Should Men Always Be the Pursuers?

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Who pursues who?

I understand the basic idea that women want to be pursued by men to feel that they are desired, respected, and valued for their personhood. Alex, my husband, actively pursued me on CatholicMatch, and I appreciated it.

Often, men like to pursue and to express to a woman their love and affection through simple acts of service. However this doesn’t mean that there are hard fast etiquette rules to how husbands and wives meet, date, or act when married. This idea that men should pursue women often boxes people out of relationships, and ultimately, out of their happiness and fulfillment. So what’s the problem in women demanding to be pursued by men?

The seven concerns I have:

1. It’s a demand. Reread:  1 Corinthians 13. You’ve already lost love if you demand, and go on a dating strike until these etiquette rules are met.

2. Everybody’s definition of “pursue” is different. Some women think pursuing means that the man should contact them every time, including the first time and all throughout their courtship. The women only reciprocate, but never initiate any contact. Other women think pursuing means the man must initiate the introduction and first date, but that’s their only requirement. Other women think traditional pursuing is antiquated, and they have no problem directly showing their interest in a guy first, and if the interest is mutual, then from that point on he will pursue her.

What does: I want you to pursue me even mean?Click To Tweet

Other women don’t have an opinion either way. They’d just like to be married already! No one can read minds. So with this many varying thoughts, opinions, and definitions floating around, how is anyone going to know to which definition you support?

3. We can’t reverse generational expectations overnight. How can we judge these men by dating standards that are not part of popular culture, not specifically supported by individual parishes, or even in families anymore, or anywhere else but in our own heads? Sometimes it’s subtle dirty looks when they try to hold a door open, or ask someone out on a date, but men have been rejected and ignored. Men are not going to keep trying a method over and over if it doesn’t bring desired results. Men, take these opportunities to act courageously, hold that door, and call her today.

4. Men may actually think they are pursuing, and in the same instance, the woman may not feel pursued, and will then respond in ways that will make him feel rejected. Where in the Catechism does it say that happy holy marriages ONLY start with a specific formula of who calls first?

Where in the Catechism does it say that happy, holy marriages ONLY start with a man making the first move?Click To Tweet

Men, keep trying. Email her today.  Women, be clear. Let him know if you’re interested, or let him go if you’re not. If you’re interested, it’s okay to be obvious. Your subtle hints may not be working.

5. Women, you could be objectifying men. They are not here solely to make you comfortable, or to be your personal event planner. You don’t know them; you don’t know their story, or why they are the way they are. Show respect for men by letting them show their interest in their own personalized way. Tell him verbally, not telepathically, how he can best show his interest for you. End the dating strike. Smile, flirt, strike up a conversation. Let him know you’re available. Men, ask for her phone number, and then use it before some other man does.

Women, are you objectifying men by treating them like your personal event planner?Click To Tweet

6. Are these unspoken rules of pursuing etiquette helping us become saints? Or are they just our scapegoat for challenging our comfort zone? Our decisions should be advancing us towards marriage. Are you willing to sacrifice the life to which God is calling you, because your preconceived ideas about romantic relationships are being challenged? Are you open to marriage on God’s terms, which are often mysterious, or only your own?

Is following dating etiquette religiously making you a saint? Or making you crazy?Click To Tweet

7. Women, if you do initiate contact in the beginning, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to do all the planning, dating, and pursuing all the days of your married life. Men are human beings, apt to grow and change with you, not puppets following a script. Be encouraging. He is risking as much as are you.

Remember at the end of our lives, we are not only responsible for the things we’ve done, but also those things we didn’t do. Women, be merciful to yourselves. Give men a taste of what unconditional love means (not, only if you call/email/ask me on a date first). And men, my advice to you is simple: date. Don’t waste time or those opportunities for love.



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60 Comments

  1. Rosemary-1442847 May 6, 2017 Reply

    If I am interested in someone, how will they know I am, have sent a message, giving them a chance to check me out, not interested move on. I would be very flattered to someone message me, My grand daughter talk for months , before they met in person. They had a beautiful Catholic wedding July 2, 2016.

