Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ask For Feedback If A Guy Breaks Up With You

I dated a girl not too long ago that was clueless about how to deal with guys. She was incredibly sweet and very attractive, but not very discerning and highly emotional. Although I think she acknowledged my insufficient interest pretty early on, we stayed in touch for a little while because she wasn't fully convinced I didn't like her. As she realized more and more that we weren't going to start dating, she started confiding in me about a couple of guys that she met and went on dates with. Whether or not this was her attempt at making me jealous, I really couldn't say for sure, but I don't think it was. Anyway, I gave her advice, she largely ignored it, and before long those guys stopped talking to her. In frustration, she texted me one day - something along the lines of "OK so tell me what I did wrong with you. Apparently I need to learn a thing or two about guys, because nothing is working out for me right now."

I hesitated because I know the truth can sometimes be tough to stomach, but she insisted and seemed sincere about wanting to know. So I thought about it for a minute, then proceeded to tell her (nicely) that she shouldn't have slept with me on the first date, that she probably shouldn't have hit on me to begin with, and some of the other things she did wrong or I thought were impediments to taking things further. I should mention that this girl was not a slut, was very highly educated, and was well-off. I think she had been quite sheltered growing up and didn't have very much experience with men, so she was honestly confused about why guys were losing interest.

While we stopped talking soon after that exchange, I was exteremly impressed that she asked. She walked away wiser than she was before she met me, and she had herself to thank for that, because she had the guts to ask for real criticism. She is the only girl that has ever done this with me, even though I would have constructive things to tell the vast majority of the ones that didn't. I recently applied this lesson in my own life when a girl that stopped responding to my calls and texts. She explained without hesitating, and her answer was a real eye-opener for me.

Most guys will be more than willing to give you this kind of feedback, especially if you are candid and legitimately curious when you ask (as opposed to bitter or defensive). Guys have a knack for being very clear and direct, and if they liked you enough to go on a date or two, it is unlikely that they will be mean or abrasive with their answer. If they beat around the bush or ignore you, it probably means that they decided you weren't attractive enough; but if they were willing to go on an initial date or two, there is probably something else you could improve. As long as you have the guts to ask, and the objectivity to consider his answer, you can learn a lot from this kind of feedback.

29 comments:

  1. You make me wish you were one of my ex-boyfriends. :P

    I think I have enough Catholic guilt to know most of the ways I let my major relationships go wrong. What I wish I could get feedback on is what I actually did right.

    Nevertheless, if I were still in contact with them, I'd start out by asking what was going on in their heads when everything was going downhill (because I never asked that at the time) . . . And then I'd move on to what they liked the most when the relationship was going well (because I never asked that either!). A woman has to learn to maximize her strengths as well as tamp down her weaknesses, you know!

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    1. I can speak first hand that taking religion seriously is detrimental to romantic happiness.

      I'm someone who takes principles, and consistent world view seriously, and seek to apply all those philosophies to everyday life. To others, religion is just a side thing that is kind of there for morality, but the rest of the world is up for free interaction... basically not stitching everything into a consistent world view. I simply have to make a one consistent world view. I've shattered it a few times based on irrefutable evidence, and boy was it hard.

      But ultimately, you don't want to live falsehoods or contradictions. You can know why something is right and why something is not, whether it be a moral/ethical thing, or a truth/false thing.

      Religion teaches so many contradictory, hypocritical, backwards, irrational, unexplained things that applying them seriously leads you to contradictions and paralysis. Ultimately, be empirical, be real, be consistent. That leads to being happy.

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    2. for instance, sex is wrong, looking at a woman with lust is the same as fucking her. don't date don't date don't date..... then when you're about college age, GO DATE GO DATE GO DATE!.

      and it's just like... nigga, are you for reals? how the f do you expect people to just ramp up like that? If I actually followed your advice i'd be screwed. It seems like the sane thing to do is to have disaboyed you. So why are you telling me all these things as moral absolutes and impose punishments for not following them, brainwash, withhold affection, etc to get me to obey them? If i do, i'd be a complete fuckup, not only in terms of dating, but also reality and critical thinking.... (this is all the while you're telling me to think critically in school)...

      religion is so fing poisonous and contradictory to itself and reality,

      also, condoms are a sin? pfft. they just want you to have more babies so their religion stays alive, grows. obvious incentive is obvious. there is nothing inherently moral or immoral about a sperm-proof barrier, or enjoying bodily functions. Cheating is one thing, and the principle there is emotional harm, etc. All this unverifiable metaphysics and top-down morality from one of the most corrupt organizations on earth... give me a break.

