Friday, June 8, 2012

Know Why You Are Dating

Most of us don't often think of Catholic priests as authorities on dating and relationships (in fact the popular belief is exactly the opposite), but the single most influential conversation I've had about dating was one that I had with a Catholic priest while I was in college. I knew him through my family and hadn't seen him in a while. We were making the standard mundane small talk about how I was liking school and college life, when the conversation took an interesting turn onto the topic of the girl I'd been dating for the last few months. After I told him a little about her, he asked me a very pointed question:
"So do you think you could eventually marry this girl?"
"Marry her?" His question took me aback slightly. "Oh, no, we aren't going to get married... no, I mean, I like her but... well... no... No." It was clearly the first time I had even thought about it, but I knew with certainty that she wasn't the girl I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

"No?" He asked, genuinely confused. "So then... why are you dating her?" If I remember correctly, he actually laughed slightly as he asked the question.
I had no answer for him. The truth was that I just thought she was cute, and she liked me back, so we started dating. But the ridiculousness of my situation was embarrassingly obvious in the very instant he asked the question. I knew that - in light of my certainty - my relationship with her was pointless. Any more time I spent with her was time I wasn't spending looking for someone I could end up with. It wasn't very long afterwards that I broke up with her. Since then I've messed around with more girls than I can count, but I have never dated a girl that I knew I couldn't marry - because ultimately that is what I want.

I worry sometimes when I hear girls saying things like "I want him to be my first long-term boyfriend," or when people under the age of 20 get concerned that they haven't had a serious relationship yet. The implication in both examples is that everyone ought to have a string of relationships before settling down. I remember having the same mindset myself at that age. I see it still in some of my friends. This notion isn't the exception, it is the norm. With Hollywood as our vehicle, we Americans have cultivated the expectation of "dating for dating's sake." We seem to believe there is some benefit to attaching oneself emotionally to another person only to tear away again after a year or so, and then repeating the process until eventually becoming jaded, old and single. Granted, no one hopes for this outcome and we have these peripheral ideas about needing time with a person to test the relationship, but in the end of the day, serial relationships do more harm than good.

As unfair as it might seem, this phenomenon is more damaging to woman than men. For many men, the honest answer to the priest's second question is that they want their girlfriend for her beauty and, in most cases, for sex. In many relationships, men don't get emotionally invested - they just get laid for a while. If the girl gets attached in the process, it just means the breakup will be messier. Even when a man does get emotionally invested, it usually occurs more slowly and to a lesser degree. Sound familiar? If the countless e-mails I get from readers, or my female friends' stories and my own experience are any indication, you know what I am talking about.

Relationships are tough. Breakups are no joke. You can only attach and separate yourself from a man so many times before you affect or even lose your ability to do so due to emotional scarring. Yes, the initial thrill of a new relationship is exciting, but each time that excitement grows less and less because you grow accustomed to it. You gradually throw away the innocence that allows for deep emotional attachment to a single partner, in exchange for a series of brief, shallower attachments that chip away at your ability to build something permanent. What doesn't end in permanency is bound to end in heartbreak, and if you eventually want to get married, you are doing yourself a disservice by ignoring that fact in the interest of "not over-thinking it" or "living in the moment." While emotional risk is important and necessary in order to find someone you really connect with, dating with no objective is nothing short of reckless.

So before you get involved with someone new, make sure you know what you are looking for - and more importantly for women, what he is looking for. Know what you want from him, and make sure he is on the same page. If you both just want to hook up, great. If you both need a quick rebound, go for it. If you both want someone to settle down with, count yourself lucky. But if you don't know what you want or he doesn't share your motivations, you risk wasting your most eligible years, sustaining emotional damage, and giving away a piece of yourself that you then can't offer to the man you do stay with.

71 comments:

  1. Innocence, yes! Great post. Andrew, I like your posts, as I said many times before. Today reading this I caught myself thinking, I wish Andrew's writing were more "conversational" rather than "instructive". I hope this makes sense to you. I think what it means is that you write with a lot of authority and logic. It's great writing, don't get me wrong. I guess I want you to write with a touch of vulnerability at times. That would make you more "human", more on the same page with us, "mere mortals". Hehe. I hope you get what I mean.

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  2. Do you have any advice against getting quickly emotionally involved?
    I only date men I can imagine marrying, at least as much as you can know early on - guys I'm really attracted to, who seems serious and genuinely interested in me.
    However it happens very rarely that a guy ticks all these boxes. I'm seeing one right now who's perhaps the first one who appears to be perfect for me. Before that, I've been in love and heartbroken once before. It took me about 6 months of no contact to get over it and get back on the market.

