Emotional Needs in Dating, Part 1

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beautiful-girlMost dating advice focuses on practicing specific words and actions to get a desired result. But in dating, words and actions are only as useful as the emotions they elicit out of a woman (and yourself). They don’t have any intrinsic value by themselves.

Chances are you’ve heard me say this before. It seems to be all I say sometimes.

The reason I’m always beating this into everyone’s head is that men have a tendency to become overly concerned with the exact words and actions they’re performing without being aware of the emotional implications. They may say some cool jokes or funny lines and get a woman to laugh, but they’ll be unaware of the emotional reality that his working for her approval is only making her feel more in control and more indifferent to him sexually.

Or a less common but more egregious example is a man who pushes the interaction physically in an aggressive manner. On the surface, he’s aware that he’s going from touching to kissing to getting her back to his apartment. But he’s unaware of her emotional reality, which is that of feeling pressured, unsure and untrusting. In this case, even if he does get her home with him, chances are she will resist his desire to have sex with her and he’ll feel cheated out of all of the “work” he put in with her.

It’s important to view sex and dating in terms of emotional needs rather than actions because emotional needs are the most fundamental factors which determine what actually happens in each interaction. The words, actions and behaviors can shift and change and collide, but like tectonics floating on a hot surface underneath, it’s the emotional needs that create the results. If you feel unsure or unsafe, it will bleed through your words and actions and inhibit you from proceeding any further with her. If she feels lame and used, then she’ll find a way to flake, no matter what you say or do.

Learn to read the emotional realities underlying each interaction and you’ll truly understand where you’re at with a woman at any given moment.

But despite me repeating this incessantly for the past year or so, it seems for most men it goes in one ear and comes out the other. The problem is that emotional processes are quite enigmatic. It’s easy to read some cool lines and go out and say them. It’s easy to learn about how to move a woman around and touch her well. But you can’t see or touch an emotion. It’s a subjective interpretation of a situation, and so pointing out specific examples can be difficult. And the fact of the matter is, men who suck with women and who read articles like this one, are in the position they’re in because they’re painfully unaware of many emotional processes (both their own and women’s). So telling them to look for something that they don’t even know is there can be difficult. It’s like asking Stevie Wonder to read you a lunch menu.

The idea that humans are motivated primarily by emotion and then use conscious decisions to justify their unconscious decisions goes all the way back to Freud and is a cornerstone of psychological thought. It’s the basis for the entire profession of marketing, salesmanship and public relations. Indeed, neuroscience has found that actions and impulses originate in the amydgala (where emotional impulses reside) and are then processed and altered by the frontal cortex (rational thought), not the other way around.

So when you approach a woman who rejects you, it’s not that she does a quick mental tally in her head of what shoes you’re wearing, the angle of your posture, your facial features, how funny your line was, and what your friends look like, adding them all together and then taking a mental note of how her friends will think of her if she responds well to you. She just gets an instant gut reaction of yes or no. And will then base her behavior on that. If she does bother to come up with a reason why she’s rejecting you, her mind will then search for a benign (and maybe irrelevant) excuse such as your nasty shoes. Does this mean she’s shallow? Does it mean your shoes are ruining your game? Does this mean that it’s even true?

Not necessarily. When women meet a guy (or when we meet a woman), we’re looking for “that feeling,” and if you don’t give her “that feeling,” then the exact reason is often impossible to know, and any exact reason given is probably only part of the story. Our sexual reactions to each other are a combination of so many factors both conscious and unconscious, that we’ll never be able to pinpoint them all with any certainty. And not only that, but what may cause one woman to feel positively (let’s say, having tattoos on your arms), may make another woman feel a completely different way.

So instead of looking at what words work the best in dating scenarios, or even what actions work the best in dating scenarios, we should pay attention to what emotions we should elicit for the best results. Again, being physically aggressive may turn one woman on but intimidate another. Self-deprecating wise-cracks may make you look like a loser to one woman but humble and charming to another. What’s important is zeroing in on the emotional motivation behind her judgments and perceptions, not the actual judgments or perceptions themselves.

This may sound difficult or complicated, but it’s actually quite the opposite. There’s little logical to learn. It’s merely an exercise of practicing empathy and intuiting what others are feeling rather than thinking and analyzing their surface reactions. It’s removing your mental blocks, rather than erecting new models of information.

