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It's Not You, It's Him: The Zero-Tolerance Approach to Dating Hardcover – January 10, 2006

3.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

GEORGIA WITKIN is director of The Stress Program at New York’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center, where she is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry. She is also weekly contributor to the Fox News Channel’s Fox Magazine show and news analyst on the Fox and Friends morning program. She lives in New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Assume You're Perfect

You're single, and your mother says you're too hard to please, your sister says you're too assertive, and your friends say you should play hard to get. You argue with them, but you suspect that they may be right. You've begun to believe that you're too picky, too pushy, or a princess. Right? Well, here's a news flash: even if they are right, it doesn't matter. The odds are that you would still be single even if you were perfect!

The real problem isn't you at all. It isn't your hair, your weight, your job, your hobbies, your accent, your family, or your perfume. It isn't that you're too choosy, cautious, or combative. It isn't that you're too shy or too social, too spoiled or too stingy, too career-minded or too marriage-minded. Somewhere, there is a guy for you . . . actually, many guys. But all you need is one. And he'll fall in love with you as you are. To him you'll be perfectly lovable. Take the case of Marianne:

Marianne just got engaged. Her friend told me that Marianne ran into an old flame (her Mr. Big!) at a party and they started seeing each other again, for what must be the fourth time. Her friend said she was in despair that Marianne would do this to herself again. But listen to this!

They went on vacation together to a pricey resort, and this time Marianne decided to stop trying so hard to please him, and instead she decided to do whatever she wanted to do (sleep late, go to the spa). If he went to play golf at dawn, well, so be it. She was prepared to be dumped again and was just going along for the ride. But instead of breaking her heart again, he proposed!

Had Marianne's boyfriend proposed this time because he thought she was too needy before and now saw her as more independent? Had things changed because she was trying too hard before and now was more relaxed? Had her boyfriend found her too available before and now hard to get? Her friends had plenty of theories about the relationship. But it was none of these things. Marianne asked him. She said, "Why now?" "Well," he said, "I'm over forty now, and I'm ready to settle down." He said he'd always loved her but just wasn't ready. It wasn't her--it was him!

This floored Marianne's friend. Why? Because she realized that she was doing exactly what most single women do to themselves--she blamed Marianne for her boyfriend's reluctance to move ahead, when it really had very little to do with her. She was perfectly lovable all along; she was just dating someone who wasn't perfectly ready.

The Primary Principle

The truth is, there's someone for everyone, and eventually every one of us will find our prince. And we don't need to change who we are to make that dream come true. We do, however, need to change how we date, how we see men, and, most of all, how we see ourselves. We need to understand just when the problem is not us. We need to understand just how the problem is not us. And we need to understand just why the problem is not us. But it's not easy to stop blaming yourself. After years of having the wrong ideas about dating and going about it the wrong way, it takes practice to get it right, but you can do it. What follows are the strict directions, exercises, tests, and drills that will help you find a fairy-tale ending while dating in the real world. They are the same psychological prescriptions I've given to patients for almost two decades . . . and they really work!

Dating the wrong way is trying to reinvent yourself again and again, and then changing yourself still more. All that time and effort focused on yourself, blaming yourself, being dissatisfied with yourself, is a huge drain. Instead, it's time to get practical and realistic.

Dating is hugely simplified when you assume that you're perfect but that no man is ever going to be. When you assume that you're perfect, you realize that 90 percent of your dating efforts--constantly reinventing yourself to seem like Ms. Right for Mr. Wrong--have been a waste. The problem was never you. It was him.

Write this principle on a Post-it and stick it to your mirror and refrigerator, write it on a card and put it in your desk, print it in your daily planner, and make it a screen saver.

It's not you, it's him.

It should become your mantra and your credo. Repeat it to yourself at least five times a day. Why? Because what we think leads to what we feel and do. Does that surprise you?

Choose What You Think

Most of us grew up believing our emotions rule us. We were taught that when we're feeling "down," we have "down" thoughts and behave that way. When we're feeling "up," we have "up" thoughts and act "up." But psychology's biggest discovery of the past two decades is that it really works the other way around. We can choose what we think, and what we choose to think leads to how we feel and what we do! I'll say it again. You can change what you feel and do by changing what you think.