  2. Chris-1355160 April 17, 2017 Reply

    Though I am traditional and old fashioned often, my answer-no……there are a lot of ladies that have looked over my profile and never approached me. One did and we have had 2 dates and talk or text daily…..granted, most likely simply were not interested. Cool and fine……..at my age, not into games though. Interested in someone? send them a note or emoji,etc…..they contact you, respond if interested, if not, don’t….

  3. Judith J. April 13, 2017 Reply

    Interesting!

  4. June-1366846 April 11, 2017 Reply

    My problem with being on Catholic Match is meeting someone, liking him a lot and him telling me he likes me as well, but then I realize that he is still contacting other women on the site, so I don’t know where I stand. I don’t want to end up being hurt.

    • JuliAnn-117132 April 12, 2017 Reply

      Until there is an actual discussion about being exclusive – and I do mean a frank and direct discussion so there is no question if exclusive or not, this is the reality; people will continue contacting others and it’s not all that bad because that will separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s probably a good thing in the long run. Remember – you need to be doing the same.

  5. Jeannie-822585 April 4, 2017 Reply

    Yes, men should always be pursuers. it is a sign of leadership, masculinity, protection of the relationship and treatment of her in a relationship and marriage.

  6. Anotonio-1431916 March 29, 2017 Reply

    I’m happy to have you all here… I have learned a lot from every individual that have comment on here.. Kudos to you all..

  7. Joe-786218 March 22, 2017 Reply

    I can’t read her mind, I am rather dumb that way, lol… but I’m not alone among men as many of us are like that. So I can only go on her actual words, gestures and actions. If she is being subtle then I have to hope I’m reading her correctly and yes I’ve misread a few. Subtlety is not a bad thing, but it isn’t easy either.

  8. Claudio-1359356 March 21, 2017 Reply

    Great article.

  9. Larry-1265382 March 21, 2017 Reply

    Love is a two way street. A person cannot by loving make the other love him (her). If I show interest in a woman and she feels OK about it she should also show interest in me. This applies the other way around. If the woman does not repond positively to my overture, I assume she is not interested. If I get an overture from a woman I respond to the full level of interest that I may have. When dating has started, I would expect her to propose things to do together as much as I propose. Once the level of contact has reach some ponit of friendship it should be mutual interaction. Marriage is a couple working together to make it work. Why should not dating be the same?

  10. Joseph-1233868 March 21, 2017 Reply

    I choose not to pursue.

    If a woman doesn’t have enough courage and honesty to be transparent about her attraction to me (as I would be with her), then she isn’t ready or mature enough to have a life-long partner. How do I know this? Every woman I have dated has the emotional security of a child.

    If you think this is normal, then emotional maturity in females is largely extinct. There’s no longer a cultural reference point for it, so everyone thinks it’s normal for women to behave in largely a vacuous manner inter-personally.

    It is rare to find a woman who does not behave that way. Very rare. But I can tell you that they are far more effective individuals. They cast giant shadows in the organizations and activities in which they are involved, and they often underappreciated because they break the mold and violate the expectations of their gender so thoroughly. I am very lucky to have had a professional work relationship with a woman like that, and I will never forget her example and talent.

  11. Patrick-341178 March 21, 2017 Reply

    well they still seems perfectly ok with us paying for just about everything.. that hasn’t changed… lol

    • Steve-1182811 March 21, 2017 Reply

      Yes, all women are traditional in that respect. lol

    • Darin-1415639 March 21, 2017 Reply

      The ones I’ve been with either tried to pay or inquired about whether she should pay. When I insist on paying because I was the one who invited them, fortunately they then usually let me.

  12. Mark-687718 March 21, 2017 Reply

    Best case scenario is the man and woman pursue each other mutually. I always say, two people trying to meet up will reach each other twice as fast if they are both moving toward each other, rather than one waiting for the other to reach him/her.

  13. Dana-1300978 March 21, 2017 Reply

    I don’t think women want to be pursued for the reasons listed at the very top of the article. I think women either naturally shy away OR are being taught by others, especially in devout circles NOT to be the pursuer, so much so they might stifle a desire to say hello.

