1906. Man’s Devotion Revisited


Their Highnesses Krysie869 and Entwyf inquired about a confusing issue surrounding masculine devotion. Is it love or not? Entwyf cleared it up and inspired this response.

Males devote themselves to the most important things in their lives. Entwyf mentioned a case about two boys intrigued with the study of bugs. As little men they act out masculine devotion to their own self-development, which manifests as significance in men. Throughout life males pursue daily goals that compound into significance in their world of jobs, responsibilities, adventures, and endless possibilities that may or may not include a wife and children.

The same functioning of heart and mind become devotion to a woman when a few vital ingredients attract a man. One woman’s uniqueness and attractiveness confirm his sense of significance. She has a likeability that appeals to him. She appears worthy of his being responsible for her. She appears willing to let him rule the roost (until she masters the art of ruling the rooster). He sees that she has immense promise to care for and support the life he pursues outside the home (where his nature drives him to make himself ever more significant for himself, family, or both).

Men don’t directly earn self-admiration in their home except as they successfully fulfill their manly responsibility (produce, provide, protect, and problem solve) to please their woman their way. The more she gets involved in getting him to please her, the less his sense of self-admiration is confirmed by her. When his self-admiration dissipates to virtually nothing in the home, it’s a good sign she nags, refuses to depend on him, discourages his kingly initiatives, or all of the above.

The husband with a weak sense of marital responsibility is also weakly devoted to wife. He doesn’t earn self-admiration and his sense of responsibility weakens further over time. He also accelerates his interests outside the home in order to compensate.

Men by nature devote themselves to the most important things in their lives. Women have to work hard to make themselves number one on their man’s priorities, but they can do better by relying on the feminine (anti-feminist) side of the female nature. When women act more as men expect from the female nature, men seek self-admiration by pleasing women. It compounds and adds to their sense of significance, which enables them to respect the female sex more than they respect their own.

In the end, devotion signifies a man’s love. Men just don’t love the same way as women. It’s another reason women feel short-changed with affection from their man.

The truth shall set you free. I describe the male nature. Only women can figure out how to take advantage without spoiling the benefits for their own lives.

41 Comments

Filed under sex differences

41 responses to “1906. Man’s Devotion Revisited

  1. Cynthia Ponce

    This is truly wonderful. thank you!

  2. Some Other Guy

    Good piece Sir Guy.

    When you say ” The more she gets involved in getting him to please her, the less his sense of self-admiration is confirmed by her.” Does this tie back to the problem that creeps in when a wife complains that “he never buys flowers me or never just surprises me for the heck of it”?

    Sir Some Other Guy,
    Sure it ties back. Her complaints send the message that he’s inadequate to please her according to his time and taste, which means that his worth suffers in her gaze, which contradicts his self-image and view of their relationship, which makes him doubt or question her other contributions to his self-admiration, which discourages him at first but then encourages him to please himself more than her, which weakens his devotion (aka love), which means if it continues that he ultimately compensates by earning self-admiration elsewhere.
    Guy

  3. Krysie869

    Thanks for the clarification!!

    I guess this is similar to a father who does not devote enough time to his children or does not fully commit to his fatherly duties (i.e. his words do not match his actions). Clearly, there is no love there for his children.

    Your Highness Krysie869,

    It’s the trend in homes today. The feminist attitude induces women to easily blame husbands and fathers for not spending enough time with wives and children. Men are never good enough, and the self-fulfilling prophecy kicks in. As the direct result, wives and mothers get exactly what they pay attention to, what they complain about.

    The male nature differs from what women commonly think.

    1. Men don’t love children as women do and especially their mothers.

    2. Men love children according to their sense of responsibility for them. Just as with their wives, they expect their actions to reflect their love. That is, dedication to their sense of duty to provide, protect, etc.

    3. Born hard-hearted, men are not created to show affection. It’s a learned skill and habit with children just as with women. Relationship experts should learn how to compensate without demeaning the man they hope will change.

    4. A man expects his words to be accepted as indicative of his dedication and reinforced by his wife and children’s mother. IOW, he seeks doing it efficiently as his nature urges him, expects mother to provide child raising effectiveness, and expects her kindly advice and support to close any gaps that he doesn’t fill.

    5. If he’s a sincere man and she chose well based on his character, his words match his actions in his heart and mind. (However, the feminist attitude to always find fault with men prompts mothers to fault fathers for inadequate time spent and words exchanged. Of course, they have the same complaint about time and words for them too as wives.)

    Men will always be inadequate when women define husbandly and fatherly duties. Women are the relationship experts. They should learn more about the male nature, if they ever hope to capitalize on their own strengths to obtain manly potential and reliability.

    Guy

  4. Very clarifying! And I see, as I think about devotion further, how a woman’s tendency to focus on the future can screw up a relationship with a man who is absorbed in what is in front of him now.

    I think that I as a woman have always had a “baked-in” tendency to look at what a man is doing in the present and say, “Okay, if X and Y and Z change, this guy will be Mr. Right.” And I have always tended to talk to the man about what I *would* like, and how things *should* be, and what he *could* do to make me happy.

    I have never, until now, really thought of the importance of saying to a man, “I like what you are doing NOW; I appreciate who you are NOW; I am amazed by your existence NOW.” Of course, I have never, until recently, met a man about whom I could really say, “He is the way he is, and that’s fine.”

    My motto about a lot in life is, “It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to work.” And this guy I’ve met is not perfect, but he works quite well.