I’ve zeroed in on what I consider to be the three primary emotional motivators when it comes to sex, dating and relationships. These three motivators exist for everyone, both men and women, straight and homosexual, old and young. And how we meet them or don’t meet them determines the quality and duration of our interactions and relationships.

Fundamental Emotional Needs in Dating:
1. Status (Feeling important or superior, feeling challenged)
2. Connection (Feeling understood and appreciated, shared values and experiences)
3. Security (Feeling safe and reliable, trust)

These three emotional triggers are universal. We all have them and our willingness to become sexual or intimate with someone is based on these three triggers and how we prioritize them. Some of us prioritize the search for status and challenge far more than security and trust. Others seek out connection and appreciation and aren’t as interested in status.

It’s common in relationships or interactions to feel ambivalent or slightly torn with the woman you’re with. You kind of like her, but you wonder if there’s someone else you’ll like more that you haven’t met yet. You really like her when she’s alone with you, but when she’s with her friends, she can be a cold bitch. In fact, this sort of ambivalence is often the rule with people we date, not the exception.

For instance, let’s say you’re seeing an extremely hot girl (triggers your motivation for status) who is also quite immature and self-centered (negatively triggers your need for connection) and who is flakey and flirting with other guys (negatively triggers your need for security). You’re going to feel ambivalent. Should you tolerate her behavior? Should you talk to her about it and try to get her to change? Your friends say you should break things off with her, but you keep giving her more chances. After all, you’ve never dated a girl as hot and sexy as her before.

Or perhaps you meet a woman who is a bit unstable and erratic, but when you two are alone together, you have the most amazing chemistry and connection. It’s just that those moments are few and far between. The lack of security she makes you feel will be in constant tension with the feeling of connection and appreciation you feel for one another and you’ll struggle to figure out what to do with her, often moving back and forth between cutting her off and moving on, or going back and trying things again.

But these play out for women as well, and in the situations of pick up. The dreaded “friend zone” can easily be described in terms of making a woman feel appreciated but not meeting her emotional motivation for status (by being needy and supplicating to her). She likes you so much as a friend, but you’re not meeting her needs for status or challenge, and she doesn’t want to compromise that connection you’ve built to try and do that. Or perhaps you approach a girl in a bar, play with her, dazzle her, charm her, but come across as TOO smooth and TOO confident. You turn her on and make her want more (status) but she has a nagging feeling that you’re like this with other women and are probably seeing other girls at the same time (lack of security). Hence, she’ll feel ambivalent towards you, giving you positive signals in some situations but “testing” you in others, trying to see if you’re genuine and reliable.

Like us, all women are different. Some women have a large need for security. Others are more interested in meeting a cool and challenging guy who can keep their attention. In fact, maybe the lack of security you provide CREATES a greater sense of status and challenge.

Emotional motivators can also manifest themselves in healthy and unhealthy forms. The normal and healthy emotional need for status and importance can become an unhealthy vanity and superficiality. Trophy wives, harems, dating drug-addicted strippers, obsessive lay counts — when too much emphasis and importance is placed on these things, the need for status begins to crowd out and suppress the other emotional needs of connection and security. So a man with an unhealthy need for status will seek out the highest number of sexual partners with superficial traits at the expense of his other emotional needs, often causing him to feel more depressed and alone than ever before, despite having so many sexual experiences.

The normal and healthy need for connection and appreciation can become an unhealthy dependency and neediness. The clingy boyfriend/girlfriend, the guy who calls the same girl four times in one day desperately asking for a date. This overwhelming need for acceptance and affection can crowd out the normal and healthy needs for security and status. A desperate man or clingy woman will overlook their partner’s flaws or infidelities, settling on anyone who will accept them and show them just a little attention.

The normal and healthy need for security and commitment can become an unhealthy form of possessiveness, obsession and jealousy. This unhealthy drive can crowd out normal and healthy forms of connection and importance. It’s the demanding husband who won’t let his wife out of the house, despite the fact it drives her to resent him and undermines the trust of the relationship. It’s the woman who marries the rich man she doesn’t love in order to take comfort in his wealth and security.

Everyone exhibits different levels of these emotional needs, and one’s emotional needs can change over time. A 20-year-old party girl may prioritize status and fun at the expense of security. But by the time she’s 30 she may openly desire a strong connection and appreciation for her as a person, and by the time she’s 40, she may seriously value a man who can commit and make her feel comfortable and secure in her life. She may even be willing to compromise her need for status at that point to satisfy that need, just as she was willing to sacrifice security to satisfy her desire for status when she was 20.

