic qualities, like sporting prowess or intelligence or whatever, as they relate to self-esteem).

        But thanks actually, because you’ve reminded me I had planned to invest before the tax year ends here soon.

        1. Jeremy

          Research to the contrary aside, I’d very much like to believe that confidence is set by life experience. But it doesn’t jive with what I see. Were it so, my female students would be far more confident than my male students, on average. Were it so, the most confident players on my kids’ sports teams would be those who are actually best at what they do. Were it so, the gentleman with whom you recently conversed would be less sure of himself. I’d be more sure of myself. As it is, I’m only relatively sure because of all the research backing up my claim here.

          It’s like the notion that we’d all like to believe our kids’ success comes from how we raise them. That if we read to them, we’ll increase their odds of success. And then that study was criticized for not considering the possibility that it wasn’t the fact that parents were reading to the kids that made the difference, but rather that their parents were people who read, and that propensity is genetic.

          I hate hate hate the notion that our successes are so dependent on our inborn luck. I fight it however I can. But fighting it can only move it one or two points from its set baseline. The same 1-2 points that life experiences can move baseline confidence from its inborn state.

          Good luck with your investments. It’s a bit of a crap shoot right now….but it always was.

        2. jo

          Jeremy, you write that research supports your claim that self-esteem is innate rather than acquired. Will you please share the sources or authors? Personally, like Mrs Happy, I’ve found that what boosts my esteem is not having shied away from a difficult task, but tackling it, no matter how long it takes or how hard the work or circumstance is. Then, regardless of success or failure, having done the hard work makes me feel better about myself.

        3. Jeremy

          I could send a lot on this, Jo. It’s a particular interest of mine. I’d start by googling “the optimism bias” and the work of Talia Sharot. After that I have more, if you still want, but that’s a good start.

          It’s not that I’m claiming that experiences don’t affect our self-esteem, it’s that I claim that they move it from a baseline (rather than establish a baseline). But in terms of moving the baseline, its what I expressed to Andrew – combination of achieving goals while being true to our inborn personality – audacious/reliable/authentic/ingenious. We can all do things to feel better about ourselves, no doubt.

  9. 9

    Sorry about the typos my phone automatically changes words

    Meant swoon NOT sworn

    Meant confidence NOT conflict

  10. 10

    “Confidence only matters if a man at least meets a woman’s baseline level of attraction”.

    That is true (and fairly obvious). Fortunately for most of us, that baseline level can vary quite a bit from one woman to another; otherwise, if we didn’t look like an Adonis, confidence wouldn’t help us much with any woman. That is one reason why any PUA guru who touts a “system” that “will get you any woman you want” is selling snake oil. There is no such system, or anything else that will enable ANY man to attract EVERY woman he meets. There is NO “magic bullet”, NO “secret sauce” that will do that; it’s not going to happen.

    With all that said, it’s not “all about looks” with regard to attracting women. Yes, if you’re exceptionally good-looking, it’s easier to get a woman’s attention, to have women notice you before you show them anything else (especially online). However, I’ve seen tall, very good-looking guys who can turn women’s heads with their looks blow the opportunity in less than two minutes of the interaction. I’ve seen some who rarely even manage to get a date, and couldn’t get laid in a Bangkok cathouse on a slow night. You can have movie star looks, but if you act like a needy wuss, have little confidence, and the personality of a brick, you’re not going to do well with women. You’ve figured that much out in your last post; it’s not just looks, it’s not just confidence; you have to have both to some degree.

    Would you be surprised, that the same issue you’ve been having also comes up with women who have made a dramatic change in physical appearance? A good while back, we had a post here from a young woman, who had always been badly overweight. In that state, she was practically invisible to guys. She put in a lot of effort to lose the weight; she succeeded, and that inspired her to make some changes with her hair, makeup and wardrobe. As you can guess, now the guys noticed her, and the sort of men who wouldn’t have given her former self a second glance, now were practically lining up to date her. She expressed the same feeling you have here; why did men now want her now, when they didn’t want her before? After all, wasn’t she still the same person inside? Were they only interested in her looks? See how that mirrors what you wondered about in your first post here?

    We get a lot of social messages that tell us how it’s what’s inside that counts, that we shouldn’t judge by looks, that it’s somehow “wrong” to be “shallow”. The message is well-intended, and if we were all angels, maybe we would actually act that way. Problem is, we’re not angels; we’re human, and like it or not, our human instinct is to seek the most attractive partner we can get. A lot of that is below the conscious level; and attraction really isn’t a choice. We’re taught a lot of ideals and often internalize them, when the truth is that almost none of us can actually live up to them. Sometimes we like to think we do, and of course feel that others should do likewise, then feel hurt and disappointed when they don’t; but those people are not “wrong”; just human.