    Thing is . . . I can’t help thinking that, if I start dishing out compliments, he will get that look on his face that he got a while ago when I complimented him–in front of a mutual friend–for being a kind and compassionate man who has a desire to model godly behavior for others.

    He kind of rolled his eyes and looked like I’d called him pretty. But I just pointed out what quite a few other people recognize.

    It’s kind of funny that guys are wired for devotion to and mastery of of life’s curiosities and complexities, and they crave recognition of the time and energy they expend, but when you give them what they want, they get the “yuk” face.

    Your Highness Entwyf,
    It’s doing it in front of others. Whatever men are, they wish to keep it to themselves or be the one to divulge. Also, overly complimentary comments can embarrass a guy.
    Guy

    • Some Other Guy

      I 2nd what Sir Guy says. Especially after you are married, if you fail to make a big deal over his accomplishments and if you do not fawn over every little thing he does to better the household, you will find that he no longer does those things. If you do not praise him, no amount of begging, nagging or whining will make him want to do the smallest little thing for you. Everything a man does, he does it for the woman in one way or another. When the woman doesn’t notice what he does, he just stops doing it.

      OTOH If you properly praise your man you will find that he does things for you “just because”.

      • So, can you set out a couple of scenarios, maybe under a different topic heading, as examples of how and when and where to genuinely praise and admire without getting the “yuk” face? I assume that if I forgot and was complimentary in public, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but my inner third-grader always thinks, “stupid boy, stop that!” when I see that look; if I can avoid it, I would love to.

        • Some Other Guy

          The compliment you gave him was essentially that he was a “nice” guy. No man wants to be called a nice guy. Nice guy is female code for a push-over who is not attractive. I know you meant well. But you unintentionally insulted him. You gave him the miss congeniality award. That consolation prize that they hand out to the not so pretty girl at the beauty pageant. It’s not a shock that he reacted badly to this.

          Guys get uneasy when you talk about what or how the “are”. But if you tell them what they “DO” or what they “DID” is great you will get no YUK faces. If you tell me that the new shelving unit I built looks great or that you are happy that I fixed the faulty light switch, then I will be pleased to no end. Tell me I am kind or generous or nice or a good husband and I will feel a little queasy. Men want compliments on what they do not how they are.

          Next time ask him if he’s been working out because he looks stronger lately. Or say you admire the way he handled some adversity at work. I’ll bet the yuk face goes away.

          Sir Some Other Guy,
          Well done! You have an admirable talent for converting principles into everyday dialogue. Want to collaborate on writing a book?
          Guy

          • Some Other Guy

            I appreciate the shout out Sir Guy. Let’s talk in 5 more years. I’ll consider it my retirement career.

  5. Okay, I’m going to get cranky. I do see the problem with my comments, and point taken.

    AND do collaborate.

    But . . .

    In reviewing my experiences trying to compliment men and comparing them to models given here, I see I have a lot to learn. However, the message about verbalizing to men is mixed for me.

    On the one hand, abundant verbiage from a woman is perceived as desperate and smothering, especially if it fails to use acceptable jargon. On the other hand, restricted verbiage from a woman is perceived as cold and rejecting.

    Do men have ANY capacity for perceiving abundant talk as supportive and restricted talk as respectful? Do they have any capacity for cutting women slack and giving them the benefit of the doubt?

    Intolerance of woman-speak can’t possibly be hormonally baked in to a man’s brain and thus unalterable. The basic capacity for speech is innate in humans, but the niceities (and not-so-niceities) are learned from parents, siblings, friends, teachers, etc. And they are learned within particular cultures.

    I ask this because I not only got a “yuk” face in conversation yesterday, I got turn-around-and-walk away-and-ignore-me.

    The man I am getting to know has a hundred neckties that he pairs with various shirts, plain and fancy. He looks great in them and often uses them to express a bit of humor.

    Yesterday, at a coffee hour after church, we had this conversation:

    “I envy men for two reasons. First, they can grow beards to keep their faces warm in the winter.”

    “Not me.” (Hmm, okay.)

    “Second, you get a plain white shirt and a hundred ties, and you’re set as far as getting dressed every day.”

    “I don’t have a lot of white shirts.” (I wasn’t suggesting you did; I was just suggesting that a man, any man really, with enough ties, can have a very simple, efficient answer to the problem of getting up and getting dressed every day . . . as opposed to women who have to spend so much time with the process.)

    “Yeah, you add interesting shirts and take it up a notch.”

    At that point, he literally stopped talking and turned his attention to someone else and refused to engage with me anymore.

    WHAAAAAAAT?

    Here’s a man who was born of a mother, who has been married twice, who is close to his sister, and who has a daughter. Does he have no skills in interpreting woman-speak? Yes, he grew up part of a bunch of brothers and talks with nostalgia of waiting for his dad to come home from work when he was little and takes great pride in all of his guy accomplishments (and they are many), but dang it, seriously, really.

    Did I make a huge error and say something he interpreted as, “I want to castrate you right in front of the pastor and his wife”?

    Sure seems like it.

    I know basic Spanish and have often made mistakes speaking with Hispanic friends. They have never stalked off; they have laughed, explained my mistake, and I have laughed and learned. Doesn’t seem the guy I am getting to know is willing to use my mistakes as a teachable moment. He just wants to get offended and walk off and leave me clueless. I don’t want to offend him; I want to have a conversation that is useful and meaningful.

    Your Highness Entwyf,

    Some Other Guy provides a likely explanation below, and he understands relationships very well. I shall take a different tack.

