Relationship Advice to My Young Self

January 18, 2013

1971Much of the best advice at HUS comes in the form of comments from people who have acquired the wisdom of age and experience. This week Tasmin made the following observation when discussing how frequently the sexes find themselves at cross purposes re expectations around dating:

It is our responsibility to establish communication patterns that support our beliefs and goals, select venues and choose to enter into situations that are conducive to upholding those goals, and to hold our bar up, even if that means “losing” an opportunity to get some approximation of our goal (attention, dinner) or minimizing our perceived options in order to invest in ways that are representative of those things we seek.

I couldn’t agree more, but I immediately realized I probably would have been clueless and tuned out to this truth when I was in my early 20s. If I could go back and talk to that girl, here is what I would tell her about dating and relationships. I hope you find it helpful as you figure out life the hard way – through experience.

1. Make a big effort.

Take chances. Find ways to let guys know you think they’re attractive. Flirt and tease them. Some of the guys you liked the most never had a clue until years later. 

Don’t be complacent. Don’t wait for things to happen to you. You can’t date people if you don’t meet them and you can’t meet them if you don’t go out and mix it up with people. Host some gatherings. Let people know you’re available. There’s no shame in going after what you want.

Don’t give up. Don’t view an evening out as a waste if you didn’t meet someone new. Don’t swear off guys because someone you really liked disappeared on you. Stay on the market. If you hide away, everyone will forget about you.

Don’t keep saying how hard it is. Life is hard. Almost everything worth doing is hard. Embrace and conquer the difficulty.

2. Watch the eyes.

You can learn a lot about a man by looking at his eyes. Are they alive or flat? Cold or warm? Do they convey expression? Amusement? Are there crow’s feet at the edges that are the mark of a man who smiles and laughs? What do his eyes say about his intent?

Looking back, every guy you ever went out with told you everything you needed to know with his eyes, without saying a word. You knew it too, you just chose to ignore it. 

3. Avoid lazy men. 

Don’t go out with idle, slow, tardy, sluggish, lazy men. They slept late, called late, arrived late and preferred just hanging around to doing stuff. Like working. Or preparing a meal. Or even stopping to put gas in the car. They were good at looking good, that’s about it. None of those guys had any future potential whatsoever.

Your brief relationship with that late night DJ was especially ill advised. He was so lazy he barely spoke, even on the radio. When you dumped him, he barely had enough energy to shrug.

4. Don’t crush on unavailable men.

Maybe you couldn’t help being attracted to the guy at work who said he was in a terrible relationship that would be ending soon. “Soon, I promise.” Maybe it was inevitable that you would have a thing for your friend’s brother, who was home from school only occasionally and appeared unaware of your existence. Maybe you had no control over that dream about your married boss. Your mistake was in indulging those fantasies and pouring psychic energy into them. 

If the odds of getting with a guy are objectively so slim that you can say “It will never happen,” then stop it. Put him in the same category as heroin addicts and ex-cons. Not right for you.

5. Avoid men who like to “go with the flow.” 

No man who ever said that wound up anywhere good, so why did you want to hitch a ride? The guys who knew what they wanted were much better bets, especially when that was you.

6. If you have to ask yourself (or heaven forbid, your girlfriends) whether he likes you, he doesn’t.

The man who likes you and wants you will try to get what he wants. His interest should be present, sincere and have momentum. Every single guy you ever analyzed over drinks or brunch turned out to be a dud. Every single one. All the excuses you made, the justifications you concocted, the rationalizations you invented to explain how his behavior and liking you could coexist were the dating equivalent of a Triple Axel jump.

7. Any guy who gives you attitude about having sex should be kicked to the curb immediately.

Sure, guys try for sex. We expect it, we even like it. We also expect them to take no for an answer. Remember that guy Tom who got all pissed off because you wouldn’t have sex on the second date and threatened not to drive you home? He later apologized and you wound up dating him all summer, but you never did have sex with him. He ruined it. 

And the guys who acted like you owed them sex? How about the ones who acted like you’d be a very lucky girl to get a piece of that?

Never date a guy who won’t respect  you in the morning if you don’t have sex.

8. Never, ever expect casual sex to be good sex. 

There are all kinds of reasons people have casual sex. If they’re bored, it can be a distraction. If they’re on the rebound, it can fulfill a revenge fantasy. It can make you feel hot for a little while if the guy has very high status.  

But remember you thought you would actually have good sex with someone you didn’t know? And then he had no idea that you loved being kissed that certain way on your neck, that being touched on your lower back makes you shiver, that his tongue should move that certain way, not quite the same on the left as on the right? 

Remember the first time you saw an uncut penis and had no idea what to do with that? Remember the guy who screamed? You were afraid the people in the next apartment might call the police. And how creepy it was to see the O face of someone you didn’t even know? 

Remember how later, when you were in love, your feelings played a huge role and the sex was mind-blowing? Remember how much easier it was to let go and be crazy because you knew and trusted one another?

Casual sex orgasms were more like blips, weren’t they? Remember that.

9. Never stay with a guy out of pity, guilt or obligation.

The minute you don’t like the sound of his breathing, it’s over. Once the lust subsides a bit, you begin to really see what a person is made of. You notice a lot more because reality is replacing your idealization of that person. Once in a very great while – perhaps just once in life – the lust leads to falling in love and great, lasting attachment. More often than not, you realize you got some things wrong in your initial analysis. Whether it’s you, or him, the truth is you are not compatible. When this begins to dawn on you, you notice trivial things as faults. 

Remember that time you couldn’t stand the sound of Jack’s breathing? You sat there in the car, knowing that he could not stop breathing, that there was nothing wrong with his breathing, but that you didn’t like his deep sighs, and that that meant you were absolutely, most assuredly not going to fall in love with him? 

When that happens, you need to bail. You wanted to be a good and loyal person, and to reward Jack for being a good and loyal person. The trouble is, that doesn’t work. Your increasing revulsion and resentment led to Jack’s feeling baffled and rejected. Don’t ever prolong a relationship once you know it’s over. 

10. You’ll never get closure. 

How often did you ask the reason why? Usually, he didn’t know the reason why, and if he did the chances of his telling you the truth, e.g. “I don’t like the sound of your breathing,” were slim. 

Bad stuff happens, and we don’t know why. It’s true in relationships. If he says he’s going back to his ex, we ask why. When he says it’s because she’s hotter, we ask why. Because I like blonde hair. Why? Because my first crush had blonde hair. Why? And so it goes, on and on forever. 

No one really knows why. Embrace the finality and accept the uncertainty. We were never promised any answers. Love is a mystery.

11. Don’t fret.

You’ll be amazed at how well everything will work out. Wait till you see your family! Make good choices, do your best, keep it honest. 

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.”

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  • http://loveashley.net Ashley

    If I could “like” this article 10 times over, I would. Hell, I’d make love to it.

  • Marge

    Hi,
    I have a doubt here in number 4 “unavailable men”. My situation is this:
    Im Spanish, living currently in France, but just until end April. He is Spanish, currently working in Germany, without a return date. I like him so much, we’ve known each other since high school (now we’re both 24) and this New Years Eve, we kissed, and then it was over cause we had both to return to our adopting countries. He told me “I’ll see you in summer”. I dont know if he really meant it, or if it was just a good bye (cause I think he liked me and that’s why we kissed). Also, given our situation, would you consider him an “unavailable man”, or still chances for something to happen?

    Thanks for your answer, and for your blog in general!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Marge

      I was not referring to geography when I used the word unavailable. While that is a challenge, people do work it out. I meant emotionally unavailable due to lack of interest, prior commitment or even just an aversion to relationships.

      It sounds like you two are definitely attracted to one another, but why wait till summer? Perhaps you can’t see him now, but you can certainly be in touch and build the beginnings of a relationship. One regular commenter here, Hope, got quite serious with her husband via online talking at first. Then they arranged to meet. I encourage you to not be shy about contacting him!

  • JP

    “Also, given our situation, would you consider him an “unavailable man”, or still chances for something to happen?”

    Hi, Marge!

    Glad you asked regarding the geography element.

    In your current situation, given that you are living in a European country and are from Europe, we first need to consider the current geopolitical implications of the entire EU project with respect to our current position on the Great Power Saeculum.

    At this time, the entire EU system may only be meta-stable, meaning that there is at least a possibility that the entire system will collapse into competing nation states and once again wage war on each other.

    If Spain, Germany, and France remain allies during this potentiality, then from a geopolitical standpoint, your possible relationship should be safe.

    If however, the three countries end up on opposite sides as during the Napoleonic Wars, WWI, and WWII, your relationship could be in jeopardy merely from the fact that you are on opposite sides in a war zone.

    Fortunately, this risk is low at the moment. However, if you choose to pursue this long distance relationship, you will need to continue to monitor the EU internal political and economic system to make sure that the metastailibty is preserved as long as you remain in an LDR.

    Hope this helps!

  • DC Phil

    The one thing I can add here is summed up in one word: realism. Unfortunately, few of us in our 20s are infused with sufficient amounts of realism in order to make better dating choices.

    Riffing on this . . .

    1. Yes, you have to go out and meet people. They usually won’t come to you, and guys usually won’t proceed in seeking out a LTR with you if you don’t put in the effort to let him know that you’re available and seeking the same thing. Yes, you might get hurt by a player, but it’s up to you to learn how to spot these guys so that they don’t take you for a ride.

    Ditch the princess fantasies that the prince will come one day. They’re just that . . . fantasies.

    2. I think it’s inevitable that you, the girl, will crush on unavailable men. Those of us who have been reading blogs like this (Manosphere and Manosphere-related) know that this is congenital to women. Liking “bad boys” and the “unavailable,” in other words. Not necessarily your fault because it’s the attraction mechanism at work. The key is to understand this (even if only as an “as if” proposition), learn about it, acknowledge it, and take steps to circumvent it if it happens. Put another way, ‘gina tingles do not equate to the feelings for a successful LTR.

    As I said, be realistic. The smarter men out there are usually realistic because they risk rejection all the time. If you dated more like a man, maybe you’d get different results.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @DC Phil

      +1 to your whole comment. It is about realism, and many young women, in additional to being emotional, are naive and unjustifiably optimistic.

  • Passer_By

    My version:

    Chicks did jerks. Especially young chicks. Accept it, get over it, and act accordingly (within reason).

    You’re not a bad guy for expecting sexual needs to met in a relationship, even if she’s religious. If that’s not for her, you’re not a bad guy if you just move on.

    Jerk off before you go on a date (for some reason other guys knew this, I never did until I watched “Something About Mary”).

    If pretty much the hottest woman you’ve ever met in real life is across the table at lunch and lets her shoe/sandle come off so she can playfully grab your leg hairs with her toes while smiling – she’s probably flirting with you. Oh, and if she showed up for work that day wearing a jaw-dropping knit dress that hugged every curve, she’s probably in her fertile/horny period. You might want to clue-in and not pass that one up, bub.

    Oh, and STAND UP STRAIGHT, DAMMIT!!!

  • The CronoLink

    I’m not sure #9 is good advice. (And what unmarried woman stays with a man out of pity/guilt/obligation? Never heard or seen such thing.)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I’m not sure #9 is good advice. (And what unmarried woman stays with a man out of pity/guilt/obligation? Never heard or seen such thing.)

      Oof. Many. Women stay with boyfriends long after they lose attraction for them all the time. It’s comfortable, they share a friend group, he’s a great guy, it would hurt him so much, etc. I’ve done it. Most women I know have done it. It feels so mean to dump a good guy. Also, some women do it because they don’t want to be single again. They’ll spin their wheels rather than go back on the market. At some point, it will blow up or some new guy will enter the picture, and then they have no problem dumping the boyfriend. But I wasn’t addressing them, as I never did that.

  • K.

    @The CronoLink

    I’ve done it. That’s how my last relationship ended. I wasn’t attracted to him anymore, but he was such a good guy and we had fun together. I felt I owed it to him to stick it out because he had taken such good care of me, was so attentive, etc.

    It’s an awful situation to be in. He could feel me pulling away, particularly my growing disinterest in sex. Which led to bitterness on his part and lots of ugliness from both of us.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @K.

      Thanks for sharing that honest comment.

  • JP

    “Oof. Many. Women stay with boyfriends long after they lose attraction for them all the time.”

    It’s really fun when it happens during a marriage.

  • http://www.decoybetty.com Deidre

    I twice stayed with a guy longer than was probably good for either of us because he was a nice a guy and that’s all I had ever wanted was to have a nice guy like me! And it felt cruel to then realise just because he was nice and lovely and treated me with love that I didn’t feel the same.

    I’m still in my twenties, but I’m happily married and I think I would tell younger me if you’re questioning and unsure – bail. It’s easy when it’s right. It’s easy because you know you can do something silly (like start crying while food shopping) and he’ll love you anyway.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Deidre

      It’s easy when it’s right. It’s easy because you know you can do something silly (like start crying while food shopping) and he’ll love you anyway.

      Shoot! I should have included “it’s easy when it’s right.” It’s really the positive flipside of “if you have to wonder…”

      In my experience, it was very easy once I got together with my husband, and that is the only relationship that has ever been easy. I’d go so far as to say that if it’s easy, and you can really be yourself and cry at the supermarket, this is probably THE relationship.

      A woman told me yesterday that she is in the first relationship in her entire life where she’s willing to let a man see her without makeup. (I know you don’t wear makeup, but you know what I mean.) Her bf told her he finds her beautiful without it, and while I’m sure she still will wear makeup every day, she is grateful that she can be herself and he will still love her.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    I summarize this entire thread in five words:

    Men should not be nice.

    Enjoy reading the rest of the comments.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mr. Nervous Toes

      I summarize this entire thread in five words:

      Men should not be nice.

      Enjoy reading the rest of the comments.

      Can you explain what you mean? I’m perplexed by this comment.

  • Andy

    If you are a slutty slut slut slut, expect to be treated like a slutty slut slut slut.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If you are a slutty slut slut slut, expect to be treated like a slutty slut slut slut.

      And baffled by this comment as well. Is there a full moon?

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    Susan,

    I’m just predicting the predictable path the comments will likely take when we have women start off by talking about how they lost attraction to men they were in relationships with. Many men have been victims of this (me too) so I’m anticipating angst arising. I’m being a cynical grouch.

    Actually they might not since it’s a weekend. I’m working though.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mr. Nervous Toes

      I’m just predicting the predictable path the comments will likely take when we have women start off by talking about how they lost attraction to men they were in relationships with.

      Dammit, have I just stepped in it again? FWIW, I know men have the same experience. I have recently spoken with two different guys in their late 20s who have been living with women for 5+ years and know they want out, but don’t know how to do it. They know the women will be super bummed, but they want to get back out there and date new people. (Big lesson there about living with someone without being engaged.)

