Ask a Guy Dating Tips and Relationship Advice For Women

Ask a Guy: I’m Out of His League, So Why Doesn’t He Appreciate Me?


I was friends with this guy for 6 years (and nothing more) until recently – he’s now my boyfriend.  He’s not mean, but he just never says or does anything nice.

What I don’t understand is I’m way out of his league – I’m very attractive, have an outstanding degree and a high-profile career.

He just does not appreciate me. I’m convinced he’s using me for sex. He never makes time for me, claiming he’s busy, but he will go out with his friends. And the last three times we met we had sex in the car. Gosh I’m disgusting.

How do I get away from him? Honestly his dismissive ways are so attractive to me.

OK… so I’m reading your question and you say that his dismissive ways are “so attractive” to you.

That’s either a typo (you meant to type “unattractive”), a Freudian slip (if you believe in the questionable theories of Sigmund Freud) or you meant it as is… which would be a refreshingly honest disclosure, but out of sync with the rest of your message.

Regardless, whether you find his dismissive ways attractive or unattractive, your actions and decisions are what’s creating your present relationship with him.

Let’s go point for point:

You were friends for six years before you started dating.  That’s a good foundation in many ways because you’ve had the ability to see each other moving through life and handling the many changes and challenges life throws at you.

Knowing someone for a period of time does not guarantee that you have a depth of connection with that person, though.  If you have a relationship where you can talk to each other about your feelings, then that would be a good place to start.

In many cases, I’ve seen the dissatisfied person in a relationship not want to talk about their issues because:

  • They don’t want to seem needy, desperate or weak…
  • They don’t want to agitate or pressure the other person and scare them off somehow…
  • They don’t think the other person would understand…

The first bullet – neediness – let’s talk about that one.

I’ve talked about neediness countless times.  Neediness is a mindset, not a behavior.

MORE: A Guy’s Take On Neediness

It’s a mindset that believes worrying about a relationship equals putting energy into the relationship (this is a flawed thought.)

It’s a mindset that fixates on extracting validation and proof that the other person cares about you, instead of filling the relationship with fun, positive, comfortable energy (this is a flawed strategy.)

And most importantly, it’s a mindset that believes that you need the other person to feel OK, even though you were fine before you started dating them (this is similar to a drug addiction and withdrawal pangs… bad news.)

Worrying about appearing needy stems from actual true neediness.  Expressing your thoughts and feelings is not needy – needing to extract a specific reaction from the other person is

Next, let’s talk about not wanting to agitate or pressure the other person…

Fair enough, you want to be considerate and not upset him.  That’s a fine motivation.

However, more often than not, it’s not consideration that keeps people from having tough relationship discussions.  It’s fear.

Most people would rather nurse their “ideal relationship image” in their mind than have a tough discussion and possible have their fantasy bubble burst.

Put simply, most people fall in love with their hope for what the relationship could be, then they avoid any talk that could ruin that fantasy.

One of my favorite phrases to say is, “It is what it is.”  A number of girlfriends hated when I used that phrase (probably because they thought I was being dismissive with it), but it points to a very significant truth:

It doesn’t matter what you want the relationship to be.  If you can’t acknowledge where it actually is at the present moment, there’s no way you’ll be able to make decisions that will lead to a better place.

If you talk about your relationship and give him the space to honestly answer with his thoughts, he’ll tell you what his thoughts are.  Sometimes your answer is contained in what he doesn’t say, sometimes it’s clear as day on the surface.

All you have to do is listen and accept it.  Sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how many times I’ve seen people mess this up – they hear an answer that they don’t want to hear and instead of saying, “OK, that’s disappointing because I hoped the answer would be different… but thank you for your honesty,” they go digging for some tiny sliver of hope that there’s still a chance for their relationship fantasy to come true.

I’ve said it countless times – when a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship, believe him.

He’ll always tell you it’s for some reason – “I’m not over my ex,” or, “I’m figuring out my life,” or, “I had a painful experience as a child and now I can’t be in a relationship.”

MORE- Ask a Guy: When a Guy Won’t Call You His Girlfriend

The reason is always irrelevant to the main message, which is:  I don’t want a relationship with you.  The “reason” is to soften the blow and make it feel like it’s nobody’s fault, just a sad truth of circumstance.

Finally, in terms of whether or not the other person would understand… there really isn’t anything to understand.  You want something, you have fears, you want to be on the same page.  Being able to communicate those things within a relationship is necessary and there’s nothing wrong with letting the other person know what’s on your mind.

The trouble is when you need a certain reaction from him and won’t accept (or will even punish him) for not reacting to you in the way you wanted.

If you let him know what you’re thinking and feeling and you’re clearly not on the same page, it’s sad and disappointing, but at least you have your answer.  You’re no longer mentally wrestling with fears and concerns.

All you have to do is listen to his response and accept it – not fight it, not punish it, not judge it.  Just accept.

In the grand scheme of things – you said you’re “out of his league”.  If you honestly feel like he’s not measuring up and that you could do better… well… what are you waiting for?

Think about it:  What motivation does he have to change his behavior?  What motivation does he have to bring his best to the relationship when you’re perfectly happy to accept the bare minimum from him?

