How to Lose a Woman


By Raymond Bechard

Excerpted with permission from “How to Lose a Woman Forever” on The Good Men Project

Raymond Bechard summarizes Travis McGee’s views on women into 22 rules to losing the love of your life forever.

Only a woman of pride, complexity and emotional tension is genuinely worth the act of love, and there are only two ways to get yourself one of them. Either you lie, and stain the relationship with your own sense of guile, or you accept the involvement, the emotional responsibility, the permanence she must by nature crave. I love you can be said only two ways.

Travis McGee, The Deep Blue Good-By, 1964

1. Don’t protect her.

She’s a big girl. There’s no reason to help her feel safe in the way she needs to feel safe. There are no guarantees in life so it’s not rational to expect security in relationships. (And nothing is more rational than love.) Her emotional security is paramount to her. This means she wants to rely on you to always be there for her and count on you to be her best friend. Allow her to feel alone and abandoned, and you will experience both.

2. Don’t respect her.

Simple. Treat her like crap. If she doesn’t take it, she’ll leave and you’ll be miserable. If she does, she’ll stay and you’ll both be miserable. Treating her like the extraordinary woman she is will only increase her expectations, attitude, and hope, and courage, and affection, and love …

3. Don’t listen to her.

Every time she talks either tune her out or try to solve her problems. Do not, under any circumstances come to the realization that her feel­ings are the prob­lem she needs to com­mu­ni­cate to you. She doesn’t want you to DO anything. (After all, if she wanted your help she would ask for it. Seriously, she will.) And if you wanted her to feel closer to you than anyone else in the world you would not lis­ten to her prob­lems, but to her feel­ings. That takes paying sharp attention to her and learning how to really listen beyond her words. You would have to look at her as a person of near limitless emotional capacity. And all of that would only show her how much you truly value her. Who has that kind of time?

4. Look at her like an object.

All your life you’ve been sizing women up, judging them, taking in their physical being the same way you do with cars, boats or maybe fishing gear. Women are their words, their silence, their movement, the expressions, their work, their art, their friends, their children, their emotions, their thoughts, their hearts and their minds. They are more complex than anything else in the world. If you’re lucky, you might be smart enough to take on the challenge of understanding one someday.

5. Take her for granted.

Let her know she’s nothing special. Devalue everything she does, especially the things she does for you. If you want to make her miserable, sad, hopeless, or just lose her self-esteem make sure she knows she really doesn’t mean that much to you. You can’t be bothered with the fact that she’ll be looking for some kind of positive affirmation from you every day. And giving it to her is not something you can do once a month or week, on holidays or special occasions. She knows you appreciate her when you work at it all the time, especially those times when you don’t have to.

6. Don’t let her know she is important.

This one’s easy. If her father let her know that she is important as a person and you don’t show her the same thing, she won’t even consider a real relationship with you (because she knows you’re wrong.) However, if he didn’t teach her these things (making him a heartless jerk) then you have to go along with him. Otherwise, if you try to prove her father wrong and treat her with the love and respect she deserves, she will fight you. She may never unbelieve her father’s lie. But if you do choose to take on the job, commit to it like a man.

7. Don’t let her know she is interesting.

Don’t show any interest in her life, her passions, her story, her friends, work, hobbies, troubles, etc. Showing her she bores you is the best way to prove to her that she will never be her best with you.

8. Cheat.

No joking around on this one. Don’t cheat. Have the courage to say no or the decency to end the relationship. Stop and think of the damage you are doing to her for the rest of her life. However, if you want to permanently kill a good section her heart then go ahead. Tell yourself whatever you want. She will never recover, especially if she stays with you.

9. Don’t commit.

She’ll feel fine if you can’t commit to anything, large or small. Can’t make little plans because of work or your family or your friends or your other interests? No problem. She’ll make plans without you. Can’t make big plans like spending the rest of your life with her? She’ll make those plans without you as well.

10. Don’t kiss her.

If you don’t want her, don’t touch her. And especially don’t kiss her. However, if you want to be a man, shut up and take five completely uninterrupted minutes every day to hold her and kiss her.

11. Don’t cherish and adore her.

Don’t pay any attention to the needs she’s had since she was a child. Yes she is all grown up, but there is a part of the little girl she once was still living inside her. She needs your help in telling the little girl that everything is going to be okay because she is truly loved. Yeah, she can certainly handle that on her own, or with somebody else.

12. Don’t provide for her.

Screw Travis McGee. It’s the 21st Century and women should be able to carry their own weight. Sorry, but if you can’t provide for her financially she will never be able to completely rely on you. She needs to count on you no matter what happens. Unpredictability is her worst enemy and the world is becoming more unpredictable every day. You must be her safe harbor, her one place to go when it all goes to hell.

