For Men

Then You Get The Women

The basics

Let’s start by facing facts. Most of us are essentially clueless when it comes to establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship. I’ve decided to start with relationships first and cover the messy subjects of sex and other topics (infidelity, homosexuality) in the future. While in an ideal world sex and relationships would be one and the same, they are not always correlated despite how important both are (and sexless marriages and infidelity are quite common). You may recall that old joke, “What did Bill say to Hillary after he had sex? 'I’ll be home in 20 minutes.'”

I would say that 50 percent of married folks get divorced and 50 percent of those together are miserable, so the data on less committed relationships is probably even more dismal. To quote a dear friend of mine, “Why have a relationship? In five years you hate each other!” Essentially, we enter the relationship arena with no training, often with poor parental models and crappy advice from peers. What’s a guy to do?

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Let’s begin with the basics of meeting someone:

When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he replied, “'Cause that’s where the money is," so if you want a girl/woman, do some research on where they’re at! It’s probably best to take a hard look at yourself in the mirror, assess your assets and liabilities and find venues where women either will be there who share your interests (example: health club) or who will think you’re “da man." Don’t expect success downtown if you’re an uptown dude and vice versa. If you have no hobbies, get off your butt and get some. It helps if you learn to clean up well. Possibly a sister or well-groomed bud can teach you the ropes.

Women on average are more anxious in the beginning of a relationship than men. Men see someone they want to shag and their primary fear has to do with whether or not they’ll get it. Oxytocin is released in women during sex (vaginal contractions), presumably making them more prone to rapid attachment and hurt, so they don’t often jump in like impulsive men. By contrast they are often less fearful when it comes to commitment than the average guy.

So remember you dumpkopfs, don’t scare them off by pursuing too aggressively. Enthusiasm is generally read as insecurity, neediness and desperation. Don’t call or text too much and don’t act like you want a relationship. Nothing makes a woman (who wants a relationship) run faster for the hills than a man who wants a relationship!

Some men don’t differentiate appearance (which is what you see across the room) from attraction, which is the gestalt of how someone looks, sounds and thinks, etc. Give the girl a chance if there are any potential sparks. (Remember When Harry Met Sally!) If you are reading this, you’re probably not going to get it all! The next blog will begin the process of talking about actually developing a relationship.

Stephen C. Josephson, Ph.D., is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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