Savage Love Letter of the Day: Where Have All the Good Men Gone?


"Most men are garbage!"
She sounds arrogant and a bit too full of herself. Perhaps that's coming across in the dating pool.
So, your trust issues will need to heal regardless. A combination of time and talk therapy helps most people. Dark mathematics: If you look at the number of women who've been assaulted, and the number of women in functional long-term relationships, there's by necessity a lot of overlap. No reason you too can't end up in the middle of that Venn Diagram.

Your romantic issues, on the other hand, need a different fix. Don't listen to Sydney's advice to change your sexuality, that's stupid af. What you want and what you want your partner to want are misaligned. You are upset guys don't want to commit; but you also don't know if you even want monogamy. If you are hardcore and busy as you say, it implies that you aren't willing to forgo those things to advance your romantic life. Basically what I'm saying is: Give it how you like to give it; or find someone who wants your particular type of relationship, and recognize that you're looking for something of a unicorn: Wants a commitment to someone who may or may not commit or have time for you. They exist. DO interrogate your desires and wants and lifestyle, figure out what your goals are, and do the things that move you towards that goal. It might require letting go of certain hobbies or outside interests; it might mean doubling down on those outside interests. And lastly - what about your friends friends? Meeting someone at a bar or club is tough, but at your age, why not a house party? Plenty of 3rd-degree friends so you aren't friendcestuous, but they're still people who with you'll generally share some opinions and interests with.
Hey FEDUP, as a fellow cis-lady, by experince has been that dudes in their twenties who have their shit together are the exception rather than the rule. As a cis lady, you grew up in a culture that socialized you to be pretty good at feelings (yours or otherwise) and communication--the dudely types didn't. I'm 31. I spent my twenties figuring a lot of my own shit out. Not all men put in the time and effort to figure out how to do emotional labor, but a lot do. That endeavor takes time and is messy af, but around the time they hit 30, it starts to show up and it's awesome. The advice from Sydney Brownstone rings true, but as a word of encouragement, have patience, dudes get better with age.
Is this this the first time anyone posting on Slog has mentioned Sydney's award after the initial post announcing it? Because I looked the next morning and didn't find anything in the Morning News or anywhere else, and I thought it was a shame that she wasn't getting more recognition from her own coworkers.
Pretty good advice, Dan. I too have been feeling this way for awhile, although "compartmentalizing my desires" and finding different things to satisfy each of them seems hopelessly inefficient, so much so that it appears I'll have to go permanently unsatisfied in many ways. Great world we live in.

("Testosterone-soaked dick monsters" is fucking hilarious by the way.)
Dating sucks for almost everyone.
Am I the only one who found the general thrust of the letter and Sydney's response kind of odd?
She's looking too hard and wasting her time. She's young enough to focus on her career, interests, and activities that bring good people together and she'll meet better men. Plus a better attitude would help.

See @1, and thanks for proving FEDUP's point.

Dating has always been hard but as someone who was on the dating scene fairly recently and also in the '90s and the '00s, I think it's especially rough these days. It's so much fucking WORK to create a suitable online persona and craft messages that strike just the right flirtatious/insouciant balance and wade through all the bullshit messages from people that aren't even TRYING to pretend like they give a shit about who you actually are and then, after you've invested all that time and mental energy in finding a likely so-and-so and FINALLY found a mutually agreeable time to go on a date (because they're SOOOO BUSY but not so busy that they're not constantly on whatever app you met them on), and HALLELUJAH it goes well ... then there's a pretty good chance they'll either send you an unsolicited picture of their pecker or disappear without a trace into the ghostly ether.

Endless choices (or least the appearance of them) can seem great when you're shopping online, but I think they really screw us over when it comes to dating. There's not much motivation to invest time into building a relationship with someone when your phone is constantly informing you that a new people "like" you. Not that I blame apps and online dating in general: the technology just exacerbates a problem .

I don't have any answers
@10: What makes you think you're an exception? Odds are, you're garbage, too.
@3 I didn't say she should change her sexuality. By suggesting she find a friend to be a buddy, I meant MALE friend. But I can see how that could be confused.
@1/@13 I also think most people, regardless of their gender, are garbage. This is partly why the podcast is called Trust Issues.
@11 Comment of the year!
@15. Sure, whatever.
@8 I was really digging Sydney's response given that the original letter was a bit of a dumpster fire in its own right. I mean, I'm very sympathetic, but how do you address something that leads with, "I'm hardcore awesome, and dudes are garbage because they are wasting my time," then closes with, "plus the married one I was dating sexually assaulted me." That last bit could tend to obscure the core question, and to my taste Sydney was doing a bang up job... all the way until the pile-on about toxic masculinity and fucking the patriarchy. But, that said, the bit in @15 about most people being garbage resonates, so props all around for a great bit of uplift going into the weekend! :)
FEDUP, perhaps you might be interested in dating men who are somewhat older than you are, say age 35-45. You might find older men to be more grounded and to have a level of maturity that is lacking in men closer to your own age. If you're not looking for anything long-term then you don't really have to consider the long-term consequences of that age gap 40 years down the road, as you'll be long out that relationship.
@8 NO and lo and behold if that's not part of the problem. OLW - burn bright, lady. That man may be out there. I didnt find mine until i was 41 and it was worth every fucking second of the wait.
I'll admit, men in their 20s are far too frequently dumpster fires. Men in their 30s...40s...50s... are not immune to being walking tire fires either. It sucks that the LW also has a sexual assault to deal with from a person she once trusted. Those are certainly reasons to feel discouraged.


The anger level in her letter and the I want a man but I'm not going to make time for him attitude are problematic. If she comes across like this in person, I'm surprised she gets anyone interested in spending time with her at all. You have to be open to people and experiences for them to be open to you and this girl is wearing steel plate armor.
Someone who leads with a) "I feel myself hardcore" and b) "I swear, ALL OF THEM ARE GARBAGE" can't find even one decent person to act as partner. Gee, who could have predicted?
Also, "a lot of men...didn't want to be "serious" coupled with "I'm not even looking to get married, I'm not even sure I believe in marriage or even traditional, monogamous relationships" Just gonna set that down and step back gingerly.

If she's wondering where the decent men are, they probably had the sense to run the other direction.
People who think "most people are garbage" generally get exactly what they expect. And, frankly, deserve.
@16: I wish she'd post more of that content!

@18: I wonder how some feel about her lack of interest in commitment alongside the statement "dudes are garbage because they are wasting my time", legitimately terrible men she's dated otherwise.
@24: Someone who believes everyone is terrible, sure in that "if everyone you encounter in a day is an asshole..." sense sure.

But there is certainly a disproportionate amount of jerks out there and having been sexually assaulted would affect the perception of anyone you encounter for life, "deserve" is more cruel than helpful.
@15: But better to be choosy and look for the diamonds in the rough. Make for a happier life.
This is stupid. Is this what kids think now?
Hey I just wanted to reach out and say I'm sorry for what you're going through. Sexual assault sucks and unfortunately for us, for women, it is super common. I get it. I've been there. Take care of yourself. Take a break from the messed up dudes who don't deserve you (or, it sounds like, anyone) and be good to you. Let your friends take care of you, let you take care of you. There are good men out there and once you are in a calmer happier place and have purged your life of these toxic assholes, one will likely find you (or - even if a good one doesn't find you - you won't care because you will be good on your own, with or without a local penis). Take care! xoxo
The sexual assault is awful and tragic and totally deserving of outrage.

