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What Attracts Women to Men: The Psychology

Man in white t-shirt carrying woman in white dress on his back

It’s a question often asked: What attracts women to men? Are some guys just born naturally attractive to women, or is it how a man lives his life that makes him attractive?

Today I’m going to bust THE big myth about what attracts women to men, and give you the straight up honest truth.

You’ll learn the underlying psychology of why women are attracted to certain things men do, and I’ll be showing you how you can use this knowledge to understand why there are so many popular misconceptions about attraction.

Why Is Attraction Such a Complex Issue These Days?

The problem is this:

1) Attraction is a genetic thing – women are programmed to respond to certain qualities like height, dominance, confidence, and so on

Historically (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of years) the men who possessed these qualities produced offspring with a higher chance of survival than men who didn’t, and as a result these men were responsible for a greater percentage of surviving children. The increased success rate was probably something marginal, but over hundreds of thousands of years, even a marginal advantage becomes extremely noticeable and widespread throughout a species.

2) This genetic programming is based on what works in an environment that is VERY different from the environment we live in now

We no longer have to run from predators, hunt and forage for food, and engage in conflict with neighbouring tribes. Things that were typically a disadvantage aren’t such a big deal anymore – people who would’ve been left for dead can now be productive, successful members of society who can provide for a family.

Although you don’t really need to be your classic alpha male type to survive and do well these days, the ancient attraction programming remains intact and pushes women towards guys who behave this way. Don’t go try to be an alpha male though – what you think it means and what it actually is are likely two very different things.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but being attractive is something you can learn to do by paying attention to your beliefs, behaviours, body language, and putting at least a bit of effort into being decent looking.

The modern attractive man isn’t some super aggressive juice head whose life motto is “never back down”. He’s just a normal guy who’s comfortable with who he is: confident, well put together, and willing to put the work in to actually go out and meet people.

The Big Attraction Myth: You Need Things Like Height, Money, and Social Status to Be Attractive to Women

I know I just said women are genetically predisposed to want these things, and it might seem like I’m contradicting myself here. Especially since in our own personal experience we often see the most attractive women with tall, rich, successful men. Actors, business owners, executives, guys with nice houses and fast cars.

The reason why it SEEMS like height, looks, social status, and money attract women is a common cognitive error: a misunderstanding of correlation and causality. Causality means one thing causes another, like being rich causing women to like you. Correlation means one thing is linked to another thing, like rich men being more likely to have attractive women with them, but not necessarily because of their wealth.

Now, there are of course some women who will only date men above a certain height, income level, and so on, but the majority of women aren’t like this.

So why would we believe things like money, social status, and so on are correlates rather than causes?

The reason is rooted in the way women identify these traits in men. If women are attracted to men with status and wealth, an effective evolutionary strategy for men would be to fake these traits. Producing offspring with a faker could be disastrous for the woman; a faker likely does not have adequate resources and social influence to provide for her offspring.

To counter this, women must be able to differentiate between the men who genuinely have wealth and social status, and those who are faking. One way to do this is by developing a heightened sense of social perception and recognizing what successful man behaviour looks like compared to the behaviour of an imitator. The behaviours become the primary source of attraction.

Women are not attracted directly to wealth and status, but to the behaviours indicating a man genuinely has wealth and status.

This provides the explanation for why it seems like wealth, status, and height matter so much. If you were suddenly made better looking, a few inches taller, and inherited a billion dollars, would you behave the same way you do now? Of course not! You’d instantly be more confident, more relaxed, happier, less stressed out, and so on.

Women pick up on these behaviours, and it’s these behaviour patterns that are at the core of attraction, not the wealth and status itself.

Can a Lot of Confidence Overcome Deficiencies in Height/Wealth/Looks/etc.?

It can definitely increase your chances, but you still need to do what you can to make yourself more attractive. Eating right and getting in shape will not only help you look better, it will make you a hundred times more confident. Just because women will still date you if you drive a beater, doesn’t mean they don’t prefer a BMW.