13.  Don’t compliment her.

If you want her to find proof that she is attractive from someone else, don’t show her how attracted you are to her. If you want her to know how much you adore her, tell her how your attraction to her makes you feel. “Seeing your eyes makes me feel like I’m really home,” is better than, “You have nice eyes.” But don’t do that. You’d have to examine all the great feelings she gives you. And who needs that much self awareness?

14. Ignore Adventure.

Needing security must mean she wants routine and dullness, right? Do you realize how much a woman wants adventure? Not the adventure of being with you or the ups and downs of your relationship, but the adventures—large and small—you embark on together. She wants to be safe/secure enough in you so that you are the only one she will dare travel with on the adventures she desires so deeply.

15. Don’t surprise her.

Going to the trouble to be spontaneous or romantic without her knowing proves to her that she is precious to you. She needs to see you going to a lot of trouble for her to truly know she is loved and safe. That’s a lot of work.

16. Don’t romance her.

Your first date was a long time ago. No need to act like that idiot anymore. It’s probably best to just settle into a routine and ignore her need for unique expressions of your love for her. On the other hand, if you bring her out on a “first date” once in a while, or go out of your way for her romantically, you will reset the emotional freshness of her heart and your relationship.

17. Don’t be a hero.

She may not want you to solve all her problems, but she definitely wants a champion. Who the hell even knows what that means? It’s a fine line to walk. And it’s only attempted by the truest of men with the utmost courage and conviction.

18. Don’t take her anywhere.

She is feeling things emotionally that you will never even come close to. Imagine all emotions—good and bad—are rocks. Someone hands two identical rocks to you and to your woman. To you it feels like a rock. To her it’s a boulder. The weight of all that, all day, every day, gets to be a burden. Whether you take her to dinner, a spa, on vacation, or just sit and watch her try on dresses, you will be her hero for taking her out from under her own personal pile of boulders.

19. Don’t change your habits.

Let pride be your guide. Never improve. You’ve gone far too long becoming just as perfect as you are. Why switch up your game now? Remember, compromise and consideration has no place in relationships … unless you want them to work. Anyway, who has strength enough to be flexible?

20. Hate apologizing.

If you wanted to make this work, you would love apologizing. Point out your mistakes and apologize for them until she tells you to stop. But, that will only make her trust you and rely on your decency and trustworthiness as a man.

21. Don’t learn what emotional intimacy is.

Forget that emotional intimacy is the utterly close connection that will exist only when you are truly committed to and trust one another. It means you are both devoted to the well being and individual growth of the other, that you fully trust her and her you. It means knowing with absolute certainty that you are perfectly safe with each other. So, you would have to take the time to find a woman with whom you can build trust and be yourself. Worst of all it would mean not just accepting her for who she is, but celebrating who she is.

22. Don’t man up and deal with it.

You have issues. Everybody does. But you’re strong enough to handle them and not let them affect your life or your relationships. Certainly, you don’t need to deal with your past, your humiliations, shame, failures, addictions, etc. Getting help and staying strong only means you’re weak.

If none of these rules make sense then you need to meet my friend, Travis McGee. He is waiting for you on his boat, The Busted Flush, docked at slip F-18 at the Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale.

Let me know what you think about this list, ladies and gents.

You might also enjoy How to Lose a Guy Forever on The Good Men Project

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on September 17, 2012, in men, objectification, psychology, relationships, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. If my boyfriend had done more than two of these, I would be easily pissed. However, I also do not want him to treat me as a typical girl. I do not like it when boys say “I know girls would be just happy if I make a little surprise on date.” I keep thinking “we’re not that easy.” The hardest moment for me is when a man who is in a serious relationship always ask me to tell him everything about me such as family, dream, friendship, and past. We hope our relationship to last forever but it does hardly happen in reality. So I would prefer to keep some of my secret in myself. I would be mad if my boyfriend doesn’t have any interests in myself. But the pressure from him could be also annoying for me. Since it’s about relationships between man and women, this theory doesn’t always work.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this blog post because it seems to say that in order for someone to “lose a woman” they need to treat her like she is not human. All of the things that the post seems to suggest are to treat women like they are actual people with actual feelings and actual goals and aspirations. These ideas are also pertinent to modern day relationships because they do not objectify women. It’s funny because when thinking about the social construction of heterosexual relationships, in regards to the social construction of gender, the post mentions some of the stereotypical “male” roles within relationships such as, protecting, providing, and being a hero. However, these things may not seem progressive but after reading what each action means in terms of emotional intimacy, these relational conditions are very crucial to building long lasting relationships. To protect means make her feel emotional secure in the relationship. To provide means to emotionally support her and be the one place she can run to when everything feels like it’s falling apart. To be a hero means to help her become the best woman she is set out to be even within the midst of all her troubles. I thought the messages behind this post was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it alongside the “How to Lose a Man” post, which I also found very interesting and rather accurate.

