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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).
I’m 23 and I started reading “The System” two years ago. My older brother, who had just recently married, gave me his copy of your book after his wedding and told me to read it and learn from it. At the time I was involved with Lisette and thought, “Why the heck do I need a dating book?” But I read it and found it really interesting. The principles worked and things seemed to be going just fine between us. I was a Challenge. We both had our own circle of friends and kept things fresh.
I started dating Lisette when I was 21 and she was 18. It was young love. She always talked about marriage and she even wanted me to move in with her when we were both attending university in the same city. I thought we were too young, and told her it was best to take things slow and put an emphasis on school first.
About nine months ago, Lisette decided that she wanted to try new things, and since she was moving away for a university work-term, she decided we needed some time apart and to see other people. I was floored. Since then I’ve been using “The System” extensively and having real success with it. I am enjoying the company of plenty of nice women. The problem is that Lisette is home and she wants back in. I know your rule is to never go back with an “ex.”
When Lisette split, she still wanted to be friends, but I declined, and eliminated her from my life. It was tough, but we never spoke from the day she broke up with me, until a few weeks ago when she came back to town. She wanted to go out for coffee and I said “No!” Then I got an e-mail from her pouring her heart out, saying she never dated anyone else when she was away and that she made the biggest mistake of her life.
What should I do, Doc? I know that the rule is to never go back with an ex, and I also know that you warn us about women in the 18-22 range because like guys in that age range they aren't sometimes ready for a long-term relationships. My life is good, and I don’t have bad memories from my relationship with Lisette, except the sour taste from the break-up. Should I delete her e-mail? Or should I go for coffee and see for myself?
Dirk - who has to admit he’s curious
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Let me tell you something. My book is not just about dating -- it’s also about keeping a man’s wife happy. Why your brother gave you his copy of my book I’ll never understand.
It was perfect that you told Lisette that the two of you were way too young to get involved. When she informed her parents of this – “I tried to get Dirk to move in with me and he wouldn’t do it because he said our education is more important” – they’d have to think more of you and you’d have to pick up all kinds of points with them.
The problem of course is that you weren’t scoring points with their daughter. To you Psych majors, whenever a girl wants to “try new things,” it’s because the “old thing” – i.e., YOU – has gotten BORING. Lisette’s telling you that all you want to do is hang out and you never want to go out and have fun or that you’re all over her like a cheap suit. Is it just a coincidence that she wants to see other people? Darn, what a funny coincidence!
Guy, why were you floored by Lisette’s revelation that she wanted to be free? I’m floored that you actually believed her explanation!
Dude, I’m sure you’re enjoying success with my book now – with all new women. Because as I’ve told you guys a million times already, once it’s over, it’s over.
You can’t let Lisette back into your life. She had her chance. She practically came right out and told you to your face that she was suffering from low Interest Level. When a girl wants to go out with other guys, dance with them and kiss them, it means she doesn’t like you -- anymore. Du-uh.
So how it is that all of a sudden Lisette saw the light after she decided that she could do without you forever? When she’s got nothing to do that night, all of a sudden you don’t look so bad. But once her Interest Level hits 49%, it’s over. Gone. Like the Reality Factor says, “It CAN’T come back.”
When she came slinking around and trying to get you to take her out, you should have told her, “Lisette, my dear, any time you want to talk, give me a call. I’ve love to hear from you and I’ll always consider you a friend.” And then you never call her. And when she leaves messages, you don’t respond to them. You’ve got all those other new women to occupy your time, remember?
It’s okay to turn down Lisette’s invitation for coffee, but it’s more effective to do it with a bit of humor. Here’s what you should have said: “I’d like to, honey, but there’s a Maxim shoot going on in my bathroom all next week and I can’t possibly break away. But thanks for asking.”
When she admitted to making the biggest mistake of her life, you should have said, “Lisette, I know you screwed up, but I forgive you, and the next guy you meet who’s really good to you, you’ll really appreciate him, I guarantee it. Good luck!”
So…your life is good except that you have a sour taste in your mouth from your breakup with Lisette? Doesn’t sound like a contradiction to me!
When Lisette e-mails you, delete her letter, and when you hear her voice on your voicemail, just press the button and go on to the next message. Because let’s face it, Dirk – she’s tough on you when she needs time apart, right? The fact that she looks like Liza Soberano shouldn’t give her a pass.
So why would you go out and have coffee with a girl who told you that her Interest Level was in the nether regions – i.e., below 50%? Why would you want to spend any kind of any time or effort on her – not to mention the $7 for lattes and cappuccinos -- when you could be dating a new girl, one whose Interest Level in you is higher?
Remember, guys: they only get one chance.
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