      I think it’s a compatibility issue. Hopefully, we will only take the plunge once, so it stands to reason that all prior relationships will have ended.

      I had my own disappointments, which is what the closure point was about. People try relationships, they think there’s potential, and for whatever reason, they don’t fall in love. It sucks, but it happens, and it’s a feature not a bug because you do not want to marry that person.

  • JP

    “I have recently spoken with two different guys in their late 20s who have been living with women for 5+ years and know they want out, but don’t know how to do it. They know the women will be super bummed, but they want to get back out there and date new people. (Big lesson there about living with someone without being engaged.)”

    Lots of marriages end this way, though.

    Recent example here is the wife got tired of the husband and left (with one of my daughter’s friends)

    So, in these cases, they were essentially “married” for 5 years and divorced. They are effective divorces.

  • Mike M.

    Susan, I’d like to add one more:

    Be willing to date people who don’t live Right Next Door. It’s one of the biggest problems I’ve seen.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mike M.

      Susan, I’d like to add one more:

      Be willing to date people who don’t live Right Next Door. It’s one of the biggest problems I’ve seen.

      I’m interested to hear more about this. Are you talking about long-distance relationships? My sense among college kids is that it is the males who generally balk at this when separation occurs during breaks or upon graduation. I’ve always assumed that is because in a LDR the commitment stays the same while the sex lessens dramatically. Do you have a different perspective?

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    Susan wrote:

    I think it’s a compatibility issue. Hopefully, we will only take the plunge once, so it stands to reason that all prior relationships will have ended.

    I had my own disappointments, which is what the closure point was about. People try relationships, they think there’s potential, and for whatever reason, they don’t fall in love. It sucks, but it happens, and it’s a feature not a bug because you do not want to marry that person.

    In my opinion it’s more so a decline in the sexual energy that comes from paring a masculine person with a feminine person. The greater the separation of masculine and feminine, the more energy in the relationship and the hotter the sex. However, if each person doesn’t implicitly understand and effect their role, you have the potential for a lot of drama because of all the energy flowing about. With all the gender confusion in our culture, the drama problem is amplified.

    There’s a tendency in a relationship for each partner to gradually slide towards androgyny in an effort to avoid rocking the boat. The result is sexual attraction fizzles and the relationship grinds to a halt. Without sexuality, the emotional brain rebels. Hence you can’t stand an absolutely trivial detail about someone, like breathing.

    Most of my relationships end in fire and tears though. I’m trying to think of a girlfriend I’m still on speaking terms with. Drawing a blank.

  • http://uncabob.blogspot.com/ Bob

    “Some of the guys you liked the most never had a clue until years later.”

    I’ve had at least half-a-dozen women tell me they had crushes on me in college. I never had a clue.

    One told me, “It was obvious.” I answered, “If it was obvious why didn’t I notice it?” She had no answer to that.

  • JP

    “Most of my relationships end in fire and tears though. I’m trying to think of a girlfriend I’m still on speaking terms with. Drawing a blank.”

    If I didn’t talk to my college ex-girlfriend, I probably wouldn’t be talking to anybody from college.

    Although this is a benefit to dating people you weren’t really interested in as girlfriends.

    There’s no risk when you are married that you would ever do anything with them because you didn’t really want to do anything with them in the first place.

  • JP

    “Be willing to date people who don’t live Right Next Door. It’s one of the biggest problems I’ve seen.”

    Don’t listen to him! My father somehow ended up dating his next door neighbor.

    Unlike his last wife and his last girlfriend, she seems both sane and stable.

  • Tasmin

    “FWIW, I know men have the same experience. ”

    Yup. It happened to me ~8 years in. Took her 2 more to find the courage to pull the plug. The catalyst, which by definition wasn’t a catalyst, but I like the word, was her falling for a business associate with a few more years on me and a whole lot more status. But he’s irrelevant really. If not him, it would have been someone else, or maybe just on her own. If anything, he probably saved me from an even more protracted and miserable extrication.

    I couldn’t imagine how she could live a lie for so long until a couple of years later I lost attraction for a woman I had been dating. Its easier when the other person cheats or you discover deal-breakers. Its really hard when two good people who have shared good times and are attracted but not quite enough and fizzle out. And this almost never happens under some well-timed mutual accord. Someone is always more invested and it is always bad timing. It feels counterintuitive, but the best thing we can do for that other person is to end it NOW.

    There is no such thing as a soft landing when you are on the receiving end and any attempts to make it so almost always complicate and prolong the situation well beyond its time of death. Nobody wants to be that drooling veggie on life support. You may feel inclined to do it to assuage your guilt, but that is selfish. Pull the plug. Those last two years with a woman that had lost her love/attraction for me were far more costly than the actual breakup and what followed. Losing attraction can lead to losing respect and then it can get really ugly.

    As for closure, the only real closure we get is what we give to ourselves. We can never truly know the how and why of the other person, but we have to close that door before we can fully open the next. Move the hell on. Burn stuff if you have to. Delete the number. Good things rarely come from old flames that you just won’t put out. You end up missing out in the long run. This doesn’t mean jump on the next train, but it does mean let it die, mourn, and then move on with your life. Don’t for a moment think you are going to be the exception and live out one of those horrible romcom storylines. NFW.

    As corny as it sounds, the heart knows more than we give credit. That gut/heart sense is a pretty good compass. Listen to it. That doesn’t mean shutting off everything else, but your gut/heart will often give you as many signs to read as the other person. And sometimes the those things about the other person you suddenly find intolerable might just be about you.

    We can be quite good at taking our guilt or anxiety or frustration – the deep down stuff that our heart was trying to avoid early on, and project that onto the other person. E.g. It is not HIS breathing, it is your fear and/or guilt. You won’t listen to your heart, fine. But it will take it up a notch and all of the sudden his pigeon-toed gait that used to be kinda cute now makes you want to poke your eyes out with a rusty coat hanger.

    Looking back on those situations, I can almost always point to a time earlier on when I buried those signs from my heart/gut. Tip: they almost never stay buried unless you are willing to put part of your soul in that grave too. Tip: only do that if you like feeling “dead inside”.

    So I will add #12. Take some time to know yourself and what you are willing to invest, willing to give and share with another human being. Don’t get trapped in the plug-and-play mentality. Be ready to GIVE.

    As they say, the one common variable in all of our relationships is us. We can learn a lot about ourselves through relationships, but I have found that it helps to have a pretty good head start going in.

    And the eyes. Yes! When I lost attraction for her, I found it difficult to look her deeply in her eyes. It felt like I was lying to her. If he’s not looking you in the eyes (or vice versa), especially during intimacy: red flag. Dead man walkin.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tasmin

      Don’t for a moment think you are going to be the exception and live out one of those horrible romcom storylines. NFW.

      I think every woman I have ever known has held out this sort of hope in a bad relationship. I’ve done it. I’ve even gone to the movies by myself and found the story inspiring and hopeful, only to wait for my version of the ending that never materialized. It’s very easy to get stuck wishing and hoping and it obviously prevents moving to the critical step of acceptance. Once I got to acceptance, then I could find books or movies that allowed me to wallow in pain and self-pity, which was progress, believe it or not.

      As corny as it sounds, the heart knows more than we give credit. That gut/heart sense is a pretty good compass. Listen to it. That doesn’t mean shutting off everything else, but your gut/heart will often give you as many signs to read as the other person.

      I agree. Most of the mistakes we make – the bad judgment calls – involve ignoring what our gut is telling us. A while back a young woman was dating a guy and falling for him, but there was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. I could see that her gut was in constant turmoil, but she kept saying, “I know in my gut he’s a good man, I think he’s the one.” That was hope and wish fulfillment, not her gut speaking at all. A few months later she cannot believe she endured all that wondering and worrying and still said it felt right.

      E.g. It is not HIS breathing, it is your fear and/or guilt.

      Absolutely. In that case, I could not help but see that my feelings were completely unreasonable and ridiculous. Begrudging someone’s breathing, as if he could or should change something. I knew it was my problem, not his, and that the problem was simply that I knew I was not going to fall in love with him at the same time he was expressing that he was falling. I felt panicked, a combination of fear and guilt.

      Be ready to GIVE.

      No one wants to do this unconditionally. We’re all afraid of being chumps. But the best relationships (and yes, the best sex) can only happen if we take the leap and go all in. At least, that’s my experience.

      Being guarded with a long-term partner sounds like hell on earth to me.

  • Mike M.

    @JP:

    No, DO listen to me. I’ve seen too many really high-quality men left scraping for dates because they didn’t live in the right location. Women seem to have a search radius of 20 miles or so.

    Practical example: Go 70 miles SE from Washington DC and you will find Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Headquarters of the Naval Air Systems Command, the Navy’s primary flight test facility to boot. It employs nearly 20,000 people directly, plus another 10,000 people selling high-tech hardware to the Navy. 30,000 highly paid STEM professionals. First-rate material for LTR/marriage.

    It is also considered the worst assignment in the entire United States for a single man. Because that workforce is 90% male – and makes up more than one-quarter of the entire adult population. If a man wants a date, he can try driving 70 miles to DC and go bar-hopping…or online dating.

    Online dating is low-probability, but you should be able to make it up in volume. Except that if you are living 70 miles down the road, women aren’t interested. They want Mr. Perfect – Right Next Door.

    A woman willing to concede on the Right Next Door issue could do quite well for herself.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mike M

      Except that if you are living 70 miles down the road, women aren’t interested. They want Mr. Perfect – Right Next Door.

      Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! The thing I can imagine is that a woman who lives in DC doesn’t want to regularly drive that 70 miles for dates and meetups. She’s in the better location. A good strategy might be to meet him halfway for some period of time, or take turns, and if the relationship takes hold, see if he’s willing to spend weekends at her place, that kind of thing.

      Personally, the idea of seeing someone on the weekends while being able to do my own thing during the week would appeal to me, but I have always tended to be a bit more independent.

  • JP

    “No, DO listen to me. I’ve seen too many really high-quality men left scraping for dates because they didn’t live in the right location. Women seem to have a search radius of 20 miles or so.”

    I was basically joking.

    I didn’t have any trouble at 150 miles, though back in the day. YMMV.

  • JP

    There’s nothing quite like corresponding with insurance companies at midnight on a Friday.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    In spite of everything I wouldn’t had changed any advice. I had the chance to visit USA when I was 17. I might had meet a nice guy and marry him but then I wouldn’t had made my husband. I can’t imagine being married to anyone else so for me all the past hurt it was worth it (and I’m aware how stupid and silly this is no need to tell me) my advice to my young self?
    “Don’t run that night” (Got a scar on my knee)
    “Don’t watch Smallville” (It will break your heart, many, many times)
    I think I’m good after that. I’m actually more content with my life than I though…who would had guessed? :)

  • Pixie

    @Mike M.

    I’m thinking of moving into the DC area within the next few years…thanks for the tip. ;)

  • quietman

    This post makes me feel compelled to share my situation.

    I’m mid 20s. I’ve been dating a girl for 6 months (my longest relationship yet). We get along very well, and she likes me and treats me well. Unfortunately I slowly came to realize that I am fairly unlikely to fall in love with her due to a number of small reasons, each of which insignificant, but significant when taken as a whole. Until I read this post, I was planning to keep dating her and was seriously considering the ultimate commitment, despite not being in love. If I am ruthlessly honest, one of the main reasons is my unusually strong anxiety around girls in informal settings, which makes dating tough (when I was single, managed to get only one date each year, and this includes online), even though I am attractive in many other aspects that include appearance and career. My difficulty of getting dates caused me to compromise too much, and is the reason I am in this situation in the first place.

    What does the crowd think?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @quietman

      Until I read this post, I was planning to keep dating her and was seriously considering the ultimate commitment, despite not being in love.

      Don’t do it! You need to break up with her. I understand that you dread getting back on the market but think about it. Is that fair to her? Have you told her you will never be in love with her? She has the right to know the true conditions of the relationship and any commitment that comes out of it.

      I can also assure you that this kind of “settling” will lead to strong resentment and aversion on your part over time. You will loathe her. She will of course sense your ambivalence and indifference and will feel rejected and worthless over time.

      You could ruin two lives by continuing this relationship and marrying this woman. Suck it up, take responsibility for your feelings, and use what you learned to attract someone new. You’ve done it once, you can do it again.

  • doomwolf

    I was in a similar situation back in April. My advice – if you have to try and convince yourself that the relationship is a good idea, it’s not. Bail sooner than latter, as it will only get harder/feel worse the longer you wait.

    This is a personal opinion, which people are free to disagree with, but I feel that if you have realized/come to the conclusion that a relationship is not going to work, you have a moral obligation to end it ASAP so that the other person can move on and find someone else (and, obviously, the sooner it ends the sooner you can be back on the market).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @doomwolf

      I feel that if you have realized/come to the conclusion that a relationship is not going to work, you have a moral obligation to end it ASAP so that the other person can move on and find someone else

      I agree with you, thanks for focusing on the ethical point. It is very unfair to keep someone else in a state of dread and bafflement. The “rip off the Band Aid” analogy works well here. You are never doing a kindness by staying with someone who doesn’t turn you on anymore.

      I’ve seen some people argue that even in this kind of situation, you are ethically bound to go ahead and marry the person! What torture for everyone involved! I cannot imagine willingly marrying someone who admitted they just weren’t that into me anymore.

  • chris

    @ Passer_by

    “Jerk off before you go on a date (for some reason other guys knew this, I never did until I watched “Something About Mary”).”

    Men shouldn’t masturbate. It lowers testosterone and hence saps a man of his virility. If you don’t believe me, just take the 30 day no fap challange and see of your behaviour changes.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11760788
    Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence.

    I also suggest that men not watch pornography for the same reason.
    See;
    http://yourbrainonporn.com/

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Chris

      I read on one blog that women are more viscerally attracted to men with full testicles, to put in bluntly. I think it changes your scent, and no doubt changes your behavior on a date as well. I have no idea if this is true, but it sounds reasonable that we can sniff out strong swimmers.

  • szopen

    Hmm, so my advice to my son, based on comments here, Mrs Susan Walsh post and everything till now, will be…
    1) Don’t be too nice.
    2) Don’t be too eager.
    3) Do not pedestalize girls
    4) Don’t be lazy – both for the reason it may be red flag for the girls you like. In addition, do not assume that your luck and intelligence will always save you (assuming you will be as lucky bastard as I was)

  • Tilikum

    Do not, repeat, do not pedestalize girls. Learn to love them for what they are, not what you want them to be. They can’t be that. That type of dedication occurs in fraternity only.

