Men’s dating advice tells us not to be needy, not to put the pussy on a pedestal, not to fear rejection, to put up boundaries, to be quick to reject a girl who doesn’t fit us, to always control the frame…
But how? Some men read all this advice, then they still go through their dating life feeling disrespected by the women they want, and powerless around them.
The only real way to get around a lack of respect from women and the world is to be able to meet your own emotional needs. Not a sexy concept for some men, but it’s a necessary one to understand if you really want to have more personal power in the dating world.
These needs include autonomy, acceptance, security, belonging, love, status, achievement… The list of emotional needs is long.
To sum them all up, we want to feel like we matter to the world and to the people around us. We want to feel like our lives are making a difference. We want to feel powerful, capable, loved, validated…
And when these needs aren’t met, we suffer just like we do when a physical need (ex. food, water, shelter, sleep, safety) isn’t met. We feel depressed, anxious, unimportant, devalued, angry… Also a long list. This leads us to less-than-ideal behaviors and ways of seeing the world – feeling like women are goddesses above us, being scared to talk to people in general, feeling like everyone is judging us as harshly as we judge ourselves, feeling unworthy of the love and power we want, denying what really makes us great and worthy…
My middle school and high school days were one big, long “didn’t get my emotional needs met”-fest.
At first, I didn’t have much of a social life nor any social status. I was the skinniest, weakest, least athletic boy around. I had social anxiety that’d sometimes absolutely paralyze me. I couldn’t be arsed to involve myself in any more productive, exciting, satisfying activities than video gaming and fanboying over TV shows and movies.
Then I had enough of being a loser and decided not to let my high school days go to waste. I started working out and eating well, I got into sports, I started taking responsibility for my feelings instead of outsourcing that to whoever the fuck was unlucky enough to land on my emotional radar, and I started discovering new hobbies and interests – productive ones.
Typical self-improvement guy journey, amirite?
After a rough start in high school, I learned to meet certain emotional needs of mine – responsibility, autonomy, competency, freedom. Certain others like belonging, feeling important, achievement, relationship security, not so much. I had a bit of a social life, a couple buddies plus a bunch of people I was on friendly terms with. I wasn’t too popular or too unpopular, but I was chronically envious of other people’s social lives and dating lives.
During my teens and early young adulthood, I was heavily insecure and I believed people would never like me for me, so I hid behind various personas over those years – a stoic jerk tough guy, a liberal sadboi, a Guy Who Gets Laid, a pure and chaste Good Guy…
I’d delude myself into believing I was all those personas, until reality would mercilessly rip them apart and show me that no, those things aren’t who I really am. They were only performances, exaggerations of certain traits of mine.
I felt I needed to be those things to earn the social approval I craved. Those personas would meet my emotional needs – temporarily, and only when they worked. A ton of people would see right through them into the scared, needy guy I really was beneath the muscles and the fashion sense.
I wasn’t actually meeting my own needs there. All I learned was better, sneakier ways to angle other people into meeting my needs as the years went by. I was still needy, only less obviously so.
This transactional mindset kills most chances you have at healthy, secure relationships with other people.
The less you meet your own emotional needs, the more you’ll objectify other people for what they could do to meet them. This’ll repel secure and confident people, and attract similarly needy people looking for other people to solve their problems. This’ll get you stuck in fantasy about who someone COULD BE “if only…”, and blind you from seeing who someone REALLY IS.
Does this explain some experiences you’ve had in your dating/social life?
A healthy relationship isn’t about fixing someone else or forcing them to see a better way to live, or finally finding the person who’s gonna save you or make you feel like yourself or give you a sense of purpose. This is a mindset of learned helplessness, not genuine goodwill.
A healthy relationship – romantic, sexual, friendly, familial, or professional – consists of two people committed to being better people and solving their own problems. These people can and should be there for each other as they grow and solve their own problems (that’s the whole point of the relationship!), but each individual ultimately takes 100% responsibility for their own growth and direction.
