What Do Men REALLY Want From Women?

What Do Men REALLY Want From Women?Have you ever dated a guy and thought things were going GREAT between you, only to have him suddenly start being flaky, or stop calling, or vanish all together?

In my work as a dating coach, this is the number one complaint I hear.

You’re seeing a great guy and you THINK you’re getting close, but then he suddenly pulls away and you have NO IDEA what happened.

I can tell you what happened – if you’re ready to turn your love life around forever…

You see, I have a unique perspective – I’ve not only dated hundreds of women (before I became happily married) but I’m a coach for both women and men. And I’ve had countless nice, decent, relationship-oriented guys tell me why it SEEMED like they really liked a woman but then bailed on her.

After one date, after three dates, after three months… Amazingly, the reasons are always the same – and they were the very same reasons I’d pulled away from many surprised, confused women myself…

Here’s one thing that all of my work with smart, strong, successful women has brought to my attention – front and center:

The more you have going for you, the less likely you are to settle for less.

It’s not easy being a smart woman.

The more you have going for you, the less likely you are to settle for less.

I don’t blame you. Having high standards means that dating can be a challenge, and that most men are going to fall short.

If you’re like most women I know, you’ve agonized over this – wondering whether you’re too picky, too demanding, or maybe even unrealistic.

On one hand, you want to be open to all possibilities, on the other, you know what makes you tick – and it sure isn’t settling.

I’m guessing you concluded that the thought of being with the wrong man is far worse than the thought of being alone. No one can argue with that.

Yet the answer still isn’t satisfying. Being alone isn’t quite the life you had in mind, which is why the question still nags at you.

What areas, if any, can you compromise on?

Well, if you’ve ever made a list of must-haves (and, God knows, most relationship experts love to have you make long lists), you’ve probably seen up close just how few men possess all the qualities you’re looking for.

The guy who’s smart… isn’t always funny.

The guy who’s funny… isn’t always successful.

The guy who’s successful… isn’t always emotionally available.

…Since you can ALWAYS find a quality he DOESN’T have, it doesn’t make much sense to rely on such lists.

Literally, NO men will qualify to date you.

The guy who’s emotionally available… isn’t always exciting.

The guy who’s exciting… isn’t always consistent.

The guy who’s consistent… isn’t always challenging.

And so on.

So, since you can ALWAYS find a quality he DOESN’T have, it doesn’t make much sense to rely on such lists. Literally, NO men will qualify to date you.

This brings up an obvious question, however:

“What about men? What about THEIR lists?”

Great point. After all, men and women dump each other in equal measure.

And if you’re in touch with the dozens of reasons that most men don’t make the cut, what are the reasons that men use to cut you loose?

It’s probably not what you think.

In fact, I think you’d be SURPRISED at what men REALLY want from women.

I first realized there was a big gap in men’s and women’s perceptions when I was writing my first book, “I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book – A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating”.

My friend Jen had sent me a list of over 300 things that men did wrong on first dates. She’d put it together in a few hours over a few glasses of wine with her girlfriends.

Do not drive too fast and act like you do it all the time.

Do not go to the loudest restaurant in town and complain you can’t hear her speak.

Do not order a drink and then tell her she can have one if she wants.

Do not wear a brown belt and black shoes, or vice versa.

Do not mention that any other girl is hot, even if she is hot.

I thought the list was so hysterical, that I included it in the first draft of my book.

Suddenly, the editors were on the phone with a question:

“Funny list, but what about a list for women? What do they do wrong on first dates?”

I was stumped.

In all my years of dating, I never stopped to dissect the behavior of my female dates. It’s not that I was above it; rather, I never even thought about it. I finally cobbled something together with the help of some friends. But it left me thinking:

Why would I choose not to go out with a woman a second time?

Here’s what I came up with:

She wasn’t physically attractive to me.

She wasn’t fun and easygoing.

End of list.

Drinking habits, driving habits, fashion choices – none of them enter the equation.

We men care about two main things:

Are you sexy?

Are you fun to be around?

If you are, we’re coming back for more.

Does this throw you off? I would imagine it does.

Because when you compare the number of factors that determine whether a guy is date-worthy with the number of factors that determine whether you’re date-worthy, it’s night and day. Women have their lengthy checklists. Men ask two questions:

Men are not nearly as concerned with your merits as much as how you make us FEEL.

Do I want to sleep with you?

Do I feel good about myself when I’m spending time with you?

That’s it.

Which means that all of your amazing qualities may not even matter to him at ALL!

You graduated summa cum laude from an Ivy League masters program? Wonderful. Do you freak out if he’s running ten minutes late?

You ran a half-marathon and raised twelve thousand dollars for leukemia? Great. Do you look in his eyes when he tells a story? Do you laugh when he tells a joke?

You made partner in your fifth year and you have a time-share in Vail? Awesome. Will you wake him on Sunday morning with chocolate chip pancakes and morning sex?

All of this is just a long way of stating what every man knows – and most women don’t:

We are not nearly as concerned with your merits as much as how you make us FEEL.

If you’re attractive, it makes us feel confident. It makes us feel like we’ve conquered and won. It makes us feel secure and studly and all those things we rarely feel on our own.

If you’re fun and easygoing, it makes us enjoy our time together. It makes us not crave time with the guys. It makes us want to keep you around forever and ever.

Understand, men DO value intelligence, but they also want from their girlfriend what they CAN’T get from their business associates.

Warmth, affection, nurturing, thoughtfulness. Lightness!

You can’t teach attraction, but you can teach fun. You can teach easy. That’s what I do as a dating coach. Because there are lots of amazing women who have the potential to be great girlfriends but accidentally sabotage themselves.

This is the main premise behind Why He Disappeared.

It’s not that you’re not an amazing catch. It’s that you’ve never fully understood why certain men choose not to stick around. Once you get it, you will have a clearer, easier path to love – and a lifelong ability to understand and connect with men.

