"Mirror, Mirror on the wall . . . where did he go, and why doesn't he call?"

How To Avoid Dating a Narcissist

So you've met (what appears to be) a great guy. He talked a good talk. He even walked the walk for a minute. But then things took a turn. Something didn't feel right. Words and actions weren't aligning. Emotional distance crept in. And then the questions began. What did I do? What didn't I do? Was it me? Is he scared? What the hell is going on? 

What's going on is that you may be dating a narcissist. 

I spent years married to one. The affects of that experience still linger in my life to this day. Even being divorced for 17 years, watching recent decisions of his from afar often triggers me to remember the fresh hell that was life with him.

I've also worked with many narcissists over the years and encountered them in social circles as well. Narcissists are highly skilled psychological abusers - both covert and extroverted in style - and can leave you suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for years. 

So how can you spot one to avoid dating a narcissist? 

Start by answering these simple questions first. Does the person you're dating make you question your self-worth? Do they almost seem deliberate in their attempts to damage your confidence? Do they regularly send you into a downward spiral leaving you emotionally mired in self-doubt? Do you feel like you're fighting a constant uphill battle that leaves you endlessly trying to prove yourself worthy to win this person over? 

If so, you may be dating a narcissist. And you're probably completely exhausted. 

How to Avoid Dating a Narcissist

Look for patterns of the narcissistic cycle of abuse, which is as follows:
  • Idealization (You're amazing!)
  • Devaluation (Something is wrong with you!)
  • Discarding (Go away, I don't need you anymore!)
  • Hoovering (But I'll be back to vacuum up the pieces!)
So, what is this narcissist cycle of abuse all about? What's the end game for the narcissist here? The game is this -- narcissistic supply.

The above cycle is "grooming" -- a cycle of abuse that ensures the narcissist maintains a constant supply of attention (from you). You are literally being groomed to be victimized. When you see this pattern of psychological abuse playing out in your relationship -- RUN - don't walk to the nearest exit.

This is not about love and passion. It's about control and emotional manipulation to ensure the narcissist's fragile ego maintains superiority over you (and everyone else in their lives). In the narcissist's world, everyone gets their turn in this abusive cycle.

How to Spot a Narcissist

1.) The Empty Vessel Makes the Most Noise: The Narcissistic Need for Attention

This noisy empty vessel concept can be considered the flag pole in which other red flags will be raised upon, according to Dr. Ramani, a leading expert on narcissism, NPD and narcissistic abuse.

Picture yourself in a social setting - a bar, an office party, a restaurant, a crowded room, etc. You hear a voice that rises above the rest. You scan the room and spot the source. They're loud. They're charming. They're magnetic and they've garnered themselves a captive audience. They come across as confident, knowledgeable, and educated.

Problem is, they're not saying much.

They're like an empty vessel that's been hit with a stick - and sound is now ringing, ringing, ringing out of the hollowness of that vessel, reverberating in waves over the surrounding area, entrancing everyone.

They're telling stories (about themselves). They're using wit, humor and sarcasm to enthrall others (with tales of their own experiences). They're dismissive of others around them who try to contribute to the conversation (quickly talking over them, steering the conversation back towards themselves). They're discussing successes, theories and ideas (that are all their own).

Those in their audience seem captivated (by all of their grandstanding and tall tales).

Raise the flagpole. You may be in the midst of a narcissist.

They're not always loud, either. As Dr. Ramani points out, they sometimes instead us voice inflection to create a sense of mystery, speaking in whispers, leaning in close, or taking long pauses in between words. 

What you're really spotting here is this: big presence = dramatic, intense energy that seeks validation from others. Otherwise known as an "attention whore."

2.) Brr, It's Cold in Here: The Narcissistic Need for Superiority and Emotional Distance

Narcissists are adept at giving off an air of detachment. This is red flag number two. 

You suddenly find yourself wanting to be noticed by them. (Oh me, me - pick me, please, I'm over here!) But you can't quite reach them. They're aloof. They feel somewhat distant and almost untouchable. And you find yourself starting to believe that they're somehow superior to you and others.

They must be, right? 

They must have some magical knowledge that's so powerful that they have to go to great lengths to remain above others and just out of reach, for fear they might pass that superior knowledge off to those undeserving of it.

You immediately sense that only a chosen few receive such a reward from this individual. They must have something that everyone else wants, right?

The narcissist remains wholly unavailable (emotionally) and detached (emotionally) in order to continually remain above the fray, so as to wield power over their kingdom (of admirers) like an Emperor.

The 4 Stages of Narcissistic Abuse

1.) Idealization and the Narcissistic "Need to Feed:" The Bait and Hook 

This brings us to red flag number three. They've just set the bait. You ate it up - hook, line and s(t)inker. 

Now it's time to shine. Do a little dance. Will they notice you? Will they give you their attention? No? Okay, dance some more. Maybe say something witty. Twirl your hair. (Oh me, me - pick me, please, I'm over here!) Put on some make up. Behave desperately. Lower your standards. Compromise your values. Dance until you can dance no longer to prove your worth to them - to prove you're worthy OF THEM. 

If you've succeeded at that, then job well done. You are now on their radar, and they're coming in hot. Let the love bombing begin! You feel special, don't you? 

This narcissist is now giving you what you've worked so hard for - their attention. 

It's coming in wave after wave after glorious wave. It's washing over you and you're glowing. The narcissist is going out of their way for you. They're responding to your texts in record time. They're making themselves available to you on weekends. They're texting you good morning. They're texting you goodnight. They're taking you on (lame) dates. You may even be spending (lame) weekends at each others place. 

A narcissist has a constant need for attention. Congratulations! They're now officially pursuing YOU for that constant supply of it. 

2.) Devaluation and the Narcissistic Need to for Superiority: You're Not Good Enough

Discarding is soon to follow. But it's impending arrival will be proceeded by red flag number four, which is devaluation.

The pick up artist (PUA) community calls these devaluation tactics "negging" - subtle negative comments meant to trigger your insecurities and weaken you into becoming easier prey and a much more willing victim. And it usually looks something like this.

"Is that really what you're going to wear tonight?" Devaluing your appearance. Or after eating a meal you just prepared they say, "My mother's cooking is the best in the world." Devaluing your skills. Or "You should go brush your teeth." Devaluing your confidence.  

I'll throw this in as an additional personal observation of my own. Narcissistic men, in particular, may even begin to tell you stories (or any story) about other women that have come before you. 

They can talk about an ex non-stop (implying a comparison). Or they'll give away their deep-rooted insecurities by telling you some less-than-honorable sex stories (in an attempt to imply that they're sought-after and highly valued by the opposite sex).

Devaluation can be subtle or downright brutal. Whatever you do, don't fall victim to these narcissistic devaluation tactics by immediately becoming insecure. Call them on this BS and signal to them that you're onto them, you're confident, and this childish crap doesn't work on you. 

If you do that, the narcissist will likely punish you with their penchant for the silent treatment

All is fair in love and war, right? A narcissist knows the best way to win is to weaken his opponent. By decreasing your sense of value, a narcissist sends you into a weakened state of "unworthiness" thus making you easier to conquer (and to keep around for constant feeding of their very fragile ego).

3.) Discarding and the Narcissistic Need for Control: Taking out the Trash

By now, it's clear that something doesn't feel quite right. If you're dating such a great individual, then why do you still feel so alone? Uh, oh. Red flag number five. 

All of a sudden, the momentum that was building just came to a screeching halt. The glorious waves that were washing over you just dried up. It's like you've just been air-dropped into the middle of the Sahara desert. You find yourself feeling trapped, stranded, and all alone.

Not only does the narcissist now own your headspace. But even better, they've dumped you before you (figured them out and) dumped them. Your value and sense of self-worth just plummeted. Damn, it's hot in the desert. So why not take a dive into the sea of self-doubt? After all, swimming in self-doubt feels lovely, right?