In short, confidence helps, but no woman is going to stick around for very long if you have no ambition, passion, or direction in life. You might get laid, but why would a smart, attractive, fun woman stay with a confident but lazy man when there’s tons of confident ambitious guys out there?

There’s just no excuse to not have your shit together. It’s not so much about being super rich and having washboard abs as it is not having any glaring deficiencies. As long as you’re reasonably in shape, well groomed, drive something not about to break down, and have a clean place of your own, you’re doing fine.

Why is Confidence Such a Big Part of Being an Attractive Man?

Essentially, confidence is about being yourself. It’s about being congruent and able to authentically express who you are without worrying about what people think. People who lack confidence, who are socially awkward, who are afraid to speak their mind, what they’re doing is broadcasting to the world that they’re willing to stifle their own impulses and desires for the sake of social acceptance.

This indicates they’re not used to being socially dominant and enforcing their worldview, that they may have been subject to social rejection in the past, or maybe they’re not typically successful and their fear of failure causes doubt and hesitation.

Men who are naturally attractive to women aren’t all super smooth James Bond types, in fact I don’t know many people like that at all. The guys I do know who are quiet and serious but still get laid are very good looking, and they succeed in spite of their personality, not because of it.

Most guys who are really good with women are the guys who are fun to be around. They’re not afraid to show their goofy, quirky side. They’re adventurous and outgoing. For a real life example of a guy who isn’t good looking but has an attractive personality, look at someone like Seth Rogan. He’s the type of guy women say they have a “weird crush” on, the type who isn’t good looking, but is still attractive.

5 Tips for Being More Physically Attractive to Women

Remember, you don’t need to be some fit, super suave looking playboy (trying too hard usually backfires), you just need to look like you put at least a bit of effort in.

1) Develop a style that reflects who you are

Don’t just wear random clothes, think about what sort of image you want to project. When women look at you, what do they see? Try to imagine yourself from your ideal woman’s perspective: if you were your ideal woman, would you date you? Does your style reflect the unique person you are, or are you just another average guy?

2) Go to the gym at least once per week

Even if you’re in decent shape, go to the gym! You’ll look better, but more importantly you’ll feel better. If you aren’t in shape, this is even more important.

3) Get a good haircut

Find a proper salon in your area. You might not notice the difference between a cheap and an expensive haircut, but I guarantee you women do. A well trained stylist who’s good at his/her job will know what kind of haircut suits your face, and they’ll do a much better job. You can get great haircuts in most major cities for around $45.

4) Work on your body language

It’s so important but so hard to notice yourself. I recommend filming yourself talking to see how much you fidget, what your expression and eye contact is like, if you sway back and forth, and so on. Read up on body language and try to become more aware of how you move. It’ll be awkward at first, but you’ll adjust.

5) Make sure you’re groomed

No nose/ear hair, keep your beard trimmed. Nothing wrong with a beard, but don’t just let it grow wildly. If you have bad skin, see a doctor or try a few different skin care products. Get rid of the unibrow, even if it’s just a few stubbly hairs between your eyes. Coordinate your facial hair with your haircut.

5 Tips for Developing an Attractive Personality

This is a much tougher process than being physically attractive. Reason being: the key to being emotionally attractive is being yourself, but hardly anyone understands how exactly to do this. It doesn’t help that so many sources tell you NOT to be yourself, and give you advice about acting smooth that just makes you look like a dickwad.

1) Define yourself

An interesting fact: demographics (location, income level, etc.) are the best predictor of what a person will believe. When you ask most people what they believe, what they value, what they want out of life and why, they can’t tell you. Knowing what you want and having a direction in life that’s congruent with who you are is wildly attractive. Women love a man who knows what he wants and goes after it.