    • JuliAnn-117132 March 22, 2017 Reply

      Hello, a smile, a compliment perhaps and a welcoming, open heart are great and I agree, women should do that. That is not pursuing to me. This is what I believe I should be doing. It is just interesting to smile at anybody you meet during the day and see how that person reacts. Most of the times it is very positive experience. Of course, there are always cranksters out there, but that is not stopping me.

  14. Darin-1415639 March 21, 2017 Reply

    Thank you for this article. Indeed, the number of women telling us that it will not work (when we haven’t even asked) far outnumbers the number of women telling us that it will (when we haven’t asked). No wonder the marrying age keeps getting higher, and the bitterness rate is perhaps at an all-time high…
    It’s not against Church teaching for women to accentuate the positive.
    In fact if holding back and waiting works so well for women, why are so many promoting themselves on dating sites and checking in pretty regularly for months, if not years? Rhetorical question…
    Peace!

  15. Daniel-1138285 March 20, 2017 Reply

    I prefer to be the pursuer for any new step the first time, and after that, once it becomes obvious we both like each other up to that level, she can pursue or not as she pleases.

    What I mean is the first message, kiss, date, and proposal are moves I make and things she accepts or rejects. If they go well then she or I can initiate kisses, dates etc.. In my experience most women will eventually like to take a turn being the pursuer, even if only in some small way. Personally I interpret her making the first move as impatience on her part, or a belief that I don’t have the cajones to do it myself, which makes me feel less like the man of the relationship.

    This is just a personal preference, if other couples want to do it another way then have at it.

    • Pat-5351 March 20, 2017 Reply

      That is what I am talking about. Thanks for chiming in.

    • JuliAnn-117132 March 20, 2017 Reply

      Bingo! Exactly what happens when women pursue with their masculine energy. Thank you.

    • Darin-1415639 March 21, 2017 Reply

      Well your first two words set the tone: “I prefer”.
      But this article is about what women might do to advance themselves. Not what men prefer.
      Even as much as they care about what certain men prefer, their primary responsibility is themselves: what works for them.

    • Iyke-1428112 March 21, 2017 Reply

      That being said if a woman has the ability to make you feel as though you seriously are not man enough for her, then you probably are indeed not man enough for her and should look else ware. Why should she have to temper or change who she is to appeal to your sense of masculinity if she doesn’t want to. In my opinion on that scenario, you would be better off finding a more traditional woman, while she would do better to find a man who is comfortable with her level of pursuit. Otherwise both parties are starting off the relationship not being true to themselves and thus not true to each other.

    • Maria-1411800 March 23, 2017 Reply

      This is what confuses me. I see some men on here saying that it’s fine if the woman pursuer and others, like your self, say that they would be offended. If I see a guy I like I’m scared and don’t know how to react. I’m afraid that if I don’t say something he won’t know I like him, and we will miss each other. However, if I do, what if takes it the wrong way and rejects me because of it? I’ve had both happen to me.

      • Darin-1415639 March 24, 2017 Reply

        You want the truth? You should be more concerned with what successful women like this author say, than what men say. If you want help cooking, who would you ask: a cooking expert or someone who thinks about cooking on rare occasion and has watched someone else cook once or twice? Men aren’t experienced in how to attract men. Our advice is often going to be trash, because our focus has been on attracting women, not men. Even what we say we want women to act should probably not be considered anywhere near as valuable as how a successful woman recommends that women act.
        And a guy rejected you because you spoke to him? That’s like an apple was rotten because you picked it. Let it go and move on. He didn’t have anything to offer you. It’s like you walked into a store for tea and there was no tea in that store, only stones. Exit and search for a tea store. Yes?

      • Dave-146273 March 24, 2017 Reply

        I think the word “Pursue” is often used a lot differently that what it actually means.
        Most of the time people are using it to imply “initial contact”.. and it means something completely different.
        However, i have known a few Ladies that have actually Pursued a guy they were very attracted to – it does happen.