It’s not that you’re not an amazing catch.

It’s that you’ve never fully understood why certain men choose not to stick around.

Men can be frustrating; that’s for sure. But neither you nor I can change that. If he’s shallow and fickle and uncommunicative and still thinks he should be dating Angelina Jolie, let him knock himself out. He doesn’t deserve you.

But when you do meet that rare, relationship-oriented, quality guy, how can you be the most self-confident, self-aware, irresistible man magnet around? It all starts with understanding what men are thinking.

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  1. 1

    Evan, thanks for this. I had to laugh at its straightforwardness.
    But is every man really as straightforward as you are? I have a male friend who criticized his ex-girlfriend because her grammar wasn’t as good as his.  My husband has a male friend who broke up with his girlfriend because supposedly, she wasn’t up to his intellectual level.  I have another guy friend who has complained about not being able to have deep discussions with virtually every single girlfriend he has had.
    I think a lot of women reading your blog are concerned about more than just getting a 2nd date. They’re concerned about a long-term relationship.  And from the guys I’ve known, it seems that they care more about sexiness and lightness when it comes to deciding to have LTRs with women.

    1. 1.1

      yes this is very much vice versa what u wrote  overall women are extremely difficult all they want is Looks which is 1 thing why not go for botb looks & personality etc and they don’t seem to see it guys are too but we’re more simpler then Women

    2. 1.2

      Thats their problem. They are using sex to get things other than orgasms from men.

  2. 2

    #1 Helen

    Good question Helen!  My intuition would tell me that either men are coming up with these ‘reasons’ because they seem pretty straightforward, easy to say.  AND/OR they can’t really articulate what it is about the woman that doesn’t sit right with them, but they know they don’t feel good consistently with her.

    I wonder how what these men say to the girls they are breaking up with:  “You have bad grammar, that’s why I’m breaking up with you”?  🙂

    1. 2.1

      Denise you hit the spot. I feel as though most guys cannot really articulate what it is they feel when it comes to women. The only thing they can gauge is whether or not it is positive or negative. But I feel that on some level, even though the attraction and lightness pretty much apply to all guys, we look for traits that match our tastes, so when it comes to factors such as intelligence we may have our own preferences.

    2. 2.2

      What a load of crap, Men do value intelligence in a woman, more so than beauty alot of the time, if I cannot have a decent thought provoking discussion my my partner, then what is the use in being with her?
      Women are just obsessed with image and thinking that men only want sex, men can get sex easily, men cannot find a decent woman to stay with easily. 
      Reasons I have dumped some of my ex girlfriends  (these will overlap slightly)
      – Not intelligent and down right annoying as hell due to stupidity.
      – Obsessed with how they look to a point where I really couldn’t give a crap how they looked anymore, completely irrational.
      – Absolutely nothing in common at all, they did “woman things” all the damn time, yes they are women, but come on. When every aspect of their life revolves around being a “woman” and not just a “human” its taking the piss. This is not a sexist comment either, men really don’t want to be with a woman who is completely obsessed with everything womanly and nothing that he likes.
      – Always trying to please me, I dont want pleasing 24/7, it gets annoying when you force things on me, then assume its because you are ugly if I decline. Tone it down abit, woman can have woman time, men can have man time. You are not in a relationship to spend every waking hour glued together, if you need woman time, go out with some girlfriends, I dont care how this girl looks, how they said this, or did that.
      – I dont want you asking me if you are beautiful every hour, did something change in the past 10 minutes? How damn insecure are women these days, if you need reassurence every day we are together, then why are we together? Accept the fact I chose you and stop panicking about it.
      – One girl confused me alot, she was the most uncleanest person you could meet, until it was time to go out into the world, then she spent hours making out she was the most beautiful thing ever. How can you go from not cleaning up at home and sitting with rubbish around you and not washing the pots and leaving underwear on the floor to becoming a beauty queen when out.
      – And finally, emotions, women are too complex, they over think everything, this is not some intelligence factor, its just that women are that obsessed with emotions and how they feel that men have no chance of ever pleasing them. A normal women is like the equivalent of a bipolar man. When women get that men don’t understand this stuff, maybe both parties can co-exist. The man is not hurting your emotions or some random crap, he just doesn’t understand or notice this complex pattern you call “obvious”.

      1. 2.2.1

        Well Ben if I ever over think it is mostly to do with family, my caree, men and friendships which is due to making tough decisions as well as my way ot trying to protect myself from getting hurt again being rational and trying my best to keep to my boundries and in what I want.  I am messy. I am more interested in the mind but do like showing off at times and my mother is mad into fashion and so is my younger sister but I am not but am told men expect that and love that.  Most of my relationships have involved men having problems with expressing their emotions or else they wanna be loved to so much a degree that they are unhappy with themselves. Being female is not the only issue for me, despite me not always feeling female as I like toy cars, combats, mens clothes and love hanging out with musical men and men who are inteligent and can have a good time and like movies etc.

        1. JJ

          Now Karen actually learned something from Bens post Amy

      2. 2.2.2

        Hi ben:)

      3. 2.2.3

        WoW Ben..Your reply sounds like the story of my life.. 

      4. 2.2.5
        Mars Larson

        I can see why Ben has had some problems with women. There’s a lot of anger in that post.

      5. 2.2.6

        I like Ben’s post. I have never been able to engage with anyone unintelligent in
        A real relationship. I like that directness and for me it’s clarity of perspective.
        He is annoyed at stupidity, not angry at more secure women who have at least a
        clue. Women do have to learn that men don’t think the same thoughts in the same
        way as we do. Both I believe have to be sensitive to each other in this
        reality. We are all learning from listening to and observing ourselves
        and each other. I like men like Ben.

      6. 2.2.7

        ” I dont want you asking me if you are beautiful every hour, did something change in the past 10 minutes? ”
        ” When every aspect of their life revolves around being a “woman” and not just a “human” its taking the piss.”
        “A normal women is like the equivalent of a bipolar man.”