This is great news. This means you can change the way you feel about dating the minute you change the way you think about dating. This means you can change the way you feel about yourself the minute you change the way you think about yourself. It doesn't take years of therapy, counseling, or analysis. You don't have to review all your "issues," work out your family relationships, or sort through your "baggage" first. Things can change today.

When you think differently, you will feel different. When you feel different, you will act differently. Sounds too simple. Just try it. Researchers at Harvard's Thorndike Lab find that it works. Cognitive and behavioral therapists find that it works. Alcohol and drug rehab counselors find that it works. Physical therapists find that it works. Ministers, priests, rabbis, and spiritual advisors find that it works. My patients, clients, and I find that it works.

Turn Dating on It's Head

Now take this new approach and apply it to dating. As I said before,

Assume that you're perfect as you are . . . perfectly lovable, that is.

Assume that you're entitled, therefore, to be loved by a perfect man . . . just as you always wanted.

Assume, however, that there is no perfect man . . . in the whole world, and every man you meet will be imperfect . . . in many ways.

Assume that if he doesn't find you lovable, that's proof that he's imperfect . . . at least for you.
In other words, always assume that it's not you . . . it's him!

Once you start assuming that you are perfectly lovable just the way you are, everything will change--how you think will change how you feel, which will change what you do.

You'll start to look at each new man through your eyes instead of looking at yourself through his. You'll see dating as your opportunity to see if he's someone who might become special to you or someone you should say sayonara to.

Along the way, you may be tempted to fall back on your old doubts about yourself, especially if you've had some problems with romance lately. But you can practice your new thinking by focusing clearly on the primary principle:

It's not you, it's him.

Once you make that assumption, everything men say and do will be information about them, not you! If a guy doesn't treat you as perfectly lovable, you'll feel like a curious observer, a stern judge, or an amused bystander instead of wondering what you did wrong. You'll wonder what's wrong with him, not what's wrong with you.

Once you make that assumption, if a guy does treat you as perfectly lovable, you'll respond with grace and not jump in before he changes his mind or act as if he's your only chance at marriage.

Once you make that assumption, you'll stop blaming yourself for being single! It's never been about you. It's always been about him. If he didn't follow up, it's his problem.

If he didn't appreciate you, it's his problem.

If he didn't commit to you, it's his problem.

You'll stop asking yourself why. It may have been timing, a previous entanglement, or his insecurity. You may never know. What you will know is that it's a numbers game, and it's time for you to move on. If he didn't like your humor, you'll look for someone who does. If he didn't like your friends, you'll find someone who does. If he didn't like your family, you'll be sure the next guy does. You'll stop trying to change yourself when romance fails, and you'll change partners instead. You'll choose to fall in love with someone who's madly in love with you.

You'll react with zero tolerance when you receive zero.

It might be the opposite of anything you've ever done since you started dating. But that's the point. And the time to start is now!


Do What You Want, Wear What You Want, Go Where You Want

Maybe you've heard from your mother, friends, or dating manuals that the key to finding a guy is to "go where the boys are." Hang out at a sports bar, sign up for a wine-
tasting class, or take up boating. All that's fine if you like rooting for the home team, sipping wine, or sailing the open seas. But if you don't, forget about it. Somewhere there is a guy for you, and you don't have to find him at the gym if you hate working out. By doing things you think guys like but that you don't, you're assuming you're not perfectly lovable with the interests that you already have. You'll soon find out that it's not your interests that are preventing you from meeting men.

Faking It Doesn't Work

What happens if you sign up for wine tasting just to find a guy, even though you can't tell red from white without looking, and you're fine with that? Or you tell a guy you meet that you like the same hobby he does just to make a connection? Well, you're not showing him the true and perfectly lovable you. Instead, you're prete...

