Conflicting dating advice

Do you experience conflicting dating advice from relationship “experts” and/or savvy friends? I do. While I share my insights, lessons and yes, sometimes advice on this blog, there are many issues about dating I’m still figuring out.

A current dilemma is around whether to cook for a potential suitor I had several dates with many months ago. Some time ago he did me a giant favor and I offered to cook him dinner to show my gratitude. He declined at the time saying I didn’t have to do that. Now, many months later, with no communication in between, he emails “You still owe me dinner.” While I’d love to see him, I’m not feeling as beholden as I did when the offer was tendered, and am a little miffed that he hasn’t communicated a peep in the interim months. I’m not really feeling I want to knock myself out cooking for him, but I would like to see him.

If you believe Why Men Love Bitches, you would cook nearly never for a guy you’re dating, as you don’t want to be seen in a mother role. Contrast that with the counsel of a wise friend who’s taken courses on understanding men. She reiterates the old adage about the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and that cooking is just the thing to endear a guy to you. As long, of course, that you wear something appealing if not sexy, and not your mother’s apron and baggy dress.

And others on the “cook for him” side of the ledger would say if he’s taken you out to dinner several times, you reciprocate by cooking for him. But the “don’t cook” argument would be led by the “don’t try to even the score” aficionados. A friend says offer a picnic with deli sandwiches or a take out meal, but I know he grows weary of store-bought food.

Another quandary I face is a man I haven’t seen in a year nor talked to in seven months wants to see me again. When he went poof he had a very busy travel schedule and was only home 2 days/month for the several months we were in contact after we had 3 very good dates.

He’s Just Not That Into You argues that if a guy is into you, he’ll find 5 minutes to call and say “hi” several times a week, even when he’s on the road. This guy didn’t so I assumed he must not be into me enough to call. He told me that he often worked 16-hour days on the road and didn’t call his mother or grown kids either, so if I wanted to talk to him, just call. This didn’t feel right to me, so after calling him a few times I stopped.

However, my aforementioned friend says that men compartmentalize, focus, and don’t multitask as well as women. So it could very likely be true that this guy didn’t think of anything else but work when he was away. And when he was home the few days a month, he had other issues to attend to.

Sounds like the excuses women make for men in He’s Just Not That Into You.

So which advice do you listen to? Ideally, you listen to the various input, then try to separate your rationalizations from your gut feelings. However, even your gut can be swayed by your heart, which can be coerced because of longing or loneliness to interpret signs the way you want to see them.

And where is the line between trying to truly understand and respond to how men think, and playing games to manipulate them to do what you want? Where’s the division between being honest and direct with your needs and desires vs. not sending him running with your straightforwardness?

I wish I had advice for you on this issue. This is one time I have more questions than answers. How do you sort out conflicting advice?

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15 responses to “Conflicting dating advice”

  1. kitadiva Avatar

    Well, I am gonna offer some advice. LOL. Tell him “I haven’t heard from you in a while and then you call asking for din-din. Hmmm.” Let him explain himself. Then if YOU are happy with that response, cook. If not, grab a rotessirie chicken from a grocery store, make a quick pasta salad, french bread and a decent wine and don’t forget the Sara Lee dessert cake. Din-Din is served! What I guess I am really trying to say is, do what is right for you. The “experts” and the man that is attempting to get your attention are REALLY not your concern, however YOU and how you feel, are.

  2. C Avatar

    kitadiva, the rotessirie chicken dinner you described IS what I’d call making dinner for him.

    I am recently single and have been reading a lot of dating books (it’s summer, i can get away with ready mindless stuff in the summer). I’m amazed at how the strange advice of being a biotch is directed to both men and women. Both genders are being told to be aloof and act not interested. How does anybody ever get together if we’re all pretending we’re not interested?

  3. kitadiva Avatar

    This is something great to blog about. I do not know what is going on with telling men not to talk and telling women not to talk to me too. I do prefer men to talk and not to run after them, however, is it that big of a deal that I call after the 2nd date to say hello? Are we looking for each other to love or is this some type of competition to be on top? What I figure is that I will make myself available and flirt and pray for the best. I read the book the “Surrendered Single”, and so far, I agree with the things that she suggests. Mostly I play it by ear. Until I have “serious” feelings about the guy, until we are “us” I take MY feelings into account. I too have thought of the guy and was very considerate of him, and I still am, I do not want to hurt someone or waste their time, but I also know that I need to consider what I need and want too.

  4. Ally Avatar

    I’m with kitadiva – your own feelings and needs are a priority up front. Since it irks you that a guy wants dinner cooked when you haven’t heard peeps from him, but you’re sort of interested, I’d either do the rotisserie chicken thing, or I’d take him out to a restaurant. That way it it’s not as intimate a situation.

