A few days ago I penned a piece on why men need to have dating standards. It was based around the realization that at some point in my dating history, I had to decide that I deserved to be able to say no to women. I thought that it was always unfair when a man walks away from a woman that he is made out to be the bad guy. It’s almost as if, “I just don’t think I like you as much as I thought I would,” was always a bad thing to say. Connected to that is the fear that men have when telling women “no” or anything else they may not want to hear. Many men will lie or not answer questions because they think it’ll hurt a woman’s feelings or have an adverse effect on them.
When asked the question, “Why do men shy away from telling women “no”?” I’m always stuck with the same answer. They either don’t want to hurt their feelings or they don’t think women deal well with rejection. In fact, I’ve learned over the course of my life that nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true that women are more accustomed to dealing with rejection than men. That sounds weird doesn’t it? It does, but consider for a second how different genders deal with rejection. Women, when rejected, have to face those feelings and they have few defense mechanisms. Men…, well men, just shrug it off and blame the woman or the circumstance — they rarely internalize and go through a healing process.
Let’s think about the times when a man refuses to tell a woman “no.” It’s typically when she wants to know something about their particular situation or she is asking for him to do something outside of his typical routine. I can think of several times when I may have been causally dating a woman and she asked me, “where is this going?” or “do you see a future with me?” – If I thought it was headed towards a relationship I would reply that way, but if I didn’t… I would make up some diatribe that would skirt the issue and change the subject.
The reason being, most men think women see things in a very binary manner. It’s almost as if you tell a woman “no” she’s going to remove herself from the situation altogether. I’ve experienced times when I didn’t think a relationship was appropriate but I still wanted to date and see where things would go. The woman reacted to the rejection of a relationship request with wanting to move on altogether. Therefore, in future situations I would shy away from saying no and make up some diatribe that would skirt the issue and change the subject.
There are also situations when men don’t want to say no because they want something they don’t feel they’ll be able to get if they reject the woman. I’ll just be blunt – a man won’t want a relationship with a woman but he may want to have sex with her. He won’t totally reject her request for more, so that he can remain in good graces to just have sex.
What can be done to stop all this foolishness?
The answer is a little complicated. I think that men will have to be coddled a bit to get them to come out of their shell. If a woman wants a real and honest perspective, she should couple her questions with, “I want you to answer honestly, I won’t be upset if you say no.” Although she may be upset, she will appreciate the answer more if it’s genuine rather than dishonest and deceiving. Most men don’t really reach that point until much later in life when they have little to lose. That’s when they’ll just start coming off the tip of their tongue with the truth even though they know the woman will not like it. I think both genders have to prevent that and work to bring both sides together.
Like I said before, it’s taken me some time to get to the point where I feel comfortable with telling women “no” or rejecting them. I’ve realized that the drama associated with misleading women is not worth it. I wish that more men would feel the same way, but I don’t think that’s a realistic perspective or outcome in the near future. However, if women want the honest opinions of men, they’ll find ways to bridge the gap and reduce the apprehension. In a sense that what every situation should be about, that’s the best way to get to the goal – bridging gaps to find a mutual understand that leads to an outcome all that are happy with.
Dr. J is a writer for the men’s blog Single Black Male. Dr. J’s inspiration and motivation for writing comes from a desire to provide real and honest advice to all. His approach is no nonsense and rarely sugarcoated. Follow him on twitter @DrJayJack.