        Lol Ben that was hilarious, thanks for sharing.

      7. 2.2.8

        Ben, I’m afraid you’re right. …And hilarious too! Over the years, 37 that is,  I’ve learned how your list is definitely true. Right now I’m caught up in a love situation with who might be the wrong man for me, but I’m determined to getting closer to him and working on a relationship that I certainly believe in.

        I’m giving him a chance after 2 years we’ve been just talking.   I love him with all my heart. I trust and believe in him. He seems to be the right man for me. I just hope and pray for things to work between us.

        Thank you for your comment, it was very useful to me 🙂

      8. 2.2.9

        lol, wow you seem to have issues with woman altogether. Yes we can be very emotional,but you have to understand that is part of the science that makes us different then mean. In alot of cases where men Think, we Fee, We are Creatures of the Heart. And I do understand many of the complaints you have,like a girl taking to long to get ready & caring too much about how she looks (which I sadly fall victim too,lol). However, think a bout what we go through, from childhood to adulthood. Most of our mothers nagged & picked on our looks, if we weren’t looking “accordingly”, we grow into thinking that men care #1 about our looks, regardless. Also our worth is based highly on our looks, do you look like someone a man would want to show off, like a “trophy wife”, or even “trophy girlfriend”. Yes, these things may not matter to you, but think how many smart,wealthy, not so attractive women are married to hot men, can you think of any?

        1. Kale

          We care about looks because it tells us that you are trying to impress us guys. When a girl goes out of her way to take a half hour or so to make herself look good for a guy, it basically means you don’t want to lose us. Yes, men are harsh when it comes to looks but you don’t have to go all out. And even for a single girl to do that means she doesn’t want to be alone. If you are fun to be around, he won’t judge you as harshly as he would with a girl he just met. A very minuscule amount of the time do men care 100%on looks. This is just one opinion and you are always hot to someone. I hope I helped :3

      9. 2.2.10

        Our potential relationships depend on two things: 1) how we feel about ourselves, 2) how we feel when we are with another. Everything else is part of what you might call our “attraction filter” that we create throughout our lives from a of our experiences.  Our minds rapidly process whether or not someone meets our criterial and we either move forward with a date or a relationship or we may end it when we determine we no longer feel goo about ourselves or the other.

        My question for you is, it must have been fairly clear in your first conversation or in a couple dates at most, that the person you were with lacked your preferred level of intelligence. So why enter s relationship you later needed to end?

        To avoid unintelligent, superficial, high maintenance women in your relationships, quite simply, opt out after the date or two it takes to assess the match to your own criteria and before you enter a relationship. You’ll save your frustration and hers no doubt! But perhaps you got distracted by Evan’s first point 😉

      10. 2.2.11


      11. 2.2.12

        I agree with Ben. Mainly because he is proving this article and giving it more depth. If that one girl is asking if she’s beautiful every 10 minutes, it’s not fun is it? Intelligent girls know what we want. It’s true for both genders, where it boils down to being good looking and fun to hang out with. So, thanks Ben!

      12. 2.2.13

        This was good.

      13. 2.2.14

        Bravo ben!

        Best comment ever read here! Definitely didn’t waste my time reading yours!


        What About a man who says he loves you. Who proves that he do by making the future very crystal clear and great at providing support  but emotionally unavailable?

      14. 2.2.15
        Mary o brien

        Pity ye wouldnt have the manners to tell a woman ye dont want to see her again ye r nothing only cowards

      15. 2.2.16

        Well, WHY did you make those women your girlfriendS if you’re a man of quality yourself in the first place?

    3. 2.3

      Its easy to articulate…the relationship is the cost of sex and its too much

  3. 3

    I don’t think that women are any different, actually.  It still boils down to attractiveness and how easy the person is to be around – women are just more prone to list out all the reasons they don’t think someone is attractive or all the individual habits a person has that prevent them from being easy to spend time with.  Perhaps women just need to focus on the bigger picture instead of the minutia of those two big categories, rather than using the minutia of one guy to rule out the next one.

    1. 3.1

      Yeah, I think so too. Though maybe there is a difference in how attractiveness is determined, and how quickly? ie I usually need to feel comfortable before I can feel attracted.

  4. 4

    @Helen #1
    When I read Evan’s article my thought was “he stole my list!”.   The other things you mentioned I would put under item #2, the “do I have fun when I am with her?”.    I love to read and I love to talk.   If I can’t get engaged in an interesting conversation with a woman number 2 will not happen.   Getting back to Evan’s point, even if those women where more of a cognitive match for your friends, they still wouldn’t make it if they didn’t have the fun loving ATTITUDE Evan is referring to.    Workaholics,  going on a date to do a background check instead of having fun, complaining all of the time, etc.

  5. 5

    Evan has a way of verbalizing things that otherwise nebulously float around in the heads of others.   One of his best nuggets is the statement that women mistake what they want from men to be what men want from women.
    I see this all over the place anytime a woman complains about not being able to get or hold a guy. ” – But I went to this school,  I hold this job,  I own this crap and I run marathons”.
    Resumes turn women on, they don’t do much for men.
    For some reason, probably narcissism, it doesn’t occur to these women that what they want isn’t what other people want.
    When I hear the phrase “strong successful woman”  I think of a woman who is a ball buster or a bore.   Someone who might have time to date once a month in between obligations.   Someone with a page boy haircut who lives in a business suit.   Bleh

    1. 5.1

      Dear God, no, not the pageboy haircut. 😏

  6. 6

    Perhaps I am feeling cynical today, but there are lots of attractive, fun to be with and easy to get along with women where guys still don’t stay around. I totally get what Evan’s saying, and I do think that men are exceedingly simplistic, especially when compared to women who often think far too much into things, but geesh. Guys sometimes don’t stay around for their own issues, too, but they don’t always recognize at the time what those issues are, or they lack the articulation to express them, or they fear expressing themselves, or they’ve been taught to hold back.
    Alright, let me have it. 🙂

  7. 7
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#1)
    “My husband has a male friend who broke up with his girlfriend because supposedly, she wasn’t up to his intellectual level.”

