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Hi Gamecock,

After reading this post, I have another book suggestion for you--Why Men Love Bitches. It talks a lot about how nice girls do themselves a disservice by being so understanding and flexible--this inadvertently attracts men who are tempted to push their limits and see just how much women will put up with from them. The author argues that quality men go for women who don't put up with any shady behavior, who stand firm and hold their ground in a relationship and refuse to compromise as far as expectations go. It's aimed at women who feel like being the nice girl attracts either jerks or guys who send lots of mixed messages and can't really decide what they want from a relationship. Being forceful and assertive, having strict standards and high expectations, and not letting guys get away with any sort of disrespect or ambivalence without speaking up has worked well for me; I've had a steady stream of relationships with wonderful, sweet, devoted guys who never try to get away with bad behavior. I really think there is something to the argument that men want a challenge, a girl who stands up to them and has a strong will along with strong desires and opinions which she is not afraid to voice assertively. Thinking back, I've only had one female friend who acts like this, and she's had the same kind of consistent success with relationships that I've been lucky enough to experience. The other girls I know are wonderful, caring women with a whole lot going for them, but they tend to be nice, easy-going, and not particularly assertive and forceful. You'd think that the nice girls would attract the nice guys, who treat women like princesses and never let them down or make them question their devotion, but the opposite seems to be true. Those men tend to be drawn to more aggressive women, and men who are more unreliable and difficult to deal with choose nicer and more laidback girls, probably because they know that really outspoken women won't put up with even one display of bad behavior.

Anyway, Why Men Love Bitches really was a great book which is mainly aimed at nice women who want to be a little more discriminating and hold their ground in order to make sure they are treated wonderfully by any man they date (but it's a good read for all single women IMO). I think it would be a great book for any woman who is frustrated with her tendency to attract guys who aren't reliable, aren't eager to commit to her, and/or seem ambivalent about their feelings for her. The author's point is that you can still be kind, polite, and understanding, but that many women could benefit by standing up for themselves, not letting men feel confident that he's got a hold over them, and setting much higher standards as far as what kind of behavior they consider a deal breaker. I apologize if you're already familiar with all this...your situation just reminded me of that book, which I just read, as do several of the other posts I've read here lately. Basically, men seem to be able to sense how much crap we're willing to put up with, and they treat assertive, strong willed, and demanding women better than more patient, understanding, and accepting women for the simple fact that they can't get away with the way they treat the latter group when dealing with the former type of women. Also, by raising their standards of what behavior they won't accept (not putting up with guys who break dates, don't call when they say they will, don't make a consistent effort to show you how much they care about you, don't always make you feel like a very special and important person in their lives, etc.), women then project more confidence and's amazing how men treat us according to how much of a prize we consider ourselves. Well sorry if this isn't helpful or if it's redundant, but some of your comments reminded me of that book's main points.

I agree with you that men aren't completely simple--they're intelligent people with complex desires and emotions, but deep down I think men want the same things as women (love, loyalty, commitment) though they go about attaining these goals much differently than women because of the way they are taught that "real men" should act. So anyway, I apologize if it seemed like I was patronizing men or being dismissive in describing them as simple. I still think men tend to be more straightforward and less complicated than women when it comes to emotions and relationships, but maybe that's because I've never gotten along well with girls but have had the opposite results with men, both as friends and boyfriends. Thanks for taking the time to elaborate more on your situation, Gamecock...after reading your latest post, it strikes me that the issue isn't so much that this guy isn't into you as an individual, but rather that he has no clue what he's into or what he wants from anyone. His behavior seems riddled with mixed messages, as if he can't truly make up his mind one way or another and wants to keep his options as flexible as possible...the problem is, it's incredibly disrespectful and inconsiderate of your feelings to leave you so confused and hanging on to the occasional glimpes of hope he reveals in order to keep you available and not have you give up completely on him. It makes me very angry when people are so selfish...I don't know if he's being this way intentionally, or if he's legitimately confused and just doesn't know any better, but there's no excuse for being so cavalier with your emotions. After knowing him as long as you have, he owes you an honest and upfront assessment of how he feels, what he wants, and if he sees any chance of a future for you two. Keeping you hanging and uncertain like he has been is inconsiderate at best and bordering on cruel, at least in my view.

I can certainly understand why you feel the way you do about men after putting up with his games--he may be a very nice guy, but he's certainly not representing his gender as well as he should be in the dating world. There are great guys out there who are attractive, confident, intelligent, sweet, and loyal, guys who would never play games or leave any doubt about their feelings in the minds of women they care about. You really may have something there in wondering why nice people seem to finish last...I've always wondered why it often seems like the kindest, most accepting and understanding people are treated worse than people who are much less deserving of considerate behavior. Maybe it's because people who for whatever reason aren't treating others well somehow sense who would be willing to tolerate their behavior--do you guys think that nice people sometimes end up being treated really poorly simply because people who act that poorly can sense who will put up with it? They may be able to tell pretty quickly who won't tolerate any of their games and therefore find themselves drawn to the sweetest and most understanding people. I hear so many stories about the kindest people who have had people they loved and trusted disappoint, hurt, and betray them in a variety of ways, and it really makes me sad. Surprisingly, the not so nice people I know (I definitely fit into this category) rarely seem to have this problem...I can't remember any of my bitchy friends having been treated really badly by their partners, while this seems to happen all too often to my sweeter, more patient and understanding friends and acquaintances. OK, I'll stop rambling about this now :), but seriously, if you haven't read Why Men Love Bitches, I'd give it a try, Gamecock (the same goes for other sweet, wonderful women who don't receive the respectful and loving treatment they deserve--Sophia, I was thinking of mentioning the same thing to you last night).

Gamecock, I'm really sorry that this guy is putting you through such torturous uncertainty with all his mixed messages and ambivalent waffling. You deserve SO much more--there really are wonderful men out there who will treat you so sweetly and respectfully that you'll never be confused about their feelings and intentions when it comes to you. The trick is believing deep down that you deserve nothing but the absolute best treatment from men so that your confidence, high standards, and self-esteem shines from the inside out and draws in the really great gentlemen who will treat you better than you've ever thought possible. I know you still have strong feelings for your sort of ex, but I think you'd be best served by cutting him loose. For whatever reason, he's really confused and unable to come to any sort of conclusions about what he wants from you (and probably from relationships in general). As long as he's able to keep you hanging around and hoping there might be another chance for you and him, I'd bet that he'll do just enough to keep your hopes up, but not enough to give you any sort of confidence or certainty that he wants to rekindle your romance. He owes you so much better than that, out of respect for your friendship if for no other reason, but it doesn't sound like he's able to provide even close to the kind of consistent, caring committment every woman deserves from her relationship. I think you should read some dating books :), put an ad up on an online dating site (it's fun to custom select and search for guys according to your preferences and requirements!), keep busy with work and having fun with your friends, and not let this guy cause you to spend any more time feeling sad, frustrated, and confused. You deserve so much more, and I just know you can and will find someone better if you're able to put this guy and his confusing games in the past, where he belongs. I wish you all the best, and hope at least some of my rant ;) helped a little. Take good care of yourself, and always remember what a great catch you are and refuse to settle for being treated like anything less!

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