The ONE Reason to Let Him Pursue

 By Nina Atwood

couple dancing at weddingAs a relationship coach I’ve heard lots of single men say some version of the following: I like her, she’s cute and all, but I don’t know . . . I’m just not feeling that strongly about her. But she keeps calling me and, well, it’s nice to have someone to go out with.

But what I heard when they met “the one” was vastly different! Wow, she is amazing. It took me three tries to get her to go out with me, but once we did, things took off. We’ve been dating for a few months – yeah I see her four nights a week or more and I’m going to propose soon.

Then there are the stories I hear from my happily married executive coaching clients, which almost all sound something like this: We met [in high school, in college, shortly after college] and I started asking her out. She put up some kind of initial obstacle I had to overcome [some other guy in the picture, taking a job that was geographically distant, not ready for a serious relationship, etc.], but that just made me want her more. We’ve been married for [anywhere from ten to thirty years] and she’s my best friend, my partner, my lover, and the person without whom I wouldn’t be who I am today.

A guy tends to fall in love with the woman he: a.) sees as attractive and desirable, and b.) has to pursue. Something about the pursuit part of it causes his heart to engage in a way that it doesn’t when she’s after him. In fact, it seems that a guy’s heart will shut down if he is pursued by her and denied the role of pursuer.

That is the ONE reason to let him pursue: there’s nothing more powerful for a man than having to work for something he values. Why not find out if he values YOU enough to work hard to win your love. Maybe it’s time to set your standards higher so that you can attract someone who can date you with real leadership.

Guys: if you are not putting real effort into dating, maybe you should aim higher. Aim for someone who has choices, who has her act together, and who won’t go out with you if you text for dates. Pursuing someone like that may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you!

Entry Filed under: Advice for Men,Advice for Women,Dating,Relationships


  • 1. Orlando  |  February 28th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    It works both ways. I’m ok with approaching women and making the first move, but if I get a stand-offish, uninterested, or hard to get attitude… I simply move on. I value myself too much to be mis-treated, or judged by any woman.

  • 2. Nina Atwood  |  March 12th, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Yes, Orlando, it’s good to value yourself. You show leadership as a guy, but you are looking for her response. If she is a bit hesitant, it could be because it’s a stranger situation. Women sometimes need warming up. But if her response is uninterested or even rude, move on.

  • 3. Kim  |  April 13th, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I have a guy, pursues always, but only see him once a week. He is very busy corporately, and a single dad who is a widower. Certainly don’t see him 4 days a week, one….sigh

  • 4. Jake Sisko  |  June 19th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Unfortunately, there’s a strong anti-man feminist bent in American dating today, an automatic assumption on the part of too many women that the man’s going to be “bad” somehow. And they act accordingly. This is a major turn-off.

    This is the 21st Century. I had no problem with approaching women, but I likewise expected them to be equally willing to approach me. They don’t want to take that risk of rejection. They’d rather offload that risk to the man and act stand-offish. Not my cup of tea.

    Fortunately, I had options. I worked in Germany for a while. I met a wonderful lady over there who actually showed me, overtly, that she liked me. Matter of fact, *she* saw me and initiated things. I explained the issue to her that I’d had in the States, and she couldn’t believe it. “So that’s why you have so much divorce in America!” She was willing to share the pursuing, based on this.

    It worked. We have been happily married for 11 years. I can hardly keep my hands off of her, and she loves this fact and welcomes it heartily. She’s gorgeous; she looks a lot like Leticia Roman who played “Judith” in the “Ol’ Surehand” Western movie (she watched the Winnetou films as a girl). I trust her implicitly, and she likewise with me. She is my full partner in life, and I love that woman.

    That’s something that American women can learn from European women like my wife. Be nice. Be welcoming. Be willing to take each man as an individual person, just as you’d expect us to do with you. And, like my wife did, be willing to go after that man if you see him and like him. Take the risk. A real man will recognize and appreciate it. I sure did. Far as I’m concerned, “Stradivarius” is written across her forehead forevermore.

  • 5. Nina Atwood  |  July 27th, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Jake: you are a lucky guy! I agree that being standoffish doesn’t work. Both parties need to be authentic and real – if you like each other, show it. Unfortunately, in the American singles world, far too many people date to get their emotional and sexual needs met with no thought about the impact that has on others. The effect – being burned – does contribute to an overly cautious attitude with regard to forming new relationships. But without taking emotional risks, the rewards are not obtainable. It falls to each of us to find a healing pathway back to having an open heart, open to other people and open to love.

  • 6. ennis  |  October 9th, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Ms. Atwood -I think that you missed a REAL opportunity in your response to Jake. If you can feel that Jake is a good man, a good catch, and that it was actually the woman who baldly showed HIM some interest, not making him guarantee the first move.
    I wish that you would have addressed that because for so many guys, they are not going “catch” the signs to approach or just do not approach at all, not knowing the woman is interested unless SHE comes to him. Please get rid of this double standard.


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