    I’ve dumped a woman after one date for that reason as well.

    But if you dig deeper, how I felt made a huge difference. The lady only discussed two topics for the entire date: how wonderful I was, and how much she loved Jesus. I spent most of that afternoon bored and frustrated. It was surprising how quickly I got tired of being told I was amazing.

    Helen said: (#1)
    “I think a lot of women reading your blog are concerned about more than just getting a 2nd date. They’re concerned about a long-term relationship.”

    This has everything to do with a long-term relationship. I’ll quickly dump a woman if she shows a tendency to nag, criticize, lose her temper, be jealous, etc. If she does that regularly, then being around her is less fun than being single. There’s no way that I would subject myself to long-term unpleasantness in that kind of relationship.

    Honey said: (#3)
    “It still boils down to attractiveness and how easy the person is to be around – women are just more prone to list out all the reasons they don’t think someone is attractive or all the individual habits a person has that prevent them from being easy to spend time with.”

    On a related note, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of having traits that make me easy to get along with.

  8. 8

    #6 Diana

    Well said and very true!

    There has to be an ability on both people’s part to ‘do a relationship’.

  9. 9

    Bottom line: men and women are pretty much the same, and there is not much need for a false dichotomy.
    Why do I say this?  Because even if one were to assert that men only care about 1) sexiness and 2) fun and easygoing demeanors, these same men are conveniently categorizing EVERYTHING under the second.  They’re just less articulate about it, as Denise #2 and Honey #3 allude.
    Just from the two men who have commented here already (and this is in no way an indictment against you, Steve and Karl; just calling it as it is), women are a dealbreaker if they:
    1. Don’t read enough
    2. Don’t talk enough
    3. Aren’t a “cognitive match” for the man
    4. Don’t have a “fun loving attitude”
    5. Are supposed “narcissists” for thinking that a man might think the same way they do
    6. Are strong or successful
    7. Have a pageboy haircut
    8. Work a lot
    9. Wear business suits a lot
    10. Keep talking about how great the guy is
    11. Focus mostly on two topics of conversation
    And women are somehow supposed to be more picky than men?
    I conclude that men care a LOT more than just about two things, and that it’s not always as simplistic as it may seem.

    1. 9.1

      Helen, there ıs no arguement to ur poınts. Lets just face d truth, the socıety today does not encourage true love and affectıon. If a guy can go on a socıal medıa and be able to talk to zıllıon gırls at the same tıme,, common… How can love ever work dat way? These are great women wıth unıque personalıtıes dat all appealıng,, dat man wıll defınately be confused of choıce. Honestly, ı am done datıng.. I have decıded to Zıp up. There ıs no love ın d datıng world. All ı know ıs dat ıf a man/woman loves you,, he wıll do anythıng for u, whıch ıncludes to compromıse standards. (Dats love)

    2. 9.2

      Dear Helen,

      I enjoyed your post.  I primarily agreed with the idea that there should be no dichotomy when considering what is truly important to the sexes as a whole.  The stereotypes depicted in the posts re-judge a person, categorizing them by gender, and are likely to deprive those seeking companionship from discovering the individual merits which make up a person.   Each person’s complexity is unique.  It will have both flaws and strengths, but one truth is inevitable, no one person will have all of the qualities on your wish list and you should not expect them to.  Like a car, your life-partner must have the basics and rest should be seen as nice options.  Having similar values, genuine respect for each other, purposeful lives, these are essentials.   But, compromises have to be made with regard to day to day living.  So, you didn’t get the moon roof.  Let it go.  Remember, if you can find someone in your life who makes you happy and will hold your hand through all that life throws at you and won’t let go, the fact that he’s bald should not keep you up at night.  Anyway…. Happy Hunting and Cupid make your butt his favorite target.   

    3. 9.3

      Helen #9 et alia, I think the haircut is called a “bob.” Though that probably doesn’t make things better. 😉

  10. 10

    Helen, IMO your list still boils down to “not fun to be around”, with the addition that, the definition of “fun” is different for different people. For every guy who’d dump a woman for not reading enough, there’s another that’s terrified of women who read. etc etc.
    So, in essence, yeah, men and women aren’t as different, everyone is looking for sexy and fun, and everyone means something different by that. Big news, I know 😀
    Karl, if someone spent the entire first date telling me how much they loved Jesus, I’d leave through the nearest door or window, whichever’s closest 🙂 You have my sympathy 🙂

  11. 11

    Excellent, Helen #9! Men just happen to umbrella everything in very simple terms, while women break down the details; in a nutshell, it’s often the very same message. I have noticed this huge communication difference between my two children. It tickles me!

  12. 12

    Diana #6. I can identify with everything you have written.

    I have been following Evan’s blog for a while now, and agree with most things he has written however, I think it is very difficult to remain happy or upbeat when the man you are dating isn’t exactly handling his side of the relationship very well.

  13. 13

    I would add that I think that having some common interests is also important (see Steve #4′, and the ability to have an engaging, stimulating conversation). Other dealbreakers re: Karl R would be someone who nags, criticizes. is quick to anger, displays religious fanaticism, or is jealous.

  14. 14

    Thank you Helen for smashing down a common fallacy!

