DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: First and foremost , I really enjoy your content. I find your opinions and explanations much more logical than the majority of the BS which is said out there. What you say feels like common sense while other resources seem to over complicate everything and make it seem like rocket science.
So here is my situation. Ever since college, I have gotten pretty consistent comments from people (men/women) that I am good-looking/handsome; that has been voiced especially strongly on social media. I’ve had girls come up to me in clubs/bars a few times (Not a common occurrence but it’s happened). I tend to do fairly well on Tinder, girls tend to smile at me on the street and I have had romantic/sexual relationships which have been short-term, medium-term and long-term. However, I find myself having a very weird problem. I don’t find myself very satisfied with my dating life.
I’m currently 26 years old and at this point I know that I can get dates/sex if I want but my issue is that I can never seem to get the girls I TRULY desire. When I run into a girl who blows me away on the spot, I always seem to fumble the ball or nothing works out. On the other hand, when I meet girls who I’m 55-60 percent into, we date/hook up, yet at the end of the day I feel unsatisfied. Now I am fully aware that I am no Brad Pitt or Channing Tatum. I’m half-Latino/half American with a lean, toned athletic build and I’m 5’7 to 5’8 on a good day. I’m not trying to be narcissistic, I’m just stating the facts of what’s happened in my life. I don’t want to be an egotistical a
hole? Is this a common problem people find themselves in? Thank you for your help.
A Little Confused
DEAR A LITTLE CONFUSED: This seems pretty clear cut to me, ALC. You’re not satisfied with the people you’re hooking up with because… well, you’re not really that into them. Back in my PUA days, when I was focused more on quantity rather than quality, there would be times when I just wanted to get laid and I didn’t want to put much effort into it. There were people I hooked up with because it was faster and easier going with them than trying to go for someone I was attracted to. Not, mind you, that these women were UNattractive; they just weren’t people I would consider my type, most of the time. And while I might have gotten that particular itch scratched… it tended to leave me feeling a little hollow or unfulfilled. Why? Well… because, bluntly, I was just interested in getting off. There wasn’t really much of a connection there outside of “hey, I’m horny, you’re horny, let’s go”.
Once I started stepping away from using the number of people I slept with as a form of validation, and focusing more on the quality of the connection, the sex got much better. Why? Because there was more to it than just “I want to get off”; there was sexual attraction, sure, but I also dug them as people too, and that meant that I was far more into them overall. This didn’t mean that I was in love with each and every one of them or that every one of them were future partners, but it did mean that I wanted to be sleeping with them, specifically, rather than just the nearest acceptable warm body who was also into me.
The reason why you’re going home with the people you’re only kinda into instead of the folks you’re really into is equally clear-cut: you find it easier to hook up with them. You aren’t intimidated by them, you aren’t worried about whether or not they’re into you or what their not liking you might mean. They’re represent little risk for you emotionally, and so you’re able to relax around them and focus on getting them into bed or on a date.
Do I think you’re an a
hole for going after women you’re not really into? That depends; are you giving them the impression that there’s more to your relationship with them than there actually is? Are you treating them less well because you’re not as into them as you could be? If everyone’s on the same page and cool with it and you aren’t just using them like a human Fleshlight, then there’s no harm, no foul. If, on the other hand, you’re treating them like disposable sex toys or letting them believe that maybe there’s more to your time together than there actually is? In that case, yes, yes you’re being an a
hole, I’m not a perfect person by any means. However, I do want to be fully satisfied with my dating life before I hit 30. I don’t want to look back with regret.
So this leaves me with a few remaining questions. What can I do to attract and have success with people I truly desire? Am I being an a
hole and you need to cut it the f
k out right now.
The women you’re really into, however, are important to you. If one of the 50-60%ers doesn’t care for you, hey… no big deal. You weren’t that into them. But a woman you’re hot for, one whose approval or interest would actually mean something to you? That’s significant. Suddenly your talking to them has stakes. And because you’re actually invested in the outcome, now you’re having that dilemma where someone asked you whether you swing your left arm when you step forward with your right leg and suddenly you aren’t able to walk like a person anymore. Now that you’re trying, you’re making mistakes, you’re stumbling over your words and you’re freaking yourself out. Small wonder that you go from a suave, desirable dude to Mumbles McGee.
But here’s the thing: the only significant difference between the women you’re seriously attracted to and the ones that you could take or leave? It’s perception. That’s it. You’ve invested them with more importance because you find them more desirable, but at the end of the day, they’re just people. They fart, get zits, snort when they laugh and like watching weird shows on Netflix, the same as literally everyone else does. They’re not better, more valuable or significant because they’re hotter to you; it’s just that you’ve invested them with that extra importance. The more you realize that conventionally attractive folks are the same as everyone else, the less intimidated you get by their looks and the more you can focus on connecting with them, instead of worrying about what it means.
And look, I get it. I’ve had encounters with folks where I was struck stupid. Not just with women, I might add; I still want to dig a hole and pull it in after me when I think about the time I met one of my favorite authors and geeked out so hard that I accidentally told him I hated his book. But by the same token, I’ve had long, rambly conversations about weird-ass 80s music with folks I didn’t realize at the time were actually a-list celebrities. If I’d realized that I was talking about Anything Box with goddamn Ryan Reynolds, I might have had a different reaction. But since I didn’t realize who he was until after I walked away… well, he was just some dude I met while in line for the bathroom.
Ultimately, the key takeaway is to learn to get comfortable talking to the people you’re hot for as though they were just another person. They may be someone who really gets you motor running, but they’re still just ordinary people. Once you can accept that, it’s much easier to keep your cool, not over-invest in them and focus on connecting with them instead of trying to impress them or desperately trying to win their approval.
So my advice? Stop pursuing hook-ups with folks you’re not actually attracted to. Yes, I get that there’re times when you’re sitting there thinking “why yes, some oral sex WOULD be nice tonight” and having a low-effort opportunity dropped in your lap is hard to resist. But honestly, it’s not worth it for you, it’s potentially not great for them either and nobody’s going to come out the experience feeling great. Focus on the quality of the connection with the person. The sex — or the relationship — will be far more satisfying if you are actually into them, even if it’s only for that night. And work on being less intimidated by the people you’re attracted to. The more you can treat them like people instead of goddesses on high, the easier it’ll be for you to connect with them and everyone will come out of the exchange a winner.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org