    Learn to love them in spite of their flaws, don’t put them on the spot and make them choose, and no matter what she does, how bad she acts, how much crap she tosses you, never never never give an inch when her amygdala is in hijack (google it). Just walk away and ignore her no matter what she says. Do this with girls and children, be happy forever.

    Never concede the frame. give her what she really needs.

  • taterearl

    I would tell my young self the same thing about women.

    Don’t be nice.
    Don’t put them on the pedestal.
    Accept them for what they are.
    You are the leader..and will always be the leader. Never give up the frame.
    Don’t succumb to her emotions…always stay with yours.
    Be selfish…do what you want to do. If she wants to come along she will.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Be selfish…do what you want to do. If she wants to come along she will.

      Interesting, this is the same as BroHamlet saying that instead of a date, he’ll suggest a woman come along to something he’s interested in.

      Honestly, I don’t know how to interpret this. This could mean Superbowl tickets (hell yeah!) or watching you at the archery range (no thanks). I can understand why men want to pursue their own interests, but find it odd that you would expect a woman to engage in an activity without any regard for what she might be interested in.

      Will you be willing to watch her Zumba class once the relationship takes hold?

      It strikes me as a very agentic, take it or leave it strategy. Not saying it can’t work, but you’re filtering out all but the most docile women, which may be exactly your goal.

  • Iggles

    In my experience, it was very easy once I got together with my husband, and that is the only relationship that has ever been easy. I’d go so far as to say that if it’s easy, and you can really be yourself and cry at the supermarket, this is probably THE relationship.

    This really resonated with me, Susan. I can definitely say yes. :)

  • JP

    “If I am ruthlessly honest, one of the main reasons is my unusually strong anxiety around girls in informal settings, which makes dating tough (when I was single, managed to get only one date each year, and this includes online), even though I am attractive in many other aspects that include appearance and career. My difficulty of getting dates caused me to compromise too much, and is the reason I am in this situation in the first place.

    What does the crowd think?”

    You need to deal with your girl anxiety, which appears to be the source of your problem.

  • Marge

    Thank you very much for your response! The only thing that prevents me to contact him (we both have fb AND skype) is the thought that if he was interested, he will contact me too. I have the feeling that if he does not make the effort it’s because he is not that interested, and so, neither should be I. Am I completely wrong or there’s still someone who agrees? (Also, the fact I think he might not be interested it’s not me, but he not wanting to begin anything in the distance). Answers are very appreciated!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Marge

      The only thing that prevents me to contact him (we both have fb AND skype) is the thought that if he was interested, he will contact me too. I have the feeling that if he does not make the effort it’s because he is not that interested, and so, neither should be I.

      Imagine that he is thinking the exact same thing! Why not be the one to reach out first? You have nothing to lose. If he is responsive, that can move the relationship forward. If he is not, well then you won’t spend from now till summer wondering if he likes you, because you’ll have your answer in his indifference.

      You’re not asking him to become a couple long distance. You’re simply initiating a “friendship with potential.” That’s how I would look at it. Do it! Then report back. :)

  • JP

    “Most of the mistakes we make – the bad judgment calls – involve ignoring what our gut is telling us. A while back a young woman was dating a guy and falling for him, but there was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. I could see that her gut was in constant turmoil, but she kept saying, “I know in my gut he’s a good man, I think he’s the one.” That was hope and wish fulfillment, not her gut speaking at all.”

    It took me a long time in life to figure that out.

    Generally, if my gut was saying something, I would take out a shotgun, point it at my gut and tell it that I never wanted to hear a word from it again.

    However, that’s when I was trying to live life from a pure logic/rationality perspective and shut down anything related to the fact that I was actually human (meaning that feelings are irrelevant to life)

    I don’t recommend my approach.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Generally, if my gut was saying something, I would take out a shotgun, point it at my gut and tell it that I never wanted to hear a word from it again.

      Haha, yes, our gut can be our harshest critic, our nagging conscience and our best truth teller. All in all a major buzzkill most of the time.

  • JP

    “I’ve seen some people argue that even in this kind of situation, you are ethically bound to go ahead and marry the person! What torture for everyone involved! I cannot imagine willingly marrying someone who admitted they just weren’t that into me anymore.”

    Love isn’t necessary for marriage (see history for details).

    Love also isn’t sufficient, by itself, to make a marriage work (see history for details).

    It all depends on your view of the moral order when making these decisions.

  • JP

    “Haha, yes, our gut can be our harshest critic, our nagging conscience and our best truth teller. All in all a major buzzkill most of the time.”

    Generally, it was because my gut and my conscience were on different sides.

    So, do what you are “supposed” to do regardless of the personal emotional cost was kind of what I was looking at.

  • doomwolf

    @ JP #47

    Your point about marriage not being love based throughout most of history is correct, but the flip side of that is that societies where arranged marriages take place tend to have strict/no divorce laws. Also, there are different societal expectations/norms around marriage that make ‘not being married to someone you love’ more normal.

    I don’t know the source of the stat, but supposedly marriages have roughly a 50% chance of being happy whether they are picked by the couple, or arranged by the family for the couple.

  • JP

    @DoomWolf:

    I was actually kind of riffing on Stuart’s post today, where he points to the kind of common-sense problems we see today.

    “In America, we are so enamored with youthful exuberance and autonomy that we, as a culture, prefer a hands-off approach to mating. We have even made a fetish out of making your own mistakes.

    American parents today often refuse to interfere with youthful mating rituals. At times, they even refuse to offer an opinion.

    Usually, they live to regret their reticence.

    Why the silence? Most parents of rebellious adolescents know only too well that if they offer an opinion their children are likely to do just the opposite, as a point of youthful pride.

    Some young people make it a point of pride to marry someone they know their parents would never accept.

    American youth have been brought up to distrust and to defy authority. They are hypersensitive to any advice that might threaten their illusion of autonomy and independence.

    Allowing young people independence has produced a marriage market that borders on anarchy.”

    http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-we-can-learn-from-arranged-marriage.html

  • Mike M.

    @Susan (40)
    I was talking about dating search radii, not long-distance. My observation has been that a substantial number of women are not terribly interested in a man who lives more than a half-hour away.

    It’s a bigger issue if one or both has a solid career.

    Meeting halfway or trading off doing the trip is fine – but frequently not on offer.

  • JP

    “Meeting halfway or trading off doing the trip is fine – but frequently not on offer.”

    In that case, the guy needs to be offering to go to DC if he wants the relationship and targeting burnt out fifth year legal associates who want a career change.

    Why would you meet halfway, when you want to be near DC?

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Young ADBG,

    I do not want to give you any dating advice. Shortly after you turn 19, you will discover Roissy, and it will set you on a long path towards becoming a relationship-worthy man. I don’t want to interfere with that journey: you’ll come out of it a pretty strong guy and many women will want to date you. You are good at screening out girls, almost too good: no girls will meet your standards for YEARS.

    When you will find a girl that meets your standards, it will be because your standards have changed. The girl you are dating at 25 does not much about politics, while you talk about it non-stop, and she barely knows who fought WWII, but that’s okay. She’ll learn, and the traits that you admire most about her don’t have to do with her knowledge (or lack thereof) of the Luftwaffe Order of Battle during the Battle of Britain.

    You won’t have much of a social life during college. I am sorry, ADBG, I really am. At this stage of your life, you are not very popular, and I know you are thinking that college is somehow going to liberate you from high school cliques, and open a whole new world of knowledge for you.

    It won’t happen. They’re still just as superficial as they are in high school, even MORE so, and they are even less intelligent. This is because all of your friends are going to smart-people schools, like Northwestern, and you are going to a second-tier state college, where the average IQ is much lower.

    You will hurt a lot when you realize college doesn’t meet your expectations. A lot. I am sorry. No one will be able to help you. No one will even want to help you: your college years will be your most miserable in your entire life, you will cry every day on the train, and no one, not a single person in the entire city of Chicago, will lift a single finger to help you.

    You will think you have “friends.” They won’t think much of you, unfortunately, and you will never see those people again once college ends.
    Your best friend will like you, but he will be unable to help you because he is still growing as a person himself. Your only real support, as limited as it will be, will be online. You will be forced to get your socialization needs met through online message boards.

    This is a journey you will walk alone.

    But you will persevere.

    You will come out of this journey as a strong man, with many interests. You will have greater self-awareness than most people your age, most people TWICE your age. You will know what matters most. You will know what kind of friendship you want, what kind of relationship you want, what kind of job will make you happy.

    You will have few friends and little social life, but you will read. Incessantly. By the way, can you clean your shit? You have no idea how many books you have. I have to measure them by cubic foot, but I estimate you will read close to 300 books in college, and I’m not talking “Twilight.” Wait, you don’t know what that is yet. Sorry in advance…

    You will read even more online. At your peak, you will be following close to 100 blogs. You will absorb more information and learn more than even the smartest men of the 19th century, and you will learn it at a breath-taking pace. Your professors will fawn over you in college, and you will like it, but the most important value will come later, when you KNOW how to learn, how to APPLY it, how to TEACH it to other people and how to MANAGE yourself and your time.

    By the time you are 25, you will have a great deal figured out, far more than most people your age, and in part that will be because you have no social life in the near future. You will be meeting and discussing things with much smarter people than you can at college, and you will be discussing free of PC-ness and relatively free of biasedness.

    You will deal with issues in a far more mature manner than your parents or your GF’s parents or even your level-headed sister, who have passive-aggressive traits that seep into EVERYTHING they do, and prevent problems from actually being solved. You will be assertive, and you will be smart about it, and you will get what you want.

    I know you won’t believe me. You have been told, for a long time, that college is the best time of your life. You will believe it, and as you reach for the razor blades, you will wonder how you can possibly manage the stresses of adult-hood, on top of all the emotional crap you already have to deal with it. You will honestly believe this is the best your life gets and you will NEVER be happy.

    It will get better.

    You keep a journal at work now. It’s one of the stress management tools you have, now that you are 25 and you know how to handle yourself. Your bosses don’t mind (yet), they love you because you get work done.

    In that journal, you give your mood a 1-10 ranking.

    You will not believe me that your average rating is over 8 and your minimum rating for months is only a 7. For the past 6 months, your lowest was a 3, one day, for a few hours.

    You will have tough days, an I am sure there are more coming in the future. But, you will not be this depressed. God willing, you will never have weeks or even months at a time where “3” seems like a blessing, ever again.

    Other people have to work on their relationship skills or whatever. You’ll be fine there, ADBG, you’ll figure it out. I got a lot of faith in you.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go work out.

    Yours,
    Big ADBG

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @ADBG

      I love your letter to your young self. What an inspiration to any guys (and girls too) reading here!

  • JP

    @ADBG:

    “Young ADBG,”

    Fascinating.

  • Sassy6519

    Is that a picture of you Susan? If so, I totally love your look back then. Those shorts are awesome.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Is that a picture of you Susan? If so, I totally love your look back then. Those shorts are awesome.

      Haha, no, but even my daughter thought that! It’s pretty close to what I looked like in 1971.

  • Oekedulleke

    Not one piece of advice about what the woman should bring to the table. Rather the opposite in fact with number 9. No need to talk about the relationship, or work on it, just dump him right then and there when the going gets tough and you fall out of love.

    What men should take away from this: hypergamy and briffault’s law are real. Learn it.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Oekedulleke

      Not one piece of advice about what the woman should bring to the table.

      Since I always brought a great deal to the table, it was not necessary to advise Young Susan to do that. Young Susan had that down.

      Rather the opposite in fact with number 9. No need to talk about the relationship, or work on it, just dump him right then and there when the going gets tough and you fall out of love.

      You misread. This happened when I realized I was not ever going to fall in love with that man. There was not “tough going.” We were in the phase that occurs between lust/infatuation and limerence. I did not enter limerence. Instead, my infatuation petered out. Why? Because he was not the right man for me. I would not meet that man for several years yet.

  • Richard Aubrey

    I think the mention of maintaining your own interests and the woman will, or will not, come along is about your life in general. Have a life which suits you, push your envelope, and you’ll be more attractive to women in general than if your skill is knowing the NCIS plotlines.
    I don’t think the advice is to invariably invite a woman to some event you like to do and which interests her not at all. Sometimes.
    But, actually, to live your own life and find someone who wants to go with you on it.
    Not sure that advice covers it, but I wanted to say it is more than just an event issue.

  • Pip

    Crazy-quilt hot pants! Wow. My dad said that the 60/70s really were that orange and green. Mining that Harvest Gold and planting that Avocado Green. OK, here’s mine:

    (1) Don’t be nice or bashful to the detriment of your goals.

    (2) A well-lived life alone is a 9 out of 10. A well-lived life with the right match is a 10 out of 10. A well-lived life with the wrong match is impossible and a 3 out of 10 – at best. A 9 out of 10 ain’t bad.

    (3) Plainly state what you want.

    (4) Don’t accept what you don’t want thinking that surrender will eventually lead to getting what you want.

    (5) Be your own director and do exactly what you want to do.

    (6) Don’t be led where you don’t want to go and don’t expect people to be happily led where they don’t want to go.

    Happily, I would be preaching to the choir as 10-years-ago me already knew all of this, if not so clearly. Some women never learn it and they ruin their lives.

  • quietman

    Thanks for the advice Susan. I am afraid you’re right.

  • Tom

    Advice to 20 year old self: Everyone who talks about a “soulmate” is delusional. It is usually an ex post facto rationalization. Do not get married before you are set in your career. Never marry someone you love – better to have them love you. For the love of god, get therapy before you start having a sexual relationship. Finally – understand that everyone (other than me telling you – myself) has a agenda when they give you advice – and that agenda almost NEVER has your best interest at heart.

  • Anon

    @DC Phil (comment #5): “If you dated more like a man, maybe you’d get different results.”

    I’m a woman and I’ve mostly dated like a guy and what’s happened is I end up going out with men who are like the women a lot of advice is written for: needy, dependent etc. Or I end up with men who think I’m just easy and just want sex. Though I admit I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues most of my life, so maybe that’s something to do with it?

    Overall, I’m one heck of a confused 30-something and these days I’m just increasingly sick of it all. I really like Susan’s advice but increasingly I wish I could just be one of those uber self-centered women who marry for money.

  • Iggles

    Advice to 20 year old Iggles:

    Hey there. I’m talking to you from 8 years in the future. All in all, life is going to be pretty good. You won’t be broke anymore. In fact, you’ll make more than you ever thought you would in a handful of years (awesome right?). You’ll grow more independent and gain more self-confidence with yourself in regards to friendships, work, and love. Cherish your time with your friends in your early 20s. You’re going to have a blast with them but time, distance, and feuds will take it’s toll. Work harder to cultivate bonds with people you care about (this includes family). Stop being so worried and scared all the time! Yes, you do measure up so don’t be afraid to open up and show people who you are!

