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Ok ladies....roll up...my observations on dating after learning the hard way

(329 Posts)
MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 15:00:51

Right, I have been dating for a few years now and I see the same problems come up over and over again - causing us unknown strife and heartache. I know there are exceptions to every rule - but in my experience and in every case I know the following is absolutely true:

Translating what he says

1. If a man says he is not looking for a relationship
THEN HE IS NOT LOOKING FOR A RELATIONSHIP. He's not going to fall in love with you and change his mind. He enjoys your company and all the free sex he has already decided that you are NOT going to be a long term relationship for him.

2. If a man says he is not looking for a relationship part 2
He is keeping his options open so that he can freely move on to the next person when he finds her and believe me he is still looking regardless of the fact he has told you that you are exclusive.

3. When he says "I don't want to hurt you
This means he is going to hurt you. He realises you like him and are invested and he is aware he is going to hurt you. Someone who wants to be with you would be telling you 'I'm not going to hurt you'. There is only a slight difference between the two phrases but the meaning of each is completely different.

5. You are more than just sex
This means you are just sex.
If he says it to you along with any of phrases 1 & 2 then you are DEFINITELY just sex. He is trying to convince you you mean more to him than just sex so that you stick around hoping for a relationship.

4. I might be ready for a relationship in the future
Yes, he will. But it won't be with you. If he wanted you to be his girlfriend, you already would be.

The Hard, Cold Facts:

If he wants you long term, you will know. Even shy men or men with commitment problems will not want to risk losing the woman they see as special above all others. So you will know.

If you are in a casual relationship or he is reluctant to commit and you want more the only solution is to walk away. If you stay, he will continue using you, and will value you less and less as time goes on. The only possible way for him to change his mind about you is to remove yourself from the equation.

If he has ishoos, it's not sexy, it's not a challenge, it's not a sign that you were destined to save him and win his love. It's a sign he will make a shitty partner, shitty father and shitty person to invest in. There is nothing sexier than a grown assed man with his shit together.

If he sends mixed messages, blows hot and cold, makes you feel unsure about what he wants and you find yourself posting on Mumsnet or Googling to try an figure out what he is thinking...RUN AWAY. It's not meant to be that complicated and a man that truly cares about how you feel is never going to make you wonder where you stand.

Never, ever, ever, ever underestimate the lengths a man will go to for sex. I hate to tarnish all men with that brush because they ain't all like it, but there are a scary proportion of men (younger ones especially) that will do anything to get sex off you. Espeically if it's good sex. They will jump on a plane, pay for expensive dates, stand outside your window singing Barry Manilow. And this ain't love. It's lust -and it means NOTHING except they really, really want to bang you.

Men, especially the younger and unevolved ones all have a strategy they have evolved to catch women. The good looking, charming ones might sweep you off your feet and you can see those coming - watch out for the underdog that wins you over by telling you a sob story about his alcoholic mother and how much he feels a "connection" with you. They're the worst, you never see them coming.

A good relationship makes you feel totally fullfilled. You don't wonder how they feel about you or why they haven't returned a message or why they didn't make plans for the weekend with you yet. They make you a priority and there's no grey area.

If he is up and down, hot and cold and all over you one minute leaving you confused the next then he is a prick. Without question. He's not scared, he's not busy, he's not anything- but a prick. Walk away, because he likes you...as an OPTION.

If he is still on dating sites logging on "just to check" after 12 dates or more...he is looking for someone better.

If he doesn't message or call you much one day but you notice he's been "online" quite a lot while telling you he is busy - then he is talking to someone else, a new prospect or perhaps someone else he has on the backburner.

Women and men are generally different in that we tend to bond more quickly /decide on one person -whereas they like to keep their options open. Never, ever, ever allow yourself to bond to a man before he's made it clear he's decided he wants you and only you.

If he is a bad boyfriend at the very start, he will be a thousand times worse by the time you have been with him a while and the honeymoon period is over.

If he doesn't make time to see you most weekends or ask you to meet his friends and family and be keen to meet yours or plan things to do together in advance or show in practical actions that he sees you as someone he wants to integtate into his life - they forget his words - his actions say it all.

We teach them how to treat us. So teach him that you are worth all the diamonds on earth by having boundaries in place to accept absolutely zero disrespect, selfishness or mind fuck behavior and he will either move on to the next person who is willing to accept his crap (making room for Mr Right to walk into yours) or he will look at you, realise what a strong, self respecting woman you are and realise that he had better step up his game. Either way you are a winner.

You never, ever, ever, ever, ever have anything to lose from walking away from a man who is giving you less than 100%. If he comes after you - you will be able to take back your power and he will know that he has to value and respect you to keep you. If he doesn't come after you - you will find someone better.

SoThatHappened Tue 16-Feb-16 15:41:28

Yeah see i knew all that. I did.