It’s important to understand our own needs as well. Many men are drawn to pick up as a means to seek status and sexual conquests, but as soon as they experience a little bit of success and meet a woman they connect with very strongly, they find themselves not wanting to leave that one relationship. They become torn: date the amazing woman they’ve already met, or go out and meet a dozen more like they originally planned?

What they planned consciously doesn’t really matter if their biggest emotional motivator is for connection and appreciation. They just didn’t know it. Lennon had the famous quip about life happening while you’re making other plans. You could easily amend that to say that “Emotions are what happen while you’re making other plans.”

But understanding emotional needs is also important on an interaction-by-interaction basis. It’s a good way to understand that not every rejection is the same. A woman making a disgusted face and telling you to buzz off is a rejection based on you not meeting her need for status (you’re dressed poorly, carry yourself poorly, are too nervous around her, etc.). A woman who seems to like you but is hesitant to get too close to you and finds excuses to flake out on you could be seen as not getting her need for connection and appreciation met by you. She’s attracted to you but she doesn’t feel like you actually value her for being her. A woman who gets nervous around you and makes up an excuse to leave is not getting her need for security met.

Next week, in part two we’ll get into HOW to trigger these emotional needs in women and in yourself. How do you make someone feel appreciated? How do you generate trust? How do you convey status and importance?

The short answer is, it depends. Every person is different. But there are some clear patterns in which we can formulate our behavior around. From there we can pursue women with a conscious understanding of their emotional realities and how to meet (or not meet) her emotional desires with ours. Far more satisfying and far more efficient than blindly re-enacting the same behaviors over and over, hoping they’ll eventually “work.”

Continue to Part 2
Continue to Part 3

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54 Comments

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  • Reply

    houseofjacques

    4 months ago

    This is gold. Eagerly waiting for the second part.
    I’ve always wondered something. Let’s say you meet a girl on the street, and you approach and you say, “Hey. This might be weird, but I felt like coming over and talking to you” (or some other genuine opener) Let’s say she’s some random girl. How can you ever elicit any emotional response in her? It seems extremely difficult.

    • Reply

      Alexander

      4 months ago

      Houseofjacques,

      I think the answer is that she’s only a random girl when you’ve just met her. But actually, you’re already sharing an emotional experience – two people coming together in a way that normally never happens.

      I think that by staying present (aware) of what’s happening between you and not going too much into your thoughts, you can respond to that actual present-moment emotional connection. Like, say you’re talking to her after that, and you feel that you’re both kind of nervous, I think you could actually say, “Wow – we’re both feeling totally nervous right now!” By staying connected to what’s happening, you’re defusing its power and are sharing an emotional experience with her. Then, you can move on to some other emotion – emotions are fluid and as long as we’re aware of them, are always changing from one to another.

      Don’t know if that answers anything, but there ya go. :)

      A

      • Reply

        houseofjacques

        4 months ago

        It’s actually a pretty interesting way to see it. Thanks!

      • Reply

        carmen

        4 months ago

        i do wish a guy or a girl would walk up to me and tell me they want to be my friend. i’m new to town and came here for school. the process has been a nightmare, leaving me disillusioned and isolated. a guy, or girl, could come over, not today, but maybe as soon as next week. all they would have to do is approach me and even if they mentioned looks, mention something else about me that they are interested to know more about (but not an obvious excuse). waiting a few days would help me get to know not only if they are safe but also that they recognize and respect that i don’t know they are. if they wait they also tell me they know women can be as crazy as men and that they are not willing to risk going over to anybody’s house without knowing them at all either just because it “seems” safe. waiting a few days would also tell me that whatever needs/motives/interests there may be that weren’t shared with me at first can wait and that the other person has the capacity to engage me in conversation before moving onto get their needs met. just like many guys, though, i don’t expect this kind of miracle to happen.

  • Reply

    Zac

    4 months ago

    “Emotions are what happen while you’re making other plans.”

    Boom.

  • Reply

    Brian

    4 months ago

    What an awesome and insightful article. I never really looked at interactions from that perspective. Thanks.

  • Reply

    David

    4 months ago

    Some of this goes beyond dating. “how to make someone feel appreciated” – I ve worked for a school that couldn’t answer this, so they lost clients and teachers.

