When it comes to women, the advice available to men leaves a lot to be desired. Actually, I’m being too nice—it’s outright embarrassing. And, no, I’m not talking about advice on meeting women and sleeping with them. There’s plenty of that. Actually too much. Anything that you could ever need to know about meeting, seducing and sleeping with women is out there for you to learn and understand. (Admittedly, most of this stuff is “gamey” and unnatural, but at least it gets you going before you eventually realize that there are much better ways of meeting women than resorting to embarrassing lines and tricks).
There’s also another problem with all this: it’s too damn easy. Meeting and sleeping with women doesn’t require a Ph.D—I mean, how many ways can you explain to someone how to approach women? How many ways can you explain to a guy that he must make a move and actually touch a girl during the date? And so on. You get the picture.
On the other hand, developing a healthy and fulfilling relationship with women—genuine connections beyond drunken sex—is much more difficult but also much more rewarding. In fact, it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
Before we get started, I want to be clear about a couple of things. If you’re a guy who harbors negative feelings towards women and thinks that “all women are sluts,” or that women should be treated like shit, or that the only way to communicate with women is by “gaming” them then this article isn’t for you. There are plenty of sites that promote such toxic thinking while masterfully masquerading as self-improvement. Use your favorite search engine.
Second, if you’re a guy whose interactions with women are limited to one-night stands or “booty calls/friends with benefits” and you like this lifestyle and want to keep this way, this article isn’t for you either.
This article is written for men who’re interested in building a serious or semi-serious relationship with women that will be fulfilling and hopefully endure for a long time.
Perhaps you’re someone who’s been traveling the world for many years, living in all kinds of exotic places, and sleeping with all kinds of exotic women, but, over the years, have matured to a point where sleeping with anonymous women no longer excites you. Maybe you’re burned out and want to settle down with a great woman so that you can channel your energy into more productive endeavors like building your online empire and having a family.
While I’ve had plenty of “short term” relationships with women and enjoyed them immensely, I’ve always been the kind of guy who values stable and long term relationships. I’ve never envisioned myself as someone who would be a lifelong bachelor, especially beyond his 30s or even 40s. (I’m in my 30s now). I also believe in marriage and starting a family with the right woman.
Good relationships are tough
When I was young and foolish, I thought that building relationships with women was extremely simple and straightforward—much, much easier than approaching and seducing one. Usually, if a woman liked you, she’d have a tendency to quickly move towards a more exclusive relationship. This is especially true as women get older (late 20s, early 30s) and depends on the culture as well (the more traditional the culture, the the sooner people want to get married and have kids; in Latin America and Eastern Europe it’s still common to see couples in their 20s having kids. It has also been my experience in many non-Western countries.) This meant that all I had to do was “go with the flow” and things would simply work out.
Unfortunately, in the real world things don’t really work out this way. As I discovered from years of dating lots of women, a quality relationship rarely resembles a carefree walk in the park; it more resembles a windy road that you must navigate without sliding off the gravel and falling into a ditch.
Maintaining a serious relationship is much harder than simply going out and trying to pickup women. Guys that have approached 1,000s of women only know one thing: approaching women—which is simple and straightforward. Guys that have been in serious relationships (even marriage) know a lot more than the former. It’s only when you spend an extensive amount of time around women, that you really learn how they think and operate.
Serious relationships come with a certain set of responsibilities. They require you give up some of your freedom. They require you to tame your ego. They require you to mature as a man and decide what it is that you really want out of life. Regardless, how you look at it, they’ll test you in ways that you haven’t even considered and you’ll never be the same again.
The big c
The biggest factor when it comes to serious relationships is commitment. There’s a certain sense of responsibility that comes with this. So, whereas before you were free, doing what you please, when you please and with whom you please, when you’re in a committed relationship you no longer have this kind of freedom of doing what you want and when you want.
Commitment is both positive and negative. I view it as entering a contract where each side lives with certain duties and responsibilities.
There are two sides to any commitment. The first is where you’re giving up your freedom in order to be with a person; the other side is where you’re choosing the person with whom you’ll be spending your time with. And since you’re exchanging one thing (freedom) for another (being exclusively with another person), you must be absolutely ruthless in choosing the right partner.
How to pick the right woman
The two qualities that you should look for in a woman for a serious relationship are quality and loyalty. While they may seem close at first glance, these two qualities are different. A quality woman is an intelligent, educated and caring. A loyal woman is someone who is loyal to you. A quality woman doesn’t necessarily need to be loyal, although a woman who’s loyal is quality too.
That’s where standards come into play. Standards are crucial. Think of standards as a great wall that you erect that filters the people who come into your world. You can’t let just about anyone through the wall. You must be selective.