Discarding is how a narcissist maintains control (and hooks you up to their feeding tube for the constant incoming flow of attention they've now primed the pump to receive from you).

The narcissist is always in the drivers seat (steering the relationship along driven by a psychologically manipulative need for control). And like any good Emperor - constantly running off to conquer new lands.

With the narcissist, it's not about reaching a destination (relationship). It's about chasing and conquering (tricking around with people's heads and emotions in order to control others so as to maintain a feeling of superiority over them). 

If a narcissist has just rejected you, you're doing great - scratch that, you're doing AWESOME. As Dr. Ramani says, "Narcissists aren't rejecting you - they are rejecting your supply:"

4.) Hoovering and Narcissist Entitlement: Sucking Up the Dirt 

But don't worry. Unfortunately, they'll be back.

The narcissist just hurt your feelings pretty deeply, right? Perfect! This puts them into a superior position to come back to "hoover" you up like the dirt they've left you feeling like. They've treated you like dirt and they're returning with a vacuum cleaner to suck you up again. Red flag number six.

If they've done their job right, by now you're completely addicted. They've got your head spinning, your heart is involved, and you're so down in the dumps and preoccupied with proving your worth to them that you never even consider breaking free. After all, who would want you, right? This experience is telling you that you're not good enough. If the narcissist doesn't want you then who will? 

If they're a pro at this, they can get at least a year or more out of you by recycling you through the four stages of narcissist abuse over and over again. If they're an amateur, they're set up for at least a few months. 

But YOU, my dear, are about to enter HELL.

All the while, the narcissist will be working all their other options simultaneously in the background. They've got a huge need to feed so they also need to ensure they've got to have a transplant to replace you (once you catch onto them and bolt away from them).

But don't get angry. These folks are broken. A narcissist is a pathetic creature.

Hurt People - Hurt People: The Narcissists Neglected Childhood and The Coffee Maker

Many narcissists grew up with troubled childhoods, particularly, in neglectful parental atmospheres. 

Mom and dad may have been embroiled in warfare of their own for years and were distracted and neglectful of their children. They may have been drug addicts or alcoholics. They may have divorced and one of them could've abandoned the family unit, never to be seen or heard from again. The parents themselves could've even been victims of abuse and neglect as children, harboring fears of abandonment, never even letting their own children really get close to them.

These folks did not receive the love and support they needed as children. As a result, their emotional growth stopped at the point the trauma took place. They learned that love can create pain. And you can get all the support and attention you need if you just learn how to manipulate it out of those around you without fully investing yourself.

Picture a narcissist as an 8 year old child, desperate for attention and love, but not receiving it. The child learns to get the attention they need by being a trickster and emotional manipulator. Is mom too sad to pay attention to you because dad left? Is she on the sofa crying all the time? Is she on the phone crying all the time? Just throw a tantrum, break a dish on the floor, and voila' - you've got moms attention. Not only that, you've just gained control of her. She's checking you for cuts, she's wiping tears from your face, and she's coddling you in an attempt to console you.

Perfect! The child has just learned how to emotionally manipulate others (by behaving badly) in order to receive the love and affection they so desperately need.

Ever seen a child bashing their parent? Pulling their hair, kicking them, screaming and punching at them. That's the "I hate that you left me and don't love me" cry for help. And if the child does this after a parent has just returned from an outing without the child, that's a sure sign of resentment and neglect coming from that child directed at the parent. It's an attachment disorder developing from emotional neglect.

It's okay to feel bad for these people. But do NOT think that love will fix them. They are chronic repeaters. They don't want to change their way of life because it works for them. They're in the drivers seat. They're in control. Emotions mean nothing and are simply signs of weakness to them. So don't think showing yours will do them any bit of good. 

A narcissist will actually become angry at you for showing your weakness (emotions) and resentful of the fact that you actually "feel" things. They'll make it very clear to you that you "don't go there" with them. If you feel like you're walking on eggshells, tip-toeing around their emotional explosivity all the time, it's because you are. 

This goes deeper in adulthood than a child's need for love. In adulthood, this is now about control and superiority over others. To a narcissist, people are things. Things that only serve a purpose or a use. As Dr. Ramani says, you need a coffee maker. You don't love a coffee maker. But when you don't have a coffee maker, you sure do notice it's absence, right?

Well, YOU my dear, are the coffee maker.

These are generational childhood wounds that your love simply cannot heal. So don't even think about it. Years and years of therapy barely even help a narcissist. You sure as hell aren't going to do it after a few dates, a few months, or even a few years of tolerating their BS.

Speaking of Wounds: Trauma Bonding and the Addiction of Empathetic People

You may be as shocked as I was to understand this aspect of narcissist abuse. This was a game changer for me. I truly feel that understanding this concept was the catalyst that began my healing. So pay very close attention to this.

You know that concept of Yin and Yang, right? What one person has another person needs and together, the two fit like a glove. Well, narcissism has its own brand of Yin and Yang.

The person that's full of empathy (Yin - YOU) and the person that lacks empathy (Yang - the narcissist).

That's moth to a flame stuff right there. And here's where it really gets interesting so listen up. Once you've had an experience with a narcissist -- the abuse you've suffered will keep drawing you back to even more of them! The moth loves the flame that can destroy them.

It's "the one that got away" type of stuff. You were never quite "good enough" to land that one. So when someone else comes along that literally triggers the memories of the feelings of that past psychological abuse - the unworthiness of it all - you will find yourself ensnared all over again attempting to prove yourself worthy.

"Why, why, why does everyone discard me?!"

Well, the truth is people don't keep discarding you. It's only because you're continually dating a narcissist, one right after the other, that this happens. 

"Discarding" and "devaluing" are all part of the narcissistic cycle of abuse. And you will find yourself addicted to it, because your sense of self-worth is now tied to it. The "constant waiting" for the short term reward lights up the same areas of the brain that addiction lights up once the "reward" (breadcrumb of attention) you've worked so hard for is finally granted for a hot minute. 

You're an addict that's anxiously awaiting your next fix.

And once you've had a significant experience with a narcissist, you will find yourself "trauma bonding" to those personality types over and over again. Constantly reliving the narcissistic cycle of abuse, like an addict that cannot give up their drug, hanging on for dear life waiting to receive their next fix.

Why, am I hooked you ask? Because victims of abuse tend to subconsciously seek out situations that feel "comfortable" to them. Thus repeating the cycle of abuse over and over again in their relationships. Your brain is now addicted to the drama.

And the abuse doesn't end there. Do you know what else victims of narcissistic abuse do? 

Rumination and the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse

Victims of the cycle of narcissistic abuse ruminate like nobodies business. "Rumination" is part of the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that results from narcissistic abuse. 

Going over things that happened and all the nitty-gritty details again and again, rolling them around in the mind like a crystal ball that's supposed to provide the answers. All the whys, what ifs, coulda', woulda', shoulda's - rolling around in the mind in an endless loop. Closely examined from every single angle possible again and again.

All of which is a self-sabotaging process of attempting to figure out where YOU went wrong. It's now you abusing yourself as a result of the feelings of unworthiness that have been constantly cast upon you. Because it MUST be YOUR fault that nobody wants you, right? 

Dating a narcissist is actually a very DANGEROUS game of cat and mouse. People want you. People value you. It's only the narcissists you keep dating that don't.

The Narcissists Feeding Ground: The Modern Dating World

Now, all of what I just described above may come across as the harmless trifling's of modern day dating, right? Those things otherwise known as "The Game." Replete with all those fancy new phrases like ghosting, love bombing, hoovering, etc.