    Just Tweeted this, look fwd to the next part

  • Reply

    Splinter

    4 months ago

    This is an excellent article. The three fundamental needs you mentioned serve as a great prism through which to better understand these romantic (and other kinds of social) situations. Very helpful – as I read I immediately began thinking about some confusing relationships in these terms and they certainly do make more sense now.

    Looking forward to the follow up.

  • Reply

    Greg

    4 months ago

    That was awesome. One of the best posts in a while.

    I’m not sure whether we can say that the ‘fundamental emotional needs’ are necessarily completely accurate parameters of what we want in dating. But as far as providing a decent theoretical basis to our emotional needs in dating, I guess its pretty damn spot on.

    The Freudian concepts are definitely key here as well. To me they really explain a lot in terms of how we operate as humans, and I think our sub-conscious influencing our conscious’ is also definitely spot on.

    I guess when we meet a woman where a relationship happens, perhaps both people have similar emotional needs that they fulfill in one another, or perhaps they have differing emotional needs that one can give to another.

    I find it so true that generally, its all about the ‘vibe’. Its not the small details. Its the overall feeling we get when we meet someone. There is something that resonates from that we get a feeling for. Some being strongly magnetic and others not so much.

  • Reply

    Robert

    4 months ago

    Brilliant article. This helps explain so many of my past interactions, especially the part about the different kinds of rejection.

  • Reply

    Denis

    4 months ago

    Wow. This truly is the orthogonal set of needs! Agreeing with Splinter.
    Awesome, gotta make a mathematical model of this stuff.

  • Reply

    Fluffy McGee

    4 months ago

    “So a man with an unhealthy need for status will seek out the highest number of sexual partners with superficial traits at the expense of his other emotional needs, often causing him to feel more depressed and alone than ever before, despite having so many sexual experiences.”

    Ah Mark, I see your ego is still constantly searching for a way to lift your status above all other PUAs. When will you stop bashing people and begin to realize that some people are simply different from you, and that doesn’t make them unhealthy. You should be careful with this because it sort of makes you feel akin to a puritanical nutjob who wants to regulate the thoughts of all others. You’ve been stuck on this thought line for a long time now, and it pisses me off that your trying to take away my freedom of choice in my own sexuality by pigeon holing me into some stereotype.

    I want to have sex with lots of women for many reasons, but none of them are validation seeking. And I was extremely unhappy earlier in my life when I naively assumed monogamy was the only way to live my life. Actually, the only thing depressing about sleeping with lots of women, is having people like you falsely judge my actions and motivations after the fact.

    Great article, until you started using it for a self-validation ego boost.
    Fluffy

    • Reply

      Tim

      4 months ago

      What? He didn’t say that people who have a lot of casual sex are necessarily unhealthy. He said it’s unhealthy when they value it at the expense of meeting their emotional needs.

      The fact that you read so much into this and think that it was some sort of puritanical rant, when the majority of what Mark says is very liberal and non-judgmental, just suggests this is something you’re not completely comfortable with yourself.

      • Reply

        Fluffy McGee

        4 months ago

        You havent read much of Mark’s stuff if you haven’t realized this, but I expected Fanboi retaliation of this sort. He has repeated this point numerous times in his articles. At one point I believe he said if you have a laycount over 50 then you’re emotionally damaged or something. He bashes every PUA out there except the ones in his own little circle of friends, and he has been doing it for quite some time.

        The only reason I posted this comment is to remind him that there not everyone agrees with him, and despite the numerous “Great article” fanboish comments, there are things that he still needs to reflect upon.

        Come talk to me once you get Mark’s tit out of your mouth and form your own opinion.

        Don’t get me wrong though, I know my comments sound trollish and whatnot. Normally I agree with what Mark has to say, but I usually only voice myself when that 1% I disagree with comes up.

        • Reply

          Chris

          4 months ago

          I think maybe you’re confusing the action with the emotional basis for the action. If you’re healthily sleeping with tons of women cause that’s where you’re at in life, that’s fine. If you’re passing up on relationships with women who are very compatible with you, and sleeping with as many women as possible because you think the more women you sleep with, the more people will like you, you’ll be “the man” or some other deep psychological issue, that’s obviously not a healthy way to get your real needs met.

          I think that’s what Mark means, maybe I’m wrong.