    Now onto relationships. I would advise you to rethink living with your college boyfriend. College =/= the real world. Don’t confuse potential with future achievement! Having a lot of the former doesn’t guarantee that the latter will occur! Have the courage to admit when things aren’t working out. When it’s right, the relationship should have many more good days than bad. Let go with grace and believe you’ll find someone else who is more suited to you.

    It’s okay to be single. Again, it’s okay to be single, so don’t freak out or fear that you’re unlovable because your love life is nonexistent. It’s going to give you time to work on yourself and focus on what makes YOU happy. When you do start dating again, RELAX. You’re not going on a job interview! No, there’s nothing you did to make things fizzle. Sometimes you’re just not a match, so don’t analyze and dwell. Move on! And finally, here’s a little known secret. When you meet the right guy you’ll know. You’ll feel it in your gut. You’ll know he’s into you too and, yes, it’ll be easy (no texts to decode, etc).

    Dude, you’re going to be fine ;)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I am absolutely loving how people are leaving comments to their young selves! That is awesome!

      @Iggles

      Don’t confuse potential with future achievement! Having a lot of the former doesn’t guarantee that the latter will occur!

      Great advice here. This is hard, though not impossible, to figure out in college but after that, achievement should be tangible.

      And finally, here’s a little known secret. When you meet the right guy you’ll know. You’ll feel it in your gut. You’ll know he’s into you too and, yes, it’ll be easy (no texts to decode, etc).

      Exactly! The Principle of Mutual Interest easily replaces the Principle of Least Interest. When that happens, lock it down.

  • taterearl

    Will you be willing to watch her Zumba class once the relationship takes hold?

    That’s why I don’t like her making decisions for dates. They would bore me to death ;).

    Seriously…women say they want a leader so I come up with stuff to do. I mean one of the worst things a woman can hear is a man saying “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Seriously…women say they want a leader so I come up with stuff to do. I mean one of the worst things a woman can hear is a man saying “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

      I think that’s a good strategy. I have heard women respond very favorably when men make a plan and simply take them along rather than trying to arrive at a plan democratically. Specifically, I mean that they say they liked it that he set the agenda – I think that matters more than the actual activity.

  • taterearl

    I would also tell my younger self much like what ADBG said. You won’t believe how your mood changes from almost constant unhappiness in your early twenties…to near total peace in your late twenties and early thirties.

    I can’t even remember the last time I had a rain cloud over my head for more than a few minutes in the last year.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @taterearl

      I can’t even remember the last time I had a rain cloud over my head for more than a few minutes in the last year.

      That’s a great place to be. I’m not sure I can say that even now, when I feel very fortunate in life. Outlook and attitude are obviously more important than day to day events, excepting real crises, of course.

  • Lokland

    Advice To Lil Lokland

    Go to the gym. Stop eating pizza. Run like theres a t-rex chasing you.
    Stop being such a bitch and go talk to her already. Then cry about how you failed, then do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again etc.

    Don’t every live in a house full of women during college it will mentally disturb you.

    Last, that 20 year old bottle of Indonesian booze in your parents alcohol cupboard that you’ve been eyeing. Don’t. Just don’t.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Advice to Lil Lokland, ROFL.

  • JP

    “I would also tell my younger self much like what ADBG said. You won’t believe how your mood changes from almost constant unhappiness in your early twenties…to near total peace in your late twenties and early thirties.”

    No, I’ve pretty much been in that post-high school unhappy/existential despair/lack of purpose mood since…well my early 20’s.

    So, I’m *always* in my early 20’s.

    Which is why I’m always confused when people say that “life gets better” after your early 20’s.

    Really?

    So my life has been kind of like ADBG’s life.

    Except college never ended, so to speak.

  • Richard Aubrey

    My wife is a retired high school teacher and we recently came across a bunch of senior pictures some of her kids had given her.
    What a bunch of sweet kids. I knew some of them from chaperoning field trips.
    Now I think of them venturing into the SMP and I regret I can’t accompany them, each of them, bearing a large, spiked club.
    Susan, can you print up about a bazillion copies of your advice and airdrop them over high schools or even junior highs?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Richard

      Now I think of them venturing into the SMP and I regret I can’t accompany them, each of them, bearing a large, spiked club.

      The sweet kids are going to have it the hardest. It’s the narcissists and takers that are going to reap the big rewards in the SMP for years after high school.

      If I could have one superpower, it would be a big SMP eject button, where I could just get rid of all those kids and send them to the Land of Dark Triads.

  • doomwolf

    @Lokland #73

    “Last, that 20 year old bottle of Indonesian booze in your parents alcohol cupboard that you’ve been eyeing. Don’t. Just don’t.’

    I’m intrigued, you make it sound like there’s a good story you’re not telling. How bad was it?

  • taterearl

    “Specifically, I mean that they say they liked it that he set the agenda – I think that matters more than the actual activity.”

    Yeah that is was I meant by being selfish. But if she has a good idea for an activity I don’t go into tyrant mode. I like new experiences as much as the next person and am willing to try anything once.

  • Sassy6519

    To young Sassy,

    I know that things seem somewhat bleak. You have no clue about what it takes to make a relationship work, fumbling in the dark for answers that escape you. Things won’t always be like that. I promise.

    There is a lot of work for you to do. You will need to work on yourself first and foremost. You will need to understand that you are not perfect. You have your own baggage that you need to square away before even attempting to accept the baggage of another. You need to understand that your relationship with your father affected you in ways that won’t become apparent to you until you are actually in a relationship with someone. You have the power to change, however. You have the power to not let your parents’ poor choices and mistakes affect the quality of your relationships. You must work hard to not be jaded, cynical, aloof, and cold.

    You will also need to know that the type of men you like often come with baggage that you may not be able to handle. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a situation, especially when your gut is screaming at you to run. Don’t second guess your gut. Whenever you do, you will regret it.

    The type of men you like also require a lot of work to be with. They are choosy. They have pasts that may make you squirm. Can you handle his charming nature, even when it attracts the attention of nearby women? Can you trust that he will be faithful to you? Do you believe that such men can be good fathers? Are you willing to put your trust in a man who may not have as many moral qualms as you do? Don’t be too quick to answer yes. Remember that filtering is your friend. You cannot waste your valuable time in dead end relationships with men that you knew were trouble from the first cocky smile they threw your way. Don’t be afraid to walk. Never be afraid to walk. Your dignity is more important that attraction. Remember that.

    Overall, just keep your chin up and your eyes open. Learn from the mistakes you have made, and strive to not repeat them. You have a bright future ahead of you. Don’t squander it.

    Sassy6519

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Sassy

      I am very moved by your resilience and your determination to have a rewarding relationship despite your experiences with your father. I’m also just so impressed by the way you take responsibility – you have zero victim mentality.

  • http://kaneadvice.wordpress.com K

    Excellent advice overall.

    I take issue with #6 though. Girls often become hypersensitive when they’re really into a guy and thus become unable to accurately identify his feelings towards her e.g. he has a bad week at work and she assumes the negative feelings are directed towards her.
    I’ve seen this with girls who write into me for advice and with female friends. My closest female friend was still unsure if a certain guy was into her when I had already figured he was saving up for an engagement ring. They’re currently engaged.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @K

      Hey, good to see you, it’s been ages! Yeah, #6 is the one that is going to most conflict with Game. I’ve advised many guys here to make the girl wonder a bit – we want to work for it. So this really is dependent on context and degree.

      What I really mean is that if you have continual anxiety, something is off. We all have bad days and weeks, we may withdraw for any number of reasons. But there should be a level of security there in a serious relationship. I’m glad your friends got together, but I can’t imagine that is very common – she wonders if he’s even into her, and he’s saving for an engagement ring? Did he never tell her how he felt before actually proposing marriage?

  • Cooper

    Working draft:

    Dear Cooper,

    Stay headstrong.

  • JP

    @Susan:

    ” We were in the phase that occurs between lust/infatuation and limerence. I did not enter limerence. Instead, my infatuation petered out.”

    What you are describing is not limerance.

    It’s something else, but I’m not quite sure what the word is.

    Limerance generally occurs *before* you have any kind of romantic relationship with the other person.

    It can *cause* relationships to form, but it’s essentially involuntary romantic OCD.

    It’s most certainly not a standard crush or infatuation.

  • http://www.christianfreethought.com/ IrishFarmer

    I’m not a woman, so I can’t comment from that perspective, but #2 (the eyes) is definitely a topic that could get a whole series of posts.

    But I have to stick up for men for a moment.

    Most people aren’t trained to be “told what they needed to know” by a person’s eyes. We have some innate, instinctual ability to do so, but short of being a professional shrink…. In most cases, sure, flat affect is a strong indicator of something as benign as autism to something a little less benign like schizophrenia, psycopathy, or brain damage.

    But the other side of that coin, which is almost certainly a little less crowded, is that our society is still pretending like it’s in survivor mode, at least when it comes to men. We raise boys and men to blunt emotional expression, to cope with physical and psychological pain alone, and to be prepared to sacrifice for others up to and including their lives.

    So, for instance, I think it would be the ultimate insult to ship a man off to a war zone, have him come back with non-physical wounds, only for him to find out that the “thousand yard stare” he acquired as a gift for his sacrifice is a warning sign that tells people (especially women) to stay away.

    It would be detrimental to tell men to control their emotions on behalf of the people they are told to protect (something you even see on PUA and Red Pill sites when they tell you to be the emotional “rock” of the women in your life), only to turn around and tell them that this inability to express themselves is rewarded by withdrawing love.

    80%, perhaps 90% or more, of the time I would agree with you that reading the eyes are important. You’re not wrong about that, but I think a little understanding of how men are still trapped in an outdated and pointless gender role – or rather understanding the men who are in this role – is ALSO important to go along with that.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Irish Farmer

      So, for instance, I think it would be the ultimate insult to ship a man off to a war zone, have him come back with non-physical wounds, only for him to find out that the “thousand yard stare” he acquired as a gift for his sacrifice is a warning sign that tells people (especially women) to stay away.

      Wow, I never even thought of that. I appreciate your pointing this out. I’ve also found the eyes to be the windows of the soul, the one feature that tells the truth even when a person is lying. In fact, a lot of tells about lying have to do with eye movement and expression.

      I hadn’t really thought of men blunting emotional expression using the eyes.

      It would be detrimental to tell men to control their emotions on behalf of the people they are told to protect (something you even see on PUA and Red Pill sites when they tell you to be the emotional “rock” of the women in your life), only to turn around and tell them that this inability to express themselves is rewarded by withdrawing love.

      Yes, I can see the problem here. I can’t help but wonder how this ties into the common female fantasy of winning over the expressionless male – the hardass who does not emote – and get him to declare his undying love. It may be that this reticence in some men, whether induced by trauma or personality, is one of the things that attracts women to these difficult males. (Just thinking aloud here.)

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Thanks for the compliments, Susan and JP. Those years were tough, but I am in a much better shape now, and it feels great.

    @ taterearl

    Yep, there is absolutely zero possibility I would want to go on some sort of stupid Zumba date. My SO has actually asked if I were interested in attending one of her classes. I said that no matter how much disregard I have of traditional gender roles, I still wouldn’t want to attend some Zumba class. Then she said something about how dancing can be fun and manly and then I asked her how many guys were in her class.

    She admitted sheepishly that there were none.

    Yep, sorry, no fucking Zumba. What the fuck is zumba anyways? It sounds like a Harry Potter spell.

    The whole relationship definitely works better when I take the leading role, which is fine because I’m comfortable with it. Particularly amusing is that she is trying to follow me in my new exercise regimen and home reorganization/cleaning. Well, until she tries to do the exercise WITH me, because she can’t really keep up and she is distracting…

    Problems come in when she can’t match my energy level. I’m a pure ball of energy most days and need about 6.5 hours of sleep to function at GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO. My “recharging” consists of reading Tom Wolfe. She can’t keep up with that, so I have to plan accordingly.

    I am thinking a trip to the Botanic Gardens might be a nice winter event, so I am trying to figure out scheduling for that right now

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Yep, there is absolutely zero possibility I would want to go on some sort of stupid Zumba date.

      For the record, that was a joke. I was simply trying to come up with the female equivalent of “instead of a date, I like her to tag along when I do something I’m interested in.”

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Oh, shit, I actually thought I brought up the zumba date. This is literally something I discussed with my SO last week, and I just face-palmed and thought to myself “really?”

    I wouldn’t find the zumba date great, but I might actually tag along with that, depending on how interesting the girl is. I can roll with the punches and the thrill of meeting someone new is fun, plus it’s new and different and not a dinner date.

  • JP

    @ADBG:

    “Thanks for the compliments, Susan and JP. Those years were tough, but I am in a much better shape now, and it feels great.”

    I kind of skipped the step where you figure out what you want to do with life.

    Apparently, the 20’s work best time where you kind of fumble around and figure out who you, what you stand for, what you value in life etc.

    I just pulled a career out of the vending machine, got married, and starting having kids.

  • Charlotte

    Susan, you look absolutely stunning in that photo.

    This is amazing advice. Spot-on.

    I think I need to work on making more of an effort. I need to make it clearer to men that I am open to meeting them and appreciating them, rather than appearing like a cold bitch. And when I do talk to them, being kinder and more excited, genuinely about them if I am interested.

    Speaking of relationship advice, I could use some. I’d love some opinions here.

    When I was in high school, I was very good friends with this guy, we will call him John. I met him because my best friends were twins (one girl, one guy), and I went to an all-girls school with the girl twin and John went to the all-boys school with the guy twin. Anyways, we would all hang out frequently and we texted a ton. He would ask me for advice, blah blah blah. I even went shopping with him to pick out a birthday gift for his girlfriend. It was always platonic, he never made a move. But my guy twin friend would always say how lovely John’s mother thought I was and that she constantly tried to convince John to go out with me. Our friendship kept up through the end of high school and the summer after.

    Fast forward to now. I’m 21, just graduated from college a semester early, and I’m living in NYC with a job that I started in August. As I’ve chronicled in the past here, I’ve had difficulty meeting decent gentlemen in NYC.

    Through college, John never really tried to contact me, and I didn’t try to contact him either. We just kind of grew apart. I stayed close with the twins though and I would always see them on holiday breaks, etc. The guy twin stayed super close with John as well.

    So over the holidays, the twins went out with John. Both of them told me how he could not stop talking about me, and how I was “the one that got away”. He was asking how I was doing, what job I had, etc. He supposedly went on and on and on about how much he liked me and how he had made such a big mistake and was too immature in high school to tell me how he felt. When the twins asked him why he never tried to do anything about it, he responded that he didn’t think I’d like him at this point. My friends said that everytime they’d try to change the topic, he’d go back to me and asking questions and finally the girl twin said, “why don’t you just ask her?!”