  3. Nice.. Lucking forward to apply all this..lol 😉

  4. I feel like my relationship right now is based off all of these things a guy shouldnt do. I feel stupid for staying with someone for so long when all they do is worry about themself. the one about if a guy doesn’t care about you then don’t touch her, really stood out to me. I lived in reno for a year and I really care about this guy but i can not tell if he is into me or not. ya we have hooked up and stuff but he does not express any feelings towards me except for that we flirt a lot when we are drunk. i want to break up with my boyfriend as of right now to be with this guy in reno. but i live in the bay area now. I just want to know so bad if he thinks of me in any other way then just a hook up.

  5. lol…well said

  6. If only there was a hand book on how to treat a lady. It’s like men are just losing their sense of affection. If they just understood that it is so simple to make your woman happy. If they just understood that it doesn’t take much to make us happy. But I guess they just want to seem “tough” so they shut down how they truly feel and everything just goes down hill from there. Often people tell me that females are all over the place, that we don’t know what we want. That is not the case we know what we want it’s just men don’t show any interest in knowing what we want. If they walked in our heels for one day they would almost understand how we feel.

  7. I was kind of surprised when I saw that number one was about feeling protected. Since my first relationship, what I’m attracted to has changed a lot. When I was a teenager I was drawn to guys who seemed really confident. Now, seven or eight years later, I am most attracted to someone who will protect me and who makes me feel safe… it’s kind of embarrassing honestly. When I started noticing I was drawn to this it became a source of shame– why should I need someone to make me feel safe? Well, I don’t need another person to make me feel safe, but it feels nice to know there’s someone is looking out for me and that they’re going to stick around. And that if I’m ever in danger, that person would do anything to keep me away from harm– well, however likely that scenario is…

    I kind of suspect it’s because as I get older my body is nudging me towards more someone more “fatherly” (that’s where my body and mind are at a disagreement, fortunately the mind is holding strong on this one) and that whole survival of the fittest thing. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing to want to feel protected or safe, but there’s a difference between that and being needy and clingy. I’m glad this was number one on this list because it made me realize this actually isn’t something to feel bad about at all.

    • Yes, I’m not sure these are listed in order of priority. And interestingly, this is reposted from a feminist site. But I could also relate. As I told someone else, I had been in a relationship where I had not felt emotionally safe, and left him for that reason. Then I married someone who did.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting emotional security. Actually seems healthy.

      Depends on what you want, of course. But they’re talking about relationships here, not sex-for-fun. And your stage in life may affect what’s wanted.

  8. I always get a little worried when I see things like this because on the one hand I know men and women are different (and my book is based on that) but on the other I hate it when folk describe women and men as if they’re from different galaxies. On a positive note, some bits made me laugh and some seemed sensible, and after googling the name, I now know who Travis McGee is 🙂

  9. Some of these are very true for me, but others…not so much.

    I don’t need a man to “protect” me or be my “hero” or “provide” for me, and I kind of wonder why these are even on the list. The other things all seem like staples of great relationships, but I know of (and have personally had) plenty of successful relationships that don’t involve the man being some sort of protector/provider/hero. *shrug*

    • I agree that not every one will fit every woman. Likely the ones you point out will still fit a lot. I saw them more in terms of emotional safety. I was attracted to my husband largely because I felt so emotionally safe with him — in a way I hadn’t in my prior relationship.

  10. I find myself wanting to ad, “23. Decide how to treat her based on over generalized checklists instead of getting to understand her individual wants and needs.”

    • Based on the number of hits this post has received it seems to resonate with a lot of people. It resonated with me, so I posted it.

      • Well, it’s not all bad advice, but some of it is advice I wouldn’t want a guy I was dating to follow. For example, I get kind of annoyed by compliments on things that have nothing to do with effort on my part. I know some girls like that stuff, but I just don’t know what to do with it.
        Also, number 12 bothers me a lot. If the guy wants to be a househusband or stay-at-home dad, that’s something that might work for some couples and it’s up to them. If a guy loses his job and his female partner still has hers, I don’t think he should feel like he’s failed as a partner because of that.

      • Makes sense all except I don’t know that he’s advocating empty compliments.

  11. That’s good advice. Now if I wonder if the women are so clear on how to lose their man.

  12. Reblogged this on visionvoiceandviews and commented:
    A good read for men…and women!

  13. Reblogged this on Susan Daniels Poetry and commented:
    This is WONDERFUL.

  14. Oh, Georgia–I absolutely, hands-down LOVE this!

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