But also, as I read the letter, it occurred after she was already exasperated dating men, whom she thinks are garbage. She needs to get herself into therapy, and not just because of the recent trauma she suffered, but because it sounds like she also desperately needs to work on herself.

What would Dan's response be if a man had written this? And exactly why on Earth would any kind, well-adjusted, self-respecting man want to date this woman? Her letter is a bizarre mix of narcissistic self-promotion, self-righteous indignation, and extreme contempt for the group she is romantically interested in.

Is this all a product of her recent victimization? Possibly. My strong hunch is that these tendencies have been exacerbated but were there all along, and obvious to the poor bastards on those dating apps who agreed to meet her over coffee and a bagel.
Try a different "old school" method of meeting someone at a dance or interest group or while volunteering for a political candidate. Take a class. Join a liberal religious group. Get a dog. Ask partnered people a little older to introduce you to eligible men. Don't have sex until the 4th date. Before that point, do your googling/investigating/asking around to make sure he's not involved with someone/lying to you. Don't have sex until you've seen where he lives, where he works, and met at least one of his friends. Be choosy, not desperate either for company or sex. Wanting a man who doesn't assault women is not choosy enough. Be more interesting/smarter/better read. Know what you want. I mean, you know you want a good man. Now do you want casual sex, sex with a buddy, monogamy, marriage and children? Those aren't mutually exclusive, but have an end goal in mind. Communicate that goal in your profile.
Yeah, #30, I'd even go so far as to say that the same exact letter, minus the sexual assault, basically just gets an eyeroll regardless of the gender of the author. "Yeah, I'm suuure the reason your dating experience sucks is that *you* are so awesome and *everyone else* just needs to get on your level."
@26 I was addressing more @15. But both LR and #15 are pretty much the same. Miserable unhappy people projecting outward all their misery. I've seen it a hundred times in my many years. The commonality amoungst all the relationships of these people who cynically proclaim every once else is "garbage" is... themselves. It's a tiresome martyr complex and nobody wants to be involved with that. Fuck that bullshit.
FEDUP, even with luck it's pretty likely you're going to go through a few relationships that don't work before you find one that does. Is that okay?

I don't even mean guys who assault you or are terrible, but just ordinary fuckups like the rest of us are/were, who seem decent but are incompatible or annoying once you get to know them better. And I don't mean "okay" like you shouldn't complain about them to your friends afterwards, but, like, can you go through this without getting more and more unhappy.

If what's likely to happen is basically not okay with you, do something else.

I think to say much more, we need to understand more about your violations of truth, integrity, boundaries. I don't know what the interactions are, but some guys will go there, and you presumably are doing some combination of "don't do that again" and "we're done."

Is the basic problem that you're doing this and just keep on getting to "done", again and again? There are some possibilities for why that could be happening, but it's hard to speculate since we don't really know much about you or about what these guys do.
If all the men you meet are only interested in sex, it's because you have a shitty personality.
Maybe this women should stop with the dating until she meets a man who isn't "garbage". What she is doing now obviously isn't working.
@2: I'm a cis female and I agree with you. My first reaction was that FEDUP was coming across as more or less a female MGTOW. I had more sympathy after reading she was assualted. Anyone would experience "I hate men" feelings after a trauma like that. Regardless of the source or validity of her feelings, both FEDUP and entitled PUAs are only cementing their bad luck with pre-emptively aggressive attitudes towards their respective dating pools, and would do everyone a favour by taking themselves out of said pools until they work through their issues.

I agree with those who have said people -- of any gender -- in their 20s are not terribly good partner material. FEDUP's is a problem that has miraculously solved itself for millions of people just by their, and their dating pools', becoming older and wiser. She's only 25; she's only been single for just over a year. She should live her life while kissing frogs or not, as her sex drive prefers; get some counseling to deal with the assault; find "connections" in platonic friendships (these will last much longer than relationships); and let go of all expectations of finding her prince. He may come along someday, and in the meantime, every other man she meets won't be punished for not being Mr Right.
Sportlandia @3: I too was waiting for the "... so date women instead!" punchline and was disappointed when it failed to materialise :)

Sublime @19: I agree, soft of. Thirties is probably FEDUP's target age range. Any 45-year-old man who'd date a 25-year-old is his own kind of dumpster fire. I say this as a 45-year-old.

Balmont @28: As a former 25-year-old, this is what kids thought in the 90s. And, I'm sure, the 70s. And the 50s...

Fichu @31: Exactly. Volunteering? Playing the guitar? 90 percent of people in bands are male, how is she not meeting men via her hobbies?
*That should be "sort of," not "soft of."
"Most men are garbage"? That certainly seems way offbase to me. In decades of loving this column, this is the first one where both the letter writer and the response seemed so full of BS (Dan IS of course right whenever he says "men are pigs", though). As for the letter writer, I hope the negativity came not from her innermost self, but from understandably venting the pain of the sexually assault she so tragically suffered.

Maybe the letter writer lives in some f-ed up location and should move. All I know is that most people I've met aren't "garbage".
I'm a confident woman, I'm an opinionated and nasty woman, and I feel myself hardcore. I think I'm sexy, I think I'm smart....
is separated by only one paragraph before we read
The dudes I do end up seeing on the reg. are serial time wasters!!!! I've let a lot of men treat me with a lot of disrespect [...] because I've been willing to settle for that.... because hey—something is better than nothing, right?
What's the difference between the two? In the first, she's describing herself in relation to other women primarily, or just people with whom she has no sexual intimacy. In the second, she's describing herself in relation to penises on two legs and that she's desperate for sex, enough to be "willing to settle" for less than she deserves.

Sorry, FEDUP, Sorry for the fact that you've experienced betrayal and assault. Sorry for how bitter it's made you. And sorry that it's had enough of an impact on you that you're settling for less than what you want. I believe you've been affected by what many young women go through, namely accepting men's shit just to receive anything from them in the sex/romance department.

If you don't want a man to treat you badly or waste your time, then DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME on them. Don't accept the disrespect. Just walk away. Or (the more familiar) DTMFA. If you can't do it on your own, then get some real assertiveness training for dealing with people who aren't good for you. Finally, remember that your ultimate goal is to be treated with kindness - by yourself and by everybody else.
Preface: I'm truly sorry about the sexual assault. But when someone writes that ALL men are garbage, NO ONE knows how to talk to a woman, A LOT of them think she's a call girl...something is going on other than every single guy in this city is a totally uncommunicative asshole who assumes that women are dating sites are prostitutes. The latter, in particular, is just bizarre and something I've never heard anyone say (and I've heard a lot of complaints and crazy stories about online dating).

