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I’ve had some of my female readers complain that the term neediness makes it sound like I’m framing women as weak, fragile, insecure creatures that just cling to men (and stress them out). I think women bring a tremendous strength and power to the table in relationships…when they have access to it and are free of their own fears. Those fears are greater now more than ever really since there’s an entire industry devoted to making sure men and women are wrought with insecurities so they buy products (sowing in and agitating tiny insecurities is the bread and butter of the marketing world).
'Rules Girls', say Fein and Schneider are 'savvy women who know how to return texts and emails to a man without seeming desperate, how to maintain a cool Facebook profile without giving away too much and how to spot cheaters and players, and avoid them like the plague'.You can tell who these men are because when they’re not with you, you don’t exist. We want someone who is attractive, who doesn’t criticize us or tell us how much we need to change, who we can spend lots of time with without getting bored, who we can bring around our friends and families with minimal incident. They’ll call you once a week to hook up and that’s all. These guys play on their terms, not yours and are a total waste of time to any woman trying to forge something real and lasting. It’s like trying to teach a fish to ride a bicycle. Women expect their relationships to be transcendent. If this is the case, why aren’t men jumping up and down with excitement when they meet someone they connect with, like we are?
Why aren’t they just as keen as we are to know “where things are going” early on in the relationship? I particularly love your list of what sucks about being single.
• Women maintain closer friendships throughout life. She has friends who talk to their daughters every day. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her follow-up to “Eat, Pray, Love,” called “Committed”, explores these outlandish expectations that Western women have for love – which are nothing like what women in other cultures experience.
I’m as sensitive as they come and I talk to my best friends in New York about once a month. As a result, Western women are very disappointed in their men, whereas men aren’t nearly as disappointed in women. We just hate the fact that you need us to change so much.
A lot of men my age seem uninterested in a committed relationship, seeming to prefer a more casual “low investment, low return” approach to relationships. As a guy who was single for 35 years, I completely agree and think that – all things remaining equal – having a good relationship is a far superior state of being than being alone.
Do men actually ENJOY the endless tedium and stress of going on a string of disappointing dates? (This does not mean that I look down on single people or think you should be in an unsatisfying relationship so, please, spare me the complaints.) But what gets me the most excited, Elaine, is that you’ve forced me to consider something that I’ve never actually considered before: Why Don’t Men Hate Being Single As Much as Women Do?
In other words, even if men feel the emotional need to connect, they rarely reach out to do so – with each other, with their families, and with you. As a result of all of these biological and societal observations about men, it shouldn’t be too surprising that there are no Time Magazine cover stories or best-selling books about desperate men. Why are you okay not being in a relationship – and how is this different than the women you know? I agree that women have outlandishly unrealistic expectations for love and relationships.