rori1.jpg by Rori Raye

Are you the kind of woman who’s attracted to “sensitive” men?

The ones who open up their feelings, talk about their pain, and share their issues with you? The ones who tell you how they feel about you all the time? (And how they feel about everyone and everything else, too)?

Have you ever found yourself mopping up after one like that? A man who all of a sudden turned on you? Like he was the most sensitive man in the world when it came to HIS feelings, but when YOURS are involved, he either nods his head with a blank look, tells you he’s busy, or worse, tells you you’re “too emotional?”

“Sensitive” men were my downfall.

I don’t think that I was ever called “too emotional,” though, because around a “sensitive” or “artistic” or “emotional” man, I became the Rock of Gibraltar. I was so steady I felt like a wall. I was there to be leaned on.

Does this sound familiar?

So many of us are carrying so much responsibility around with us. For holding down our jobs, bringing in money, taking care of children, doing something meaningful with our lives, and taking care of our men. And that’s the problem.


There’s a man who’s “sensitive” – meaning he’s sensitive to US.

There’s a man who’s “sensitive” – meaning he’s primarily in touch with his own feelings, looks to us for support, and basically appreciates our strength.

And there’s a man who’s “sensitive” – meaning he’s all about his own feelings and couldn’t care less about ours.

Let’s call the man who’s sensitive to US a masculine energy, grown-up man.

Let’s call the man who’s in touch mostly with HIS own feelings, but appreciates our support, a feminine energy grown-up man.

And let’s call the man who’s all about his own feelings and couldn’t care less about ours a “narcissist.” Or, “boy-man” for short.

IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN INVOLVED WITH A FEMININE ENERGY GROWN-UP MAN, you know what it’s like to feel incredibly frustrated.

Because, as sweet and sexy as he is, if he really wants to be the “girl” in your relationship – all the time – you’re going to feel very stuck taking charge and being the “man” all the time. Unless you like being in charge and responsible like the kind of “man” you want him to be – all the time – and I mean all the time (in crisis – he’ll look to you to lead the way), you may find yourself demanding, over and over, that he step up and “act like a man.”

But he doesn’t want to. He wasn’t drawn to you in the first place so he could step up and act like a man. He was drawn to you for your strength, organizational abilities, smarts, and decisiveness. He wants YOU to take charge and do the THINKING – so HE can FEEL. And, if that appeals to you – that can really work.

If you have good communication going, you can even negotiate enough that he’ll agree to take charge of some things so you can relax for a bit. But, for the most part – it’ll be you rowing that relationship boat.

Still, a feminine energy grown-up man is a grown-up, and a good guy. He’s not totally self-centered. He’s fun and engaging, and is capable of being a good partner – as long as you don’t ask him to row the boat when he doesn’t feel like it.


With a boy-man, you never know what you’re getting from one moment to the next.

A boy-man not only wants you to row the boat and take charge and THINK so he can FEEL, he wants to take charge, too – all at the same time! So, if he doesn’t want to row, he won’t let you row, either! You’ll be stuck, dead in the water in the middle of the lake.

Now, with a feminine energy grown-up man, if no one’s rowing the boat, you could still be having fun. You could dangle your feet in the water, or play cards, or laugh and look at the scenery.

But with a boy-man – he’ll pout. He’ll tell you it’s cold out there, and he’s hungry, and he wants to go home. Then he’ll stare at you to row the boat. And get angry with you, or go cold and withdraw, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. And when you finally agree to pick up the oars, he’ll push you away because he doesn’t like the way you row. He’ll spend the whole trip telling you how to row. He won’t touch an oar, but he’ll tell you how to do it, and why he can’t.

Sound familiar?


Here’s a letter from Debbie. You can just hear her frustration. She’s involved with what seems to be a true boy-man, and this whole e-letter is my answer. I hope it helps you, too:

Dear Rori,

My question is this: I tend to step back, but can only do so for a short time.

I always, and I mean always, end up feeling very sorry for his circumstances and eventually jump in with all sorts of advice, which then makes me feel like a counselor or a mother – and I’m pretty certain he then views me that way as well.

How do I continue to refrain from “giving” and sustain “stepping back” without feeling guilty for not “helping” him?


Dear Debbie,

Thank you for giving me a jumping-off point for this e-letter. If you can get a good idea here about how to stop rowing, it will change everything for you.

Let’s start working on what to do if you find yourself with a boy-man by looking at another kind of “sensitive” man:


A masculine energy grown-up man wants to row. He will feel offended if you touch the oars. He will want you to lean back in the boat while he rows. And – he’ll want you to listen to him sing to you while he rows! He’ll want you to enjoy the chocolates he brought for you. He’ll want to look at your body and imagine being skin-to-skin with you.

