Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Advice Roundup 2

Here is another round of questions and answers that have come through my inbox recently:

1 ----------------

Andrew,

I have a question for you. I read your blog, really value your opinion, and would so much appreciate your input.

Do men ever feel a sense of obligation to keep in touch with a girl? I have been seeing my older brothers best friend (age 28, i am 24) for a few months, and get the feeling he may now just be keeping in touch out of politeness, to avoid a situation with my brother - do guys do this?

Is it ever right to wait for a guy you really like, if he is moving slower than you want to? I feel as if the waiting for a relationship to form drives women absolutely crazy - is it right for the beginnings of relationships to feel like this?

Thank you in advance, very much.
Sandra

Sandra,

Probably he isn't doing it out of politeness. He probably likes you, and enjoys being in touch with you because he likes flirting with the idea of something happening between you, but he is probably too worried about the fact that he's friends with your brother to actually make a move. Or maybe he just wants to talk casually to decide if his attraction to you is enough to risk his friendship with your brother.

There is no reason (other than the strain on your patience...) why you can't continue talking to him, and seeing where things go. If this goes on for several months and you are talking regularly - say, a few times a week - but he isn't doing anything, you might bring it up by telling him that, while you are interested in dating, you understand the situation is complicated by your brother, but you also don't want to keep talking endlessly if he is never going to decide it's worth a shot. Of course, this is just a soft way of telling him to grow some balls and make a decision, and it's likely to bring the whole thing to an end, but if that is what happens, you'd be fooling yourself in believing that the "whole thing" would ever have worked out anyway.

Good luck,
Andrew

2 ----------------

Hi Andrew, your blog is awesome!

My question is, would a man ever want a non-sexual friendship with a woman just to get emotional support? I had a sexual relationship with this guy for six months last year. We met through a community project. We ended it mutually... We wanted to try to keep our friendship intact because we will continue to have community interaction, and we care about each other.

We have both tried hard to keep the friendship. He is a natural alpha guy, man of few words, but has always made the effort to text me and call and we've stayed in pretty close contact like this for months. He has taken some big personal hits over the last couple years and I give him a lot of support and praise (not that he'd ever ask) which I think he likes and maybe even needs. The problem? I feel like he avoids seeing me in public. We have mutual friends and opportunities to be out together and socialize, and he doesn't pursue it. It feels weird to me to have just a phone relationship. It's always drummed in girls' heads that guys never want to be friends with women. Is it possible this is just an ego feed for him and he doesn't actually want to be friends? Despite all the texts and calls it's hard not to take it personally that he never wants to get together face to face in a platonic setting... which is what I do with all my other friends.

Thanks for your help!
Majda

Majda,

His willingness to stay in touch is definitely motivated in part by the fact that he enjoys the personal chemistry between you and the conversations, etc. - but for sure there is an element of ego there too. He likes knowing you like him. Incidentally, this means that he must have some level of sexual attraction to you also (otherwise his ego wouldn't value your attraction to him); but his unwillingness to take it any further is a much stronger indication that the level of attraction isn't high enough to get back together. I'd tell him you are interested in getting back together, but you realize that he isn't on the same page, and that because you see things differently, you think it's better not to talk. Then cut him off.

Good luck,
Andrew

3 ----------------

Hi Andrew,

I have a very quick wit and use natural puns, double meanings, subtle references in conversation--people laugh a lot around me. I've cut my playful, though sarcastic, banter but kept wondering this: Do masculine guys like girls with great situational humor or not? Do I "lose points?" I am otherwise extremely feminine. Still stepping on Mr. Alpha's toes?

Thanks!
Rebecca

Rebecca,

I realize I am reading between the lines a lot here, but I have a hunch that your sense of humor is a way you've subconsciously attempted to make yourself stand out to men, i.e. to make them notice you. And if I am right about that, it isn't your success (or even failure) at being funny that is turning men off, it's the fact that men can recognize your discomfort with who you are shining through your attempts at being funny. I think you've made the right move by scaling back your wit a little bit, since I suspect you were using humor as a crutch for garnering male attention. As you probably have realized, good and bad attention are sometimes difficult to distinguish, and the desire to be recognized can very easily blur the lines between the two. I suggest recognizing that (a) you don't need to be the most beautiful girl in the world to find a man that you love and who loves you back, (b) being comfortable with who you are is way more attractive than humor - in fact it rivals physical beauty for the most attractive female quality, and (c) just because there are other girls who are prettier doesn't mean that you can't be noticed for your looks too.