    So of course my friends tell me this, which led me to think about this over the past week. He is a nice guy, tall, could stand to gain some muscle, and I’ve known him and his family for a long time so I know he isn’t a creep. I haven’t seen him in at least three years so I’m not sure if I’d be attracted to him now. My friends said he looks very good. He recently got a huge financial job so he will be moving to Boston after he graduates from school in May. He’s a super smart hardworking kid who went to a great school so this isn’t unexpected.

    So, yesterday, I went on Facebook and realized today was his birthday. I texted him to say “Happy Birthday! It has been forever but I wanted to see how you were doing” and he responded like, “how are you?” and I responded and he has since not texted back. This was this AM.

    So, I’m really confused.

    A) if this guy liked me for so long, why didn’t he ever try to get in touch with me? I mean, he could have at least tried?

    B) why has he not responded? If he is so interested, what gives?

    I don’t think it would be logical to date him, considering he does live in another city, but it’d be nice to rekindle our friendship at least. I mean he always was a good friend, back in high school, and I miss the fun we’d have together.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Charlotte

      It was nice of you to text John to wish him a happy birthday. I don’t think it is reasonable to have expectations about when or how he responds. You’re no longer really friends, and presumably he is enjoying his day! You’ve made a connection, and based on what he said to the twins, my guess is that he will follow up when it’s convenient.

      As for why he didn’t get in touch along the way, I’m sure he figured it would seem weird and random. And that is probably exactly what you would have thought! I’ve been around my daughter many times when a text from some long lost guy acquaintance comes across her phone and she always says, “Random!” Also, he made it pretty clear that he thinks he blew it when he had the chance.

      The geography is definitely a bit of a stumbling block, and that may also figure into his thinking. As we know, guys don’t waste time and effort on platonic friendships with girls.

  • taterearl

    Dancing for exercise if that is what Zumba is doesn’t sound fun at all.

    Real dancing however is fun. It’s a hobby I took up on my own and I enjoy it. Unfortunately most guys I see who take it up seemed to be forced by their wives or girlfriends to take it up and resent doing it. In fact I’d tell my younger self or any other guy on his own to take it up.

    Plus you want to see how the leader-follower dynamic between men and women really works…dance is one of the few places the feminists haven’t switched the roles.

  • Emily

    >> “5. Avoid men who like to “go with the flow.”
    No man who ever said that wound up anywhere good, so why did you want to hitch a ride? The guys who knew what they wanted were much better bets, especially when that was you.”

    THIS! Whenever I got frustrated with this type, I’d always blame myself for not being enough of a “cool/laid-back” girl (as if it’s my problem for feeling irritated when somebody is 30+ minutes late). I think it’s a compatibility issue more than anything. …and apparently I’m incompatible with the entire West Coast. :P

    I also wish I’d known how much better the dating world gets as you get into your mid-20s. I think I would have spent less time worrying about guys and more time goofing off with my friends.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      THIS! Whenever I got frustrated with this type, I’d always blame myself for not being enough of a “cool/laid-back” girl

      Ah yes, and of course it’s those guys who are the first to accuse a girl of being a psycho and making drama. Because she asked whether he was interested in dating or wanted to keep things casual. A real sign of mental illness to the “go with the flow” types.

  • Richard Aubrey

    ” As we know, guys don’t waste time and effort on platonic friendships with girls.”

    Susan. Define this, if you would: When I was single, I had relationships I enjoyed with women I was involved with by reason of employment, class field project, or something like that. I enjoyed the time spent so, looked forward to it, regretted it if the woman in question wasn’t there, but had no interest in dating them, or doing anything outside the reason we were together.
    In one case, it was a six-week project in a dicey area and my partner chose, I figured out shortly, to spend what spare time we had–not much–with me, or at least nearby. I didn’t go to sit with her at meals, it being her biz to choose her friends, but she would sit with me, if she arrived at the dining hall after I did. I think she felt more comfortable around me than not, due to some of the circumstances. To put it bluntly, people had recently been killed doing what we were doing, and some of the people in our group seemed to creep her out. So Aubrey, studly and what not but not threatening–not threatening her but potentially others–was probably a place where she felt lowered anxiety as opposed to someplace else.
    However, as much as I enjoyed her company, I was not motivated to try to date her because she simply didn’t fire me up as date material. And, hell, I had plenty of time with her without spending a dime or a thought for the plan.
    So, does this fit in your “platonic friendship” model, or is it something else?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Richard Aubrey

      However, as much as I enjoyed her company, I was not motivated to try to date her because she simply didn’t fire me up as date material. And, hell, I had plenty of time with her without spending a dime or a thought for the plan.
      So, does this fit in your “platonic friendship” model, or is it something else?

      On the question of whether men and women can really be friends, the answer is most definitely yes from the female POV. I defer to the men to tell me what they think, and there seems to be consensus here that it does not work. The reason given is that men and pretty much willing and interested in having sex with most women, so it’s rare for them to have a female friend they don’t want to bonk. Also, most guys admit they’d rather put all their energy into a relationship that is sexual or has the potential to be rather than languish in a platonic friendship, whether they are attracted to the woman (Friendzone) or not.

  • taterearl

    “Ah yes, and of course it’s those guys who are the first to accuse a girl of being a psycho and making drama.”

    Go with the flow guys apparently can’t pass shit tests.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    @Richard Aubrey
    I think you missed the men and women cannot be friends post. It seems that you are a rarity on that we can actually like the opposite gender and not want to sleep with them and still enjoy their non-sexual company. Most people here say they always had issues with ‘friendships’. I never did but no one believes me, welcome to the snowflake club :/

  • Anne

    Susan, I agree with all of them EXCEPT #2. I am not so optimistic that I believe it’s “all in the eyes”.
    I have seen men with the Paul Rudd sweetness, fumbling insecurity and a look that would charm my mother. And yet he’s an asshole.
    I don’t think any woman should trust ‘his eyes’ and I’m not sure if it’s great advice. Nor their gut/heart/whatever. His actions are the only indicator (and sometimes even they can be wrong, but at that point, there is really nothing you could have done different).
    Of course if his eyes say he’s a player, or flaky, or narcissistic, then you should run. But if they say the opposite that doesn’t mean you should stay either.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anne

      I don’t think any woman should trust ‘his eyes’ and I’m not sure if it’s great advice. Nor their gut/heart/whatever. His actions are the only indicator (and sometimes even they can be wrong, but at that point, there is really nothing you could have done different).
      Of course if his eyes say he’s a player, or flaky, or narcissistic, then you should run. But if they say the opposite that doesn’t mean you should stay either.

      Good point, I’ll buy that.

      I’ve always sworn by it, but then again I’ve never had the bad luck to be with a real cad. (I suspect that some of the decent guys I dated 30 years ago would be cads in today’s SMP.)

  • JP

    ” It seems that you are a rarity on that we can actually like the opposite gender and not want to sleep with them and still enjoy their non-sexual company. Most people here say they always had issues with ‘friendships’. I never did but no one believes me, welcome to the snowflake club :/”

    My problem was that the women were usually some of my best friends, generally because they were more interesting to talk to.

    This was one of the “life rules” that I missed growing up, apparently.

  • J

    Cute pic of you, SW.

  • J

    My simple, catch-all advice to young J would be:

    Don’t think you owe anything to anyone who doesn’t give back.

  • taterearl

    Of course this popped into my head…and perhaps yours too, Susan.

    Would the younger me even listen or follow the advice the older me gave it?

    I spent most of my teenage years rebelling and not listening to what my father told me about how life works…turns out when I grew up my old man was right.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @taterearl

      Would the younger me even listen or follow the advice the older me gave it?

      No, I don’t think so in my case. Wisdom really does come from experience. However, I do know that one thing that young people have lost is the admonishment and tutelage of their elders. Mothers and fathers telling their kids what to expect and how to behave. In particular, mothers used to warn their daughters about bad boys, but of course they had the ammunition of shame and potential ruin of a woman’s reputation. Still, a lot of what I try and do here is offer those same warnings, though the “price” of bad decision making has changed. A woman’s reputation may not be ruined, though she may box herself into a corner of involuntary spinsterhood if she does not make good choices.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Seriously…women say they want a leader so I come up with stuff to do. I mean one of the worst things a woman can hear is a man saying “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

    “I think that’s a good strategy. I have heard women respond very favorably when men make a plan and simply take them along rather than trying to arrive at a plan democratically. Specifically, I mean that they say they liked it that he set the agenda – I think that matters more than the actual activity.”

    For me, this is a red pill, blue pill thing. To make a stretched association, there was once a cave man movie called “Quest for Fire”. It had the usual cave man stuff, but from time to time when things got exciting or whatever, the actors would jump up and down, screech, and scratch themselves. Made me crazy. I am a human, dammit. My ancestors did not act like a bunch of overcaffeinated howler monkeys.
    To the subject of the part copied: It makes no rational sense for women to like, at least in some circumstances, to be told what to do, to be told what’s going to happen. Dammit, they’re H. Sap just as much as I am.
    So, I guess, I might miss an opportunity to do the Right Thing. Hate when that happens.

  • taterearl

    You can’t think of women like men.

    Men don’t like to be told what to do. The only time it’s acceptable is if the guy asks for advice on what to do.

    Women will say they don’t like to be told what to do…their actions generally prove that they want to.

    Miss independent woman will loathe you if you ask her to plan something.

  • http://whoism3.wordpress.com M3

    i have to ask…

    who’s the girl in the photo since i haven’t read one bit of this post yet? Is she single?

    :P

  • Richard Aubrey

    “Also, most guys admit they’d rather put all their energy into a relationship that is sexual or has the potential to be rather than languish in a platonic friendship, whether they are attracted to the woman (Friendzone) or not.”

    Susan. Point is, I wasn’t putting any energy into the friendship, short of being congenial and holding up my end of the formal job, and being more situationally aware when she was around so as to make sure nothing happened. But I’d have done that for anybody, although a guy partner wouldn’t have attracted the kind of attention she might/did and require as much watching out for.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Richard

      Susan. Point is, I wasn’t putting any energy into the friendship, short of being congenial and holding up my end of the formal job, and being more situationally aware when she was around so as to make sure nothing happened. But I’d have done that for anybody, although a guy partner wouldn’t have attracted the kind of attention she might/did and require as much watching out for.

      Well that’s an important life skill! With women and men commonly working together today, both sexes must have the ability to be cordial and cooperative while avoiding any kind of flirting, etc. I have had guy friends at work, and my husband has several female colleagues he’s been close to for decades. I do think this is much easier to pull off after marriage, though. Generally, when you put single men and women together, sparks are going to fly, even if only in one direction. Those times when neither party is attracted can be great times for friendship, but in my experience they are rare. That’s why women love finding a gay BFF.

  • Mike M.

    @taterearl 96:

    Good point about ballroom dance. I keep remembering that one of the literary conventions for a woman recognizing a quality man is that he dances with a firm, strong lead. It’s the equivalent of the firm, dry handshake.

  • Mike M.

    Notes to Younger Mike…

    1. Persistence and patience will win. Your tenacity is an ever stronger asset than your intelligence.

    2. Take the initiative. Work, personal life, everywhere. L’audace, tojours l’audace.

    3. Don’t let the pounds creep up on you. And they will, if not watched closely. You’re NOT a naturally thin person. And it’s a nightmare to try to lose weight.

    4. If you can swing a rotation to NAVAIR headquarters in Washington in the early ’90s, take it. If you can manage DARPA, better still. Not only is it a good career move, but you’ve got a fighting chance of getting a date in Washington.

    5. Try out for the U.S. International Muzzle-Loading Team in the early 1990s. You won’t make it just yet, but the experience will be invaluable when you do make it to the World Championship.

  • Ion

    To young Ion( age 18):

    First of all, do not start smoking (it will be EXTREMELY difficult to quit, one of the hardest things you will ever have to do). Keep the limerence in check. Crawl out of your own skin, and stop thinking yourself into exhaustion.

    What it means to be human is a life-long discovery, it doesn’t stop at 30. Everywhere you turn it will seem like media and its worshippers are trying to convince you and remind you that love is hopeless for you, that no one wants you, and that you’re undesirable. It will affect you, but sometimes those who don’t have the opportunities everyone else had make out pretty well. People less deserving, less attractive, less decent, and less willing find love everyday. Some men are followers, others offer love to the women who deserve it, and love those who are worthy of it.

    I know that 18 seems like adulthood, but I am you 10 years from then. Stop fantasizing about the day that you’ll become an extravert if you try hard enough. But you need more strategy, and blogs will help you find that. The information you need is out there. You had a lot to recover from, and have so much to learn, but with information, you can recover and learn quickly….these are some of your best qualities. Go out on dates when offered, I don’t care how nervous you may be, and don’t have an inactive crush on a guy for more than a week. Most of all, don’t date guys who are “intellectuals” you do not mesh well. You cannot stay “attracted” to a man based on his mind. As with friends and family, you will find that emotional connections are more valuable to you, even if they are initially harder to build.

  • Ion

    Awww Iggles

    ” Cherish your time with your friends in your early 20s. You’re going to have a blast with them but time, distance, and feuds will take it’s toll. ”

    Truth.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Heard an interesting metaphor for life:
    Life is like boa constrictor. It doesn’t squeeze you, exactly. As you struggle, you give it an inch here–which it takes and you don’t get it back–and another half-inch there, ditto. Until you are completely immobile, including the part where you exhaled and you…don’t get to inhale. Can’t say from experience, but it’s interesting.
    The comfort zone is the constrictor. It’s continually at odds with your opportunities to get opportunities. You positively have to fight it, not just live your life. Picture pushing the edges of the envelope when the envelope is made of rubber.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    RA…interesting metaphor.

  • J

    @ADBG #58

    Lifeis hard early on for a lot of smart kids. I found college better than high school, but my life has steadily gotten better as I got older. I can’t imagine anything worse than to peak in high school. Nice job of growing into yourself!

  • J

    Haha, no, but even my daughter thought that! It’s pretty close to what I looked like in 1971.

    Really?

    Oh well, we all looked like that in 1971. I had a pair of brocade hot pants that I wore in the winter with tights. In retrospect, I thought that looked pretty ridiculous until last week when I saw a fashion consultant on the Today Show wearing brocade hot pants.

  • http://whoism3.wordpress.com M3

    To M3:

    1. Cut your hair you hippy
    2. Hit the gym
    3. Learn a martial art
    4. Suckerpunch that bully in the face. That’ll learn him.
    5. Stay in Baseball
    6. Stop paying attention to girls.. they’ll like you more if you ignore them.
    7. Learn to ride a motorcycle
    8 For god sakes get braces now while your mom can get them on her insurance.. you have any clue how much they cost today? And you’ll be happier being able to smile instead of smirk for the next 18 years.