One of my best friends used to date lots and lots of women in his 20s, but when it was time to commit to one woman and start a family, he ended up settling down and marrying a completely different type of woman. She was a loyal and quality woman—very different from the women he dated when he was a bachelor.
Most guys have no idea how to filter women for quality and loyalty. A big part of the problem are the superficial standards that guys use to judge women. They rely on things like physical attractiveness, as evidenced by the infamous 1-10 scale. This scale is extremely counterproductive and doesn’t help at all. Physical attributes fade. They come and go.
Moreover, the more time you spend with a woman, the less it matters if she’s a “7” or “9″ because different qualities start to come to the forefront. If you’re attracted to her physically, it doesn’t matter what her “ranking” is; the only thing that matters is that you’re attracted to her.
Next comes loyalty. I personally value loyalty above everything else. I know there are guys out there that will scuff (or even laugh) at this remark because they believe that women can never be loyal. And while they can cite numerous experiences and “studies” to backup their opinions, I do not share nor support such viewpoints. Most guys that have bad experiences with women are usually poor judges of character and don’t understand how to deal with the women they’re with. Some are too naive. Many are needy and don’t provide much value to the women. I see this happening all the time.
So, unless the woman is a serial gold digger (not quality) or the man is an insecure wuss (not quality), a good woman will have little reason to leave a quality man. Why would she? Women actually love being with quality, go-getter men who’re striving to become someone in life. If the man is healthy, intelligent, confident and is making good money (and the sex is good), any woman would be outright stupid to disrespect such man.
Loyalty is closely linked to respect. When a person is disloyal, they don’t respect you. And if you don’t have respect, you don’t really have anything.
Once a princess, always a princess
It’s important to understand that the girl you initially meet is the girl you keep. People rarely change. And if they do, they change in very minor ways—very rarely do they change radically.
Many guys fail to understand this, so what usually ends up happening is that a guy meets a really sexy woman with whom he has a great time, decides to settle down with her, but then tries to “domesticate her,” expecting her to give up her sexy high heels for house slippers, and cook healthy home meals instead of going out to expensive restaurants and lounges.
If you’re like some of the guys I know, you may try to “convince” her to “see” your way of life. While you may temporarily get her to adjust to your way of life, you won’t be able to permanently change her into who you think she should be. She is who she is. If she likes lounges with $25 cocktails and you can survive on cheap $3 “dinners” at various holes-in-the-walls around town, you’ll be a very frustrated man—and so will she.
If you’re a travel nut and love to explore Latin America and Asia via smaller towns, but your girl thinks Brazil is a country of monkeys and Mexico is a country of drug lords, and believes the only good travel option is at some all-inclusive resort on Cancun, then I wouldn’t recommend you take her on a very “rugged” trip through the southern Mexican or northern Brazil.
If she thinks a “regular” present is a 24k diamond necklace from Tiffany’s and you think that diamonds are just overpriced rocks and the best you can do is buy her a $25 perfume, I can see lots of turbulent waves ahead. You might reach some kind of compromise in the short term, but I guarantee you that she’ll hold you in contempt for not buying her a diamond because “she kept asking you for one.”
The bottom line is that you can’t change the woman. If she’s materialistic, she’ll remain materialistic. If she’s frugal, she’ll stay frugal (until someone spoils her). If she’s a social butterfly, she’ll continue to be extroverted. The woman you meet is the woman you keep. And the sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be, and the less surprises you’ll have down the road.
This took me a long time to realize because I’ve always believed that I can “convince” and “mold” a person into my worldview because it was somehow “superior.” Doesn’t work this way. A relationship really resembles a partnership where two people with their distinct histories and personalities get together and try to build something. Learn to deal with it.
A required element of any relationship is being able to set and maintain boundaries. It’s important to be direct and upfront—not in some pathetic passive-aggressive way—about what bothers you and what you’re not acceptable with.
For instance, I hate when a woman comes late when I’m meeting her on a date—whether it’s our first date or 25th. Once is okay, but when she does it consistently it’s a problem; to me, it’s a lack of disrespect, plain and simple. About six months ago, I began dating a new woman. She had a habit of showing up late to most dates, not by much, maybe 15-20 mins each time. This annoyed the heck out of me. Why the heck should I cut my previous activity short, drop everything and show up to meet her on time, and then only to wait for her an additional 20-30 (or more) mins on the street like an idiot? Who the heck did she think she was? The Queen of England?
I confronted her. Of course, I said it in a jokingly way, hoping that she’d get the point. She understood. From then on, she never showed up late again (or, on the rare occasion, when she did, she had a good reason for the delay).