Good Luck,
Andrew

4 ----------------

Hi Andrew,

In your blog, you say that a woman should never tell a man when she will sleep with him. However, you also advise women who want a high-quality boyfriend not sleep with a man until he has demonstrated commitment. In most cases, demonstrating commitment = agreeing to date exclusively.

These two bits of advice seem to contradict each other. For example, let's say you like a guy, you've been dating for a while, and you haven't had sex yet. You want to let him know that you are willing to have sex eventually (so that he doesn't give up in despair), but only after you're exclusive. But if you say "I want to be exclusive before sex," you're essentially saying, "I'll have sex with you when we're exclusive." So by communicating that exclusivity is necessary before sex, you're breaking the rule about never telling a man when you'll sleep with him.

What's the best way to manage this situation?

Thanks!!
Ana

Ana,

You are right in the sense that saying "I want to be exclusive before sex" implies that you'll sleep with him once he commits. But I don't recommend phrasing it that way, mainly because I don't recommend thinking about it that way.

The implication of such a statement is not only that you'll sleep with him once he commits, but that you have essentially already decided that you want commitment from him. But if you are in doubt about his willingness to commit - to the point that you are turning him down for sex - then you shouldn't be sure yet about what you want from him. This isn't because you should play hard to get; it is because, if you are self-confident and have a non-needy approach to dating, you shouldn't want commitment from anyone who doesn't like you enough to commit to you. Everything else about a guy might be great, but unless he desires you enough to be exclusive (and demonstrates that by pushing for exclusivity), one of the most important pieces of the puzzle is completely missing.

Instead, I suggest saying "I am not ready for that yet," or better yet, "I only sleep with my boyfriends." This frames the whole interaction in a healthier mindset, because there is no implication that you'll say "yes" if he asks you be to exclusive with him. There is therefore also no implication that you will sleep with him, let alone when.

Hope that helps,
Andrew

5 ----------------

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the great blog!

I am 32, female and single. I have an illness which does not have any effect on my daily life, but I don't have enough eggs and no periods without pills. Despite this I have 5-10 % to fall pregnant spontaneously, but doctors can't improve this percentage. I do want kids but I am also happy to adopt. My question is, when and how should I tell a guy? I am worried to death that a guy will be disgusted by my infertility.

Thanks a lot!
Anika

Anika,

You shouldn't tell a guy about your low fertility until you are sure that marriage is something he is considering. On the surface, that might seem like a long time to wait; but the flip side of that advice is that (assuming that marriage is what you want from dating) you shouldn't continue dating a guy more than 6 months without knowing that marriage is something he is at least starting to think about. If at 6 months you know that the guy isn't even asking himself whether or not you could be his wife someday, then he isn't on the same page as you, and you shouldn't continue dating him. If you are uncertain about whether or not he is considering it, then you should bring up the subject yourself sometime before 6 months. This isn't "pressuring" a guy; it's making sure that you are only dating men who have the same goals as you, and are on the same timeline. Yes that means that you won't be able to date a lot of men, but that's just part of the dating landscape for women interested in marriage.

So the short answer to your question is 6 months at the latest, and as soon as you know he is taking you seriously at the earliest. I am saying this not because I think you have some kind of moral obligation to tell him, but because you don't want to spend too much time with a guy for whom your fertility will be a deal-breaker. But of course, you also don't want a guy to write you off before they have a chance to really appreciate you.

Good luck,
Andrew

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If you want to ask me for advice, please follow the guidelines here: How to Ask Me for Advice And if you liked this post, let me know in the comments; I have about 200 more e-mails I need to answer, so I should have plenty of material for additional posts like this.

24 comments:

  1. #4, how does one exactly ask a guy if he's interested in marriage? It seems that every bit of advice I read (mostly written by men!) say not to bring up marriage/weddings/kids and let the man take the lead on that, or it'll scare him off. Especially when it comes from a 30-something woman.

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    1. You don't ask him if he's interested in marriage, you ask him whether or not he ever thinks about marriage in general. You don't need to know that he wants to marry you, but you don't want to keep wasting your time with someone who isn't even thinking about marriage and therefore considering you as a potential wife rather than just a girlfriend.

      Yeah, bringing that up might raise a few flags for a guy, and it might even scare him off - but only if he wasn't thinking on that level anyway, in which case, scaring him of is actually a good thing.