2) Be comfortable alone

Neediness is one of the worst, most unattractive qualities a guy can have. Make sure you spend time being alone and not passively consuming media. Sitting around watching TV or creeping facebook isn’t what I mean. I’m talking about reading, thinking, meditating, being in touch with who you are. We’re exposed to so much social pressure and influence that it takes a conscious effort to shed all off and discover who we are and what we want.

3) Eliminate negative or limiting beliefs

Do you believe you’re incapable, unworthy, not cool? Do you feel, deep down, like you deserve the lifestyle you want? The woman you want? Or do you secretly feel like the women you want are out of your league? Like the job, house, car, type of life you want are out of reach? Trace these beliefs to their roots. Why do you believe those things? Are they valid reasons? Could you be giving certain people or events too much weight when it comes to determining your value as a person? Ultimately, it’s about living up to your own expectations, not anyone else’s.

4) Practice self-awareness and authentic expression

Become aware of how you behave, what you say and do. Are these things in line with your beliefs and desired life direction? Imagine who you’d like to be, and make a conscious effort to be that person on a daily basis. Speak your mind and act on your desires – don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about what you believe or what you want. Attractive men are willing to risk rejection or criticism to get the things they want in life.

5) Practice lifestyle design

If there are particular things about your life you want to improve, like making more money, being more fit, meeting new people, learning a new skill, and so on, write those things down and make a plan for reaching them. Having goals you’re working towards brings about a lot of different benefits: confidence when you reach them, a sense of purpose while you’re working on them, and a sense of achievement and self-worth that comes with having a plan for your life.

By March 31, 2020 January 5th, 2022 Blog, Psychology & Relationships

Author Ryan

More posts by Ryan

Join the discussion 55 Comments

  • Richard Thorpe says:

    Good answer, Ryan!
    Jen had me in a panic for a minute, until I read your great reply.
    I’m just heading into a divorce and , being the wrong side of forty, with less hair than I’d like , I was a little concerned. Not now.

    • Ryan says:

      Don’t let negative people get to you, there’s a lot more to attraction than the height/money/looks BS.

      I met my fiance in 2009. I was 20 years old, got laid off the month before we met, drove a rusty 1992 Honda Civic, weighed 135 lbs, I lived in my mom’s basement, had no education, and no career prospects. I’m 5’6″, by the way.

      Pretty much the epitome of the most undateable guy possible.

      We moved out, I went to school, started a business, put on 20 lbs of healthy weight, got a better car, started dressing nicer, and grew my career. Still haven’t figured out how to get taller though.

      All that stuff helped a lot, but the most important thing is she was still attracted to me when I had nothing.

      Don’t worry about your hair or your age or any other stuff people try to blame when their life isn’t working out.

      Control the things you can, then focus on developing your personality and you’ll be fine.

      • abhi says:

        nice one man,
        dont forget if one can make his girl happy like make her laugh
        that all it is to it

      • Joel says:

        Hey Ryan, just one question. How and where did you meet your fiance?

      • Andy says:

        I agree with Ryan,

        Just to add as well coming from a 31 year old. If you want to ensure that you find women who are into you for your personality. Try to keep your external qualities like your profession, displays of wealth and skills to a minimum.

        Every girl I’ve been with in the past who I met through my salsa place that I frequent all ended up moving on to better things the minute a man with better social status came in sight. It was then that I realised that their attraction for me was less about who I actually was and mainly because I was a great salsa dancer.

        With women, it’s all a game of status. Of course, the quickest and easiest way is through wealth, power and displays of excellence as it’s passive. But this can also be demonstrated using your personality or what most people coin as “Verbal Game”.

        The biggest challenge is in making yourself believe that who you are is enough and that no man with a flashier car, better job or nicer apartment is better than you. This is especially hard when the girl you love gravitates towards this new guy as you begin doubting yourself, which affects your self-worth.

