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  • Writer's pictureEve Was Right

Feminist Dating: A How-To Guide

Updated: Apr 8

People will tell us who they are. All we have to do is listen. 


Logan Ury is a self-proclaimed “behavioral scientist” who, in addition to serving as Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science, also wrote a book entitled How to Not Die Alone


The book’s premise, like nearly all other dating books before it, is that the reason women fail to secure partnerships if they want them is because they fall into one of three camps:


  1. They are starry-eyed romantics who see themselves as future Disney princesses and thus have unrealistic expectations of relationships;

  2. They are perfectionists who have too high of expectations for their future partner;

  3. Or three, they are perfectionists with too high of expectations for themselves and, therefore, don’t put themselves out there enough. 

Women’s primary problem in relationships of all kinds - professional, romantic, personal - is not their unrealistic expectations. 


Women’s primary problem in relationships is society. It has conditioned us to doubt ourselves when we see clues someone is not treating us the way we’d need to be treated for a healthy relationship. 


Women’s primary problem in relationships is society. It has conditioned us to doubt ourselves when we see clues someone is not treating us the way we’d need to be treated for a healthy relationship. 

When people such as Logan Ury tell women their dating efforts are failing due to reasons as minor as enjoying Disney movies, it makes my blood boil. 


Women have silently and painfully carried society on our backs for the entirety of human history. We are not such small, fragile creatures that our love of Disney movies is the primary cause of something wrong in our lives. Indeed, if we adopt this mindset, even if we get a partner from it, said partner will probably be unworthy of us. 


I wrote this post because, about a year and a half ago, I reached my “Never again” point with dating. A string of poor experiences forced me to unlearn and relearn literally everything about my approach to dating. And I had to figure it out through painful trial and error, because dating advice is full of platitudes. 


We are so often told we need to change, but we’re never told how. For example: “stop worrying about if he likes you, start thinking about whether you like him.” Okay, but HOW? These mindsets are psychologically normal and part of our social conditioning. 


I had to find practical habits, thought patterns, and actions to force myself into an empowered dating mindset. 


I’m going to give a few examples. We’ll break them down and then discuss what to do. 


I should add a couple of disclaimers: 


  • The ultimate goal of this is not for you to find someone. My ultimate goal is for you to find the all-encompassing, radically-accepting, real, equal, partnership you want.  I don’t want you to have “good enough.” I want you to have, “Yeah, I found my person, without a doubt.”

  • The examples and language used come from a heterosexual lens geared toward women. The good news is we’re all human, and these psychological tendencies span all genders and sexualities. If you find yourself encountering dating challenges, the examples will likely be applicable. 


Guy 1, Date 1. 

He asked me about my attachment style, so I told him honestly that it was a combination of secure and anxious, depending on the actions of my partner. He replied, “OK, good, as long as it’s not avoidant.” When I asked him why, he told me he had recently gotten out of a relationship with someone with an avoidant attachment style. It had been a negative experience - they were on again, off again, for a while, and he wanted to put it behind him. 


He asked about my tattoo, and I told him the story behind it. After I finished my story, he told me he didn’t understand why people got tattoos. I explained how it was similar to why people buy art, except in this case, it’s body art. He looked at me and said, “I see I’ve offended you.” 


We dated for three months before I told him his words on commitment didn’t match the trajectory of the relationship. He broke up with me to get back together with his ex. 


Breakdown


Red flag 1: Bad-mouthing exes.

When asked about an ex, even one who was awful, most sane people will hedge, for example: “We had differences in what we wanted.” More information is generally only given after someone asks for more details. Unless women are speaking to friends, of course - then the whole truth comes out.


This woman was awful, yet he went back to her multiple times? Doubtful. Probe more. As it turns out, this guy was projecting - he had an extremely avoidant attachment style, to the point of being incapable of understanding his feelings. He had interests but not character traits - he didn’t have the requisite self-reflection for character traits. 


White guy blinking meme captioned: When a guy tells you all 20 of his exes were terrible people"

Red Flag 2: “I wasn’t serious.” 

