What do guys mean by “high-maintenance?”

what does What does it mean when a man claims a woman was “high-maintenance?” In the private conversations men have, what do they say to justify the high-maintenance label?

First of all, I’m not a fan of labels, particularly negative ones. But this particular label gets used enough to raise my suspicion that it might represent something real. It might represent a cluster of ideas or beliefs men have about the behavior they see in some women, but not others.

I did some research and discovered men don’t even know what the term means. Or at least they disagree about what it means. However, there were a few common themes in the majority of descriptions I gathered. Those themes revealed something interesting about what men want. I thought I’d share my discoveries.

It’s a bad thing to be labeled as a “high-maintenance” woman in the mind of a man you would like to form a relationship with. That’s really the crux of the matter, isn’t it? So let’s get to the bottom of what that label really means, so you can guard against that reputation if you so choose.

It seems men have at least one of the following three general concepts of what high-maintenance means:

  • “She requires a lot of time and demands constant attention.”
  • “She is focused on image and appearance in shallow ways that cost me a lot of money.”
  • “She is quick to anger, excessively sensitive to interpersonal slights, and slow to forgive.”

Something struck me as particularly significant as I considered these broad categories that each capture core themes in the concerns men have about “high-maintenance” behavior. You see, as I studied the psychology of men, and what makes them fall for women, one of the most important principles I discovered was that men are obsessed with freedom. All three ways of conceptualizing “high-maintenance” behavior contain something that threatens a man’s freedom.

A high-maintenance woman will reduce a man’s freedom by draining his money, his time, or his emotional reserves (primarily patience). To use a feminine metaphor, a high-maintenance woman is like long, thick hair (and bangs) that requires a lot of time, attention, and maintenance. Or, to use a more stereotypically masculine metaphor, a high-maintenance woman is kind of like a motorcycle that constantly requires repairs and adjustments to function right.

What do guys want? They want freedom. They want the freedom to act goofy once in a while rather than walking on eggshells to maintain appearances. They want to feel appreciated for the money they earn, without expenses that make them feel inadequate or unable to provide. They want to be able to pursue adventure and friendships beyond the romantic relationship they enjoy.

what does Another way to say it would be this. Men seem to want a woman who will fit like a glove, comfortably becoming a part of his life without changing him with demands he feels unable to satisfy in the long-term. It sounds nice, but honestly, I think that’s asking a bit too much. In fact, the men who tend to use the “high-maintenance” term tend to be a bit “high-maintenance” themselves.

Here’s what I mean. They are the kind of men who are very particular about what they want, unwilling to morph their life to meet a partner halfway, co-creating something new and beautiful. Compromise and finding new ways of appreciating life are important parts of developing a quality relationship with someone of the opposite sex. So if there is anything I’ve learned from my research on the “high-maintenance” term, it’s that women should avoid men who use it.


P.S. This was just a little side project fueled by my personal curiosity, but I have spent years cultivating a deep knowledge base regarding the triggers that make a man really want to be with some women, and not others. If you would like to leverage my years of research and experience in this area, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of my home study program, What Men Secretly Want. You can get a copy and begin studying it tonight.

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75 thoughts on “What do guys mean by “high-maintenance?”

  1. ema said:

    thank you for that article. until you got to the part about men being high maintenance also, i was getting annoyed. but then you said men can also be high maintenance and demanding. they keep us walking on eggshells. yes, it works BOTH ways!!! we have to fit into their lives and be “good little girls” and not upset them! glad you wrote this.men should read it!!!! and also men who date online and always say “no high maintenance or drama, please!!”

  2. Dru said:


    I read this with a bit of cynicism, but secretly wanted to know what men really meant by the term “High maintenance”. Surely, it is not about me. I dress conservatively, don’t overspend, allow for maximum freedom, etc. Even so, my ex-husband constantly called me this, and I wanted to know why. The first “definition” suited me well throughout most of our marriage. I was often asking him to qualify the depth of his love for me. Mostly, because I put myself in the “one-down” position with him, but also because I sensed he wasn’t being completely honest with me nor fully committed. With glee, I read your final point – to avoid men who use the term. Thanks for your insight!


  3. melanie said:

    there is one statement you made, James that I have experienced to be absolutely true. Many men are, sorry to say, lazy. They prefer to compromise as little as possible of their current lifestyle. My fiance is one of those permanent bachelor types. I made it my business to compromise on little things, and eventually he did, too. Let him know you respect him enough to do that.There is only ONE thing you should never compromise, and that is loyalty. If I could do it at age 55, others can too!!

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks for that, Melanie. Encouraging truth.