    I read your blog and believe I follow the filtering advice thoroughly (sometimes obsessively). I get plenty attention, so I have no problem with the attractiveness part.
    When I do meet a perfect guy - like now - I find myself deeply emotionally involved. We've had sex at this point, but I was quite nervous and hung up also before we did it. I don't show this in any way, but it's an inconvenience for me personally. There is always a chance it won't work out, and I know I am not mentally prepared for it, no matter how much I try.
    It's caused by two things; my feelings for him and secondly - the knowledge that there are quite few men out there who are potentially right for me (high quality, good husbands and fathers, mutual strong attraction, in my geographical area etc). I think the knowledge of this may even result in me being more dependent on his affection for me than I actually am. At least men entertain themselves with flings and casual sex in between looking for 'the one'. I am not interested in casual sex, and even if I was, women aren't able to do it without being judged for it / maintain their standard.
    Knowing that if this doesn't work out, it may take a year before I meet a new great guy or even will have great sex again, is really bothering me. Do you have any advice - other than filtering out bad ones and postponing sex - of how you stay emotionally "unavailable"?

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    1. That is a serious question, and one I really would need to think about more. I also think it is significantly outside the scope of the kind of advice I am "qualified" to give, seeing as my only claim is to have dated a lot of women. So I offer the following only with those caveats.

      I am not sure you should remain "emotionally unavailable." I think becoming emotionally dependent on a man is actually necessary if you are going to develop a real relationship with him. This is what I meant by "emotional risk" in the post. You have to take these risks, but they should be ones that you acknowledge and take willingly, and only with men who you trust. For example, I am assuming this guy is already your boyfriend. That is a good sign from him that he is invested in you (he is also taking some risk here). If not, you need to AT LEAST get to that point before completely "letting go" emotionally with him. In fact, you should probably wait until he proposes before completely letting go. You let go a little when you start dating, a little more when you become exclusive, a little more as time progresses, etc. It isn't a binary phenomenon. Look for signs of commitment from him to queue each of these steps in the process. Those signs could be him saying he loves you, or just increased intimacy, but just be a little cautious each time you find yourself getting invested further.

      Keep in mind that if you are too cautious you risk turning him away. He is looking for these signs from you too, in order to gauge how invested he should be in the relationship (or he should be anyway...), so it is a back and forth thing, and you have to balance giving away too much with not giving enough.

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    2. Sensible advice, Andrew. One of the most memorable and honest things a man has ever said to me was that he didn't expect to fall in love with me. I told him that it was simply right timing and because he was open and ready to fall in love. But he replied that no, he suspected a lot of it had to do with me and there were things I could have done or said to turn him off/away.

      In other words, you have to open yourself if you expect someone else to do the same. As Andrew said, it's a risk for both and a bit of push and pull to find that balance as you discover one another.

      I wouldn't start a relationship with someone expecting it to fail, but neither should you stay with someone you can't see yourself being with long-term. All the while, be aware it sometimes takes anywhere to 1 date to 1 year before you should know if the relationship is heading the direction you want it to.

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  3. great post! so if you are dating a new guy, how do you bring up the issue of marriage without sounding desperate ...?

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    1. Let's say 3 months?

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    2. It depends on a lot of factors - age, race, religion, personalitites, etc. but if you are anything like a normal American young adult, I'd wait until at least 6 months, if not more.

      I have a post in the works about men and marriage.

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    3. I'd say time is really not what you should be concerned about. It's the person and the relationship that varies, but it should progress naturally at its own pace and THAT should be your cue. Some couples know in less than 3 months, some after 2 years, and a pair of really good friends of mine dated/traveled constantly together for 8 years, had a 2 year engagement before getting hitched. A close friend of mine 12 years my senior and happily married, said that she once received advice about marriage that can also be applied to dating: marriage happens when it is the next most natural next step. In other words, your lives have become so intertwined that it makes sense to do so.

      I sort of liken it to the early stages of dating: boy thinks girl is hot and all that jazz, girl likes boy and gives him a chance, boy and girl discover that the more time they spend together, the more they like each other, boy and girl exclusive because they are each other's #1 choice.

      Every guy/relationship is different of course, but in my experience, when you push a guy (1) it can backfire and (2) you deny yourself the opportunity to see your guy take the lead. Of course, this doesn't mean women can't do anything to encourage indirectly, quite the opposite actually, but overall you have to be patient, assert your own needs justifiably, expect him to respect you, and let what will happen, happen.