          • Fluffy McGee

            4 months ago

            If this is what Mark has meant all along, then you worded it much more clearly.

            My interpretation of Mark constantly bashing anyone who has a high lay count or has sex just for the fun of it (other than himself, his friends and his students) is a bit different.

            Btw, most guys with a high lay count would never mention it to anyone. It only really serves as a vague reference to experience. I’ve never once met a guy in the 100+ area who mentioned it as a method to gain validation from others.

          • Alexander

            4 months ago

            I’m hearin it the way Chris is explaining it as well.

          • Mark

            4 months ago

            Chris nailed it. You’re the only one who’s ever filed this complaint with me Fluffy, so perhaps you’re projecting some of your own perspectives or insecurities onto what I’m saying.

            It’d be silly for me to openly bash casual sex as someone who has and still does participate in so much of it. I’ve had tons of casual sex for both healthy reasons and unhealthy reasons. So I always make an effort to criticize the unhealthy reasons and encourage guys to investigate what their motivations are.

            The comment about someone with over 50 lays has more to do with motivation. It takes a lot of time and effort to sleep with 50 women. A *lot* of time and effort. So someone who does it (assuming they’re not a celebrity or something), usually has some sort of pre-occupation or mild obsession with their sexuality. That’s not necessarily unhealthy. We all have our pre-occupations and obsessions, but it’s absolutely unusual. And you can’t argue that. The vast majority of people just don’t care enough to sleep with that many people. It’s not worth the effort to them. So if it’s worth the effort for you and me, then that means there’s something unusual about us.

            And yes, I do think that massive amounts of casual sex over a long period of time (say, at least 5-10 years) without ever having a stable commitment does represent something unhealthy. Barring sociopaths, every human has the capacity and need for affection and attachment to someone else. I plan on doing a post on it some time, but look up attachment theory in psychology if you don’t believe me. It’s been around for decades. The gist of it is that we all need emotional attachment in our lives eventually to remain happy, and if we go too long with out it, or we suppress it, then it’s usually part of a larger problem.

            But if you’re just between relationships, enjoying your prime, and want to bang a bunch of girls for a couple years until you find a really great one, by all means. Go crazy. But if you’re passing up great ones because you just want to bang more girls. Then after a while, you may want to stop and consider your priorities.

            And finally, I’m hard on PUA’s because PUA’s tend to glorify quantity of sexual experiences over anything else. But quality of experience should be the goal. Quantity is fine, but only if it happens while searching for quality. And until PUA’s admit that, I won’t stop bashing them.

          • Alberto

            4 months ago

            Mark, very clear explanation about the difference between healthy and unhealthy attitudes about casual sex. But it is not the first time that you seem skeptical about polyamory, which in this context would mean having a truly deep primary relationship while having some causual sex on the side (and everybody knows about it).
            What is your position? Do you think that the arrangement could be truly healthy and authentically fulfilling at all? Maybe just for a minority of persons, and the others are deluded?

          • Mark

            4 months ago

            @Alberto: My thoughts and experiences with polyamory are mixed. I think theoretically it’s viable for some. But in practice, it may only be viable for a small few… although that may be changing with culture. Polyamory takes many forms. The primary relationship + casual sex on the side is actually a very simple configuration and probably much easier to emotionally navigate for a couple than say, a primary and two secondary relationships which are involved with each other’s partners, or a three-way relationship, etc.

            My gut feeling is that polyamory can be viable in short bursts, and can be a means to keep a lot of couple sane and keep their needs met when their primary partner isn’t available for whatever reason. But I think in the long-haul (raising a family, retirement, old age, etc.), a strong monogamous relationship gives you the most bang for your buck.

        • Reply

          David

          4 months ago

          Tell you what – why not winge about us ‘fanboys’ by signing in using your real name and profile. It’s very easy to flame under the banner of anonymity

  • Reply

    Leo

    4 months ago

    I think you can know how a woman FEELS if you read her body language. At least that’s what I do. Is she smiling, having fun, touching you often? She’s attracted to you.
    I had that kind of experience where a woman is attracted to you but see that you are too confidente and relaxed. She was having fun, flirting, touching me, etc. At some point she asked me: Do you have a GF? I said no, which is true. When I asked for her telephone number her face changed, her expression changed, I read it like: I don’t trust you and in fact she didn’t give me her telephone number.
    You know how people feel reading her facial expression and body language, that’s how you know when somebody is sad or happy.
    About trust, I’ve found that women really appreciate if you don’t focus too much about sex, instead you have to be HONEST and say what you genuinely like about her. After all, every woman is unique and different. Why are you with her? What do you like about her? Besides sex, after all that’s what ALL guys want. Just my 2 cents.