        With regards to Jen’s comment. She’s not wrong with her statement. I would assume she’s a woman in her 30’s who has no time to look for a man with ambition and wants a man who’s already set and ready to support her future kids. Women in this age bracket are basically impatient. Why would an attractive man bother with a woman like this when he can easily date a younger, more attractive girl without a ticking biological clock with less baggage?

        Women in this age group simply can’t afford to be this picky.

        • Ingmar says:

          Really not attracted to these kind of women, but to ones who are confident, with an interesting personality, not insecure and after men’s wealth and status. That’s why I’m always sincerely interested in knowing them before letting myself go.
          I think Jen is just a spiteful and negative person, there are men and women like this.

    • Danielle says:

      This is not true. This is sexist and assuming at the least. I am a woman. Let me tell you what it attractive. It’s subjective to what woman is determining. For me, it’s the opposite of most of these. I love a man who is in growth minded, in touch with his feminism (much better in bed). And loves to explore the world (loves novelty). Grounds himself in respect, dignity and loyalty. And loves children, and doesn’t hit his own.. isn’t abusive. Dream man… and I have one 🫶

  • Jack says:

    Good, sensible observations from Ryan. I like that you’re not proposing some bizarre, complicated system of hypnotic alpha-male pick-up tricks. I’d have to say my own experience corresponds very much with what you’re saying.

    I was always lacking in “confidence” with women. I’m 5′ 6″ and therefore “short.” And to make things worse, lost my hair in my mid-to-late twenties. I was then forced to either (a) feel depressed, frustrated and sorry for myself or (b) get over it, accept who I was and just get on with life.

    In the spirit of rebellion, I chose (b). Part of this was my rejection of the whole notion of “confidence.” My attitude was this: I don’t have confidence, I don’t know what it looks like, I don’t know what it feels like – in fact I suspect it’s about as real as the tooth fairy. Meantime, I want to live my life to the full and I don’t have time to wait for this mythical “confidence” to show up. You know what? F**k confidence. I’m going to do what I want to do without it. Confidence can catch up with me if it wants to – assuming it even exists.

    Bizarrely, it was at this time that I started to have pretty steady success with women. And it was with this kind of attitude: being very clear (to myself) about what I wanted, and acting on it openly and without worrying about whether I had “permission.” It’s actually very good fun once you get into the swing of it. Most women are actually very friendly and good fun to talk to – even if they don’t necessarily want to go out with you. And this brings me onto the subject of “Jen.”

    Read her post. Take on board its negativity, its contempt, its viciousness. Imagine the mentality of a person who takes the time to write something like that in a public forum. Because it’s absolutely real. There are genuinely some women like that out there. Just like there are some vile, cowardly men out there who abuse women, here you have an example of a truly unpleasant, cowardly woman who, in this instance seeks to belittle and undermine any man that may be reading this page.

    But you don’t need to worry: women like Jen are in a minority and are very easy to spot. They are to be avoided and their comments to be laughed at. As Jen herself points out, “everyone” she knows thinks like she does. That’s because these like-minded individuals hang around together (and tear each other to shreds – they’re just as vicious towards women as they are towards men). And these kinds of women get a very nasty shock later in life when they suddenly find that the “hottest guy in the room” prefers some one younger. And the likes of Jen find themselves having to rely on their personality alone in their fight for male attention. Whoops! So you don’t need to worry about them getting their come-uppance: life will take care of that.

    The good news is that there are many fantastic women out there who are nothing at all like Jen and her “friends.” There are women out there who are attractive, intelligent and have a sense of humour. They’re the ones that deserve our attention!

  • ishmaelghetto says:

    i really took my time to read,it is so true.
    i do agree to that.
    #you got my respect

  • Royal says:

    Another thing.

    Girls (and guys) who try to make the opposite gender insecure are usually the most insecure themselves.

    I have seen guys put down pretty girls and make them feel ugly, as a way to lower their confidence, to make it easier to hold on to them. When they are fully aware, the reality is opposite.