    In you case, I actually think this is what really happened: once you got past women’s attraction threshold, they started to see the positive personality traits you had. You may have always had them but others couldn’t look past your looks to notice. It’s quite possible that you already had the self-esteem, the confidence, maybe a pretty dynamic personality, and now that women aren’t put off by your looks, maybe even attracted to same, they can see the person you actually are inside. Trust me, women don’t pursue a man the way you’re describing, unless he has more going for him than looks alone, at least not in the real world (online, maybe). As for the rest, yes, when you’ve been rejected, teased and laughed at, especially when you’re at a vulnerable life stage (like adolescence) that often leaves not a scar but an open wound that takes a long time to heal. It’s not easy, but it can be done. I have some experience with that, not as bad as yours, but enough that I have a pretty good idea how that feels. Especially with the teasing, and ridicule, and being picked on, I think it helps to remember that those who do that, usually do it so that just for a moment, they can feel a little more cool, a little more powerful, and forget their own anxieties, insecurities, and social fears (I assure you they have those, whether it looks that way or not). Once you can understand that, it’s much easier to simply forgive them, let go of the pain and resentment, and leave it where it belongs…in the past. Don’t let that past garbage spoil today, much less tomorrow.
    One more thing. That experience, has given you a gift, though it might not seem so, and take a while for you to realize it. You see, when you have experienced always being on the outside looking in, always standing outside the fire, close enough to see the warmth, but too far to feel it, you learn compassion and empathy for others who find themselves stuck in that dark and lonely place, even when you are far past it. Over the course of your life, you will find that will make you a better man. For now, enjoy the fruits of your hard work, be grateful for what you have now, and let the past go.

    1. 10.1
      Emily, to

      Andrew and Buck25,
      Andrew wrote: “Confidence only matters if a man at least meets a woman’s baseline level of attraction”.
      Buck wrote: “You can have movie star looks, but if you act like a needy wuss, have little confidence, and the personality of a brick, you’re not going to do well with women. You’ve figured that much out in your last post; it’s not just looks, it’s not just confidence; you have to have both to some degree.”
      Both are true, depending on the situation. If you are on, say, a first date and it’s make it or break it (meaning you won’t see her again if things don’t go well) and you don’t meet her attractiveness threshold, then, yes, you probably won’t get another date. But you can show confidence and personality over time in other situations. Say at work or in a social group. It’s called familiarity breeds attempt. So a woman can start to see you differently even if she didn’t notice you initially if you demonstrate confidence or a great sense of humor or a personality that draws others to you. The key is “over time.” Don’t ask her out immediately if she isn’t responding to you at all (flirting with you, making it a point of talking to you, sitting next to you, etc.). Monitor how she responds to you in subsequent meetings.

  11. 11
    Mrs Happy

    I agree with Jo’s
    “… try to become really good and competent at something other than romantic relationships. Ideally, it is something you care deeply about. Women will see this, understand you better when they see it, and have a better chance of being attracted to the real you.”

    Dating a man who is only good at being your partner or picking up women feels empty. Once a woman works out there’s little underneath all the wonderful-partner qualities, he just seems like a shell, with no substance, no depth, and it’s unattractive. Or, as Emily would say, so blah.

    Men who are capable in something/s are great. They really get the blood racing for many women. Some men don’t understand the experience of primal female desire, and how important a man being capable is. Passion and energy and talent and drive are a hard-to-beat combination. Different women will want different capabilities.

    1. 11.1

      A few questions:
      1) I agree that a woman will eventually feel empty if her partner’s only skill is in picking up women. But if relationships are not that man’s goal, if short term flings are, does the advice you and Jo are offering still hold? Is a man’s degree of success picking up women not dependent mostly on… his skill at picking up women?

      2) If having a relationship is indeed the man’s goal, and if his main skill is indeed at having a relationship, SHOULD that not matter more to his female partner than his skills at, say, boondoggle (or whatever he happens to be passionate about outside of relationships)? While I might agree that his skill set other things will indeed her arousal, would not her lack of comfort resulting from his lack of relationship skills slam on her brakes?

      3) Is it that some men don’t understand the experience of primal female desire (as you wrote), or is it that some women won’t introspect about their comfort/arousal dichotomies when giving romantic advice to men? (tongue sticking out emoji)

      1. 11.1.1
        Mrs Happy

        Answers for CB:

        1) Sure. For the man. However, I was giving the woman’s point of view regarding what makes an attractive male partner.
        I haven’t spent much time around men who only want a short term fling, I used to cull them fast. What they desire has always had little relevance in my life so I haven’t pondered on their desires much.