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  2. I like these advice roundups. I feel like you can push these posts out faster than your longer specific articles so I hope you keep it up. I was actually going to write you again for advice, but #2 pretty much addresses it, except he is the one with "conflicting feelings" (as he said) while I want to date other people. If he doesn't cut me off, I guess I will make it easier for him and cut him off.

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  3. Anika - There is a substantial number of men who do not want children. Don't believe me? Browse the dating profiles on OKCupid or any other dating site, and you'll see it's true. Also, there are a large number of men in their 30s who have already had kids and specifically state in their dating profiles "Have kids and don't want any more." You'll be fine!

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  4. A few of these points just show me that female subtlety is way under-rated.

    Ladies, take notice.

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    1. I also had that reinforced by my mom growing up.... 'Tis true, for sure. Good public service reminder. So what do you think is the fate of women who don't? Any room for rehabilitation?

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  5. I really enjoy these advice roundups!! Please keep them coming.

    One question, though -- you recommended here just saying, "I only sleep with boyfriends," but doesn't that sound a little bit like an ultimatum? Doesn't it come across as sort of uppity-sounding?

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    1. It depends how you say it, really, but you shouldn't let it sound bitchy or like an ultimatum. If you say it matter-of-factly, there shouldn't be any connotation that you want him to be your boyfriend.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Andrew - I enjoy reading your blog from time to time. I'm a bit stunned that many commenters ask questions that are effectively ways they are trying to manipulate men to get to date them. Do you consider this an area you can work on by way of a post of some sort? I know you might not be a psychiatrist, but some of these women might need some referrals. As a man I wished you did a better job of pointing out that those behaviors are unattractive. Do you endorse what these women are trying to do? If so, you are LOWERING the standards for us men.

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    1. Euser, the question you've posed honestly gives the impression that you are embittered with the entire female sex. Andrew is always quite clear about his intent, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts based on your comments. This blog is not about manipulation or trickery, it's about presentation. His advice is no different than that of someone who suggests you change the wording of your resume to generate more interest. It is a valuable perspective for most of us because we find that people have most often been dishonest with themselves or with us about what actually interests men. For example, Andrew tells a girl to present her nurturing qualities vs her intellectual ones not because she lacks intellect, but because men typically have a stronger desire for nurturing women. Is that a trick, then? Would you go into a management interview and talk about your excellent carpentry skills? No? Same concept here. Would you go get a forehead tattoo prior to applying for a job at a country club? No? These women are not trying to "trick" or "manipulate" men into dating them. They are trying to figure out what it is men are looking for so they can show those men that they possess it. They are not faking those qualities, simply highlighting them. That is not low self-esteem, but an efficient approach to dating. Because the words and actions of people so often do not line up, Andrew is helping the ladies in this post navigate their way through the BS to make an informed choice about their next step. Seems like he's just making it harder for other dudes to employ the use of such BS, not lowering the standards for them.

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    2. "I am saying this not because I think you have some kind of moral obligation to tell him,"

      Implying there is no moral obligation to tell a man that you have problems with your fertility, presumably indefinitely. Which means the man could date her, commit to her, even marry her - all without her telling him something as essential as her unlikelihood of conceiving - and morally it's a non-issue.

      Should men likewise adopt a Machiavellian approach towards women?

      I guess she's not manipulating him, just "presents" herself as normally fertile; similarly to a married man who just doesn't mention his wife and "presents" himself as single. Right?

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    3. But I guess one must be "embittered with the entire female sex" to point out that some women, as can be inferred from the types of questions they ask, don't care all that much (an understatement) about honesty when dealing with men, and that abetting this behavior is in itself a moral failing.

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    4. Jack, I do not condone lying or withholding critical information such as infertility. I do, however, think it makes sense not to lead with that information. You'll note that the girl who wrote the question asked "when and how" to tell the men she dates. Not "if" she should tell them. "Hi, I'm Sally and I can't have babies" is a bit early to have that discussion. I think it should be brought up at the same time any normal couple would have a conversation about the future and make the decision to move forward or not just the same way that someone who makes a choice not to have kids (vs has a biological restriction) would make that decision. Andrew just tells her not to worry about talking with him about future problems until he indicates wanting to have a future with her to begin with. Fair enough, because why would you share something so private with someone who's only interested in "having a good time"? That information is only pertinent to a man who actually might want to have children with you.

