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Beautiful, Arden. Be yourself. These words suggest to me that you are one of the hottest women on the planet. It's not your fault that society is not set up for our emotional needs to be met. Keep speaking your truth and you will find your tribe. <3


It's perfect my fragile Fembot


Thank you for your insights into the issue and for sharing your experiences. Advice of the 'Rules' type is given to men as well. I have heard it from friends 'if you appear needy you lose' and 'women want to be lead, not followed' etc. I have also read it in Strauss' "The Game", where it is referred to as cat-string-theory. Now women seem to get the same advice. Logically it would follow that everyone is cold with each other and playing hide and seek, and actually I have experienced and done it quite a bit. No trustful or stable relationships came out of it. I wonder if the phenomenon is a result of short sighted advice itself and/or if the advice is pointing to deeper psychological (self-worth), cultural (individualism) or biological (social selection) issues.

John Doe

I remember picking up that book, -Why men love bitches- in Barnes and Nobles. It took me less than a few pages to see it for what it was, mostly a psychological disaster in dating "advice" form. As a man who had a certain measure of self esteem, I saw all those games as great advice for catching a emotionally unavailable person while at the same time fortifying self immolating, destructive habits that rob us of our authenticity and power. I put it down and stepped away from it slowly. Unfortunately, girlfriend after girlfriend kept talking to me about the book and how now they finally understood what the issues were with the guys they'd been dating. The path of destruction that book created I fear is incalculable.

thanks for putting out this great piece. Healthy, secure, men looking for an authentic relationship appreciate it deeply.


I'm in my 40s, which places me in Gen X I suppose. Even though we were one of the first generations to get vocal about slut-shaming, we still did it in practice. That is, at least as far as mainstream culture went, we were expected to be both emotionally *and* sexually unavailable.

Having come out of a longterm, very conventional, and very damaging, relationship, I am frequently advised to be essentially distant, to play hard-go-get so that my needs can't be used against me and/or won't drive someone away. However, I can say that there is NOTHING more lonely than sitting across from someone for years who only sees his own needs. It is not simply because my own needs weren't being met, it's because since he didn't see mine he never truly knew me. And intimacy, for me, is about knowing and being known no matter how unpalatable that knowledge might be to some.

Arden, you said that I should seek intimacy on my own terms, and I've been thinking about that a lot. I've concluded that there is anything I learned from my last relationship, it's that I crave authenticity. If I am rejected for what I really think, feel, and need that's OK--it's a clean pain, if that makes sense. I can live with it. It is far less lonely and crippling, ultimately, than being wanted and accepted because I have dampened or buried myself.

Thank you again for the work and insight you've put into these articles. They aren't always easy to read because they do often strike a nerve--but I appreciate them.


"I'm tired of relationships being a contest to see who can like the other person less." YES YES YES Why is it tho way?


Where have you been all my adult life?

"Good job, world. You spent the last twenty years telling women that expressing affection makes them clingy, needy, and desperate, and this is what you got: an entire generation of women who say "I maybe don't hate you" because they've been trained that everyone will run away the moment they say "I love you."'

Simply, wonderful. My question is, why are we even listening to all these messages anyway? It seems women are the only ones being told how to act in order to succeed in love and life. More of us need to dig inside for our values than out in the bookstore or blogspot waiting for someone to tell us how to feel (says the girl who googled "emotionally unavailable women").

I read that post you're referring to, and that girl is a lie. It's the same lie we all tell when we want to appear unmaintainable. I do the same thing when someone asks me out at work: "my job is too important to me, so I don't date at work - sorry!" When in reality I am just scared. Aren't we all?

So, thank you for your voice, and thank you for the inspiration. As an aspiring writer too afraid to *actually* write, to me you are the gorgeous chick at NYU.

Brandon “Beezy” Pitts

I'd like to say that this article is so on point! Thank you for sharing your insight! I read the above mentioned article and it is what lead me to yours and this is nothing but the truth. Bravo!


I'm newly back on the dating scene and what you described is me! I ended something today with a man who wasn't available but expected me to be whenever he was inclined. When I told him what I wanted, that I was feeling empty and frustrated, he told me of course he liked me or he wouldn't put up with my carp and I should just know this. I wanted a kiss at the end of a text, actually a reply would have been good. And an occasional affirmation that it was good to see me. But that was too much! I realised that being with him was destroying my last shreds of self esteem. And yes maybe it was better to be on my own. I gave him my heart and he served it back saying I was unloveable and unlikable. So here I am alone. My marriage failed after 28 years and my first attempt at a relationship failed. But can't sit in silence whilst he channel hops on TV or nit chat to people in the gym or be told what I can and cannot eat. Which he did. I have a voice and stiffling it is only going to make things worse. And you're right-get rejected for standing up for what you want rather than failing their impossible standards test, that you don't buy into anyway and will never pass!


love this!


You are my hero. I have never been able to relate to someone the way I do when I read your posts and it is an incredibly uplifting feeling to know there is at least one person who thinks like I do and has the strength to share it.


Whow! What a beautiful, honest, intelligent piece you have written - Thank you. I work with high achieving women who struggle to find the right partner and the truth is, it's because most of the women are emotionally unavailable. What is sad is that they don't even realize it. You are a beautiful writer.


I was once very much like you, I was in two very abusive controlling relationships I was very loving and caring I loved my partners more than I cared for myself. I became cold and emotionless because the one guy I was deeply in love with that I have a mutual child with, had tried to kill me and made me feel completely worthless he took all his demons out on me, I was too loving to someone who used me as nothing but a whipping post with fake lies about wanting to marry me, went as far as to buy a ring to use as blackmail of me not being a good enough girlfriend. At first I thought I deserved to be treated like crap I was solely convinced I must be a terrible girlfriend for my boyfriend to treat me like he did, then I realized he just did it to have control. Maybe in his sick perverted mind he did have some love for me like you'd love a little doll on a shelf, but he destroyed me and my heart, I became full of hate and apathy for him then me hate boiled down to nothingness to the point that I never felt feelings for him again, I felt like I was becoming a psychopath with no emotion at least for him i really don't care if he dies I don't care about him at all anymore. From that day forward I learned I want respect more than love because some people's love is just fucking sick.

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