    • Cdub85 said:

      Amen! I have a guy I’ve been talking to and we have been on a few dates. He says he wants a relationship and that he “misses me” but I realized I was the one asking him out, not the other way around. I think he’s just too lazy to put forth the effort of a relationship. No wonder he’s single! The downside for me is that I like him, but I’m trying to move on because lazy is not a romantic term for me. Thanks Melanie!

  4. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    “Right on James”, as I think you would say in America. (I am English, by the way). You have absolutely hit the nail on the head. I was getting rather worried reading this article, thinking, Oh my goodness, maybe that is my problem, I am too high maintenance, I must be putting men off, and was astounded when you turned it round on the men. You are quite right. If a man cannot meet us ladies half way (and vice versa), and expect to still live their lives selfishly only thinking of their needs, then there is no hope of ever having a wonderful, close, loving, caring relationship where each can trust the other and know that they are there for each other completely and absolutely (forsaking all others). I am 65 and I know things have changed a lot since I started courting over 50 years ago, but caring and consideration and trust should surely still be paramout in any loving relationship. I was maried for almost 40 years and have been separated and divorced for 5 years. I am hoping and praying I will meet someone good and kind before my days are over, but I am beginning to think that most people these days are “high maintenance” and do not really want to commit fully. Well, it is their loss – they don’t know what they are missing!!
    The most important thing in life is “just to love and be loved in return”.
    Alone is a very lonely place indeed.
    Thank you, once again for a wonderful insight into human psychology, James. LaLa

      • Grace said:

        Touché! I agree and feel similarly. I too was married for over 33 years and have been separated for 5 and divorced for 2 years now. I was never high maintenance in any of the categories but yes indeed my ex sure was! As a narcassist his ego was front and center. Don’t miss it one little bit!
        . . My love interest now might use the term lightly as I do long for a more committed relationship and tire of “soon” while he gets his life in order. But the basic premise of sharing and compromising are paramount to a fulfilling relationship. I am eager to have this as I realize I never did. Imagine half my life spent with someone who didn’t compromise! So sad. So now I will not settle. No indeed. I fully intend to be in an open and loving relationship or none at all!! I am more tolerant (weird but true), and have learned to be a me to apologize and be patient. This time around neither of us will be “high-maintenance”. And for that reason I am convinced we will be very happy! Thank you James…keep the articles and insights coming.

  5. Alicia said:

    To my boyfriend I believe it would be “packs too heavy”. He really scolds whenever I pack too heavy reminding me that he has backpacked in Europe and that you have to be able to jump on and off conveyances with the one light bag you’re carrying.

  6. Lifera said:

    You’ve made a very true observation James and we thank you for your frankness. For a long time I have wondered why most men I know don’t want to meet a woman half way in a relationship, their dream woman is one who puts them & their needs first in her life, who doesn’t make demands on their time but is always there when they need her and who doesn’t complain. While they, on the other hand, are free to continue to live their life as they please. To be in a relationship with these kind of men is to be miserable. So thanks for warning us James. You’re the first expert I know to point out how realistic & selfish the demands of these kind of men are (others want women to jump hoops to please men). I just wish there were more men out there who see a relationship as something that requires the work of both parties. Society expects a woman to be the one to work to save her marriage or relationship. And majority of men, by their selfish nature, would love it if they could just take what they want and not care about what the woman wants. Honestly James, you & I both know that there are few good men out there, so is it worth the trouble to try to find one? It’s like searching for a needle in a hay sack. Sometimes it’s just best to resign things to destiny. But I’m not saying you should stop, we enjoy your invaluable advice and profound insight into the minds of both sexes. I subscribe for the wisdom, not for the hope of finding Mr. Right (I believe that is already written in our destiny).

    • James Bauer said:

      Very interesting thoughts, Lifera. Maybe I am too hopeful, but I really do believe you can find a quality man if you hone your skills for filtering out the selfish ones. Destiny is a mystery to me, but I cannot help but agree with you that it is present, in tandem, with our unfolding choices.

      • Lifera said:

        Yes James, and that’s why I’m here. To acquire the skills that will be in tandem with my unfolding destiny. Luck, they say, is being prepared when opportunity comes knocking. So when destiny does send Mr. Right my way I should be prepared to make a blissful life with him given that I would have acquired the wisedom to keep a man happy, earn his love & respect and maintain balance in the relationship. So thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us.

  7. I really enjoyed your post, James. I believe at the core of any relationship requires us to be true to ourselves, accept another as they are and be willing to co-create and work towards the vision that we have for the relationship. In the 3+ years since my divorce I haven’t found that yet. And maybe high maintenance really is a form of immaturity. I know it takes 2 for any relationship to succeed or fail so I guess it boils down to what is one willing to accept and tolerate.

  8. Hmmm, your description of what these men want really describes my first marriage. I remember him telling me, after about 6 years of marriage, that he saw marriage as finding a woman who would be totally into all the things he liked, that she would be waiting for him when he got home, ready to just jump in the truck and go where ever he wanted to go and do what he wanted to do.