      Also, you may have only ever read this single comment from Euser up there and think that I am simply perceiving his great distrust of women. Unfortunately, it is a frequent theme in his comments that any changes made at all to improve your dating life are manipulation and evidence of terrible self-esteem. My response was only to say that if a girl is a PhD, a great cook, a fantastic employee, and works out regularly, she will be better off talking about being a great cook and working out when she's in the dating market. That doesn't make her less of an intelligent person or valuable asset to her boss. It just means that she needs to highlight the traits that the opposite sex actually cares about. Euser's comment implied that the entire blog was geared toward teaching women to manipulate men into dating women of a lesser caliber than they deserve. It is my opinion that he is the one that "might need some referrals."

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    5. I reread the comment and did not get the impression that it condemned the blog in that manner. Giving the comment the benefit of the doubt, if I observed objectionable behavior I’d say something. That said, there’s nothing very specific about the comment either. Euser does ask whether Andrew would write a post about it, so there’s obvious value to Andrew’s blog to the extent it might shed light on the subject. Otherwise, rather than say “if so” in the last sentence, it might have had a different ending. People will say what they will esp on an internet forum like this. Not such a big deal imo. My ado about nothing. My 2 cents.

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  8. Andrew, did you publish the entire question for #3? The response didn't seem to answer the question. I ask as a confident and beautiful woman that's also very funny. I credit my uncomfortable and awkward young adulthood. My question is are many men attracted to hilarious chicks or are they threatened by them? Not crude humor, but wit.

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  9. Hi Andrew, need some advice. I want to ask the person I am dating about religious practices after reading this article.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/06/26/belly-of-the-tantra-explores-if-an-indian-cult-really-eats-the-dead/

    It is disturbing what some religions do. Rather than ask a general question, do you think I ought to be specific? We met in yoga class and what I initially thought was just relaxation and meditative practices might be more than I thought. It might not. The article discusses practices of connecting with the dead and spirit world that I would never never never want in my life. How should I bring it up?

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  10. Andrew, before I start, let me give you a little background info. My boyfriend and I had been dating for a while, great relationship, we were best friends, very compatible, etc. however, he is leaving for college again in another state, while I stay in a different state. We had always planned to just try long distance for a month to see if we could make long distance last for one year (after a year I would be going to college in the same state as him), and then if it didn't work after a month we would breakup before it got too messy, because we realized sometimes love isn't enough in those circumstances. But his parents started to influence him by saying long distance is very stressful and basically putting in all negative input. He is very close with his parents so I know this influenced him greatly. So before he left for vacation for half the month of July, he txted me. It was his last day and we were supposed to hangout that night. He basically said he would not be able to hangout because he went rock climbing with all his friends because they would all be off to college before he got back from his July vacation so it was his "last time to hangout with my bestfriends ever. And friends stay with you for life, so I owed them a day out with them for the last time." He also said he finally figured out what he wanted to with out situation regarding trying long distance. He said he wanted to be in the relationship but he had started acting rude to me and he knew he wasn't a rude person, so he thought that was his mind telling him that he didn't want to be in the relationship despite his heart wanting to. I was hurt so I decided a breakup text was too disrespectful to entertain to so I cut off the conversation short. He then replied he would talk to me next week because he wants to keep in touch. He sent me a snapchat 4th of July, I responded, he replied again, and then I opened and never replied. It has been one week since the breakup. That was our first contact since. I know you have the cut off rule but I feel like I never got my answer for breaking up because it was over txt and I cut off the convo. Also, everything was very vague and he never gave me detailed reasoning. So is it acceptable to initiate a phone call sometime next week to get his reasoning of breaking up and why he would do it in a text since I never got that the first time? It feels like we didn't properly breakup even though I know it's over but because of that feeling, it is making it hard to cut all ties and move on. PS I do not hope to get back together so I don't have any hidden dumpee ulterior motives with the phone call.

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    1. Send him a formal email (I.e. Not one from your cell phone with lower-case i's) explaining to him that you want closure. If he doesn't answer, you'll have the closure anyway.

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  11. Hey Andrew, I wondered if you could answer a question for me. How important is confidence when trying to attract a man? I am happy with who I am but I tend to be slightly awkward with guys I like on first meeting because I get a little bit shy. It takes me a bit of time to warm up to people. Someone told me recently that I was coming across as slightly lacking in confidence without my realising it. How do I attract a more confidenct persona to appear more appealing to the opposite sex?

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