      Words may have a lot of power on our emotions in a relationship, but likewise, actions of guys can indicate a lot of their intentions before they voice it aloud.

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  4. Great post. I enjoyed and relate to this. Since childhood I've always had the mentality that dating is something that is meant to lead to marriage or atleast something serious, so I've never had a real/serious boyfriend. I think exclusive dating is pointless if you are under 25 (for guys) and under 23 (for females). By my rule, i have one more year til i put myself on the market blah!

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  5. Great advice Andrew - this is so true. I've never understood the concept of dating someone long term that you couldn't imagine yourself marrying.

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  6. How do you make sure you are both on the same page without coming across as clingy? When exactly do you figure this out ?

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    1. There are many different signs, but too many to list here. Keep reading the blog, I've touched on them in the past and will continue to do so. One piece of advice that applies to all of those "signs" though: actions speak louder than words. Pay attention to what he does, not what he says.

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    2. You can kind of extrapolate someone's views of dating/marriage based on their views on sex. Sexual past comes up naturally pretty early in relationships too. If he's pretty traditional about sex, he's probably pretty traditional about dating and marriage. Either way, it should be very clear what the desired outcome of the relationship will be early on. If it's not, I'd say he's likely not interested in marrying you.

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    3. Em, I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and your comment is so true...

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  7. Actually i just thought to myself that perhaps dating is also a design to ready us for serial monogamy. and not solely for the purpose of it definitely, and having to leading to marriage......but then when you weigh the cons to the pros of dating as a preparatory design, it still doesnt seem worth it given the possible emotional downfall when the relationship ends. I guess the concept/purpose of dating is subjective.....

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  8. I worry sometimes when I hear girls saying things like "I want him to be my first long-term boyfriend,"

    It's not as worrying as the jest "I want to be his future ex-wife." They're obviously joking, but the humor is rooted in similar bad ideas about relationships.

    I recall the author of The Starter Wife saying that she thought everybody should have a "starter marriage" as a kind of dress rehearsal for a later marriage with a second spouse. And I believe she was serious! But she's not such a radical thinker, after all, when a lot of cohabitating couples may think of their arrangement along the same lines.

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  9. "You can only attach and separate yourself from a man so many times before you affect or even lose your ability to do so due to emotional scarring."

    It's my firm belief that this applies to men as much as to women. Yes, men can detach themselves from emotions more easily, and handle their emotions differently than women do, but that doesn't mean they aren't there and are having an effect on a man's psyche.

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  10. This post does not jive with this: "While I do not claim my taste in women is representative of the average (I do think it is reasonably close), I can tell you that my preference is a girl who has had sex with two to six guys. Ideally, one of these would have been a drunken one-night stand, and another was a guy that took her on a few dates, banged her and left her (so that she has these experiences to better understand men - even if only to pass the lesson on to my daughters). The rest would hopefully have been men that she was dating seriously."

    So ideally, you'd want a girl that has been through the ringer at least a few times, but are advising girls NOT to have a string of relationships before settling down?

    I've never understood why people need "experiences" in other relationships before they can understand or appreciate someone for who they are. If you have parents or grandparents with a healthy marriage, you don't need your own experiences to know how things should work. I think people that jump from relationship to relationship are bad marriage prospects because they have never worked at sustaining love past the easy "infatuation" phase. Marriage requires commitment in order to last when things get rough. The fact that some guy did the opposite of committing to his girl in his prior six relationships before settling down with me does nothing to indicate loyalty, commitment, or good judgement on his part.

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    1. "So ideally, you'd want a girl that has been through the ringer at least a few times, but are advising girls NOT to have a string of relationships before settling down?"

      Not quite. I am advising girls not to WANT or TRY to have a string of relationships before settling down. Inevitably most people have one or two. I don't want to date a girl who sees me only as the next in a series of terminal relationships; but I do want a girl with a little experience.

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    2. You are still contradicting yourself. A girl won't have experience unless she WANTS or TRIES to gain it. That's common sense. It sounds to me like what you're saying is that you're too lazy to guide a girl into knowing what she's doing so you prefer that she's already had her heart broken a couple of times so she knows what to expect from you and from sex. That's a shame. Helping a girl find out what she's doing means ultimately being able to mold the sexual experience you want yourself.

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    3. Someone is bitter

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    4. I do agree with the premise of knowing what you are looking for in a mate and being honest about your intentions. You only gain relationship experience by trying... its difficult to know who is really the one for long term, especially when you are young. However if you do not gain interactions, sexual experience and everything else relationships entail then how can you know what you are looking for?