Well guess what? Those things aren't new. They've been traits that psychologists have been exploring for years surrounding NPD and the narcissistic personality disorder.

Even uglier, this stuff is now being TAUGHT (as dating pick up artist methods).

Some chump somewhere along the line discovered he was a narcissist, attended therapy, and instead of using what he learned to help himself -- he figured out a way to use it nefariously against women, began teaching it to other men -- and made millions of dollars doing it.

And guess what? That chump finally accepted that he was a narcissist, and that his tactics didn't lead to love, instead they led to a lonely hookup lifestyle - and is now supposedly completely reformed and considers his manifesto book cringeworthy to read.

Men, if you're reading this, just stop. Seriously, just stop. Or you're going to end up a lonely old man sitting in his recliner grieving the days gone by and ruminating on the lonely life you've led. Your family may all be dead and gone, your children will be grown living their own lives, and you'll be sitting there - thinking and drinking, stagnant like fungus - drowning in sorrow over the choices you've made for yourself and facing the realization that you're going to die alone. Trust me on this. I've seen it with my own eyes more than once.

These tactics are like a bacteria that has infected the dating pool, damaging people's psyches.

Modern dating tactics not only permit narcissists to feed like crazy on others, but they also encourage and enable narcissistic tendencies to grow and be cultivated in young adults. It's now becoming socially acceptable to be a narcissist. Society is all too ready to reward these people for the less than honorable manipulative methods they use to propel themselves through life.

But guess who holds the keys, ladies? 

Let's get real. YOU have something THEY want (sex). You hold the power. 

When dating a narcissist, it's all about two things: the constant supply of over-the-top attention received from you, and the chase to get it. That's it. Nothing else.

So stop rewarding poor treatment and bad behavior from men with MORE of your attention. 

If you feel the need to constantly prove yourself worthy to a man, then he's not the right man for you. Period. Case closed.

Learn to Recognize a High Value Man

A good man, an emotionally high value man, that's relationship-ready will be vulnerable with you. He'll share his emotions freely. He'll share his thoughts freely. He will prioritize you and go out of his way for you. And he will make attempts to let you know where you stand with him. 

He'll say it (words) AND do it (align with actions). 

A good man doesn't want to risk losing a good woman by playing childish games. 

A good man exhibits good behavior. He does good things. He hangs out with good people. And he's able to recognize a good woman when he finds one. And when that happens, he doesn't pull any punches when it comes to winning her over and taking her off the market. 

So if you've got a guy that's constantly throwing metaphorical punches at you -- knock him out. He's disqualified.

Healing from a Narcissistic Relationship: Narcissistic Education

Now it's time for healing. Pull out a tub of ice cream, grab a blanket, and go visit Dr. Ramani's channel

Stand your ground! Learn to recognize the symptoms, learn to disconnect. You've got the power to say NO THANK YOU and break the cycle of narcissistic abuse!

And remember this -- it's not about love. It's about power, control and the need for endless narcissistic supply.

When Men Pay for a Date the Woman Knows Where She Stands

In these modern times, the question persists - who should pay for a date?

I'm going to answer this question by providing insight into how women intuitively perceive this action from a man. Hint - it's not about money. Women can buy their own dinner. The action of paying for a date goes much, much deeper than something superficial or materialistic.

Men, when you pay for a date - you immediately tell the woman where she stands with you.

Being chivalrous and wanting to provide for the woman immediately tells her that shes special. You're keen on her. And you have a desire to protect and provide for her. Very attractive. Very impressive special treatment to take notice of. The woman is now looking at you as a romantic contender.

And do you know what you're telling a woman when you do not pay for a date?

You immediately tell the woman that she's not special to you. You're not keen on her in a romantic way. And you have no desire to protect and provide for her. Nothing attractive. Nothing impressive and no special treatment to take notice of. The woman is now looking at you as a pal. You are not a romantic contender.

There. It's really that simple.

Are You Seeking a Mate or a Friend?

Times may have changed. However, biologically as humans we have not changed all that much. Leading and providing are masculine actions. Submitting and nurturing are feminine passive actions. Biologically, women are romantically "triggered" by masculine actions (paying for a date, taking the lead), just as men are biologically triggered by feminine nurturing actions (appreciation, attention).

And biologically speaking - our actions say a lot about us.

There's an entire "unspoken" conversation taking place during every single encounter with we have with another. An unspoken language exists that's understood more than it is actually spoken out loud. And the very first actions you take with another set the entire tone of the relationship that will develop between you. Your actions and the unspoken discussion they provoke are "planting a seed."

Are you trying to grow a friendship? Or are you seeking a mate?

It's crucial that your actions and the discussion you start on the very first date reveal your true intent for the woman. Because on that date, your actions are going to help her determine if she's just your pal - or if you're a man with a romantic interest in her.

So if you're seeking a friend, don't pay her way. If you're seeking a mate, treat her as the romantic prospect she is - she's special. She's not just a pal. And you're not simply seeking a friendship here. So make her feel good about herself and let her know your intentions by "speaking" to her through your actions. This will also make her feel secure with you. And once you've made her feel special, good about herself, and secure with you, she'll start looking at you in a romantic way as a prospective mate and she'll drop her guard a bit with you.

And once she's dropped her guard a bit with you, the unspoken "conversation" that then begins to take place is one of "trust." And as we all know, all relationships require a strong foundation of trust to support them. Once a woman feels she can begin to trust you, she begins to trust that you have her best interests at heart, and that you'll protect her because you view her as special. She can now feel safe with you and relax a bit - cause you got this.

You're the man - and you got this.

The Friend Zone: When You Don't Pay for a Date

Guys, when you don't pay for a date, you're doing nothing to help yourself. In fact, by your own actions you risk fast tracking yourself right into the "friend zone." Not only that but even worse, you're signaling to her that you're "Mister Carefree, Casual, Go Lucky." You're signaling to her that you're some dude she can hook up with and pal around with from time to time, but nothing more.

You're telling her that she shouldn't expect much from you.

You're telling her that she shouldn't take you seriously as a romantic prospect because you're not coming at her as one. Instead, you're coming at her as a friend. You're not providing for her so she won't really feel safe with you or secure, and she'll keep her guard up.

Besides, let's face it. What woman gets excited about the prospect of dating a man that she can't expect anything from? What woman gets excited about the prospect of dating a man that isn't serious about her? What woman gets excited about the prospect of dating a man that doesn't have her best interests at heart? What woman gets excited about the prospect of dating a man that she can't rely on? What woman gets excited about dating a man that doesn't care to lift a finger for her or treat her special?

For that matter, what is there to get excited about at all? Making a new friend?

She's not dating to make new friends. She's dating to find a prospective mate. And if you're not coming confidently at her as one, you're creating confusion and wasting her time and yours.

She doesn't plan on ever taking you seriously Mr. Fun Time Guy. Because the unspoken "conversation" you created with her on your first date told her this. Either that or, she'll become an insecure, anxious mess.

Guys, if you have a long line of crazy, insecure, anxious women in your past, it's time to stop and ask yourself why. Because I can assure you that women are not born anxious, insecure and crazy. They become this way because they do not know where they stand with you, your actions are not consistent, and you're confusing them. You're not communicating your intentions clearly through your actions and as a result, the woman is now in a state of uncertainty about you. And once that uncertainty sets in, it will begin to manifest itself in her actions.

Your actions are not that of a masculine leader charting a course and presenting a clear, consistent message that makes her feel secure with you.

So now, the woman is insecure and hell bent on questioning everything you do, and every move you make, in order to receive clarity about where she stands with you. Because your actions are not providing that clarity for her.

