Should the man make the first move?


In today’s busy, complicated modern dating world, you’ll hear a lot of confusing and often conflicting advice. You’ve probably already heard that instead of passively waiting on a man to initiate contact, that women should make the first move when it comes to dating.

But is it always a good idea for women to make the first move? And is it ever a good idea or strategy for you to wait on a man?

The popular online dating website OKCupid says “yes” to women making the first move. But only in certain situations. In one of their studies, they found that when a woman contacted the man first, 30% of those contacts turned into a conversation. OKCupid’s research found that women are 2.5 times more likely to hear back from a guy when they are the ones to initiate the conversation.

But is this the type of dating relationship and the outcome you want? Probably not. The research also didn’t say or support the idea that those conversations ever turned into fulfilling, long-term romantic relationships.

If all you’re looking for is a man to write you back on a dating website, then go ahead, make the first move. Statistics show that it will probably work for you. If you’re only interested in casual sex, then this strategy will work for you.

But if you want:

  • A man who is really into you
  • Who wants to make you happy
  • Who wants love and commitment

Then making the first move isn’t the best strategy to follow to reach your dating and relationship goals.

Why not?

It’s not a good idea for you to be more invested in the relationship than he is. When you are the one to initiate the chase, then he knows you’re more into him from the very start. Now and then this might work for a woman, but if he’s not that into you or isn’t going to pursue you, chances are, the relationship will fizzle out rather quickly.

So yes, OkCupid is accurate in saying that you’re more likely to have a conversation with a man you contact first, but that doesn’t mean it will lead to anywhere special. Having a conversation will probably mean that you’ll spend your time trying to figure out if he is into you, only to realize that he isn’t. You might be led to believe that he is interested if he is willing to talk to you. But if it leads nowhere, then is all of the time and energy you spent making contact worthwhile? When it comes to finding a healthy relationship, you want to maximize your chances of success. Making the first move is unlikely to do that for you.

Women want to feel desire, and many men feel like the prize is more special when they have to work to get it. Why deprive him of the chase, and deprive yourself of the feeling of having a man really like you and want to be with you? If he is attracted to you and emotionally available, he will pursue you. If he is not, then you’re better off with someone who is.

This strategy does not mean that you sit around passively. Smile and be friendly with the men who are brave enough to approach you. Appreciate the men who find you interesting. Give the ones who make an effort to pursue you a chance.

Please let us know in the comments what your results with either of these strategies have been. What happens when you make the first move? Does it turn into the relationship you want, or does he tend to disappear?

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  • nancy Bacon says:

    Absolutely not…..that may give him a false sense of lead or control. I believe that if I make the first move, since I know myself, that I will expedite meeting Mr. Right.

    • Dr. Susan says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for your ideas about this post. It was good to hear from you.

      Most men know that every woman can say “no” to them, and that making the first move only gives them a chance to get to know you.

      Making the first move might give you a chance to meet Mr. Right, but does it create the right dynamic for him to want to pursue you?

      What if your Mr. Right feels like you’re a little desperate or too into him?

      What if he wants to have the choice to decide whether to pursue you?

      I’d love to hear your thoughts. How is your method working?

      Dr. Susan

  • Gay says:

    I let him make the first move. I make him pursue me. Sometimes it’s a little longer than I like when it’s 5 days between contact. Not sure what to do with that.

    • Dr. Susan says:

      Hi Gay,
      It’s nice to hear from you.
      That’s great that you’re letting him make the first move so that you can tell how interested he is in you.
      If you just started dating him, you don’t need to do anything about having 5 days between contact.
      Are you doing other things with your time rather than waiting to hear from him? Are you dating other men? What about your hobbies?
      We’d love to hear from you.

      Dr. Susan

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