Favors during dating — good or bad idea?

“Women grow attached to men through the favors they grant them; but men, through the same favors, are cured of their love.” —Jean de la Bruyere

This quote made me examine my attitude about favors, as hopefully it will you, too.

Women: do you grow fond of men by the things they do for you? Holding doors, taking you out, doing small chores around your home? I know I do. When a man goes out of his way to do things for me, it makes me feel closer to him. Some men seem to revel in doing “boyfriend jobs,” often without asking, and especially if they are acknowledged for it.

I never thought that men may react unfavorably to my doing favors for them. I did a lot of favors for my ex … hmmm, maybe that’s part of why he’s my ex!

But men I’ve dated seemed to appreciate when I cooked them a meal, or did little things for them. But then, none of them are around anymore, so maybe they were “cured of their love.” I find it hard to imagine that men don’t like their women doing nice things for them, but I can also see that they could feel smothered or that the woman appears too needy.

What do you think about giving and receiving favors to/from the person you’re dating? Is this another example of Mars/Venus where men and women react differently? I’m interested in both men’s and women’s thoughts on this.

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7 responses to “Favors during dating — good or bad idea?”

  1. Elena Avatar

    Well, I’m not going to take to heart anything some old French philosopher said. Blech. I think people should do what they want to do. If a guy wants to show his affection for his lady by doing things for her, fantastic and vice versa. How many times have I heard men whine about how their partner doesn’t do anything for them, takes them for granted, etc. If you’re going out with somebody who views your willingness to do favors as a sign of weaknesses or smothering, etc., NEXT! Find somebody who appreciates and reciprocates. Period.

  2. Kaye Avatar

    Check out the “five languages of love” books. We all have different ways that we like to have love expressed to us. For me, favors (acts of service) don’t do it for me. I want words of affirmation, physical affection, and quality time. Others may like gifts, as well – Goddess, from your posts, that’s one of yours. Some men like acts of service, some won’t.

  3. Sassy Avatar

    I believe that “favors” are different from taking you out and holding your hand. That’s called dating in my book. A favor might be to watch someone’s cat while they’re out of town on business or installing a light fixture. Personally, I think of favors as something you would do for any good friend, not just to get “brownie” points from someone you are dating or working to impress them. I’ve done favors for gentleman friends and they’ve done for me. I trust my instincts to know which are done out of kindness and which are done to simply make an impression.

  4. Hiiaka Avatar

    Elena, you’re so right about men’s whining, but that doesn’t change their biological wiring that demands they spread their favors, er, I mean, seeds in as many places as possible for survival of the species.

    Kaye’s book recommendation is great. I’ve read it and found it really helpful, and…

    DG, I do think this is a gender issue, which reminds me of research that says women bond by connecting (dong something for someone else or having someone else do something for them makes them feel included, valued and not alone) and men not only need/want to be Alpha Dog but they supposedly also like the chase and when it’s over, it’s time for another rabbit. Biologists would refer back to the survival theory.

    Sure, men may like having things done for them. (Isn’t that why God made wives, mothers, and admin assistants?). But could it be that when the niceties are done for him at work, it’s expected menial behavior, which isn’t a turn-on (unless she’s dressed in a French Maid costume or Bunny ears and nothing else), and at home, it starts to feel like Mommy’s taking care of him (unless it’s done while wearing a French Maid costume or Bunny Ears and nothing else).

    Our Alpha Dog Caveman might love being cared for, but when Dating Goddess stops acting like the Dating Goddess that she is (interested, but not yet committed), and morphs into Nice Girl, maybe Mr. Right starts to feel, even if he can’t articulate it (must have lost his thinking cap) that Mom has shown up. Suddenly the dinner bell has rung, the chase is over, “the thrill is gone,” and whether it’s in his real life or fantasies, he can’t help himself and is thinking about the next bunny he’s going to catch.

    Maybe it’s that nature thing. Seeds. Rabbits. Survival. Or maybe it’s just that age-old Madonna/Whore complex. Whatever it is, my wish is that whether woman or man, we all experience the love we long for.

  5. walt Avatar

    We do like it when women do nice things for us, but it’s not that important in the scheme of things. Attraction and fun are likely to be more key elements for us.

  6. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    I don’t believe in favors, unless they’re between good friends and/or blood relatives. IME in dating scenarios men give favors to get sex while women give favors to get love and invariably someone gets hurt in the process.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  7. Lulu Avatar

    I have learned from dating experience that most men seem to enjoy giving presents and doing favours in the first few months of a relationship. It seems that when we women get drawn in, and become emotionally involved, the men seem to withdraw their interest, and actually seem dismissive of presents and favours returned. It’s the first step on the slippery slope of the end of the relationship. Where at first they are keen to arrange evenings out and trips at the weekend, ultimately they prefer lounging about, or leaving their woman to organise their social lives. Should women try to keep up the ‘beginning of the relationship’ atmosphere by staying cool and uninvolved? If so, for how long? Years? Could it be true that dating men are like tho Woody Allen character, who didn’t want to belong to any club that would have them for a member? In other words, once we like them, they find they no longer think much of us.