    Quit the cranky. We all learn from mistakes, not everything is understandable, and you will never understand your potential Mr. Good Enough until he becomes Mr. Right after a couple of decades of marriage—and probably not even then.

    The smoother a relationship starts out, the easier for it to crumble because neither side has to make much of an investment of Self. People don’t appreciate what they get for little or nothing. They value what they have to work for, e.g., accepting poor results as their own mistakes, swallowing some pride, or getting rid of expectations of perfect results.

    I shall try to describe a possible cause-effect root of your crankiness. Your shirt dialogue starts by describing your envy of men and suggesting there may be more envy within you, which means you sound as if you hope to be more like men, which means to him that you’ve weakened your potential as a wife, which means that you may be a waste of time except for sex. It very likely is something like that if you dislike yourself as female, which means that you spend inadequate time promoting yourself to yourself in front of a mirror. May I suggest you study posts 806 and 1146 and read the Dark Side of Feminism series in the CONTENTS page at top of blog.

    You don’t seem to have made any mistakes in the shirt dialogue, but he found reason to take offense or make a “vague and unavailable” move as suggested by Some Other Guy. I offer the foregoing merely to invite you in a different direction to explore and help smooth out relationship hits and misses.

    You close with this: “Doesn’t seem the guy I am getting to know is willing to use my mistakes as a teachable moment. He just wants to get offended and walk off and leave me clueless. I don’t want to offend him; I want to have a conversation that is useful and meaningful.”

    A big difference exists between eliminating confusion over language and well-intended but ill-received comments. Apples and oranges, so don’t expect men to act like Hispanic friends. Moreover, in pre-marital relationships, men depend on women to teach themselves about dealing with them. That’s the way of male nature, and female nature knows it intuitively.

    Guy

  6. I need to apologize here. Learning truths about men that have been well-suppressed for decades has come at just the right time for me. And yet I am snarking at folks I don’t know who have been willing to leak secrets to the “enemy” and do their bit to restore a solid understanding of male/female relationships.

    On the one hand, I am really grateful to finally “get” some real basics. On the other hand, the more I try to act on what I’m learning, the more confusing it seems to get.

    And all of this because, for the first time in my life, I have met a man who is not perfect but entirely admirable and amazing, and I just want to be able to express that in the clearest, most respectful way I can.

    Only apparently I can’t, even with really honest advice. 😦

    If I were a Buddhist, I’d say it’s definitely time to detach. If I were a girl (ooh, I am), I’d say it’s time for chocolate.

    Thank you, Sir Guy (and Some Other Guy) for being willing to deal with the likes of my comments. You obviously love sisters, mothers, aunts, wives, daughters, and grand-daughters very deeply if you are willing to do the heavy lifting that goes on here daily for the benefit of the fair sex. What blessed women are the women in your lives.

    Your Highness Entwyf,

    Snarking is no offense here.

    You say, “Only apparently I can’t [express his worth to me], even with really honest advice.”

    I suggest a new strategy. Quit trying. Go almost silent. As much as possible, keep your thoughts to yourself. He knows he’s great and admirable. No need for you to add when it doesn’t always work. Let him admire himself about everything. Learn to associate quietly for you; good friends do it regularly. Please him with silence that confirms what he says. He hears nothing to contradict or offend him but he sees huge smiles of immense intensity that display deep admiration. It’ll take practice but enable you to gradually develop dialogue that both appreciate.

    Guy

    • Some Other Guy

      Entwyf, Your story brings a smile to my face. I am sure that I am not the only one here that recognizes at least a little bit of themselves in your story. We’ve all said things we regret in conversation with someone we are trying hard to impress. Don’t stress. We’re not offended.

      Your comments about they guy’s ties don’t strike me as offensive. It’s tough for me to tell what the tone of voice was, but as written, they just seem like normal chit-chat. But understand, some other recent interaction(s) you have had with him may have left him with the idea that you are trying to get under his skin. If it were just one incident he would likely just forget about the whole thing and move on. But now that you have had more than one mis-understanding in the recent past he now may be viewing your comments with some suspicion.

      Let me let you in on a little secret though. One of the most effective tools I had back in my dating days was to do exactly what your guy is doing. I would act a little interested in a girl. Only interested enough for her to get to know me a bit. Then after some time, I would pull away and become less “available”. I would act like I had been busy all the time and would generally be unenthusiastic about interacting with her.

      The girls that were never very interested in me would not give me another thought and I would lose some because I misjudged their interest. But the minds of the girls that were kind of interested in me would running 100 MPH to figure out why I was acting so cool towards them. “hmm why is he not falling all over himself to talk to me?”. The less I made it seem like I was interested, the more interested the girls became. Women like a mystery.

      Is it possible that your guy is doing some thing like this to you?

      • Possible, but unless I get input that confirms this, I don’t really know. Married friends I’ve known and trusted for donkey’s years keep saying, “Well, he’s not running away screaming; that’s a good sign.” And based on what I’m reading here, I’m not in despair. Exactly.

        But it is disconcerting to make an effort and receive what Edwardians would have called the cut direct: a deliberate snub, a deliberate sign of dismissal indicating some transgression of propriety.

        So, keeping in mind advice from elsewhere on this blog, I’m going to step back, detach, just let things alone. Lurk here and learn in silence. Journal. Go out to dinner with my besties. Because really, this guy, for all his issues, is such a kick-ass good guy. Going the affronted girl route would not be helpful at all in honoring that.

        So, again, thank you. See you on the flip side.