I wonder if she's focusing her attention on cool, hardcore, badass musician types like herself. Having been there, done that in the dating world, I feel pretty confident saying that that's generally not a great path to take if you're looking for a committed relationship.
Why are so many people being mean to this lady? She just got sexually assaulted, of course she's not feeling optimistic about men right now and of course it feels retroactive for her and just maybe she's right about her own experiences, huh? Men in their teens and early twenties tend not to be at their best (I have very good male friends and have had very good boyfriends you could not have paid me enough to date at that age) and if her only experience with older men turned out to be a lying married dude of course she doesn't see it getting better. Guys do tend to mature later, sorry guys but it does seem that way. As a group their interest in ltrs and marriage and kids kicks in later - and why not? Their time frame is longer for that, their clock is more generous, and the culture still teaches them not to get trapped by a girl until wild oats out plus gotta have a good career before kids/marriage bc guys gotta provide - all old messages sure but still culturally present and there's some practicality there, difference that now women free to think the same. It's understandable. Maybe the older guys she's met dating younger women have had a tendency to be sleazebags (Dan says this is a risk too). So her response makes total sense. Being sexually assaulted by a guy does not tend to improve ones overall opinion of men, at least short-term. Taking a year or two off dating sounds like a good plan, even without the assault would he a good plan. Maybe therapy, up to her. Her not being sure about monogamy, marriage, etc is 1) a major advantage when dating guys, you will have your pick. 2) exactly what you'd hear from most 25 year old guys, why does she get slammed for saying the same? Personally I don't know that leading w the "monogamy meh, marriage meh" on a dating profile is the best plan - most guys at her age will be enthusiastic about this/be totally ok w this anyway and she'll overattract jerks if this is on her profile, which is already a problem for every woman w a dating profile. Anyone w relevant experience at profile writing wanna chime in?
What goes around comes around. If you view the world (and all the men in it) as some sort of shitty, substandard place where none are deserving of your own fabulous "opinionated and nasty" personality that is exactly what you will get. I have dated a few women like you LW. Your bitterness and disdain toward my gender would be instantly apparent, guaranteeing a quick exit from me (and most likely any other guy with a shred of self-respect) leaving you to choose from the bottom of the barrel. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On a side note, "No one can communicate (with you)...unless it's through a tiny, fucking screen..." is your generation's curse, and I'm guessing you've got your nose firmly imbedded in your phone screen as deeply as anyone, looking for that electronic instant gratification.
This whole column and response come across as toxic. I guarantee "the all men are horrible" vibe comes out in the first 10 mins of conversation with FEDUP. Any normal human is going to run from that if they aren't already emotionally invested. Therapy first then start dating. Mirror the behavior you desire . If you want a partner to respect you and your identity you have to respect their identity also.
I wonder why LW is looking for dates exclusively online and in bars when she has such a wonderful job and also looking fairly marvelous.
Echoing Fichu @ 31, and similar suggestions made to a similar recent letter written by a man, she should look elsewhere and let it become an organic process, getting to know someone in a neutral environment and only later ask them out in case the itch arises.
Unfortunately the honorable, award-winning answeree didn’t touch much on the subject.

I also find the liberal use of a term like “garbage people” (I kept it non-gendered for a reason) to be offensive, shallow, and potentially dangerous.
Is this the latest cool terminology to describe people you don’t not like for some reason?

@46: Indeed yes. "garbage people", "men are garbage" - we can do better.

What's sadder is I think this is far more organic and cynical than a flippant retort a la Bea Arthur as in Dorothy in the Golden Girls "Men are scum" - no, what a perpetual, seething, tragic, rage Sydney and LW must have. No wonder forming relationships is so hard for these women.

Apologize Sydney, but not to men - to yourself.
@43 - "Guys do tend to mature later, sorry guys but it does seem that way."

Yup. Well, it's debatable, but if we're going to be conventional, the lag time is about two years. In other words, completely irrelevant to the adult dating scene.

I work at a software company filled with extremely well-adjusted men in their twenties and thirties. Maybe you were dating the wrong people? On the other hand, most of them are partnered up.

Dating as an adult absolutely sucks. Most men have horrible experiences dating women (or know a lot of people who do). Does that mean women are better off? Of course not. I think they're worse off -- but don't delude yourself into thinking that dating women is some walk in the park. (Unless you're thinking of a horror film.)

Having thought it over, I now believe my original comment was too judgmental. She was just assaulted and seriously harmed: for now, she should be allowed to hate men.

But it struck a chord because we all know the terrible, insufferable person who can't find a partner and can't locate the common denominator. And among my fellow left-liberal friends, there seems to be 1) a surprising willingness to suppress the views of others and 2) a surprising tolerance of views that actively dehumanize men ("they're garbage!")...

Dating is hard. Life is hard. I hope she can work past her recent trauma, I hope she grows as a person, and I hope she finds what she is looking for.
Following up my own advice in 31:

Expand your definition of a good man to someone who might not be your ideal type. Consider someone who's an inch shorter or a bit out of shape. Consider someone who's not making oodles of money but supports himself and likes what he does. Consider someone who's not as badass as you, maybe someone with dorky taste in music or who relaxes in front of the t.v. while you're volunteering and playing guitar.

More than that, compartmentalize your complaints without letting a problem in one area spill over to a complaint in another.

1. Sexual assault and betrayal is one thing. Maybe therapy to help you with that one.
2. Being down on all men when you've had a horrible experience with a few men is another.
3. Changing up your approach to dating is a separate category. That's what I've addressed before.
3a. That means changing what you're looking for in a man and where you're looking for him.
3b. That means changing how you come across, whether that's angry or unapproachable.
4. Feeling so tired can be a symptom of depression or anemia or some other physical something. See a doctor at least for a blood test that looks for the usual suspects.
Let's theorize on, had a man been the LW and wrote:

"I'm a confident man, I'm an opinionated, and I feel myself hardcore. I think I'm very handsome, I think I'm smart, and I'm proud to have a badass job that I love and a circle of badass bros to call my friends. I'm also a busy guy: I play guitar, I volunteer in my community, AND I work my ass off, so I don't have a ton of time to waste."

I mean, would we really have to think that hard?
Following up my own advice in 31:

Expand your definition of a good man to someone who might not be your ideal type. Consider someone who's an inch shorter or a bit out of shape. Consider someone who's not making oodles of money but supports himself and likes what he does. Consider someone who's not as badass as you, maybe someone with dorky taste in music or who relaxes in front of the t.v. while you're volunteering and playing guitar.

More than that, compartmentalize your complaints without letting a problem in one area spill over to a complaint in another.

1. Sexual assault and betrayal is one thing. Maybe therapy to help you with that one.
2. Being down on all men when you've had a horrible experience with a few men is another.
3. Changing up your approach to dating is a separate category. That's what I've addressed before.
----3a. That means changing what you're looking for in a man and where you're looking for him.
----3b. That means changing how you come across, whether that's angry or unapproachable.
4. Feeling so tired can be a symptom of depression or anemia or some other physical something. See a doctor at least for a blood test that looks for the usual suspects.
This girl is distraught. Not All Men, she needed to qualify that.
IMO dating online is like cycling through 99 no's to get one yes. The reason why it feels like a waste of time is that one or both the people meeting for the date will feel on some level unattracted to the other romantically. My thought is that we are seeing them and judging them without context of what they're like around friends, at work, or in a more comfortable situation so the judgement is more harsh. I've had better luck and seen others have better luck by just going out with friend groups and meeting other friend groups. Or maybe a friend brings along a new bf who brings his friends or w/e. That way you see the person in context of how they are viewed by friends and others and it makes them more attractive. On another note, you can start a casual fuckbuddy relationship first and then if feelings develop, elevate it to a real relationship.
@48? Two years? Based on what? I was thinking more a decade. Hence the older guys trying going after younger women 'cause no one their age will put up w/ them trap.

