Who Has It Worse in Dating: Men or Women?
I met two young women from Silicon Valley while on vacation in the Caribbean. They told me every guy they date prioritizes work over them, even when they’re together.
One male friend told me he’s frustrated that women are non-committal, always looking for the next best thing. He said women talk to multiple guys at once and cut contact out of nowhere.
My wife’s co-worker said she meets a lot of guys, but they never have their shit together. Many of them struggle with alcohol, video game addiction, or are just immature.
A client told me that the woman he’s seeing withholds sex due to past emotional baggage. She unfairly compares him to other men and sabotages their relationship.
And everyone tells me they hate online dating…because of the other sex.
For years, I’ve listened to constant debates about who’s to blame for the dismal state of dating. This back and forth has to stop. It’s not productive to just complain.
We need to find an answer that makes things better.
I’ve worked in the dating space for 12 years. I know the hardships people face. I know the advantages and disadvantages of being on both sides.
So I feel like I’m in a great position to be an unbiased mediator. I want to lay out the truths I see in modern dating so we can settle the debate once and for all.
Who has it worse in dating? Men or women?
Online dating is harder for….
Men. Men have to spend hours swiping to get any matches with women. (Compare that with an average-looking woman who can get a match every other swipe!) Men have to agonize over writing witty messages that stand out and keep women engaged amongst a sea of competitors. And despite their best efforts, only a small percentage of men will get a response due to the sheer volume of messages women receive.
Women. Women do have endless numbers of men pursuing them online…but also endless lewd messages and unprovoked dick pics. As we know, people are bolder and nastier online than in-person. So imagine the long-term psychological effects for women being dehumanized and treated like meat by men on a daily basis. These negative experiences build distrust and make women fear for their personal safety. All in all, online dating takes takes the beauty out of romance.
Being seen as “high value” is harder for…
Men. Men are predominantly judged for their financial and social status. Beautiful women will chase wealthy, well-connected men regardless of how those men treat them. Then they will exclude men entirely because they don’t have a certain net worth. Some callous women treat men as ATM machines and use them for what they provide. And once the cash runs out, so does the romantic interest.
Women. Women are predominantly judged by their appearance. Men always want the hottest, sexiest woman they can get. They will exclude caring, compatible women as relationship potential if they aren’t insanely attractive. Men will choose a slightly more attractive woman over another one regardless of how that woman treats them.
Also, average-looking guys date hot women all the time, but you rarely see average-looking women with hot guys. Men have strict requirements for beauty standards while women are more flexible if the guy has a good personality.
The power of choice is harder on…
Men. Young women (approximately ages 18-30) are a hot commodity and they know it. They have their pick of the male gene pool and can be quite selective. They will flake on plans, date multiple guys at once, and keep men waiting as backup options. Men try their best to compete, but are often at the mercy of who women decide to choose that day.
Women. Once a woman hits over 30 (and especially after childbirth), the power dynamic changes forever. The majority of men I talk to of ANY age just want to date young or women at least 5-10 years younger. Women older than that are a last resort. Women have two options: settle for a less attractive or lower quality guy their age OR find a successful, attractive man that’s 10-15 years older than them.
As men age, they’re considered fine wine that just gets better. As women age, they’re desperately trying to find ways to hold onto their youthful appeal.
The process of sex is harder for…
Men. Men get frustrated as they’re repeatedly placed securely in the “friend zone” with women. On dates, they don’t feel like women show any interest in sex — which makes them feel ashamed for their interest. This makes them feel like they’re pushing for something women don’t want.
Men also encounter women who purposely withhold sex or use it as a weapon to get them to invest financially or emotionally in them. At the end of the day, men feel like undesirable predators.
The courtship process of sex sucks and kills what should be an exciting experience.
Women. Women endure unfulfilling, potentially scarring sexual experiences with selfish men. Guys are often drunk and can’t stay erect. They don’t engage in foreplay or try to warm the women up to get them comfortable. Then they have short sessions of sex just to get themselves off.
Many women have experienced the situation where once a guy sleeps with her, he moves on. This all reinforces to women that they’re objects for men’s sexual pleasure.
The process of first-time sex sucks and kills what should be an exciting experience.
Dating is more effort for…
Men. Men have to do almost everything in early courtship. They have to introduce themselves, show interest first, and take the risk of inviting a girl out or making a move. Then they’re the ones who risk humiliation and endure the signs of disinterest and painful rejections.
Women. Women have to deal with being hit on relentlessly online and in-person. Many of those experiences are with guys who are drunk, disrespectful, and only looking to get laid. They’re repeatedly reminded that they are an object to be won, not a person to be cared about. Women have to reject men (which usually feels terrible) and then deal with the intense or potentially dangerous fallout.
Society’s perception of sexual experience is harder on…
Men. Women and other male peers judge a man based on his ability to have sex. If a man hasn’t slept with a lot of women or is more inexperienced, something must be wrong. He must be an undesirable loser. Women will back out of pursuing men they find out are less experienced.
Women. Men and other female peers judge a woman based on her ability to restrain herself from sex. If a woman wants to sleep with lots of men, she’s considered low quality. She must be a slut with low self-esteem. If women show too much interest early on or reveal they’ve had a higher number of lovers, men will not seem them as a long-term partner.
And the winner is…
If we were to tally up the results, who really has it worse?
Everyone. Dating is hard for everyone.
It’s messy. It’s complicated. And at times, it’s a deeply painful process where we all struggle.
We’ve all been in shitty positions. We’re all naive, insecure, and fumbling our way around. We’re all flawed and dealing with baggage from childhood. We all make mistakes and hopefully try to learn from them.
You can’t compare who’s suffering more — it’s pointless. Trauma is trauma.
Obsessing over this hurts your results more than anything else.
Being a victim keeps you feeling hopeless and unmotivated. You don’t change because you don’t feel like you can change. You also feel entitled to more without doing anything about it.
Holding onto resentment towards the other sex fuels anger, creates trust issues, and makes you see things as adversarial. You build walls to protect yourself and keep the people you date at arm’s length. You self-sabotage your relationships by assuming the worst in others.
All this leads to weak connections and hating the dating process.
So let go of this bullshit men vs women debate. Give people a chance to show you they’re different. Try to empathize with others as individuals, not an entire gender. Treat them the way you want to be treated.
I’m not saying it will work out with everyone. But compassion encourages compassion.
Stop pointing fingers and you’ll discover more fun, healthy experiences. This is how we make dating better for everyone.