Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do women want to be treated badly?

A couple of days ago, I ran across an article written by a woman who became involved with a man who was, to quote her own words, everything she was looking for in a husband - sweet, intelligent, responsible, handsome, and a good provider. Do you think she was praising the good man she found, and planning a happy future together with him? Think again.

That fine piece of work was dedicated, mostly, to criticizing her potential husband. For what? "Being too nice". More specific "crimes" included never raising his voice, refusing to drive over the speed limit, not being a sports fan, not getting drunk, and to sum it up, not being an impressive macho. Not being "a challenge". All these, according to her, implied that her man "doesn't have a backbone".

How old do you think she was? 18? 20? She didn't specify her age, but certain details implied that she's near or over 30.

I purposefully don't quote from the original article, because the language used there was offensive to me, and I know you ladies would have felt the same way if you read it. Instead, I would like to focus on the sad phenomenon of women being irresistibly attracted to men who treat them badly, while ignoring - or worse, despising - men who could have been wonderful husbands and fathers.

The big question is, why? Why do women fall at the feet of men who are clearly not good marriage partners - immature, irresponsible, rude, aggressive, often violent men? Why do women waste precious years and get deeply hurt while trying to tame those men and make them nicer, instead of turning their eyes towards men of a different kind? And why, why, why is this vicious cycle so often repeated by the same woman again and again?

When we look at herd animals, we often see that the leading male is the biggest, strongest, and most aggressive one. He is the one who usually gets most female attention, too. However, we aren't herd animals; most women realize they want a marriage with a man who is caring, understanding, supportive, loving and kind. A man who will, when needed, do the shopping, take out the trash and hold the baby. Muscle display has nothing to do with long-term happiness.

Do women really want to be treated badly? I doubt it. If a woman believes she deserves unfair treatment, there is something deeply wrong with her self-esteem. My guess is that there's some sort of a romantic fantasy - a tough and rough man who will go all nice and mellow when it concerns his wife. A macho who will give up his usual night of excessive alcohol to care for a sick baby. A man who emulates an aggressive leading male, but purrs and curls into a soft little ball like a kitten while he cuddles with her on the sofa to watch a girlish movie.

Only it doesn't work this way. A man who yells at the waiter, someone who is horrible to his co-workers and rude to his parents, will very likely behave in a similar way towards his wife. A man who has a terrible temper probably won't develop an angelic patience all of a sudden. A man who is used to driving over the speed limit won't stop when there's a baby at the back seat. To sum it up, look at how a man treats others - it's a pretty good indicator of how he will behave in everyday domestic life. Look at his habits - what looks "cool" (such as, supposedly, driving over the speed limit) often becomes disturbing, incompatible with day-to-day routine, and even outright dangerous once you start a family.

Think about what you really want your life to look like. And I don't mean that once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Himalaya. I mean what your life will inevitably, for the most part, consist of. Your home, your family, your day-to-day doings, spending time together. The sort of husband and father you would like to wake up with, for the rest of your life. Soon, you'll notice that the under-appreciated "too nice" qualities are precisely the ones that will ensure long-term happiness.


Linda said...

*lol* I guess that would be our 'Adamic' nature (by Adam and Eve) - fallen in sin, and therefor attracted to sin?

I don't know....

What I do know is that I married one of those 'never get drunk, never raises voice' type of men and I absolutely LOVE it ;)

Anonymous said...

Anna, by and large, you’re correct. The kind, patient, loving, gentle men are the ones we should desire as husbands, from a marriage partner perspective. But when you point out that we’re not herd animals, I think you are missing a crucial aspect of the way God designed us. The man who gets angry at the waiter, drives over the speed limit, is a rabid sports fan, and has lots of muscles is a more suitable partner from a physiological perspective, just as a woman with nice breasts, a clear complexion, a shapely figure, and wide hips is a physiologically more suitable/desirable partner. Why? Fertility.