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  11. Great post! However, I do disagree that men don't often get attached in relationships or do so at a slower rate to a lesser degree. If this were true the beta male phenomena and feminization of western males would not be so derided and advised against in the male "blogosphere." The truth is most men tend to get too attached in relationships, the minority of men who don't have the luxury of being high value and we all know that not all men can be of high value.

    C

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  12. The problem for a lot of us women is that this pressure to date and have boyfriends for the sake of it does not necessarily come from within, it comes from other people. My family, and in particular my serial monogamist sister (she's 27), do believe you "need experience". When I told my her that I'd ideally want to meet someone for marriage around 25, she was shocked and said "but you don't even have any relationship experience?". I'm attractive and I do date, but I've never had a serious, monogamous relationship and am now in my early twenties. My sister is of the opinion that through dating you "get to know yourself". She's had numerous STRs, 3 LTRs, 2 of which she moved in with the guy.
    I don't know what kind of response I should give to people? It usually turns into a word against word thing, as in "relationship experience matters" - "no it doesn't".
    Do you think girls emphasize the relationship experience more than guys?

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    1. You get to know yourself through challenging yourself and self-reflection, not exclusively through dating. Your sister might be challenging herself through dating. I think that's a risky way of doing it, but that is her decision. But to presume that you, too, need to get to know yourself that way is pretty short-sighted. I wouldn't worry too much about responding to people. If they disagree with you, so what?

      "Do you think girls emphasize the relationship experience more than guys?"
      Not really

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  13. Thank you so much for putting this out there. Frankly, I think many women know exactly what they want from the outset but are afraid to admit it to themselves. We stumble from one man to the next in the hope that one, will be THE ONE who asks us. And this behaviour is condoned/encouraged every which way we turn. It is no accident it was a religious man who who brought this to your attention. I'm so glad you were open to his questioning. If women had the integrity and courage to make it clear to men that marriage is the reason why they are dating, there would be far fewer heartaches.

    I am of the opinion that marriage minded men know fairly quickly whether a girl they are dating is the person they would like to be their wife and mother of their children. The purpose of dating is to see how suitable a match you both are. Values, devotion, respect, future plans are to be considered whilst dating. It's a vetting process if you will. I am not religious myself but along with this fine blog I would encourage women who want to be married to visit wwnh.wordpress.com.

    Andrew, I'm wondering why a fine fellow who dates women he thinks he could marry isn't married. What are you looking for that you haven't found?

    M.

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    1. It isn't one "thing" I haven't found yet; I just haven't found the person that I obviously want to be with for the rest of my life.

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  14. May I refer your female readers to this post and comments. Particularly Ellie's comment. http://wwnh.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/1600-advertising-online-for-dates-part-i/#comments

    M

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  15. Did you read this?
    http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2012/06/22/relationshipstrategies/the-10-most-important-things-i-learned-from-dating-men-i-didnt-marry/

    I agree that you should try to learn something from the relationships which eventually ended, because most people will have some of those. But it seems to me that Susan, like most people, believe you should aim to have relationships through your twenties which doesn't end in marriage. I'm wondering if I'm missing out learning if I don't have a LTR before marriage?

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  16. There's some point in what you're saying but... personally I don't want to marry, I can't imagine myself living with the same person for the whole life. But I'm in love with a guy and just enjoying this tiime spent with him. Maybe tomorow we'll decide to break up, and I will probably fall in love with someone else. Am I a whore? I don't think so.

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  17. I'm curious what exactly make men fall in love, when they rarely do. You say it takes more..so a man has to be completely emotionally available, consider you gorgeous, have to work for you and then keep seeing you for a long time? I have observed couples where I think the man too is in love and even with women whom are nothing 'special' on an obvious level (not gorgeous or very interesting). And I wonder how it's done.
    If you've been in love before, can you describe what made the situation unique?

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    1. The way I see it (and I am open to the possibility that I am wrong), there is no formula for love like there is for physical attraction - it just happens sometimes.