    If we’re having to make excuses for someone else to salve our feelings, it means there’s a problem. If someone likes you and respects you, they’d treat you better than an occassional phone call. You don’t have to point fingers or directly say it; you just have to be less available until they’ve decided you are more of a priority. That isn’t game playing, that’s taking care of yourself.

  5. Ellen Avatar

    Geez, whatever happened to honesty? I believe in the golden rule, that we should treat people we date as people with feelings and needs like ours and be NICE! That means no games, no manipulatinos, no gimmicks – but be honest and TALK about things! I’d ask the guy who wants the dinner what he really means. Ask if he’s wanting to see you again and this is his way of doing it. The dinner isn’t the issue, but the ability to communicate and be honest is!!!

    xo Ellen

  6. Cupertino Avatar

    Reality check time.

    Forget the “men compartmentalize and focus and can’t multi-task” argument. If he doesn’t call for weeks or months, he’s just not that into you. Period. Just as the book says. And if you somehow get into a relationship with him, don’t expect different behavior.

    And don’t cook a special dinner for him unless you’re feeling special towards him. If you just want to return a favor, take him out to dinner. That way it’s not on your home turf and can be a simple act of friendship or gratitude, with no emotional component necessary. A special relationship with him may still develop at some point, but if it’s not there now, don’t act as if it is.

  7. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Conflicting advice is putting it mildly. I’ve read most of the relationship books out there and, despite all my reading, I never did figure out how to navigate the dating minefields and play the relationship head games well enough to get a guy to put a ring on my finger. Which is why I’ve decided to give up dating and my adolescent dream of a happy marriage and a loving husband, (like such a creature even exists these days), and just stick to having sex, (which I miss almost as much as I do dating, it’s been almost 3 years and counting – I’m thinking about petitioning the Vatican for a cretificate of revirginization). That way I figure I’ll get to enjoy myself without getting burned and emotionally screwed over by everything that wears pants.

    The really sad part is that, despite my best online efforts, I can’t even find a local guy to have sex with, no strings attached or dates required, just sex. So much for my old theory that men will screw anything that moves, apparently I need to amend it to read: men will screw anything that moves as long as it’s attractive and under 30.

    Your terminally depressed fan in NC, bookyone 🙂

  8. Amylita Avatar

    bookyone writes:

    ” The really sad part is that, despite my best online efforts, I can’t even find a local guy to have sex with, no strings attached or dates required, just sex. So much for my old theory that men will screw anything that moves, apparently I need to amend it to read: men will screw anything that moves as long as it’s attractive and under 30.”

    I respond:

    Amen, sister. I have recently re-entered the dating scene after 20 years (married exceptionally young, of course…) and this is what I have surmised…

    Great looking nice guys (the two that exist on the planet…) are married to hot chicks. Great looking jerks are still out there, but they’re dating hot chicks, who dump them eventually, and then they move on to other hot chicks. The chance of an average nice girl like me finding a great looking guy is zero.

    So, I should be able to find a average nice guy, right? But here’s the catch. Those hot chicks that have tired of the great looking jerks have figured out the benefits to dating the average nice guy. Benefit 1 – he is probably smarter and has a better job than the great looking jerk; benefit 2 – he is average looking, knows he is lucky to be dating a hot chick, and will kiss her feet eternally. (For proof of this theory, just look at TV sitcoms, movies, and commercials. Hot chick, average guy, everywhere you look.) And average guys have figured this out, which is why they have become quite full of themselves, regardless of their hairline or waistline.

    OK, so hot guys – out. Average guys – out. What are we left with? Morbidly obese, dentally impaired, cerebrally challenged NASCAR fans with 1 month of unemployment left and $45K in arrears in child support.

    I am SO done putting myself out there, and taking risks, simply to be humiliated by the average guy who thinks he deserves a supermodel because he has a job and a Toyota Celica.

    – Also depressed, but not terminally, just situationally, in IN

  9. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Amylita:

    Thanks for your comment. Parts of it made me laugh.

    Yes, I’ve experienced some average-looking guys thinking they were Greek gods. But many know they are average looking and appreciative that any attractive, smart, sane woman would go out with them.

    I addressed some issues related to your comments in past postings. These might be useful to you.

    Disposable dating
    You are (probably) more attractive than you think you are!

  10. Lynne Avatar

    It is the media build up of men with younger women that have created this phenomena.