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; First Edition edition (January 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767920503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767920506
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,847,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Often when things don't work out in a relationship a woman will blame herself asking what did I do wrong? Why wasn't I enough? We beat ourselves up and Dr. Witkin is getting us to see that we are enough and we didn't do anything wrong. It's not about not taking responsibility. Yes, two people are involved in a relationship, but often a woman will put the man on a pedestal making him out to be perfect and herself the one who is flawed. This book helped me to see that I was degrading myself by thinking I was the one who wasn't enough. The book is really about being true to yourself and valuing yourself, having self-respect. It is not about bashing men or putting blame on them. The right man is going to love you for respecting yourself and being true to yourself. When a woman jumps through hoops to please a man or to "catch" a man, she only succeeds in getting the wrong guy for her. This is a very helpful book for reminding women how truly wonderful they are and how much they deserve to be loved by a man who values and respects them. Nothing less is acceptable.
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Format: Hardcover
It is ironic that the negative reviewer below wrote "It would be nice to see some books about equal and positive dynamics in relationships..." because that is exactly what this book offers. (That reviewer has obviously not read the book.) Negavative dynamics occure when two people are not equal-- when the woman has put the man at greater value. This is unhealthy. Women need to realize that they are just as valuable as men. This book will help women realize that they don't need to change to find a man. This book also lists zero-tolerance behaviors that women should beware of when dating.

This book will teach you:

Assume that you're perfect as you are...perfectly lovable, that is

Assume that you're entitled, therefore, to be loved by a perfect man...just as you always wanted

Assume, however, that there is no perfect man...in the whole world, and every man you meet will be imperfect...in many ways

Assume that if he doesn't find you lovable, that's proof that he's imperfect...at least for you

My favorite lessons from the book are:

*stop faking it-- do what you want, wear what you want, go where you want

*Don't ask why. Ask what. What do you want from a man who loves you? And what did you get instead? That is all you need to know.

*Don't apologize: women apologize for not anticipating problems, not avoiding problems, for who we are, for what we do, and for being single. All this apologizing affects the way you feel about yourself.

This book is about raising your self esteem and creating positive afirmations. A great gift for any single woman.
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Format: Hardcover
She's right. The title says the whole thing. Unfortunately, this isn't going to get you a man. This may or may not be a bad thing.

Look -- and I say this as a veteran of marriage and short and long-term relationships, also as a mother whose view of taking care of nominal adults is now decidedly jaundiced -- men, on the whole, are not made so well and make themselves crazier than women do. You know how sperm behave? All that crazy racing around for one thing, anything for the win, and then they disintegrate if they don't make it? That's men. And I don't care what kind of nice grad-school feminist line they may talk; they still have trouble with the proposition that we're people too. So when they finally get around to noticing us, what they want is still a sexpot who'll be nice. Nice nice nice. A nice, sweet, ego-reflating, wound-binding, sexy sweetheart nurse who'll smooth the way, take care of all unpleasant chores, etc. Also you should not compete with him and make him feel bad, and by "compete" I mean "breathe". Because it's all a competition for the guys, no matter how tofu-eating your man is. You know that line "He who dies with the most toys wins"? They mean it. And if they don't mean it at 25, they find that at 40, as the testosterone ebbs, it's sprouted within anyway. Along with a real yen for kink, because they just don't get it up like they used to and they're dying to feel it like they did.
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I tend to dislike books in the "self improvement" genre, but this one is a true gem.

Like many women, I always ask myself what I've done "wrong" when a relationship doesn't go the way I want...meanwhile I see men whose relationships have failed jump right back in the saddle without a moment of self doubt! I've had more than one person tell me I'm "too nice." Meanwhile, I see so-called "difficult," "demanding" women get the guy!

This book doesn't tell you to be difficult or demanding. The point is to BE YOURSELF. If you try to please others, you are acting in response to a projection of what you think the other person wants. Not only are you likely to be wrong about what the other person is looking for, but you aren't going to be very happy in the process, are you? The other person will sense that you aren't feeling happy or being genuine, and this will cause them to lose interest.

In order to find the guy who is right for YOU, you have to believe that you are lovable and stop questioning yourself. Look at HIS behavior objectively and critically...to see if HE is right for YOU. This will keep you from falling for the wrong guys.

This advice, presented in a really straightforward and sensible way, matches what a lot of what men have told me...namely that confidence is the most attractive quality a woman can have. The difference between those "difficult" women who get the guy and yours truly? They are being genuine and true to themselves; they feel that they are lovable, flaws and all. No one is perfect, but if you believe you are valuable and worthwhile, you are more likely to find someone else who will feel that way too. This holds true even if you're "picky," "selfish" or whatever people say is the reason you haven't found The One.
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