    • Reply

      Alexander

      4 months ago

      I think there’s more than watching body language. I think watching body language is good, but it’s a kind of conscious process, kind of logical, and therefore not very strong. For example, “Ok, she’s touching her hair. +1 point. Ok, she’s cuffed me on the shoulder. +2 points.” That’s fine. And that’ll give you info. And you need it. But I think that if you really want to know where the situation is emotionally, you have to listen to your heart/gut.

      For me it works like this. I inhale into my heart (try it right now, breathe in the direction of your heart) and I sense what is going on there in the moment (again, you can try that right now). What you sense in that spot (which has a tremendous amount of nerves) are the emotions of the moment. When you’re alone, you just sense your emotions. When you’re with someone else, you’re sensing the emotional interplay between the two of you. That is the most powerful sense for how the girl is feeling. It’s much faster and more powerful than the logical analysis that body language provides.

      In the brilliant words of Antoine de Sainte-Exupery, “We only really see with the heart. The most important things can’t be seen with the eyes.” (The Little Prince)

      • Reply

        Leo

        4 months ago

        “…kind of logical, and therefore not very strong.”
        Uh???????????
        If you are walking at night in a dark alley located in a very bad neighborhood your body language and facial expression are gonna indicate how scared you are. That’s how people know how you feel. I was TRYING to date a girl with trust issues few weeks ago, her erratic behavior and BL let me know how scared she was (she never opened up about it), at one moment she’s happy and glad to be with me but at the next moment she was scared about going out with me on dates, I could see it in her face. Why do you think the expression: Poker Face exist? Because that’s how they don’t show their emotions.
        Talking about ambivalence, I’ve seen how some women are excited and enthusiatic about having a SNL but how they regret what the’ve done because they feel bad about it afterwards, due to social conditioning. I noticed it through BL and the words they pronuanced. Nothing magical about it.

  • Reply

    olivherbst

    4 months ago

    Once again: Great article. The “shifting priorities” is something I absolutely know from my own experience.

  • Reply

    Cameron

    4 months ago

    Great article, your so wise dude, I am in awe of your greatness.

  • Reply

    Paul

    4 months ago

    “Indeed, neuroscience has found that actions and impulses originate in the amydgala (where emotional impulses reside) and are then processed and altered by the frontal cortex (rational thought), not the other way around.”
    Mark, could you please give a source?

    • Reply

      Mark

      4 months ago

      I’ve seen it in a number of places. It appears to be neuropsych 101. But I believe Daniel Goleman explains it well in “Emotional Intelligence”

  • Reply

    Giorgos

    4 months ago

    “A 20-year-old party girl may prioritize status and fun at the expense of security”
    Fun fits in which of the three motivators?
    It seems like an emotional motivator on his own many times.

    • Reply

      brent

      1 month ago

      Fun is very general. It could be fun to fulfill any of your emotional needs.

  • Reply

    gabe

    4 months ago

    I find it’s really difficult to tell the difference between when a girl is looking for status, and when she’s looking for attachment, but feels like the guy is too “high status” or unlikely to commit or whatever and feels like she has to protect her ego. Both girls will give you shit and act distant, but for completely different reasons, and you have to react differently depending on what she’s looking for. Any way to sift through this and know which category the girl falls into?

  • Reply

    Traindom

    4 months ago

    How well does this translate to other kinds of relationships (friends, family, colleagues, bosses, etc.)? You mentioned a need for connection in the case of the “friend zone,” but is this applicable to other kinds of relationships? Are other kinds of relationships bound to only connection and security? Or I am just trying to push a triangle where a square should go?

  • Reply

    Zen

    4 months ago

    Great Article. One of my all time favorites on this site so far. I needed to hear this. A lot of the stuff I’d read before but forgot, other stuff I don’t think I’ve ever heard described the way you described it.

  • Reply

    Steve

    4 months ago

    Wow. This is just what I need.

  • Reply

    Gabe

    4 months ago

    I get the sense that the order of connection, status, security would be the default setting in a normal guy, whereas in the long-term for women security would be ranked somewhere higher.