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  18. I'm going on a 4th date with a guy on Friday...and NO I have not slept with him yet or even done anything more than a makeout session. He hasn't even spent the night. I've already explained it takes me a while before I can let a man get intimate with me. That's just how I'm wired...I can't help it. I have a natural internal shut off switch. Anyway, on our second date, he told me he's looking for a serious relationship that would lead to marriage and he wanted to make sure I was on the same page, otherwise there's no point in giving this a go. I said I was on the same page and he said "good...because I think we could have something here." Our first 3 dates were within 8 days. Then on the Monday after our 3rd date he said we'll see each the following weekend (this past weekend). I know this past weekend was a baseball game and he's a HUGE sports fan, which he already warned me about. He was txting me all week, but never mentioned the weekend and getting together again. The friday before the games, he made a wager with me (we're opposing teams). I have to cook him dinner if my team loses, which they did. After ignoring me all weekend, he txts me at 9am on Monday and wants me to make good on our wager. I have to cook dinner for him Friday night. All our dates have been Sunday or Thursday. Now a Friday. Does it sound like this guy (even though he's stayed in contact with me) has no interest and is just trying to sleep with me? Our 4th date will be 12 days since we last saw each other by the time this Friday hits. I just thought if he liked me, sports game or not, he would have wanted to see me sooner, like for the first 3 dates.

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  19. I've been dating this guy since Jan.and he was datingmy so call friend wwhom we don't talk as much and now she is mad but she newver told me that they were dating...Everyhing were going good for he and I until now he starting to get phone callsand texts that he don't replied back....should I be afraid and leave him alone now but he claims that he love me....Please Help

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    1. This is more of a friendship issue than a relationship issue, so it is a little outside of my claimed "area of expertise." But I would think the best thing to do would be to talk to your friend about it and see if you can work it out with her.

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  20. "In many relationships, men don't get emotionally invested - they just get laid for a while. If the girl gets attached in the process, it just means the breakup will be messier. Even when a man does get emotionally invested, it usually occurs more slowly and to a lesser degree."

    This ties back in to not sleeping with a guy very early on into the relationship. I dated a guy in a fraternity who had a frat-boy reputation for how he was with girls. It was 6 months before I let him even touch my boobs and even longer until we had sex. Despite that, he stuck around. Had his reputation been true, he would have moved on from me quickly and I would have been fine after a few days. Had I slept with him early on only to have him dump me shortly after, I would have been much more damaged.

    If a woman is dating someone with hopes to make it long-term, I think the number one most important thing she can do is let him get a little emotionally invested and taken with her personality first, before risking the emotional trauma that can easily manifest from giving up too much too soon.


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    1. I started dating a guy a while back who I took time getting to know before sex. I had planned on waiting longer however he threw me every line under the sun to have his way that eventually I gave in. I thought he genuinely cared about me, I thought there was an emotional investment on his part because he told me and to an extent showed me that there was.

      Afterwards, the change was subtle at first but there was a change and before I knew it he began the slow fade. He had an extensive past with women before me so perhaps he was disappointed but I think if they are the type to go cold after sex..they will go cold no matter ho long you make them wait. I don't think it is wise to sleep with them right away but some men don't mind playing the long game.

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    2. By saying, "he threw me every line under the sun to have his way that eventually I gave in," makes it sound as if he pressured you to have sex with him. If that were the case, it should have been a major red flag. I'm not sure if you effectively communicated your expectations of wanting to take things slow, but if you did and he still pressured you to sleep with him, then that's not good. If a guy wants something long-term and legitamately likes you, he will respect your assertions...especially when there are other ways to have fun in the bedroom without having sex.

      True, maybe after you did have sex, there was a lack of chemistry that he was able to realize. However, don't view it as a loss. If you are having mediocre sex with a guy you really like, trust me, there is a guy you will really like out there that you will also have amazing, earth-shattering sexual chemistry with and chances are he will be just as into it as you are ;)

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    3. "If a guy wants something long-term and legitamately likes you, he will respect your assertions"

      This is true.

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  21. Thanks, you are right there was a lot of pressure and looking back it was probably a very bad sign.

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  22. I really like your down-to-earth suggestions. However, I am in a weird problem. I like an older man, aged about 38. He is extremely witty and intelligent but somehow not sure about if he can be happy in a marriage. Although, he's looking for a wife. I find him confusing at times. When asked if he's trying to play he says he doesnt play with just anyone without a reason and that he likes me. But when I mention marriage, he says I'm not giving him scope to know me.

    As I mentioned earlier, he is practically very clever so I am sure he already knows what I am. All his friends are married and pushing him for marriage but why is he acting so insecure? I'm tired of this. I'm not knocking him/meeting him for like a month and he is kinda too quiet for his nature. I'm 27 and I want marriage right now. How to make it happen without anymore unhealthy games? Help, dear.