  16. Kevin-1088637 March 20, 2017 Reply

    I won’t name names in this post, but oh how many times I’ve heard her say “I am a traditional so and so!” And what has happened when they do? “Next” has happened, whether I wanted it to or not.

    Tradition has its place in our faith, and in our customs, but in the wild world of dating 2017, its overdue for some persons to make some adjustments. Because something ‘worked’ in the 80’s or 90’s when they married, now divorced an annulled, the learning is just beginning. Gone are the days when serial dating was the norm.

    When I told her I was talking to other women in CM, I was chastised. “I would never talk to more than one man!?” Again, “Next” happened whether I wanted it to or not.
    There are too many wonderful souls in CM, to be playing women’s exclusion games. The rule of numbers plays a part, but so to is the willingness to take risks.

    I am happy to say I found my equal in all things after much effort, trial and error. After all, there is nothing in this world more risky than falling in love. I am sad to say, many even wonderful women in CM need a check-up from the neck-up.

    • Renee-1099332 March 23, 2017 Reply

      Just curious, Kevin, as to your definition of serial dating. Do you mean moving from one exclusive relationship to another?

  17. Alex-1426636 March 20, 2017 Reply

    In a similar vein to Sean’s comment, this line really stuck out to me: “Show respect for men by letting them show their interest in their own personalized way.” Much of the time it really is a guessing game trying to determine what will convey to a specific woman that you are interested. The same action may be taken by one woman as too weak, not enough effort, and by another woman as too forward or aggressive. I agree with Sean that communicating your desires is so important. For the men, putting yourself out there over and over again is hard enough. Anytime we start to slide into “dating games,” where we are, say, only going to respond if we’ve received two messages and a photo like, nothing more, nothing less … I see this as a corruption of authentic, generous communication between two children of God. Please, let us all try to be charitable with one another and try to meet each other half way. Certainly, God is the main pursuer in our relationship with Him, but we still have a part to play in cooperating and responding to His self-gift.

    • JuliAnn-117132 March 20, 2017 Reply

      A man’s action conveys interest. So write the email, suggest a phone call, ask her out for coffee. If you are interested, you should be progressing the relationship along.

      Lack of action = you are not interested or you really are not as ready as you think you are for a relationship

  18. Sean-1354996 March 20, 2017 Reply

    Best part of the article – communicate your desires! I can’t stress this enough. If you want something ask for it. Don’t leave it up to us to guess what it is that you want and when you want it. It’s hard enough trying to initiate things when we’re having to guess what it is that you’re looking for.

    The second point about reflection goes for both sides. What could you be changing about the way you go about and do things? How can you make yourself stand out. For me, it’s really simple. Show that you genuinely care about me and your life. If you’re sitting there wondering, “why doesn’t he write me”, and “waiting around for a response because ‘it’s not my turn’, what does that communicate about you?

  19. Pat-5351 March 20, 2017 Reply

    I would give this article greater weight if it had been written by a man, a man who admits that men value most highly that which they have to strive for, that men are looking for a woman that he values greatly, and has to seek for and act with honor to be able to be with her, a man who would say that a woman chasing after him is not really all that inspiring to him to move forward and fulfill his God given role of being the spiritual head of a family. And a man who admits that men “like” women pursuing them largely because it’s an ego boost to have some girl “after” you, and because it’s far less work for them (having to make calls, and plan dates), and they don’t have to confront rejection from a woman who is fawning over them, and that men often act along the course of least resistance, because it’s easier, whether that is in their highest best interest at the moment, or not.

    So I will answer the question stated by the title: Yes, men DO have to be the pursuers, in advancing the relationship from stage to stage to stage. A woman can send an emote, or a short message, but after that, it’s up to him to advance it further (ex. to write back). It’s for the man to suggest a date (the next step forward). It’s up to him to plan it, and to pay for it. After that, it’s up to him to ask for a second date (same thing). Some mutuality can set in thereafter for a couple that is actually “dating” (a home made dinner, I have 2 tickets to the concert). A woman who chases after a man is never going to know is he talking to me/going out with me/dating me/going steady with me/marrying me because he truly wants to, or because he doesn’t know how NOT to, or you have badgered him so much he just acquiesces because it’s easier in the moment. So sure, say hi or send an emote to some guy you think you would like. If you are dating, sure, invite him to your house for dinner after things are established. But I would never ever advise a woman to push a first phone call, a first date, more dates, meet my parents, we should get married, I will be the driving force behind all our future life. I can’t imagine a worse situation or one more set up for failure than that.