Now, I’ve seen so-called relationship gurus actually suggest “holding back” and making him work for you. This is a flawed strategy.  It’s essentially suggesting that instead of shining your light the brightest, you dim it down and manipulate the guy into chasing you.  Why would a guy with any choice in his love life want to be with a woman who does that?

The best strategy is let your light shine bright and don’t close yourself off from men who are willing to step up and give you everything you want.

Women often make the mistake of thinking that if they close off all their options and commit totally to a guy that he’ll all-of-a-sudden transform into a perfect boyfriend.

The opposite is true – when you commit to someone who isn’t bringing their best to the relationship, they’ll put in even less effort to keep you happy and satisfied since, after all, you’ve totally committed to them.  You’re not going anywhere.

The woman who gets what she wants needs to be earned.  The guy knows that if he doesn’t bring his best, there’s another guy who will happily bring his best and win you away from him.

If you’re not getting what you want in your relationship, there’s nothing wrong with leaving yourself open to allowing a man to come along and actually give you what you’re looking for…

Ironically, when you have that mentality, that’s what makes a man snap into action and start working to please you and keep you happy.  He knows that if he doesn’t, another man will steal you away.

Plus, it’s a win-win for you – he either steps up to the plate and puts in the effort you want or you discover that he actually was a dead-end (and would have never stepped up) and you end up with a guy who actually does want to give you the relationship you wanted.

Hope it helps,

eric charles

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Ruby

About “keeping your options open” with this type of guy to make him earn you and change his behavior. Maybe you are right. I don’t feel like I have a relationship like I want with this guy I’ve been seeing for 5 years because although he invites me to be a part of his life, he doesn’t show interest in being a part of my life. Sadly I don’t think he could keep up with me so he withdraws. I am not needy. And the minute he thinks I’m seeing another guy too, which for some strange reason he encourages which I don’t understand and maybe you can help me with this, he is like white on rice, pursuing me. He is not using me for sex or seeing anyone else. If I have to guess I’d say he’s one of those guys who’s not feeling good about himself to feel he has something worthy to offer me. I always show him appreciation and respect though. Is this what I’m doing wrong? He tells me he loves me and asks me if I love him. But how can I when it is what it is? He tells me he enjoys my company, I am a great catch, hot, attractive, independent, intelligent, a great dresser, sociable, and so cool. But he says he doesn’t think we can make “a go of it,” whatever that means, because we’re “not like peanut butter and jelly.” He said he’s sorry he can’t be the right guy for me. I never put any demands on him. I guess it’s just how he feels. Maybe somehow he feels insecure with me because as he says I deserve better because he says he’s a screw up. I also sense he doesn’t want to be nagged and wants a submissive woman. I don’t think I can bring out the best in him as the saying goes. When we have sex, he is all about pleasing me so I can’t say he is selfish or lazy. He has me so confused.

Reply May 9, 2014, 4:28 am

Angela

thanks for putting into words what I’ve been struggling with emotionallty. My situation is practically identical to the articles . The no time for me except for sex, I make more money than him, though I don’t think I’m out of his league. Him being not mean, actually great when we’re together but that’s all, . I finally met someone who is willing to give all that he does not but I still want him. I cant understand that in myself. Though truthfully I want the new guy as well. One of them has to go I guess? Thanks again for the beautifully written article, as always your column really helps more than you can know.

Reply October 6, 2013, 8:46 pm

Mary H.

It’s also worth noting that, while impressive, your degree and high-profile career don’t necessarily make you any more of a catch to men: http://www.therulesrevisited.com/2012/05/men-dont-care-about-your.html

Reply March 9, 2013, 11:03 pm

Eric Charles

Yes – it’s not a factor in whether or not we see a woman as a catch, attractive, etc.

Men aren’t against it… and I have no problem with an accomplished, successful, well-educated woman… but it’s not a plus in how a man evaluates a woman’s “market value”… it’s about as interesting to a man as his interest in CB radio is to a woman.

I don’t think this is really an issue though… I haven’t met any women who accomplish things as a means to getting/keeping a guy interested in them. Guys on the other hand will start a billion-dollar company because a woman rejected them as a teenager. One of those weird things about people, I guess.

Reply March 11, 2013, 1:34 am

Mary H.

I wish I could agree with you, but women are often under the impression that if they accomplish more, men will see them as more of a “catch.” I was one of them not too long ago. It’s projection of sorts – we assume that, because we are attracted to accomplished, driven, goal-oriented, decisive men, men are likewise attracted to accomplished, driven, goal-oriented, decisive women.

The problem, as I understand it, is less that the women in question are accomplished. It’s more that, in order to be accomplished, they play up their more masculine traits (assertiveness, decisiveness, drive, focus, and analytical reasoning) at the expense of their more feminine traits (openness, cheerful disposition, sweetness, warmth, and intuitive reasoning). A lot of these women have all of those feminine traits deep down, but have to spend much of their lives pushing them aside in order to really climb the corporate ladder. I know I’ve made that mistake before. Apparently men don’t want us to push those traits aside and like us more because of them.

Reply March 12, 2013, 8:09 pm

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