Another time, I had a girl over my house. When I went to take a shower, she picked up my phone, unlocked it and checked who I was talking on one of the messenger apps. Instead of trying to defend myself, like most guys would, I told her that she had absolutely no business looking through my phone. It was completely unacceptable because it was an invasion of my privacy. End of story. She crossed my boundaries, and I told her right then and there that what she did was wrong.
The purpose of having boundaries isn’t to turn yourself into some merciless dictator; it’s to establish a backbone as a man. Women (and men too) love to test to see how far the other person is willing to bend himself to accommodate the other person’s needs. This is standard human behavior and doesn’t make women “manipulative.”
What makes boundaries very effective is that they display loud and clear that you’re not afraid of losing the person if they happen to cross them. Your boundaries are more important than the chance of losing the person. And that’s how it should be: because if you don’t have or don’t enforce your boundaries, you might as well not exist. A man without solid boundaries isn’t a man who can be respected and liked by either men or women.
When I was younger, I was more of a “nice guy” due to low self-esteem, but over the years I’ve learned to assert myself and now have absolutely no problems telling people that I don’t like when they do this or that, and that they shouldn’t do it again.
Furthermore, it’s important to be direct about what bothers you the moment it happens instead of letting the anger collect inside, only to release it later at some point (i.e., via some passive-aggressive outbursts). The latter is a pure form of conflict avoidance. And that’s what weak men do. Strong men don’t do that. When something happens that they don’t like, they drop everything they’re doing and let the woman know this. And women respect a man who’s willing to stand up for his boundaries.
When you set boundaries in a relationship, what you’re in effect saying is that you’re someone who isn’t afraid of voicing his opinion at the risk of creating a possible confrontation. If the woman has a strong personality, there will always be confrontation. Although you’re not deliberately looking to get into some fight, you’re also not going to great lengths to avoid one by hiding in some corner.
People respect such behavior. And if they don’t and have no problems to walk all over your boundaries, well, congratulations—you’ve just discovered that you’re spending time with someone who has zero respect for you.
The power of stress
A lot of guys enter relationships with women wearing rose-tinted glasses. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen. I was once this guy too. I thought that I was “lucky” to be with a woman who was very beautiful and sexy. I thought that I could just coast through things and that everything will eventually be okay. Unfortunately, relationships fail for one reason or another. All the time. One reason is because one person outgrows the other. The other reason is because one person refuses to see the person for who they really are.
So, how do you really understand the woman you’re dealing with? How do you see through all the bullshit? How do you know that the woman you’re with truly loves you unconditionally? How do you know she trusts you as a man? How do you throw away all the rose-tinted glasses? The answer: stress.
Stress shows you the way. When things get tough—and they will; they always will—you’ll know very quickly whether she’s “on your team” or not. If she’s just with you for the benefits (i.e., money, status, traveling), then she’d probably not willing to deal with all the stress and leave you alone.
This is a big problem for men to understand, especially the so-called ’Nice Guys’ (a misnomer which really means a guy without a backbone who doesn’t stand for anything). These guys usually go to great lengths to avoid confrontation with both men and women. They’re weak men who’re fearful of confrontation. The problem is that you can’t have stress without confrontation. And without stress, you really don’t know what kind of person you’re dealing with.
Stress tells you everything you ever need to know about the person. Long time ago, I used to date a gorgeous, tall modelesque girlfriend. We had a decent relationship. At that time I was making lots of money, going to expensive restaurants and driving a late model BMW. But as soon as I lost the job and had to cut back on the expenses, the girlfriend gradually became more and more distant. It was during these periods of stress, that I learned what this person was really made of (as I found out, not much). Needless to say, it wasn’t a person I wanted to spend much time with.
Without stress, there’s absolutely no way to know whether your girl is really who you think she is. When the weather is sunny, the ocean water is warm, you have lots of money, you drive a nice car and everything is good then there are no problems. It’s only when things are difficult, hopeless, and confusing, when things really suck, when nothing is going your way, when you’re sick and tired of person’s constant nagging and bossing around that’s when you really learn about the person.
If you don’t want any unexpected surprises, then you must familiarize yourself with stress. You must learn to observe how the person acts when there’s pain and uncertainty, and she’s forced to react quickly and decisively. Stress is absolutely crucial. Being able to understand and navigate stress is the reason why some relationships survive and some don’t.
How well do you really know your woman? Does she just break down when things get tough? Does she continue to live her live as though nothing had happened? Does she support you or does she only care about her own well-being? All of these questions remain hidden and only become obvious during periods of stress.