Own your emotional needs
When we feel undeserving of getting our needs met, we often repress them, try to convince ourselves they actually don’t matter. But our unconscious mind knows better than our conscious mind does. These needs pop up in unhealthy ways when we push them down and ignore them.
The unemployed loser who can type up Internet forum posts and RPG roleplay text for hours on end, but can’t be arsed to type up a resume.
The insecure guy who gives up on dating real women and turns to porn’s fake intimacy instead.
The girl who seeks attention from a breadth of men but can’t bring herself to get emotionally intimate with any of them. (a girl like this complains about dating “emotionally unavailable” men when her real problem is that SHE’S also emotionally unavailable)
The player or slut who seeks sexual validation from anyone who’s willing to give it.
The sad girl who finds a sense of importance in putting herself down and feeling like a victim who’s been unfairly wronged by the world.
The guy who seeks excitement and adventure, but finds it in drugs and alcohol instead of the outside world.
My past self, who’d do all of the above and more.
Some people whose emotional needs are heavily unmet go as far as rape, abuse, murder, self-harm, self-mutilation, or destroying someone else’s life to feel some sense of power. Most of us are good people. We won’t go this low no matter how badly we’re hurting, but we can’t deny that some people do,
If any of the above sounds like you or like any dark thoughts you’ve entertained, you have an unmet emotional need. So here’s a step-by-step guide to meeting it.
First, define your boundaries.
What behaviors won’t you tolerate from people in your life? When someone acts that way with you, what’s the calmest, clearest way you can let them know not to do it again? And what are the consequences if they keep violating your boundaries?
This isn’t rude or pushy or narcissistic. Boundary-setting is a must-have in any emotionally healthy person’s arsenal of social skills. Without it, you become a powerless pawn in other people’s emotional worlds, unable to assert your wants and needs.
At first, boundary-setting can feel terrifying, especially if you have issues with trust and abandonment, or you’ve been discouraged from expressing your true needs and feelings.
But the more you do it, the more freeing it becomes. The more you realize it doesn’t make you a jerk, it just makes you more at peace.
The more you enforce your own boundaries, the less people will be inclined to violate them. The more you express your true needs, feelings, values, and standards, the more you’ll satisfy them, and the more you’ll attract people who have a healthy sense of their own.
- Refusing to invest yourself in a girl who isn’t interested in you.
- Telling a girl who’s got her phone out on a date to put it away.
- Telling a girl who’s “maybe” about you to make up her mind or fuck off.
- Being willing to walk away from a girl who disrespects you, and to call it out instead of tolerating it.
- Not apologizing for who you are or what you believe in.
- Refusing to settle for a girl who doesn’t truly excite you or fit your values.
- Expressing interest in a girl who DOES excite you and fit your values, instead of hiding it away.
- Defining the relationship you have with a girl – letting her know it’s a date, not a friendly hangout (some guys make the mistake of not doing this!)
- Politely turning down anyone who offers you something you don’t want, instead of going along with it to appear nice.
An interesting lesson I’ve learned is – the world will “shit test” you with the same kinds of people violating your boundaries until you learn to strengthen them. I’ve been this person for some people, and I’ve had my fair share of these people come my way. Watch what behaviors someone complains about chronically happening to them – that’s what they tolerate! The world is sending those people their way because on an unconscious level, those people WANT their boundaries violated so they can learn to finally say NO to them.
For me, I used to lose my shit over girls being flakey, ghosting, and being ambiguous about their intentions. I was attracting those behaviors because I was tolerating them, constantly trying to convert “maybe” girls into interested ones. Funny how that problem went away when I stopped giving my attention to girls who weren’t highly interested in me.
These days, if I have a problem with someone in my life, I confront them directly in person and try to find a productive solution or at least understand their side of things. If I’m chatting with a girl I find attractive and she ain’t feeling it, I politely bow out of the interaction instead of trying to subtly convince her otherwise. That’s what an emotionally healthy man does.
Next, accept your limitations.