      Be happy. be empirical, think critically, don't fall into manipulation.

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  2. What did the girl say to you that was an eye-opener? Incredibly curious about this as well!

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  3. Question: You said that one of the reasons you lost interest was that she had sex with you on the 1st date. Did you initiate this? If so, did you use any convincing tactics, such as (and I know this is corny...) "I'll respect you in the morning"?

    It's been my experience (mostly second-hand, though. Phew!), that men have gotten REALLY good at what amounts to lying. I understand that they (we all!) WANT it. The passion when making out on the 1st date is understandable. But what's unfair is when they start trying to convince women of their "good" intent and lying. It's deceitful. At first I thought that the best approach would be to just quit seeing these guys -- they've made themselves out to be liars. However, so many guys do this!

    What's your advice?

    I mean, if having sex on the 1st date makes women sluts, then maybe, for men, trying to get a woman to have sex makes them liars*. See, I get how this 1st date scenario (Guy: let's have sex. Woman: Ok) would qualify a woman as "easy". But that happens fairly rarely. For every "man killer" woman, there are tons of good-looking women who are unconvinced of their looks. So they don't feel confident that they can continue to get men. They really want a guy to like them. And if he's convincing enough, why shouldn't she trust him? We've tried the whole "just assume all men are unbelievable jerks". But that has morphed into women-hating-men and men-hating-women.

    It might help to start telling guys how to behave. There's tons of websites to tell men how to misbehave! This website is great for us gals (do NOT take it down!). But hey, anyone out there want to start a blog? Ha!

    * not saying you did this -- you also mentioned that she initiated the relationship. So she could very well have initiated sex also. Or, even if you initiated, she may have accepted without argument or need for "convincing".

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  4. "What did the girl say to you that was an eye-opener? Incredibly curious about this as well!"

    It would be too much trouble to explain in detail, but basically it cleared up a misunderstanding that was partially my fault, but that I would never have been aware of if she hadn't highlighted it with her response.

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  5. "You said that one of the reasons you lost interest was that she had sex with you on the 1st date. Did you initiate this?"

    No. If I remember correctly I was the one that initiated making out, but it was with no intention of having sex (she didn't seem like the kind of girl that would. I wasn't expecting it, and definitely wasn't trying for it.). But I distinctly remember that she was the one who started taking her clothes off, entirely on her own accord.

    I agree that you shouldn't be too cynical or a man-hater. Likewise you can't be too naive, or you will end up getting burned. It's a (difficult) balancing act. My advice? Learn how to distinguish between the bullshitters and the genuine guys. How? Read this blog, absorb the general philosophy, and apply it with every guy you meet. Just as important: learn from your experiences.

    Also, you can be pretty sure if a guy tries to fuck you on the first date that he isn't interested in you as a person. True, he could become interested, but I can almost guarantee he isn't yet if he's trying to take your clothes off.

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  6. I love LOVE your blog...keep those great posts pumping! Ok so I'm a college girl who has gained A LOT of wisdom over the years and can basically think like a guy now; so much to the point that I've disconnected from the whole courtship process and only would have unemotional hookups. I'm talking to a guy now for 2 weeks that I really like, and I forgot how to DATE after all these years! Like when do I sleep with him? How far do I go with my text innuendos when he's being sexually flirty without tipping him off that I can be a freak (I don't want him to only want me for sex). I tease but try to hold back and be modest when it can get heated so he sees me more as GF material than just some slut. HELP!

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  7. Sounds like you are reading the right blog. Check out the posts "Don't Fuck on The First Date" and "Don't Initiate Contact" they should tell you what you need to know.

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  8. Lol yes I've read them..and I follow religiously. My problem isn't hooking the guy, it's keeping him to see me more than a piece of ass even after I've let him court me. My question is now that we have past first base, what's the next step from here? It's this next step that is so crucial as it makes or break where women get placed on the ladder for a guy : potential LTR or hookup. This step always has put me in the latter, and I'm sure a lot of other women out there too because we don't know where to go from there. Maybe you might want to write a step-by-step playbook of what to do for a future post lol just a suggestion...the women here would be forever grateful:)

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  9. Unfortunately every case is different, so there is no step-by-step guide. Every guy and every girl is different, so every couple is different.

    Wait for his move. Reward his initiative and encourage it, but only take the intiative as an exception. Dress well, be fun but not ditsy, don't be sloppy, and show that you admire him by asking him about his life and what he does.

    I could throw out a hundred more terse suggestions like that but if you learn from the principles on this blog and apply them to your particular situation, you will be far better off.