A man with the attributes you describe (aggression, muscles, impulsivity) generally has a higher natural level of testosterone and a lower level of estrogen, just as a woman who is very feminine (hourglass figure, clear complexion, “optimal” breast development if there is such a thing) has a higher level of estrogen and lower levels of testosterone. In both cases, such a man or woman is more fertile due to appropriate hormone levels.

I know something about this subject, because I’m a woman who married that wonderful, sweet, loving man…only to find that he is subfertile. Do I love my husband any less? No, of course I do not. Would I still have married him anyway? Of course. But we have been trying to become pregnant for almost three years now, and it’s pretty clear that his low natural testosterone levels (along with some hormonal balance issues of my own, particularly thyroid issues) virtually guarantee that we will need fertility treatments to have children. Which is okay with me, and as I said, I would not have chosen a different husband just on the basis of this information. But there is a definite value to the man who is stereotypically male and virile, from a biological perspective, and I don’t think a woman is unintelligent or somehow misguided for valuing those characteristics and vetoing a relationship/marriage with the stereotypical “nice guy.”

No, we aren’t herd animals, but God designed us to be attracted to certain characteristics, and to say that it’s not okay to choose partners based on those characteristics is like calling God’s creation unwise. Again, I do think there is value in being married to a kind, gentle man. But that may come at a price, and a woman has to weigh her biology against her emotions…particularly as she enters her last few fertile years of life. After all, I am in my mid-twenties and still have plenty of time left to have children, whereas a woman in her early-to-mid thirties may find her biological clock is ticking pretty loudly. If that’s the case, and she desires to have more than a kid or two, she needs to marry a man who is really very fertile. So I think a woman has more cause to value aggression over kindness in her thirties than she does in her twenties. The whole thing makes perfect sense to me.

Courtney said...

Sounds to me like "poor me" syndrome. Some people enjoy playing the victim so they will get attention from not only their spouses but thier friends and family. Also a good chance to gossip. What a sad way to live your life.

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Wow. It's hard to imagine that anyone would want to marry a jerk. I personally think that we are attracted to people who are at the same level as we are. Obviously this woman is a bit rude and maybe it makes her feel guilty when she is given a soft answer.

I married one of those nice guys, though, and I wouldn't trade him for anything!

sprocketqueen said...

I really enjoy reading your blog you are such an encouragement. I visited Israel about 10 years ago with my church and I really enjoyed it. I want to thank you for writing this because it spoke deeply to me I am a single mother who is 34 and has never been married. I know that I deserve a man of God but the wrong ones always seem to come along and I never stay with them I guess it is satan's way of trying to win me from God. I believe that woman in general do not have the respect for themselves that they used to and it is so sad, women should respect who they are and if they are a true child of God they will. Again thank you for sharing this it confirmed what I have been dealing with lately. God bless you!!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon: you point out something very interesting. Indeed, "typical men" have high testosterone levels, and "typical women" have high levels of estrogen, and both are more fertile.

However, to be a "manly man", a man doesn't need to yell at the waiter. The aggression can be channelled through masculine hobbies, such as for example competitive sports. That's what God intended for us - to sublime our lower desires. We Jews believe that if a man is intended to spill blood, he will. But he has the choice to become a murderer, or perform circumcision and welcome infants into the covenant of Abraham.

Also, while what you describe (fertility) is statistically correct, I don't think a woman should *consciously* consider it when choosing a husband. Most of the "fertility factor" depends on the woman anyway. My gentle, kind, soft-spoken, baking-and-shopping-loving husband had me pregnant at 3 weeks after we were married, which was the first (and so far, only) time I ovulated after our wedding.

Again, physical nature exists and impacts our decisions, of course. But God didn't give us just hormones - he gave us a heart, a brain, and the ability to analyze, as well as His divine guidance. By allowing their hormones to take overwhelming control, many women find themselves utterly miserable. Because, as you of course are aware of, women don't just want to HAVE children. For long-term happiness, women need a stable husband to support them and their children, and a harmonious marriage.

Jeannine said...