    Women do the same to Men. Women will also try to lower the confidence of men they feel insecure of.

    So, the irony is that while “confidence is attractive.” Insecure people will try to lower your confidence deliberately.


    Very useful information been provided in this article,before approaching woman ,according to the situation things can be worked out

  • Tyler says:

    Some degree wealth and looks…they are attractive…but they are a priority to a specific type of woman: often ones who overly interested in their own status and appearance and sacrifice exploring themselves or being real with people. There is nothing more attractive than a happy person. A person who talks to people and listens without interruption. A person who questions everything and is playful in their life. A person who is confident that the future will provide and therefore the present must be enjoyed. When two people like that meet, they create children who change the world. When the world changes, then the game the “hot”, “cool” or “successful” “winners” were playing driven by their repressed insecurities becomes obsolete and they have to play cultural catch-up. We are more likely to pass on our genetics if we are socially strong and not competitively strong and superior. The alpha male is dying. The submissive female along with him. People who go for the fixed route for money don’t have time or energy or passion to try understand the world from their own special perspective. They are often stressed, ignorant and have no real friends…the money could easily be blown in an attempt to buy back the fun they missed, when they snap upon realizing they have wasted their precious time. Money won’t save you from your own demons: many rich people lose their health due to stress or end up addicted to substances that enabled them to work so much and focus on things they have no real interest in other than them being a means to status. Maybe if Jen stuck with the artsy dreamer in the band, she would be enjoying discovering herself and the world rather than trying to fill her emptiness with what she has bought into as the image of success. Then again, she is being honest and of course if you have sold your personality and freedom to become what Jen wants you to be you at least could attract Jen…just don’t be surprised when the kids get to be teenagers she divorces you, takes half youroney and runs off with dude who is half your age…she sings harmony now! 😉

  • Sarah Lund says:

    Not all women are attracted to the typically tall, dark, handsome types. It’s not realistic to think every woman will go for the same thing. For me, it mainly depends on how well I know him, and how much time he’s willing to spend with me. Even if he WAS tall, dark, and handsome, it wouldn’t guarantee that he’d treat me with respect. What if he did a total idiot move on me, by betraying me and my trust? Looks don’t promise a fairytale ending. We have to stop living in the stupid “Disney fairytale land”. It isn’t healthy. Are you going to kick and scream if the guy you want, turns you down? Prince Charming doesn’t really exist. And if he does, well I’ve never come across him. I don’t suddenly assume I’m going to end up with a guy, just because he might look so attractive. If he wants to be with me, he’d make sure he let me know. I had one who presented to love me. He thought I bought into his fake lies. Not surprising, I didn’t stick around, but I’m definitely guessing he’s trying that same pathetic trick on the new women. Some know how to make themselves look false.

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks for your input. To be honest, I’d be surprised if Jen is actually a woman. I’ve seen a lot of men who are so beat down they buy into that type of bullshit and start parroting it themselves.

  • Joey says:

    Highly entertaining post by Jen. I’m glad I stumbled upon this article from a Google search. No high quality man would waste any amount of time on a person that thinks that way.

  • frasi says:

    Wimen like Jen are the ones that get usex, thinking they are using.
    I am everage tall, decent looking, but had the fortune to ereditade a large amount of money from my parents, its unbelivable how easy is to take women like Jen to bed, just because of the money, but who would keep a woman like that around??
    Not me, thanks, once im “done” with them, sayonara, and, believe me, a lot of guys think that way.

    I want more than a woman that stays with me jyst for my money or my look, those are nothing different that prostitutes, no offense.
    No, thanks, not for me, not for more than 1 night.

    • Ingmar says:

      You think you are using a woman with sex? I’d say no, to her, as, as you say it’s like going with a prostitute, knowing it’s for the money. I guess some are of the school that a man never says no and at most only “use” one for sex, because that’s the scoring system for men, while women have another, but tis’ just said, if you only think about it, imagine, it’s easy if you try.