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  10. I did do this, but didn't get the results I wanted.

    A guy I met said he really liked me and agreed to be exclusive, but he later said "I'm not ready. I have too much stuff going on." I told him, "If it's something I did, I would like to know." He ignored the question.

    When looking back, I made the mistake of initiating exclusivity and asking what he's looking for. Neediness and insecurity about where a relationship is going isn't that attractive.

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  11. Do men always tell you the truth about this? I've gotten the "it's not you, it's me" line, which actually seemed pretty accurate, given the issues both of the men in question had. I've also had men tell me they weren't ready for a serious relationship, only to see them wind up in one with the next woman they dated. And if there is something about you the guy doesn't like, is he really going to tell you the truth?

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  12. As a man, I found that if I don't go for sex on the first date, I usually didn't get a sceond one. (this in the 70s and 80s, mostly religous women). Yes, they would have, and I'm fairly sure sure at least one was a virgin.

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  13. I have asked that question several times and gotten the answer "nothing, its not you. you are great. I just don't feel like this is the right place for me". There goes analysis and wisdome

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  14. I asked for feed back from a man I went on two dates with, both quality dates and the first time we met may qualify as a half date since we chatted for a couple hours? we also had a couple long phone conversations. but, the last date after three days I became impatient from not hearing from him and called him, then texted. hence, him deciding to end things. i told him i agreed with his decision, that he isn't right for me either. he seemed upset, a couple days later I questioned why he would be upset. so, he CALLED me then proceeded to explain that he did in fact like me so much that he had told his coworkers that he could see himself marrying me, but he isn't ready for that right now. isn't that a line? after first date he called me every single evening for a couple days and even confessed how taken aback with feeling he had for me and how unexpected it was. second date, he was a little angry yet passionate with me, but he called me 'hot and cold'--anyway, around the time he ended things he said he just knew it wouldn't work out, but wouldn't give a reason saying what is the point? but then went on to say a disconnect but didn't further explain. but as I stated above, once I agreed that he isn't right for me either, he stopped the texts of rejection and put more effort by providing me a phone call and complimenting me by saying I was someone he could see himself marrying, he just isn't ready for that. ok, I am the hot and cold one? what am I not understanding? couldn't he just left it at me saying, yeah, you're not the man for me either. bye. why would he get upset and call to give me praise yet also say its not going to happen. if he isn't ready for a relationship why even bother to take me on quality dates like he had? if it was just about sex, then he could have left it at being okay with me stepping away. would YOU please give me feed back?

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    1. I don't think any of us can tell you why it went down like that. If he can't articulate a reason that makes sense to you, then you can end your inquiry there. Some guys just can't bring themselves to be direct, other guys are just not good at expressing themselves. You want to be with someone who likes you in a non-confusing way. :-)

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    2. THIS SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME! I actually emailed the whole story to Andrew a few months ago when I was so frustrated and confused about it. It's a REALLY long and complicated story, because the guy is someone I had been friends with for awhile before we started dating. But, he apparently always liked me and when his girlfriend dumped him, we started a really great, passionate relationship that was like an explosion of bottled up feelings!

      And then... about a month into it, out of nowhere he told me that I seemed to be getting attached, and he didn't want to start another relationship. He told me I'm amazing, and fabulous and he's a complete idiot for saying this, but he wants to be single. So... I tried to cut him off, but he kept contacting me, and it was hard to ignore him because I really liked him. First we starting hanging out again "as friends" (which I knew was BS) but then, of course, we hooked up again in a fit of passion and since then he changed his attitude a lot, and has acted quite loving toward me. However, he told me a few weeks after that, that while he "loved me a lot" that we would never get married, so if I was thinking about that I should stop. (However on other occasions, like your guy, he has made remarks implying that I am marriage material. For example -- before we were dating -- he pondered "why he wasn't lucky enough" to marry a girl like me)

      Anyway, despite his aversion to having a "relationship" our relationship has grown a lot. Now and we are joined at the hip, spending A LOT of time together. It really FEELS like we are in a relatinship, even though we've never explicitly said so. He shows his affection for me through his actions, but rarely in words. He recently sent me a text saying he wanted to let me know how much I mean to him. A TEXT!! I saw him the next day, and he was very affectionate. But, didn't say anything more about the text. I guess I should have brought it up, but as you might imagine, I'm afraid I might catch him in defense mode again. I kind of want him to volunteer to tell me how he really feels.