Software companies filled with well adjusted men seem to be scarce. Are you dating straight men in that enviro? Is this personal experience you're speaking from? Most of them are partnered up now - divorce will free about 50% of them up, especially if they all married at 25.

Every guy I have dated has been fantastic. I would not have dated several of them when they were younger. And I don't use apps.

"She was just assaulted and seriously harmed: for now, she should be allowed to hate men."


My advice is pretty simple - don't date until you meet someone you want to date.

Get out there, be active, make sure opportunities to meet someone are built into your life, and keep your eyes open, but don't have "finding a man to date" one of the items on your to-do list, for a good long time, like a year.

The only way looking for someone to date is a good way to spend your time is if you actively enjoy dating for its own sake, which it appears you don't. So, stop doing it. When you meet someone you realize you'd like to get to know better, take steps to get to know him better.

If partnered sex is essential to your happiness and you can't get by happily with masturbating, find yourself a fuck buddy, which is easy to do - I'm sixty years old and fat, and can walk into a busy bar with a few guys my age, and walk out with someone to fuck. Don't talk yourself into falling in love with him just so you can then stop looking.

You're hating this whole dating thing, and it's destroying your opinion of men, so stop doing it - there's no law that says you have to date.
I think the most appropriate and perhaps only appropriate commenters on this particular letter will be men and women who have been sexually assaulted by a partner. I withdraw myself from the discussion for that reason, but would ask others who have commented above if their personal experience on the subject informs their advice about dating, etc. afterwards. Would help the LW to know, I think.
Apologies re @56, I did not mean the gender categories to be restrictive and they are irrelevant to the question. Shoulda been:

"The only appropriate commenters on this particular letter will be people who have been sexually assaulted by a partner."
@55 Good advice.
Edit to @57, the "by a partner" isn't strictly necessary either, honestly.
LW, i am sorry you were violated by a person you had trusted. There are good men out there.
I agree with Sidney, find a good therapist and work thru this pain you carry. By strengthening your boundaries you'll move much quicker to flick off the garbage guys.
We do live in a Patriarchy and toxic masculinity has reached the White House of the United States, and one has to keep this power dynamic in mind, yet still stay open.
Good people are all around.
Agony @55: Finding a guy to fuck is easy. Finding a guy to fuck repeatedly, who's good at fucking, is far more challenging.
Cannot agree with you, No @56.
She didn't ask for help in dealing with her assault, though I will join in the chorus that she should get herself to therapy stat to start dealing with the fallout from it. She wrote to Dan because her dating life sucks; presumably she doesn't actually think Dan has a line on the encampment of the Last Good Men (“Unmarked building at the northenmost tip of Tierra Del Fuego, password at the door is 'Daniel Keenan...” So, yeah, who she has to hear from, at least in part, is guys who are or were in the dating pool, that pool she's trying to dive into.

And the responses she's getting are hardly a surprise: she comes across as more than a little full of herself, contemptuous of who she's trying to get with, and in need of a checkup from the neck up. She's gotten plenty of sympathy here, quite a bit more (as has been mentioned) than a guy would have who came on here with the same complaints.

A nice guy with his shit together who sees this seething lava under her surface, being a nice guy, would say something like, I'm very sorry this happened to you, but this isn't something I can fix, you need to go to someone who can. A nice guy who isn't a pushover isn't going to ride the rap for wrongs done before he ever came on the scene, nor should he be expected to. And people, men or women, who loudly declare that the other sex is all cheaters/liars/leave you suddenly-ers/whatevers, have a tendency, unfortunately, to act in ways to make their partners do just those things.
It's an unfortunate fact of the human brain, that we often re-create traumatic situations with the unconscious desire to make them right the next time around.

Yes, guys in their 20's are frequently fuckups. Hey, guess what, so are girls in their 20's; I was around a lot of them, and though they acted out/fucked up in different, less loud ways than the dudes, they are not a pack of happy enlightened Zen masters. And the ones who were convinced that they were light-years ahead of their male peers were the most fucked-up of all, either believing they had a Richard Gere from Pretty Woman coming their way, or expecting you, the new guy, to make up for a combination of bad luck (no fault of theirs) and bad decision making (very much their fault) that led them to look a mile down their nose at anything with a Y chromosome.
We've all known that guy who had a woman cheat on him with his best friend, leave him at the altar, give him herpes, something, who then figured that he'd cracked the code and that Wimmins were all Hos and Tricks. If we still cared about this guy, we'd gently try to tell him, yeah, what that one woman did was awful, but she's not a rep for the whole gender, and carrying this idea you now have of All Women is going to keep you either unhappily single, or with precisely the wrong women.
“Allowed to hate men....” well, not sure how we'd police something like that. She can hate whoever she wants. But it's not making her happy, thus her letter to Dan, and as many guys here have noted, it's a clear sign to bypass in the dating world.
1. If she walked into dating with the ragey attitude she expresses here, well I'd never go near her (or any man like that either). I don't need someone with a permanent chip on hizzer shoulder. You know, most people aren't shit or worthless and I get it, it's all so mature to be cynical and all "people suck." But, you know, most people don't. They just aren't your cup of tea. Seriously, lw, what would you say about a man who said "all women suck!" Yeah mysogynist.

2. But reading the last part, the sexual assault, yeah I get the feelings now. So understandable, but that doesn't mean her feelings aren't toxic as hell. You look back into the history of Puas, you can see some terrible experience at the hands of a woman. She can't stay in this rage. It will wreck her and those in relationships with her. Imho, lw is not now in good enough working order emotionally to date. I think she needs counseling. I think she needs some time to process her wounds. Let her keep her full life, hang out with her kick ass friends, take some time for herself and heal.
@60: "Toxic Masculinity" is just a cute retort. Think deeper.
LW: I'm an opinionated and nasty woman

Opinionated - dogmatic, uncompromising, self-important, arrogant, bigoted.
Nasty - unpleasant, rude, churlish.

These are not selling points, they are red flags. There aren't a lot of sane, emotionally healthy people looking to settle down with a conceited jerk.
@LavaGirl: toxic masculinity has reached the White House of the United States

Reading this letter and Sydney's reply, my main reaction is to marvel at how thoroughly Trump is trashing the cultural underpinnings of western liberal democracy. He's a virus that either transforms people into supporters, or transforms them into his mirror image, which to my eyes isn't any more flattering, and certainly isn't any more liberal (in the original sense of that word).

I suppose Sydney's cynicism is understandable in this light, and as a journalist/podcaster, I'm sure it's not lost on her that the market for cynicism and man-bashing is currently booming. Her podcast will likely be a great success.

As someone who does not have trust issues and who (by necessity) leans towards optimism, I probably won't be among her listeners. There are (still) so many truly strong women and men out there who haven't succumbed to the toxicity. Better for me, personally, to continue to seek them out and surround myself with them.
YO, this is a young woman who has been LIED to, and RAPED! And you people - who are ragging on her "entitlement", and "how she comes across" - are surprised that she's angry, and down on men?

What happened to you? Got Trumpified? Had that bad empathy and compassion organ lobotomized from your brains, excised from your souls?