The Benefits of Courtship Rituals

Back in the day, courtship rituals were regularly used. Everyone, man and woman, knew what that "language" was, and exactly what these actions meant. It wasn't necessary to have endless "talks" and painful confrontations about where you stand or where the relationship is going. It wasn't necessary to play games, or use tricks to manipulate emotions to your advantage. There was a ritual that provided a language that was enforced by actions - that everyone understood, but very rarely ever had to bother to speak out loud or clarify.

When a man takes the lead and the masculine role when dating, and he enforces that through consistent, reliable actions - there's no need to question him. There's no need to question where the relationship is going. The woman knows where it's going because it's clear the man has charted a course, he's the captain of the ship and she's in good hands. There's no anxiety, no worry, no insecurity, no endless "talks" needed, no questions.

When these courtship rituals are followed and adhered to, it's a lot easier for men and women to jump on the same page. No games. Just straight shootin'.

What a Valuable Woman Looks Like and Can Do for You

Back in the day when these courtship rituals were more widely accepted and used, a man knew that when a woman held out on him, she was a valuable woman worth having.

She was signaling that she was serious about him. She was a woman that respects herself. She didn't go around bedding down with just anyone. She was a strong woman making choices for herself. And she was smart enough to think them through without easily being manipulated and swayed. She wasn't weak. And she didn't take this lightly.

She didn't take YOU lightly.

Instead, she was viewed as a valuable woman. Because we all know that anything worth having always requires hard work to attain. When something is easy to attain, it's not that valuable. She was viewed as a woman capable of bringing out the very best in a man. As Jack Nicholson said in the movie As Good as it Gets, "You make me want to be a better man."

What he meant was that, instead of settling for mediocre, passive behavior from himself that produced mediocre results for himself, Helen Hunt was a woman that made him want to up his game. She made him want to be his best self. By not being easily swayed, her character in the movie challenges Nicholson's character to up his game in an attempt to win her affections. And in doing so, he exhibits his best self in his attempts.

Thus, literally becoming a better man - a better version of himself.

And it's her challenge to him by not being easily swayed by him that brings out his best self.

Sending Mixed Messages When Dating

There are a lot of women commenting, asking questions and seeking advice around this site, trying to decipher men's vague, indecisive, inconsistent actions and behavior:

"He asked me out, then wanted to split the bill with me. I wasn't all that interested in him, he felt more like a friend so I did. And I didn't think he was romantically interested in me because if he was, he wouldn't have asked me to pay my half for the date. But then he kept texting me. I'm so confused. If he didn't like me, then why does he keep texting me? And if he is interested, then why did he ask me to pay? Now I don't know what to do. Does he just want to be friends? Is he just trying to get laid here? Or do you think he likes me? I don't know what to do, please help!"

And she doesn't know what to do, or what the mans intentions are, or what the hell he wants from her. . .because his inconsistent actions and mediocre behavior have confused the hell out of her. So now, she doesn't know how to take the man, or how (or even if) to proceed because the man's actions aren't confidently speaking any specific language.

The man isn't communicating anything but a bunch of mixed messages. He's not participating in a courtship ritual. He's winging it like Mr. Fun Time Guy and expecting stellar results from his mediocre, half-hearted attempts.

The mixed messages that this man's actions are sending this woman are that of, "I ain't taking any of this - or you - seriously."

It's Not About the Money

When you pay for a date, it's not about the money, guys. A girl can buy her own damn dinner nowadays, and she won't have to give up access to her body to get it. Spending $20 of her own money for a dinner is a hell of a lot cheaper than being expected to pay for it by providing access to her body.

Paying for a date is about communicating clearly. Paying for a date is about participating in courtship rituals that both sexes understand. Paying for a date is about signaling your intentions for the woman, and showing her your character as a man. Paying for a date is about showing a woman that you're a serious romantic contender. And bringing your best self to the table lets her know that.

When you pay for a date it lets a woman know that - you're in it to win it.

And naturally, anywhere in life you win some, you lose some. It's all a risk and when dating, we are all taking risks - both men and women. But at least you brought your best self to the game, played fairly, and took it seriously, which builds your character as a man.

Because we all know that cheaters who take shortcuts are cowards that are afraid that they don't have what it takes to play by the rules and win - using real skills.

Private Q&A Sessions Now Available

Ladies, do you have questions but would rather not publish your personal story online? I understand. And due to high demand, I'm pleased to announce that private Q&A sessions are now available via email.

You can now email me your personal story and receive one in-depth response for a fee of $35. If my response generates more questions in your mind, or you'd simply like the conversation to continue, a second follow-up response will be provided for an additional fee of $25.

It's been a bit of a secret up until now that this service is available. Quite honestly, only those that have attempted to contact me privately via email were extended the offer. But as demand grows and after giving this much thought, I've decided now is the time to make it official.

These days, it's hard to find people to trust. And I understand that sometimes you just need someone to listen. Friends and family mean well, but many times, their words are only geared towards making you feel better. Your friends and family care about you. And what's the best way to make someone you care about feel better?

Tell them what they WANT to hear - and not what they may NEED to hear.

If you browse this site and read through the comments and responses here, you'll soon see that I'm a straight shooter. Some call it tough love, but I like to look at it more like logic. Our emotions tend to blind us to the realities in our lives. As they say, "Love is blind." Well, I'm not in love with the man you may be in love with. I'm not being led by my heart. And I'm not partial to anyone involved in the situation. I read your stories and I cut away the emotion and get down to brass tacks, logic and common sense.

Now please bear in mind that I am not a professional counselor, psychologist, psychotherapist or otherwise. I am not formally trained and the opinions expressed on this site and in private email sessions are my own. They do not stem from any professional training, but rather, my own life experience. The discussions and interactions that take place are meant for purposes of insightful entertainment only. Think of it like sitting down with a close friend, "spilling your guts" in a safe environment, and receiving some thought-provoking insights in return from someone that isn't emotionally involved in the situation. After that, your own free will comes into play and your decisions are your own.

So if you're in need and think a talk will bring you peace of mind, or one step closer to making a wise decision for yourself - shoot me an email. I will respond with a PayPal email address that you can remit payment to. Once I receive a notification from PayPal that payment has been received - we'll get started on that conversation that explores your personal situation.

Why You Should Not Date Insecure Men

I’m pretty sure that when you set out to start dating, you didn’t intend to date insecure men. But the reality is that’s exactly what ends up happening, and most times, without you even realizing it.

Insecure men are actually quite adept at attracting the perfect “victim.” And much of this goes back to the theory of the Law of Attraction which states that “like attracts like.” In otherwords, similar energies are, by nature, naturally attracted and drawn to one another. Which means that your insecurities, can actually be drawing insecure men back towards you.

An insecure man needs constant reassurance and validation of himself as a man, and his ideal woman is also insecure and feels “unworthy” of love and therefore, is eagerly willing to constantly sacrifice herself and her needs, thus directing all of her energy towards being his biggest “cheerleader” in life, and completely losing herself and her own identity in the process.

The Negative Cycle of Co-Dependency

This exchange of energy leads to a co-dependent relationship in that, he’s dependent on receiving the constant reassurance and support he needs from others (her) to keep himself feeling like a man, and she’s dependent on receiving the validation she needs to feel “worthy” as a woman by constantly proving herself “useful” to him.

But there’s a problem. This is one-sided and not equal. The man is “receiving” on a constant basis, while the woman is “giving” on a constant basis. (And for any men reading here, this piece is obviously geared towards women. But understand that much of this works both ways and the roles can actually be reversed.)

It becomes a feeding frenzy of negativity. A theme of “reassurance and acceptance” starts to play out. He needs to feel reassured and validated as a man, and she needs to feel accepted and worthy as a woman.

Are You the Perfect Victim?

Insecure men generally tend to seek out women who are an empty vessel. Meaning, similar to a blank slate, much like a brand new computer on the assembly line that’s just been pieced together, with an empty hard drive that’s ready to be programmed. Insecure men do not want to be challenged or questioned and they will eventually flee from strong women who are able to assert themselves. (Hint, hint ladies – “the disappearing man.”)