    When I quit laughing, my only remark was, “You don’t want a wife…you want a dog!”

    Unfortunately, this really was what he expected a marriage to be. Needless to say, we’re no longer married. But I’m finding this attitude is fairly prevalent. I’m on a dating site and I’ve found it interesting how many men are totally focused on themselves in any conversation I have with them.

    I really appreciate the way you round out the subject, James. After so many years of being told that I had to do all the work to fix our marriage, it’s refreshing to have someone call the men out to man up and make some changes as well. Thanks for challenging both sexes to higher behaviour!

    • James Bauer said:

      I hope he finds a nice dog to spend his life with! Your story made me laugh out loud.

      • Grace said:

        But it is so true!
        There is a natural imbalance of expectations. And an almost unwritten requirement for women to “be there” for their man. While at the same time when do men learn that they need to “be there” for their woman….. Rarely!
        Yes the idea of the dog is perfect, except they don’t cook and clan and…….
        Maybe your idea of a blog for men is needed. . .To give them some insight on how to be a PARTNER. My fear – that most men and especially the ones who need it, just won’t read it, let alone follow any of the tips and pointers. Such a loss.

    • Nina said:

      Definitely communicating with men early on is key to weeding out dog wanters/chasers/lovers, lol. I HATE DATING SITES. But, most men have never encountered a woman who can draw him out before showing her Aces and letting him play. If you communicate first and sex last, it makes it a lot easier to weed them out….unless you are a strong enough woman to separate the 2. I am not. So communication and finding out who the person really is has been key for me 🙂

      • James Bauer said:

        Interesting thoughts.

  9. Vivian said:

    James, is it possible that what men complain about the most when with a woman (high maintenance, spends too much keeping up her appearance, always wants to be taken to fancy places, plays hard to get, etc) is actually something that makes them view that woman as a ‘catch’ and as such will constantly be trying to impress her and try his hardest to keep her interested?

    The reason I ask is that I’ve seen women who act exactly like that; very entitled, expect a man to make all (or at least most of) the effort, constantly be buying them things or being wined and dined and although men complain about it, those are the women that hold their interest. Something to do with the ‘hunt’ aspect of it. Whereas the women who are ‘low maintenance’ by comparison; are happy to go wherever the guy wants to go on dates, are attractive but don’t need to spend hours and thousands of dollars every month in personal upkeep and new clothes, do make time for the guy and be available for him (like the ‘dream woman’ in the above comments) but they quickly lose the respect of the man as she’s not much of a challenge to impress.

    Can’t have it both ways, guys!

    • James Bauer said:

      Good point, Vivian. Actually, what happens is that men who want “the hunt” and nothing but “the hunt” pursue a woman who seems like a challenge, but they are not the kind of men you want to attract into your life. They are enjoying the fun of chasing women, but not looking for a woman to be in a committed relationship with. If they were looking for commitment, they would look for someone who meets their needs, someone who connects with them genuinely on an emotional level. The fun of having “achieved” the hunt wares off pretty quick, leaving both the woman and the man ready for the next short-term fling. You see a lot of action there because those people are always in and out of relationships, while the more stable people are quietly going about the business of building real relationships that last.

  10. Joan said:

    A level of “high maintenance” is required as in (time, effort and outcome):
    -Maintenance of a home so it doesn’t leak and parts come crashing down
    -Maintenance of a car so it continues to run smoothly
    -Maintenance in a career or work to achieve success
    -Maintenance for building good family and friendship dynamics
    -Maintenance in a healthy, long term relationship to keep it from springing a leak, come crashing down, so it runs smoothly, is successful and maintains that level of peak performance to thrive and to radiate joy and loving feelings.

    • Missy said:

      Well said James !
      I must say tho that your point sounds like a smoky mirror effect …… I’ve noticed it in men in a relationship , mine and others ; that they put up some protest or dislike to women’s needs / maintenance when in actual fact it’s their needs / maintenance that are ‘ apparently ‘ important or more necessary at that time .
      Also it seems like some primal instinct of men , a man who’s survival instinct is what she would be soo taken by that she would be willing to I dont I suppose follow him to the ends of the ……
      I believe we can gain in a relationship by the example of yin and yang .

  11. Annie said:

    It felt so good to hear from someone what I have been feeling inside for a long time: I should be met halfway. Thank you, James, for giving me this bit of much needed validation.

  12. Crang said:

    I like the article. But It’s fair to reach both sides of story.
    High maintenance is a sexist expression invented probably by media. It’s so generic because it needs to cover all relationship issues.
    There are indeed guys who complain too much, or just unable to keep a relationship running. There are also girls who absorb so much resources that it makes it overwhelming for a guy to keep giving. After all, is a matter of compatibility.
    But whatever gender you are, if you repeatedly fail to relate to opposite sex , there are potential maintenance issues.

