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?

Join our conversation (253 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 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.
     

  2. 22
    Selena

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

    1. 22.1
      starthrower68

      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.

  3. 23
    Jadafisk

    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
      NK

      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.

  4. 24
    Michael17

    #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
      Liz

      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
        Liz

        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        

  5. 25
    Annie

    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
      Marilyn

      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
      Sam

      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.

  6. 26
    Annie

    @24

    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.

  7. 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
      Nancy

      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
        Nancy

        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.  

  8. 28
    Zann

    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.

  9. 29
    Jadafisk

    “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?

  10. 30
    Selena

    @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.

  11. 31
    hunter

    Anxiety level is very high on the first three dates.  Daters need at least three dates to get to know each other, unless you are a serial/lifelong/good looking dater that knows someone on the first date.

    Aren’t

  12. 32
    hunter

    I agree with Evan, men look for someone that is real and available. 

    1. 32.1
      Liz

      Yes, but you grouped many characteristics in the words “real” and “available”

      There are requirements that you must have that makes a woman “available” and “real”
      that you are not mentioning.  

  13. 33
    Denise

    #20

    Yes dear, in a minute, going to put my French maid constume since I know how much you like me parading around in that!  😉

    #18 Selena

    Neither do I Selena, and that’s a good thing!  My only point there was to remind folks that there are important differences between men and women.  I see there is a tendency (which I have been guilty of in my un-educated past!) for women to treat men like women, then get super frustrated when they don’t act like women! 

    From what I can see, we’ve morphed this thread to talk about the friendship phase of a relationship.  How does the person deal with emotions?  Are they upbeat and positive? etc., etc. (EVERYONE wants to be with someone who is easy to get along with, happy, optimistic–those are the folks that attract others, of the opposite sex and friends of the same sex)  Intelligence and all that was listed was based on the ‘eye of the beholder’ and part of preferences, all of which are unique and part of our personality.

    #23 Jadafisk

    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.
    Wow, sounds like a fun time hanging out with people as you describe Jadafisk!  🙂 

    The only other thing I would comment on is that men want their women to be like women, not to be like men.  That’s what this article is saying–women think that the characteristics that men value like being successful in their career, climbing Mt. Everest, etc. are what makes them attracted to a women.  When, in reality, men don’t really care about all that.

  14. 34
    JoJo

    Evan makes a point about being easy going by giving an example about not complaining when a guy is 10 minutes late.  I dated a guy who was always late when we had plans.  I understand that things happen, but all I asked was for a phone call letting me know what was going on.  If I communicated this to him in a nice manner, but he kept doing it, don’t I have the right to get upset?
    He know how much I love when he speaks Spanish to me.  We were at my friends house and I noticed how he would answer her in Spanish, but would answer me in English.  Keep in mind that my friend does speak English.  I asked him nicely, on the side, why do you answer her in Spanish and not me?  He said he didn’t realize he was doing it.  I let it go.  Later on he had a full conversation with her in Spanish and acknowledged me in English.  I felt uncomfortable and bad because he was sharing something with her that he could have shared with me as well.  When we left, he asked what did he do know.  I told him again how he spoke to her in Spanish and not to me.  It lead into an argument and a week later he broke up with me.   
    How easy going can you be if the guy keeps doing the things he knows you don’t like? 
     

    1. 34.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @JoJo – Ah, yet another case of a happy long-term relationship derailed by a man…who fails to speak Spanish on cue?

      Put it this way, if you think it’s awful to put up with such behavior, imagine what it’s like to be the man who has to deal with your constant criticisms. I’d say he’s got a lot more to put up with than you do.

      1. 34.1.1
        Bla

        Umm he only failed to her and did not listen to her request… hence he did not give a bleep about her. He obviously showed her that he can and yet refused to do it for her. 1 thing is not a constant criticism. I think you are just trying to defend his lazyness.

        1. SomeoneNoone

          Exactly! That dude didn’t give a rats ass… for SUCH A SIMPLE request too. It doesn’t sound like Jojo was being difficult at all for wanting him to speaking to her TOO.

          Gosh! This is why women should be wary of taking men’s dating advice. In the end men give pro-men, biased male tips/advice.

          From the sound of it, Jojo is better off without that dude. But to Evan, the guy is better off WOW lol! I’m humoured.

          (P.S. He’s the one who broke up with her, not she. So Evan no, the relationship wasn’t derailed by his failure to speak Spanish to her too…. the relationship was derailed because he clearly didn’t like her much at all to put up with the LITTLEST, simplest of requests, which he clearly perceived as her being “difficult”.)