Insecure men prefer a mild woman who will worship them, not question them, not challenge them, and instead bend over backwards to please them. They prefer a woman who is very pliable and one who makes herself available all the time, forcing her to place her own life aside. (One of the reasons why very young, na├»ve women are highly sought after by men. It’s not always about sex.) Having that type of a woman makes an insecure man feel good about himself and more like a man.

Insecure men are an emotional wreck internally and to hide that from the rest of the world, they actually become very adept at overcompensating by creating a very refined external image that makes others believe they’re actually very successful in life.

What an Insecure Man Looks Like

Insecure Men Tend to be Loud, Boisterous Frat Boy Types

Insecure men are the guys that are the loudest in the room, the guys that are the life of the party. They are the guys that brag a lot about the successes they’ve had (20 years ago as a high school football player). They are the guys that, when challenged by other men verbally for their offensive behavior, either run away or throw a punch instead of providing a smart intellectual rebuttal (because they have no good excuse for their behavior). These types are usually found wearing Affliction Clothing line tees and True Religion jeans with heavy white stitching, sporting a few tattoos, dig MMA, have a close buzz cut on the sides, treat dating like a sport and have dined on a plethora of steroids. (This explains why they’re always exhibiting hostility and are usually “top heavy” with giant arms and a big upper body that is teetering on skinny legs).

Insecure Men Tend to be all Talk and No Action

Insecure men are the guys who are all talk and no action. The ones who have a tendency to constantly “school” others in a “know it all” fashion in an attempt to fool them into believing they have valuable knowledge to share with the world - while they produce no actual viable results whatsoever.

Insecure Men Tend to Exaggerate Stories

Insecure men are the guys at the bar telling exaggerated stories of sexual conquests with the ladies, yet are never actually spotted with a living, breathing one by their side. Insecure guys tend to have a long, long line of “crazy” exes in their past (not just one or two who truly may have been emotionally off balance), yet fail to realize the women weren’t all crazy and instead, were simply women who called him on his crap all the time.

Insecure Men Tend to Exhibit Offensive, Obnoxious Behavior – Towards Everyone

Insecure men are the guys that are quick to point out the flaws in others. They are the guys that drop small “negs” (negative comments) all the time directed at those around them, in order to bring insecurities in others to the surface, so as to misdirect anyone from noticing their own flaws and insecurities.

Insecure Men Market Themselves Well

They are the guys that have learned to “sell” themselves quite well on the surface, when in reality, they have no job, no car, are skipping out on child support payments and financial debts and are living in their parents basement.

Insecure Men Are Narcissistic Attention Whores

Insecure men are the guys that go around approaching women in nightclubs that are complete strangers and asking to take a selfie with them, and then publishing these photos to social media sites, thereby making them look like they’re in demand with the opposite sex. Their Facebook page is a constant stream of party boy selfies with the occasional self-deprecating post geared towards garnering a ton of compliments for themselves. As a matter of fact, I saw one recently that read, “I’m going to quit being such a man whore and start looking for a good woman.” (As if good women are going to jump at the chance to be with an old man whore.) And to my surprise, that comment garnered a lot of “Awe, you’re not that bad of a guy” responses from women. (Clue: If he’s telling you he’s a man whore – then that’s exactly what he is.)

Insecure Men Can Tend to Look Like the Cat That Ate the Canary

Can you say “smug?” Yea, insecure men create the impression that they’re very self-assured.

If you’re looking at a guy and he’s constantly sporting a “Billy Idol Smile” or a silly Cheshire Grin, and you get the feeling he knows something you don’t know – guess what?

He DOES know something you don’t know. . .he knows that you’re the canary and he’s about to swallow you whole.

Insecure Men Pull Stunts to Create False Appearances

They are the guys that, when on a date with them, leave their phone out on the table and are all too proud to openly inform you (and constantly remind you) that women all over the place are chasing them down. Yet they fail to mention that all the texts and calls they’re receiving are actually responses to the lame “hey” text they sent to every single woman in their Facebook account and on their phone 15 minutes before meeting up with you - so they can receive all these responses in front of you, thereby creating the impression that they’re in demand with the opposite sex.

Insecure Men Are Lazy, Lack Ambition and Seek a Free Ride – Single Mothers Beware

Insecure men are completely okay with riding someone else’s coat tails to the top, namely a woman’s. If there’s not a financially eligible woman to latch onto, they’re usually okay with a mediocre “status quo” for themselves (such as living in their parent’s basement). And when I say financially eligible woman, I’m not talking about a woman earning $100k a year. A lot of times, a single mother receiving financial assistance, child support and food stamps can fall victim to an insecure man because she’s got a home, food on the table, a reliable income stream, and an already existing living situation that the man simply slides right into.

Insecure Men are Flaky, Inconsistent and Full of Empty Promises

He’ll keep you floating on empty promises that he never fulfills. He’ll be like a magician who disappears and reappears at will. He’ll stand you up or cancel last minute for what he considers honest to goodness dates, which are most times actually sofa dates. And he’ll make good use of the learning theory called the random interval reward system to keep you hooked:

Insecure Men Cheat and are Opportunists in Life

The needs of insecure men are so hefty that many times, almost all the time, you’ll find that they’re also cheaters (insecurity and cheating tend to go hand in hand). Because the needs of insecure individuals are so very hefty, many times it takes more than one individual to fulfill them. Even if they weren’t outright seeking to fulfill those needs from several others, rest assured that when the opportunity presents itself - they will take the offer up. This is the reason that a lot of the cheating that occurs with insecure individuals is actually “opportunistic” in nature. When someone has cheated on you and you ask them why, if you hear responses along the lines of, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, it just happened” – then you know you’ve been bitten by an insecure man who took action on an opportunity that presented itself.

Insecure Men Move FAST

In the beginning, they lay it on thick and heavy, telling you everything they think you want to hear, zipping you into the bedroom and a relationship with lightning speed. (Warning: Moving too fast is a big red flag.) They’re pulling a number on you and the speed at which it takes place is mean to disorient and distract you from their real motivation – which is to use you and control you until they decide they’re done with you. They're not good at consistency though or maintaining any of this initial "flowery" behavior, which is why it's important to make a man repeatedly prove himself to you for a consistent length of time. The flakes won't be able to keep it up and they'll soon run once they realize they'll have to work to win you over.

Insecure Men are Emotionally Unavailable and Have a Shallow Orientation

Their inner world will rarely, if ever, be anything you get a peek into. They’re usually immature jokesters who won’t “get real” with you and they’re not interested in hugs and kisses, long talks, affectionate caresses or fulfilling your emotional needs. Being with them feels more like having a child to take care of instead of an intimate lover who’s an equal to you. Their primary goal is to get their own needs met, much like a child, which usually has a shallow orientation focused on nothing but primal, sexual needs and survival – and nothing deeper than that.

Insecure Men are Adept at Using Guilt to Their Advantage

Insecure men are never responsible and never accountable. And if you attempt to make them become that, they are not above spinning that back onto you somehow and making you feel guilty for asking too much of them, and not accepting them for who they are and what they have to offer – which is nobody with nothing to offer other than a mere presence in your life.

The Words and Actions of Insecure Men Do Not Align

Insecure men are men who say one thing – yet do something else completely different. Their words never align with their actions and in essence, they’re full of crap and constantly spewing a lot of BS at you.

The Manipulation

Insecure men (and women) are incredibly manipulative. They’re very adept at getting their negative needs fulfilled by others (because they can’t provide that for themselves). One can almost view them as the vampires of society in that they tend to suck the life out of those they’re partnered with via the hefty need for constant reassurance they have. “Maintaining “ them becomes a full time job.