But I was so fucking lonely that i allowed it.

And he didn't make much effort to get sex off me and I still gave it to him.

Then he fucked off when he found someone he did want to date making me feel woefully inadequate.

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 15:56:05

you sound very deflated and like you have low self esteem. There's ways to get good self esteem that don't involve a man at all!! In fact, most of them don't

BabyGanoush Tue 16-Feb-16 15:56:08

Try writing this as a book

Make lots of money out of it

As a kind of revenge...

What sort of age group are you btw?

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 16:24:33

I'm mid thirties

TheNaze73 Tue 16-Feb-16 17:13:21

As a bloke, I wouldn't disagree with much of that to be fair. Guess we're wired differently to women.

From my experience & I'm bound to be shot down here but, when you're nice, civil, do all the right things for a woman & give them nothing to chase, women get bored. If you're a bit of a tool, do dissapearing acts, give women something to chase & act indifferently to it all & suppress your feelings all the time, so they don't really know, you get the girl every time. Learned that the hard way. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but, that's what 43 years of life experience at first hand has shown me. im now running out of the room wearing a tin helmet

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 18:31:39

I hear that from men a few times and I wonder where these women are who like tools?

From my perspective, the tools get through the door one way and one way only - act nice to begin with and then make the person confused, bewildered and wondering what they did wrong when you change course.

But sorry to hear you feel women don't respond to civil treatment.

MrsHathaway Tue 16-Feb-16 18:47:25

Sounds like the Nice Guy Fallacy to me Naze - "I've done everything right and she's still not putting out, the bitch".

Sample explanatory link.

Women can't be bought with niceness. If you're faking the niceness, you're not nice.

Lullabullacoo Tue 16-Feb-16 18:55:43

I have to agree with OP. Been divorced for 2 years after an abusive marriage. Have tried 2 dating apps - both a disaster. Lots of men messaging crude stuff & younger men trying it on. Men look at your profile 2x a day for ages - message them & discover they are just looking as in relationship. Or

velvety55 Tue 16-Feb-16 18:57:02

I agree with everything you say. Well said. If only I could have got this through in a gentler way to my ex best friend. If only I'd had someone like you to give me a good talking to whilst in a state of mind some have called limerence - this really does blind you to reality and send you a bit mad. So you lose all reason even if you considered yourself intelligent and wise. I hope never to experience that again. Luckily it doesn't last.

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 18:58:02

As a woman, I can only say that my interest in a man develops either from an instant physical / mental attractions or it develops over time slowly from getting to know them (the friend zone is a great place to start). So if a woman doesn't respond to you instantly - go for just being around her and letting her get to know you and vice versa. Treating a woman badly is only going to atract women who like that sort of treatment. A good woman won't stand for it forever and then you can cry into your milk while you wactch someone else get it right.

The difference betwen men and women is that women can be around a man for years and not fancy him and have a sudden change of heart once she sees him in a new way, whereas I think men either fancy you or don't and it never changes.

springydaffs Tue 16-Feb-16 19:00:13

I'm amazed to hear that Naze. Sounds like you've been chasing erm bitches difficult, manipulative women (joins you in the hard hat corner). Or making them chase you.

I met a guy recently who was keen. The minute I was interested back he started playing games. Like fuck off mate. I really really really cba with that shit.

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 19:06:06

I've experienced limerence before velvety, very horrible, but I think it all comes from within and the absolutely best way to never, ever, ever get into that state is simply to practice high standards.

In the world of Tinder, POF and FWB; men are at the point where they can play silly games and get what they want with little respect for the woman and little consequence for the fact that they hurt us.

They treat us badly...ignore us for a week and they aren't a dick. We are needy!!!

Well.....NOPE!

It's so easy to mistake someone trying to get into your pants for something else, and thy do put us through awful mind games at times.

My rules are pretty hard and fast on this now (after being horribly hurt by someone who ticked all the player boxes and I was blind to it) and I take absolutely zero shit anymore.

If he doesn't call for three days, I don't return his call for six days.

If he doesn't respond to my text for 24 hours, I don't respond to his next 3 texts.

If he says he doesn't want a relationship or doesn't want to hurt me, I block him and tell him to grow up

No romance, time, effort and time spent working on cultivating closeness with me? no sex

It's harsh, but it does train them to respect you. Sorry to sound to harsh on men here (I love men) but they do require us to earn their respect in some cases.

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 19:09:36

I met a guy recently who was keen. The minute I was interested back he started playing games. Like fuck off mate. I really really really cba with that shit.

Adn there's the crux of the mind fuck.

We work in simply ways where if we make an effort for someone, pursue them then it means we like and value them. Some of these OLD asshats or unevolved daters will do exactly that - chase until they get you and then start playing silly games.