Ladies, I guarantee you, they were serious. The deflection comes in a few possible flavors. One is the offhand comment, such as the comment on tattoos. The other is sarcastic, so they can hide behind, “It was just a joke!” 


Put yourself in his place - if you were trying to make a good impression, would you ever start with a criticism? No. It might not be conscious, but it’s intentional. If they get away with it once, it will happen again and again. 


In these scenarios, people weaponize self-doubt through the “Don’t be so sensitive!” tropes. The second a guy hurts your feelings because of something he said, trust yourself. Tell them. Their reaction will tell you everything you need to know about their character. 


Guy 2, Date 1. 

He was a successful graphic artist. He made a career change from film direction; when I asked him more, he told me, “I was good. Really good.” I asked him whether he harbored bitterness at not having seen it through. 


I asked him why his last relationship ended, and he told me he fucked it up: she loved him, he didn’t love her enough. She was a wonderful person who found someone else. His second-to-last ex was “toxic,” their relationship featuring heated fights and a lot of on-again, off-again components. 


When he contacted me for a second date, he said, “If you want to see me again, Tuesday or Thursday would be the best options.” 


I told him I had considered it but wasn’t interested. He blew up at me and ended the conversation with, “Good luck staying single.” 


Breakdown


Red Flag 1: Some part of me sensed regret strong enough for me to ask if he harbored bitterness over his career change. 


It might seem harsh to call it a red flag - after all, it’s natural to be disappointed when you give up on your passion. However, it’s indicative of his psychology. In his mind, he didn’t fail because of his decisions; he failed because of other people. The industry, his circumstances, a specific director who cut him out of profits - blame went everywhere else. If he didn’t take accountability in this situation, he wouldn’t take it in other situations.


Red Flag 2: Putting his ex on a pedestal.

Because she was now unavailable, she became the one who got away. In his eyes, she was now perfect, and he missed out. He would measure every woman after her against his mental image of her. 


Not worth it. If they aren’t over their ex - even if they tell you they are, but you sense they aren’t - it is never worth it. 


Red Flag 3: “If you want to see me again”

He was diligent in his communication, told me he had a good time, and was very courteous. He sent the follow-up text on Sunday, so there was plenty of time in advance for a Tuesday or Thursday date. 


But this example is the epitome of a “tip of an iceberg.” His need for external validation forced me to go the last 10% in order for us to have a second date. A secure person will leave no room for interpretation. “I want to see you again - when are you free next?” Anything less is evidence of either a need for psychological work or a lack of interest. 


Rules. 

Trust women.

  • If a guy has a string of three-month-long relationships and says they all ended poorly because the women were bad, our first reaction should be,  “Were they, though? Were they all bad?” Statistically speaking, it’s implausible. Either he’s the common denominator, or his psychology causes him to choose unavailable women. Either way, he’s not ready for you. 

Trust your body.

  • Did you relax on the date? Were you rehearsing your responses? Was your voice higher or softer than usual? If they brought up a subject or statement you disagreed with, did you feel comfortable saying “I disagree” without thinking twice? 

  • Your body knows when it’s safe. For me, the best way to tell is how high my voice is and how opinionated I’m willing to be. Find your clues. 

It might not be conscious, but it’s intentional. 

  • We tend to excuse men’s bad behavior if they aren’t doing it consciously. They’re being avoidant, but it’s because they’ve had bad experiences. They’re inconsistent, but maybe it’s because they have a lot going on at work. They hurt your feelings, but perhaps they were joking. NO. Someone’s behavior doesn’t have to be conscious for it to be intentional. They’re acting from instinct and psychological need. Don’t make excuses for them.

You have to force yourself to see the red flags - it won’t happen during a date. 

  • This one realization revolutionized my dating life more than anything else. On dates, I was too overstimulated to identify the red flags. I would chastise myself, wondering why I was unable to see the red flags. Eventually, I figured it out: it’s rare to see red flags during dates! There’s too much going on. So, I started journaling after the date. I made a list of categories: Red Flags, Green flags, and Outstanding questions. 