    Yes, i know none of that was relationship advice.. but i figured i’d attack the root cause of my inability to even attempt one. All those fixes would make me a better man, thus more attractive and confident.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @M3

      I think your advice to yourself does qualify as relationship advice – self-development is the first step to being attractive to the opposite sex. That stuff is what gives you self-respect, which leads to self-confidence. And that’s gold.

  • Richard Aubrey

    M3.
    #5. Baseball, huh?
    I played lax at a Div 1 school, although we weren’t varsity at the time. Our field was served by the same gate as the baseball field.
    So we could see the baseball fans. Three parents, one scout, possibly one girlfriend, although she probably came to see our game.
    Went to a lax reunion, and the pre-reunion for the early Sixties guys. Years, and age, come to think of it. As I left, I saw the various young couples from the college on “dates”. Figured, lucky for you guys we’re all married or you’d be going home alone.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      So we could see the baseball fans. Three parents, one scout, possibly one girlfriend, although she probably came to see our game.

      One of the best books I read in 2012 was The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. It’s a novel about college baseball. Highly, highly recommended.

  • BroHamlet

    Young BroHamlet:

    1) Enjoy what you have in the now, because you will only get one chance to experience most of it.
    2) You will never win at everything, don’t beat yourself up so much.
    3) Don’t stay around people and situations that make you hard-hearted.

  • Iggles

    Awww Iggles

    ” Cherish your time with your friends in your early 20s. You’re going to have a blast with them but time, distance, and feuds will take it’s toll. ”

    Truth.

    Thanks Ion :)

    I really miss the times we used to hang out until 5am, fighting sleep at the end because we didn’t want to miss a moment. Now everyone is scattered to the four winds, and it’s hard to keep track of who’s not talking to whom. Rolling in a big group is a thing of the past now :(

    Such is life.. I have great memories (even though my own memory has quite of few holes in it, haha) that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And I still speak to my close friends everyday.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Iggles

      Now everyone is scattered to the four winds, and it’s hard to keep track of who’s not talking to whom. Rolling in a big group is a thing of the past now

      My kids feel a bit sad about this too. For years they kept their friend groups from home strong, through college and for a couple of years afterwards. But it gets harder and people start to drift apart. People get into relationships outside the group, some move for their jobs. And of course they’re all making new friends at work, where they live, etc.

      I am in touch with a couple of old friends from each major phase of my life, and even that takes a fair amount of time and energy this many years later. Such is life.

  • Pingback: Relationship Advice to My Young Self | Love Advice

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    Great post Suzan.

    What advice I’d have to given myself ?

    Your duties and your friends/family will fuck up your relationships with women.

    Have some fun.

  • http://whatsyoursafeword.com leadsynth

    Susan,
    I have so much trouble finding the balance between #1 (make a big effort) and #6 (if you have to ask whether he likes you, he doesn’t.)

    I try to “be feminine”…I let the guy reach out to me. I let him approach me, ask me out, make the first move, go for the kiss, and so on. The last guy told me he wanted to get to know me better and kissed me again and again…then fell off the face of the earth. He responded to my texts…but not to ask me out. I don’t understand why. I don’t know whether I’m scaring guys away or boring them away.

    All I know is that I’m not interested in men who aren’t interested…so when man disappears like this, it undermines my attraction, and then if they ever show up again, it’s hard for me to muster up enthusiasm. And every tuime this happens, I become more jaded.

    How do I encourage a man and still be feminine?

  • Ted D

    To 20 Year old Ted D:
    1.Don’t be a pussy. You know what is right and wrong, stand up for it no matter who says otherwise.

    2.Don’t let anyone convince you that you cannot succeed at something you want to do. Find out for yourself.

    3.STAY IN SHAPE! Right now you are at your (my) best weight and physical fitness. KEEP IT UP for the love of all that is holy!

    4.Don’t give up your dreams simply to follow the “script”. I know you want a family, but having one at the expense of your soul is too high a price. And it will take you years to regain what you lost by giving up hope.

    5.Don’t become an asshat, but you can learn a thing or two from them. You know guys that are cleaning up right now, and you can’t for the life of you understand why when you are the Nice Guy ™. THAT is your problem!!!!

    This is actually really tough. The more I think of what advice I’d give my 20yo self, the more I realize if I followed it my children would never be a part of my life. Not because I don’t love them with all my heart, but because the path that brought them to me was far harder than it HAD to be.

  • Ian

    Dear Brah,

    1. Better You, Better Relationship

    You’re the half of the relationship you live in. Do: meditation, sun, sleep, raw fat and protein, fasting, weights, investment, accomplishment, vacations, good women. Don’t: wanking, video games, television, sugar, wheat, cabs, organized education, overtime.

    2. If you Can’t Leave Her, Don’t Date Her

    The love of your life, the one in a million, your perfectly chosen other, your One-ly soulmate…don’t date these people. You might spend a portion of your life repeatedly finding exactly what you were looking for, and coming to greater grief because of it. 

    3. Break Rule 2 Repeatedly

    Icarus, Apollo 13, Alexander Supertramp don’t have entirely negative connotations in your mind, neither will your doomed unicorn-riding. The experience and memory of the closest you’ve been to the sun; tantra.

    4. Mind Your P’s and J’s

    Living in the moment is a different skill-set from staying on, and returning to, a pre-defined path. An undefined relationship can be defined as “starter girlfriend” or “FWB” among those of us who define relationships. Not unrecommended, but don’t mistake chasing when you leave for a breakthrough.

    5. Date Across, Sometimes Up, Never Down

    Women reflect the heat you burn for them – when it’s not there, insecurity and mediocrity is. No, personal affection and intellectual connection do not paper over. Yes, more attractive women are better behind closed doors.

    6. Be the Bad Guy

    Relationships reward fighting – embrace it, inflate it, be skilled at it. If you’re not the bad guy, you’re making her the bad guy, and which is worse for her? Noble, in it’s own way, like how if you go far enough East, you end up West.

    7. A Certain Je Ne Sais Crazy

    People have varying layers of ape over their lizard, but the lizards need to meet and get along. Deep down in the low-brain goo, some need needs some something; something will be imperceptibly missing without it. Let the pieces fall wherever.

  • tito

    awwwwwe, young Susan is just adorable. looks just like a young girl i know, everybody’s got a twin.

  • http://barnardrach.blogspot.com/ Rachel

    Haha. This was hilariously well-timed for my life, #s 3 and 7 especially. Thanks for posting, Susan!

  • JP

    “My kids feel a bit sad about this too. For years they kept their friend groups from home strong, through college and for a couple of years afterwards. But it gets harder and people start to drift apart. People get into relationships outside the group, some move for their jobs. And of course they’re all making new friends at work, where they live, etc.”

    I think that one of the problems with life is that you lose this and then are never really able to reconstruct it, so it just kind of feels like a permanent giant hole because it’s essentially the destruction of your social support network.

    That has to do with the fact that you are around people who you are with a lot of the time and having very similar experiences in high school/college.

    So, once you get out of that situation, you never have the friendship forming experiences.

  • Ted D

    “My kids feel a bit sad about this too. For years they kept their friend groups from home strong, through college and for a couple of years afterwards. But it gets harder and people start to drift apart.”

    I only had a small group of friends in HS (5 people to be exact) and I’ve lost touch with all but one of them. (although we don’t talk much, I do keep in touch)

    It has never really bothered me to “lose” a friend as odd as that seems. I think because I only tend to think about and talk to my friends when I have something to discuss, I just naturally lose friends as our interests diverge. I’ve never really had a blowout that cost a friendship, they’ve all just simply faded away until all contact is lost. I can’t say that I miss any of those old friends though I do remember good times with them. And the one HS friend I still talk to? We really don’t talk much because our lives are so different now that there just isn’t anything to say. I only stay in touch because he found me on FaceBook actually.

  • Jonny

    “10. You’ll never get closure.”

    I never understood why women want to get closure. It seems like women don’t want it anyways because they like to continue to be friends with their former boyfriends or husbands. They want their options to be open so they may continue to control a situation.

    Wanting closure means although their relationship didn’t work out for the most part and their communication was bad, somehow they expect a perfect relationship with the ex-significant other despite everything that has transpired has proves how closure will end badly.

    In my own experience, my ex-wife somehow expected that I will keep speaking with her despite how terrible the divorce went. It’s as if everything was under the bridge after getting treated horribly with accusations. If I was that bad, why is she still speaking with me? And knowing that we keep miscommunicating since she doesn’t listen to my explanations, will continuing a dialogue prove helpful?

    There is no closure. Just stop talking. It is over.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jonny

      I agree with you that it’s unreasonable, and usually selfish, to expect any contact with an ex, unless there are kids. By closure I meant that women want to know WHY the guy lost interest, why he didn’t fall in love, etc. It’s not a reasonable question. Even if he knows, it’s unlikely he’ll feel comfortable saying something hurtful.

      One college girl who wrote to me a while back was in a relationship with a guy, but he was what I’ll call a Reluctant Boyfriend. She gave him an ultimatum, and he said OK, but their relationship was more like a glorified hookup. After a couple of months, he ended it. Deluding herself that it had been great, she kept demanding a reason why. He kept saying “I’m not into it, I want to be single.” And she kept saying WHY??? Finally, he said, “Your personality sucks, and you’re not good at sex.” Ouch. She would have been much better off keeping her dignity and asking no questions. Actually, she would have been much better off not trying to pin him down.

  • Emily

    >> “I never understood why women want to get closure. It seems like women don’t want it anyways because they like to continue to be friends with their former boyfriends or husbands. They want their options to be open so they may continue to control a situation.”

    Haha that’s how I felt with my exes. I was the one who cut off all contact and they were the ones who wanted to be friends. It was always my suspicion that they were trying to “keep their options open”. I see no reason to stay in touch with exes unless you absolutely have to (ie. if there are children involved.)

  • kp

    Wow Susan, great advice

    My only additional point to make to my younger self would be that not all learning experiences involve lessons that should be learned, they can and likely will make you jaded (ie. dump the guy who asks to borrow money; end all contact with the “man” who claims after the 3rd date that he’s in an “open relationship”). I went into these situations knowing that they would not work but choosing to see it as an opportunity to learn about human nature; experience something outside of my formal education and circle of friends; and thus broaden my horizons. What I learned has cost me.

  • YaReallyBanned

    “And she kept saying WHY??? Finally, he said, “Your personality sucks, and you’re not good at sex.” Ouch.”

    I bet she worked on her personality and her bedroom skills after that.

    “Let’s not tell someone that shitting on the kitchen table is bad behavior, it might make them feel bad!!!!!!”

    Why do women prefer to stick their head in the sand about their flaws rather than improve themselves as human beings?

  • JP

    @kp:

    ” I went into these situations knowing that they would not work but choosing to see it as an opportunity to learn about human nature; experience something outside of my formal education and circle of friends; and thus broaden my horizons. What I learned has cost me.”

    In other words, you stuck your hand into a meat grinder to see what the experience really felt like, knowing that you were sticking your hand into a meat grinder.

    (I have a mental list of things that I don’t need to experience. Sticking my hand into a meat grinder is one of those experiences.)

  • kp

    @JP:”In other words, you stuck your hand into a meat grinder to see what the experience really felt like, knowing that you were sticking your hand into a meat grinder.”

    Yes, I would like to advise my younger self not to stick her hands in meat grinders. Meat grinders are best left to professionals. My current SO and I would prefer that I had my hands intact, so I’m in the process of regenerating them.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Kp

      Yes, I would like to advise my younger self not to stick her hands in meat grinders. Meat grinders are best left to professionals. My current SO and I would prefer that I had my hands intact, so I’m in the process of regenerating them.

      Haha, kp, you’ve got a good sense of humor. In defense of your younger self, I’m pretty sure that everyone here has made some disastrous mistakes. We may have been in denial, while you knew what was up going in, but that’s no excuse.

  • Doug Redux Edition

    Been perusing through the comments over the last year here and am bemused that a “Doug” suggests you actually advise your female readership to “look the other way” when a “quality alpha” has a mistress or two on the side. That that’s “natural” and should “be expected” of desirable men and if they don’t want to do that then they need to lower their “standards” of what type of man they can realistically get to be faithful to them.

    The thing about this is that any “quality alpha” male will mate with an equally “quality alpha” female, in which case she also has plenty of options, more than her partner because that’s usually the case anyway, that women have on average more options than men. Therefore a “desirable female” who is “looking the other way” while her man cheats is doing so for a reason, if you get my drift here.

    Most couples like the above don’t even put on airs of mutual fidelity but have usually worked out some sort of agreement, like Hollywood celebrity couples. Say, could anyone here give me a quick little push on the swing? There simply isn’t enough breeze this time of year ;)

    By the way I don’t agree with the eyes thing. Its too vague and there are too many variables. Sounds more like new agey feel good sound bite than actual science, even soft science.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Doug Redux

      By the way I don’t agree with the eyes thing. Its too vague and there are too many variables. Sounds more like new agey feel good sound bite than actual science, even soft science.

      That does it, I’m officially taking the eyes thing back. Almost everyone thinks it’s crap. I think maybe it works for me because of my ENFJness. Or maybe I’ve been wrong all along.

  • Sai

    I can’t do #2 to save my life… I’ll notice what color his eyes are, but otherwise I don’t know what I’m looking at/for.
    Also, the last part of #10 and #11 seem to oppose each other. Help me please?

    Dear past self
    1.) Eat lots of protein every day, and drink water
    1a.) When you become gloomy, don’t reach for cake, reach for the Internet (save your cake money for electrolysis)
    2.) Asking questions or for help does not make you helpless or incompetent
    2a.) Seeing a therapist does not make you helpless, incompetent or insane… so go see one NOW
    2b.) Disclosing your true feelings does not make you “negative Nancy” (you won’t be struck by lightning)
    3.) Preferring your own company does not make you a freak
    3a.) Look into acting classes so people THINK you’re pleased to meet/chat with them
    3b.) Learn to look less at the floor and more at people when you talk
    4.) If you don’t wish to be touched, make that clear as often as you must!
    4a.) If you don’t wish to be bothered, make that clear as often as you must! If words are weapons it’s stupid to go unarmed.
    5.) Some valuable objects are better off at home, and if not must be watched like a hawk
    6.) Learn as many languages as you can, as soon as you can -the whole world is not full of crappy people
    7.) Calculus is hard, so spend lots of time on it
    8.) If you know you will dress as (???) for the convention, start working on it THEN, not two months before showtime
    9.) You will be *alone and frustrated* for a considerable period of time. Your physical form will not change into anything you are wishing for, so stop being hopeful. This must be worked for -you must find what is good about your appearance, with as much help as it takes, or you must hurry up and get rich and go to the surgeon.
    9a.) If you make the second choice, research wisely, and know there’s no shame in changing anything as long as you do it for YOU

    I already knew most of the things I wasn’t allowed/supposed to do or expect.