        • Well, well. My birthday was yesterday. “He” sent me a card. And, on my way out to dinner with good friends, I picked up my cell phone from another part of the house and found I’d missed a call in which he invited me out to celebrate my birthday.

          I e-mailed him and said I was sorry to miss his call. I asked for a rain check and also if he would wear his kilt (which he is entitled to wear) for a celebration, since it would make me the envy of many.

          So, we will see what happens.

          Your Highness Entwyf,
          You do the right thing for the wrong reason. You seek to be “the envy of many.” Wearing his kilt is a self-admiring and should be admirable act. He’s not a show-off when his woman asks him to “perform.” However, you crippled the opportunity to admire him because your heart had him in second place. Admittedly it’s a small issue, but you can’t become first in his heart if you’re first in your own.
          Guy

          • You’re right. It is girly-selfish on my part, in a big way. But he has agreed, perhaps because the first time I saw him in it–before we started getting closer–I admired him up one side and down the other and then could not look him in the face because I was blushing so hard. He is seriously admirable in a kilt. Boy, does he swagger. 🙂

            Your Highness Entwyf,
            Your blushing modesty compounds your attractiveness, way to go. Requesting him to do it again compliments him with your sincerity, which breeds his respect and trust of you. Way to go again.
            Guy

            • anonymous

              I always thought that shyness/blushing/being easily embarrassed were negative social qualities. But from what I read here (and I think other places in the blog), they are actually good qualities for a woman to have. Why do men find these things attractive?

              Your Highness Anonymous,
              They reflect a woman’s natural modesty, which because of its uniqueness is mysterious and thereby especially respectable to men.
              Guy

            • Because I was such a clinging, complaining manipulator in a baaaaad previous relationship, I am trying my best to admire from a distance, but I do keep confusing what I think is great (or fun or honest or a compliment) for what he thinks is great (or fun or honest or a compliment).

              This whole thing with basically begging him to do wear his kilt to please me . . . really not happy about that. So I sent him an e-mail and said, “A man’s kilt is a mark of distinction and kick-ass pride, not a toy to entertain nice people, even very nice people. I don’t want to disrespect the plaid. Hanging out with you, however you choose to attire yourself, will be an honor.”

              If I did something inappropriate AGAIN, well, sigh.

              I would love to see him in his kilt, but NOT if there is the slightest chance that honoring my request would make him feel like he’s being pushed around.

              Your Highness Entwyf,

              I’m confused again. Earlier I got the idea he loved to wear his kilt. Now, I think you say that he doesn’t and you tried to override his desire.

              If you did something inappropriate, you have to ask or read his reaction.

              Guy

              • He loves to wear his kilt. I love to see him in it.

                I seriously damaged a potential relationship years ago with girly manipulation. Paranoia about repeating that behavior makes it hard just to say something and let it lie where it falls. Thus second, qualifying e-mail messages. Not apologies, not explanations!

                Asking if I did anything wrong smacks of manipulative anxiety. Sunday, when we interact most and he does not hold back on his reactions to things, will come soon enough.

              • Well, there was a reaction. A specific date, time, and place for a Friday night birthday dinner for me. Arrival ten minutes early in a kilt, but I was ready. I said, “It’s a great day to be a Scotch-Irish woman.”

                I was entirely prettified if I do say so myself.

                Dinner was at a local pub in which he deferred to me in choosing certain items from the menu, and I handed it right back to him to do.

                Because his birthday is tomorrow, on his arrival at my house, I gave him a humorous card with a picture from Braveheart and two frozen organic grass-fed pork chops, packed to stay frozen, which he casually tossed in the trunk of his car (I assume because he didn’t want to be distracted from his agenda of casually and masterfully demonstrating his alpha male ability to please a lady).

                Dinner was good; conversation revolved around sharing stories of childhood, a bit of politics, putting on silly accents. I could not finish my dinner; it was huge.

                Another Guinness? No, I’m full. Dessert? No, I’m really full. Something at the bar before we go? No, I’m pretty full. Okay, then, off we go.

                Return to my home. Several minutes of discussion about buying a kilt. Pondering what to make for his birthday dinner, to which his rather large family has been invited. I said a casual, “Hmm.”

                Then, my thanks for a wonderful evening, a pat on his shoulder, and a climb out of the car with my dinner leftovers in a box. A wave goodnight after I unlocked the door. He drove away; I went inside.

                Thus ended what I deem a fine evening.

                Your Highness Entwyf,
                Good story clearly told. Women are seldom prettier than during and reporting on a huge success with a man. I presume all his feedback was positive and affirming.
                Guy

              • Yes. Very good feedback. Positive, affirming, reassuring, encouraging, thoughtful, delightful. Astonishing to one who for years played the feminist game and lost big-time, literally every time.

      • Your practice of being “unavailable” in order to spark interest from a woman or women . . . this would be a strategy employed at the very start of a possible relationship, right? Sort of a way to get things started without a lot of unnecessary risk-taking?

        What about four months into the process of getting to know someone?

        I ask because, three weeks ago, the man I am getting to know took me out for my birthday after about four months of casual interaction (pleasant conversations at church, some e-mail exchanges, a couple of relaxed lunches together). The evening was a big, old-school, yet entirely fun experience.

        I assumed–and apparently assumed incorrectly–that the evening would mark some sort of distinct change in our relationship

        However, since then, nothing has become more personal or intentional or formal or whatever. Interactions at church are still casual, pleasant, and brief . . . and seem less, not more frequent. Same goes for e-mail.