Most red flags are the tip of an iceberg - look for the signs of the iceberg, don’t wait for it to surface.

  • I know someone who went on a date with a guy who asked her, “What do you want out of life?” As she answered, he interrupted her answer to more clearly direct her answer to conform to his question. It’s an example of the tip of an iceberg: in this case, it’s a clue he cares far more about himself than her. If he mainly wanted to get to know her, he would never interrupt such an important question. 

  • The same person went on a date with a guy who complained because all the women he’d been on first dates with wanted to go wine tasting and to spas. By contrast, he was in a cigar club, and his scuba diving club regularly traveled around the world. Did he want her to scuba dive? No. He simply felt his masculine cigar club was more legitimate than feminine activities like spas or wine tasting. This is the tip of a misogynistic iceberg.

Stop thinking in archetypes; start thinking in character traits.

  • “I don’t do well with people in finance.” “I don’t date people who are rough around the edges.” These are archetypes, but let’s break them down. What traits did they share, and what do you need instead? Consistency, intelligence, business acumen - pinpoint the trait as specifically as possible. 

Most single men are single because they have a character flaw preventing them from finding someone. Most single women are single because they haven’t yet trained themselves on how to identify the bad eggs. 

  • To the “not all men” crowd: I know. Nobody said all men. 


Steps


Psychoeducation

  • Educating yourself on psychology will help achieve the necessary distance between you and the person you’re dating during a relationship’s initial phase. You’ll be able to approach situations with curiosity, and when you see something interesting, you’ll diagnose possible causes. Psychoeducation also helps you get in touch with your gut instinct, because the twinge in your gut is the first indicator of when to probe deeper.

  • Without psychoeducation, it’s too easy for us to fall into the trap of “Do they like me?” instead of “Do I like them?” 

  • If you come from a history of trauma like I do, educating yourself on the intricacies of narcissism will teach you the subtle clues to look for in the beginning. For trauma survivors, our nervous systems trick us into believing narcissistic patterns are comfortable, so we must arm ourselves with as many tools as possible. Don’t rely on TikTok; dive into behavioral psychology. 

Approach each date as an experiment - document your findings.

  • Write down your impressions. Force yourself to examine it. 

Understand the difference between flaws and red flags.

  • We all have flaws. Flaws are a part of being human. Red flags are something different. A red flag is a warning sign for how this person will treat me and how they behave emotionally. 

Remember: each failure is a success. Dissect it. Learn from it.

  • It came as a surprise when Guy 1 broke up with me to get back together with his ex, but it ended up being the best thing to ever happen to my dating life. I studied him and his behaviors. I took special care to identify the red flags present in the beginning that, if I had allowed myself to notice them, could have predicted how things ended up. Failure in dating is a gift. Cherish it, and squeeze every last drop of knowledge you can out of it. 

Be intense about your needs.

  • I knew I wanted someone who wanted something serious. Not a committed situationship kind of serious, which more and more guys want nowadays. I wanted the real thing, the lets-get-married-and-have-kids thing. And because of this, I knew I wanted someone who took dating as seriously as I did. After a long while, I realized the kind of person who shared my relationship goals also wouldn’t be scared off by discussing those goals quickly. So, I asked my dealbreaker questions on the third date. Do you want to get married? Do you want kids? What’s your timeline? I personally also don’t have sex with people until we’re committed. It helped weed a lot of people out.  


What’s the potential? 


I found my person. As wonderful as he is, the single biggest proof that he’s the right one for me is that I never second-guess what I say in front of him. I can be completely myself, and he loves me for it. When he does something bothersome, I tell him right away. I don’t ruminate on whether it’s the right timing, if I’m wrong, or if I’m being too much. 


In the process of feeling this safety, I’ve had some instances where I’ve realized I was being too much! Sometimes, issues originate from my fears instead of reality. But it’s okay, because I still feel safe talking to him about it and working it out. 


My goal was to find a partnership where I could truly be myself. I needed someone who would allow me to be my big, weird, opinionated self.


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