    I am so weary of people proclaiming “Men and women are just hard wired differently!” Nonsense. We are much more alike than we will ever be different – but perception is difficult to argue against. You however, did an excellent job. I bow to you. 🙂

  15. 15

    When it comes to whether I want to see a woman the 2nd time, Evan pretty much nailed it for me as a guy. That and she seems to be a good person. I don’t really have much of a list besides that. I mean, I could have a great time going out with a woman who tells me that she is still legally married during the first date (a deal-breaker for me), I will make a decision not to see her again, but it might be a head-over-emotions decision I’m sad to have to make. I mean, I can’t keep seeing her for that reason, but I still really liked her regardless.
    (This open-mindedness isn’t always a good thing. I spent 2010 meeting and dating a lot of women. I learned an awful lot, but I ended up putting in a lot of energy towards women who weren’t right for me. I’m making it a point this year to be a lot more selective, to screen better early on.)
    Getting back to Evan’s blog: Beyond that first or second date, it’s a little more complicated. Do I feel both challenged and supported by her (good), or do I feel smothered by her (bad). Do we get along as friends, and so we have similar views on the future?
    Anyway, as far as making reasons… We men feel terrible about women hurting in our name too. Especially because as we generally do the pursuing early on, we feel that we were the ones who led you to this position. And so we make up something that is hopefully easy for you to take. It’s hard to tell a woman that (say) you don’t want to keep seeing her because she made reference on the 4th date to you coming on vacation with her and her family next year. Or that she isn’t what you had in mind physically.

  16. 16

    Thanks, Diana and Selena! Yes, I’ve observed that inter-individual differences are much more important than gender-specific differences. For example, who are these women Evan mentions who care about whether a man’s belt matches his shoes? I certainly don’t identify with them, as I neither notice nor care about men’s belts or shoes.
    Goldie, will you go on a date with me? I’ll start talking about Jesus, just for the fun of watching you try to exit the nearest window. 😀

  17. 17

    Men and women are EQUAL but instinctively different.  We are primarily different in our reptilian brains, which is the part of the brain that we have no control over.  In our mammalian and higher brains, you’re right, we are very similar.  We have the same emotions, the same ability to commit or not commit or make decisions.

    I think Evan’s talking at higher, more universal level concepts.  Don’t you know women who say when they go on dates, but sorry, they want to know everything about  him on the first date, because “she doesn’t want to waste her time”?  Or women who say they didn’t date a man because he didn’t make X amount of money, etc.?  Or like Evan points out, has a list a mile long that ONE man is supposed to fulfil?  Or treats the man like an employee?  Or scolds him on the first date for what he orders?  Or women that are generally negative people and nothing is ever good enough, especially when they make a lot of money!  Just things off the top of my head that I know for a fact happen.

    The list of 10 things has more to do with personality and preferences.  One man’s turnoff for Jesus talk could be another man’s dream come true!  Although she STILL needs to make sure her man feels good being with  her.

  18. 18

    I don’t know about you Denise, but I don’t spend much time with people who don’t have control over their reptilian brains. And as wise as it is for a woman to make sure her man feels good being with her (this is new info? really?), it isn’t any more important than a woman feeling good being with the man she’s with. BOTH genders evaluate. BOTH genders may have criteria unique to them that factors into their evaluation process. If you feel comfortable believing men and women are fundamentally different, that’s your perception, it’s not universal.

  19. 19
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#9)
    “women are a dealbreaker if they: […] Aren’t a ‘cognitive match’ for the man […] And women are somehow supposed to be more picky than men?”

    I’ve dumped a few women because they weren’t intelligent enough. I’ve continued to date others who clearly weren’t my intellectual equals. The difference between the two groups is whether the intelligence disparity frustrated me, or whether it prevented me from respecting the woman’s thoughts and opinions. If I find the woman interesting to talk to despite the disparity, and if I respect her opinions, there’s no problem.

    I also broke up with the most intelligent woman I ever dated. I had been dating her and another woman concurrently, and when it came time to make a decision between the two, I chose the one who was more fun to be with.

    And I would say that difference does make women more picky than men. On this blog I have seen women rationalize “if he doesn’t have a degree, then he probably isn’t as intelligent as me, and therefore we won’t work out in the long run, so I won’t date him in the first place.” Even though intelligence is one of my Big Three criteria, I’ll date a woman who is clearly less intelligent than me until I determine what impact that has on the relationship.

    Selena said: (#14)
    “Thank you Helen for smashing down a common fallacy!”

    She came up with a list of 11 “dealbreakers” (as she defined them) by combining comments from 4 different men (Steve’s comment (#4) about women not being a “cognitive match” referred to the men Helen (#1) mentioned.) Most women are able to come up with a longer list of distinct dealbreaksrs than that by themselves.

    Furthermore, Helen listed separately several items that probably aren’t considered dealbreakers by themselves. (I’ll bet Steve (#5) would date some women who have pageboy haircuts, or some women who wear business suits to work each day, even if he doesn’t find either particularly attractive.) I would date a woman who primarily focused on two topics of conversation on the first date, provided both those topics were interesting, and provided I got the impression that she was capable of discussing other topics in the future. And telling me that I’m wonderful usually isn’t a bad idea.

    The things I would actually list as dealbreakers are the things that make a relationship miserable: jealousy, criticism, temper, lack of trust, etc.

  20. 20

    This thread is hilarious.  Thanks Karl & Helen.   Helen, you forgot one.  Compliance.   Now, go fetch me an organic, sustainable, cruelty free beer 🙂

  21. 21
    Ms. Trace

    I bet you that most men those days would be more proud to date a beautiful, easygoing, fun doctor than an beautiful, easygoing,fun flight attendant.
    I’d rather be with a hot, easy going guy than an ugly,successful guy. Of course the ultimate dream is for the hot,successful guy, but these types have so many options that I’d just end up wasting my time with them.

  22. 22

    Make it a beer and ribs for me. Which rules me out as a date for Steve. 😉

    1. 22.1

      I’d like a free-range, gluten free kale beer please. 😜

      1. 22.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        What are these symbols you’re putting at the end of each sentence?

        1. starthrower68

          They show up for me as little emoticons. I respond often on my phone or tablet which the Droid OS. It must not be compatible with the site format. I will not use them if that is the case. Since I see them normally, I didn’t realize they weren’t appearing the same until you mentioned it.

