For Guys

Women will hear, but not listen

I’ll say it again just to make sure you heard me right, “women will hear, but not listen.”

There is a difference between hearing and listening.  The difference is understanding and accepting.

And please don’t think I’m degrading women. I am one of these women that have heard, but not listened.  It is an unfortunate, but beautiful part of our womanly make-up.

Let me set the stage:

You are fresh back on the market after a bad break-up and she took the cats and the wifi router.  

You want to live again. To get outside. To see the sun, but all your buddies are partnered up, married with kids, or MIA. You decide to date causally, so you can socialize, hang out, maybe make some new friends.   

BUT you do not want a commitment.  You want to give yourself time to heal, and time to devise a plan to get the cat back.  

You meet on Coffee and Bagels.  You clearly state on your profile, “looking to date, but not ready for a relationship.”

You match, you chat. She seems sweet, down to earth, cute and not crazy.

You all set a first date. 

Coffee on a patio.  Masks on and social distancing in place.  The eye contact is hot and on point. The conversation is loud (to hear through the mask) and engaging. 

Things are going great. Youre laughing loud and freely, she’s laughing at your jokes.  Your politics are in common and you even have a cousin that went to school with her best friend’s hair stylist’s son.

At some point goals come up.  Long term, short term, health goals, sports goals, work goals cat goals. And at this point you clearly state, again, “I don’t want a commitment,”

She looks like she is listening to you. She definitely hears you because she smiles, or responds in some appropriate way. But little do you know that instead of listening and accepting your statement, “I don’t want a commitment,” she clearly hears , “He will want to commit to ME when he gets to know ME. He doesn’t want a commitment with other women.”

And you sit innocently thinking that you have made yourself clear.

This is a warning men.  Not a call to make a plan or to fix a problem.  Women are women, and (while there is a small percentage that will listen and HEAR) the majority of us will be what we are.

Case Study 1

College. My BFF was dating a guy. She was so into him.  And he was into her. Specifically making out with her.  

She would tell me, we are basically in a relationship, just with out the title.

He doesn’t like titles.  But it’s like we are together.

It was not like they were together.  It was like she was dating a college BOY who wanted to date around and use women.  And that’s exactly what it was. She made excuses and let herself hear and see what she wanted to hear and see.

She was hearing but not listening.

Case Study 2

Successful, independent physicians assistant dating a doctor.  He suffers from severe depression and often she is the brunt of his irritability (one of the symptoms of depression).  He explains, his family explains, that this is the way he has always been.  He has tried medicine, therapy, everything, but the despair of life paralyzes him.

She hears that if she is supportive and caring enough he will love her and treat her the way she wants to be treated. That if she is patient they will overcome the depression together.

She was hearing but not listening.

Case Study 3


First date over burgers and fries. I’m enjoying myself.  He’s witty and charming and has a kind smile.  

Then half-way with the burger to my mouth he says the words, “I’m not looking for a commitment.”

I pause to listen, but I don’t really hear.  I make some awkward joke about why are we here and his reply is for the best burgers in town.  Which makes me laugh and the evening continues with out a hitch.

Three months later, I finally hear what he is saying when his actions are continuously lining up with his words of not wanting a commitment.  

I really thought that we had such chemistry, and he paid so much attention to me, that he must have been changing his mind. He realized what a catch I was and was going to commit.

I heard, but did not listen.

Case Study 4

He was her dream. Big, bearded and brave. He told her he did not want a commitment, just to date casually.

She was fine with that, to start with. Then 8 months later she thought they had settled into the pseudo-relationship mode.  They were together every weekend and communicated constantly.  They never talked about commitment or relationship status after the first few months.  She thought they had moved past that, and he thought they were ok with not being in a relationship.  

And everything was ok.  Until she found another woman’s bobby pin on his bedroom floor and realized they were not only not in the same chapter, but they were in totally different books.  

She was hearing but not listening.

We are not delusional.

We want to believe the best in people. Sometimes this gets the best of us, and we cannot see past our desires to the actual truth of what is happening. 

These women in the case studies are caring, kind, intelligent, successful women.  Women who have it together in life.  They just let what they wanted to believe get in the way of the truth they were being told.

So, men, as much as you may put the truth out there, beware. Often times women hear, with all the best intentions, but do not clearly listen. Do not be angry or shocked if this happens to you, instead see it for them wanting to see the best in your situation. 

But then, make it crystal clear for her.  Again. 

I’m curious for the man’s perspective. How many guys have had an experience like this?

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I love thinking about the intricacies of dating, love and life. I share my tiny lessons in the hope that it helps you as you navigate the dating world.

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