  • Rini says:

    well I thought that was rather educative.iam a 20 year old from India and I feel that what you said are true facts . I personally respond better to a guy who is more confident rather than one who is not. A girl always look for a guy whom she can turn to,not the best looking one but the one who is able to care for her. So in today’s world money does matter but that’s not all.But personally I would rather be with a guy who made something of himself rather than someone who inherited his money from his parents without actually doing anything to get it

  • Sandy says:

    I am an attractive successful woman . I was married twice to very attractive professional men.. I did not become a professional until later in life .. A real woman that is beautiful does not have to bother or worry about finding the right man.. I never had to burden myself or be bothered with the complexity of the mental masturbation of Jen’s analogy ..she may not be attracting men or they do not perceive her type as marriage material .. Maybe just sex .. So I would venture to say Jen if your all that why are you still trolling the bars at 30 ? I was on my second child .
    .oh and my husbands both pursued me .. They saw a woman worthy enough to procreate with ..you must be giving off a foul smell from that rotten thinking you have .. i think you make a hookers more appealing at least the are honest about their intent the reason you are trying so hard is because you have to …men gravitate towards the real deal …still at 50 I have to beat them off with a stick .. Lol a soft fury one .. Lol

  • Jane says:

    I agree with Sandy. Just be yourself. There is someone out there for everyone. If someone only likes you for your looks and money, you probably don’t want someone like that anyway. And if you are the person trying to marry someone just for looks or money, you are selling yourself short. Love has no price tag…but that’s just my opinion. As I said, there’s someone out there for everyone, no matter how ugly or how much of a “gold-digger” they might be.

  • Miguel says:

    What about the alpha-male aproach. Is it wrong. Should you want to be the most dominant person in the room since dominance is a big thing in the animal kingdom. Or maybe a bit more emotional and quirky

    • Ingmar says:

      I don’t think it’s about straight off crude dominance or standing out, it’s more subtle than this. I wouldn’t say justice and fairness ok, but the way to express it in a confident way, non whiny is enough, I think :), even conveying you are above that and you think above that but are not dominated. This if you are not into dominance.

  • That-Skater says:

    Well this is interesting. I guess if women are drawn to tall man that a shame. I guess I’m out picture Haha, I’m only 5’7 and I’m 19, so probably won’t get any taller Haha. Oh well at least my skateboard well still love me.

  • randy says:

    I stopped reading after, “you must have a place of your own.”

  • Er. SUNY says:

    But anatomy;looks;body;eyes;color;teeths;face;neck;ears;ht;wt;frame size matter most since these are hardware kind of
    things( medically;psychologically)-they make chemistry between them to click-it is proved scientific fact!May be that
    equation forms love chemistry or so;but it does! Love at first sight is true because of this–even if man&woman who never
    met in person;but see/saw each other in pictures/video/online get sexually attracted to each other ( why?-due to this).
    Physical attraction towards each other is love.To fall in love&to make love&then to make more love&more love each day –
    that is life:may end in marriage or affair.Note that;things like education;money;dressing;make-up;etc are non-anatomical
    & not hardware ;but things like culture;family;behaviour;dressing;make-up;hair-style;hygine;cleanliness;heart-richness
    (generiousity);education;job;social status etc may act as catalyst or add-in-sugar(but only upto certain point only)Those
    who have seen movies ( ex:Titanic) may understand that all.Love is more a body&heart affair than money-social affair

  • Joe says:

    Most women are very money hungry nowadays since they will Only want the Best of all and will Never settle for Less. They Only want men that have Mega Bucks.