Ignore them LW. You need some time to go through the grieving proccess. Sexual assault messes with your balance, your sense of safety, autonomy, and self-worth. You'll need to get those back. Please go get some counseling. You need to believe that this wasn't your fault. Don't blame yourself, there are bad people in the world. That creep took advantage of your inexperience and trust, and it will take time for you to learn to trust people again. But there are good people out there, and you can learn to recognize the bad people with experience.

Don't give up, don't let yourself become bitter. Creeps like that are less than nothing, and not worth your pain and attention. Spend time right now focused on yourself, and let go of the dating game for a while. You need time to heal. Find a good counselor, do lots of fun things, volunteer for causes that give you passion. These will build up your self esteem, and help you understand who you really are and what you need. Then you can find the people who will be good friends and partners for you, and toss the creeps into the hazz wastes.

If you are up to it, report the creature who assaulted you. You don't have to go to the cops or testify at trial unless you want to. Tell somebody, a counselor, a teacher, a friend you can trust to just listen without judgment, who won't pressure you to do anything you're not ready to do. It's important that your assault doesn't become a shameful secret in your mind. Also, it's certain that you're not this creature's only victim, so it would be good to have a record of what he did to you.

Be kind to yourself, it wasn't your fault.
I think I'm reading this letter differently than some of you: This woman is at the end of patience because she's so frustrated. The frustration is palpable, it's deep; it's driven her to write a letter that really cannot be answered by an advice columnist. (And if she was calmer, she wouldn't have written it to Dan at all because she knows she's asking unanswerable, let alone, solvable questions. She's just so upset.) Whether you like this lw or not from the tone of the letter, or you think she deserves what she gets because you don't like her attitude, or you take her to task for anything, it seems apparent that this woman had a lot of experiences that contributed to forming the attitude that was behind this letter people find offensive. I don't know that this letter gives us a glimpse into her typical personality. I believe that caught in a moment of extreme frustration, most of aren't at our best; if I were a stranger to myself, I sure wouldn't want to meet me for the first time when it's hot and I am overdue for an important event and traffic is backed up and some driver does something really stupid, and dangerous, and selfish, and asshole-ish nearby. Yes, the impression that stranger would come up with about who I am would be accurate, but only under a particular set of circumstances, and only rarely.

The lw isn't saying "all men are garbage." She's not universalizing, though maybe she's walking towards that. She's saying that the totality of the men she's already had interactions with are garbage: "So WHAT THE FUCK, DAN? These dudes are garbage, I swear, ALL OF THEM ARE GARBAGE. And the most disturbing—a lot of them think I'm a call-girl (why??)" In other words, "These dudes" that she has met and has described to us have each of them acted in such a way that she's calling them garbage. ("all of them are garbage") Now, it's possible that if she's not already doing, she soon will be extending that idea and projecting onto all men. But that's not what she's saying here.
I just wanted to tell Fichu she was right and soft scold LW and Brownstone in a productive manner, yet instead found myself in bed with raindrop and Sportlandia.
Oh well…

no @ 57, 59
I’m not sure that limiting and prescreeenining commenters is doing anyone any good. Different takes and experiences can be enlightening regardless.

@64. Cute retort? It's shorthand for a situation which many many women complain about. Think deeper you say. There is something seriously wrong with how some males are reared in our culture and many other cultures. They don't learn how to share vulnerable feelings from a young age, as the culture tells them to be tough. Anger seems to be for many their go to emotion to solve everything, and assuming they can control and discard women. You can call it what ever you want, there still remains a problem.
@66, WoofCandy, I agree. I'm very selective with the people I mix with. I'm not 25 yrs old though and looking for a potential mate. The dating culture has corroded something which I enjoyed as a young woman. Which was to bump into people in the world and attractions happened.
And as a feminist mother of sons I know a different sort of male development has been happening in western culture. Older men learning from their wives. Men wanting to love well and fairly.
Still toxic masculinity is increasing with many men, some even blatantly endorsing abuse of women.
@62 Unless you are saying women in their 20's sexually assault and rape men at an equivalent rate, I'm afraid I'm going to have to consider the guys a little more difficult to handle.

If you don't think that colors the dating experience of every woman out there in a negative fashion, you are incorrect.

The immaturity of those who are not actively dangerous exists in that background.

Do you think it's possible to understand the hurt a survivor has gone through without having gone through an equivalent experience? I don't.

@65 - If you missed the Women's March, Samantha Bee, Slog, and all the coverage, you can catch up by watching

the entire feed here:…

the nasty woman bit here:…

Samantha Bee here:…

The male equivalent:…

And maybe make a female friend or two? They'll keep you up to date.
@68 nocutename. I like what you said. I don't like the people on here telling her how she should be feeling after her assault. I would like to think these people would not be so harsh to someone they knew irl after the same experience. I sure hope so.

@69 Is it not helpful for the LW to know who on here is giving advice having survived the same thing? I mean, how much more meaning would your words have, how much more legitimate impact, if you were clear that you are speaking from personal experience?
Lovely words iseult @67. Good catch nocute @68.
And what is going on with Dan's threads. Is someone vetting them first? How to kill a conversation.
In past times, many young people formed couples in college or shortly after. Those who didn't go to college also formed couples at an early age. We grew up together. Many young women learned to have orgasms before they had PIV sex. Did all these relationships last? Of course not. But many did. Most of my friends (male and female) are still in long-term relationships or are married for 20-30 years or more.

Society can't go back to the past, but it seems that it was better for both women and men than today's dating scene.
Cat @62: Very good post. The only thing I would call out is putting "gave him herpes" in the same category as the other bad behaviour you mentioned. It is possible for someone to pass herpes when they don't even know they have it, and/or when they're using condoms. Approximately 70 percent of the adult population carries one of the viruses for herpes; most are either unsymptomatic or mistake any symptoms for something else, such as an infected follicle, pimple or cut. It's unfortuante, yes, but "giving someone herpes" is no more malicious than giving them a cold.

CMD @69 (congrats!): Commenters gonna comment. Recently a gay man took exception to straight women commenting on a question about Grindr. This LW's hatred of men is a general thing, shaped by many experiences, the sexual assault being the icing on a shit cake. All of us have had bad dating experiences of one type or another. All of us have opinions -- they're just like assholes -- and should feel free to add them. The LWs, if they're reading, or other commenters can deem them useful or not. I don't think one has to be a rape survivor to be able to offer sympathy to rape survivors, or gay to have an opinion on who's being rude online. And sometimes, as you note, someone whose opinions on certain topics seem useless at best can offer brilliant insights on other topics. So, sorry Mx No, I disagree and think the boards should be a place for free speech, without requiring rape survivors to have to out themselves. (Or perhaps I should say "ourselves.")
CMD-69-- Thanks.
New topic: Can anyone figure out what's going on with the comments section? I comment, see my comment here, check back after an hour for answers and my comment will have disappeared only to show up again and disappear again seemingly at random.
I suppose I am one of those non-compassionate trumpists, but when I see someone like this jamming herself with a knife, I want to stop it, no? If she goes into dating with this cynical attitude, the good ones will take off while the bad ones stay, creating a feed back loop. And I don't want to see that, not for lw.