      So. My question for you is: How long ago did you "end things"? If it was less than a week or so ago, then I say, they guy isn't going anywhere. He's probably just a crazy commitmentphobe like my guy... however, if you want to avoid drama, maybe you are better off just cutting him off now.... Guys like this require extreme patience... and it's very likely not worth it.

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    3. PS: That said, I have no intention of following my own advice. So, I don't blame you if you don't either :)

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  15. This guy I met, but did not sleep with the night I met him, would initiate huge long conversations about anything with me, but when it would come time to actually hang out in person, he would flake. He is really good looking and training for the olympics in volleyball ten hours a day. The day after the second time he seemed like he was making plans with me but never actually followed through, I told him that I can tell he is not interested in seeing me and that's fine but to please not make it seem like he actually was interested. He retaliated with saying "it's not that, I'm just busy and I think I'm too laid back for your style". He was making me feel guilty for wanting to hang out with him even though he made it clear he had wanted to and had initiated conversation. He kept making me feel really stupid about it and I just started crying. He is really attractive but so am I (I know for sure that my looks are not the problem here) and we had great "texting conversations" but that stuff is weird if you aren't hanging out in person. He did try to sleep with me the night I met him though, but I found him really awkward around me so I was kind of turned off. I am not exactly sure why we kept in contact but we did, and I started to think he was cool because of our texts, and you can hide who you really are behind them. I can't believe I let him make me feel psycho just for wanting to see him! What do you think the problem is here? I know that if a guy is interested, even if he is training ten hours a day for the olympics, he will follow through on plans to see you. I was just really confused and felt stupid and hurt that he was saying that I wasn't laid back enough for him.

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    1. If you read The Rules you will know that having endless conversation with a man is a big mistake No.1 it is a waste of your time and No. 2 it doesn't really make him like you anymore. In fact it may make him like you less. When you have first met a guy don't engage in chatting conversations - he may have a girlfriend. Men can be big time-wasters, and him having long conversations with you is not an indicator of how he feels about you. Another point - don't tell a man how you feel about his behaviour. Just disappear - men respond to no contact, not words

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  16. my ex and i were together for 3 1/2 years he had previously broken up with me this January because we ARGUED too much about senseless things. our main issues in our relationship are that hes very selfish and when it comes to any financial support i give him everything and he just takes and takes to the point where he will lie to me so he doesnt have to give me anything. He has proclaimed his love several times stating he wants marraige and a home and a baby but when it comes down to it he just talks and no action. He has drama with my brother who is currently incarcerated and he will not let it go or stop being so angry about it he constantly takes it out on me. he left me two weeks ago because he said he wanted space and a break from me because i took his IDENTITY and he wants to feel like him self. the first week i could not handle my self or emotions i begged him and called him constantly and he rejected me of course but he always said he will come back because he loves me just not now. my main concern is he could just be saying that. I know i should get this show on the road and just say forget him but I love him and I am willing to wait for him I just dont know how long and I know this isnt fair. What do you think?
    casillas1259@yahoo.com

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    1. you sound stupid. get therapy and move on. for a man to get to that point in a relationship when he wants to be away from you, it's over. IT'S OVER. MOVE ON.

