1. We don’t want to be, and are not, “at war” with you.
We want more than anything to get along with you. If we wind up arguing, it’s by accident rather than design.
2. We are profoundly confused about “what women want.”
I find the best solution to that problem is to ignore most of what I’ve read and seen and approach each woman as an individual. You don’t want what “women” what; you want what YOU want.
3. We are actually much more similar than anyone wants to admit.
I never knew of any person in a relationship who said, “You know, I do want love, and the sex, but you don’t have to respect me.” I think we largely want the same things.
4. We feel that sometimes you’re too harsh and cruel when rejecting us.
I’ve heard so many stories about guys turning into assholes when they get rejected that I can’t possibly believe it’s all due to their lack of social skills; rather, much of it seems due to women not knowing how to turn men down in a way that will let them save face but also properly send them about their way.
When I hear women legitimately complain about never getting asked out on dates or never getting approached, I think of men who would approach these women but got burned even when they were being decent, and then I realize we might have a vicious cycle going on. I know men can be and often are such dicks in their approaches, but I hardly ever hear (from either women or men) about women being assholes in how they reject approaches; this leads to the illusion that they never are.
5. We don’t even want sex half of the time.
I have turned down attractive women for sex, including girlfriends who were completely naked in bed next to me at the time. I am not an animal or machine whose lust has complete sway over me. The sexiest thing I have ever experienced in my life was when a woman held me in her arms, with me crying, and stroked my hair while saying, “It’s OK, you can let it out, you don’t have to be strong.”
6. We don’t have the flaws that your exes have; we have our own flaws.
At least give me a fair hearing about what those flaws are so you can decide whether or not you think you’ll be able to accept them. I am just as afraid as you are that if you saw all the things wrong with me, you wouldn’t want me.
7. We know that someone before us hurt you, but we expect that you will not take that out on us.
I understand you aren’t over it yet. I know that he was so kind and sweet and supportive and that you never even saw it coming, like he just transformed into some other person completely, a hero-turned-killer. I understand it still hurts and that you have plenty of doubts. But if you’re just holding your breath because you’re waiting for me to transform into some kind of moral monster, how is that fair to me?
8. We don’t want you to hold us personally responsible for your happiness.
I wouldn’t want to be with a woman who would accept me doing that to her, either. Every day we are together is a choice that each of us makes about our own happiness.
9. We care far more about your approval and acceptance than we would ever be capable of admitting.
Women do not have a monopoly on insecurity about how they look, fears about settling, what others think of them, how good they are in bed, and the quality of their personal and romantic relationships. There aren’t many romantic anxieties that plague you which don’t also plague us. We have to give the same amount of love and acceptance that we are looking to receive. If you sacrifice, expect it in return. If you don’t get it back, get someone else. Sometimes seeming to not care or worry about these things can be a disguise for incredibly deep insecurity, because if you don’t care (or if you care less), you can’t be hurt or disappointed, right?
10. If you deliberately try to make us jealous, you don’t need a relationship; you need help.
Would we respect a man who seemed to derive his self-value primarily from how he was romantically valued by the opposite sex? I wouldn’t. But then, we teach our young women that much of their value hinges upon their ability to “get a man.” If you don’t get the amount and type of attention from the man you have without having to bend over backwards, you have the wrong guy. If you stick around instead of leaving and try to play those games in order to get something that probably isn’t going to be forthcoming, then it won’t be him that’s wrong, it’ll be you, because at that point you’re doing both him and yourself a disservice.
11. You should stop letting the movies give you unrealistic visions of romance, love, and intimacy.
I’m not saying we’ll never dance under the rain like no one is watching. I’m not saying I’ll never spring romantic surprises on you (because I totally will). But just like the unhealthy stereotypes of models that magazines, movies, and TV shove down all our throats, expecting our relationship to even remotely approximate someone else’s fictional version of “the good love” is setting yourself (and us) up for failure. Make your own movies and forget what the media tells you.
12. If you think all this whining and complaining from guys about being “friendzoned” is bullshit, then we agree. It is.
Guys, please stand up and be human beings; you are not compatible with every woman out there. If every woman who was interested in you let you know about this, you’d be “friendzoning” quite a few of them, too. We still live under the prevailing norm that men approach women and make the first move. (As for you ladies, this is one HUGE reason why some men like it very much when you make the first move; it says a great deal about your confidence, courage, and initiative in the face of that norm.)
13. Men like and want romance, too.
I want to know that you want me, that you care about me, that you want to feel connected to me, that you value me, that my well-being is important to you, and that you care about making me feel like I’m special to you. Men want you to show them how much you want them, in all departments and in all variety of ways, just as much as you want to feel wanted.
14. Just because you love a guy doesn’t mean you should be in a relationship with him.
Love doesn’t justify everything, and focusing mainly or primarily on love to the detriment of many other things such as common sense is the cause of the majority of soooooooooooo many headaches. There are many reasons for being together; love is only the beginning.
15. We want you to write a self-help book telling us the best ways to approach you.
It would be a bestseller, and guys like me would love you forever. We need help with that. Help us help you and help us all. Please write that book.
16. Those guys who cheated on you? We hate what they did as much as you do.
You never heard anyone say, “I like your dishonesty, disloyalty, your lack of self-respect and respect for others, and your inability to keep it in your pants.” There are plenty of men (and other women) who’d like to bash those cheaters over the head for you.
17. If you’re into “hookup” culture and casual sex, we think you are less likely to be loyal when you’re in a relationship.
There’s an ironclad negative correlation between endorsement of casual sexual relations and fidelity in a relationship.
18. Just because we don’t seem to be afraid of losing you doesn’t mean we’re not.
I have always favored the idea of being a romantic, but never a hopeless romantic. I only have so much energy to give, and you can’t have all—or even most—of it.
19. We secretly wonder if “Confidence is sexy” is code for “You have to make the first move because we’re not going to.”
We understand you like confidence a lot (because we’ve heard this 7,842,163.4 times), but I hope you understand that we can’t just generate confidence automatically. Some of us simply aren’t confident, and we appreciate it when you understand how hard it would be if you had to do it.
20. You should never use masculine stereotypes to try to control a man or shame him into behaving or not behaving a certain way.
This is emotional abuse. Don’t ever say “You need to man up” or “act like a man.” This is equivalent to a man thinking a woman is weak for crying or needing help or desperately wanting to be loved and cared for. Not cool either way.