Limitations are often very painful. Every guy with a short stature or a short cock has felt emasculated for it. Everyone with dead or absent parents knows the pain of growing up without the full spectrum of parental love. Everyone who’s grown up in poverty knows the uncertainties of not knowing if you’ll be able to afford the next month’s rent and meals. Everyone with early childhood trauma knows the isolation that comes with it. Maybe you’re missing a limb or you have a disfigurement or some other physical flaw with no quick fix. Maybe you lack experience in certain domains and didn’t start in them as early as you’d have liked. Certain experiences become less available to you as you get older.
Life’s fair because it’s unfair to everyone. Every single one of us has our limitations in life – people we can never impress, skills we just don’t feel inclined to learn, past experiences that have irreversibly shaped us, etc.
This is a fact of life for absolutely anyone, and denying it leads to more pain than is necessary. Accepting your limitations will free you, and counterintuitively inspire you to transcend them. The more you accept what you can never have, the clearer WHAT’S ACTUALLY ALIGNED WITH YOUR PATH IN LIFE will become. No shame in owning up to that.
Part of being a mature, responsible, healthy adult is getting acquainted with our limitations, then working WITH THEM, not against them. This isn’t self-deprecation, it’s self-empowerment. Which leads us to the next step…
Take responsibility for what you have control over. Refuse responsibility for what you don’t.
Here’s your prescribed dose of reality from Dr. Foth – Most of this world is out of your control. Sometimes, life will send some absolute bullshit that you never asked for your way, and you just have to adapt or suffer. Sometimes, life will feel boring and empty and lacking in opportunity, and there ain’t shit you can do that’ll quickly get you some cool friends, sex, money, or a fun adventure.
What I say about myself here has a 99% chance of being true for you too:
Only occasionally will I be the biggest, baddest, toughest guy in the room.
I can’t decide who likes me. Some people just won’t like me no matter what I say or do.
I’m not many attractive girls’ type, and there’s nothing I can do to change that.
My past life experiences have left me with disadvantages I can’t easily fix.
However, the things we CAN control make all the difference.
Being top 1% in looks and physical power isn’t in the genetic cards for most guys, but you can always train your body, eat well, optimize your hormones and biochemistry, and dress and groom in ways aligned with your masculine archetype. You almost certainly have the potential to be physically in the top 10% of men if you optimize these things, top 20% at the very least. Taking responsibility for your body is the closest thing to a quick fix for your self-confidence, self-respect, and results with women.
You can’t control other people’s cognitive biases or how they treat others, but you have full control over how you treat other people. You can always choose to show up in the world with honesty, love, healthy boundaries, mutual understanding, and kindness with a backbone.
No matter your limitations, optimizing the three fundamentals of attraction in yourself and your life will get at least SOME attractive girls wanting you. Hot women are imperfect, unique individuals just like you. You need to be valuable, not perfect, to attract them.
You can always alchemize your negative experiences into positive ones. Every negative experience can be alchemized into wins. Spiritual growth is impossible without pain. LOSERS FEAR PAIN. Winners embrace it.
The more you try to control what you really have no power over, the less happy you’ll be with yourself. We suffer and find ourselves in impossible situations when we take responsibility for things that ultimately aren’t our responsibility – how someone else feels about us, large societal events that will happen with or without us, how someone treated us in the past, making someone else a better person…
Note the common thread here. If we find our sense of purpose in butting into other people’s lives and trying to have influence there, or in being influenced by people butting into ours, we’ll always end up feeling dissatisfied, powerless, and resentful. Weak boundaries make us weak.
Also, people don’t appreciate being micromanaged about their personal problems.
However, if we find our sense of purpose in being responsible for ourselves, in building ourselves up as best we can while letting everyone around us make their own choices, something awesome happens. Our sense of self becomes stronger and clearer, and we start finding it easier to accept what we really deserve and what really makes us happy.
As for expressing ourselves in healthy ways and navigating our emotionally intimate relationships, learning healthy vulnerability is the next step in gitting gud at that. We’ll talk about that soon. 🙂