        I am willing to concede that I may have very much over-estimated the value of this dinner. It may have been, from a manly perspective, no more “significant” than asking a buddy out for a beer after work. But evidence would indicate otherwise. And evidence would indicate that both participants in the evening had fun!

        Is the man I am getting to know playing hard to get for some reason that is not apparent to me? Or has he decided that I was not worth the effort?

        Is this one of those situations where I just need to sit and wait . . . some more . . . or has everything just ground to a halt?

        I am not going to go “running 100 MPH to figure out why [he is] acting so cool towards [me].” I’m willing to wait if there is something to wait for. And I’m willing to walk away if there is nothing to wait for. It would just be nice to have a clue about what’s going on.

        Your Highness Entwyf,
        Sir Some Other Guy just below gives a good possibility of what’s happening. I can’t do better.
        Guy

        • Some Other Guy

          Hi Entwyf:
          I am assuming that you are wondering why he didn’t want to make out with you after the date, right?

          I suppose it is possible that your guy is doing my unavailability trick. I used it to put girls on notice that she was going to have to put some effort into the relationship in order for me to stick around. It’s a tool to use in other casual relationships as well, with men and women. If there is no give and take, most relationships will be off balance. But like you said, this is more so in the early stages.

          I may be way off base, but here is my guess as to what your situation is about. I think your guy for all of his seemingly being at ease in social situations may be finding it difficult to escalate the situation into more intimacy. Maybe he is having trouble finding the words to introduce romance to the convo. Maybe he has a pre-ordained pattern in his head that says he has to date you for X number of dates or something.

          For a man, knowing when to go for the kiss and how to escalate intimacy is nerve wracking. There are few things as awful as going in for a kiss only to have your date go “what? You want to kiss me? Oh I just don’t think of you like that”.

          Do you think this could be the situ w/ your guy? Could it be that he is playing it cool and hoping that you start making moves towards intimacy for him? Maybe he’s hoping you will show some signal that you want to take things to another level. If you do that then he would have the green light to take it there.

          He almost certainly does not see you as just another beer buddy. No way no how. 95% or more men simply do not do this. I will never invite a woman out to dinner, just us two unless I have romantic interest.

          I think he wants to escalate the relationship. I think he just can’t figure out the mechanics of it.

          • Thank you for an enlightening perspective. I hope you are right. Some of what you say makes quite a lot of sense. Some of it raises questions . . .

            Lip-locking at some point down the road would be heavenly. But to me that implies familiarity and comfort that does not yet exist.

            Familiarity and comfort, as far as I can tell, are created by significant time spent together, enough time so that *some* amount of weirdness . . . and worry about risk-taking . . . and possible rejection . . . *some* amount of that is dissipated.

            Getting to the place where we can start becoming familiar and comfortable . . . that’s the problem!

            The pattern of interaction so far has been Let’s Get Together for Food and Conversation for Maybe Several Hours or Maybe Just a Couple, In addition to The Birthday Dinner, there have been a couple of more casual get-togethers for lunch after church. Food and talk is then followed by a week or two (or more) of very brief conversations after church, very brief e-mail exchanges . . .

            I will say that the man in question has a very demanding job. He also is very tight with his family–brothers, aunts, uncles, cousines, nieces, nephews, his own children–and is always talking about inviting folks over for dinner or going to somebody’s house for a birthday . . . he had all this going on before we started getting to know each other, so he is busy during the week. (And I currently am often fried after work thanks to a stressful job for the past few years.)

            There are some very practical time and energy constraints that are issues. I am still trying to figure out what to do about that in my own life, so I cannot fault him if, like everyone else I know, he is overwhelmed by the tyranny of the urgent yet not terribly significant . . .

            If he has a “thing” about going on a certain number of dates, well . . . does it take three weeks to figure out what the next venue should be?

            If he’s having trouble figuring out how to slip romance into the conversation, I don’t really get that. I have said in every way I can think of, indirect and fairly direct . . . I admire you, I think you’re wonderful, I want to get to know you better . . . the door is wide open. Y’all come on in! I’m waiting

            The only thing I can think of that might be a problem is that the normal environment in which we “touch base” is church. I find myself a little paranoid at times about losing my train of thought and smiling at him like a total idiot . . . in the middle of the sanctuary, right after the postlude, in front of God and everybody. It’s an environment full of very loving, caring people, but it’s not the most relaxing place to pursue romance.

            So I guess we are both stuck in some way. Getting unstuck . . . have no clue. :-/

            • Some Other Guy

              Interesting. You may feel that you are being plenty obvious with your statements of praise and wanting to get to know him better, but I find that what many females think is beyond obvious simply goes right over the top of many men’s heads. I’ve read a woman that say the guy should have known she wanted romance that night because she wore her more revealing nightgown. She couldn’t understand how that could not be obvious enough. Well, to a man that might as well be morse code.

              If you are not at a kissing point in the relationship yet, I’m curious about what types of changes you were hoping to see from your guy? Just more physical closeness, holding hands, maybe his arm around your waist? Or were you thinking more in terms of him being in contact w/ you more often and getting together more? And I agree that moving the relationship towards intimacy is something that is not easily done at the church. You need alone time for that.

              • I’d say that the primary thing right now would be time spent together on a consistent basis to develop a sense of familiarity and comfort.

                I realize that men and women who are relative strangers throw themselves at each other all the time these days and invade each other’s lives without, at times, even knowing each other’s names.