A good way to test a relationship is by traveling with a person for an extended amount of time. Go somewhere off the beaten path where things don’t always automatically work like in America or Denmark. Maybe a place like Vietnam, Bolivia or India. You’ll learn more about her in a couple of weeks than you’d learn about her if you were simply dating for a year. It’ll either accelerate and strengthen the relationship or completely destroy it.
One thing you don’t want to do is artificially generate stress. You don’t want to be this dick who’s going around and causing problems. You don’t want to be this guy who’s causing undue emotional harm. That’s not what I’m talking about at all.
While I don’t go out of my way looking for stress, I never avoid it; I let it run its course. Generally speaking, as a result of amassing lots of experience dating all kinds of women, I learned to be very skeptical if a relationship is “too perfect.” When things are too perfect that usually means there’s something wrong but not clearly evident to you (although it can be evident to an outsider).
I know that I’m supposed to talk about feel-good things such as how great relationships can be, but the reality is that relationships are serious business. They require work and a sober head. It’s not the time to be delusional—you must be realistic. Relationships are serious business. Especially if they lead to marriage and kids. And navigating them is like driving a motorcycle through a very narrow road filled with water on both sides without losing balance and falling into the ditch.
The best relationships—and the only type of relationship you should strive for—are always unconditional. The woman must love you for who you are. She must love your personality, a personality of a man who’s strong, decisive and determined. In other words, she must love the things that are part of you and can’t one day “disappear” such as money, status, car, etc.
In order for there to be unconditional love, you must learn to be vulnerable. You can’t hide behind some fake facade while “trying to fake it until you make it.” You must be who you are because if the woman doesn’t like you for who you are, then why is she with you? That’s what should be going through your head. Perhaps she’s with you because of superficial quality that you have (money, car, status, rich country citizenship, etc.) That’s not unconditional love. That’s a relationship with conditions, which will end once these conditions disappear.
Incidentally, these are the only kinds of relationships that survive stress. Stress is like a massive earthquake: it shakes everything to the core and lets you know exactly the kind of person you’re dealing with. Once you remove all the superficial layers, you see the person for who they really are. If that’s enough, you’ll stay with the person; if not, you’ll break up.
People are scared of serious relationships because they’re naturally commitment-averse. People don’t like to box themselves into some commitment. For example, buying a house signifies buying a house instead of renting. But there’s a psychological flaw there as well; for freedom always has its price.
Despite these challenging, I believe that for a man to truly prosper, he needs to have his freedoms curtailed. He needs to have a base so that he can build a foundation somewhere.
As someone who works from his laptop and isn’t tied to any place, I can pack my suitcase and fly from where I’m sitting now (Thailand) to another part of the country or another country altogether. But there’s a cost to this freedom: high expenses for flights, transportation and higher accommodation costs (it costs much more to rent an apartment per day than per year), not including the actual time and “sunk costs” of restarting everything in a new place.
There’s just no way I would’ve been able to build any of my mobile businesses if I was backpacking through Central America or hiking the Himalayas. Building anything requires commitment.
It’s the same with relationships. When you’re casually dating women, you’re experiencing what businessmen call—and dread—“sunk costs”: you must travel to random cities, check out various bars, buy and drink alcohol (ruining your liver), approach many women, seduce and build attraction. And then repeat the process over and over. It’s like starting a brand new business, growing it, and, then, when it reaches a certain level of profitability, abandoning it. Not the wisest thing to do.
On the other hand, when you’re in a serious relationship with a quality woman, this part of your life is “handled for you.” You have a woman who understands you, a woman who supports and stands by you (and, yes, such women do exist).
the myth of the perfect woman
I’ve noticed that men spend endless time quantifying and comparing women. They rate them using various scales. They talk about “notches” and “flags.” This is just talk. When it comes to actually building something meaningful with a woman, all of this stuff means absolutely nothing. None of it means anything even remotely useful. In other words, the whole is always greater than the sum of all parts.
The woman you decide to build a relationship won’t be perfect. She’ll have zits. She’ll have emotional outbursts. She might not have a perfect pair of breasts or a nice round ass. She’ll have her moments of insecurity and indecisiveness.
But, when taken as a whole, it will be a woman who gets you and supports you. A woman who can deal with all your quirks, bullshit, insecurity, nagging and whining. A woman who wants to be with you through thick and thin because she values and respects you as a man and because there’s something about you that she finds irresistible. This feeling will be unconditional.
Ultimately, she’ll add more value to your life than the freedom you’re seemingly giving up to be with her.
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James Maverick used to work in a cubicle as a code monkey in Silicon Valley. Then, in 2007, he quit his job and a one-way ticket to Brazil. Ever since, he continued to travel, visiting over 85 countries and living in more than a dozen of them. He loved his location-independent lifestyle and has no plans to live in America.