  23. 23

    When the cognitive disparity goes in the other direction, it runs contrary to expected gender roles. If both partners have a mutually agreed upon approach to this, it can work, whether it means that the woman only discusses work/school/what she read last week with colleagues/friends and defers inside the relationship, or that the man takes pride in her intelligence and looks up to her, or they both accept that they complement one another in different ways and percieve one another as equals based on that… but often times, there’s a mismatch. 

    Also, am I wrong for believing that smart men want smart women when it comes down to who’s going to be raising their children? When it comes to marriage and education level, there are hypergamy trends correlated to the aforementioned gender roles that adversely impact the most educated women and the least educated men, but barring the outliers, people generally end up with people with similar credentials. How could this happen if men, the people who do the asking, don’t care? I think that education gets you in the door as a baseline qualification when it comes to LTRs with educated men, but at the end of the day they’re likely to choose the educated woman that makes them feel the best and the desire to “marry up” intellectually that women often have is absent. When he hears “MD”, he hears “she’s not going to be around much” instead of “wow”, but OTOH, he’s not going to marry the woman who works on the line at the meat packing plant, even if she looks like Selma Hayek. Huge hypergamy jumps by marriage are largely the stuff of Hollywood movies (the traditional female analog to the Horatio Alger tale) especially when the well-educated can purchase appearance upgrades.

    Also, what do you do if you’re just not light? I’m snarky, judgmental, cynical and pessimistic. I embrace these characteristics and consider them integral to who I am, and I’ve carried them with me throughout my adult life. I was under the impression that I was okay because there are so. many. men who share those characteristics, especially among the intellectual/less religious set.

    1. 23.1

      Jadafisk said: “I’m snarky, judgmental, cynical and pessimistic. I embrace these characteristics and consider them integral to who I am, and I’ve carried them with me throughout my adult life.”

      I am positive that you have good qualities and something to offer in a relationship. But those qualities are not it. Snarkiness easily comes across as disrespect and is often exactly that (even if we aren’t aware of it). Being judgmental means you’re making wholesale assumptions about people based on limited factors (and are therefore likely to be wrong about them). Cynicism assumes the worst about people’s motivations, which is easily insulting to them and evinces a lack of faith in who they are. And being pessimistic is just dispiriting. People are generally trying to get to a better place in life and improve the various situations they find themselves in. Someone constantly telling them that’s not going to happen is a source of discouragement.

      Basically, it’s not about embracing who you are, it’s about the impact your words and actions have on those around you, and those characteristics can easily bring others down. But you are right that you can always find people (and men) with like-minded attitudes. Yet there will still be people who find a negative attitude off-putting.

    2. 23.2
      Mars Larson

      And if you find a significant other that is also snarky, judgmental, cynical and pessimistic, you would probably have a great match, as long as you both agreed on what you liked to be snarky, judgmental, cynical and pessimistic about. Snarky, judgmental,  cynical and pessimistic can also be fun to be around, depending on who you are and what your mood is on any given day.
      Which goes back to the fact that everyone’s version of what is “fun” will be different.

  24. 24

    #18 Selena–
    I don’t think Denise was saying that. That’s not how i took it. We do not really control what we are attracted to–our reptilian brains–but we do control how we act upon that.
    And yes, men and women are different at the reptilian level. Example: I do online dating. I wouldn’t mind meeting a girl who said, halfway through the first meet: “Hey let’s go back to my place and…have a glass of wine, shall we?”. We wouldn’t even have to be getting along that well. And you know what–most of my male friends feel likewise as I do. The funny thing is though, you probably don’t share this viewpoint. You might not appreciate a guy asking you to come back to his place during the first meet, except *maybe* if you were getting along extremely well. Maybe. Most of my female friends wouldn’t appreciate it. Strange.
    Why is it then that the men wouldn’t mind going back, but the women do?

    1. 24.1

      There are more sexually promiscous/easy/readily available/ men than women.

      Some women are just happy having sex on the first date. But the number is larger in males. 

      I’ve known, as friends, several men who will not have sex with a stranger (on the first date) because of one or more of these reasons:

      1. Afraid she’s full of std’s
      2. Afraid she could turn into a stalker by knowing where he lives
      3. Possibility of knocking her up
      4. They don’t like her personality
      5. Possibility of her being a criminal or crazy

      1. 24.1.1

        I should also mention that it also depends on how the men were raised. Some fathers and mothers worry about their son’s safety and teach them from from an early age to not have sex with a total stranger due to all the possible negative consequences.

        Sadly, some fathers do not guide their sons, or even encourage them sons to have sex with a total stranger.

        I really prefer the classier guy, especially with the hp virus on the rise        

  25. 25

    I have to say I think one of the biggest mistakes we make in terms of long term relationships, is to love some-one only because of how they make us feel. We aren’t loving some-one for who they are. We are only in love with our own feelings. Narcissism 101.

    Like the woman who say’s, I love him because he makes me laugh, or I love him because he makes me feel protected, or I love him because he buys me nice things? What happens if he goes through a bout of depression, loses his job and can no longer “make” you feel those things? Do you still love him?

    Or the man that say’s I love her because she makes me feel like a stud or I love her because I feel needed around her. What happens if she goes through a bout of depression and no longer desires sex, or achieves greater success and you no longer feel needed?

    When you  love some-one only because of how they make you feel, not because of who they are, what I see happening is people then spending their entire lives, trying to manipulate the other into making them feel good. IE I’ll do this nice thing for you, so you’ll in turn have sex with me and make me feel good. 

    I have yet to see a relationship work long-term, when this is it’s basis. Love is an extention of one-self, not just a feeling.

    I agree with Helen. Men have just as many criteria as women do. Why is it that men seem to be so hell bent on trying to convince everyone that they are simple creatures when you aren’t? What is up with that? 

    1. 25.1

      Well said!

    2. 25.2
      Beautiful Beloved

      You have NAILED IT…. this is the comment of the year award.. 🏆🏅…thank you for sharing!!!! 

