Understanding Men: Why Men Say One Thing & Do Another

If you have trouble understanding men, you aren’t alone! It can be challenging, but here are a few important tips that make it so much easier.

understanding menWhy Didn’t He Follow Through?

“Dear Dating Coach Ronnie,

I need help with understanding men! I’ve known Mark since high school. We never dated, but stayed in touch. I ignored him or made excuses for the most part, but somehow we talked a couple of times a year.

This past December we talked by phone one night until the sun came up! Then he called me every day for a week, confessing he liked me since high school but didn’t think he had a chance. The problem was he moved out of state to study, so we agreed to take things slow.

Our first date went very well, but two days later I didn’t hear from him. I asked when I would see him again. He said it wasn’t a good idea because his feelings were coming back strong for me and he doesn’t want to get to know me long distance. His last relationship was long distance and it didn’t work out.

Feeling confused, I asked him if this means we will wait. He said he is willing to wait if I am. I said doesn’t that mean we can’t see other people? He said he doesn’t want this to be a burden on me. The next day, he apologized for saying it’s not a good idea and wanted to see me again.

We had another great date and he told me he’s serious about me. When he dropped me home, he walked me to my door and held my hand. We agreed to see each other when he comes back in March. Then nothing for 4 months!

I just don’t understand how something like that could happen, and then for him to vanish. Why would he say he doesn’t want a relationship, but then change his mind and take me out on another date and hold my hand? Even for him to chase me for so long, and then when he actually gets me, he runs away!

Hope you can help!”
High School Crush

Dear Crush,

I’m sorry you are hurting and I can see why you are confused by his behavior. I’m going to explain a bunch of things to help you with understanding men

1. What Men Say vs. Do
Talk is easy and cheap, but it’s not “the chase.” When it comes to men the only thing that matters is what they DO to win you over and start a relationship with you. The chase is about trying to get dates with you and into relationship. Mark talked a good game. But he didn’t have consistency or follow through. There really was no chase, just talk.

He only made time to see you twice. This is your clue about any man – if he says one thing but DOES another, just pay attention to the ACTION when it comes to understanding men.

2. Sweet Talk is Blah, Blah, Blah
Mark told you he liked you since high school and had strong feelings for you. I call this “blah, blah, blah” because I think he was sweet-talking you. Maybe he was getting back at you for ignoring him over the years. Maybe he was enjoying your attention and it felt like a conquest after so long. Maybe he was just boosting his ego at your expense. But it doesn’t mean he genuinely wants to be with you. That only gets demonstrated through his consistent pursuit over time. You were really a victim of his sweet talk.

3. Let’s Take Things Slowly
When a man says, let’s take things slowly, what he really means is “I don’t want anything serious so don’t have any expectations.” Slowly means he doesn’t have to follow up, be in touch or see you with any regularity. Yet, after two days of not hearing from him, even though you agreed to go slow, you were surprised he didn’t stay in touch. I know this is hard, but that’s not how things work. Slowly means when he gets good and ready. Talking every two days at first would be fast not slow. That’s how men think.

Understanding Men – Wait for the Proof

The next time a guy starts talking about how special you are, how strong his feelings are, how you should wait for him, or about the future, that’s your MASSIVE clue. These are red flags showing “too much too soon.” Hold off on falling in love if you’ve only had a date or two. Any time it feels like you are in a romantic whirlwind and things are too good to be true, they probably are.

As the old standard goes, “The proof is in the pudding” and the “pudding” with men is when he makes time to see you on a regular basis – at least once a week. It’s all about in-person contact, not texting and talking on the phone. Now that you know this about understanding men, you’ll be able to weed out time-wasting guys so you are free to meet the right man.

Want more savvy dating advice about understanding men? Get my free book 7 Dire Dating Mistakes Women Make that Keep You Single and my newsletter here

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. So, she made a few tweaks and then dated 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late for Love to help other smart, successful women find love too! Her mission is to share her proven dating advice  and keen insights about men with women everywhere who are serious about finding love with the right man. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000’s of midlife women with her Love & Dating Coach services. She’s been featured on BBC’s 5 Live Radio, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, NPR, eHarmony, MSN.com, MORE.com, Connecticut Magazine among others around the world. An established author, you can find her 6 books on Amazon.

10 thoughts on “Understanding Men: Why Men Say One Thing & Do Another”

  1. My ldr boyfriend of 2 years always spends time with his friends that sometimes he will sleepover at their house and completely ignore me whenever he is with them. He told me he’s going to stop doing that and go easy on spending time with them but it’s still the same. I don’t know what to do because I hate being ignored. Although whenever he’s not with his friends we’re on the phone most of the time. But he always say something and do the opposite.