Saying this does not mean that i don't understand her fury at men as a consequence of assault. I do. I've been there. Right where she is. But that her rage is understandable, sure, does not mean it's something good to hold on to. Had I been mugged by a black man, one could understand initially rage against all black men, but ten years later if I am still spouting off about all black men being evil and "where are the good ones," you might have a little issue with that.

Lw needs time to heal. And she needs time to address her feelings towards men and the assault. This is kindness to her. Men she dates don't deserve to be her incidental therapist to work out her issues on. This is not trashing her for having issues. But it is a recognition that not only does LW have humanity to be respected, so do her partners.
Just gotta say, for all of you saying she has an attitude problem and it's no wonder men don't like her -

Well, from this lesbian's perspective, she isn't off-putting at all. My personal response was: "damn, glad to find someone who loves herself" "that's a lot of anger, but dudes do a lot of anger-inducing things" and "hell, another rape" and then ends on "how the hell are the straight women supposed to ever find a partner when the douchebags look just like the decent ones - and there are SO MANY douchebags?"

I'm sorry for you, hetero women. At least the bi/pan ones can walk away and not give up the possibility of partnership. But here y'all are telling each other to get your needs met elsewhere (which isn't bad advice for anyone - no one relationship should have to be everything!) because the chance of finding a hetero dude who will be emotionally supportive, communicative, and not on the rapist spectrum is just remarkably small.

And seriously, from the outside looking in, it's bloody obvious: men are, by and large, awful. Our concept of masculinity is so dangerous and harmful that it's hurting everyone, including the men who embody it and especially the men who don't as well as all the other genders. The actual decent straight guys I know would read both of those sentences and throw me snaps, because they see it too.

And this particular letter-writer sounds like she's probably got her shit about as sorted out about the sexual assault as one can - and even if she doesn't, doing anything beyond the giving-her-resources of the initial response is crappy, don't do it. You're making a bunch of assumptions about her experience that you're extrapolating - some of you are even saying, essentially, that she's broken because she's been assaulted and she needs to fix herself before she can find love. That's gross, folks.
no @ 74
“Is it not helpful for the LW to know who on here is giving advice having survived the same thing?”
Very helpful indeed, but shouldn’t be the only perspective allowed to be published. Different experiences can lead to interesting insights.
And as BDF wrote @ 77 not everyone wants to out themselves for whatever reason.

Fichu @ 78
For over a month now mysterious Russian hackers take over the main thread during the weekend.
I suspect hunter sends them our way.
(He doesn’t read the dailies so technically I didn’t break the group boycotting effort.)

You are awfully angry and bitter for someone who is only 25! I am positive that is why you are having so much trouble out there. Not that you don't have a right to be angry and/or bitter- but just know that holding onto those feelings is not conducive to finding a good, loving relationship. You might think you are good at hiding it, but trust me, men are picking up on your negative energy. I agree with the advice in the sense that you would be better served by examining what you need, exactly, and figuring out how you can fulfill those needs without having to rely on a "man." The truth is, even here in 2017, it is somehow validating as a cis hetero woman to be in a romantic relationship. It gives you a certain "status" that you don't otherwise have (obviously, this varies community to community, coast to coast- but even in the most "liberal" pockets of the country its still at least somewhat true). Some of your anger might have to do with the notion that society tells you "you are nothing without a man" even though you have a long list of other things going for you that should count as success (and then thinking- if I'm so freaking great, why can't I find a boyfriend?!?). I get it! There is a lot to grapple with as a cis female heterosexual (every person/subgroup has their struggles!) and sometimes it does make us angry. But you have time on your side- you are only 25. It may sound trite, but try to enjoy your youth and just have fun. There's no rush! 15 years from now you will probably be saddled down with a husband and a couple kids wishing you had time to yourself and someone new to sleep with instead of the same paunchy, balding guy who annoys you by leaving the toilet seat up and his dirty socks on the floor. :-)
I took LW's declaration of being a 'nasty' woman as a reference to when Trump called Hillary one, rather than the traditional meaning of the word.

The sexual assault this woman suffered is a sad and sick event, and it may be that dealing with the fallout from that (or at least the initial steps) will have to take place before she's able to move forward with other things. It's possible her angry attitude comes partly from that, as well as the fact that sometimes when someone sits down to write an advice columnist, they just let it all hang the fuck out - rants and raging included - and she might look at her letter the next day or week and think 'Dang, I'm not normally that over the top'. Just throwing that last one out there as a possibility.

Having said that, if the attitude a lot of us are picking up on has indeed been prevalent for a long time in her approaches to and interactions with men, I can definitely see it coming across as something a lot of men will run from (and understandably so). As has already been pointed out, if you change the gender of the LW, it's easy to see that as Angry Man Who Is Sick Of Your Shit-mode, which most of us would identify as contributing to the problem.

I've let a lot of men treat me with a lot of disrespect and waste a lot of my time because they didn't want to be "serious" and because I've been willing to settle for that.... because hey—something is better than nothing, right?

There's something huge to work on. Most of us have histories of putting up with things we didn't want or deserve, but once we identify how we're short-changing ourselves and deserve better, we can start to work towards making that a reality. It's possible some short-term therapy could help LW figure out why she was repeatedly willing to accept disrespect and time wasting, but barring that, at least think about it hardcore for yourself, and maybe ask a couple of trusted friends to weigh in on it. If you know it's been your pattern and you are willing to change it, you're already making progress.

Evan @80: What if LW were a lesbian and it was women who were the subject of her en-masse ire? I think you're sympathising with her because of your own bias -- you don't like men; you don't want to date them; of course this straight woman is justified in finding them off-putting as well. But yeah, actually -- this LW is currently too broken to successfully date people of her preferred gender, and for her own sake and theirs, she should fix her own problems before attempting more of that sort of thing. (She's not broken because she was assaulted; she's broken because, in her words, "all my trust in the opposite sex is utterly gone after being violated like that." Would you want to date someone who was incapable of trusting people of your gender? I didn't think so.)
So, unlike homosexuality, heterosexuality is now a choice and a bad one for women? Who knew?
I admit I have not read all 84 comments before mine. That said, as a certified old fart, I am happy to agree with the LW that these kids today have no idea how to treat a woman with respect. Not that many guys in their 20s were not testosterone-soaked dick monsters back when I was that old. I was and probably a majority of my friends were as well, although there were some nice guys, mostly already in relationships with the women who are now their wives.

The important distinction, in my mind, at least, is that in my day when fear of AIDS was rampant we knew we couldn't get away with this shit. If we wanted to get in a woman's pants, we had to express some interest in an involvement of significantly more than a few hours. And even to your average TSDM straight up lying about having feelings for a woman who you had none for was considered an asshole move.

Now, it seems that lying about feelings and interests is still poor form, but many guys feel they can be honest about the fact that they're just looking for a hookup, and - if they're cute - they'll get a lot of them.

My advice to the LW? I suggest two alternatives: First, swipe right on some 7s, not just the 9s. The 9s know they can get as many hookups as they need without too much effort. If they were looking for a committed relationship, they'd probably be in one. Some 7s may think they can get away with the same crap as the 9s, but a lot of them know they have to be offereing more of what a woman wants and demanding less of what they want if they want to get laid. Second, you could also try dating men old enough to actually want a real relationship, like a lot of guys in their 30s.