  • Mishel says:

    lmfao, Jen is just one person. her subjective opinion lacks statistical significance. and for all we know, this Jen is just some insecure dude trying to make other guys feel bad about themselves. everyone chill out

  • Ingmar says:

    “This indicates they’re not used to being socially dominant and enforcing their worldview” if by enforcing, you mean imposing I’d not agree, confidence is not about arrogance, non mediation and not putting oneself in discussion or have doubts. But stick to the essential points of the worldview, which, even if it’s about justice and cooperation hence “beta” as model :D, one has to convey being above conforming to the dominant model. Which btw, critical thinking is a quality I also look for in women. it’s essential to me.

  • Paul says:

    Another aspect of this – which is not mentioned in the article – is that men literally have to compete for women’s attention. As a very introverted, extremely shy guy, I just cannot win in the game of dating. I have tried many times (with all sorts of women, not just really beautiful ones), but at age 34 have literally never been on a date. I have many women friends but none of them have any sexual interest in me. Women are just not (and I believe cannot be) sexually attracted to me. My women friends sometimes go out with me as ‘wing-women’ and have no idea why nothing happens when I approach women I find interesting – why there is never a spark. They tell me I have all the standard requirements – physically fit, well-dressed, educated, have a well-paying job in a field I enjoy, have multiple interests, my own place, etc., and that I just have to keep trying. In almost 20 years of trying, nothing has ever happened and I see no point in trying any more because it’s clear to me that I just cannot compete with other guys where arousing women’s sexual interest is concerned.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Paul,

      I’m hearing the same things I hear from clients with high levels of social anxiety. When we grow up hearing “you’re just shy” or “it’s not that bad, you just need to be more positive” it leads to us dismissing our mental health issues and buying into the misguided idea that we’re deficient. It’s why some people are still skeptical about mental health – they’ve already labelled mental health issues as character flaws.

      While it’s true that some people may be more shy or more charismatic than others, putting effort into this area of your life and not getting a date EVER at 34 is a clear sign of something beyond shyness. I think it would be well worth the time to seek out a therapist and explore this issue with them.

  • Doug says:

    Most advice I find on attracting a woman sexually can be boiled down to “Make it clear to her from the beginning you’re interested in her.” Since I am fundamentally unable to do that, I am permanently stuck. It doesn’t matter what other suggestions, steps, tips, etc., say – how apparently obvious they are – I just ***can’t*** do them. I am unable to express sexual interest in any woman – even though it may be driving me crazy. All I ever get is friendship with women I am sexually attracted to because that’s all I am capable of communicating.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Doug,

      Thanks for your comment. I am sorry to hear about your struggles with expressing yourself – of course, my suggestion would be therapy to explore this.

      Something I’ll add though is that I wrote this article around 8 years ago. I have learned so much since then. While the things I wrote in this article are true, my belief now is that most of these factors I originally listed are but a slice in the pie.

      There’s something called “attachment style” or “attachment strategy” that is like a blueprint for how you form and navigate relationships with others. I have found in my clinical work that men who struggle with being eternally stuck in the platonic friend role seem to struggle with particular attachment strategies. All this means is that the lessons they learned from their families about how to navigate relationships and express their feelings tends to cause them to behave in ways leading to platonic rather than romantic relationships.

      Primarily, they tend to be people pleasers, passive, agreeable, etc. They suppress their own thoughts and feelings for the sake of placating others, fitting in, and avoiding conflict. I want to emphasize that this is an over simplification. When I look at the family history of these men, they typically did not have a family that allowed them to express. They *had* to stifle themselves to fit in with their family, e.g. due to a dominant and overbearing parent/sibling, absent parent, and/or abusive parent.

      Some of these men remain passively in this state, unable to connect to themselves. They suffer the pain of isolation and may experience things like anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

      Others build anger and resentment – leading to “nice guy” syndrome – a sense of entitlement towards women, with a belief that being nice is the equivalent of sex tokens that should win them a prize in the end. In extreme cases, this hostility towards women for not “giving them a chance” can lead to membership in radical men’s groups and even violence against women.

