You don’t attract what you desire, you attract what you project.
I** spent the first twenty years of my life honing a staggering inability to attract women on a romantic level. I had no problem surrounding myself with female friends, but also no success converting any of those friendships into romantic partnerships.**
I’ve been publicly wide open over the past decade through my writing, speaking, and coaching, discussing the path I took from being “that guy” to one of the most widely read dating and relationship writers on the planet.
I’ll skirt over the dating escapades of my twenties and some of my thirties, though, as fleeting or less serious relationships aren’t the relevant focus here.
What I’d like to discuss is the qualities I had to develop — the man I had to become — to attract my wife.
Read also: 35 little ways to live a good life
Let me clarify what this means first:
I’m not talking about seeing someone across an empty field and somehow molding or manipulating myself into the person that she’d want to be with in order to “win her over.”
What I do mean is, the type of woman that **she **is, would only be attracted to a very particular type of man.
Decades worth of personal development and focusing on myself helped me to discover and create who I truly am, and subsequently project it out into the world.
I’d become the man that “she” was drawn to. By “she,” I mean a successful, strong, intelligent, resilient, and ambitious partner in the game of life.
“She” who will take no shit. “She” who plows through life’s challenges no matter how overwhelming. “She” who doesn’t need a partner, but chooses one — one she will be a teammate to for life.
As a man (of course this goes for women as well, but I speak from the male perspective), who’s seeking to attract your “she,” what qualities must you develop in order to become the man that “she” is attracted to?
Not for her, though — but for the sake of your own happiness, joy, and fulfillment?
Below, I’ll define some of the traits and characteristics that, when I worked to develop, had the result of attracting a far higher caliber of woman and partner than the man I’d been in the past would’ve been capable of.
1: Full clarity around my true identity.
People cannot be attracted to you if they don’t know who you really are, and you can’t live a life that you’re truly passionate about if you don’t know who you really are.
If you hope to build a relationship, a future, a **life **with someone, then you need to already be moving in (generally) the same direction before you even meet.
It’s like two lanes of a road that merge into one.
If one of those lanes is too windy, or under construction, or is going to eventually turn back the other direction — the merge can never be complete, or would only be temporary.
A woman cannot envision a future with a man who doesn’t have a future envisioned for himself.
A man cannot envision a future for himself if he doesn’t know what he really wants.
A man cannot know what he really wants if he doesn’t know who he really is.
This was at the core of my struggle for years. I cared more about winning other people’s approval than I did about being truly happy or fulfilled. I’d say what (I thought) people wanted to hear, mold myself into who (I thought) they wanted me to be…and then could never understand when a relationship ended, or never even started in the first place.
It’s because being a “people-pleaser,” more often known as “the nice guy” for us gents…doesn’t really give people anything to sink their teeth into.
You’re sort of just — mush.
You mold yourself to your surroundings rather than developing a solid core within yourself that guides your decisions, your values, your actions, and how you show up in the world.
When that is consistent — when you know who you are and what you stand for — your actions are consistent as well.
When your actions are consistent, you can build trust. People know who you really are and what to expect when they’re around you.
A woman who’s looking for a strong and steady lifelong partner will never even consider someone who is flimsy or wavering in their character like a leaf blowing in the wind. It just doesn’t make sense.
2: Effective communication skills.
There’s a big difference between building friendships with women and building attractionwith women.
I’ve been discussing this with one of my private clients recently, emphasizing the importance of respectfully and tactfully inserting meaningful compliments, romantic intention, and date invitations into conversations with women.
The lack of this ability only leads to one place: The “friend zone.”
When dating or pursuing a highly desirable woman, you’ve got to operate under the assumption that she is constantly being bombarded by advancements by other men. That’s just…the way the world works (we’ll get more into the security you need in yourself to handle this later).
So, you can’t just dive in with boring compliments about her appearance that she’s heard a million times before.
You also can’t be crass, or crude, or blunt in a way that will immediately turn her off.
You can’t sound like all of the other men who’ve shot their shot before you.