They are like kids in a candy store and the only way to deal with them is to tell them to fuck off and move on. Because no matter how amazing you are; someone is not really going to properly realise that if their objective in life is to focus on silly games.

find someone who is ready to value you and finds childish head games a waste of time.

And I speak as someon who is guilty three times in the last two years of falling into the trap of trying to fix it /bend myself into shapes to stop men who had pursued me from playing these games. The more you try, the worse it gets! Invariably.

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 19:11:07

Oh and I missed this off my list...but it is one of the best dating tips I have evr learned in these past years...

if he only ever texts you and never phones, DUMP him. A guy that really likes you and is normal / not a player or dick head WILL phone you

Oysterbabe Tue 16-Feb-16 19:14:50

Good post and all true.

Lanark2 Tue 16-Feb-16 19:21:28

With that last one, what is she doesn't talk on the phone and texts you back after you call?

DeeDee47 Tue 16-Feb-16 19:22:00

Thank you
Great post and so true!

Oasis888 Tue 16-Feb-16 19:31:38

Excellent advice. Thanks so much for this.

RobinsonsSquash Tue 16-Feb-16 19:45:05

I know everyone dates for different reasons, and perhaps my experiences aren't typical. But I've had a very different dating experience from you OP, over the last decade or so, and here's what I've learnt along the way.

Having sex with someone because I want to have sex with them and they with me has worked out pretty well. I don't really understand the concept of 'free' sex with someone who doesn't want a relationship. Does that mean that sex in the context of a long-term relationship is being paid for? With what? The promise of an engagement ring? All the diamonds on earth? Seems more financially prudent to just charge upfront if you're going to charge for it.

If someone tells me they're not looking for a relationship, I believe them. Why wouldn't I?

If someone tells me they don't want to hurt me, I believe them. If someone tells me they aren't going to hurt me, I believe them. For both statements I believe them only to the extent that they can genuinely be believed - which is to say, human beings are messy and complicated and sometimes do bad things, for unaccountable reasons. I'm in charge of my emotional vulnerability, not someone I met on the internet two weeks ago.

If someone told me I was more than just sex I would look at them blankly and laugh. That's self-evident, isn't it? Look at me walking round like a living, breathing human being who eats and cries and sings and thinks and reads books.

I don't believe that men and women are wired differently at all. I believe that men and women are socialised differently in relation to sex, and more specifically to sexual shame. If a woman feels she is giving herself away by having sex with a man, that to me speaks of a deep-seated lack of sexual agency. What have you given? What have you lost? I don't understand. Is there a finite amount of sex that might run out? Or is it more to do with the idea that women are supposed to feel ashamed of wanting sex, of desiring men in passing or out of pure objectification?

A good relationship (of any kind, not just romantic or sexual) fulfils me to the extent that I want and need it to, having communicated my wants and needs and negotiated those with the other person or people involved. The amount of potential relationships that I might have - friendships, affairs, romances, quick shags in pub toilets, long-term cohabitations, colleagues I spend hours laughing and commiserating and producing good work with - makes me feel dizzy with the possibilities. All those possible connections, all those chances to experience shared human-ness, all those gritty and messy and complicated and joyful and pleasurable times with people.

My value is not determined by what a man thinks I'm worth. It's determined by what I think I'm worth, which is everything.

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 20:06:34

I feel quite jealous of you to have such a wonderful sense of self and such a great viewpoint Robinsons! I wish it had been like that for me, but sadly not. Sometimes it has been, but being quite a trusting individual I did always just assume people have the same general gameplan to me.

This post is directed and people having problems and confusions dating, the ones posting on here "does he like me or not?" or reading baggage reclaim to try and find answers to the mind fuck individual who has waded their way into their lives.

That's not to say even with the best self esteem and best attitude in the world that you can't fall victim to a master manipulator who is out to use you so if you've avoided that then you have been lucky. I was lucky until I got to 34 and started online dating which was why I was sucked in.

In terms of free sex, what I mean is that there are men out there who will say do anything to get sex off you. Now provided you are aware they are doing this and you are happy to be used for sex by someone who seees no value in you beyond that -then fine - but if you don't, and if you see sharing your body, intimacy, kisses and bed with someone who cares for and respects you then you need to make sure the person is also meeting your needs. It's not an exchange of payment, it's an assurance that your needs are as important as his.

And cynically, I say this that without exception every single time anyone has told me they don't want to hurt me it has been right before they did hurt me, so I see this as some sort of disclaimer. If you've had a different experience you are luckier than me!

I do disagree strongly with one point on your post, as I think men and women are absolutely, genetically, biologically, emotionally wired very differently from men. I know not how much of that is social conditioning -but I have observed from my own life, my friends lives, my families lives, the lives of the rich and famouse and these forums that again and again and again we see women going through the same old dilemmas.