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  23. This is true, and the painful truth is that those people you meet while you are young and "innocent" have a much greater impact on you than later in life.
    There are two men who have had a major impact on me: the first I met when I was 18, the second at 21. I was the one to call it off both times, but I was forced to do so as it didn't lead anywhere. I haven't found anything similar since, and I find it more and more difficult to develop those butterflies, even with a guy who 'has it all'. There is a part of me who will always wonder if we'll meet again sometime later in life when we're both grown up and can make it work. I have moved on, but I can't shake them off.
    I suppose this is one disadvantage with the idea of women dating guys older than themselves. He might be your first love, but you are probably not his, at least he does not have the same 'innocence'. So he can never really feel what you feel, not in the same way anyway. I am terrified of never having those same feelings again.

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  24. hmnnn... Nice blog! What about if the guy said he doesn't want serious relationship after dating you for a year? :( . I should have asked him earlier. Lots of time have been wasted and I'm getting older. Is he serious about?

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  25. I am a twice divorced woman of abusive relationships, single now for about 15 years. I have a good job, support myself, own a house. So does he. I finally started dating again with the intent on finding someone I want to spend the rest of my life with and marriage. I am 58. I have been dating a really great guy (my age)for over a year now. Although he says all the right things and mostly does all the right things, I have no idea what are his ideas for our future together. I am in love with this man, he says he loves me, is very affectionate, considerate and thoughtful. However, I know if he never intends to marry me, over time, I will become angry and resentful, and I don't want to end up feeling that way about him or myself. I don't want to be angry at myself for investing what little precious time I have left and angry at him for possibly wanting what I would end up seeing as a really great friendship with benefits.

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    1. Allison, you're getting as much as you're ever gonna get. Accept it like you would accept needing to get your hands dirty when you've got a flat tire on a boondocks rural road. At 58, you are not on the shelf of selections-for-marriage. If you push him away, he will get a 48, or if has great game.... a 38. Or he will retire at 62, go to the Philippines and marry a 18.

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  26. imagine you are a parent.your 18 year old daughter has been dating someone a man for four months.you are not sure its a good match.they dont have much in common and they have very different personalities.however your daughter says she is sure they are in love.the man wants to get get married as soon as possible, bt your daughter would like your advice.what would you tell her ??

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  27. Are you planning to do a post on dating and distance?
    I am not a believer in long distance and I wouldn't start anything up with someone who's going to leave the country shortly (from bad experience). However, there are more refined situations than that. For example, I've been dating a guy a while now who might be applying to graduate school in another country 8 months from now. It's too early to make it a discussion.
    I have two friends whose boyfriends have moved for them. However in both cases they were living in big cities where the guy had lived before and wanted to live again - the guys also had great job opportunities there (to the extent where you may ask if they really moved for the girls or themselves).
    Can a woman ever expect a man to move for her? At what point can she make that suggestion? And should she ever move for a man? If so - at what point? Engagement only?

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  28. I know that men value appearance very much, and there are always going to be better looking girls than the one he currently has. So what is it that makes some men completely devoted to their girlfriend regardless of the fact that he knows there are better looking girls? In other words, what makes a man fall in love long term? Why does a man decide he wants to marry a certain girl over the others?

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    1. I'd be interested in learning more about this too. Some men complain about how some women are always wondering if they could do better, but I wonder if most men think the same way? As DT says "there are always going to be better looking girls than the one he currently has," and because men place so much importance on looks, then aren't they always wondering if they could find an prettier girl? If not, what as DT asks, "makes a man fall in love long term? Why does a man decide he wants to marry a certain girl over the others?" even when he knows there's even prettier girls out there?

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    2. This is exactly what I want to know. But I don't think Andrew has the answer. If he did, he would have written posts about this. All he knows is what makes him physically attracted to a woman. But obviously this is NOT enough, otherwise he would have settled down with one of these attractive women. There's more to it than being attractive for the love of God. I thought this website would be more than a heterosexual man trying to mimic a beauty blog, and failing miserably.

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    3. "So what is it that makes some men completely devoted to their girlfriend regardless of the fact that he knows there are better looking girls?"

      kindness. loyalty. a gentle heart. a happy personality. stuff like that. andrew knows this. all men know this. note that he HAS written about common misconceptions that women have about what men desire in addition to looks. see: intelligence, accomplishments.