Oh, Anna, you have spoken so poignantly about something that resonates with me right now. I have been encouraging my sister on a path of reconciliation with her husband, and at one point, she said, "I should have married a nerd." It seemed to her that so much of what attracted her to her husband when she was younger was that he was a "cool," popular, athletic, macho, high school guy. While I understand the meaning my sister was trying to convey, her choice of words hurt me. Why is a caring, thinking, hard-working, generous, and sensitive man a "nerd" in our culture? My husband possesses all of the positive qualities mentioned above...he is also strong, muscular, vocal in his defense of our family, and handles confrontation wisely. This in no way makes him a "nerd," but some women do seem to feel favored when a macho guy shows interest in her. I think they possibly haven't seen a well-integrated man, and are flattered when a popular person singles them out.

Anonymous said...

This is the same anon from above. I’m not suggesting that this woman is consciously considering these attributes in the men she encounters, but instead I’m explaining why she might be naturally drawn to men with these characteristics and why it might be a normal part of the way we were created as women...not something to be criticized necessarily.

Also, I had to address this because we have struggled so with subfertility. The statement that “most of the fertility factor depends on the woman anyway” is completely false. A male factor accounts for 40% of all cases of infertility, combined male and female factor accounts for 20%, and female causes account for 40% of infertility. Put another way, in 60% of cases there is a male factor at play, and there is a female factor in play in 60% of cases. Male factors are female factors are equally reponsible for infertility on a statistical basis, and when others don’t realize this, women suffer because WE are the ones who get blamed. I’ve had people pray for me, try to bless my womb or whatever, and I just want to scream, “No, go bless him too, because it’s HIM!” Everybody assumes it’s the wife, but about 40% of the time there is nothing at all wrong with the wife and male factors alone are responsible for the infertility.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I'm not sure what you mean by 'most of the fertility factor depends on the woman'. Many men are responsible for the fact a couple is infertile (just often are too embarrassed to admit so in public).

Anyway, I absolutely agree with you that the too high testosterone/aggressive man is not likely to make a woman happy long-term.
I do think we need to look at things beyond fertility. If a man is dangerous or aggressive or rude, I don't care how many babies he can give me, I don't want him in my life. It would be safer to go to a sperm bank than involve such a man in your future.

But I guess too many of us still are bound by primal urges. Men suffer from the same thing, and will fall for the most beautiful, sexy, flirty woman in the room, time and again, even though she's likely not the best marriage material.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Anna, Amen!! Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself.

As someone who used to fall for these "bad boys", I can completely relate to this post. I don't know how it is for other women, but for me, it was that feeling of "wanting what I can't have" that kept me stuck in that devilish circle of unhealthy relationship with the bad boys.

Also, as someone who has "recovered" to traditional femininity and in a happy relationship with a kind man, I realize that another issue was self-esteem. I didn't think I was "precious" enough to be treated so nicely. Well, because I myself was the woman version of these "bad boys".

But truly, being in a healthy, happy relationship with a kind, responsible, nice, and loving man is one of the greatest blessings in my life so far. Of course it wouldn't happen if I didn't change my ways.

Sometimes I look back and remember "those days" and I cringed. How did I survive then? I couldn't imagine it, but then again I'm glad, because the experience has helped me learn.

Your writing is such a blessing and inspiration!


Gothelittle Rose said...

I've noticed a culture of complaint among wives over the past years. You're expected to complain about your husband, and people look at you strangely if you say you've got nothing to complain about, or at least, nothing you care to air in front of a bunch of women that make up the community in which he maintains his social standing.

It's a perversion of the 'we are all sisters' notion, the idea that you're One Of The Girls if you're willing to badmouth even the other half of your heart to them.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Explanation: I should have worded myself better. When I talked about infertility, I didn't mean clinical infertility, which indeed is often "caused" by men as well as women. I was talking about an age-related decline in fertility, which can be felt earlier and more acutely in women than in men. Meaning that, a woman in her mid to late thirties will experience a decline in fertility even if she is married to a very fertile man, while a 50-year-old man will more often than not get his wife spontaneously pregnant if she is young (say, 30 or so).

Anonymous said...

Anna, the subfertile anon again. What you said now makes a lot more sense. I was a bit perplexed because I know you are a smart girl, and you must know that infertility is a shared burden.