    • Hey Curious Gal, What’s so bad about a night off from talking with you? Sounds to me like you might be feeling insecure and trying to control him. Men need their space. He might feel embarrassed in front of his friends and doesn’t want to look so “wrapped around your little finger” (even if he is.) Try to calm yourself and realize being OK with a night with the guys is a mature way of being in a relationship. So long as he comes back to you the next night or the habit doesn’t escalate which would be a sign that his interest was waning. Your guy probably doesn’t want to upset you so says yes to your request, but then doesn’t follow through. This is typical but shows you may be putting too much pressure on him. Be careful…you could be starting to be on thin ice with him.

  2. So me and my guy have been exclusively dating for 8 months now (boyfriend for 3). I asked do he see a future with me he told me he doesn’t know, told me I don’t check off all the boxes, but didn’t want to give up on us and wanted to see if we could build something together. He’s always spoke about the future with me in a hypothetical way and we even talked about moving in together later this summer but now he has reservations about doing so. Am I wasting my time? Or I need to give him a chance to grow his feelings for me?

    • Hi Should I, That is such a tough question! Looking at this from a purely logical stand point, if you don’t check all the boxes for him within 8 months I don’t see how that will get better. You are who you are which I’m sure is wonderful. But everyone’s needs are different.

      He might need something you can’t provide. Or this is the perfect excuse for a commitment phobe to avoid commitment because he conveniently points to the fact that you don’t meet his needs.

      Does he meet YOUR needs? How can a man who doesn’t think you are the one meet your needs? I can’t help but feel you’ll always be on the edge of your seat with this man worried that you don’t aren’t good enough.

      Here’s my recommendation. Work on yourself to build self-esteem and worthiness. Spend a month or two of believing in yourself and knowing you deserve to be loved in a clear and supportive way with no excuses. My hope is that you’ll walk away from this guy to find an amazing man who KNOWS without question you are the ONE for him.

  3. RAR, I am 58 yrs old and gosh I wish I’d read this years ago. It totally makes sense. I guess I didn’t “Get It” because I was raised that I am my word. I took it literally. I met a guy 20 yrs ago but didn’t go there because I knew he was too much for me to not handle. 2 yrs ago we test drove each other – found a physical connection that I’ve never been so aroused and interested before. Now I’ve blown his cell up and ragged on him so much he has phased out of my life. Go figure and now I “Get Him.” He made subtle attempts I didn’t get. I regret but so very thankful you made this simple to understand. Is there anyway to redeem myself? He is so humble and kind I really hope I’ve not lost him. I know it will be a lot of hard work and patience to fix the damage I’ve unknowingly did. Will you please help me with what steps or what I should and should not do to get him interested in the chase again or have I lost the chance to build an emotional and mental connection to.

    • Hi Mitzi, Sorry to say you can’t fix this. You didn’t say why you blew up his phone or ragged on him. But that’s a sign you weren’t happy. Seems he didn’t communicate well and doesn’t want the kind of relationship you do. No one can go backwards to recreate something – that never happens. You can only move forward. Your best next step is to do NOTHING. You’ve already reached out enough – more of the same will not help. If he wants you and you leave him completely alone– he will reach out. And if not, then it really is over. Talking to him about this will NOT work. And I’m not sure you ruined anything – seems to me that while the sex was amazing, he wasn’t giving you what you wanted. Realize that he can’t deliver and just let go.

  4. My question is, why does my boyfriend tell me one thing like for example, he’ll say “I’m going to stop drinking for you, because I know it’s a big problem in our relationship” but then he goes and drinks beer behind my back and hides the bottles in the closet. Another thing is, why do guys lie about the simplest things?

    • Hi Angle, Oh I’m sorry to say that to lie about drinking is no simple thing. That’s addiction talking and takes an enormous amount of will and desire to change, including getting help. On another note, a lot of people lie, not just men. People lie when they don’t want to get caught doing something or face nagging or anger as a result. And some people lie because even they don’t know the truth anymore. If you are with a liar – get out now. It won’t stop or get better.

  5. I have been seeing a guy for the past 5 months. He says that he will do one thing and then does the complete opposite. We have had the “what are we talk” and he says he only wants to see me. It’s very confusing to me when he does the opposite of what he says. It is confusing and I think it shows a lack of integrity on his part.

    • Hey LND – I agree with you! His mixed signals let you know you can’t count on what he says. That doesn’t bode well for a lasting, healthy relationship. His word needs to be gold. Otherwise, you can’t know what you are dealing with and TRUST is everything. So now that you have come to this conclusion it’s up to you to make a choice…stay a suffer through or move on to find a man you can trust.

Leave a Comment