    • Valerie-1238724 March 20, 2017 Reply

      I think it has just as much weight as if a man wrote it as it shares necessary insight. Perhaps the author has a lot of experience talking to men about this? Of course, it can’t hurt to have a man’s point of view on this in a separate article.

      It is simply not true that men need to be the pursuers, and it’s an antiquated and sexist one. Read the article again, as I think you’ve missed all her points. What she says about our current society is true. It’s not fair to expect men to fulfill a role they aren’t aware of, nor one that is being taught. There are plenty of happy marriages where the woman has pursued, in whatever form that may be.

      • JuliAnn-117132 March 20, 2017 Reply

        I think know you need to hear what some of the male dating coaches say about this. Women leading is not a good idea. You can start with Bern Mendez. His language can get colorful. Or start with Matthew Boggs. Both are on you tube.

        When we chase, our masculine energy is front and center and that is a turnoff for me.

        I’m with Patrick on this.

        • JuliAnn-117132 March 20, 2017 Reply

          Ugh I’m with Pat on this.

        • Iyke-1428112 March 21, 2017 Reply

          Just my opinion, but I think Pat’s post contradicts itself. I was going to explain how, but I think another poster has covered this already. However I still want to add that one can not argue an opinion as though it is fact. I think we all need to remember we are discussing opinions here. Everyone is going to have a different opinion and trying to make all men or women fill a role just isn’t going to work.

          Here is an example “men value most highly that which they have to strive for”. This has been stated as though it is fact, but it is only an individual opinion. I for one do not define value this way.

      • JuliAnn-117132 March 20, 2017 Reply

        I think more men need a dating coach to understand their role then.

        Same for women.

      • Dave-146273 March 24, 2017 Reply

        Great response,, imho,, Both Women and Men “Value” things they have to Strive for, that’s just human nature.
        its been written hundreds times,, both Genders like and appreciate a challenge when dating someone as makes them feel like they’re pursuing someone special. However as we All know, it’s the Persons Character and who they are Compatible with us is what keeps two people together.

    • Germaine-703352 March 20, 2017 Reply

      I completely agree with you, Pat!

    • Darin-1415639 March 21, 2017 Reply

      Wow, wrong all over. First you say the article should be from a man. Then you say what the man should have to say. In other words you think we should follow your lead in how to express ourselves.

      And the lead of yours that we should follow is to say that as the men, we should do the leading…

      Even the starting point is wrong, that a man should write the article. It involves how WOMEN should behave. Successful women (and the author’s married btw) are better qualified overall to make that determination than men are.

      Then you go on to decide for men that we should be the pursuers… Actually successful men are better qualified to make that determination than women are. So you have authored on a subject that is better written by a man.

      How do you refute the following?
      A man who chases after a woman is never going to know is she talking to me/going out with me/dating me/going steady with me/marrying me because she truly wants to, or because she doesn’t know how NOT to, or you have badgered her so much she just acquiesces because it’s easier in the moment. So sure, say hi or send an emote to some girl you think you would like. If you are dating, sure, invite her for dinner after things are established. But I would never ever advise a man to push a first phone call, a first date, more dates, meet my parents, we should get married, I will be the driving force behind all our future life. I can’t imagine a worse situation or one more set up for failure than that.

      • Patrick-341178 March 21, 2017 Reply

        I don’t know. How do you refute it? it seems like common sense. I think saying this article should have been from a man is just her opinion. I am not sure why that got you so riled up?

        • Darin-1415639 March 21, 2017 Reply

          Hmm, interesting I came across as riled up. I thought I gave a very logical reply…
          You seem to have missed that I pretty much echoed what she said with the genders reversed.

          • Darin-1415639 March 21, 2017 Reply

            I mean after the refute question, it was pretty much an echo with the genders reversed.