Also, off topic but @Gothelittlerose, I can’t agree more about the culture of complaint, especially in religious communities. Women badmouth their husbands to no end. I just don’t get it. I have completely stopped going to the women’s ministry meetings at my church over just such a thing. These women cluck and peck like self-righteous little hens, and it makes me kind of angry. Just once, I want to have the courage to say something like, “Hey, you know what, I kind of love my husband and think he’s awesome.” But I don’t want these ladies to feel “judged” or that I’m “holier-than-thou,” so for the most part I just stay away from it altogether...but it’s discouraging, especially because Titus 2:4 says the older women are supposed to encourage the younger women “to love their husbands,” and I don’t think the gossipy, gripy nature of women’s meetings does that at all.

elena rulli said...

When I was in my teen years I was attracted to the bad guys, too, but luckily they weren't attracted by me, so I had the chance to mature without any trauma caused by violent relationship. I think it's an attraction we feel when we are younger and more insecure, when we haven't yet found our place and our 'vocation' that is, and it should fade away in a natural way when we enter our twenties or so. Many women aren't able to get over this phase, too bad, and they suffer causing self-harm... I've seen it in a girlfriend of mine, who was the smartest girl when it came to study but fell for the worst guys possible. Luckily for her she had a family that helped her and friends who had the courage to help her open her eyes. As for speaking bad of your husband or partner, it's a sad leit-motif I see among my friends, too, and it's always very displeasing.
Anna, you write, as usual, most wisely!

Mandi said...

I very high percentage of women experienced abuse as children or as young women and genuinely, deeply and sometimes subconsciously do not know how to handle being treated in a healthy "normal" way. Have pity on this poor misguided creature. We know better by the Grace of God and but for his Grace we would be right there.

Bethany Hudson said...

Anna, you are so right! I remember before I met my husband, he could not get a girlfriend. Nobody would date him because he was too smart, too nice, too polite, too *great*? So, they would make him their good guy friend to go and cry to over all their boyfriend woes. And, my husband mind you is not some ugly geek (though he is definitely a geek; he builds software for a living). I am being objective here: my husband has been consistently told that he looks like a younger Edward Norton. So, why couldn't he get a girl? Because they were all looking for the bad boy. Personally, I don't get it. I snapped him up right away, had 3.5 years of an amazing dating/engagement exeperience and now 3 years of wedded bliss to my best friend.

Laura said...

I agree with you. But I also think that it is important to consider both partners' personalities. If she is the kind of woman who has an aggressive sense of humor, that gets a lot of satisfaction from 'friendly' argument, and that needs a lot of excitement in her life, a quiet soft-spoken man might not be the best match for her. I suppose she could try to change her personality, but depending on what she wants out of life, maybe it would be better for her to find a man who has a chance to keep her interested.

I wonder about this kind of thing though. It isn't just a romance issue, I read recently a blog where a lady was really upset about what to do with a coworker that was 'too nice' and kept trying to include and befriend her, when this lady just wanted to be left alone, and a woman who's elderly mother at a nursing home had attacked another resident because she "hates perky people".

Maybe it is a cultural issue?

Gothelittle Rose said...

To Bethany Hudson: I did the same thing! I actually went LOOKING for the heart-of-gold geek and I think he's incredibly handsome.. he's got this strong-featured Italian face and broad shoulders.. well anyways.. *^.^*

1.5 years of friendship, followed by about 2 years of dating, then .5 years of engagement... now it's been 8.5 years of marriage with one child and another on the way, and he's STILL WONDERFUL. He is, if anything, even more of a 'catch' than before!

Anonymous said...

As the wife of the best husband in the whole world, I cannot agree more. My mom told me to look at how a man treats HIS mother and I would see how he will treat me. My husband cherishes me. When I had cancer, he slept on a cot in my room, just to make sure I didn't have to wait for nursing care. He cares for me all the time (and it makes it so easy to do the same) and works hard to make my life as gentle and easy as possible. He had the same care and concern for his mom (and sisters) before we married (40 years ago) If that woman thinks that being kind and gentle is a bad trait in a husband...maybe it is for her. I am sure there is a loving gentle woman out there somewhere just looking for the same kind of man.

michele said...

