The Secrets of How to Teach a Man to Treat You Right


Kathy has been dating Jonathan for a month. He’s smart and interesting, but he usually shows up 15 to 20 minutes late, blaming it on traffic. Kathy is annoyed, but the rest of the date is great, so why rock the boat?

Donna has been dating Javier for a month, and he also tends to run late without calling. She usually handles it with humor, saying he’s lucky she waited for him.

Julie has been looking forward to her first date with Joe all week. She arrives at the café where they’ve agreed to meet on time but, after 15 minutes, Joe still hasn’t shown up. She gives him a call to find out what happened, and he says that he’s running late and will be there in 20 minutes. Julie doesn’t want to have to wait another 20 minutes at the café by herself, but then she feels obligated to stay. She spends the date feeling annoyed at Joe, wondering if he is really that into her, and wishing she hadn’t called to track him down.

Tania’s excited about her first date with Jared until he’s late and doesn’t call to tell her. She’s afraid of messing things up on the first date, but she doesn’t want to start a relationship letting him think she’ll put up with this kind of treatment, so after waiting for 15 minutes she leaves. When he does show up, he can call her and then she’ll decide whether to meet him once she hears his explanation. 

Many women are frustrated by dating men who don’t treat them well. But you could be part of the problem, too if you don’t teach a man how to treat you. The above stories illustrate the different options you have when deciding how to handle a dating problem very early in a relationship. When you meet a new man, you may tend to cut him some slack, but it’s tricky. When we let men treat us badly and don’t require anything better, we let our date get away with it and we lower the expectations for all men.

Successful dating is all about saying “yes” to what you want and “no” to what you don’t want. Would you have the courage to say no” to Jared if he doesn’t show up within 15 minutes, by not waiting any longer? If the thought makes you feel uncomfortable or nervous, you may be a people-pleaser. That means you’d rather please other people than prioritize how you feel.  If you’re a people-pleaser, you may be very good at appreciating the nice things men do for you, but are you getting your needs met with men? If you can’t say “no,” it may be hard for you to set clear boundaries to teach a man how to treat you.

Could you be training men to treat you poorly? See if any of these scenarios sound familiar to you:

  • You are annoyed by last-minute dates, but you agree to them anyway.
  • You wait for him to call you to firm up date plans.
  • You pay on dates, even though you want him to pay.
  • You drive to meet him when you want him to pick you up.
  • You have sex without the commitment that you want.

Do these patterns sound familiar? If so, you are settling for less than you want from men. What can you do about it? Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect. Women usually feel more desired when the man is putting some thought and energy into winning them over. So, there’s nothing wrong with holding out for better treatment. In fact, that is how to teach a man how to treat you. If he wants to go out with you, he’ll make a better suggestion. Keeping that in mind, try out some new dating habits:

  • If he calls for a last-minute date, tell him that you already have plans.
  • Don’t wait for him to call you to firm up your plans.
  • Don’t offer to pay for dinner if you want him to pay.
  • If he suggests you drive to meet him, say that won’t work for you.
  • If you want a committed relationship, don’t have casual sex.

Of course, you could explain why you’re not happy with what he’s doing, but most men can figure it out in these situations. When you teach a man how to treat you in these ways, it will help you figure out whether he’s into you or not. If you hold out for what you want and he’s into you, he’ll start treating you better. If he’s not into you, he’ll disappear. It may be painful, but at least you’ll know exactly where you stand with him. Aren’t you better off without him if he doesn’t really care about you? This approach will lead you to the men with the best potential for a healthy relationship with you.

Maybe you’re thinking, “This isn’t as easy as she makes it sound!” It’s true that saying “no” can be very difficult, but it can make a huge difference in your ability to get what you want in any relationship, not just your relationships with men. These stories are excerpts from my book, Be Your Own Brand of Sexy which has much more on this topic and how to make dating decisions with men.

You must expect respect to get it. If enough of us stopped settling for half-hearted dates, we might re-train men to treat us all better.

Bottom Line:

Saying “yes” to what you want with dating and relationships means appreciating the nice things he does for you. But you also must be able to say “no” to the behaviors you don’t want. Teaching a man to treat you right is a collaborative effort that involves effective communication, setting boundaries, and nurturing a healthy connection. It’s not about changing him; it’s about flipping the script and owning your worth.

Can you say “yes” to what you want and “no” to what you don’t want?

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