Fifty shades of wait
I'm a very successful guy in my 30s. I had a lot of casual sex in my 20s, but I got sick of the disconnection and emotional fallout. I'm looking for a relationship, and I've started waiting to sleep with women (for at least a month). I tell them this, but the waiting thing seems to make them want me more and push to have sex. What I don't get is why some get so angry at me. — Slow Train
Women are used to men wanting sex right away — or sooner, if possible. Your being the one with your legs crossed? Well, it's like offering a dog a strip of bacon and having him look up and say, "Aww... thanks, doll, but I'm good."
Now if these women getting angry with you were just lusty, there's an app for that — one that allows a moderately attractive woman to swipe a sex partner over faster than Domino's can get there with a pizza. The problem here is female sexual psychology. We all want to be wanted, but research by clinical psychologist Marta Meana finds that women, especially, seem to have an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. This makes evolutionary sense, in light of women's need for reliable signs that a guy would stick around after sex to "provide." A man having an uncontrollable longing for a particular woman is pretty great insurance — right up there with leg-shackling him to the cave wall.
Not surprisingly, according to research by evolutionary psychologist Patricia Hawley, if there's catnip for women, it's those "bodice ripper" novels. They feature intense male desire for a woman, but not of just any male — a "powerful, resource-holding" one, like the playboy prince or titan of industry. This alpha god cannot be tamed, until ... whoops ... up pops our heroine, the apparently ordinary maiden. The hunky royal or CEO is so taken with her unique (and otherwise overlooked) beauty and spirit that he can't help but grab her and "ravish" her. Of course, in real life, we call this felony rape. In romance novels, when the guy is uber-rich and cruelly handsome, it's the start of a beautiful relationship.
So, women's inability to defeat the time lock on your zipper is telling them something — no, not "Wow... he thinks I'm really worth getting to know," but "Wow... he thinks I'm uggo" and "That two-week sabbatical from Booty Barre has really caught up with me." It may help a little to reassure them that you find them wildly attractive — like by "confessing" that you have to take three cold showers and stare at pictures of steamed vegetables before every date. For you, this is the only possible way to keep from giving them one of those man-scam long hugs that turns into sex... uh, that is, three weeks and four days later.
I was dating this girl for about three weeks, but I just wasn't really feeling it, so I "ghosted" — stopped asking her out and just didn't respond to her texts. Some of my friends said I was mean to "ghost," but honestly, I think it's a lot kinder than telling somebody you're not into them. Why have an uncomfortable conversation when you can just slip out and everybody is spared? — Faded Away
Why take 45 seconds to text a girl that it's over when you can make her obsess about you for two months straight, stalk you on Instagram, and bore her friends catatonic with "Is his phone broken? Is my phone broken? Did he see that drunken Facebook post? Should I have waxed my mustache?"
Wordlessly disappearing on somebody you've spent more than a couple of hours with at a coffee bar is a kick in their dignity — telling them they aren't even important enough for you to tell them they aren't important. It also makes a person go unnecessarily berserko, due to what's called the "Zeigarnik effect." Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik observed that unfinished business causes administrative problems for our mind — leaving it in a "state of tension" and causing it to annoy us (over and over) to get "closure" on whatever's been interrupted and left incomplete.
This isn't to say you owe a woman a detailed rundown on your feelings; you just need to tell her that you're done. Ideally, open with something complimentary, and then bring down the ax: "Not working for me." "Not feeling it." That sort of thing. She'll cry, she'll eat some cake, and she'll move on.
Ultimately, if you want to be kind, a breakup should feel more like ripping off a Band-Aid than hysterically searching for your car for four hours in a multi-level parking structure.