Full disclosure, I am an older TSDM, but I am happily married, am way older than my 30s, and am only interested in young strange as spank bank material, unless and until my wife gives me permission to sow my wild oats. I have kids and I'm not risking my relationship with their mother just to get laid, so I think my advice is not based on self-interest.

Sydney @14, If you weren't suggesting that the LW try having sex with women, I apologize and withdraw my sarcasm @85.
Why does the count say 87 comments at 1:25 Pacific Daylight Time, but only 77 are visible?
Hmm. Well, posting that comment of mine, miraculously made the others show up. Yet my comment @68 disappeared for a few hours after I tried to post it and then mysteriously appeared. I assume the webmaster needs to do some refining.
The dudes I do end up seeing on the reg. are serial time wasters!!!! I've let a lot of men treat me with a lot of disrespect and waste a lot of my time because they didn't want to be "serious" and because I've been willing to settle for that.... because hey—something is better than nothing, right?

Without specifics, it's difficult to offer relevant advice, but this stands out to me as possibly an instance of a common self-sabotaging behavior. FEDUP, you say you have limited free time, which means that every minute spent on a disrespectful waste of time of a guy is time you're not open to dating a hypothetical respectful guy with whom time is well spent. The more extreme version I see frequently is women dating men (this is very much a gendered, hetero pattern in my experience, though it's unlikely to be exclusive to women who date men) with whom they want to break up but not breaking up because they want to avoid being unpartnered. This is extreme self-sabotage, because in general, people who aren't shitty don't hit on exclusively-partnered people, and avoid come-ons in situations they might regard as cheating. Looking for a new partner while still dating someone in what appears to be an exclusive monogamous relationship means that one is self-selecting for shitty people to a large extent.

Since it sounds like you want something other than (by which I mean in addition to) regular sex out of a dating relationship, you need to stop spending your limited free time on relationships that don't offer what you want, whether they are (or appear to be) exclusive or not, but especially if they are/appear to be exclusive. The proportion of shitty men to non-shitty men aside (however one defines "shitty"), it looks to me like you might be creating a situation in which shitty men (or at least men who aren't interested in the same kind of relationship as you) are far, far more likely to be the men in your dating pool.

Another common form of self-sabotage I see among hetero women is total passivity, often accompanied by bewilderment that the exact men they want aren't immediately flocking to them the second they sit down on a bar stool (perhaps most absurdly and best exemplified by this letter to Elle's advice column and better handled with appropriate sarcasm by The Bad Advisor). When taking the active role is suggested, it's often met with the response, "But men don't like it when women make the first move!" While this is true of some men, any guy that's going to refuse to date you becasue you asked him out is not a guy you want to be dating, period. He's extremely hung up on gender norms, and our masculine gender norms are not healthy; further, he's specifically signaling that your sexual agency is a deal-breaker for him. Being rejected becasue you ask the man out is a feature that helps you avoid people who are more prone to be abusers or otherwise unhealthy romantic partners, not a bug. It sounds like you're is avoiding this trap - "I've even tried the 'old school method' of just trying to talk to someone at a bar or a show" - but I put it out there in case not, or in case that sentence refers to a limited number of attempts and not a regular practice of approaching men whom you (or anyone, in the general case) find appealing.

It might also be a good idea to interrogate what you currently consider your deal-breakers, FEDUP. What's mentioned in the letter is 1) not only interested in sex, 2) not looking for a mother/caretaker, and (implied) 3/4) not married or a sexual assaulter. That should leave you with a dating pool consisting of 30% to 40% of the men in your area, plenty of whom are looking for longer-term or more intimate and connected relationships, even if not in the form of marriage. So, this tells us that you have all kind of other qualifiers that you're not mentioning (I suspect an age rage, at the very least, even if it's a relatively large one), and probably a sufficient number that you're either statistically eliminating everyone from your potential dating pool or your specific requirements are correlated with exactly the behaviors or dating approaches you dislike (stereotypical musicians, for example, as mentioned upthread). It might serve you to look at WHY you're selecting the screening criteria you are and whether they're actually serving your true relationship interests. For example, I know a lot of people for whom "has a college degree" is a requirement. They're eliminating 2/3rd of potential partners right away (for Millennials, more for older generations), for a reason that depends almost entirely on circumstance. If the point behind the degree is that you want someone with higher earning potential, make that your actual criterion (lots of trade skills pay well, for example). If the point is to require someone have a relatively broad knowledge base or above-average reasoning ability, make that your actual criterion. If the point is to select people who have shown they can successfully complete a major project that requires a lot of work, make that your actual criterion. Interrogate your dating screening criteria, because a lot of people use criteria that are bad proxies for their actual intent.

And you still might only run into people who you think are shitty - many people, possibly most, don't' actually find someone they're compatible with long-term (divorce rates are back below 50% in the USA, but consider the never-partnered people, and we might be back up to majority territory, even with the increase in non-marriage partnerships). Most people in long-term partnerships are settling in many, many ways - it's why Dan doesn't talk about the .98 that you round up to 1, but the .63. I'm not encouraging you to settle for abuse, disrespect, a lack of investment in your well-being, or the like, but since I also know that there are plenty of men who aren't thoroughly awful, even in their 20s, if all of your experiences have been awful, you should really look at changing up where you're looking for men or what sort of men you're dating. Good luck!
And, really, I still have no idea what FEDUP is actually looking for in a partner. "Respect", "a connection", "serious" can mean very different things to different people. Some specific examples of what that looks like or how the men she's dating have failed on those counts (beyond married man assaulted me and men think I'm a prostitute) could be helpful.
I dunno. I was a lot more cynical when I was young. It was a kind of self-defense, protection against vulnerability. The I-love-myself attitude can be like an armor- keeping the outside stuff from hurting you but also keeping the stuff that already hurt you from coming out. So I don't think a cynical 25 year old necessarily turns into a lonely angry cynical 45 year old. And even if she does, well there's no reason a happy trusting 25 year old wouldn't turn into a lonely angry cynical 45 year old too. For myself, I became more compassionate as I got older. It's not that I started to like people any better (I don't) or that I found more likable people (I didn't), just that I started to understand how they ended up like they did and how I ended up like I did and how it's really hard for everyone for so many reasons. It makes you want to hold the great people even closer. Trick is how to find them, and I don't know, but she's clearly not really ready to be looking. The advice on the column and here is pretty good- some time to heal, and some time to do other things. IMO the trick is to figure out how to work on yourself without overly focusing on yourself - learning to be self-aware and self-reflective and to work through the trauma and trust issues and anger while also putting most of your focus on to things outside of yourself. Pursuing other interests and goals is a great way to make your own life better and to meet people who are doing the same.
FEDUP, the bad news is, right now you are a pretty terrible person. The good news is, it doesn't have to stay this way. Just... don't listen to Dan too closely this one time :)

Re:1- I'm not judging, just stating a fact. Whatever the reasons for the current state of affairs (and with all my compassion for your bad experiences), you are not a woman who a reasonably well-adjusted man would like to date. You are bitter, hateful, egomanical, way up your own butt (yeah, defense mechanisms are a bitch), have a remarkably negative overall attitude, and probably visibly so.

