Every month, I get hundreds of questions from around the world. I choose to answer one per week on Monday mornings.
As you can imagine, the questions I choose are not generally ones where the original poster has it all figured out. The questions I choose are inherently ones where the OP has some sort of blind spot that she’s too close to see. If she didn’t have a blind spot, there wouldn’t be very much for me to write about, now would there?
So, if the questions I take are carefully selected to maximize the value of my advice – because validation doesn’t make for interesting reading – it should be somewhat predictable that my answers are often going to challenge the premise of the woman in question.
And if you’ve been reading awhile, you know that these answers fall into largely two broad camps:
1) Dump him
2) Accept him
My advice is ALWAYS going to tell the woman to stay or go. What it’s never going to do is tell the MAN (who did not ask the original question) what HE should be doing differently.
I have never, ever gotten any criticism upon telling a woman to dump a man. I’m not particularly surprised by this, first and foremost, because I think I give sound, logical advice. If a woman is being objectively mistreated, if a woman has spent a year as a booty call and is waiting for a commitment, if a woman is with a man who never wants to have sex with her, etc, the best thing for all parties to do is move along. Comments on these posts tend to be of the “Right on, Evan! Way to tell her to get rid of the bad guy!” variety. I sincerely appreciate the positive feedback and promise to continue helping women identify the bad men in their lives and cut them loose.
It’s the second category of advice upon which I get a considerable amount of blowback in the comments section. This continues to confuse me.
If I tell a woman to accept her man as he is…
Do you think I suddenly forgot how to give good advice?
Do you think I suddenly became a clueless, insensitive, misogynist who blindly defends all men?
I would think you’d concede that the reason I’m telling her to accept him is for a more practical reason: It’s the best available advice.
Let’s remember what the mandate of this blog is. I am a very experienced and devoted dater, blogger, coach, and husband who tries to explain why men do what they do and what you can do to better understand and connect with them. As such, my advice is ALWAYS going to tell the woman to stay or go. What it’s never going to do is tell the MAN (who did not ask the original question) what HE should be doing differently.
A question about the boyfriend who never calls will not be answered with “He should call more”.
A question about the guy who only texts will not be answered with “He should prefer the phone”.
A question about the guy who hasn’t proposed in five years will not be answered with “He should want to get married”.
Such answers are nothing more than validation for the original poster. It doesn’t teach her anything. Not about herself. Not about men. It’s not just poor reading, but it’s bad advice as well. As I’ve reiterated for six years on this blog, you have largely two choices with men: accept him or leave him. When he’s a bad guy, I say leave him.
The problem arises when you THINK men are “bad” when they’re NOT bad.
And how do I know they’re not bad? Because you’re describing ME. Devoted husband and father. Believer in equal rights. Advocate for women for ten years plus.
So when you go to my comments to tell me that my advice to the OP should be how her BOYFRIEND should change (even though that’s never what this blog is about), you’re pretty much telling me that I should change. And you know what? I went on 300 dates with women who told me that I should change. The woman I married is the one who accepts me as I am and sees me as honest, loyal, hardworking, ethical and noble. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is how EVERY man wants to feel with his wife.
But very few of men get this experience. Why? Because even sound, commonsense advice to women about accepting men gets twisted in the comments into “Why MEN have to change”.
Understand, if I had a blog devoted to turning boys into men (and oh, I could), my advice would be completely different. Men would ask me if they were being insensitive to their girlfriends by only texting them once a week and I would say, “Yes. Yes you are. If you really care about her, let her know she’s special. And if that takes five minutes at the end of the night to call her and say you love her, that’s all you need to do.” Hell, I HAVE written that here before. But this is not a blog for men. This is a blog for women. And I have no idea what there is to learn if women are never wrong and it’s always incumbent on men to change to cater to your every sensitivity. If you feel a certain way, that feeling needs to be validated. That’s simply not true. No more than it is if he tells you what you should wear to a club, which of your friends you’re “allowed” to see, or how much time you’re permitted to spend away from him.
Every man EVERYWHERE – alpha or beta, tall or short, rich or poor – wants a woman to accept him as he is.
Remember, you applaud me when I tell women to dump men. You criticize me when I tell women to learn to accept men. That’s hypocrisy. Same as it would be if I were a coach for men who told them that women were always the problem and that women needed to change.
This brings me to my final point – a pithy thing I wrote on Twitter the other day – “The key to healthy relationships: men have to become more sensitive, women have to become less sensitive.” I immediately got a reply on Twitter that told me I was sexist. Ha. If the comments section of this blog is any indication, my tweet is as close to true as we’re going to get.
I 100% believe that men should SHOULD be more sensitive: call more, listen more, help more, make women feel safer, allude to a future, and do everything to make you feel loved and valued. I’m a coach for women. You DESERVE a man who does these things. I routinely tell women to break up with men who don’t exhibit this behavior.
At the same time, women really need to not let their insecurities affect the relationship. If you’re insecure about your body and he looks at Playboy, he’s not doing something wrong. If you’ve been cheated on before and he’s friends with his ex-girlfriend, he’s not doing something wrong. If you have a ticking clock, and he’s not sure he wants to marry you after a year, he’s not doing something wrong. My advice to insecure women is ALWAYS going to be for you to curb your insecurity instead of forcing him to change for you.
I’ve heard enough from commenters who dissent, who suggest that their boyfriends MAKE them insecure. If you have a boyfriend who MAKES you insecure, he’s either a) a guy you should immediately dump, or b) a perfectly normal guy with a very insecure girlfriend.
I’ve been the perfectly normal guy with the insecure girlfriend who freaked out if I talked to a checkout girl in a grocery store or to a pair of women at a party. She broke up with me three times in six months, even though I was completely devoted to her. Many readers would suggest that it would be MY job to change, to assuage her insecurities. But that would mean that I’d have to walk on eggshells for my entire life, in fear that I would inadvertently hurt her. The last time she broke up with me – and came back to reconcile – I told her it was over. She could find a guy who she trusts (even though I was completely trustworthy) and I would find a woman who didn’t want to change me so much.
Now that I have, I feel like I’ve seen the light.
Every man EVERYWHERE – alpha or beta, tall or short, rich or poor – wants a woman to accept him as he is. And as long as he is relationship-oriented, treats you with kindness and consistency, and is largely doing his best to please you, the most POWERFUL thing you can do is to accept him, in full.
If you do, you’ll be the first to do so, and the last woman he’ll ever want to be with.
But if you are the woman who writes in my comments section that the best advice for women is to tell MEN to change, you will find fewer and fewer men who feel they can be themselves around you due to your sensitivities, which will only reinforce your beliefs that men are jerks and players. Except it’s not remotely true.
We just want a partner who doesn’t want to change us.