One thing I find interesting is that some women confuse rude/abusive Machismo with masculinity. My husband is a very masculine man. He enjoys physical things, is a former Marine, physically strong... And when you look at him, he's not someone you want to mess with. However. He respects women. He respects authority. He's a gentleman to all. My point is that a man can be sensitive, and wonderful, and kind, and all the things one wants, while not compromising his masculinity. And I think that women confuse that with the sort of apish bad boy thing that they can "change."

Anonymous said...

The outcome of all opinions is probably a combination of several suggested scenarios, the old 'chance to reform' bit, fertility issues, thrill of chase, etc., but I would also venture that in some cases of young women, there is the matter of being on one's own and having to consider the gambit of 'sex' only after marriage. Not that I'm advocating it, but a more realistic media portrayal of the single life without the pressure of 'sex' would go a lot towards the heartbreaking 'ills' of society.

Anonymous said...

It is just a sad commentary of the world we live in... most men are brought up to just "play"... here in America the school system lengthens adolescence. They are rarely instructed on how to be a man and to take on responsibilites. Woman are taught to take care of themselves, to be just like a man. Roles are blurred and sexual immorality is rampant in both sexes. It just seems crazy and television is teaching this lifestyle constantly. Very few people are instructed on what really makes a happy life. God, Family, commitment. If women would not be permiscuous it would keep them away from the "bad boys" because those bad boys would find another woman to use.

Anonymous said...

I'm paraphrasing a quote from an Anne of Green Gables book (a series that I absolutely love because it is so wholesome), and it goes something like this: "No, I don't want someone like Diana's Fred. I want someone who could be horribly wicked, but won't."
Anne is talking about her dearest friend Diana's choice to marry a nice, quiet, soft-spoken man. I think it just bothers her to know that he probably couldn't be very horrible in dramatic ways (yelling at a waiter, etc.). She would prefer someone that has a more powerful self-control, because he really wants to act/naturally is prone in/to those manners, but chooses not to. So I think many women are enchanted with the idea of someone prone to "wickedness" but who truly restrains himself for her. Does such a man exist?
Miss B

Amanda said...

Excellent post and great comments! I believe that one of the underlying reasons women go for the 'bad' guy types is because it is in their *base* nature to do so ~ as pointed out in the various comments. It is the Adamic nature / sin state within us. If a woman is in an unregenerated condition, and doesn't truly *know* the Lord, then her sin nature will be attracted to that of a male.

There is little point in even pigeon-holing it as a general thing. Because not only does Barbie go for Ken, these days, she will go for Susie also. Anything can go without any rhyme or reason in our world today.

If a woman has had a broken and messed up life, the majority of these ones will go for the very one who is SO not good for her. She expects no less, and has little ability to really discern good from bad. I know there are majorly different extremes, and many different scenerios possible. But, I am talking large percentages. Some women can come from a horribly broken life and still make good life choices for herself. Like I said, it is not a golden rule, just a tendacy in society.

I was one of the those women. Until a personal relationship with my Lord and Saviour saved me, healed me, implanted His ways and understanding within me, I did not even desire an honourable etc man, because I had no capability to even put all things into perspective. I was broken and twisted ~ on the path to destruction. We truly are magnets in this life! And, for all the wrong things... such is the effects of sin (the wages of sin is death ~ and not paid out just when we die).

Once the Lord rescues a life, the undescribable beauty is that we no longer desire the same things as we used to. We begin to see things as we should. Repentence brings healing brings change and resulting fruit should be evident in our decisions.

When I met my husband, I still felt attracted to his manliness. He was once a 'bad' boy, but when I met him, he had become a sincere Christian. I loved his heart for the Lord, and he had all the godly qualities I could want. But you know, I still found pleasure in his manliness, and the fact that he HAD once been into alot of 'bad' (and I mean really bad) boy things ~ but now he belongs to my Lord. THAT excited me! Oh, and it still does lol. I was attracked to his bad boy persona, but fell in love with his godliness ~ I felt/feel I had it all!