  13. Cdub85 said:

    James, thanks so much for this. I was wondering your thoughts on the Rules book. It first came out in 1995 and has been re-released to include modern technology. Have you read it and what do you think about it?

  14. Terri said:

    Reading this article, I was thinking, here we go again another lecture on how I need to change and adapt to keep my man interested in me. I was so happy to get to the end just to find out I was wrong. I do beleive that we as women have to learn to be happy with ourselves so we don’t place demands on men to meet all of our needs BUT its nice to hear you say that the man has a responsibility as well to make compromises for the sake of a good and lasting relationship. Thanks! I really needed to hear that 🙂

  15. Nancy said:

    Even a dog he would feel too much work as he has to feed the dog, giving him a both…etc.
    A guy whom I knew complained to me one time that his ex gf asked him to help her fixing something for the house, he was so unhappy, saying that she made a lot of money and why can’t she hire someone to fix it. They were living in a different city requires flying over. he claimed that he wanted to come here to see her and have good time with her, not to come to fix stuff for her…..I was just speechless…

  16. Odette said:

    Middle aged and mostly single after a failed 20 year marriage, it occurred to me after meeting so many men that wont read self help books to figure out what they might be doing that is saboutaging their chances of success…. they keep doing the same things over and over…. same results ensue!! These men are single BECAUSE they dont feel there is anything they should do differently…. no flexibility, little tolerance and no sacrifice….. no meeting a woman half way… not even a third of the way.

    It is up to us women to make our conditions known clearly, respectfully and without emotion. Maybe then men might hear us! We must stop over functioning and compensating for selfish lazy men… then maybe they might be driven to stand up and take notice.

    Happily married men that I know have learned this from patient confident clear communicating women….. and its a win win!

    Thank James for making this very clear…. you certainly make a great point….

  17. Odette said:

    It strikes me after reading your comments that there is a lot of power in learning to communicate with men differently in order to bring out his best and communicate your needs and wants.
    I use the symbolism of cats and dogs to remind me how to convey my message and to modify my expectations…. If women are the dogs and men are the cats…. take it from there. eg; If I want affection from my cat, I behave differently to when I want affection from my dog… and my expectations are very different. I expect my dog to greet me enthusiastically when I get home, wereas I dont expect that same attention from my cat! Why do I love them equally but have different measures and expectation? I guess it is because I understand that they both fulfill different roles and have vastly different makeups…. There in lies the difficulty of finding happiness from a man! Once your expectations are changed, your happiness and contentment seems to come more easily… and I simply look elsewhere for much of what I expected from a man in the past…. it works for me. Wish I had worked this out 30 years ago… :))

    • Lifera said:

      Nice analogy Odette, makes a lot of sense. The only problem is, with the kind of person I am, I think I’m better off alone than being with a man who expects all from me while giving nothing in return, to the extent that I have to look for elsewhere for much of what I expect from a man. Our expectations are not really unrealistic, in fact, they are what makes a relationship healthy and fulfilling. Frankly, that’s why I don’t like cats, they are lazy, selfish and lack loyalty. They expect you to feed them, pet them, love them and take good care of them. Yet, if they your neighbor provides them with better food they can totally disappear on you. And what you get in return is the mere satisfaction of their presence in your life. Dogs, on the other hand, love you unconditionally, they laugh with you, cry with you, play with you, and their loyalty…unmatched. If your neighbor happens to serve some delicacies, sure they’ll eat, but they will always come back home to you, where they believe they belong. Now that’s a pet that I am willing to invest my time and money taking good care of.

      • Hah, I love cats but by this description I just dated man that acts like a cat – a tom cat. Moves from woman to woman doesn’t care who he hurts along the way – total commitmaphobe. Funny thing is the he hates cats.

    • Odette said:

      I suppose what I have changed about my interactions with men is not that I have fewer or lower expectations, but that I have thought very long and carefully about what I am looking for and what I need from the relationship and him in order for me to be the companion he would enjoy to be around.

      Its a lot harder than it sounds when you really fine tune your wishes…. and then communicating them to him early in the relationship is where I have found it has the most impact.

      I am no longer apprehensive about explaining what I want and I don’t ask him to provide anything… simply respect my journey …. I have found that most men light up and feel wonderfully enthusiastic when they are clear in their own mind what page you are on.

      Having things clear in your own mind allows him to relax and be the man he feels most comfortable being… and taking the guesswork out avoid the hit and miss scenarios that drive men crazy with frustration.

      I guess I have learned to talk to the cat in cat language, rather than try to get the cat to understand the dog!!