You’ve got to understand the nuances of communication, be genuinely interested in her on a deeper level, actively listen, respond, and explore each other’s intellectual playgrounds.
I’ve written before that Rachel and I met during the very beginning of the pandemic lockdowns — the least likely time to connect with the person that you’d one day marry…
If you’ve read that writing, you know that we texted all day, had phone calls, enjoyed more than twenty hours of video chats for nearly three months before we actually met in person.
How did we do this without getting bored?
Talking about everything and everything.
Building mutual trust through honesty and transparency.
Focusing on actually getting to know each other.
The first time we met was, ironically, to act as an engaged couple in a music video, filmed in my old apartment.
She stayed long after filming was finished, and we have been together ever since.
That’s because by the time we actually “met,” we already knew each other, what our intentions were, and where we wanted things to go.
Now, more than three years later, we are married and living the life that we promised each other.
Without the ability to communicate on a deeper level, one (or both) of us would’ve gotten bored and dropped off long before we actually saw each other “IRL.”
3: Full support of HER goals.
Part of what sparked my conversations with Rachel was the impact the pandemic was having on our businesses.
I’d been actively traveling for speaking engagements, and she owned and operated a large indoor children’s playground. Both, needless to say, were halted in their tracks by a global health crisis where people were being kept isolated.
As the world began waking up again, so did our businesses.
If I’d been a clingy and desperate type of person who needed constant reassurance and validation, I would’ve been crowding her valuable mental and emotional space when she needed to be focusing on work.
As the months continued on, restrictions and 5-figure monthly rents and payrolls (each) were simply an unrealistic proposition, and she closed her doors.
Shortly after, she endeavored back into 3D animation and design — which also required full focus and substantial time commitment.
The same remains true about any “neediness” I would’ve projected during that work being a major turn-off, if not just an annoyance.
Now, after much discussion and deliberation, Rachel is a full time stay at home mom to more deeply connect with our 3-year old, and support our 7 year old.
A decision that I work to support every single day.
There are talks about new businesses, ventures, ongoing education, and the like — all of which I stand by and encourage her to pursue fully.
A woman like this simply would never choose, nor be attracted to, a man who extinguished her flame or dulled her shine. She’d have no reason to stay with him, feel no true connection, and see no future together.
Real love helps strengthen your wings, it doesn’t clip them.
4: Relentless pursuit of my own goals.
I don’t know what your “she” or “he” does for a living, but you know from point #3 that Rachel and I are both highly entrepreneurial.
For us, we must carve our own paths. This doesn’t just happen between 9–5 Monday through Friday. It doesn’t come with a fixed paycheck. It doesn’t give you instruction from a “boss” or a superior.
You are…well, it.
This is the atmosphere I grew up in, so it was an inevitable path for me. My entire family is cut from the entrepreneurial cloth and I’m starting to think that it’s encoded in my genetics.
The point is, though, that this drive is one of the things that drew Rachel to me because of her own drive.
You cannot take someone who is in relentless pursuit of their own passions, put them in a relationship with someone who is stagnant, or uninterested in growth…and expect for it to work out.
The case may not be the same for you — your “she” or “he” may not be an entrepreneur or be driven by a certain type of success. But, if they are, so must you be.
I am more driven than ever before, as I’ve now made the commitment to fully support a family of four. There is simply no other option besides success. The relentless pursuit, then, has only been magnified.
The overarching point being made here is that you must align in your ideas of passion and pursuit in life, it’s the only way you’ll really understand each other.
5: Still being “the man” in the relationship.
I don’t believe this is a controversial opinion if we’re really honest with ourselves about it.
We’ve already established how driven and successful Rachel was before we met.
She was raising the two kids on her own, while running the businesses.
She was no damsel in distress, so I needn’t be the prince to save her.
This, however, did not change the biological realities that I enjoyed being the “pursuer,” the one who would plan dates, bring flowers, extend invitations, make her feel safe and secure…
I believe that women, no matter how strong or independent, still want to be cared for, romanced, and cherished as “the woman” in the relationship.
Feminine strength is no less of a strength than the masculine. It is just, simply, different.