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  17. I met a guy on a dating site. We hit it off on the first date, which lasted 8 hour. Much of that time spent talking but we ended it with some passionate kissing. On the second date we spent 4 hours talking then ended up in bed. Wow. It was great. He told me how close he felt to me, how much he liked me, how sexy I was. Our relationship continued on at a very fast pace. After 2 weeks of dating he invited me to his vacation condo for a few days. Everything went fabulous. The hours seemed to disappear when we were together. I was concerned though because it had only been three months since his wife of 24 years had walked out on him. I suspected he wanted her back despite our chemistry. Anyways, by week two we were professing our love to each other and he was trying to convince me he didn't want his ex back at all. Things continued to go well and after four weeks we took a trip south. He brought his two daughters (18 & 21) and we all got along really well. The day after we returned home he called me to ask if I was OK with him telling his ex about me. I had mixed emotions, on one hand I was happy he wanted to announce our relationship but when he told me he wanted to do it in person and see her face, I thought it might be his attempt to make her jealous. He agreed that maybe a phone call or text with her would be better but I soon found out that the two of them had gotten together at his place, had some drinks and she ended up driving her vehicle into a ditch - unharmed. I suspected they had slept together but he admittedly denied it. The next night he came to my place and after having sex, which seemed very mechanical, I asked to see his cell phone. He gave it to me but he had already deleted all messaged from his ex. He told me I was crazy and paranoid and again denied having sex with her. I told him if he felt I was crazy he knew where the door was. He left and the next day we spoke and patched things up. I apologized for being insecure and he apologized for inviting his ex over. Things appeared to be getting back on track. I spent a few days at his place with his kids there too. Everything seem to be going good again, although I discovered that he had lied to me about how long his ex and him had been separated when he met me - it was only three weeks. The day I left his place he texted me at 9pm to say he was going to bed. As we had not talked or texted at all that day I asked if he had time to chat. He replied he couldn't as he was talking to his daughter. That made no sense to me. Alarms went off again in my head and I accused him of cheating. I thought he was with his ex. It escalated into a huge fight and ended with me telling him it was over and I didn't want to hear from him again. After a few days I felt bad things ended that way, so I wrote a nice email explaining that I felt he still wanted his ex back and I was a rebound for him and I couldn't get passed my suspicion that they had slept together. I was heart broken and he appeared to be too. We sent text messages back and forth over the next few days in which he told me he loved me and wanted me and he hadn't done anything with his ex. I told him I loved him but thought he needed time alone. That weekend, unbeknownst to me at the time, he was out looking for someone else to date. He confided in me that I had been right all along about everything and he agreed he needed space but also said he loved me still. For the past three weeks we have remained in lose touch, had sex once and a couple great long talks. I thought he was being honest with me about needing space to get over his ex and was hoping we still had a chance together, but he was sending me so many mixed messages. I told him I couldn't take the head games and was going to start dating and he agreed I should. Nothing happened on any of my dates and I couldn't get him out of my mind. Then he told me he was seeing someone else and bang the lights went on. How stupid I feel. Ladies always try your intuition!

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  18. Ok, so we met last Sunday and I asked for feedback. I was told I scare him because I am a strong person and that is the complete opposite of what his wife was. Also, he really had a hard time with me asking to see his phone. He believes I never should have done that. Lastly, he lives on a farm and I live in the city. This is not entirely a big deal except that he is almost an empty nester and my kids have 5 years before university and I can't bring myself to uproot the kids to different schools, friends and sporting clubs.

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  19. Hi Andrew,
    This went terribly wrong with my ex :(

    I asked for feedback 2 month after we broke up, 10 days after he called to wish on my birthday and we had a good casual conversation that lasted over an hour.

    He made silly jokes and then just got the idea that I was trying to win him back.

    Also, when I ended the conversation, he assumed I was pissed and sent a few very nasty texts to get back at me like "get over it already", "don't get emotionally invensted".
    The best one after I said that we were done, take care, " FYI, we were done two months ago, you too"

    Bad bad experience! Made the break up from almost cordial to quite bitter :(
    I am still upset that this is how we parted after a year long relationship.

    Any idea on how this backfired?
    Anything i should do to feel better about this situation? (I hate abrupt \ bad endings)

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  20. Hey! This is interesting. I've always wondered about doing this (I'm female), but feel like it puts the other person in an awkward position (that may end up leaving a worse memory than just the fact that they didn't want to see you anymore). I guess it feels a little like asking "what happened/why did you change your mind?" which has always felt to me like it's trying to talk the other person around their decision. How do you think one can avoid that?

    It's been on my mind recently as I've just had someone go from 60 to 0 very rapidly, which seemed particularly odd because we'd agreed we weren't trying to have a relationship at the moment or be exclusive, but wanted to keep hanging out and revisit the question at some later point (a conversation he initiated). My educated guess about what happened is that a) he decided he wasn't ready/recovered from his last relationship enough for any kind of ongoing romantic involvement, b) I accidentally crowded him or c) he suddenly realized he wasn't as interested as he'd thought. I would have really liked to know which for future reference, but since all I got were a lot of lines about how he's "just too busy to hang out" and "we should stay in touch" and "maybe down the line" which seem like things you say when you don't want to say what's really up, I didn't feel it was appropriate to ask.

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  21. Well, when a guy dates you for 7 months and then decides he does, in fact want to have babies (though he said he didn't) and that it will not be with you since you have kids at home and can't move in soon enough, there's not much you can do different!

    I think he real issue is that he was not motivated enough to be with me; basically I was not the one. I have to say though that we got a long GREAT, never a problem, etc. I do tend to glorify a relationship after a breakup though. He rarely called and we were a weekend thing. I always went to his place. Just prob made it super easy for him...too easy.

    I am proud that I kept my value throughout. Waited a long time to sleep with him, refused to continue a physical relationship (at his suggestion upon our amicable breakup) and have not contacted him since (3 weeks). Sure do miss him though! Oh well!

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    1. Please ignore typos! Darn phone. :)

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