      • Lifera said:

        Dear Odette,
        I understand where you are coming from, and to be honest, your method is what will work well with most men of these days. It comes as no surprise that a lot of men would be happy to be with a woman who expects little from them (who wouldn’t?). With this philosophy you may not have much trouble keeping a man, especially one who thinks the relationship is not worth much of his sacrifice. And if, in return, he doesn’t demand much from you, then it could be a nice ”friends with benefits” kinda set-up (…I’m not judging). The important thing is that it works for you. It may change the whole dynamics of that a relationship should be in the sense of two people coming together and committing to love, care and support one another for a very long time; or what a man’s role should be as the strong, protective provider. And, if more women adopt this way of thinking, soon there will be a lot of selfish men who don’t think they need to work for the success of a relationship and more women who are frustrated because they are giving more than they are getting from a relationship.
        It is good to know the kind of person you are, and I am the kind who will be frustrated with this kind of set-up. But if some women believe that they are strong and that this is something that they have to do in order to have a man in their lives, then by all means go for it!

  18. Lifera said:

    Dear Crang,
    I hope you do know that sex to men is like food to a hungry man. If you don’t give it to him, he WILL look for it elsewhere. And it may have nothing to do with how he feels about you. So, yeah, if my guy is forced to feed outside out of starvation I will forgive him, but if he does it out of the mere desire for variety then I would consider it to be an act of betrayal. And I will treat him like the dog that he is. By the dog & cat analogy, we do not intend to I relate human morality with animalistic behavior.

    • Lifera, women often don’t give a man sex because their needs are not being met elsewhere in the relationship. Generally speaking, if a woman does not feel loved and respected, she will not feel like opening up her legs. It could also be that her man is selfish or just plain crap in bed in bed.

  19. Nina said:

    What about the man who says that he wants a “high maintenance” girl? What is he really looking for? Bitch appeal and rejection?

  20. Dee said:

    I like that you give a different view on many things. The bottom line is that any relationship requires some effort from BOTH parties. If one does most of the work, the other one gets bored because there is no change or interaction that results in stimulation. Stimulation does not have to be sexual interaction….. most good relationships I have known or seen have been when each have found what interests and excites the other’s mind and uses that information to keep the other happy. (After all, most of sex attraction comes from the mind first). So when a man calls a woman “high maintenance” it is because things are out of balance between the two…. men can be “high maintenance” too by being self-centered and lazy also. And I agree, James, when you discover that…… RUN!!!!

  21. HardyMarbles said:

    I agree with Tracy O’Brien. I had one that repeatedly said he was a traditional male. He would pick up sticks in the yard and I could do four grown men’s laundry, cook home made meals, clean the house and do the dishes (no dish washer or disposal) AND have a full time job with a split shift. The oldest, he assigned to do HIS chores. After 27 married years and 9 divorced years alone; I’ve found a wonderful man that meets me half way. We both respect one another and truly care about the relationship. We both agree that the other is the best thing that has happened to us in the past 10 years. I’m thankful I took my time to find a gentleman who also was willing to take his time.

  22. Thank you James 🙂 It was very well explained and I enjoyed it. The first part was pretty obvious or very similar to what everyone says: “guys want freedom that’s all, give them that, depends on that your happines”. Of course we want to make our man happy but there are a lot of circumstances for a relationship to work and is not always 100% one side. I’m glad you added something valuable to that previous info by saying that some men are not being realistic either when setting those expectations or by wanting that in a woman. We both have different needs and at the same time the same one: wanting to feel safe and like we can be ourselves in a relationship. And by safe I mean just having trust, commitment, patience, etc. It’s responsability of both parties to work on the relationship and understand each other 🙂 Not just the women! Altho, of course, cultivating our knowledge about male psycholoy it’s already an advantage 🙂 Hugs from Peru!

  23. Trent said:

    Now first of all. High maintence women is basically a women who expects things in a relationship and demands things rewlly early like marriage or kids. Yes of course there are going to be many men and women who are out there for casual sex because they can’t deal eith the pressures of a relationship. The reason why men probably don’t want to have children is because they take so much responsability, trust and most importanly actually having a future together. Some men aren’t just going to have kids just because they can. It’s faaar too risky. Imagine having to pay child support for 18 years with a women you probably loved but she had no intrest in you so she ended up leaving. It’s not just guys but girls also although they may enjoy spending time with someone they love sometimes getting in a relationship is not often going to make you happier. If you can’t allow a man or woman freedom in a relationship of course they’re going to leave you, it has nothing to do with them being lazy but it’s about whether you are happy and you should feel just as entitled to say that you are not ready.

    • Lifera said:

      This sounds like a man talking

    • Yep, but how long does it take someone to say they are not ready? 14 years? It’s a bit late when the family has been made.