      I am not saying either of these are accurate depictions of you, but these are patterns I have noticed when I see men presenting with concerns similar to the one you have shared here. I hope you are able to sort through this – regardless of cause, relationship issues are almost always rooted in attachment.

      Regardless of whether or not it produces the results you’re after, investigating your attachment strategies with an attachment informed therapist will be helpful to you and expose a whole new layer of how you function in relationships. If you find a really good therapist and put in the work, it’s legitimately like seeing the Matrix – reading your own code governing your behaviour in the background of your subconscious, causing patterns you consciously don’t want.

      Best of luck to you.

  • name withheld says:

    Came across this site while trying to get in touch with myself as a reasonably tall 6’2” guy considered good looking and I tend to agree with much what was written, however my issue stems from an off and on again relationship with a beautiful intelligent woman who is 6’1” and everything is great until she wears those 5” heels, yes she’s drop dead gorgeous and I can’t or won’t say anything about how it makes me feel and I know there are times she’ll sense my being uncomfortable and she seems to have no problem with this artificial height difference, why should I? I just can’t get in
    control at times of these emotions and honestly I love her so much and I know/feel she loves me as she has said, why can’t I get past this? I don’t want to lose her. I did try therapy once, apparently without success.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Name Withheld,

      Thanks for your comment!

      You are incredibly tall – if you’re here in Canada, 6’2″ means you are in the top 5% of tallest men.

      A few things jumped out at me when I was reading your comment:

      -You are used to being the tallest person in the room, and for a woman to be taller than you sounds like a very foreign experience. I wonder about the meaning you attach to being a tall man, or to being taller than your partner. Is being taller than your partner tied to your masculinity, confidence, security sense of safety? It would be interesting to explore your relationship with your height

      -You “can’t or won’t say anything about how it makes me feel” is suuuuper interesting. The way you phrase this suggests to me that you don’t come from a family where talking about insecurities and troubling feelings is normalized and acceptable. I wonder about your relationship with scary feelings – doubt, shame, insecurity, fear, and how these were approached throughout your life. I also wonder what would happen if you tried expressing yourself to your partner. Is she going to react differently from the people you have grown up around or been with romantically in the past? What would that be like for you?

      -Why would you lose her because sometimes you feel insecure when she wears 5″ heels? I wonder if you have fears that people will abandon you if you aren’t the tallest, the best, the perfect guy? How much of the time you spend together is she in 5″ heels, and how important is it to her? Are her expectations realistic? If she’s 6’6″ in heels, only 1 in 3,600 men are taller than her. Is this something she is putting on you or something you are putting on yourself?

      -Therapy is like dating in the sense that it usually takes time and effort to find the right person. Therapy is not like mechanical repair. A therapist can have the skills and training to help, but if they aren’t the right person for you, therapy won’t be effective. Research shows that the most important factor in therapeutic success is the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist. It could be your former therapist wasn’t informed in the necessary areas to assist you, it could be that their style wasn’t right for you, could be you didn’t click, could be you weren’t ready. There are so many variables here that it’s tough to say, but realistically you can expect to try therapy several times before finding a good fit.

      -Consider looking at something called “attachment styles”. Your comment isn’t much to go off, but if I HAD to guess right now, I’d guess that you aren’t someone used to being vulnerable and expressing your feelings, and that being shorter than a woman causes you to feel insecure. Without a history of navigating uncomfortable feelings, this feeling of insecurity sticks to you and can’t go anywhere. I’d want to look at the different things outlined above and see what comes up and where we could go.

      Good luck Name Withheld!

  • Marshall says:

    Whatever it takes to for a man to attract a woman – I don’t have it and can’t get it. People say I need to express interest in women I find attractive, but since women decide what is / isn’t offensive and I am not willing to risk being accused just because I smile / say hello to a woman, doing so is not an option. As a fundamentally unattractive man, I have no choice but to keep my feelings to myself and never say anything.

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