                However. I don’t want to kiss a stranger, hold a stranger’s hand, put my arm around a stranger’s waist. As far as I’m concerned, closeness that’s truly natural and playful and enjoyable grows out of a fairly significant experience of mutual trust, admiration, and devotion. And that experience cannot occur without consistent time spent together over days, weeks, months . . .

              • Some Other Guy

                Entwyf: I think I see where you are coming from now. I like your attitude that he needs to get to know you before the romantic action happens. In this case, I think you are doing all that you can really do, which is lay out the hints about how you like being together alone with him, how you like his company, etc etc.

                What you don’t want to do is make it too easy for him or do the job for him. If you pursue him too strongly, you will never know if he is really that interested in you. It’s the man’s job to pursue the woman. When the woman chases the man, it sets up a bad dynamic. You can let him know that you are interested and available. And if he wants to make you his girl, he will do what he has to do to get you. If he doesn’t do that, then maybe it was not meant to be.

                Good luck.

              • I guess at this point, I can call myself officially stumped. On the one hand, I am not being *obvious enough* . . . On the other hand, going forward, I should not be *too obvious.* So, what does “just right” look and sound like? Is there such a thing?

                I realize that, in the Great Scheme of Things, I could do things exactly right, and there would be no relationship because things just weren’t “meant to be,” but if I don’t learn how to fish, it’s for sure I’m not going to catch any.

                Your Highness Entwyf,

                Good, you’re right in the middle. Only you can decide what to do and what works from that vantage point. Take the necessary risks and proceed as you choose. If it works fine. If it doesn’t, fine also. Now you know and also how to do it better next time.

                Incidentally, you may find some relevant thoughts in the VICTORY article in the blog top menu.

                Guy

            • Okay. I pondered what would be the best thing for me to do in my situation to make it more clear that I want to spend more time getting to know the man I am getting to know.

              I basically said earlier this week that when I get together with him for food and conversation, it’s always an adventure for me, and wouldn’t it be a good thing to get together more often and break the pattern of a “big event” followed by weeks of saying hello in passing . . .

              The result was an invitation for coffee after work today which morphed into dinner at a diner and included conversation about family, friends, values, politics, spiritual struggles . . . and a report on having dinner yesterday with a woman who is a mutual friend . . . plus a declaration that (despite having a housemate), “I don’t want to live with anybody” . . . also advice on what to do if I decide to sell my house and a suggestion that we go shopping so he can show me how to hunt for some clothing bargains.

              If this is his idea of ramping up our interactions . . . well, okay. Honesty and helpfulness with a side of ambivalence. It’s not indifference, but it’s not devotion. Sigh.

              • Some Other Guy

                Not what you wanted is it? From what you describe, he is interested in you at some level. The thing is, this is what the dating process is all about. You are not going to be compatible with everyone you meet. Dating is just the method you have to go thru to find out who you are compatible with and who you are not. Best thing to do in my opinion is to keep working on being a sweet, feminine woman and be open to meeting other men. There really is somebody special for each and every one of us. Your job is to find that person. If you live an interesting life and experience a variety of things and have a sweet attitude, you will attract men to you.
                BTW, has your guy been divorced? He may not be interested in a serious relationship at this time.

              • Actually, given my history of relationships, it is what I expected. But it’s a kinder, gentler way of putting me at arm’s length. At least he’s not saying, as one guy did (and I actually deserved it at the time), “You need help.”

                Looking back on the past few months, I see that I have done what women always do. We build our hopes on a few fragments.

                Yes, the man I am getting to know has been married and dumped twice.

                Yet, in our very first major get-together–five or six hours of intense conversation–he said that it is depressing to live alone (he has a housemate, a friend from way back). He also said he would like to have a wife who could share the little daily activities of life.

                I talked with a mutual friend who said that, in spite of the divorces, he did not see any big impediment in my getting to know “my guy” but that I would have to be patient.

                Other friends, in fact all my friends, have said the same thing.

                So I have been moving along, accepting each new encounter with “my guy” as evidence of things progressing.

                But in retrospect it’s obvious that I have given everything more weight than he has.

                Yes, he likes me. No, he doesn’t want a serious relationship. Wanting a serious relationship doesn’t look or feel or sound like what I’m experiencing.

                I just really need to walk away. Being patient might yield a wonderful relationship, but I haven’t got five, ten years. I’m not twenty; I’m sixty. I have less and less time to keep trying and failing. I’m not excited about staying sweet and remaining open to the possibility of meeting other men because I just don’t want to go through yet another process like this. But, as marvelous as “my guy” is, it just doesn’t make sense to keep going with this relationship, or whatever it is.

                So thank you–and Sir Guy–for sharing the real deal. Onward and upward.

              • Some Other Guy

                I think you are right Entwyf, give him some space and see what he does. The motivation to be w/ you has to come from within him. So you cannot really force the relationship to be what you want if he’s not able to take on that role.

                I strongly believe that there is someone for everyone in this world. In fact I believe that most people are compatible with and can be happy with hundreds of people (not at once, obviously). At 60 years old you have plenty of living to do. Mr. Right (for you) could be at the grocery store, the coffee shop, church or 100 other places, just waiting for you to bump into him. But you will never find him if you don’t keep your eyes open. Give other guys a chance. Dating does not have to be dreadful. Most every single person I have ever met has at least a handful of unique and interesting things about them that are truly interesting. You can have a lot of fun with that discovery process that is dating if you can allow yourself to relax and get past the self consciousness.

                Good luck!