An insecure man is not much of a provider, he’s more of a taker (the vampire) and contributing in any way other than his mere presence in your life is really not going to be his thing. He may work a mediocre job for a while at your behest, but eventually he’ll have a personality clash with someone at work or he’ll get a hang nail or some other ailment that he’ll use as an excuse to get the hell outta’ there - and then he’ll blame you for the entire debacle.

That reminds me of a National Lampoon movie with Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid, who played Cousin Eddie. Cousin Eddie is an insecure guy, constantly attempting to impress Clark and overcompensate in ways that ultimately make him appear as a buffoon. When asked about his job, his wife (the ever willing cheerleader in his life) does damage control and tells people, “He’s holding out for a management position.” And then it’s pointed out that he’s been holding out - for 7 years.

The End Result of Dating an Insecure Man

Insecure men won’t lift you up – they will only ever control you and pull you down, down, down with them – to their level. You can tread water for a while, but eventually, you’ll exhaust yourself, you’ll never be able to get ahead, you will feel like a 200 pound ball and chain has been tied around your ankle that you just can’t shake, and you’ll realize that it’s either sink or swim. You’re either going to go down with them, or you’re going to have to get away from them.

And mind you, if you don’t leave them first, nine times out of ten, they will eventually leave you. . .and most likely - in a lurch - and much worse off than when they met you.

After all, they are the vampires of the world and once they drain you of your life’s blood, much like a vampire, they have no use for the empty carcass that’s left behind. They are relationship jumpers who consider 3 and 5 month flings honest to goodness real relationships. And if they’re married, guess what? Most times, they’re still conducting those 3 to 5 month flings on the side anyways, or taking up the various one time opportunities that float their way. And beauty isn’t what it’s about when that happens, it’s about their insecurity.

Ever notice how many times the “other woman” in a situation like that is always a hot mess of sorts, and you wonder why the heck the man risked a relationship with a great, beautiful woman for – a bar fly that’s akin to a doorknob who’s permitted everyone in the building to take a turn? It’s rarely the Pamela Anderson’s or Scarlett Johansson’s of the world that play that role. . .it’s always some unassuming, non-descript woman that was like a scrap left on the floor for bottom feeders that leaves you shaking your head asking, “Why, why?”

The reason why is because the woman was pliable and therefore - made a good victim - and fulfilled a shallow need at the time. Remember, insecure individuals are very “needy” (man or woman).

Loyalty is not their thing and they will start to be dismissive of you entirely (not that they were ever really that attentive to you and your needs in the first place), eventually disposing of you when another more promising opportunity (victim) comes along. And if you have a child or children with them, it won’t matter. They’ll easily walk away from you and their own blood without pause, and in keeping with their status quo, will bail on child support, visitation, responsibility, accountability, and/or any financial debt residue left behind.

They will skip into the next relationship as if the one with you never even happened – and you will fast become one of the “crazy” exes he’s telling stories about and receiving sympathy from others over (like he once did with you). And don’t be surprised if, when telling others these stories, he begins to exaggerate it and starts to “project” onto you the very sin that he, himself, committed – cheating.

If you meet a guy who claims that every single ex (not just one or two) he’s ever had has cheated on him, you need to question why that is. He’s either an incredibly lousy, neglectful, apathetic mate – or he’s lying.

Are You Dating an Insecure Man?

In the beginning insecure men come on fast and strong, spreading compliments thick, for about the first 3 or 4 dates and professing to love you by the fifth. They talk strongly and often about a future with you very early on, too early, and tend to fast track you into the bedroom by doing so (because they know women, by nature, bond with men through physical contact).

Insecure men pick their victims well, identify their needs immediately, and then start to fulfill those needs fast – only to yank that all away from you and completely turn the tables once they’ve hooked you.

All those compliments, promises, talk of future, exchanges of love and hot sex. . .yea, that was the bait on the end of the hook. And once you bite, they know they have a winner and they pull back hard on the line, quickly and without warning, reeling you out of the lovely pond you were just swimming in - and onto very dry land where they will watch you eventually suffocate and die without remorse.

If you’re dating a man that’s leaving you feeling completely exhausted, totally emotionally drained, financially wiped out, incredibly neglected, abused and taken advantage of, entirely confused, suspicious and constantly questioning and second guessing yourself – you, my dear, are most likely dating an insecure man.

Get rid of him – NOW.

Protect Yourself

If you want to protect yourself from falling prey to another one in the future (hey, we’ve all been there) - work on yourself. Change always starts with YOU.

Behavior that is self-destructive need no longer take place. Hookups and one night stands, settling for less than you deserve, not demanding traditional first dates where you’re treated like a lady, drinking too much, giving men who treat you poorly a second chance or the benefit of doubt, not carrying yourself with dignity, behaving desperately – no more. It’s a fallacy planted into women’s heads by society that if you smile, sacrifice yourself constantly and “do, do, do” for others like a household appliance. . .you will receive love in return. So forget about that because the only thing that will get you these days is victimized and taken for granted.

Ladies, there are good men still out there, trust me on this. Yes, the “gentlemen” is nearing extinction and entering the realms of the dinosaur, however, they do still exist. And if you work on yourself and participate in things that actually build your confidence, rather than take part in self-destructive behavior that actually chips away at it– you will find that you are no longer attracted to insecure men, you will develop a radar that can see them coming a mile away, and good men will admire your strength, independence and strong will. . .and will begin to enter your life.

If you’re not ready and haven’t done the work, you won’t recognize them, you’ll pass them over, you’ll experience fear and you’ll confuse the “high” of sexual attraction with real emotion and love. If you have done the work, and you know your value and begin to understand what it is that you truly need from a man to be happy – then you can’t miss them.

If you’ve done the work, insecure men will no longer be drawn to you. Instead, they’ll sense immediately that you wouldn’t make an ideal victim - and they’ll quickly flee from you without explanation.

Seriously ladies, be thankful for all the disappearing men in your life - they actually saved you a lot of grief.

Beware the Christmas Holiday Hookup

It’s that time of year – the holidays. A time when loneliness and the extreme awareness of isolation can creep into our lives. It also happens to be a time of year that those we’ve watched walk away from us, have a tendency to reappear – at alarmingly high rates - for a Christmas holiday hookup.

Beware the lonely holiday hearts club, ladies. (And men, this goes for you, too.) Nostalgia, sentiment and warm feelings will enter the minds and hearts of many over the next few weeks, and many may try to take advantage of this, deliberately or unintentionally. Many may rethink their current situations. Many may long for a life change. Many may need a shoulder to cry on. Many may realize that they’re just plain lonely.

And many – may start ringing your phone or sending the proverbial “Hey” text your way.

Beware the Christmas holiday hookup; a common side effect of the lonely holiday hearts club.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

When the Ghosts of Christmas Past start resurfacing in your life, you might be inclined to look at it optimistically with hope and a sense of glee. But you need to understand that this person isn’t in your life for a reason. The reason they’re not in your life is because it didn’t work. And you need to realize that a Christmas tree, holiday lights, nostalgic sentiments and spiked egg nog - aren’t likely to change that.

As hard as it may be, don’t back pedal into the past at this time of year. Don’t grab hold of the Ghost of Christmas Pasts hand and take that evening ride that Ebenezer Scrooge took, thinking it’ll lead you to your happiness and your heart like it did for him.

That story is a fable; a fictitious tale. And while a journey of the soul like that can indeed be life altering, the reality is that taking that journey with someone you’re not compatible with at a time of the year when rosy emotions gloss real life isn’t wise. The person who left you previously did so because they didn’t see themselves as part of your story. So don’t fool yourself into thinking they’ll be on the pages that will write your future.