  24. Tina Kurrels said:

    You Make Me Laugh…! 🙂 Thanks James….Interesting Research On The Phrase.. And I Mean The Laughing Part In A Very Good Way. Looking For And Expecting Reciprocity, Is Powerful For Both Men And Women. Thanks For The Thought Provoking…..Thoughts. 🙂 Tina

  25. Seriously said:

    There are plenty of high maintenance women today, and it is all about money for them.

  26. Waterfall said:

    My hair is long and thick I hate them James

  27. Waterfall said:

    And I used to have a high maintenance car – worst experience. Poor men ..:)))

    James, what about the opposite extreme? Following your funny analogies, the lower the better. But it will make a woman too available that kills the spark. What is the right balance?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hmmm…I’ll have to ponder that. Interesting counterpoint.

  28. Waterfall said:

    Yes it’s right. Even the perfect hair needs some in the least minimal treatment otherwise it won’t look good. Same for the car. Annual tech service is a must. It would be weird if hair will shine without washing at least once a week or if the car works and works ten years with the same oil and no gas in the tank. That’s how too available feels for a car/ hair owner.:))

  29. Really said:

    High Maintenance Women are very expensive.

  30. TheRightAnswer said:

    It is a real good thing that these type of women didn’t work as hard as the women of years ago did, they would’ve been in a lot of trouble since they really would’ve had it real tough.

  31. jane said:

    I also agree on the high maintainance issue
    Men that do you use term and use the term drama often are both themselves. I am on dating sites and men lose interest quicKY
    I equate the dating sites to a candy store. They have too many choices and keep moving around. Most are very lazy and want you to make the first move which I won’t do. Step up to the plate. I don’t want a lazy man EVER

    • kate said:

      There’s a way you have to play to get there attention once you have the nack of doing they will always make the effort to come to you!!

  32. Cate said:

    I must be the luckiest woman alive. I joined a dating website with the intent to find, at least, a boyfriend. How else does a 61 year old woman meet men? There were a lot of losers, voyeurs and weirdos but I was on a quest! And within 6 months I met the absolute man of my dreams. We each think the other is wonderful , say so often, respect each other, laugh our heads off and make every day count.
    Very early on, I told him in an email (I can express my thoughts more clearly in writing and I was a little bit chicken about being so blunt!) that I was on a search for a true partner in life and laid out my expectations for a relationship. I told him I thought he was fun, attractive and I admired his accomplishments and that if he wasn’t in the market for the same thing I was, that while I wasn’t giving him the heave-ho just yet…he was just too damned much fun!…I would have to eventually move on. He was receptive, enthusiastic and appreciated my honesty.
    We are getting married in February (my 1st, his 2nd) and are so happy I have to knock on wood! It’s a lot of work-for both of us- but ever so worth it. Ladies…he’s out there, you just have to keep true to yourself, try to enjoy the journey and keep looking.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks for sharing your positive experience with everyone, Cate. It really helps when a few people add their success stories to inspire others with hope.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Cate, Lucky, lucky you!! Have a wonderful, fun-filled wedding day, and a happy, peaceful life. At 68, I wish I could be in the same position. I keep looking. Maybe one day! Lorna

  33. Reality said:

    The definition of high maintenance women are false eyelashes and fake fingernails.

  34. Neil said:

    Can we firstly agree that James has vast amounts of relationship counseling experience and that I have little or none? And secondly, that he is, as far as I know, happily married, while I am still looking for my irresistible woman? (I’m a paid subscriber to this site because his advice is *so* good, but he unfortunately has nothing comparable for guys.)

    Having said that, it seems to me that James only covered one of the four quadrants of high-maintenance: The case where a guy says a girl is high-maintenance while he himself is high-maintenance (we can’t clearly tell from the article whether she really is or not, so let’s say they both are). The other possible cases are these: 1) She is, but he isn’t. 2) He is, but she isn’t. 3) She isn’t, and he isn’t.

    High-maintenance really does exist. If I see most women as high-maintenance, the problem is likely me. But if I see only a subset of women as high-maintenance, then in some cases the problem may be them. There is a high-maintenance person in my life who routinely feigns helplessness and pushes his problems on others. He wants people to do stuff for him, even when he can do so for himself. Maintaining a decent relationship with him requires well developed and enforced boundaries. If we weren’t family, I would choose not to invest my time, energy, or emotion in him. High-maintenance really does exist, but as James indirectly suggested, it isn’t an exclusively or even characteristically female trait.

    Joan and Waterfall brought up cars, so I’ll borrow their analogy for a minute: Jaguars are gorgeous and fun to drive, but they’re always in the shop. By comparison, my Honda Civic looks great, runs great, and hasn’t yet needed unscheduled maintenance after 120K miles. But I also regularly fill it up, change the oil, do the maintenance, wash it, wax it, and take it everywhere. Why? Cause I love my car. How much more then would I do for a woman that I love?

