It’s accurate, but is it actually a healthy outlook for women?
By Ossiana Tepfenhart — Written on Jun 01, 2023
Photo: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A / Shutterstock
Occasionally, I peep ideas that other people are talking about when it comes to dating. The biggest phrase I’m seeing these days is, “If he wanted to, he would.”
It’s plastered on TikToks featuring hyper-romantic moments where men shower women with gifts. It’s on Female Dating Strategy posts. It’s also on YouTube videos about why women need to stop trying to get men to do things.
I both like and hate this phrase, and I feel there needs to be a valid explanation of why. This phrase is a new and updated form of “he’s not that into you,” and that’s what grinds my gears.
To a point, the phrase is absolutely true about certain things.
Have you ever tried to get a guy to romance you when he wasn’t into it? Yeah, I have, too. I’ve been the girl to try to convince a man to marry her. I’ve been the one to explain, in detail, that he should be romancing me.
Let me explain something from personal experience: a man who does not want to marry a woman will never do it. If he’s not pushing for marriage or keeps trying to scuttle the issue, he doesn’t want to marry, period. Full stop.
Nothing a woman can do will convince a man to be with her if he doesn’t want to be with her. The same can be said about a man who doesn’t want to romance her. Nothing will convince him to do it, and in most cases, he’ll just take advantage of you trying to show that you’re worth it.
Bad as it sounds, a man who is into a woman wants her to be happy but also wants to be committed to her. And unfortunately, that kind of attraction cannot be negotiated, worked towards or pleaded into.
So, in that sense, “If he wanted to, he would,” is 100 percent right.
The problem with this is that it often low-key puts the burden on women.
Like, this is a major mindf*** that I think all women have felt because of how society frames things. Somehow, men never get held accountable for their actions in dating. It’s not just a sexual assault thing. It’s also a “doing nice things” issue too.
Women are supposed to be the ones to get guys to marry them or romance them, and if they somehow don’t get that result, they’re treated like they’re “defective.” At times, it’s easy to internalize that.
To a point, I think a lot of predatory men realize women blame themselves for men’s refusal to romance them. It’s hard not to see guys refuse to do nice things to you and wonder, “Maybe I’m broken. Why don’t guys want me? Maybe if I do more, he’ll think I’m worthy.”
And that’s the issue. If you are trying to explain why a guy isn’t calling/truly dating/marrying you, the last thing you want to feel is that you’re not enough. More importantly, having that feeling can make you act desperate and insecure — a vibe that actually would push away Mr. Right.
Moreover, sometimes, men literally can’t shower women with gifts as those TikToks suggest.
Do most women love the idea of being showered with presents and romantic outings? Absolutely. Are most men interested in doing that with women? From my experience, not really.
But are there men who want to do that but can’t? Absolutely. Like, not to be this guy, but have you seen the economy? Sorry, most men are not going to be able to afford a $600 flower arrangement or a trip to a luxury spa.
So on that hand, no, not all men who want to be that guy can be. But that doesn’t really excuse a lack of courtship or romance. It’s not unreasonable to want to have a partner who does special little things to make you feel appreciated. That’s a cornerstone of love!
Can most men afford a $20 bouquet, though? Yep. They can. Can they afford cheap dollar-store candles with a picnic by the lake? Yes, and the right woman would appreciate that just as much as a $600 bouquet because it shows effort.
It’s also not unreasonable (contrary to what society may suggest) to expect your man to clean up after himself or get therapy if he has issues. Moreover, it’s not unreasonable to ask for commitment — including marriage.
We need to stop treating men like these fragile little infants who need to be cajoled and taught to treat others decently. They’re not kids. They’re men and they need to be functional, empathetic, caring adults if they want a healthy relationship.
A better way of looking at this is that the guy is broken if he can’t put in the effort for a relationship.
Are you the type of girl who will pull her weight in a relationship? Do you treat guys well? Are you financially stable and healthy? Great. In that case, it’s safe to assume that the man that can’t even be arsed to plan something nice once in a while is too much of a loser for you.
It’s not you. It’s the guy. Whether he’s just uninterested or just a lazy turd doesn’t matter. Him not even bothering to try to make a night enjoyable for you is 1,000 percent on him. Him not committing is 1,000 percent on him.
Contrary to the narrative that society foists on women, there is nothing a woman can do to make a man fall in love with her. Attraction isn’t negotiable — and that’s true for both women and men.
The best thing you can do? It’s simple. It’s to recognize that you’re not the problem, that you need to cut the moron loose and to let him realize that he missed out. Oh, and don’t look back.
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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.