From a reader:
I am a 46-year-old man who has been divorced for almost four years, with part-time custody of my 8-year-old daughter. I am getting discouraged with the whole dating thing and do not want just a casual affair. I am handsome, caring, professional, artistic, funny, handy, intelligent, I cook, and I truly care about other people. I know this may come across as arrogant, but I am truly not.
I can’t seem to meet someone I can have a meaningful relationship with. I am not super-picky, I just want someone who takes care of herself, is moral, enjoys life, has no addictions and can give and receive love. I think this is pretty basic stuff.
It consistently appears to me that if you treat women with somewhat neglect, they want you. Treat them with respect and romance, and it sends them packing. …I make a strong effort not to come on too strong within the first few months of a relationship.
A friend of mine who is female said that I scare women off because I seem too good to be true. What do you think is my problem?
Expensive cars, powerful jobs, and I-can-have-anybody-I-want attitudes get a woman’s attention, much the way red lips and exposed curves get a man’s. Most men, however, want to marry a nice girl and a good mother. I think most women, on the other hand, are still figuring out that a nice guy makes a good father!
In fairness, women have been programmed over thousands of years to believe that men with dominance and resources are best prepared to take care of their babies. And while that’s now debatable at best, it’s encouraging to know that some of those nice guys who don’t flaunt their muscles or their resources have them.
We all want the best partner we can get. Sounds calculating, but of course we do. And when a nice guy lays his heart and his gratitude on the table, sadly, he can seem like clearance merchandise…maybe you pick it up, wonder what’s wrong with it and put it back on the rack.
Unfortunately, if this happens to a nice guy a few times — maybe before he hits 21, while he’s still very impressionable — he can begin to feel like damaged goods. Then, he just might sell himself short and perpetuate his dilemma.
Like our reader above, sometimes nice guys know how nice they are. They even know they’re handsome and professional and caring. That doesn’t keep them from wondering what their problem is, though. We’re all programmed to be sensitive to rejection — our survival used to depend on how well we responded to it.
One could argue that, even today, a rejected male risks losing the opportunity to produce offspring. But it seems to me there are a growing number of men out there who are willing to risk it, and they’re looking for help.
If you want to do your part to keep them with us, look around and try to remove that invisible paint you’ve brushed on faithful friends and too-good-to-be-true prospects. And revisit your point system. You might be surprised at how many nice guys you look through or bypass in favor of the hard to get.
Like women, men can wear a mask that gives them a false sense of security and keeps them beyond your reach. They might try to avoid feeling awkward (even if they don’t realize it) because they didn’t learn how to be a gentleman or understand their feelings or communicate them. They might keep you close enough for sex, but far enough away that they don’t feel vulnerable.