    • James Bauer said:

      Interesting comments, Neil. Thanks for adding your insights.

    • Suzy said:

      Hi, I like your comments. I agree that sometimes we may meet men or women with some high-maintenance habits. I think that if two people get together, they have to have respect, understanding, love and communication. They have to work on a relationship because it’s not all one sided. High-maintenance is used as a negative term, when actually there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, and wearing nice clothes, being independent, sharing with people, being a perfectionist, indulging in the best things in life, especially if you can afford it all.Sometimes people judge others in a negative light because it’s exactly what they are not. There are many people who do not like you if you’re wealthy, intelligent, beautiful, confident and successful. Those are the people that need to truly look at themselves and their issues..

  35. Michelle said:

    I’m in a high maintenance situation. We trigger each other’s high maintenance buttons yet I can’t seem to walk away. Why? Personal growth. Learning to work through things. My greatest fear – the other woman – has appeared and being on opposite sides of the continent did nothing to lessen the nausea. I literally felt like vomiting at the thought of them having sex. Fortunately I enacted the ugly vicious scenes alone in the privacy of my own home. I’ve come through Armageddon ‘ including feeling suicidal – and now? Truly liberated. I feel free and actually less of a slave to where the relationship goes. A bit like watching a video. Undoubtedly we have a very powerful effect on each other but there are good things about it too. Growth. Learniing not to sabotage and grow. I never know where things are at between us but that’s a good thing because I constantly have to let go. It lets me give myself permission to be me 100% free of reacting to what he’s doing. He’s a lot younger than me which is unusual for me. I’ve never fantasised about a younger man. In fact I’ve fought it all the way saying why on earth would he ever find me attractive when there are so many beautiful young women around? But I think this is my lesson – to feel great about being my age and we’re all attractive at any age. I’ve been through a crisis now it’s about feelng fabulous. Life will use anything it can against you. The important thing is that you remain soft enough to let it bounce off. All profound experiences enrichen you. You also must learn to love and embrace it to the full and keep growing in joy and enthusiasm. I wouldn’t have missed this experience for the world, including the deep hurt and pain. It’s made me far less emotionally shut down and is making me work on my nasty vindictive side which, clearly, I’d rather not be reminded of. It’s making me surmount my ego so that I’m glad to be me and not see myself in competition with any other woman. I truly hope we can be friends. There’s too much to lose if we aren’t.. BTW luv ya James. Your Mum must be deeply proud! What an amazing sin she has!

    • Michelle said:

      Oop! That should say “son” not “sin”!?

      • James Bauer said:

        Thanks for clarifying that! 😀

  36. kate said:

    Hi James
    I really enjoy your emails all the time it’s interesting you have done this one High maintenance as my partner uses this term all the time not to me! I must state but usually if he seems a women with fake nails fake tan loads of make up expensive clothes. It seems to really make his skin cruel. I asked him 1 day why he doesn’t like high maintenance women and most of its because of the money, he said your never have any money because she will be spending It on crap. ‎Ie fake tan jewellery etc. 
    It’s a shame you have put avoid these men! As he is doesn’t show his feelings much, but I am a mum already and he will do any thing for my kids, he will do any thing for me. 
    Your right in saying he is stubborn and won’t waste money but I’m also like that. He loves to treat the kids. 
    I’m not sure your understanding of avoid these men are correct. You do have some truth in what you have said, but I think some more research is needed in why men use this term and some are very kind loving men!!‎
    Kind regards kate

    • James Bauer said:

      Yeah, you make a good point, Kate. There are always exceptions to every rule.


  37. Kimberley said:

    I wonder if my boyfriend is high maintenance?
    We’ve had rough times going from “rags to riches” ….
    Living on the streets to getting good jobs, driving brand new cars.
    He was different when we had nothing. Humble, or not as anal as he is now.
    I can’t even set my (rubberized case, mind you)cell phone on his car without him scolding me that I’ll scratch it!
    Talk about total turn off.
    I don’t even think I can “think on that level” or what may have you.
    Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced more of what I consider to be “real loss”? He’s only lost his grandmother at a young age, I’ve lost my father, recently my best friend (that I find still hard getting over) other close friends in death. That’s an area we can’t find common grounds on… But it definitely, all the life changing experience I’ve dealt with at a younger age than he, could possibly just be the reason that makes all the difference? I don’t take as many things for granted as he does. I honestly value my differences, and take pride that I am of a different breed… He’s a follower when it comes to the norm, but a great leader at work. I don’t understand it really. What should I do?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Kimberley. It sounds like you want him to enjoy life more and stress out less over little things. His stress robs your relationship of much of the fun and beauty it would otherwise have.