A holiday hookup can be detrimental to your future because it injects itself into your new beginning – a brand new year that begins with a clean slate. If you permit a holiday hookup to happen, it muddies your slate and mars something new and fresh by dirtying it up. A holiday hookup can send you off track, distracting you from your real goals and the things you’re really meant to experience, explore and achieve.

Don’t become derailed by a holiday hookup. Instead, stay on track and make plans for the future that are your own and that aren’t influenced by someone else’s presence in your life. Take stock of all the great achievements you’ve made in the passing year, all the personal growth you’ve experienced and be thankful and show gratitude for your failures.

Express Gratitude and Thank Your "Teachers"

Yep – you heard me right – I said failures; show gratitude for your failures and all of the “teachers” that were a part of them. Because it’s these failures that propel your growth. And if it weren’t for the “teachers” that came along to deliver those lessons, you wouldn’t have evolved into the individual you are today.

People are always going to let you down, folks. They’re always going to disappoint you. And this is always going to happen in all types of relationships – romantic, friendship, working relationships and familial ones – that’s life. It’s part of the human condition. And when this happens, you need to cope, not blame. And you need to keep in mind that it’s these moments in life. . . that help you carve out your new life.

It’s these moments in life that help you drill down to what really matters to you. It’s these moments that compel you to make huge life altering changes. It’s these moments that send you off into entirely different directions from where you first began. It’s these moments that make you review where you’ve been, what went wrong, and help you to determine what it is that you need that will truly make you happy. It’s these moments that make you “clean house” by ridding yourself of the people, environments and situations that no longer enhance your life in a positive manner or serve a higher purpose for you anymore.

It’s in these moments, folks that life - real life - happens.

So be thankful for these moments. Show gratitude for these failures and for the teachers who came along and taught you these valuable life lessons that sent you off in search of brand new horizons. If it weren’t for these people, you wouldn’t be experiencing the human condition. If it weren’t for these moments, you wouldn’t be living real life.

Write Your Own Future

Take stock of where you’re at and of where you intend to be a year from now. Thank all those that have entered your life and shown you what you don’t need and what you don’t want more of – for helping you carve out the vision of your new life.

Wish them well and then send them on their way, to head down their own path on their own new journey, leaving them to write the pages of their future on their own – while you construct yours using the new knowledge, tools and insights you’ve gained.

Do not permit the negativity of the past to enter the pages of your future. Rid yourself of those who do not value you and appreciate you. Rid yourself of all those who do not add consistent positive energy to your immediate environment and bring positive value to your life.

Instead, surround yourself with like-minded individuals that see your value, appreciate what you have to offer, embrace your uniqueness and provide support to you on your journey. The energy of life is an equal balance of give and take.

When the Ghost of Christmas Past comes knocking at your door or rattles your bedpost in the dead of night, acknowledge him, express your gratitude for him having entered your life, and then roll over and keep dreaming about the brand new world about to unfold before your very eyes.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~ Walt Disney

Sweet dreams, folks.

Dating a Disappearing Man, Reached Your Limit?

Dating a disappearing man that reappears periodically without notice, and after rudely disappearing on you without explanation, is certainly an experience that many modern day females can relate to.

This can be seen in the discussion of the topic on this piece titled “Disappearing/Reappearing Man: What to Do” which is no longer able to accept any further comments on the site as it’s reached the 5,000 limit.

Yep, I’d say a lot of you have been dating a disappearing man and have reached your limit. I’d go even further and say it’s a modern day dating epidemic. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I won’t repeat the suggestions I’ve shared on that piece because you’re free to go there and study up on it. However, I will say that after a couple of years’ worth of discussion on dating a disappearing man, and after many thousands of personal stories shared there, it has become apparent to me that the best way to deal with a disappearing man who reappears periodically to dredge things up (before disappearing again) is to focus on yourself – and try your best to forget about him.

Probably not what you were expecting to hear, I understand that. There are very detailed suggestions listed in that article referenced above if you'd like to give it a try. But after a couple of years of observation and lots of discussion with women dating a disappearing man, it has become clear to me that when these types disappear on you, even if they circle back, it generally leads nowhere. And that’s not because there’s something wrong with you – it’s because there’s most likely something wrong with them.

Men who display this pattern of behavior generally do not correct it. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And the reality here is that we’re dealing with old dogs, ladies. Plain and simple – and they’re not learning any new tricks. They’re simply repeating the old ones over and over and over again for as long as they’re permitted to get away with it, which brings me to my next point.

People Can Only Treat You as Poorly as You LET Them

When we permit these patterns of behavior to play out in our lives over and over and over again, it should come as no surprise that the same outcome is simply repeated again as well. Yet it perplexes us. If he didn’t like me, why did he bother to come back? If he wanted nothing to do with me back then, why is he ringing my phone again now? It must mean he likes me. It must mean he’s at least slightly interested, right?

Yes, no, and maybe – for all the wrong reasons.

Is he interested in sex? Yes. Is he ready for a committed relationship? No. Has he hit a dry spell? Maybe. Either way you slice it, after a couple of years listening to stories from women out in the trenches dating a disappearing man, I can honestly tell you – I can’t think of one time, not one time, that it’s ever ended with “and they lived happily ever after.” I’ve read a ton of stories about women outgrowing their disappearing man (DM), or boring of him, or tiring of him, or meeting someone else in the 3 months it took him to make his 3rd reappearance. But no, in the 5,000 comments and stories shared, I’ve never heard a story that concluded with a “happily ever after” ending.

What I do hear is a lot of women beating themselves up, blaming themselves, wondering what’s wrong with them, questioning why he hasn’t called and asking when he will. And after a couple of years of researching this topic, I can stand here today and tell you – it’s definitely not you – it’s a modern day epidemic.

Behavior that was once considered abnormal is now slowly becoming the accepted norm. Hiding behind devices in texts and emails is making it even easier to transition society as a whole into the acceptance of this – accepting sociopathic behavior that displays no sense of remorse, guilt or empathy for the individual on the other end of the line. It’s easy to just disappear these days, because half the communication that existed in the first place existed in the virtual world, on a device screen, and not in real life. Gone are the days when you’d have to hold these discussions face to face. Nowadays, don’t like someone; don’t want to see them anymore? Hey, no problem, you’ll never have to speak to them again – just don’t answer any calls, emails or texts from them and voila’ – problem solved.

Throw in online dating and the endless buffet of easy opportunities there and what you end up with is a bunch of kids in a candy store, running around experiencing a fantastic sugar high that they never want to come down from. It builds the ego, it gives them something to brag to their buddies about, and they rarely, if ever, have to face any consequences for it. Hence, the birth of the disappearing man.

Ahh, utopia does exist after all, no?

The Mind Trip a Disappearing Man is Running on You

Many of these bad boy “players” are using a psychological tactic that they’re not even aware of (although some are VERY aware and well educated on the matter). They think they’ve got some magic sauce about them that women just can’t get enough of. But really, all they’ve done is stumbled onto a very real fact about the human psyche:

I just watched two men, both mid 30’s, on a reality television show the other night talking about women and dating - the issue at hand? One man had two great women on his hands. Sigh . . . problems, problems. Yet, he was patting himself on the back proudly about the fact that it was only two – which apparently is down from his usual norm of 8. Yea, you heard me, I said 8. And the other guy he was talking to didn’t blink an eye at that number.

So I think it’s safe to say – rotating 8 women at one time, misleading them all to think you’re “relationship ready”, talking about having babies and a future with them, and using them for sex until it’s time to move onto the next gal in your rotation – is apparently “the norm” in the lifestyle of many young modern males these days.

Should you hold your ground and level the playing field when dating a disappearing man that you sense has you locked into a rotation that he hasn’t exactly been honest about? Absolutely.