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    4. oh, and blowjobs. :)

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  29. Hello Andrew,

    Congratulations on this post. This is the single best post in your blog from my perspective. The reason I have ended up on your blog is that I am surrounded by people who are in relationships "because it just happened", while I have never been able to get committed seriously for more than a couple of weeks, because I never felt it was going anywhere. The one time I did, I brought up the topic of marriage and met with resistance, so I was forced to drop it after a few more dates. I have been wondering whether to "just get a boyfriend for experience" for some time now just in order to "keep up with others". This post of yours tells me that irrespective of whether or not I improve my appearance or behaviour while dating, it is absolutely pointless to enter a relationship unless I'm serious about it. This article of yours should be on the "front page" of your blog at all times. It tells the reader the Number One thing about dating, which so easily gets forgotten in the insecurities one has about oneself.

    Thanks for sharing this experience of yours with us!

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  30. Hi Andrew

    Been going through some of your articles and damn does it make sense.
    Gave me an insight about men which i desperately needed.

    There was a guy whom i met years ago I was so crazy about him and then i moved away and lost contact (heartbroken) cause he told me he couldnt do the distance so moved on and So eventually i got over it, but always had him in my thoughts sumwer wondering how he is doing, but never had the guts to contact him again,
    So years later i met my ex fiance, I have been with bout 6 years and engaged and decided to get married 2 years later and a month before our wedding we broken up (Yeah drama), loved him but we both sought of drifted emotionally, physically like we became more like room mates/ friends. anyway after my breakup I still thought about that guy i met and my friend confinced me to get back into contact, so I pop him an email, we chat and made arrangements to hook up but not at a personal level, we called, text everyday, he have me hope telling me that he and i had some potential to be together and i told him well maybe time will tell, so recently saw him and it happened we both lost control and the awkwardness kicked in i freaked and he did too, cause I realised I was falling for him and i poured my heart out to him, and then it happened again and it felt good being so close to him but he tells me the distance and oneday il meet a great man and he told me he had fallen for me (like watever, i dont believe) so then he insists he still wants to be in contact with me and you know be friends, and so i said to him i cant i deleted him off my phone but I feel so ashamed, depressed and a fool, i just cant understand what was he thinking what did he want from me, y text me call me everyday flirt talk about love and hope and then you know pull away, please help me understand why men do this?

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  31. What is the deal if your a girl who can get dates easily and asked out a lot but rarely makes it past the third date? I have never been called unattractive in my life..in good shape, long hair etc..and I get lots of initial interest but it fades fast. I have had one long-term bf and don't sleep with any of these guys. I get asked why I don't have a bf and to be honest, I don't know why either. I can't do a lot more to improve how I look, I've done most things.

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    Replies
    1. Have you improved your personality?

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    2. How do you do that...what's attractive personality-wise?

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  32. This is true. I'm in late twenties and have been infatuated 3 times in my life. My last relationship was 2 years ago now, I have found it hard to connect with anyone since..have lost my enthusiasm for men as if a part of me is broken. Under a lot of pressure now to use the rest of my twenties to find a partner but I don't feel ready for it. I'm unsure as to what to do to move past the apathy.

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    Replies
    1. I feel for you. I can understand where you are coming from. You are so young and have so much life ahead of you. Be kind to yourself, give yourself time. Do what it takes to figure out if there is a pattern to the men you had relationships with. Make sure you accept yourself and come to realize you do not "need" a partner.

      When you are ready to date again, don't let them screen you or use you. You screen them while having fun of course. Check them out, make sure you only continue to accept each date from a guy if he shows he's totally into you and that he treats you well. If he slacks off then stop and move on. This will save you many years.

      Good luck

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  33. I think it's normal to be disappointed and feel disenchanted by men when you have dated a handful of them and none of them worked out. I think this applies to everything else in life. I went through a period of time when I felt like I was indifferent toward men. My advice to women like this is to stop the self pity and get over it. The men infront of you today is different from the past men you dated.

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  34. In a serious relationship.chemistry is of vital importance,and.. that in itself, must remain a powerfull adhesive...and along the way...if anything tries to break it down,and you dont recognize that...then you have wasted years of your own precious life in this world of wickedness...,in simpler words....if you are able to create a ...heart to heart connection,with the woman you meet....keep it....///dont let sex alone bind you together...if a woman wants to load on the makeup,and other "warpaint"stay clear...theres probably misconception under all that...make sure there are no "under the carpet"problems..unexplained....like I eventually found out...and I dont care if the lady who I was with for 4 plus/minus years....gets to read this...,if you do,my love..then you will know,that I am still here,and very hurt at how you often spoke to me......putting it all in words in that fullscap book,doesnt do much...its the ..man inside..you didnt see...all you need to do...is....reachoutandtouch....,know that this ..blog...is such a usefull setup,and I am not the man you made me out to be...I am very private,and very sensitive,and the one who gets to know me...will know what she has to ...treasure...we have one life here on this earth,to enjoy,the other,if you believe that it exists,will be even better..for both of us...TJB