                Sir Some Other Guy,
                Well done! Excellent advice.
                Guy

      • Some Other Guy,

        I think what you describe may well have been experienced differently by the women you were dating. What you interpreted as a higher level of interest by those who ran after you might have been the result of insecurity on their part. I know that there are plenty of women who would have interpreted your actions as you indicating that you weren’t interested. And many who value themselves enough would just walk away rather than hang around to be ignored further.

        “Women like a mystery.” I’m doubtful of this. Mystery may pique interest initially, but once real interest is there, there is hope that the interest is mutual, and I know no woman who feels good wondering why the man they really like is playing vague and unavailable. Men like to chase, women don’t; and even when they do, it comes at an emotional price.

        • Some Other Guy

          Hi Denise. All I can tell you is that it has been my experience that the harder I pressed to convince a woman that I am Mr. Right, the less interested she becomes. It’s a calibration that I did not always get right, granted. and It’s important for a man to express his interest and pursue what he wants, yes. Yet, The process of gelling with a partner is a balance. There is a lot of giving of emotional energy. But in my experience I always pulled back at certain times. How the woman in question reacts to that would always tell me more than her actual words would about how important I was to her.

          This is human nature. We do not value what is free and abundant. It takes a little bit of scarcity to clarify things in our minds as to what is important to us. When something we value is in danger of being pulled away from us, we tend to prioritize that higher and value it more. You are right. There is an element of insecurity here. But really this is just human nature 101. We do not value that which is free.

          Even w/ my guy friends, I will at times step back and put it on them to step up and make things happen. Try it sometime. The people who really value you, will step up and fill the gap where you have retreated just a little. Those that do not do so are mainly just takers. This is not good or bad. It just is.

          • Denise

            Some Other Guy, I don’t disagree with you. I do think, though, that the message we think we’re sending and the message the other person is receiving are not always the same when nothing is actually being talked about. Particularly when women are often told not to call men, let him do the pursuing, etc. People bring different expectations and experiences to dating. I’m always cautious about testing people because you can’t really be sure what they’re thinking.

            • Some Other Guy

              I 200% agree about the women calling men thing. Every once in a while, women should initiate the conversation w/ the man. It lets him know you are interested. There needs to be a balance between waiting for him and initiating contact. Doing what comes more naturally to you is what works best. If you are really head over heals in love w/ the dude, go ahead and be enthusiastic and let him know. Because if you have to change who you are and how you normally act to try to get someone to like you, what will you do when you finally do snag them? Will you be able to keep up those changes over the long term?

              I just recommend that women and men let the other person initiate the proceedings every once in a while, to make sure that the other person is really as interested in you as you think they are. Don’t always be pressing.

  7. Emma

    Quoting Sir Guy below –
    Men don’t directly earn self-admiration in their home except as they successfully fulfill their manly responsibility (produce, provide, protect, and problem solve) to please their woman their way. The more she gets involved in getting him to please her, the less his sense of self-admiration is confirmed by her. When his self-admiration dissipates to virtually nothing in the home, it’s a good sign she nags, refuses to depend on him, discourages his kingly initiatives, or all of the above.

    The husband with a weak sense of marital responsibility is also weakly devoted to wife. He doesn’t earn self-admiration and his sense of responsibility weakens further over time. He also accelerates his interests outside the home in order to compensate.
    – How does a wife recopurate from this? My husnad doesnt spend time with us, he travels often for job job and weekends are a hit or miss. Whenever I bring up us spending time together or doing things it almost seems that he gets bothered. I have started to spend time alone and just get the kids out but I feel lonely and I want my husband to spend time with us. One afternoon the kida and I went out for dinner and then the park – He did noticed that he was home before us and made the comment of where have you been or what did you do all day…. However, he doesnt volunteer to do things together, its reverse, he uses this as a way to spend more time alone.. SO it makes me wonder, does he care to even know that I am there!

    Your Highness Emma,

    I can’t figure out what motivates him. However, your description reminds me of probabilities and this possible solution.

    First, erase all negative thoughts and conclusions from your future thoughts and feelings. For example, the problem I describe and you quote above. However accurate the problem description may be, if you believe it, the embedded negatives clutter your mind, contaminate your heart, and spoil your attitude. Actually, you can’t erase such negative thoughts; you have to replace them with something else. I propose this positive one: “I am infinitely grateful for my husband and for my wisdom in choosing him.” Repeat it out loud to yourself daily and if you journalize, record it frequently. If you can do that, your chance of resurrecting your marriage grows immensely to your advantage. Having dedicated yourself to developing those new habits, let us proceed.

    1. In his mind, your nest is your nest. It’s not sufficiently attractive for him to spend more time there. That means it’s not his castle, which means harmony is lacking, which means his respect and love are weaker than when you married, which means that your self-respect is less or lacking, which means you’re less likeable as HIS mate, which means you’re ‘unlikeability’ isn’t so much your fault as that of your relations.

    2. To develop a cure, start by upgrading your self-respect. Within the boundaries of marriage, become more independent in his eyes. More time for the kids and at the park. Sometimes late with dinner. More absences when he arrives home. Oh, not deliberate things that smack him in the face. But subtle differences that reflect how you are your own woman whether he appreciates you or not. Not in a selfish or extreme self-centered way, do what makes you feel good about yourself with some concern but not indifference to him and his reaction. Do what earns self-respect and you’ll discover an independent streak that you’ve been suppressing and perhaps an overly dependent-on-him streak that weighs too heavily on him.