        2) You are coming from the position of a man who is trying to be good at having his marital relationship, but also has other advantages and positive interesting characteristics. Some men only have the first skill. With such a man, life is blah. You have probably never dated such a man. They have no interests other than identifying and providing what the woman wants. No self drive or passion. No vitality. It’s awful being with someone like that, unless you are also quite dull and narrow in your life’s aims.

        3) Well it’s probably both, but I believe I was giving advice directly about arousal, which is, after all, one of your obsessions, so you should be happy.

        Your story about driving and passion and negativity was biased because your feelings were so hurt by that situation and its consequences. You failed to appreciate the baseline and how important that was – you being successful was the baseline. Getting lost while driving around in your boring car was just one of life’s random moments and of little overall importance, though I appreciate you were hurt, and though the picture you described did make me laugh. At least, I thought, you weren’t taking her on public transport in the snow, railing about how poor you were while her family donated money elsewhere, while about to enter the top 1% of your country’s earners.

        Andrew is partly right below – he has to get his foot in the door before he can get her in the car and get lost driving. Once she’s in the car, he can decide if he likes her enough to continue. Lots of men (most?) can’t get her in the car. You can fairly easily, and have been able to all of your professional working life, and you’re not appreciating how difficult dating might be, for them.

        1. Jeremy

          The only part of your comment with which I disagree is your last sentence, that I’m not appreciating how difficult dating might be, for them. No, I remember very well. Was not always easy for me to get them in the car. One needs the ability to get them in the car, agreed. Problem comes when the skills to get them in the car are diametrically opposed to both the ability to keep them in the car and the skills to maintain proper self-opinion. At that point, a balance must be struck.

          Oh, and I guess I also disagree with your first paragraph. Not that I think you’re wrong about the female pov, but that the female pov should matter when advising men about hookups.
          Man: “Hello waiter, what would you recommend for me on the menu?”
          Waiter: “Well, I’d say go with the salad. Our mains all have garlic and your wife won’t like the way you smell after you eat them.”

          Oh, and yes, I thought you’d enjoy the driving story. I chose it for that reason.

        2. Mrs Happy

          Dear JJ,
          It’s quite funny how you imagine you’re agreeing with me and then detail point-by-point how you aren’t. But where would I be without you to disagree with my musings, Jeremy?

          The female POV regarding hookups doesn’t matter to the female who isn’t interested in the hookups. (I’m not advising men about hookups.)

          Your self-opinion ricocheting given me whiplash. The scramble truly perplexes me.

        3. Jeremy

          If all I did was agree with you, you’d get bored fairly quickly. Still. I mostly did agree with your last post. Two things or two people can be different in most ways, and yet still be pretty much the same.

          You say that you’re not advising men about hookups – you know that, but men don’t. Just like the middle aged women I once described – the ones who told a respectful, servile boy that his behaviour will make him a perfect husband – did not mean to advise him about sexuality. They were just talking about comfort and assumed sexuality already present or unimportant. Their advice would necessity be misinterpreted by the boy whose perspective differs from theirs, whose hierarchy of wants differs from theirs. I agree with your points when I adopt your perspective, but I disagree with them as advice unless directed to a person looking for advice for that perspective.

          My father has a friend named Michael Jordan. He’s a white, seventy-something photographer. When my father talks about Michael Jordan, he never prefaces the conversation by explaining which Michael Jordan he’s referring to. It’s not confusing for him, but confuses the hell out of his listeners. And it never fails to make me laugh, though he’s not trying to be funny. He just doesn’t think he should have to explain himself, thinks his perspective should be obvious. After all, he’s never met that other Michael Jordan.

          My self-opinion ricocheting is directed regression to the mean, self corrections. I know it can be off-putting, but I can’t leave it in its natural state.

          It is still cold here, 1 degree C right now. Polar vortex or something messing up the weather. I planted a raised vegetable garden in my backyard, both as something to do and as a source of fresh food. Nothing growing. Still not able to work, but not complaining. No protective equipment to be had outside of hospitals. Interesting times, in the sense of the Chinese proverb. How are you holding up?

  12. 12

    Jeremy after looking at your conversations with the female??? commenters I think a have a good understanding of the disconnect that you and I are having.

    While I do agree that long term strategies are important for successful relationships (The apparent foundation of your advice) I believe that you first have to get to that stage or all that advice is useless. Therefore my focus is on attracting women and all the steps necessary for them to want to enter into relationship with you. .