    3. 25.3

      Well said. I agree.  Ultimately love is an action not a feeling.  Obviously I’m going to feel most lusty toward a guy who is easy-going and makes me feel good, but it would be ridiculous if I were to expect this to happen 24/7, then bail if he fell short. Men would call us insane if we expected to be made to feel good and be entertained by them all the time.  Men aren’t emotionless robots here just to serve our egos, nor are we robots here just to serve their’s.  I’d say this article is trite, to say the least. At worst it stinks of entitlement and a deep desire to be coddled. Yuck!

      In all three of my LTRs, my easy-going nature (lack of jealousy, playful, high libido, not easily offended) was mistaken as a lack commitment.  (Men have so many feelz!) In all three I was cheated on, and when it came time to confront the cause for their betrayal, with all of them it was supposedly because they felt I wasn’t “in love” enough. (See: my fault) My easy-going nature made me appear “easy” (i.e. low-class, a slut, whatever), not committed enough. Even though I was 100% loyal and had 0 interest in other men, apparently NOT being a possessive psycho hurt their egos ???? Crazy.  Don’t let men fool you, they are not as easy to please as they proclaim themselves to be. The requirements are many and often totally contradictory  (Thanks Whore/Madonna complex!)

      Now I know if a man isn’t confident on his own, and relies on outside validation, then he probably isn’t reliable in any way shape or form.  Such dudes just glide through life selfishly filling their buckets with undeserved praise, and have no regard for the experiences of others, much less others’ sovereignty. (Like, a personality that isn’t tailor-cut for the sole purpose of making him feel good about himself)

      A disregard for merit is a sign of a weak character. This is likely the case for one who perhaps has no merit of his own, or wants to downplay the merit others possess in order to exaggerate his — intentionally putting out others’ lights in order to magnify the reach of his own glow — this is, in my opinion, a totally cheap way to live, be you man or woman. So to all who do this: Stahp It!!!

      Men Are Simple is such an insidious myth. So is the myth Women Are Complex.  My experiences, anecdotal as they may be, have all been to the contrary. In all my relationships I was faced with a bunch of rules and regulations, complaints and requests, it’s mind-boggling. I feel that as a laid back, attractive, young hard-working female with low expectations and a kind disposition, I am a good candidate for pleasing one of these “simple guys” I keep hearing about. As if they are in such great supply!!

      I’m ok with a man being complex, having feelings, being sensitive, or insecure, so long as he owns this and is willing to communicate instead of running (or cheating) like, well, a coward.  And society needs to quit putting the emotional burden and blame on women.

  26. 26


    Why would a woman WANT to go back is the question?

    Going back for a glass of wine, obviously implies sex. If you don’t think so, then there’s your first mistake.

    So since it implies sex, or physical intimacy of some kind:

    1. Why would we choose to have sex with a man we don’t know and may not like yet?
    2. Why would we put ourselves at physical risk with a male we don’t yet trust?
    3. Why would we choose to risk pregnancy and STD’s with a man We’ve known for a couple of hours? Will you take care of us and the child that may result in such a union?
    4. Why do you expect such automatic trust, when it has not yet been earned?
    5. Why would we risk emotional attachment that physical intimacy can bring us, for no reason?
    6. Why would we be willing have sex with a man when there is no guarentee that he cares enough about us to bring us pleasure?

    Why do men even NEED to ask this question?

    Physical intimacy for women is in many way’s the same as emotional intimacy for men. It takes us both time to open up to it and trust each other because of the power it has to hurt us.

    I don’t expect a man to share all his thoughts and feelings to begin with, so how can a man expect such intimacy from me, intimacy that may even result in a child(although unlikely), after I spend a few hours with him?

    Sex is just not the same for men as it is for women!! It’s no-ones fault. I don’t blame men for taking time to open up to me emotionally, so I hope you don’t blame women for feeling the same way sexually. Just try and understand it.

  27. 27
    Still Looking

    I agree with Evan’s assessment that men have two basic criteria:  “is she sexy and is she fun to be around?” if, and only if, the men are looking for a fling or a casual dating relationship.
    If I’m looking for a LTR, however, traits/quirks that are irrelevant during a casual relationship become much more important.  Sexy/fun = chemistry and that chemistry is the initial bar that must be reached to lead to a second date.
    Compatibility is much more important than the initial chemistry.  I don’t have a laundry list of what makes a woman desirable/compatible, I do, however, have a list of traits that are red flags or unacceptable.
    I don’t care if a woman makes $35k or $135k, but if she opts not to work because she lives off of alimony & child support – I’m not interested.
    I don’t care if a woman drives a Toyota or a Lexus, but if she drives a new Lexus but makes $35k (lives beyond her means) – I’m not interested.
    I don’t care if a woman drinks, but if she drinks to excess on a first date – I’m not interested.
    I love kids but I don’t want to raise anymore children so if she has kids who will not be graduating high school in a a few years – I’m not interested.
    I could go on and on but hopefully you see the point.  Sexy/fun is great for a fling but for a long term relationship, compatibility is essential.  I’m sure every guy who reads this blog could also come up with a lengthy list of red flags or deal-breakers.  Maybe the difference between men and women is men are interested unless a negative exists whereas perhaps women are not interested unless certain positive traits exist.  Is there really a difference?  I don’t think so.

    1. 27.1

      Hmmm, this list of deal breakers is interesting.  Yet the male author doesn’t see it as a laundry list.  Isn’t that the deal with all men – they see what they do as not as harsh as what a woman does?  Example – when a women is assertive she is bossy, when a woman has a list it is a laundry list whereas a man’s list is the red flag list – ie her’s is nit picky and his is relevant.    Most of the time I enjoy Evan’s thoughts but the thinking that men only have two criteria is silly as many of the men that have replied to and has been compiled by Helen.  Frankly men roll so many things up into one little liner hence most of the time one is blind sided because we couldn’t read between the lines.  Not sure who said it but someone said it still boiled down to “is someone fun” which is like saying you have a meeting today – where for what, where, when is left out.  How relevant is that piece of information, you have a meeting today when all the other facts are left out.  So that is one way men are complex is because many times they really don’t know what they are looking for and very rarely can they articulate why things are working.  Which is way ok with me as when I find myself with a man that truly doesn’t know himself and what he wants then he is very difficult (not fun) to deal with as he is constantly judging me versus dealing with his own issues and beliefs.

