What is it to be a man in today’s dating world?


In the spirit of International Men’s Day, Man Coach and author Mike Campbell explores the qualities he believes men should aspire to in today’s dating world

Turn on the television, watch a movie or flick through social media and you’re bombarded with it – mixed messages. This man is dark, ‘brooding’ and unemotional, meanwhile this one is fat, lazy and useless.

When it comes to these mixed messages that confront us every day, it seems that men are either a  ‘sole-operating tough guy’ or the ‘useless, not-to-be trusted idiot.’ For us guys trying to work out how we fit into this world, these inconsistencies can become overbearing. Especially coupled with the pressure to ‘get a good job’ and provide financial security.

This had led to a lot of us living in an unconscious state of confusion about what it is to be a man; provider? Leader? Role model? New age house-husband capable of tears on cue? What on earth do we use as a yardstick? It can be incredibly confusing when our only options paint two varying and unhealthy images. We see men struggling to keep up with the many demands on him, all the while finding it hard to enrich his own life without feeling guilty for doing so.

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Now put that into the context of the single man in the dating world and you have a recipe for painful dates and endless breakups. Ask most single women about the state of single men and they’ll mention indecisive, lacking direction/purpose, self-centred and emotionally unavailable to name a few.

What is a man then?

Let’s start by agreeing on what it means to be a man. For this I like to go back to the clarity with which the ancient Greeks nailed it. They spoke about the nature of a man’s role in society as ‘Zeus Energy’ which encompassed intelligence, robust health, compassionate decisiveness, good will and generous leadership.

To me this sounds about bang on; strong, considerate, empathetic leader. This doesn’t mean he has to be an obvious leader, but a man who leads by example in his own life, purposeful, driven yet empathic to others. A man with genuine levels of masculine attraction; able to foster respect and admiration, firstly in himself and then in others, regardless of the situation he’s in.

Fellas – how does that sound?

Ladies, you too?

Into the dating world

Now put that into the context of the dating environment and we see some specific situations and qualities present themselves:

  • Respect 

    It all starts here. Any man must have respect for himself first and foremost. This then flows into his interactions with others by him giving respect to others. We teach the world how to treat us, so by having respect for ourselves and then others, we show others we are a man worthy of respect. This goes far beyond simply being polite and using manners (although do this!), and into paying close attention when listening and really trying to understand her and make her feel safe and comfortable I your company.

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  • Empathetic 

    Somehow still an underrated quality, to be empathetic expands upon respect. By doing your best to understand someone’s experience of the world from their point of view is not only showing respect, but also a great window into your personality. This will help you understand her better, again making her feel like you ‘get her’. For trust to develop, this is vital.

  • Decisive 

    Too many men step back and try to please. This results in many frustrating situations for all involved. Today’s man is compassionately decisive, so in dating situations he can make the call, choose the date, lead the way, all the while providing opportunity for, and being open to suggestions.

  • Purpose and direction 

    The modern man knows his path in life and everything he is working towards. No longer just happy to be one of the crowd, he has worked out what success is for him and goes about seeking that. This also means he isn’t looking for someone to complete him and make him happy, but a partner to share life’s experiences with.

  • Vulnerable 

    Gone are the days where to be a man is to be tough and ‘not show weakness’. That is complete bollocks and has sent us backward by decades. Today men must be willing to be vulnerable, knowing that this is a sign of inner strength, and how he can truly connect with others. This also means he doesn’t play needless games, but communicates openly, expressing what he wants, without fear of rejection (something that is a part of life and not to be taken personally).

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  • Healthy 

    To be and give your best is a hallmark of this man we’re talking about. That absolutely expands into the physical side of him. However, the key attribute here is pride in his health and appearance without being conceited or narcissistic about it.

When we push the confusing societal messages aside, to be a man is to know and be yourself; who seeks companionship and connection in someone that matches our view of life because of what it brings – contentment, shared appreciation and love. Not some trophy to show off.

To the men reading this, ask yourself – Do I have these attributes? If not, what do I need to work on?

To the ladies – Does this sound like the kind of man I desire? If so, am I able to match these qualities?

By Mike Campbell

Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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