    I agree with you about conference but I think you’re missing the key point which is women believe in it so you NEED to use it to attract women even if it is a false indicator of a man’s quality in a relationship. Same thing about looks, looks are very important in attracting women. Women can rant and rave all day about confidence, or success, or personality, tell you to your face that looks don’t matter but if a man doesn’t meet her base level of attraction then it’s useless.

    Which leads me to your next point when you said that it should be about what I want and not about changing for a woman and that is 100% true! But unfortunately the reality is women are the choosers man are the pursuers, so tell me is it more logical to chase after 100 women and get 99 rejections with a possibility of 1 yes because I was true to myself and only 1 woman found those qualities attractive or is it better to incorporate the things that women generally are attracted to (looks, confidence, wealth/status) and therefore get 50 yes’s and THEN start being more selective based on compatibility, friendship, etc?

    Again I think this is our disconnect you’re focusing on the long term which I agree with but I’m focusing on getting to the stage before long-term which is attracting and getting dates.

    Also though entertaining, I believe that your debating with some of the female? commenters is kind of pointless because of men’s low requirements for attraction. For the typical man all the woman need is 3 things: her looks to be at least average, her body to be at least average, and her personality to be at least average and she will have so many options but a man needs to bring so so much more to the table to get a woman.

    The craziest thing is that the higher quality of a woman that a man wants, the more he has to bring to the table But it’s not the same with women. A woman only needs those three things and can still get a high-quality man.

    It is not that any of the woman you’re debating do not understand what you’re saying, it’s that it DOESN’T MATTER because for every 1,000 guys who won’t accept what she is willing to give, they’re literally tens of thousands of guys who would! Look at it like this if you told me that littering was bad but I did it everyday in front of thousands of other people who accepted my bad behavior, why would I listen to you?

    There’s no benefit in me becoming a better person likewise there’s no benefit from most women to go beyond what is acceptable enough to get a decent guy.

    Obviously there are exceptions to this because there are many women whose looks and bodies are below average and therefore they need a great giving personality to compensate for that to attract a man. For women like that your advice is applicable.

    Anyway I’ve taken the personality test and apparently I am a guardian with the subcategory of provider and this makes sense with my personality. My question to you is how does that translate to attracting women? I can understand where it would fit with self-esteem or how it fits within a long-term relationship but I can’t see that being useful in attracting women. In fact it seems to be more of a weakness since I do enjoy giving BUT I want to be appreciated for it. However most women don’t because they see courting as the mans role and therefore don’t see a need to. I’m not sure of your age group but I’ve heard of many women within my age group making comments like the man’s reward is her agreeing to go on a date with him.

    1. 12.1

      Where I agree with you, Andrew, is that before advice on relationships can become relevant, a man needs the ability to attract a woman in the first place. Because men are the auditioners and women are the choosers, by and large. I also agree with you that women are far more selective and have far more options than most men. Now, what to do with this information?

      If you’d approached me for advice years ago, when your weight and facial appearance held you back and your romantic options hovered close to zero, I’d not have given you advice to just be yourself. After all, if being who you are and doing what you’re doing isn’t getting you what you want, you need to either change who you are or what you want. With me so far? You chose to change who you were – I have no problem with your decision, it was rational. And now, according to your posts, you no longer lack for female attention. Your problem is the problem you associate with women – selecting the best/right one out of a bunch. No? If so, the time to change who you are has ended. Mission accomplished. I did not advise you to be yourself in order to better attract women. That would be shit advice. I did it so that you – YOU – could better live in harmony with yourself. You are good-looking enough now to attract a selection of women. Choose the one(s) who like how you look and ALSO like your genuine personality. Because I’ll tell you something, Andrew – if you’re looking for a relationship, a woman who doesn’t like you as you are will make your life a living hell.

      Oh, and this leads me to comment on your last paragraph. The world is FULL of immature men and women. Immature men are written about ad nauseam – entitled, selfish, immature, arrogant. But we don’t hear much about immature women. And the availability bias being what it is, we assume there aren’t as many, or that such women would act like immature men. They don’t. If you ignore everything else I’ve written, Andrew, hear me here: A woman who sees courting as a man’s role for which she need not reciprocate is a clueless and immature woman. One who does not know how to be a good partner to a man. One you (and every man) would do well to steer clear of. A mature, relationship-ready woman knows 3 things:
      1) That men court women because that’s what WOMEN want, not what men do
      2) That what men hope for as reciprocation for their courtship efforts is female desire. Not that we feel “entitled” to it, but that we hope for it. It, not something else.
      3) That the way to reciprocate a man adopting his role in female fantasy is women adopting their role in men’s fantasy. Not women’s.

      There are women who understand this, Andrew. Find one that does.

