What To Do Immediately If You're Not Getting What You Want From Men

Are you settling for less than you deserve?

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In past relationships when I wasn’t getting what I wanted from a man, I often couldn’t recognize myself. I’d become another woman, a lesser one, to accommodate what I thought my man was looking for.

Not only that, I put up with behaviors from a man I never dreamed I’d ever tolerate. At some time or other, we’ve all done this for love: We settled for less in a relationship.

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I recently worked with Joan. She’s 45 years old, once divorced, and self-employed. She wanted me to help her get the man she’d been dating for 5 years to finally commit and marry her.

She was adamant that I understand how his life has been difficult all these years and for that reason, he'd been unable to make a commitment to her.

He’s had problems keeping his construction business afloat and has to cater to a demanding "manic-depressive" ex-wife. He’s also upset and angry because his grown children seem distant and aloof.

She was crystal clear about what was going on in his life, but what about her own?


If you're not getting what you want from men, here's what to do.

I asked Joan to focus on the things about him that were a problem for her. Then I asked her to write down how she needed him to change so she could be happy and they could get married.

This is what she wrote, word for word:

  • It is not okay that you keep me at arm’s length and string me along.
  • You cheated on me.
  • You still communicate with this woman.
  • You seem to want me in your life yet you can’t make a commitment to me.
  • You never invite me over to your house.
  • When you’re out you won’t answer your phone.
  • You treat me as your girlfriend but you don’t tell me you love me.
  • The only time you tell me your true feelings is when you’re drunk.

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When she finished the list, Joan broke down in tears. By writing down the facts and not diluting them with excuses, she suddenly saw what she’d been living with all these years.


Without realizing it, over time, she was not getting what she wanted from her man. She had allowed herself to ignore her boundaries, things she would have thought of as unacceptable became tolerable.

She’d believed his justifications about work and family and had unknowingly made concessions for his behavior.

What Joan did is common, not only when we date but in marriage as well. Our closeness to the situation makes it impossible to see how we start to settle for less and lose ourselves in the other person.

If you’re suffering and not getting what you want in your relationship, do what Joan did, and write out what you would need him to do differently.


Take a good look when you’re finished. See if you recognize yourself. Are you the same woman who entered into the relationship? More importantly, are you being the woman you want to be?

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Virginia Clark is a relationship coach with decades of experience. She's the author of It's Never Too Late To Marry: How to Have the Man and the Marriage of Your Dreams.