      Maybe you also see him as being less emotionally mature. Because he puts a scratch on his car at a higher priority than your feelings.

      That old saying “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” doesn’t apply here. Because who wants to “join ’em” when that means getting stressed and irritable over little things.

      So that means you have to get him to join you instead. Start small. Don’t try to fix the problem. Instead, just think of the smallest possible way to encourage him in the right direction. Let momentum build over time.


    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Kimberley, I would wonder if this is all about his pride and self-esteem? A man’s pride is everything to him. James once wrote an article on “respect”, I believe. A man feels completely emasculated if he is not in a position to be “respected”. Hence, I imagine he hated it when you lived on the streets. Now he has the wherewithall to be “respected” – i.e. via the posh car. Just try to take this all on board, and see it from this angle. Don’t let it bother you that he does not want his car scratched. Many, many men are the same about their cars. It is his pride and joy – his proof that he is worthy of respect. He has achieved something he can show to the rest of the world. Let him have this little toy – this proof of his masculinity. It is a small price to pay. A man’s car has always been his penis-extension – from way, way back. (Probably it was his horse before cars were invented!! Hence the Knight in Shining Armour charging in on his huge white stallion to rescue us feeble females!!). Why don’t you offer to wash and polish it for him? Maybe that will prove to him that you cherish it, too – just as much as you cherish his masculinity (and his penis!!). And NEVER forget to do that!! Women’s lib has inadvertently taken away a lot of men’s masculinity. Just remember to rub his ego once in a while – it will make such a difference. You’ll see!! Men are such simple souls, really, you know, and never really grow up. There’s always the little boy still inside there, wanting your approval and love. Lorna

  38. Reality Check said:

    High maintenance women are usually very big spenders.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      So – after reading all these comments, now I am completely confused. It would seem that some people consider that being “high maintenance” is the same thing as being “difficult”. Another term that is thrown around a lot these days. I understood that “high maintenance” involved excessive expenditure of time and money – it being expensive and time-consuming to “upkeep” and maintain a desirable image and life-style – i.e. involving excessive visits to the salon, hairdresser, nail bar, etc. Taking unreasonable amounts of time and money to maintain this high standard of grooming. Expecting to be wined and dined at expensive venues (without contributing to the cost). Driving an expensive car or expecting to be driven in one. Taking expensive holidays, week-ends away, etc. Being seen in the “right” places. Expecting to live in an expensive house in an expensive district. Sending the kids to an expensive school. Mixing with the “in-set”. Whereas being “difficult” I understood means that a person has high personal moral standards and expectations, beyond what the other person in the relationship is prepared to agree with and take on board. In both cases, it is surely what each one in the relationship is comfortable with. As I see it, if two people are compatible in all these aspects, and nothing is causing conflict, then there is nothing to worry about or change – their needs are being met. Everyone has different standards. It’s only when one or other is not happy with the situation and there is no movement towards compromise, that things get difficult to live with and unacceptable. Then, I guess it is a case of what we are prepared to put up with and overlook – before we possibly finally snap, look elsewhere and move on. Back to “compromise”, again. And “communication”. If these two things are lacking, there is no hope – move on!! Or, alternatively, “put up and shut up” – but we know that that doesn’t work for long! However, in some cases it is the only way forward for the time being – depending on circumstances!! It is not always black and white and an easy decision to make. Life isn’t like that. That’s my take on it. Lorna

      • James Bauer said:

        Yup, that’s a good perspective to keep in mind, Lorna. Thank you.


  39. Mark said:

    High maintenance women are very selfish, greedy, spoiled, and very money hungry as well since it is always about them all the time since they’re the worst type of a woman for a man to get involved with. I will certainly never go with that type of a woman for a man like me that is looking for a woman that isn’t like that at all which they are everywhere nowadays unfortunately. I know friends that really did get hurt by these type of women since they always like to be treated like a queen since all they want is for men to spend money on them all the time which makes these women very sad and pathetic altogether. And when you compare the women of today to the women of years ago which is quite a change how they’re today when they were never like that at all years ago since they hardly had any money in those days since they really had to struggle along with their men to make ends meat which it was very tough back then compared to today. I will just be very happy to meet a good woman that will accept a good man like me for who i am since i do make enough money just to get by which it is good enough for me.

    • James Bauer said:

      Mark, you seem very angry and hurt as you consider the term. Please just keep in mind that we are all influenced by many things outside of our control. These forces often cause us to take on ways of acting that turn others away. Here at beirresistible.com the aim is to learn to understand for the sake of self-improvement. When you see the opportunity, look for the real person beneath the labels people use on the surface. There’s often somebody beautiful underneath the layers of confusion.

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