      1. 27.1.1

        Have we not said yet today that men don’t judge?  LOL.  Sorry but men are very picky, very judgmental, very bossy, very irrational.  I’ve dated a lot of men and non view themself that way hence they judge me harshly and them as just fun loving guys.  And, all men, per their view, are funny.  Men really do have a hard time understanding themself, how do they expect a woman to.  And men have all kinds of double standards because when they do the exact same thing it isn’t the same.  Rational?  I don’t think so 🙂  Hence men are irrational yet you would find it hard for a man to accept that he is an irrational mess.  Which is why any discussion or disaggrement with a man is not worth ones time as they will always deem themself the “rational” one.  LOL.  Kind of has the same stamp as you have to make a man feel something was his idea to get him to do it – you have to stroke the ego to make something happen – and many times it just isn’t worth the effort to deal with that type of irrational drama creating man.  Men are simple?  Men only have 2 criteria?  LMAO.  Do you think things will ever get better when men view themself so “simple” yet are very, very complex?  Kind of like saying your car just has an engine and it is simple – what is so simple about thousands of parts that can break down and go wrong.  To view it as simplistic is irrational.

        1. Nancy

          For the next generation of women, our daughters, we need to teach them this – do not write, print, or vocalize anything – learn to be evasive.  Also, don’t take no crap about being irrational and emotional, picky, bossy – be confident that regardless of how you are behaving everyone else is the problem.  We can create a new generation of women, we just need to teach our daughters at a young age to only be interested in yourself and what you want and need and when you aren’t getting it it is not because you are irrational it is because the world around you is.  And, women need to stop reading self help books and these stupid columns are they are feeding us irrational information – we know better.  🙂  Ever met a man that doesn’t know what he wants and that is translated in he is easy going and you are a bitch.  Ladies – learn the lesson teach your daughters to not buy into the BS, instead learn to play the game better!  We are learning as I hear a lot of bitchy/complaining men about women are not women anymore 🙂  Well, we are easy going lazy people!!!  Don’t need to clean the house, don’t need to do the man’s laundry,  no worries.  If a man want’s something done he can either do it himself or figure out how to motiviate me to want to do it and if he gets to bitchy or complaining, well I will passively check out and start searching for someone else as he is no longer fun!! 

        2. Mallika

          You’re so right! 
          That is, I don’t think taking a simplistic picture is irrational, but men can be just as picky/irrational etc as women.
          >Ever met a man that doesn’t know what he wants and that is translated in he is easy going
          Sure I have! After a year of trying not to “pressure” him into spending more time together, I realized he wasn’t over his ex-wife yet, and let him go.
          When he contacted me again after a couple of years, I thought maybe he was ready now – but when we met, he tells me he has recently “discovered” he hasn’t been able to let his ex go!

        3. JulesK

          Nancy, I like you.  “Men are simple” really is kind of bullshit.  Please.  Stop telling us this, especially dudes.  

  28. 28

    How about this possibility?  Men like to compartmentalize, downsize, and simplify their perplex mish-mash of desires, drives, and emotions because they’re basically…a little bit lazy? Or at least that’s the way it often seems to the woman (me).  But before you guys go get all in a lather about the term “lazy,” what I mean by that is a tendency to choose the path of least resistance. And sometimes, that’s probably a very wise thing to do & truly sometimes I wish I could be more like that. But it’s not meant to be. Regardless of any scientific, anthropological, sociological, physiological, or even astrological evidence to the contrary, the majority of the men I have known over the years always prefer the easier path (evasiveness, denial, pretend-you-didn’t-hear-that, avoidance, quick-change-the-subject, remain ambiguous) than the stickier path — the path he knows he’s on when you can tell by the panicked look on his face that he’s thinking, “Oh sh*t, no matter how I answer this grenade of a question she just threw me, it’s not gonna be pretty.”  I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in my world, men on dates, or in the dating stage, generally prefer to not analyze much of anything non-linear with women, especially if it’s in any way based on subjective stuff like emotions, values, tastes, opinions, judgments, loyalties, etc. because they don’t want to wind up looking like the bad guy. In other words, they don’t like conflict, because it means trouble, it means difficult, when what they’re going for — at least when they’re trying to get to know you — is easy.  It’s not a matter of intelligence, depth, or complexity; and it doesn’t apply to every single man who walks the earth, but my experience with men, based on their behavior and on what they tell me themselves, is that the majority of them want to feel acceptance in it’s most palatable form. Especially in the beginning.  As relationships develop, they naturally become more complex & knarled & sometimes even richer (imagine that!).  But I agree with Evan — in the beginning, women who come to a first date with an agenda, a preconceived notion of what the perfect guy will need in his portfolio, and how excited he needs be about her achievements, are going to continue to wonder why men are put off by that and disappear.

  29. 29

    “Why is it that men wouldn’t mind going back when women do?”

    Um, perhaps because women feel obligated to take their physical safety into account?

  30. 30

    @Michael17 #24

    Is it common for you and your friends to invite a woman you’ve only known a half hour, whom you aren’t particularly getting along with, back to your place for a glass of wine? Sounds like fantasy to me. And if you are NOT doing that, what do you suppose your reasoning is?

    I’ve known far too many individuals of both genders to buy the “hard wired differently” supposition. There seem to be greater similarities and differences based on how individuals were raised, encultured, the influence of peer group at different points in life. Relying on the so-called “reptile part of the brain” seldom results in social success.

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