Another point to consider... a female can also gravitate to a man who is very much like her father. That has happened many, many times. Makes sense, as her father is her role model whether good or bad. The father is who shapes much of a women's perception of what is 'normal' (usually, not always). How many 'good' fathers are out their these days? The scales would be tipped I am sure. The condition of society speaks volumes eg. multiple children to multiple fathers; youth crime etc etc.

Anyway, just an another comment to add to your list... lol.


Anonymous said...

I've never understood women who are attracted to the bad "boys." My husband is one of the nicest men I know and I wouldn't trade him for the world. In truth, he is probably more nuturing and loving than myself!

MarkyMark said...


If I may offer a man's POV, I'd like to let you all know why guys THINK that women like being treated badly. Over the years, that issue caused me LOTS of angst...

The main reason why guys think this is because it works; at least that's what it LOOKS like to us. Men are results oriented creatures, and this manifests itself in many ways. For example, if your boss is a man, he may DISLIKE you personally; but, if you contribute to the company's bottom line and make the boss look good, he'll be more than happy to keep you around, his personal feelings notwithstanding.

Well, us men look at guys who treat women badly, and we notice a couple of things. One, the jerks are NEVER short of women; they always have a bunch of them around. Secondly, us good guys who were raised to be gentlemen DON'T have any; like Bethany's husband, we get passed over all the time. To our logical minds, it appears that the way to get women is to treat them badly. Unfortunately, this is one situation in which our logic and bottom line focus fails us, because there's more to this issue than that...

One, Anna and a couple of the other respondents focused on the self-esteem angle; the women who are attracted to bad men don't think that they deserve better in their heart of hearts. Secondly, I'm inclined to think that like attracts like; if you're attracted to a bad guy, it's because you're a bad girl. Finally, I asked a lady I like, admire, and respect a lot about this, and she had what I consider to be among the best answers to the question why the bad boys get the girls. She said that women seek out someone who's dominant, someone who's in charge; she then went on to say that, on a superficial level, that the bad boys displayed them better. That made a lot of sense to me.

When I was younger, I didn't dig deeper; I didn't seek REAL answers. All I saw was that the jerks were getting the chicks, so I figured that they must be doing something right. That's how a lot of young guys think.

Plus, there's something else at work: how men are wired. One thing about men is that we're inclined to imitate the man who is more successful than we are. We figure that Mr. Alpha Male did X; I want to be as successful as Mr. Alpha Male; therefore, I will do X too! We're not always smart enough to ask ourselves whether or not we're suited to doing that Mr. Alpha did; whether we have his talents; or if we have the same personality. We often just imitate he who is more successful. Why is this important? Because this is, in part, contributing to the dearth of gentlemen out there.

Good guys all over figure that: 1) I'm not getting the girls by being a good guy; 2) the jerk IS getting the girls; 3) therefore, I have to imitate Mr. Jerk! This is so common that good guys are no longer behaving like gentlemen. I'm a moderator on a men's forum, and this is a common topic of discussion. Not only that, I can NAME guys who've gone to 'the dark side', as it were.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon (of women going after guys who treat them badly) is so prevalent that a BOOK has been written about this! It's entitled: "How to Be The Jerk That Women Love". I'm serious! There is a book with that title. I wish I were making this up, but I'm not.

I'm glad that there are gals like you all who DO appreciate gentlemen. It validates my decision to not emulate Danny's example. Please, admonish, exhort, and whatever else you have to do to dissuade your sisters from pursuing jerks! Guys will respond to what they THINK women want. If they think that they want jerks, you'll see more guys who are jerks; if they think women want gentlemen, then you'll see more gentlemen.

Those are my thoughts on this issue. You gals wield a LOT of power over guys; guys WILL respond to what women appear to want. This power can be use for good, or for ill. Oh, and one more thing: to Bethany and all you others who gladly snapped up the good guys most women ignored, please let him know how HAPPY you are to have found him! He'll respond positively to that... :)


Bonnie S said...