Caused, primarily, by the fact that the woman is looking to be special, to form a bond, to have support and caring - and the man is looking to get laid. So as is the human condition, the man says and does whatever he thinks he needs to say and do to ahcieve what he wants but there are always telltale signs that he does not truly love and care for you - which is what brings us to our confusion.

Like with everything I said, this is not aimed at men /dating experiences which are positive and would not cause someone to post on forums. This is aimed at the bad kind, the kind that keeps you up all night and messes with your mind.

RobinsonsSquash Tue 16-Feb-16 20:20:05

I suppose, to bastardize Eleanor Roosevelt, that my line is broadly that no one can make you feel used without your consent.

If the distinction between the sexes is as you say (which I don't think it is, necessarily) then I wonder why more women don't just investigate the possibility of other women for their romantic partnerships...

MakingItReal Tue 16-Feb-16 20:59:00

Absolutely.

And sleeping with someone wo says they don't want a relationship when you do want one expecting this means something else, or tolerating someone not contacting you when they should or dating a man that blows hot and cold is definitely giving them your consent.

That's why I have made these rules. It's me saying I won't tolerate anything else that the treatment a man who cares about me and respects me will show.

Having those rules would not be needed if there weren't shady characters around.

Just as an example, last year I dated a man. Oh boy did he do a number on me! And it was 95% my own fault for not applying these rules.

Mistake 1: First off, he told me he didn't want a relationship before we event met. I met him anyway. No harm I thought, but I liked him. Little did I know that throughtout the six months we were together he would do and say numerous things to say we were in a relaitonship and allude to a phantom future only to turn around at the end and say "well I said I never wnated a relationship. And he did!

Mistake 2: Right after pursuing me over numerous months a a veyr "hot" first two months he went hot and cold on me, citing commitment fears and busy job and I continued to see him even though this behavior made me feel rejected, neglected and unhinged at times - feeling like I had done something wrong, when in reality - he was just not that bothered or lookign to create a serious bond.

Mistake 3: while he was happy to spend every weekend with me and do romantic things and speak most days and get very close -he never wanted to meet my friends or bring me into his life and it this in itself was a glaring sign that no matter what he said about how much he liked me, he clearly didn't!

Mistake 4: Boy did he have ishoos. Total commitment phobe, absolutely unable to form lasting bonds with anyone and a shitty childhood and instead of running for the hills, I thought I could save him or fix it.

And all through it all, he would reassure me. Extensively. He would send me the valentines cards, and plan trips away for my birthday and if I was upset he would drive the 40 minutes to my house to cheer me up, and he would hold me in his sleep and he did come and stand outside my house when I ended it...but the point was...he was doing all of that to keep banging me. Because he loved banging me. But because of factors I knew nothing about, he had long since ruled me out as wife material and he saw me in a very diferent way to how I saw him.

My point is that with that man I spent so many months confused over why someone would say they cared about you and had never had something like this before, and why they would do certain things to indicate that they were mad about you and could not stay away from you -if it didn't mean they saw you as someone they wanted to be with long term - and the truth is - people sadly do send these mixed messages.

And I made the worst mistake you can make. Which is tolerating it. Letting him do it. Being the "cool girlfriend" who didn't mind that he still had his Tinder profile active, who didn't mind that he made birthday plans without me, who didn't mind that he would never phone me and always texted and it only reduced my value in his eyes to the point he had no respect for me. Had I walked away at the very first sign of him telling me "sorry I was busy with work babe", I would have saved a lot of heartache.

And yes tolerating this to some degree comes because you might have low self esteem (I know I do) but it is also just down to being a nice person who has not experienced it before and is left feeling bewildered and confused by people who speak out of both sides of their mouth.

RobinsonsSquash Tue 16-Feb-16 21:10:44

And that's absolutely your right, of course. I suppose the reason I felt the need to post is that they're your rules, and they're not universally applicable just because they work for you.

Perhaps (as most of the responses to the thread suggest) there are lots of people out there who only want to have sex in the context of a loving, committed relationship who are having sex in situations they don't really want to have it in. I'm not sure training men is the answer to that, though.

Claraoswald36 Tue 16-Feb-16 22:15:29

I kind of disagree with 3. Exp (first long term serious post divorce) said this to me at the tail end. 'I like you but I haven't fallen in love with you and I don't want to hurt you therefore I'm ending this'. Obviously it did hurt but now time has passed I would greet him as a friend. He didn't cheat or use me he just couldn't pretend so he ended it. I wasn't in love either but I tried to be because we got on so well - I see now it was exactly the same for him.

Otherwise the list is spot on.

I think I would add don't be scared to specify exactly which shit you won't be taking off them. I am very fulfilled with my dp but he is by far the man I have made work hardest to be with me. When you crack the whip and they just raise their game willingly - that's when you know they are for real grin

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