Should you hold your breath waiting for him to circle back around again? Don’t bother; it’ll be your turn again before you know it.

Should you pick up that phone or respond to that text when he does circle back around? Probably not – unless you want the first outcome to repeat itself a second time.

So What SHOULD You Do?

Forget having a “talk” with him and instead, do something constructive that will actually benefit YOU - and have that hard talk with yourself.

Ask yourself what it is that causes you to keep taking this man back. What is it that causes you to want to continue dating a disappearing man, despite already knowing that he’s not capable of making you happy or fulfilling your needs. Dig deep, because the answers don’t lie with him – they actually lie WITHIN you.

I repeat - people can only treat you as poorly as you LET them. If you do not permit people to act upon you, then you don’t get hurt, you don’t get used and you don’t let other people make you feel like crap over their shortcomings in life. You check their baggage at their door and you walk away into your future.

I’m not an overly religious individual, although I do consider myself spiritual – but when someone says something that is so very powerful it sends vibrations to your very core . . . then the message must be shared. Having said that, I’ll let Bishop T.D. Jakes take over from here:

“When people can walk away from you, let them walk. I don’t care how wonderful they are, I don’t care how attracted you are to them, I don’t care what they did for you 20 years ago, I don’t care what the situation is. When people can walk away from you, let them walk – because your destiny is not tied to the person who left.”

Can I get an AMEN, ladies!

Why You Should Never Text Nude Images

I know that many folks think very little of providing the milk for free while the cow remains up for sale these days.

But let's face it, when you don't respect yourself and you're out there giving yourself away for free, how then can you expect others to respect you, and commit to you in spite of that disrespect you treat yourself with?

People want what they can't have folks. You know that new tech gadget that's released during the holidays, but only a limited quantity is available - and everyone just HAS to have it, searches high and low for it, gets on waiting lists to possibly receive one...and then spends months after the holidays seeking one out? Do you know why that is, why people do that?

Because it's in our psyche to want what we can't have. It's psychological human behavior to highly value things we have to work hard for. When people are standing on the street corner, giving away thousands of the same item for free in droves and the surrounding streets are littered with them, do you value that item? Or do you turn around and immediately throw it in the trash, drop it on the ground or give it away to someone else?

The same psychological principle applies to your body folks. When you give it away for free, you immediately decrease it's value to others. When something is readily available in large quantities, it's not highly valued. It's no prize to receive. Instead, it's taken for granted and quickly disposed of.

In economics, such as that "latest, greatest tech gadget," it's called the Law of Scarcity.

Manufacturers are using this tactic on you everyday, without you even knowing it. They know that this law is a fundamental law of human existence - and it works. They know that the more people desire something, the harder it is to acquire...the greater the lengths people will go to, to actually acquire it. And not only that, they also know that it's a fact that once this very rare, elusive, highly valued item is finally acquired, it will be cherished by the owner because of the lengths they had to go to, to actually receive it.

And if knowing all of that about human behavior and psychology doesn't convince you not to give yourself away for free - then maybe this will.

An Eye-Opening Study

A study conducted by Avast, a security software tech company, uncovered the real truth about what's on your phones - even after you wipe them. And the findings were more eye-opening than any of the embarrassing images they found.

Avast purchased 20 used Android phones from eBay that were reset and wiped by previous owners. After running readily available recovery software that just about anybody has access to, the following was recovered:
  • 750+ images of nude women.
  • 250+ images of nude men and male "manhood." (Notice women are sending 3x the amount of nude images versus men.)
  • 1,500 images of children.
  • 750 emails and texts.
  • 40,000 photos.
  • The complete identities of up to 4 previous owners of the devices.
  • 1,000 google searches.
  • A complete loan application.

Need I say more?

The ramifications of this could quite possibly be endless. A potential employer searching the Net for you could find these images (remember, your name could be recovered as well), they could make their way to Facebook and social media, they could make their way to free porn sites, family and friends may find them online, they could end up published in a print publication, some random dude online could see them, like what he sees, get your name and stalk you down - hell, you could even be blackmailed when you find yourself running for Congress one day.

And if you just cannot help yourself, for whatever reason, and you insist on exhibiting self-destructive behavior, at the very least - at the very least - don't include your face in these images folks. And cover up those identifiable birth marks while you're at it. . .

This girl, unfortunately, did NOT do that - and she accidentally sent it to dear old dad - (Instagram video clip) oops:

Her dad is right - it's called Twitter - not Titter, folks.

What Would Happen If You'd Just Look Up?

“Be kind always, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

Ahh, relationships - romantic ones, neighborly ones, work related ones, acquaintance connections, peer connections, familial connections…they’re definitely varied, incredibly complex, and subtly dynamic.

They’re like an onion, and once you start peeling back the layers, you’re practically guaranteed of acrid fumes looming in the air.


Because we’re all human - and thus flawed. If we were perfect folks, we’d all be Gods.

Which brings me back to the quote referenced above.

Everyone is fighting their own battle. Every one of us are flawed. Everyone faces their own individual challenges and obstacles as they go through life.

These days, it’s very easy to project a false image of yourself and successfully sell it as authentic. These days, it’s very easy to be unkind to others without consequence. These days, it’s easy to feel connected, while remaining truly disconnected. These days, you can have 800 “friends,” while ignoring the fact that you’ve never met them. These days, you can cast your judgement freely and you'll never have to see the damage inflicted. These days, you can be in a room full of people - and still feel lonely.

These are the days, huh?

For as much as technology has benefitted our lives, make no mistake – there IS a consequence that results. It’s subtle and akin to the Butterfly Effect. That tiny little ripple that begins far out in the ocean; that miraculously transforms into a Tsunami by the time it hits the shore.

As humans, we all seek acceptance – from our peer groups, from our neighbors, from our loved ones and from society at large. We all want to feel like we’re a valuable part of something, something bigger than ourselves. We seek that acceptance daily and when it’s not provided, we’re like wilted flowers without water, lacking the proper atmosphere to thrive in.

So we reach out. We reach out to those around us, we reach out to our peers, we reach out to our communities and our society at large in very subtle ways, seeking encouragement and reinforcement and the acceptance and approval of others. We’re social creatures and that’s never going to change. And most of the time, we look to technology to provide that connection; that acceptance that we seek.

But can that technology really replace and properly convey the subtleties of life; the subtleties of relationships and human behavior? And does it provide the proper environment for those relationships to not only survive, but truly thrive and flourish?

It’s clear just how much we starve for acceptance and approval as human beings based on the explosive popularity of social media…and it’s nearly utter and complete replacement for genuine understanding and human interaction. It’s clear how many people are lonely. It’s clear how many people seek connection. It’s clear how many people are fighting, and acting out, their own battle in life and using technology as a tool (and an excuse) to do it.

And it’s clear that many people aren’t being kind to themselves when doing it. They think they are, but the “disconnect” that results from our reliance on technology as our main form of communication doesn’t provide the full lens we need to truly see the big picture of how damaging to ourselves - and our relationships – technology truly is.

“Be kind to yourself always, for you’re fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

That’s my take on the quote I referenced at the beginning of this piece. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself always, regardless of the judgment that others project onto you. Always be true to yourself and your beliefs. Do not let others dictate what your life should be; march to the beat of your own drum and the tune that makes you happy. After all, it is your life - and they haven’t had to live it.

Don’t be afraid to break out from the pack; bring your own unique character and assets to the table. Sure, some folks might not appreciate all those things about you, but that doesn’t matter - because the RIGHT person will. You don’t need the approval of the entire world. Besides, you wouldn’t have enough of yourself to nourish all those relationships anyway.

Put the technology down and start being human again. Start being kind again. If you’d just look up, great things might happen. There are powerful messages swirling all around you. . .make sure you're paying attention to them:

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