It is my stance, then, that a man will be well-served to remember this and not have his judgment clouded by the societal discourse around equality and feminism.
I’m a feminist. I believe women should have equal treatment and rights to men — it’s silly and archaic to suggest otherwise.
I also believe that women still want to be romanced and made to feel special. The two can (and should) coexist.
I could not, then, be “intimidated” or dissuaded by Rachel’s strength or success. If I’d assumed that she didn’t want me to step up and “be the man” because of who she was professionally, then I would’ve lost the race before it even started.
6: Full security in MYSELF.
Let’s talk about THE REAL PROBLEM when it comes to men who have trouble dating women of this caliber…
It’s the men.
If you agree with point #5, then you have to agree that women want the same levels of emotional connection and support as they always have, regardless of their level of success or independence.
What, then, is really the argument with “independent women” if it’s not the women themselves?
It’s the men’s (false) perception of what this means.
They think it means that women don’t want nor need romance anymore.
They think it means they don’t need _men_anymore.
And…in some ways, that’s correct.
They don’t need you to pay the bills, to run the business, or, shit, even to have kids. They can do all of that on their own.
That, however doesn’t mean that they want to.
It also means that the biological need for love and connection is not dictated by societal changes.
The value that you bring to her life doesn’t have to be financial like it did 50+ years ago — but, so many of you have been conditioned to believe that it does, that you’re not sure how else to show up.
You’re not sure where your place is, which means you’re not sure what your value is — which means you start becoming insecure and uncertain when it comes to dating.
Rachel may be a stay at home mom now, but she was a business owner with two children and her own place before we met. This is a decision based on our lifestyle, not on a “need” for me to take care of her.
It also means that if I’d looked at her level of success in the beginning, and felt **insecure or unsure of myself, **or what I was able to bring to the table in our relationship…I would’ve slunk back into a corner before we even met.
I knew, though, that connection, partnership, love, respect, friendship, and intimacy cannot be bought. It is invaluable and immeasurable.
However, it takes an immense sense of security in one’s self to truly understand that and knowthat you, as a partner, can bring value to her life…no matter what it already looks like.
Speaking of “looks like,” I also need security in myself in order to be married to such a beautiful woman.
I’ve been around the block. I know that it’s inevitable that she get messages from men, comments on her viral content (despite it being about parenting and marriage), and even approached in public. That’s just…part of the deal when you’re with an attractive woman.
I, though, am confident enough in myself and the foundation we’ve built to not be worried about these neanderthals. Am I protective of her? Do I look out for her well-being? Do I make my presence known if necessary? Of course!
I do not, though, fly off the handle with toxic jealousy every time a man shows up in her comments.
7: A sense of humor.
There are enough serious and stressful parts of adult life — your relationship shouldn’t be added to that list.
Sure, a relationship is serious business, but it’s also about having fun together. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Part of the thing that kept our video chats going for hours on end was laughing until we were literally crying. That’s one of the things that first drew me to Rachel, how F’ing funny she was (and still is).
If I didn’t have the sense of humor to match hers, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy each other’s company as much as we did in the beginning, leading to a solid foundation.
It doesn’t really matter what your sense of humor is, it’s about compatibility, similarities in what you find fun, amusing, and enjoyable.
It’s about knowing when not to take things too seriously (and of course, when you should).
A healthy sense of humor helps you insert levity where it’s helpful, enhance fun experiences, and laugh together until you cry.
Love is about laughing forever with someone you take seriously.
8: Direct honesty (with kindness).
I believe this to be a separate quality from communication skills, as it’s more of a mindset.
Being direct and honest with a partner is non-negotiable. It signals respect in that you hold them in high enough regard to tell the truth. You won’t lie to or deceive them — but you’ll be kind and careful about your delivery of the truth.
If you haven’t yet developed the intentional and deliberate default setting of always being honest with your partner, they’ll see right through you and begin moving in the other direction.
Someone who’s mature, intelligent, and wants to know who they’re committing their heart to is only going to accept full honesty at all times.