  • Reply

    Julian

    3 months ago

    Great, insightful article; one of the best I’ve read so far. Thanks.
    As you say, the true challenge lies with finding out for ourselves what each one of us truly needs and values most.
    So I guess the key is to experiment, have as much adventure as possible, yet not making that your end-goal, but rather a mean to the end of finding, recognizing and sustaining whatever/whoever makes you profoundly happy in life, thus putting your focus on it and leaving behind the distractions.

  • Reply

    Taylor

    3 months ago

    You touched on a lot of issues I’m having with my boyfriend now. Especially the Alpha part. Basically he told me he wanted a future, then backed out claiming he didn’t want a relationship. I just want to know if there is really anything I can do to salvage the relationship. Sometimes it’s amazing, then sometimes he pulls away and I don’t know what to do…

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      3 months ago

      Sounds like he has a fear of commitment.

      • Reply

        Taylor

        3 months ago

        I’ve gathered that much. My bigger question is I’m only 20, I definitely prefer long term relationships, I don’t know why I hold on. Is there anything I can do to help the situation or should I just put on my big girl pants and move on, and is there a coping mechanism to help with that?

        • Reply

          Mark Manson

          3 months ago

          You can support and facilitate him helping himself and talk openly with him about it. But ultimately he’s going to have to recognize the issue and work through it.

  • Reply

    Max

    3 months ago

    Hey Mark great article, discovered this site a couple of weeks ago and I’m really identifying with your personal journey. I’m currently 19 and have just started university, I’ve had little experience with women but already through reading your stories I’m gaining a whole new perspective on life and what I want out of it. Thanks again.

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    max

    2 months ago

    i don’t think unless you notice how you feel a lot of the time and for a long time to actually compare the emotions you get, (because words don’t describe emotions very exactly) and then unless you know how the brain works then as a man surely all this talk about emotions is not really what’s going on. i’m coming from a scientific point of view i’ve only read pua stuff once and like you i didn’t like all the alpha male display of perceived value whatever and hated the jargon – utter stupidity in jargon. but jargon is crucial to consultancy of any type i think idk. but yeah from a scientific point of view the stuff you described about status and all that that’s not an actual emotion what’s the actual emotion behind it – is it shame that you feel you’re with someone who’s just utterly bad for anyone or something – is that status? connection and security (= afraid of losing them) that’s hardly emotional it’s very cold. you’d feel ‘security’ over anything you’d be afraid of a business going bad if you’d put stuff into it. ‘security’ hardly sounds feeling it all it sounds like stocks and bonds. same with connection reminds me of computers communicating it’s so general. the 3 things aren’t emotions but needs caused by emotions you haven’t described but only implied as ‘emotion’ and to me the emotion seems to be a bad one or some. sounds like a general kind of stress and shame about doing what others do and stuff like that because one is simply not capable of really independent thought. it seems you’re definately an independent thinker though independent though eventually leads people to understand one truth that is undebatable and it’s scientific and you haven’t presented all this info scientifically which especially talking about emotions seeing as they’re invisible and just a reaction. i actually have a theory that all bad emotions are reactions and all good ones you create yourself with your imagination.

    i can tell you my real experience behind what i say. last 6 months or so i actually accepted i feel nervous around people in general too much of the time too many people and then began thinking what it’s all about and now i’ve got to the point where i simply need to change my brain and when i get into the right side thinking i generate my own feelings by the imagination i get and then when i leave the imagined creative world going on mentally i’ve generated excitement now i’m excited to see the real world in the moment and the craziest thing is when you look at faces because you’ve taken away your verbal thinking and you’re so in the moment you literally take in more visual information your eyes track their micro expressions and minute body movement everything like that so that you’re not thinking but instead you’re vicariously experiencing that visual you literally feel what they are feeling. so i conclude that feelings come from information of the senses. maybe i’m just utterly weird like an aspie or something and this is second nature to everyone but i’m not sure because when i’ve been so in the moment i dont think people are in that state all the time and i dont think people are feeling other people all the time. anyone you get the feeling by people in youtube videos why because it’s visual information that you now have super eyes to see.

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    KaiSpiral

    1 month ago

    I am a bit unclear on what Status, Stability, and Connection entail. Could you give examples to show what a healthy expression of each looks like?

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