Wow, interesting post Anna! Certainly something to think about!

Deanna said...

Dear Anna, I really enjoy your blog and the perspective you share.
When we have a teachable spirit, embracing God's counsel, bowing our knee to God...there's hope for the wildest beast of a man. God can turn our stony hearts into hearts of flesh. A mild mannered person can still be a beast that makes aweful choices. So as for all the mistakes people make along the way, we can expect some. It's when we chose to continue in our sin that calamity comes. We need to understand that man's ways are lower than a Holy God's ways. We are creatures born into this world in need of following God's counsel. We're in need of God's instruction and direction. As you have mentioned Proverb 18:21 that states death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. The Word of God has much to say about the fallen nature of mankind and how we should live. Psychology can give half hearted explanations of why people do what they do and even then it can be off the mark. It won't heal us. God is the one that does the healing. When we practice His ways, we will be Blessed and I would rather be Blessed than to be without.

Miss Amy Smarty said...

I'm personally attracted to men that are mysterious and make me WIN their love. Always working to earn attention and affection is what my heart wants to be doing.

Of course, this isn't good, healthy, or fulfilling, and I know this. I don't want these things on purpose. The reason I feel this way is because of the relationship I had with my father growing up, always having to earn his attention and him telling me I could be better. It's very much more common than you'd realize. Women don't want to "settle" for someone who will just...love them. They want someone who makes them work to win their love, because it seems like that person is above them and they are unworthy of him. Of course, that isn't true...but perception has a lot to do with our actions and wants.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Anna! Thank you for pointing out that we are NOT herd animals, AND for pointing out that women do NOT want to be treated badly.

Weirdly enough, I also kind of agree with Marky Mark (for the first and only time ever?!?!?) and am glad to see him acknowledge that women generally do not want to be treated badly, despite the mythology among many men that women are generally masochists. There are certainly plenty of men also who stay with women who treat them badly.

I agree with the idea that women who have a mean partner were not necessarily attracted to the partner's meanness. They were attracted to other things about the partner and then discovered later that that person was mean once they were already in the relationship and had invested something in it. That actually happened to me when I dated a "macho" guy when I was younger. Once I got to know him better, it turned out he was not a nice person. It took me a while to catch on because he didn't show his true colors at first, and then it took me a while to extricate myself from the situation.


Karen said...

Well said. This is exactly how I felt when I was single looking around at all my girl friends and wondering what is wrong with them. A good man is definitely hard to find, but when my friends found good ones they just put them down as "too nice" and moved in with guys with huge tattoos on their necks.

I put it down to the "I can change him" syndrome. That's what the "challenge" you spoke of is all about. It's a shame and a waste of time to think you can change anyone, but it makes some women feel powerful to think they can. Don't ask me! I've never understood it!

Karen said...

I disagree that the "typical" male has higher fertility. I know many soft spoken men who have multiple children and no problems at all in that area. And remember that these "alpha male" leader of the pack types often have STDs, which is one of, if not THE main cause of infertility in both males and females.

What our bodies are biologically prone to be physically attracted to, takes no account at all for STDs.

Analytical Adam said...

As a guy I agree to a point but a guy that is too passive is NOT A GOOD CANDITATE FOR MARRIAGE AND MAY HAVE TROUBLE BEING RESPONSIBLE WHEN IT COMES TO SUPPORTING A FAMILY. In certain situations a man should be aggressive (but used for the right reasons) to protect his family
In issues like anger the issue is what the guy gets upset about. If he gets upset about injustice that is great. If he gets upset like if the Basketball team lost then not so great. If the guy doesn't get angry about anything then again I think that is a serious problem. But I agree though some women are attracted to men that get upset about the wrong things (and men who because of this can't hold a steady job) and clearly are irresponsibile but part of that IMO has to do with feminism as I dated a Jewish women (it didn't work out she only cared about other women) but most of her nonjewish girlfriends dated men that didn't work and of course men like that tend to have an entitlement type mentality which is bad for a relationship but many of these women are focused on THE WAGE GAP so they don't want men that work which of course leads them to date lousy men and hurts us responsible men. It is hard being a Jewish guy that tries to do the right thing in the Jewish world where even Orthodoxy and many Rabbiniic commentaries clearly were influenced by feminist thought which is obvious to me as no Rabbinic commentary see's fatherhood and being a strong man with a backbone as important for women and important for children of both genders.