What do you think a woman with two children and a thriving business does when she senses inconsistency or a lack of seriousness in the guy she’s talking to?
She moves on.
There’s simply no time or space for that type of energy.
Now, your “she” or “he” may not have children or a business — or maybe they have both.
If they’re a mature and serious person, though, the truth still holds. Nobody who takes their future seriously is going to commit themselves to someone who doesn’t.
Consistency is a quality because it’s intentional. It’s something you must put deliberate effort into every single day, but can only do so when you’ve worked to become the type of person who’s capable of that.
If you’ve EVER been in an adult relationship, you understand the value of patience.
Patience when someone is too busy to see you. Patience when they need time to respond. Patience to find the pace that works for you both. Patience to learn each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies. Patience to be understanding when they make a mistake. Patience to correct it when YOU make a mistake.
Patience is an undervalued quality when discussing what to look for in a great life partner — and its importance only increases the longer you’re together.
11: Being an adult.
Ha! Yes, I’m serious!
There is a whole different universe that opens up when you’re exploring a lifelong future with someone. It doesn’t matter how much of your shit you’ve got together as a single person, you’re now intertwining your shit with their shit into a whole Jurassic-sized pile of shit.
That’s a lot of shit to get together.
I’ve been having this conversation with a clientwho’s 36 years old, dating a woman who’s 37. This is the first time for him that a future and a marriage might really be on the table.
This is a real life adult relationship!
This isn’t a fling, or a “let’s see where it goes.” It’s an “are we doing this or not?”
“James, I’m already an adult. I pay my own bills. I make a good living. I have my own place.”
Alright — great! But, are you really and truly ready for a relationship that could lead to marriage?
Are you ready to be gasp head of the household?
Are you ready for them to be gasp head of household?
Are you ready to both be heads of the household together?
To discuss having kids? To maybe actually HAVE KIDS?
Being an adult is a lot more than just an age, an income, or achievements. Being an adult is a mindset, it’s a state of being, it’s a level of maturity that is required to develop in order to build a future with someone who’s ready for a real one with you.
Let me just paint this picture for you for a minute…
I was 34 years old when I met Rachel.
I was bouncing around to different parts of the country, traveling to Manhattan for dinner on a whim, renting places I had no intention of living in for more than a couple of years, just doing “my thing.”
Enter: Career focused woman who’s got two children.
Talk about life-changing.
This is not a situation you play with. Not something you only go “half in” with. This is either fully serious, or nothing.
That requires a fundamental shift in lifestyle, mindset, and priorities.
I mentioned earlier that I am supporting this family of four. That means an entire house maintenance and expenses, private schools, luxury and exotic car payments, health insurance, dental insurance, food, clothing for growing kids, social activities and sports…you know the drill.
On top of that, I’m working to buy us a house in less than a year from now. High, lofty, ambitious goals — but nothing will stop me (See point #4).
How often do you think I go out and just…buy something for myself like I used to?
Being selfish and entering into a relationship like this (or, let’s be honest, any relationship) simply would not fly.
I had to, for lack of a better term, “grow up.”
This is a quality that I developed over the course of the relationship, not really something that I had before we met.
I was **very much not **this person before we met.
But, I grew. Developed. Evolved. Decided. Rose to the occasion as any committed and dedicated man would.
Let me be clear about this: This is not about “hey, look what I did.”
This is about what you need to do and who you need to become if you’re going to enter into a serious adult relationship with a serious woman.
Are you ready for that? I mean, really ready?
And, if you’re not ready right now — are you willing to get ready?
Is she willing to stand by your side while you get there as well?
It’s a team effort — after all. All of the qualities listed above for you to develop must also be developed by her. You’re one, now. Two of “me” that have become a “we,” and that takes cooperation and collaboration.
When you can come together and work as a team, though — when you make these promises and commitments to each other…that’s when you become an unstoppable team. That’s how you grow as individuals and as a couple.
That’s how you build the life that you’ve both always dreamed of…together.
Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 39 million visitors to my wife. and a collective social media following of over 400,000._
Contributed by James Michael Sama
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