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Billi Gordon Ph.D.

7 Deadly Mistakes Lonely Women Make

Why some women will never find or love a boyfriend.

This post is in response to
Why We All Need to Belong to Someone

There are seven categorical reasons some women have difficulties finding and loving a mate. These have evolutionary and biological roots that divide the sexes in behavioral proclivities. I am not saying, this is what women should do, or have to do to get a man. What I am saying is "these are general things that some women tend to do, and men tend to take exception to, and why they do." Here are the seven areas:

The Desperation Mindset

Humans are hunters and gathers, so we value items that are more difficult to acquire. For the ancients, this meant key survival items (best food and building materials, for example). The human brain consolidates and simplifies. The lessons of hunting and gathering became: Difficult = Valuable. Easy = Invaluable. This is much the same way all lessons of conflict resolution evolved, fight-or-flight. As society grew more complex, the consolidated and simplified hunter-gatherer lesson was corrupted. For example, diamond jewelry is expensive, whereas cubic zirconium (CZ) jewelry is cheap. A CZ has all the qualities that attracted humans to use diamonds for jewelry. Likewise, a readily available woman has less appeal.

Shutterstock Image purchased by UCLA CNS for Dr. Gordon
Source: Shutterstock Image purchased by UCLA CNS for Dr. Gordon

Men were the hunters, and women were the gatherers. Hence, men instinctually love hunting, and the male brain thrives on the neurochemical rewards of capture—dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine releases in anticipation of reward, not the actual reward, so the actual qualities of the woman do not matter as much as hunting her. Variability also increases dopamine in the brain.

That is why gambling is addictive and why players play around. Not knowing if you will have a big kill or no-kill is irresistible for the brain’s reward system. Players are not into their conquests; they are into the dopamine derived from whether or not the quest becomes a conquest.

Men intrinsically mistrust women because religions, especially Judeo-Christianity, portray women as untrustworthy—Eve, Delilah, or Jezebel. If a woman is easy prey, men instinctively think she will be easy prey for other men. Thus, an easily acquirable female represents more threat than control, and the brain will run from that scenario every day, all day long.

I often hear women use the phrase, “land a man.” Men are not marlins or Cessnas; you do not need to land them, men will land themselves. You just need to point them toward the runway and make them circle the tower until they are so low on fuel, they are begging to land. Besides, you do not want a man that you have to land. You want a man that thanks God he has landed you.

Also, some women will lie about who they are and what they like to do to find a mate. Men deplore that. It just confirms the “Eve” stereotype. When they find out who you are and what you like, they lose respect for you and resent being deceived. Not only will he resent you, but your self-abandonment will also turn into self-resentment, and evolve in self-neglect, which is the diamond lane to ugly.

Asking Men to Define Your Relationship

Never ask a man to define your relationship, because it is idiotic and annoying. If you have to ask if you are in a relationship, the answer is obviously, no.

Being Too Clingy

All humans fear intimacy. When another person moves toward you, the brain’s default response is to move away for safety. Clinginess is invasive, threatening, annoying, suspect, and extremely unattractive.

Failure to Stroke the Caveman

Historically, men have always protected women. However, everyone has moved on. Women need condoms, not men for protection. Most men could not physically protect a woman if they had to. However, men need to feel like their woman sees them as a big “manly man.” I am a feminist because there can be no free men until women are free. However, blurred gender roles are a price of feminism. Intellectually, most men understand evolving gender roles.

However, intellect is a cortical event, whereas emotions occur in the old brain, where there is no thinking, just “survive now and ask questions later.” Fight-or-flight is the default emotional male response to a woman not making him feel big and strong. Both of those lead to some woman sitting on a barstool saying, “I’d like a strong drink of hard liquor and nothing with a man’s name.” Note: Making a man feel manly is not the same as assigning him all the yucky domestic tasks.

Talking About Other Men

Repeatedly mentioning other men will prevent or destroy a relationship. That is because society says that women are not supposed to think about men other than their mates or sons.

Asking a Man How You Look

Why would any woman pose such a question? Again, if you have to ask, the answer is not good. Men are as readable as those giant numbers on the special needs phones. You should never ask men certain questions—ones you do not want to be answered truthfully. Scientists have not identified the mechanism, but it is the Y chromosome factor in men. That is, why would you think that women, who begin their day by making up their faces, are not the least bit interested in certain truths such as: whether or not a pair of jeans make them look fat. Only women with body image issues ask those questions.

Too Much Hugging and Talking

Oxytocin causes women to bond with their babies. Because women have more oxytocin receptors than men do, hugging and conversation cause oxytocin release in women, whereas it releases nothing but anxiety and gas in men. Observe men. They primarily communicate in monosyllabic words: Yup, cool, nah, huh, nope, whoa. As well as grunting. If a man strings more than four polysyllabic words together, it is a wedding toast, a eulogy, or a lie explaining where he has been—and he probably got it from Google. Forcing conversation on a man is a surefire way to turn him off and drive him away.

I have attempted to couch, a serious message in humor. That message: People grow lonelier and more disenfranchised every day. That is not funny; that is tragic. The challenge is, men and women of today, are not the men and women of yesterday, but instincts remain the same. The terms of engagement must evolve as we evolve, as no one is free until we all are free; love is freeing. Finding that one person in life to love, who loves you, is not very much: it is every little thing. Understanding why we are, the way we are is power. In essence, men and women are identical: everything they say and everything they do is because they need to give or receive love. Remain fabulous and phenomenal.


Molecules of Emotion: Candace Pert (Touchstone, Ny, NY 1999)

Oxytocin modulates social distance between males and females: Scheele D et al (Journal of Neuroscience November 2012)

Personality is tightly coupled to vasopressin-oxytocin neuron activity in a gregarious finch (Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 2014)

Instant messages vs. speech: hormones and why we still need to hear each other: Leslie J. Seltzer et al (Evolution and Human Behavior)


About the Author

Billi Gordon, Ph.D., is a co-investigator in the Ingestive Behaviors & Obesity Program, Center for the Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.