  • Doug Redux Edition

    Ian, “Don’t: wanking, video games, television, sugar, wheat, cabs, organized education, overtime.”

    What’s wrong with taking or driving cabs and organized education?

  • Damien Vulaume

    So….after the third glass of wine, Grandpa was waving his arms theatrically with impassioned eyes before little Damien, trying to convince the little fool that women were both wonderful and specifically sent to earth to torture men’s hearts and minds:

    1. Make a big effort.
    If you don’t make a move first, NOTHING will ever happen! Do you hear me? Be galant and agreeable, of course! There are only men of honour in this family, so I expect you to follow our tradition….but being nice with them doesn’t mean to act like a little doggie dog. Those ones get to be put on a leach, and deservedly so! You don’t want to become like that stupid neighbor of ours, Mister Robinet, (now sarcastically laughing, while imitating Mrs Robinet’s voice): Philippe, where did you put that coffee maker again?! Philippe, did you put those letters in the mail box? Well, did you?! I told you not to put the newspaper on my chair! Philippe, come here! (…)
    I might just as well give a kick in that poor beggar’s butt next time I see him! (chuckles)
    (He then glanced prudently at the pendulum to check the time before my grandma’s arrival)
    2. Watch the eyes.
    Damien, the eyes are the mirror of the soul! (by this I thought he was going to loose his own eyes, as he dangerously pointed at them with his two fingers)…
    …What are you smiling at, you young fool, this is a man to man discussion here! If that little flower who makes you so shy does not have a tender, humid veil in the look of her red eyes after that first kiss, then, well, (here he threw his beret on the table with a resigning look), she may not be a rose… but the branch of a rose, and you know what’s on it…

    4. Don’t chase unavailable women, married or not.
    So, your little flame has a guy?…yet she’s talking to you and goes to cafés after school with you??? Hahaha! He must be a Robinet in the making! Hahaha!….Adultry is the only distraction of bored wives. Yours is far from being married, and, by nowdays standards, that apparently doesn’t mean much anymore. So, next time sweep her away, take her off balance at an unexpected moment, and kiss her. Mais, attention, petit! You’re neither a saliva dripping monkey nor a robot, nor is she, I presume (here he leaned towards me with a mysterious voice) made neither of wood nor of porcelain. There is always a suave balance. The balance is everything.
    (He then stood erect with a proud yet dramatic look on his face) We always walk on a tigh rope with them. On the left side is the too much fall, on the right side the not enough fall. Remember this, little boy….

    ————————————————————————————-

    I left out the numbers that where of course not related to my discussion with him, since they’re only relevent for girls or too sexually explicit for my grandpa’s generation. He never went that far.
    I would however like to briefly comment number 9, and here at the risk of coming under a deluge of bullets from some of the guys here but: I have seen, too many times, perfectly lovely and well intentioned girls that were still hanging in those relationships, out of some sense of sheer submissive/dutiful/masochistic reasons. You can cross out any of the three adjectives here, according to the situation. It is a very important point to raise. The same could be told, although in a far lesser extent, to some guys. I have, as of recently, followed my grandfather’s advice #4 (except if she was a close friend’s girlfriend-that was taboo to me) and it always worked. Except on two occasions (where I ended up friend zoned out of sheer female vanity) the other times where blissful stories in which they sort of fell “rescued” and taken away because not being able to do so by themselves.

  • April May

    My advice to my young self would be to never put my own sexual pleasure in the hands of someone else. For years I just laid back and took whatever he gave me and it resulted in a pattern now where he gets his and I get diddly squat. In the last year I bought some aids and sought to introduce them into our sex life, as well as voicing what pleases me, when, where and how, and now he complains I’m trying to “control” our sex life!!!

    So what was he doing all those years?

    Frankly if he does not relinquish control this may break us.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @April May

      That’s a tough one, and you’re not alone. So many women wind up having mediocre sex because they weren’t open about what they wanted and patterns got established. For this reason I tell women never, ever to fake an orgasm, because you’ve just given very positive reinforcement for something that didn’t get you off. And we can’t blame the guys for that.

      It’s great that you are taking more responsibility now, but it sounds like he feel threatened. Does he have an idea that you feel the sex has been bad all along? I think introducing new things, whether toys, settings, or moves, is a great idea.

      Do the guys have any suggestions on how she can nudge this forward while allowing him to retain some dominance?

  • Damien Vulaume

    By the way I don’t agree with the eyes thing. Its too vague and there are too many variables. Sounds more like new agey feel good sound bite than actual science, even soft science.

    Or, in other words: “I have lost any kind of personal sensitive visual instinct so as not being able to read/sense/tell whether something is there or not in the eyes.”…???
    As for this new age stuff, well yes, another of those pseudo spiritual businesses that florish in the western world. But what on earth should this have anything to do with reading someone else’s intent/feelings in the eyes. Even before words, and even less so actions, it is all there to be decyphered “instinctively”. Body language and eye “colouration” speak volumes. Sorry, but I rarely got it wrong on that one.

  • April May

    I don’t know about that Damien Vulaume. I think I also I have to agree with the others on this. When it comes to things like “reading eyes” we can be wrong, very wrong. We are not omniscient god beings. We are human and make mistakes. Lots of them. How does eye colouration speak volumes for instance? We cannot change our natural eye color. What do hazel eyes say that brown eyes don’t, for instance? What about people who have something wrong with their eyes and that gets misread? My brother has Bell’s Palsy which causes synkinesis of his eye and people find him suspicious because of the appearant twitch/tick. He even had to take a lie detector test once which came out all ok but they still suspected him because of his eye condition which they took to be lie twitching. Some people are also too shy to look other people straight in the eyes continuously as they converse. There are so many things.

  • Damien Vulaume

    @April May.
    Everybody gets it wrong sometimes, but for other reasons, like being blinded by infatuation instead of calmly evaluating the person’s demeneor. What I mean by the eye colouration has, should it even be explained, nothing to do with its colour per say, but its intent. It’s just basic sensual/observation/reception at some point.

  • TARA

    Tom, ” Do not get married before you are set in your career. ”

    Good advice.

    “Never marry someone you love – better to have them love you.”

    I don’t understand that and it sounds like a recipe for infidelity.

    ” For the love of god, get therapy before you start having a sexual relationship. ”

    If you’ve been sexually abused, it can be useful, but otherwise?

  • TARA

    Someone dear and related to me, a single mother, has turned toward “soft prostitution” in order to support herself and her kids. She basically advertises exotic massage on Craigs List and screens her clients according to her own tastes. She also allows men to give her gifts in exchange for time spent with them, while trying to avoid full on sexual intercourse. She says she has made more in 1 month doing this than she has in the previous 6 months working a regular but part time job.

    I care for her but she seems in some ways unfazed by this so should I worry?

  • http://whoism3.wordpress.com M3

    “” Do not get married before you are set in your career. ”

    This is valid but caveat required. Do not wait until you are set in your career to start looking for a husband. Otherwise you’ll be one of those chicks on PoF in her late 30’s crowing about how awesome and educated she is and exactly where she wants to be in life… and i’m laughing while sweeping over to the next profile. If marriage is important to you, *place it’s importance* where it belongs, at the front of the que, not an afterthought.

    “Never marry someone you love – better to have them love you.”

    I’m not sure which way this is being directed, woman at man or man at woman. Best advice. Women want men they respect to love them. Men will love women who respect them. Overly simplistic obviously but at it’s core is truth. Men who give love without doing things required to earn her respect cheapen the love, hence supplication and loss of attraction. Women who give respect and admiration (and sex) to men who do not respond with real love and feelings are delusional and supplicating by allowing a man to use/abuse them.. aka sluts.

    Take this quote from Cobb in the movie Inception as a guide:
    “In a dream, our mind continuously does this: we create and perceive our world simultaneously. Our mind does this so well we don’t even know it is happening.”

    The woman is giving respect and admiration working to earn the man’s love, thus by showing this to the man, his love for her grows and he shows it to her, continuing the cycle. When done right, it works as effortlessly as a dream. When one stops.. the dream collapses.

    “” For the love of god, get therapy before you start having a sexual relationship. ”

    I have absolutely no clue what this is in reference to so i refuse to comment :P

    “She says she has made more in 1 month doing this than she has in the previous 6 months working a regular but part time job.”

    Welcome to why the double standard between men and women exists. How much money do you think i would make opening up a ‘massage’ parlor for women?

  • TARA

    “Welcome to why the double standard between men and women exists. How much money do you think i would make opening up a ‘massage’ parlor for women?”

    If you’re really hot, a lot.

    The thing is, she is not conventionally hot though she tries to be and ends up looking kind of cheap, which in turn results in cheap men, or otherwise low quality men of low looks and status who pay or reward her for her massages or time spent with them. She does her best to avoid outright sexual intercourse. Simultaneously she has this illusion that a quality man is going to fall in love with her and help raise her kids! And by quality I mean mystical and spiritual, which is the type of man she is normally attracted to when she’s not given exotic massage happy endings for pay!

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Do the guys have any suggestions on how she can nudge this forward while allowing him to retain some dominance?

    Frame it as trying to make the relationship more sexual as opposed to “you suck at sex.”

    Be more flirty
    Be sexy in public
    Say you want to try “new things” ;) ;) ;)
    Sex talk on the phone
    Sex skype
    Get horny and have nice long conversations about fantasies, and try not to judge
    Watch porn together

    Basically, you need to frame it as “I think you’re really sexy and want to up the passion. If you want all this (spank ass here), you need to up your game, too, hunk”

    As opposed to

    “you suck at sex and I would rather have this vibrator inside of me than your limp dick”

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Also, I would amend the eyes as follows:

    “if there is no soul in the eyes, there is no soul in the relationship”

    That’s different from

    “if his eyes light up at you, you’re golden!”

    That’s how I feel anyways

  • April May

    “Frame it as trying to make the relationship more sexual as opposed to “you suck at sex.”
    Basically, you need to frame it as “I think you’re really sexy and want to up the passion. If you want all this (spank ass here), you need to up your game, too, hunk”

    As opposed to

    “you suck at sex and I would rather have this vibrator inside of me than your limp dick”

    I never said he sucked at sex or that I’ rather have a vibrator than his “limp dick”. He is reasonably good at what he does and I do derive some pleasure from it, just not the amazing kind of pleasure I know we both have the potential for. He is also relunctant to believe me when I say it hurts. He also interprets that as “control”. Am I supposed to just endure the pain, which can be quite intense at times? Basically it seems he wants to be in total control of our sex life and any sign of me wanting things to be this way or that, even if only to lesson pain, is a symptom of “trying to control”.

    Its odd because ordinarily he is not a control freak in any other area of life. He also listens and complies when I say kiss me here or touch me there. But when it comes to the p in v time, another personality takes over.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @April May

      He is also relunctant to believe me when I say it hurts. He also interprets that as “control”. Am I supposed to just endure the pain, which can be quite intense at times?

      That is not normal. I figured he was just not doing it for you, but if you are in pain, you should check that out. It could be something simple, e.g. more foreplay, lube, or something more complicated, e.g. anxiety, infection. I’d run that by the gyno immediately.

  • OffTheCuff

    Tara: I believe the proper response is – you go, girl! Any day now, some really attractive client is going to fall in love with you, swear off all other women and whores, and bankroll your life. Any man who finds it revolting is insecure doesn’t deserve you.

  • OffTheCuff

    AM: if you can easily have an orgasm without his help, then it’s his problem. If you can’t, then it’s your problem.

  • TARA

    Offthecuff, she doesn’t want her clients to fall in love with her. She disrespects her clients. She says now no one can tell her pretty lies about male sexuality. That’s fine. The real kicker is that the type of man she wants, one that would never pay for sex, the mystic, the sage, the spiritual loner, she is convinced somehow she will get him. I guess she’s counting on that man never finding out? Or somehow understanding how she was pushed into that circumstance? Counting on him being so other worldly that he is non-judgemental? Even without massage service though she’s not really the type of woman that would attract the type of man she desires. Single mom? Overweight? Rough sort of behaviour and ghetto way of talking?

    Everytime I hear her talking about love and romance I just smile while shaking my head inside.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    April May, I am not saying that YOU are SAYING that he sucks at sex. But that’s totally different from what HE is PERCEIVING. Your actions can send a much different message from what you are actually saying, and that is dependent on your relationship past, his past, his emotions, his experience, etc.

    That’s why I am saying that it might help to set a VERY strong frame of “turning up the heat” as opposed to “minor improvements.”

  • Damien Vulaume

    Counting on him being so other worldly that he is non-judgemental? Even without massage service though she’s not really the type of woman that would attract the type of man she desires. Single mom? Overweight? Rough sort of behaviour and ghetto way of talking?
    Everytime I hear her talking about love and romance I just smile while shaking my head inside.

    How depressing, but so familiar…
    Although trying to have some kind of empathic smile at her illusions, it is however very distressing to see that she is after a more than impossible fairy tale. No matter what. She’s bound to a downward spiral of abuse and scorn with men. Social workers/help will be next on the line at some point in her life. For her also is the brick wall waiting. I hope she’ll hit it at a lower speed than others have.

  • TARA

    She’s currently crushing on this younger man. He’s single, no kids, never married and travelling the world doing the ashram circuit (remembering she’s into mystics). She says they communicate on a “higher level” and that he’s the first and only person so far in life who “totally gets me on ever level of being”. She had their astrology charts done and they are a perfect match on every level but the physical and she’s ok with the “relationship” never being sexually consummated. She just wants to bask in his aura. However her ultimate fantasy would be that he does fall in love with her. Now, realistically, with all the lithe ethereal fairy like young women (without baggage) who also do the global ashram circuit, how likely is it that this guy will old out for a mid 30s single mom of 3 who moonlights as a Craigs List courtesan on the side?

  • kp

    @TARA

    On a different note, why are you letting this person be an integral part of your life? You prefaced your initial comment with “someone dear and related to you” but then precede to run her down with your comments.

  • OffTheCuff

    Because we’re being trolled again.

  • Ion

    haha, I love you Sai

    “1a.) When you become gloomy, don’t reach for cake, reach for the Internet (save your cake money for electrolysis)

    3b.) Learn to look less at the floor and more at people when you talk

    3.) Preferring your own company does not make you a freak”

    +1 on all accounts!!

  • Emily

    >> “I can’t do #2 to save my life… I’ll notice what color his eyes are, but otherwise I don’t know what I’m looking at/for.”

    Haha me too. Also, eye contact has never been my forte… #sociallyawkwardpenguin

  • Kathy

    @ Susan.