    3. Quit bossing him. Go silent about what he owes you and the kids. Keep your expectations to yourself. Let him roast; your silence about what you expect of him heats the oven.

    4. NOW, and most importantly, don’t explain and don’t complain. Just do new and independent things and smile your way out of any objections that he raises. Don’t go so far as to live separate lives under the same roof. Just far enough to find out what triggers more responsible and appealing behavior on his part. Then capitalize on what works best.

    5. At first, his behavior may get worse. If it causes you to cave in to his demands that you change, then you lose even more of his respect and, hence, his love. So, you need to commit to re-earning your self-respect and stick to whatever process does it best.

    6. These things go too far. a) Complaining about him to the kids. b) Elevating kids over him in decision-making. c) Acting angry or showing disappointment in him. d) Blaming or inflicting guilt on him. e) Letting negative attitudes arise among you and children.

    7. OTOH, live up to something bigger than yourself and let him wonder about it. For example, take the children to church every Sunday. Invite him to go, but fix his breakfast first and then go whether he goes or not. Treat the kids to burgers afterward to encourage them. Also, treat him with great respect but differently and smilingly. Enable him to see you and the kids having fun without him.

    Good luck. As the relationship expert, think of yourself as a dedicated graduate student.

    Guy

    • Emma

      I believed I caused this in some way. Prior to my nagging, I would make comments about him not spending time or that we needed more time together… As a family and couple. He says we are the most important thing to him and all those pretty words, but there is a disconnect with action. So I called him up on his words — and made some ugly comments along the way… So at fault, but not sure why he wants to spend so much time solo or golfing.. Your advise does help – sometimes when I give in to push and give him all his freedom w/o complaining I feel he takes advantage.. So boundary lines is what I think he needs.

    • Some Other Guy

      This is really a masterpiece Sir Guy. The woman that goes about her affairs in this way will become irresistible to a man.

      For this to be effective it is critical that she actually write down “I am infinitely grateful for my husband and for my wisdom in choosing him.” I would add that you need to physically write down each day 2 things that you love about your man. This is a well documented technique that trains us to recognize the good in our mates. The act of writing these things down forces us to choose and dwell on the positives and to lessen the importance of the negatives. Right now, you can only see the negative.

      It is not enough to say these things internally. You must write them down. It will not take very long before you have a new appreciation for the good things that your husband brings to you and the family. That appreciation will show thru and have a positive influence on everyone in the family, especially you. It will benefit you the most.

      As always, this is Sir Guy’s show, but I would encourage you to try this out for a few weeks and report back how it is going.

      Sir Some Other Guy,
      Thanks for adding the part about writing them down. Emma, it’s far more indelibly recorded in heart and mind when done that way.
      Guy

    • anonymous

      Sir Guy and Sir Some Other Guy,

      I do this “don’t complain don’t explain, become more independent and more mysterious,” tactic (adjusted for my situation of course) with my boyfriend of 3 years if he does something that displeases me. And it works. He has learned my tactic and has told me, “You never get mad. You just stop talking. I know when you stop talking (except for about pleasant things) and are distant that I’ve done something wrong”.

      The problem is, he hates the tactic and has requested that I tell him directly when he’s done something wrong because, “he never wants to do anything to upset me”. That is a reasonable request but one that I don’t think will serve us as well as he means. How do I dodge this request? When he first asked I gave him an inconclusive answer, something like, “yeah it depends on the situation”. But since I still do not directly tell him when something is bothering me, I’m sure he will ask me to do so again. How should I respond?

      I am actually using this method as we speak. He has asked me multiple times if I am upset with him via text message and I say no. It’s true I’m not upset with him, I just don’t approve of his plans to play violent video games and get drunk all weekend. I operate by the “if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say it at all” principle and so I have been very vague and distant in my interactions with him since I’ve heard of his weekend plans. He is free to do as he wishes on the weekends but I am also free to refuse to pay attention to men who participate in offensive behavior. He has now asked to speak with me in person tomorrow because he thinks I am upset at him even though I said that I am not. What should I tell him when he asks me why I’ve been distant/ why am I upset etc? I feel like it’s not fair for me to continue to be distant if he’s directly asking what’s bothering me and I say nothing. At the same time, I don’t want to boss him to stop getting drunk and playing shooting games, he needs to decide that on his own. Basically, how do I remain indirect when he’s asking me to be direct (and still be fair to him)?

      Your Highness Anonymous,

      Given his habits that you describe, I suggest giving what he asks for, directness. So, how about this?

      1. My life darkens every weekend and I get nervous and fidgety about our future together.

      2. I want to have children but will not do so with your irresponsible habits.

      3. Don’t expect me to explain further but I see several options open that don’t include you.

      The one most fearful of losing the other will change. Hopefully, it will be him to your satisfaction. If not, he deserves to be put back in the parade even if you have invested three years with him.

      Guy

      • Some Other Guy

        Dear Anon: I agree w/ Sir Guy. You need to communicate your expectations to him in one way or another. There really is nobody else that can do it but you.

        My aloof/ignore technique is for a completely different phase of any given relationship. I used it at the beginning.

      • anonymous

        Thank you for the helpful advice….I told him I couldn’t see myself staying with someone who plays that type of game and so he deactivated his account and said he wouldn’t play anymore. Let’s just hope he doesn’t reactivate it in the future.

        • JQ Public

          Good stuff Anon. Lots of guys play video games. Is your issue that the game is violent or that it takes so much of his time? I know a lot of guys are serious gamers. I’m not sure how realistic it will be to expect a hard core gamer to completely give it up.

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