    • Patrick-341178 March 21, 2017 Reply

      Yes, I agree. It doesn’t happen often but I’ve had a few situations where it seems like a woman is chasing me. It is creates a bit of an awkward, uncomfortable feeling. And in some of those cases, it has been women who I was actually interested in, but felt the need to pull back. I wouldn’t go as far as saying a woman should NEVER contact a man unless it is in response, but atleast in the early going, it is better for a man to be the chaser and not the chase-ee.

  20. Chris-1424393 March 20, 2017 Reply

    The Church is wholly separate from our cultural norms. Thanks to women’s lib the norms are somewhat upset and many Catholic women seem to prefer the more traditional norms while others don’t. I was raised not to hold a door open for a woman, per se, as there had been negative reaction by some (so I’m told). I think all of us have to just go for what we want. With the dating market as it is, most women cannot expect to be be exclusively pursued, choosing only their favorite pick of the litter. Most men have choices. While I understand women fear getting burned by showing interest, men get burned all the time by showing interest and our society normalizes that rejection. Getting a constant round of “no” isn’t fun and it can get demoralizing.
    Prior to joining CM, I asked out one woman (an extrovert) and she said yes but quickly amended that she already had a boyfriend so she’s not interested romantically. Regardless, she still agreed to go for coffee just to talk and that meant a lot to me. I won’t pursue her but her kindness just to meet and talk made the rejection hurt a lot less. If more women were generous like that it would be easier to continue to ask. I’d recommend more women let a nice guy down easy and perhaps encourage more men, generally, to take a chance on you.

    • Steven-1399777 March 20, 2017 Reply

      Dear Chris,

      I enjoyed your comment and can identify with your feelings. There is no reward without some risk involved, I’d suggest not taking personally it as rejection and demoralizing anymore than a streetlight turning red as you approach it.

      On the very rare chance that you are receiving a constant round of ‘no’; I am a college professor, once one of my students taped my lecture. I was curious, so I asked to view it. I was surprised how many times I said ‘um’. A little self reflection can be enlightening, on occasion.

      Also, go ahead and hold doors for everyone. Men, women, young, old… Kindness is never wrong.

      • Valerie-1238724 March 20, 2017 Reply

        Yes, thank you. Too often on dating sites, I have seen men get bitter and lash out at women through their profiles because they’ve been rejected so many times. Self-reflection is definitely necessary. In the case of these embittered men, they were facing constant rejection because they refused to make basic and necessary changes to both their profiles and how they approach women. A woman will not want to even speak with a man who comes off as threatening or dangerous (not just physically)…even if he doesn’t mean to.

        I highly recommend that men ask several women they know and trust to review their profiles AND their photos. If they say to change or remove something, do it! Women are their own community; when one of us is threatened or scared, we all are even if we don’t know her well. The bond between women is one that shouldn’t be made light of.

        • Darin-1415639 March 21, 2017 Reply

          No… way… If a woman says to change or remove something, then DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO do it!
          Let me ask you Valerie, if you are the manager of a store, and a customer says to change something about your business, are you going to do it? Or are you going to consider the input in the light of your status as the manager? You need to make the decision, not the customer.
          Managers: Pay more attention to the successful managers than to the customers.
          Men: Pay more attention to the successful men than to the women.

        • Steven-1399777 March 22, 2017 Reply

          I’m not sure what Chris as said or done that can be identified as ‘threatening or dangerous’. Would you please clarify?

          • Darin-1415639 March 22, 2017 Reply

            She wasn’t talking about Chris. She was first agreeing with you about not reacting badly to rejection, and then giving some of her own input about it. Her own input was about how she saw that certain men were reacting, and the effect of that reaction on women. “I have seen men…”

            Now I can be more relaxed that people so often misunderstand what I write. I keep questioning myself and my own communication ability, but now someone else writes something that to me looks as clear as day, and it’s misunderstood.

            So maybe I’m not doing so badly… Yay!

    • Joseph-1167946 March 24, 2017 Reply

      Well said! I agree! I only hope women actually listen to this.

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