  15. 36
    AJ

    @JoJO He was going to break up with you anyway.  Not because of the argument or you being upset  If he were in to you he would have tried more to please you.  Clearly he wasn’t trying. That’s a hold other column.

    I think the basic message is that what women think men value the most they don’t.  Yes being smart and educated and active are good qualities but initially guys want something more basic.  An attractive easy to be with person. 

    1. 36.1
      SomeoneNoone

      Exactly!

      Good riddance he was.

  16. 37
    Karl R

    Zann said: (#28)
    “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.”

    You’re correct. And that becomes even more important if I’m considering spending the future decades with you. If I’m looking forward to 40 years of conflict, I’ll find someone who is easier to get along with.

    If you can’t let small things slide during the first few dates (when we assume you’re on your best behavior), we have no expectation that you’ll do so in a long-term relationship. And I’m under no illusions that my bad habits will become more tolerable after you’ve dealt with them for a few years.

    Annie said: (#25)
    “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 makes you think that an extensive list of dealbreakers is a sign of complexity? I generally see it as a sign of simplistic thinking.

    Let’s say that an agnostic woman has a relationship with a devout Christian, and the relationship breaks up due to conflicts over religious beliefs. To prevent having this problem in the future, she decides to rule out all practicing Christians (nonobservant ones are still okay). I’m a Christian who is active in a Unitarian Universalist church, so I’m ruled out automatically. My church is not a typical Christian church. I’ve dated three women at my church who described themselves as pagan/wiccan, secular humanist, and agnostic, respectively. The rigid criteria (no practicing Christians) fails to address the complexities of personal belief and tolerance.

    Religion is just a convenient example. I could make similar examples for age/maturity, attractiveness, race/culture, etc.

    I have some criteria, but it may be in my best interest to ignore my criteria (something I have done consciously and repeatedly). And most of my male friends have ignored their criteria for specific individuals as well (whether they did so consciously or subconsciously).

    Jadafisk asked: (#23)
    “I’m snarky, judgmental, cynical and pessimistic. […] I was under the impression that I was okay because there are so. many. men who share those characteristics,”

    Do you enjoy being with a man who is snarky towards you? Do you enjoy being judged by others? Do you appreciate it when other people assume that you’re always motivated by self-interest?

    If both people are snarky, the situation is exacerbated. One person is snarky to the other, so the other person is snarky back. That’s the kind of situation that rapidly escalates a small issue into a big conflict. There are similar issues when both people are judgmental (or hot tempered). Some bad traits are even worse when both partners share them.

    Cynicism and pessimism don’t bode well for long-term relationship possibilities. The people who assume that everyone else is acting purely out of self-interest can hold that belief because that’s a perfect description of their own behavior. And a pessimist is unlikely to fight as hard to save a marriage (when they expect trouble to lead to a bad conclusion) as an optimist would (who believes that everything can turn out well if they work to correct the situation).

    Jadafisk said: (#23)
    “I embrace these characteristics and consider them integral to who I am, and I’ve carried them with me throughout my adult life.”

    Let’s say that a man has poor hygiene. He embraces that characteristic and considers it to be integral to who he is. He’s carried that trait with him througout his adult life…

    … most people would say that he can keep his filthy, smelly, lonely ass away from them.

    You don’t have to change. But I don’t have to accept you the way you are either.

  17. 38
    Steve

    Jadafisk #23

    Also, what do you do if you’re just not light? I’m snarky, judgmental, cynical and pessimistic.
     
    I don’t think anyone wrote “light”…but fun.   I can be those things in a conversation too and I enjoy a conversation with a woman who gets into that kind of humor as well.
     
    Jadafisk #29
    Um, perhaps because women feel obligated to take their physical safety into account?
     
    I’ve been impressed with every post you wrote in this thread.   You live on planet Earth.
     
     
     

  18. 39
    BeenThereDoneThat

    @ 17
    I have gone back to a guys place after a first date with a guy I met online.  The reason why it makes women uncomfortable is because one of the times it happened, we went back to his place, were watching a movie on the couch and all the sudden, he’s holding me down, trying to get my pants off of me.  While it only happened once out of however many times I’ve gone back to a guy’s place – the once was attempted rape.  How many of your guy friends have had or are likely to have had that happen. 

    For the record, I have gone to a guy’s place on a first date since that time as well.  And no, I’m not going back to have sex on a first date. 

  19. 40
    BeenThereDoneThat

    Sorry,
    I was answering Michael17’s question on #24.

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