Story time (yeah, I know. This is my schtick around here. I log in once every 3 months to "speak from experience", because I never was smart enough to dodge any crap coming my way):

My first juvenile "big love" (herself being an abuse victim... just spreading the emotional rot) cheated on me. Multiple times. Some of them- for money. No 2 turned out to be uncurably ill and treated me like an emotional crutch. No 3 left me after a 6-year relationship, just before the wedding, leaving me with nothing but debts. I crashed, burned, changed cities, changed countries, and became YOU.

Guess what, women are attracted to wrecks. Well, some of them are. Not really the well-adjusted ones, I'd guess. Over the next decade, I moved from 3 to "three digits". Along the way, I have seen the worst drama humanity has to offer (OK, first world drama, to keep it in perspective). Cervical cancer, the terminal sort. Sclerosis multipla. Clingy gangster ex-BFs. Violent daughter-father relations (I am talking "dad sent me to hospital for 4 weeks, but it was my fault" shit). Violent maritial relations. Drug addiction. Crazy jealousy fits. Crazy, like in "hacking email accounts, stealing phones, hitting random chicks in a club in the face" crazy.

Really, I could go on and on.

So yeah, I was you. Convinced that all of them women are either "taken" or "FUBAR". At the same time, I was all the guys you were talking about. Let's just say it was really NOT a good idea to hook up with me at that time. And yet, they kept coming (and ahem, coming), and going, the broken birds of the world.

Eventually I figured out that the single common denominator for all of them was... me. So I went into therapy. No happy ending here, for various reasons I am pretty much therapy-resistant. But it made me change my social context, pick up some more physical hobbies, become a better person overall, so I could attract less broken ones. Guess what.... still no luck. Apparently, I just have some seriously shitty taste. But it made me able to respect my own boundaries more, and to cut my losses and let go of women without drama, once I figured out that they are toxic for whatever reasons (well, the last one was cool. Until she figured out I was good hubby material. And juuust to make sure, she faked a pregnancy, just to see how I react. My reaction was good, until I found out about the scam. Then I just blasted her out of my door, to her wide-eyed confusion).

I ended up still single, but in a pretty good, calm place, and having a good life. And meeting more great women who just eventually all turned out to be drama-heavy. Which I accepted with optimistic stoicism. Until, in the end, I decided to give a chance to some random ONS situation, where both parties were initially adamant on keeping their own personal space, and just gradually ended up spending more and more time together. Until, 3 years later, they got engaged. Congrats me :)

Re: 2 - the TL:DR version of the above novella is: read the advice in #31, #32, #51, and work on yourself. Just... be patient and get better. That compartmentalization stuff Dan suggested is unlikely to work on a 25 year old girl who is many things, but not laid-back. It may be a good short-term solution (yeah, hug your GFs and screw your boy-toys just to scratch 'em itches) but the fury and frustration of wanting the WHOLE package is eventually going to warp you pretty badly.

I was worse than you, and bounced back somehow, it just burned almost 2 decades of my life (because I was too full of myself to actually ask anyone for advice). And you can do better, sinceI am handicapped by being, y'know, male :) Because in the end, I gotta give you one thing: women are indeed better beings. At least in the overall statistic.
So, I read this feature a lot but never read or make comments, because I don't think criticizing people I don't know or reading other do the same is helpful or positive. In this case, I feel my experience might be helpful. I was raped by my boyfriend at age 18, at college, and stayed with him for another two years of humiliation and browbeating, not to mention more partner rape, because I didn't know any better. I got ride of him, and dated unhappily for a few years. I eventually married and divorced. That's when I went to therapy, and said, "My life isn't working. What do I need to do to to fix this?" Only then could I see my own role in my unhappiness, my demand that others do their job and make me happy, my poor taste in choosing partners, my self fulfilling expectations that others would turn out to be assholes. I'm not saying that's what's going on with the letter-writer, because I DON'T KNOW HER, but I can say it's worth some thought. I wish I hadn't waited so long, but until you can see that you are the one making choices and living the life that results, you will not be ready to make changes. Eventually I was able to say, through the clear thinking that emerged through therapy and groups, "This is the kind of life I want. Here's what a good relationship looks like to me. Are you in, or out? Either way is ok; you get to choose your life, too. But I am not willing to have a less-than-awesome life." And good people started to show up. And people who were assholes showed that they could be good, too. I've been very happily married now for 25 years. I still work on myself and my reactions, it hasn't been perfect, but it's the life that I chose and that I still choose. I wish the letter writer well, and good journey on the path toward self knowledge and self determination.
Thanks, Freestick.

One more brief comment for FEDU&P-t-f-o if she's reading. Let's say you follow the advice in 31 and 51 and you don't find a good man that way. You will still have cleared up a lot in therapy, won't be so angry, and will feel better about yourself. You will still have learned to dance, have a new interest, and made some friends. Also, you'll have a dog. Dogs are good. Get a dog. Even if you don't meet the right guy in your dog training class, you'll have a nicely trained dog.
An arrogant man-hater. What a catch! And no, hating all men isn't valid. I bet the lady who responded to the letter wouldn't find it "valid" if a 25 year old man decided based on his 25 years of life experience that all black women are POS. Guys are running for the hills, almost certainly for good reason.
Reread letter. Still do not get everyone's anger at the LW, where she's at makes sense to me, I don't think she has a bad attitude given where she's at. At 25 most guys are terrified of confident women. They improve w time. Guys thinking she's a hooker could be a number of things but what it most definitely is is an excellent asshole identification system. Missed the detail that assaulter also married dude. Jesus. People writing to lambast the LW, you try and have a rosy view of men after that mess. Hell, try it after online dating. And yes, nothing is absolutely better than something if something isn't what you want , and you've been accepting less than you want. Do not accept less than what you want. Being alone is better. You get good w being alone you won't end up w subpar dudes you're dating until something better shows up. That unwillingness to reject guys entirely until one worth your time comes across the plate is what's netting you assholes. Guys can indeed suck, especially at that age range. You do not need men in your life, they are fully optional. You can cut them out completely for as long as you want. Your disgust is rational, appropriate and protective, lean into it. High standards are good. Keep em high. Make them even higher. You can approach guys as a positive addition to your life that you can take or leave rather than something you have to have cause other people do things that way. People you choose to allow into your life should add to your energy and happiness, not drain and distress you. There will be fewer people in your life as a result of this, but there will be zero who suck. You surround yourself w good people your tolerance for assholes will be even lower than it is now, which is good. Guys - at least as high a standard as you'd have for good friends.
Also, the guys writing in to bitterly complain about all the mean women they've ever met and how the LW is exactly like all of them and that's why she'll never catch a man aren't doing much to restore anyone's faith in male human beings, including mine. Dear God gentlemen.
no @98: Well, if the LW can complain about how all the guys she dates are garbage then the guys writing in can surely complain about all the mean women. Dating simply sucks for everyone involved, that much is clear at this point.
Your @97 You do not need men in your life, they are fully optional is the best advice for the LW to take away from this whole mess in my opinion.
LW has a high opinion of herself, and I can only congratulate her on that. Funny how it seems to be no big deal for a man to have a healthy sense of self-respect, but when it's a woman so many people try to drag her down. And agreed. As Diana of Themyscira commented, men are essential for procreation, but unnecessary for pleasure. Paraphrased, but you get the idea.