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(Editor's Note, this letter was written before Doc's death in August, 2020 but still relevant as Doc's principles are timeless).
This question comes from a personal experience that, in my opinion, is not dealt with fully in “The System.”
You've stated that if a woman flirts with another man, it's actually over. If that happens, her Interest Level has plummeted and the writing's on the wall. But what if the woman repeatedly, over a period of months and at work, flirts with only one other man, tells you about it, swears that she has no intention of taking it any further than “play-flirting,” but admits she has always found herself attracted to him and that she gets a schoolgirl giddiness out of it even after months of this “playing?”
How can a man determine whether his woman is truly just “playing” in a single ongoing flirtation to indulge her need for kicks, or just hanging on to her current boyfriend until she can set up a new dating situation with the object of her play-flirting?
Too complicated? Anyway, it happened to one other buddy before it happened to me with my girlfriend, Serena.
Thanks for your great work. But I don't think that getting dates is all we should focus on -- we also need to know when to stop dating a particular woman and how to acquire perspective, right?
Dawson - who needs to know how to handle it
Before we get into your problem, let me ask you a question. Why is that you don’t come to me and say, “You know, Doc, this topic is probably covered in your book, but I wasn’t able to see it. Would you please help me out? Would you please help me to understand better?”
In other words, when you’re asking for free advice from a coach, rather than say it’s not dealt with – when in fact it is dealt with in my book, and in considerable depth – why don’t you approach with hat in hand, be humble, and show a little graciousness? The point is, Dawson, that I really don’t care about your opinion. You should see all the letters I get from guys saying that I’ve changed their lives, and not only in the area of dating women. This obtuseness tells me that you probably just read the Dating Dictionary once – and lightly at that. And like I’ve told you guys many times before, unless you read it 20 times, you’re not going to get it.
But let’s look at your situation anyway. You quote me as saying that it’s over if your girl flirts with another man. Perfect! You hit it right on the head! It’s possible that Serena has high Interest Level in you but that she’s untrustworthy. Do you want to live with a woman you can’t trust? Or she might have high Interest Level in you, but one man isn’t enough for her, so she has to flirt with other guys because she’s needy. Like my cousin Doctor Love says, “Do you really want a babe who’d rather be with the rugby team than you?”
But I have to hand it to your girl, Dawson. She sold you some story. In fact, it was so good that she should win a Salesperson Of The Year Award for telling you up front that she’s flirting but that it’s only “play-flirting” and doesn’t mean a thing. And the sad part is that you bought it.
Dawson, I got news for you: play-flirting is still flirting. I don’t care what word Serena puts in front of “flirting,” it’s still the same thing. Like my Uncle Jethro Love says, “If it looks like a snake, and hisses like a snake, by golly, it’s a snake!”
On top of it, she came right out and told you that she’s attracted to the other guy. Wow, man -- what more do you need? Somehow because she puts the word “play” in front of it you act like you don’t even know what the word “flirting’ means. This babe is flirting with someone she’s obviously got the hots for and you’re distorting it into an example of her not flirting. Uh – come again?
Serena’s either flirting or she’s not flirting -- that’s all there is to it. You’re trying to find another alternative here and there just isn’t one. Like the great Doctor Freud once said, “It is what it is.”
Now, regarding whether or not she’s just playing head games or trying to set another guy up to start dating him, think of it this way. You’re strolling down the beach with Serena and some dude comes up to her and starts telling her how beautiful she is. But instead of saying thanks for the compliment but you’re coming on to me and I already have a boyfriend, she laps up all the attention like a starving cat while you’re off buying the Coca-Colas. Why? Because like I said, one guy isn’t enough for her.
Complicated? It isn’t complicated at all, Dawson. It’s actually very simple. What you’re doing is RATIONALIZING your girl’s actions. And like I just said, it is what it is. Hey, guy, this kind of thing happens to lots of buddies. What does that have to do with anything? Your mess is just one more example of a guy rationalizing a female’s behavior, and how twisted the rationalizing can become. You’re willing to do anything to try and keep Serena. Worse, you’re willing to do anything to not face the reality of the situation.
To you Psych majors, in the beginning you have to focus only on dates. When it comes to the opposite sex, you’re only in the first grade, Dawson. You can’t earn a PH.D. until you’ve gone through every grade to get there. You will eventually grow into a man and you’ll learn about the long term and the maintenance program to keep a woman in love with you, but only after you take the first baby steps.
Dude, you skimmed my book once. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve packed 35 years worth of experience interviewing thousands of women into the pages of that book. You haven’t absorbed all of this wisdom by a long shot. You’ve only just scratched the surface; you’ve got a long, long way to go. Just do everything I say, don’t think, and don’t cherry-pick. Like my cousin Rabbi Love says, “My son, I have to wonder: were you born yesterday?”
Dawson, you’ve got to go over and over and over my book, otherwise you’ll never get it. The reality is that the book goes far beyond just getting dates.
Remember, guys: if she needs to flirt with someone else, you don’t want to be her boyfriend.
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