    “So many women wind up having mediocre sex because they weren’t open about what they wanted and patterns got established. For this reason I tell women never, ever to fake an orgasm, because you’ve just given very positive reinforcement for something that didn’t get you off. And we can’t blame the guys for that. ”

    Exactly, Susan!

    My good friend’s sister -in -law, has never had an orgasm. Not ever!
    She has been married for over 30 years.. She fakes it to please her husband.. Sex? She can take it or leave it..

    She is a gentle, shy kind of lady. Heart of gold.

    I felt very sad when I heard that, however. She has missed out on so much. :(

    I know of other much younger women who also fake it, and their husband’s are none the wiser..

    I was shocked to hear this.. Truly.

    Another friend ‘s daughter who is around 30 confided in me at a birthday party, that she too knew of many girls who had NEVER had an orgasm .. And they fake it! (She too, was extremely surprised.)
    She has a large group of friends from high school who are mostly all married..They meet up every so often to catch up.

    How could this be in this day and age?
    Susan, what do you think?
    I am not really sure about these girl’s backgrounds..

    My friend’s daughter who is a lovely vivacious woman (and who is now 4 months pregnant with her first child ) has a wonderful husband.. She worships the ground he walks on. Lovely guy. He’s a Londoner. :)

    They have a very good relationship.
    And, I would not describe him as an Alpha.. More leaning towards Beta. (And I hate those terms too. But just to give you an idea.)

    He was her third.. She was never a promiscuous girl. Her first boyfriend at age sixteen. That relationship lasted until she was 2o when he broke it up. She was heartbroken at the time.. He was 20 as well. They were each other’s first.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Kathy

      Are you saying these women never had an orgasm, even when alone? Because that’s a very different problem than not telling men what pleases them. I agree with you that’s really sad.

      Before I turned 10 I had figured out that riding horses and climbing the rope in gym were extremely fun activities ;)

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    Re : Eyes

    Consider this :

    We examined the role of different facial features (shape of eyebrows, eyes, mouth, nose, and the direction of gaze) in conveying the emotional impact of a threatening face. In two experiments, a total of 100 high school students rated their impression of two sets of schematic faces in terms of semantic differential scales (Activity, Negative Evaluation, and Potency). It was found that the different facial features could be ordered hierarchically, with eyebrows as the most important feature, followed by mouth and eyes. Eyebrows thus fundamentally categorised faces as threatening or nonthreatening. The different shapes of mouth and eyes provided subsequent categorisations of faces within these primary categories.

    And this :

    Seven experiments investigated the finding that threatening schematic faces are detected more quickly than nonthreatening faces. Threatening faces with v-shaped eyebrows (angry and scheming expressions) were detected more quickly than nonthreatening faces with A-shaped eyebrows (happy and sad expressions). In contrast to the hypothesis that these effects were due to perceptual features unrelated to the face, no advantage was found for v-shaped eyebrows presented in a nonfacelike object.

    And it seems that there is a visceral reaction to untrustworthy faces, (which we, anecdotally, rationalize away)

    Here, based on trustworthiness judgments and using a computer model for face representation, we built a model for representing face trustworthiness (study 1). Using this model, we generated novel faces with an increased range of trustworthiness and used these faces as stimuli in a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study (study 2). Although participants did not engage in explicit evaluation of the faces, the amygdala response changed as a function of face trustworthiness. An area in the right amygdala showed a negative linear response—as the untrustworthiness of faces increased so did the amygdala response.

    Hence it would seem that while we focus on the eyes, some part of us also take note of the eyebrows, and make subliminal judgements which we would be wise to heed.

    Anyway this New Age watchamacallit categorized people into seven different types :

    1) Servers.

    They’re gentle genial souls. Typical traits: accommodating, caring, modest, dedicated, unassuming, homely, downtrodden, melancholic.

    Facially, they’re often characterized by a rounded head, sometimes potato-shaped, with soft, sagging features and smallish, tired-looking eyes.

    Examples : Me and Ted D

    2) Artisans.

    Typical traits: inventive, imaginative, innovative, idiosyncratic, flaky, ditzy.

    Artisans tend to have heart-shaped or cup-shaped faces, together with a dreamy, unfocused, faraway look in their eyes. Artisans have mysterious portals into their inner worlds.

    Examples : Hope, Sassy, Anacaona.

    3) Scholars.

    With Scholars, it’s all happening inside the head; their mind is always busy processing, absorbing, learning. Overall, I would say Scholars have a look of benign detachment.

    Typical traits: curious, knowledgeable, analytical, dry, pedantic, detached, neutral, aloof.

    A Scholar’s mouth is naturally shut rather than open. In contrast to the Sage, the Scholar’s face looks like it isn’t used much for expressiveness.

    The eyes can look deep-set, partly because the Scholar’s attention is usually somewhere inside their brain rather than out there where the action is, and partly because the prominent brow can overhang the eyes, adding to the Scholar’s observing-rather-than-participating look.

    Examples : HanSolo, Anne, J.

    4) Sages.

    Sages often have a twinkle of mischievous merriment in their eyes, as though itching to tell a joke or share some scandalous gossip.

    Typical traits: eloquent, witty, gregarious, flamboyant, effusive, attention-seeking, loud, verbose.

    The Sage’s face is a key means of expression and the Sage’s face is always ‘on’. Their cheeks tend to be a prominent feature, rounded from lots of smiling and joking. The whole face is like an inflated balloon.

    Example : Just1Z

    5) Kings

    Typical traits: commanding, masterful, self-assured, decisive, harsh, imperious.

    The face reveals a self-assured, commanding expression with a very masculine look of authority that says “I know exactly what I’m doing,” — the flip-side of which is a withering look that says “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing.”

    Example : VD

    6) Warriors.

    Typical traits: forceful, assertive, loyal, protective, determined, ruthless, vicious.

    The head-shape can be quite straight, a bit like a jar.

    Like Kings, Warriors tend to be hard and angular, but the telling features are the low eyebrows and the ready-for-action expression which varies between “Yeah, let’s do this!” and “Nobody screw with me!”

    Examples : SayWhaaaaaat, JutR, Abbot, Lokland.

    7) Priests.

    Typical traits: fervent, visionary, hope-inspiring, earnest, uplifting, preachy, fanatical.

    The Priestly facial expression suggests a strongly felt desire to make things right or better. This typically varies between one of stern disapproval (when they focus on what’s presently wrong with the world as they see it) and rapturous enthusiasm (as they focus on realising some higher potential).

    The Priest’s gaze often has an inflamed, hypnotic intensity which can look strikingly beautiful — or strikingly sinister, depending on where the Priest is coming from.

    Examples : Damien Vulaume, INTJ, Suzan.

    Oh yes yes yes Suzan, you’re a bloomin priesty … what ?!!!! … but that’s taking the Good Lord’s Name in vain ! … ok ok ok ok, I’m sure He’ll understand … but you’ve gotta say your Hail Marys now, you hear me ! …. but Suzan-deary, if what you just silently said were published, you’d be able to start a new religion … ok ok ok ok ok … you belong with the Warriors … capeesh ? …. now why did you have to go and say “thank God” ? … sorry Suzan, you’re staying right here … hallelujah ! …

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Marellus

      Your typing of the HUS regulars is hilarious and eerily accurate, IMO, even though I’m sure that site is pure mumbo jumbo.

  • Ion

    Bwahaha! That list is awesome Marellus.

    I find Hope to be in the category with you and Ted (based on what I have read of her), Abbot I can picture in the Sage category, and Iggles added to the Priest category! Sai, is another artisan. Myself in the Scholars category.

  • Ian

    @Susan

    That does it, I’m officially taking the eyes thing back. Almost everyone thinks it’s crap. I think maybe it works for me because of my ENFJness. Or maybe I’ve been wrong all along.

    I’ve used the eyes thing for years, and I’ve never made a bad decision using it to hire or filter socially. It comes down to gut intuition, and whether you’re willing to qualify a person based on an intuition about a micro expression. Also, whether these things come naturally. When I was young, I used to yell at my mother when “her eyes were bad” from stress.

    @April

    I honestly just recommend leaving. I dated a woman who was cerebrally in control of her sex life, and one of the few enjoyable memories I have of her in bed was when she farted during a particular leg tension and curl that was part of her routine. At least it wasn’t planned…I assume.

    Sex incompatibility is lame, for all sides. If the bedroom the cause of problems, not the place to retreat from them, I don’t see the relationship being a comfortable one.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ian

      one of the few enjoyable memories I have of her in bed was when she farted during a particular leg tension and curl that was part of her routine.

      OMG, if she could read this now…very funny image but what a verdict on her sexuality!

      When I was young, I used to yell at my mother when “her eyes were bad” from stress.

      That is fascinating. My son has always been incredibly perceptive. One look at my face, even when he was a toddler, and he could tell exactly what I was feeling. With him, I could never fake everything being fine if it wasn’t.

      It’s pretty clear from the various responses that this probably has a lot to do with how intuitive people are, and the degree of importance they attach to reading people in this way. Like you and Damien, I feel very sure about my ability to read people based on this. For better or worse, I use this as a filter.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Left out the guys who lean against the wall, arms folded, watching. These are the guys that give warriors the runs.

  • Escoffier

    On behalf all lazy men, I am outraged at the insults you’ve cast at us! We’re not bad people! You take it back!

  • Ted D

    “Facially, they’re often characterized by a rounded head, sometimes potato-shaped, with soft, sagging features and smallish, tired-looking eyes.”

    Are my eyes small and tired-looking?! I used to have more sag in my face but at this point the only places I have giggle left are my gut, my chest, my thighs, and just a little extra neck. Truthfully I don’t think I’ll get rid of all of it without surgery. Just too damn much left over skin. LOL

    I do have a big old bowling ball round head though. :(

    and FWIW I have a rather developed artisan side, although it is all focused on music. I can’t draw or paint to save my life! You guys don’t get to see it here, and truthfully few people do unless I’m actively gigging, which hasn’t happened in a decade. That may change in the not so distant future though…

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    @Richard Aubrey

    Left out the guys who lean against the wall, arms folded, watching. These are the guys that give warriors the runs.

    Their cooks ?

  • Esau

    Taterearl: I mean one of the worst things a woman can hear is a man saying “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

    Susan: I have heard women respond very favorably when men make a plan and simply take them along rather than trying to arrive at a plan democratically. Specifically, I mean that they say they liked it that he set the agenda – I think that matters more than the actual activity.

    This would be a very valuable notion to transmit to a lot of past male selves of a certain age: Feminism is false, or at least false in a lot of its essential claims. Women, as a rule, apparently don’t place a high value on manifestly being treated as equals in relationships. Rather, just the opposite is true. In reality women prefer that a man reflexively assume control, unbidden and sexist, simply because he’s the male, e.g. exactly the behavior that would have gotten him pilloried as a “sexist pig!” back around 1979.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      In reality women prefer that a man reflexively assume control, unbidden and sexist, simply because he’s the male, e.g. exactly the behavior that would have gotten him pilloried as a “sexist pig!” back around 1979.

      Yes. 1979 was a low point. Just one year later the divorce rate would hit an all time high.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    Ion

    … Sai, is another artisan. Myself in the Scholars category.

    Agreed.

  • Escoffier

    Susan, is that Dana Point?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Susan, is that Dana Point?

      Haha, not sure, because that is not me. As I said earlier, this pic even fooled my daughter. Grabbing a “1970s girl” image online was easier than dragging out my old photos. Perhaps I’ll post my real teenage self another time – I have one pic in a bikini at Corona del Mar that’s decent.

  • Escoffier

    Looks like Dana, the marina is not well developed but in 1971, I really don’t know how built out it was. The topography looks dead on.

  • Oz

    “I honestly just recommend leaving. I dated a woman who was cerebrally in control of her sex life, and one of the few enjoyable memories I have of her in bed was when she farted during a particular leg tension and curl that was part of her routine. At least it wasn’t planned…I assume.

    Sex incompatibility is lame, for all sides. If the bedroom the cause of problems, not the place to retreat from them, I don’t see the relationship being a comfortable one.”

    I don’t know the history of the person you’re advising but sexual incompatibility is no reason to break up a family if she or he has one. A casual boyfriend/girlfriend relationship? Sure. But not a family.

  • Richard Aubrey

    @Richard Aubrey

    Left out the guys who lean against the wall, arms folded, watching. These are the guys that give warriors the runs.

    Their cooks
    Marellus. Historically, warriors aren’t well organized. If you can keep them in the same place for about a week, they have a problem. Field sanitation is for wimps.

    Historically, soldiers beat warriors. See civilization, march of. But in between, soldiers, metaphorically speaking, are leaning against the wall, arms folded, watching. Watching, among other things, women falling for warriors with their flashing eyes and uncombed hair.

  • SayWhaat

    *waves comb furiously* Curse you, soldiers!!

  • http://garypassioncoxe.blogspot.com/ Gary Coxe

    Such a great advice to all of us. Sometimes we have to be keen on every detail to help us figure out what we really want. Great read, keep it up!

  • H

    “Let people know you’re available. There’s no shame in going after what you want.”

    Yes but how do you do this without coming off as desperate? Maybe I’ve got it wrong, but the messages I’ve been getting have basically told me that anyone who says aloud that they want a boyfriend or girlfriend sounds desperate. Ugh.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Yes but how do you do this without coming off as desperate? Maybe I’ve got it wrong, but the messages I’ve been getting have basically told me that anyone who says aloud that they want a boyfriend or girlfriend sounds desperate.

      Tell family and your girlfriends. Ask them to be on the lookout for someone who might be right for you. I understand it might feel a bit awkward, but throughout history this is how many good matches were made. I know one very, very attractive woman who was about to give up hope, and then she reluctantly agreed to let her rabbi set her up on a date. She married that man, who was a handsome lawyer, also tired of the scene and wanting to find the right person.

      Don’t let anyone shame you. It’s better to be proactive than sit around waiting for fate to intervene.

  • Vanessa

    I must say I love your blog! I loved this articule sooo much! I am currently 22 and I can honestly say that this is the best advice I have ever received (even though it was an advice that was personally given to me but I did feel as if it were that way) I have been single for such a long time and I always fall for guys who don’t like me as much as I like/love them. I would always justify their actions in so many ways, because I was always sure that once they knew how “cute” and nice I am they would finally love me. I’ve also met so many guys that just go with the flow, so yeah I agree with you on that one.

    I was recently dating a guys that never had time for me, I was very sad about his attitude but reading this helped me alot.

    Thanks for the post! <3

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Vanessa

      Welcome, thanks for leaving a comment! I encourage you to join the conversation when new posts go up – there’s a lot of great dialogue between girls and guys, as you can see.