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  35. I have been reading through your articles and I found them to be both helpful and real. Thanks for that! I am a college student, dating a shy guy....my reason for that is because I am emotionally broken and I don't have the confidence to believe that can do better. Also, Don't really trust men. It's so risky and the heartbreak could crush me at this point in life, too many other things going on. The guy I am dating now I didn't like him so much in our fist dates, it wasn't as much fun because he was quite .....he opened up way more and I got uses to him in the past 2 months. And sex made him more open too. I think i might be attached to him because I lost my v card to him and sex is something important to me.
    pros
    -he does things when I ask him to, wants me to make the rules
    -i don't have that many friends around to spent time with and he has time for me
    -I think he likes me and not only for sex
    -i like spending one on one time with him
    -i find him physically attractive and the nerdy shyness cute
    -i feel like emotionally we are the same, been through similar experiences in college.
    -i am into my books too like him, I mostly care about success.


    cons
    -will he be someone who protects me? at the movies someone told us very rudely to shut up and he didnt say anything back, when i made a remark, he told me to shh

    -How will he be with in social situation ?
    Is he with me because he can't get any other girls?

    -very cheap and asks me, "do you want me to pay" , better than saying he lost his wallet right?
    - dont really like the way he says things sometime, and wonder if he hears himself

    -is he going to leave me when he builds up confident

    overall I am okay with a guy who is shy with women as long he cares for her is there. but not someone who I have concern about in social situation, hey I'm not even that great confident socially to help him out. At the end i don't want to be with someone who is sissy. I want a man, is that something "shy guys" can transform into? how do you build up a confident in a man?

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  36. You are right. I know that I wanted love for so many years. I tried relationships but allowed them to last when I should have moved on because they changed their minds. I was engaged too until he broke up.

    What I didn't realize was how much it impacted the way I see a future relationship - I can't let anyone else in anymore. It hurts too much to even think about starting anew. Too much damage to my ego. I wish I had the backbone to have walked away from all of them. I kept wanting to fix them, and hoping it would matter.

    My daughter says I will feel different about it. She doesn't know what it's like to get hurt so much. She fell in love in her first real relationship - I'm happy for they got married. It's just so painful for me because I never wanted to be alone, but I can't trust a man anymore.

    So for all you men out there, wanting to have fun for a while - he is right. Most women get attached to a guy after a while and then hurt when you find someone else because you already know she's not the one. Don't date her, don't waste her time and affect her sense of judgment.

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  37. That's why I dont date at all. I never did. but i never learned. Got married virgin only to find out it was his only ticket to get into my pants so he did the whole wedding bells things and i am sitting here wondering where I missed the plot. divorced with two kids, I m trying to hold the forth...I still don't want to date, for obvious reasons now...but i am tempted to just sleep around what's the point...a guy friend wanted to help me by dating him...he wanted to teach me things but he told me not to get attached...I am new to his and felt angry with him...I was getting attached to him...he had a girlfriend....he broke up things lately telling me he wishes me to be happy and meet someone...we slept together and i am still not sure if i have ben used although It looks like it...all in all i still think there is hope for me although right now, I just want to drive my car over a bridge... to know why one should date is kinda crucial.

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  38. There are so many alpha widows here--someone should take up a collection and open a nursing home.

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  39. I need viewpoints on this: Went out with this guy for 2 months, 2-3x a week, having fun, enjoying alot of common interests. In the beginning he stated he was only interested in friendship to see where it would go. There was no kissing, hand holding, nothing. Just laughter and good conversations. The only thing I didn't like was we split everything..dinners, movies, theater tickets...everything. While watching a PATS game he was suppose to get me some popcorn and instead came back with a small pizza for himself. I asked where my popcorn was, he smirked, and said he forgot. He would get it after he ate. I was so hurt and angry for him being so inconsiderate I left him there and drove home. When I emailed him the next day and told him he should open his wallet more and why I left, he blasted me with a one page email of how immature, vindictive, and spoiled I am. If I wanted the popcorn so badly why didn't I get one myself. He is no servant to women. He bought me a Christmas present from Building 19 but I probably wouldn;t appreciate it and he will give it to someone else who does. Obviously, I hurt his feelings. Should I contact him to talk about this or just let him go? Thanks.

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