      When I was a boy, my father told me that the weimaraner dog was the smartest of all dogs. It could be trained to contort itself into almost any configuration to please its owner, unlike other dogs that only do simple tricks to earn a biscuit. I thought about that for a moment….and wondered if the other dogs look at the weimaraner, contorting itself for the amusement of humans, and think it’s the smartest dog of all. I doubt that any trace of envy can be found in their eyes, looking at that pitiful dog trying to earn its biscuit.

  13. 13

    Jeremy after reading your last comment it seems that it was I and not you who misunderstanding the other’s intent; so thank you for that. I’ll focus on those two self-esteem strategies that you gave me.

    I realize now that I still have the mentality of a laughed at bullied & rejected ugly fat kid even though my looks now don’t reflect that. I think it goes back to my original post and therefore I think that it would be best for me to take time away from dating and instead focus on learning to except and love myself first regardless of what women think.

    As you and I discussed earlier, logically I know that it’s wrong for me to doubt an entire gender for the actions of a few but it seems emotionally I can’t make that distinction. I didn’t realize that I was unable to do this until now.

    1. 13.1

      I feel you, brother. I’ve fought the same fight, for the same reasons. It’s not a fight that can be won in a day, a week or a month. But the fight is worth fighting. The hottest women, the shiniest car, the highest heaping pile of money… won’t fix the gaping hole in your heart, won’t make you unsee the look of female pity/disinterest that you remember directed at you, that burned that hole in you. We need the ability to look at our past selves in the third person, not the first. To feel empathy, compassion for the person we once were… but not relive the experience in the first person. I can’t tell you that I’ve completely won the battle, I haven’t. But I can say with… some confidence…that I am no longer the person I was. I’m somewhere between him and the person I’d like to be.

    2. 13.2
      Emily, to

      Have you checked out the site called doctornerdlove.com? It’s specifically for guys who did not do well with women and perhaps were also mistreated by other guys. A lot of these guys, like you, have done a lot of work on themselves, both externally and internally. The man who runs the site answers letters, and the two most recent he answered were from guys who were suddenly doing better with women. The trend that I saw was that they were not all that interested in the women they were hooking up with and/or dating. One was a bit dismissive of the woman he hooked up with for a few months, describing her as “not beautiful” but completely enamored of him. The other letter writer had been dating a girl for 10 months and wasn’t sure how into her was, while she was taken with him. I have to be honest: I found the trend disturbing. Of course, this is just 2 letters.

      1. 13.2.1

        I wouldn’t direct him to that site, Emily. Not because I don’t believe the author has anything useful to say – he does – but because his advice is so female-biased.

        One of the things I like about Evan is that he admits, to his female clients and readers, that mean bear a huge proportion of fault in the problems of the dating world. The reason Evan focuses on women is because if a woman can’t change men, she has 2 options – change the type of men she’s looking for, or change something about herself. Continuing to look for the same type of man without changing anything about herself, hoping that type of men will somehow change…not realistic or helpful.

        Whereas with O’Malley, the fault is always with the man. The overwhelming balance of any man’s problems are due to his own entitlement, toxicity, arrogance, cluelessness. If you’re giving advice to a man who’s been hurt by women, you need to acknowledge the toxicity of certain aspects of female behavior. Even if you’re going to eventually give the guy advice on either changing the type of woman he’s looking for or changing something about himself. And not just for validation, but to let him know that women exist out there who won’t give him the same problems he’s had in the past – it wasn’t all him.

        I haven’t read his site in a few years, but I randomly clicked on one of his recent posts – a guy dating a woman who can’t seem to cut her emotionally-abusive ex-BF out of her life. And all I could think of while reading his letter was….dump her. O’Malley’s advice was all about how he could better support her, and why everything is his fault for not understanding her. OMG.

        1. Emily, to

          “I wouldn’t direct him to that site, Emily. Not because I don’t believe the author has anything useful to say – he does – but because his advice is so female-biased.”
          I haven’t read his site extensively. In terms of the 2 letters I mentioned, the doc, as he is called, didn’t say anything about the letter writers not being into the women they were with. This was something I gleaned from the letters. With the one letter in particular, the letter writer was not kind in his description of the woman, though she of course was described as thinking he was the sexiest man she’d ever seen. I thought maybe it was some elaborate defense mechanism. Being mean to her because so many women had been mean to him. I thought, as I was reading the letters, that this is one of the reasons women like men who are at least somewhat competent with the opposite sex. They want someone who has options and picks them. Not someone who resents that’s she’s his only option.

  14. 14
    Erika Gloss

    I think there are the right words

  15. 15

    Nice article 🙂

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