Alana said...

I did what Bethany did and SNATCHED up my wonderful loving husband who had never had a girlfriend before. He's very sweet and says that he was waiting for a quality woman which he found in me.

He's been extremely fertile, too, and I am a happy mother. And yes, he's a computer nerd.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ladies,

I'm also like Bethany and Alana and snatched up a "nice guy." We've been married now for five years and I couldn't be happier.

And MarkyMark -- I think you are right about telling your husband how wonderful he is. It goes a long way and it's something husbands need (and deserve) to hear!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha...well this is the dilema that has been plaguing me all my life. As a man, my life experience has taught me that on the whole, women simply do not get wet for 'nice men'. Period. It's a sad thing to admit and a hard thing for us nice guys to hear but it appears to be how, on the planet at least, how things work. Now I've come to understand that this is not women's fault and has nothing to do with moral upbringing or self esteem but rather evolutionary biology. Woman are 'biologically programmed' (I'm taking about the hind brain that was the first to evolve) to mate with the partners that provide her with the best chance of survival and protection for herself and her offspring. If that was not the case as a species 'we' would not have made it this far. Now whilst we no longer live in the era where such things as being able to fight and kill are essential to our survival like they once were, we still have that primal programming that is still having a strong influence on our unconscious behaviour. So whilst us nice guys might be so loving and so sweet and caring most of us have accepted a long time ago that we will mostly be overlooked in favour of the bad boys and the wild men, and the rest of us are still in denial.

Whitters said...

I know this is an old post...but I wanted to share with you how much I agree with your opinion. "Too nice" men are the ones that will continuing being nice once things get hard and if challenges arrive. There is no such thing as "too nice!"

Anonymous said...

This article was oversimplified.

Women do not like men that treat them poorly. It's that such men are more aggressive in general, including ASKING FOR DATES! "Nice guys" are less likely to be aggressive about asking for dates and, thus, have less women. It's not rocket science. It's numbers and statistics.

Also, it's not either/or. The men in my family are "macho" men, meaning they support the family while the women stay home. But they *also* go to synagogue, take family vacations, don't go to bars, and play with their kids. (ALL of my cousins LOVE their dads.)

I foolishly married a Christian man because he was so "gentle" but it turned out he was a complete WIMP and didn't defend me against his anti-Semite pastor. We are now divorced.

A man MUST be BOTH "steel and velvet"!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The view on how the "visibly agressive male" is the most attractive one for females is indeed very valid; but only to a point. I mean no offense at all, but most of the times this view only turns into a practical result for the ordinary woman and the ordinary man, because, unfortunately; even in the dawn of the XXI Century, most people are still allowed to get by just "coated" by the trappings of the "official" (superficial) education and without having to demand much of their intellect. Any woman, (or man), whose intellect is truly, and regularly exercised, (even if only a bit), over the average demands of ordinary life; will be able to understand that the most powerful muscle in the Human Body is the brain!
No-one is considred clinically dead unless their brain has stopped working! It is the Human Brain which serves as the main distinctive trait between Humans and animals!
Therefore, any woman whose intelligence is, (even if only a jot), keen above the average level for Humans; will surely be able to observe the male population around her and pick up on the small indicators that tell the truly intelligent, quiet and mentally matured, civilized men apart from those who, (regardless of intellect), are just shy, scaredy or whimpy and will. Also, such a woman will never, (by any means), feel the least bit attracted to th0se men whom she will instantly identify as rude, pampered, immature, obnoxious, spoiled, loud, unjustifiably aggressive and stupid; and whose sole purpose on the face of this Earth seems to be to waste perfectly good oxygen and space. This is my opinion as a European-Latin male -(Portuguese). Thank you.