    1. Look at the CDC marriage stats. Most people marry within 3-5 years of their age.
    2. A younger woman may date an older man or an average man if he spends money on her but doesn’t marry unless he is a celebrity or makes a lot of money.
    3. The relationship “experts” have little left to write about so they make up stories and promote the “hollywood” propoganda of men dating younger women and “cougars”. What is happening is younger women who want to date their age are getting hit on by these slobs, and beautiful women in their 40’s are abandoned by men their age. So much for the so called relationship experts.

  11. greendaze44 Avatar

    Wow, I’ve been reading all these blogs and am blown away. I’m about to leave my second husband after 11 years of marriage and have a lot of fears about being single again. After reading these blogs I’m really scared.
    I live is a really small city in Central Texas that also happens to be a college town. Going to a bar here that is filled with college girls gets a bit intimidating. (I am in my early 40’s.) But I do know that men are attracted to me even in these places. There are several things to consider though: 1) These guys are tired of young, inexperienced, giggley girls. 2) They think I’m older and desperate and am an easy lay. 3) I exuberate confidence and it’s attractive. 4) They sense I am married, (so far) and am safe to flirt with and try to take home. 5) fill in your own reason.

    So here is another thought. Have you ever watched Ceasar Millan the “Dog Whisperer” on the National Geographic Channel? He says he rehabiltates dogs and trains people. Many times he tells people, they are giving negative energy to their dogs. The dogs feel it through the leash. I think it is the same with people. They feel your energy, no matter what it is. Especially when we question ourselves.

    I’m going through a very hard time as to be expected with a divorce with 2 children involved, but I have learned a couple things:
    1) I was talking to a single women one time that was trying to make a relationship work that was already troubled. She said, “I’m tired of being alone, I tired of being lonely.” I told her, “It’s very lonely being married to the wrong person too”.
    2) As we all know hindsight is 20/20 and all those red flags I overlooked when my husband and I were dating became major, major issues later.

    I’m also reading a book right now called, “How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk” by John Van Epp, Ph.D, and he suggests talking about family background with your dates to find out where they are coming from and see how they treat other people and so on. I agree with Ally, listen to yourself. In the spot I’m in right now, I don’t want to cook another meal for a man, even if he’s the last man on earth. I want a man who will cook for me! Any man who is calling you after months and saying you owe HIM something is NOT a good man! Next thing you know he’ll be saying you owe him something else, if you know what I mean.

    I work in the television business and I watch television A LOT. What I try to get from TV is how strong they make these women. Watch CSI and Cold Squad and Alias and you will see some strong women that we could all take some advice from. We can also see a lot of stupid women who do things for stupid men because they have no self esteem. Demand the best of yourself and from any man who wants to spend time with you! Life is pretty damn hard these days, but lets be better men and women for it and grow, grow, grow.

    P.S. Have you ever seen the movie, “Iron Jawed Angels”?
    IRON JAWED ANGELS recounts for a contemporary audience a key chapter in U.S. history: in this case, the struggle of suffragists who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment. Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor), these women show how women dared to push the boundaries of political protest to secure women’s voting rights in 1920.

    Have you come a long way baby? Being a stong women doesnt’ mean you have to be a lesbian or an activist. It means you are a strong, beautiful, loving person with value and full of life! All the best!

  12. kitadiva Avatar

    Hey Ellen,
    I do not think anyone is agains honesy, LOL. I think what I am saying is that instead of reading the books she should take care of herself. That is all. I would inquire as to why I have not heard from him in a while (which I mentioned in my first response!) and then I would behave accordingly. Perhaps he just wants to be friends, I don’t know, however, I want HER to be happy with her decision and comfortable that she took care of herself as well. That golden rule means you treat yourself well too. Have a great day.

  13. nysharon Avatar

    Hi DG, I’m back from vacation and reading your blog again. I think he poofed because he met another. That didn’t work out so now he is reaching back to someone he felt a connection with before–you. That is OK–u never know! I would see him again but offer to take him to dinner at a place YOU have wanted to try. Be honest and say–“I am a little leary since I haven’t heard from you–how about i take you to dinner instead”. That email was just to see if there was an opening for him to step back in and pick up where you left off.
    No don’t cook for them. I have never seen that work until you have dated for a while. Certainly don’t make it a big production when you do. The stoping at the market, picking out something together and saying “lets fix it together” is what is best.

  14. nysharon Avatar

    BTW: I still maintain the online dating route is just for fun and experience and that is how you have to look at it.
    I just returned from vacation and met a wonderful guy there–age 31. He doesn’t care I am turning 50 soon. He has already been married and two kids, and is at a place where I am in my life. I am hoping he calls me but if he dosen’t, I feel good about the energy, chemistry and the fun I had. I’ll keep you updated.

  15. greendaze44 Avatar

    It’s funny how many comments there are on this blog. Sounds like a pretty hot subject.