Sounds easy.

And it is.

Except for one thing.

When was the last time you let a man row? All the time? Without telling him how to do it or where to go?


We are, all of us, so used to feminine energy grown-up men and boy-men, we’re so used to rowing, WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO PUT THE OARS DOWN.

I know that every day of my own life, I can feel myself wanting to pick up those oars. I find myself with my husband, and he’s just relaxing in front of the basketball game, and I just know we have to talk about something, or do something, or plan something. I start to feel anxious. I start to feel that if I don’t do something, talk with him about something, I’ll dissolve.

And I use every one of my own Tools to calm down, turn around, breathe, and focus my energy on taking care of myself. I either leave the room and do something that makes me feel good, or I sit down, lie back on the couch and watch the game with him. But it still feels uncomfortable in that moment it takes me to decide whether to lean forward and DO something, or just Leanback and take care of myself.

Stopping rowing is a challenge for us all. It feels like giving up our independence. It feels like giving up our freedom. It feels totally scary and weird. All of a sudden we feel vulnerable. When he’s just looking at us, looking at us lying back in the boat, we’re feeling exposed. The rough edges around our self-esteem show up. We feel nervous and giggly, and want to DO SOMETHING.

The nasty VOICE starts yelling in our ear – loud. We hear the voice say that we don’t deserve to be in that boat unless we’re rowing. We hear he doesn’t really want to row. We hear we’re not good enough to be sung to. We hear all kinds of nonsense and lies.

And then we get tense. We zipper back up our hearts, and find some good reason why we can’t just lie there. We find something to DO so we can feel worthy and contributing and powerful again.

Only, what we don’t know is that lying back in that boat and listening, really listening, with an unzippered heart – to that man singing, is the most POWERFUL thing any woman can do.

It’s both the most vulnerable, scary, intimate AND powerful thing we women have going for us.

And men – masculine energy, grown-up men – know it.


A masculine energy, grown-up man wants you to lie back in the relationship boat. That’s pretty much all he wants, all he cares about.

He wants you to put down the oars when you’re with him, lie back in the boat, and ENJOY HIM and where you are when you’re with him – whatever that is.

Even though he knows how powerful you are there, just lying back, he wants to love you when you’re powerful.

It’s not what we look like. Not what we think like. It’s how we feel about ourselves. Real men consider women to be powerful. And they LOVE us in our power. They can smell low-self-esteem a mile away.

When we give in to our low opinions of ourselves, we lose our power. It’s like we throw it away, throw it overboard. And that stops all his motivation to want to win and keep you. He can feel your power going away. And he stops rowing.

If we really want to row – he’ll hand the oars over to us and lie back in the boat himself, but he won’t love us for it. In fact – he’ll know – just by watching you row, that you’re not aware of your power, which is the same thing as being unaware of his magnificence, and he’ll almost get mad at you for not appreciating him!

Isn’t all that so weird?

And meanwhile, we’re feeling guilty for even thinking about not rowing, and he’s feeling frustrated that you’re rowing! No wonder we feel like we can’t win.


We call him when he doesn’t call. We offer him directions. We offer to plan an evening or pay for an evening out. We offer to run errands or take care of his children. We hold his hand when he’s upset about work and give him advice. We do anything that looks like, well, rowing!

Sometimes we go a little ways toward letting go of the oars, but it’s still only half-way there. Sometimes we can get to the place where we can let him row the boat, but then we worry about where he’s taking us, and how he’s rowing, and so we sit up.


When was the last time you were able to lay back in the relationship boat and let a man row?

And even harder, when was the last time (after the first few infatuation dates) any of us were able to lay back in the boat, unzipper our hearts, enjoy the chocolates (or grapes or berries or carrots) he gives us, open ourselves to him feeling totally confident and loved – by ourselves and him – and LISTEN TO HIM SING?

If you’re laughing, so was I, writing this. Life somehow just doesn’t seem like a gorgeous outing out on the lake.

But it is.

Truly, it is.

It’s that simple.

Because THAT’s where masculine energy, grown-up MEN hang out! They’re holding oars, steering their boats around on the Lake of Love, and looking for a woman who trusts herself enough to lay back in his boat and allow him to row and sing.

And when he sees us standing there, our arms down, Waterwheel going toward ourselves, Leaning Back, Unzippered Hearts, strong enough to row for ourselves if we have to so that we Trust Ourselves and can therefore Trust HIM, he’s all over us helping us into the boat.

This is very different from a boy-man, who’s floating around on the Lake of Love, looking for women to jump in the boat with him and struggle over who’s rowing, how and where. A boy-man doesn’t want to go anywhere. He just wants to struggle.

A MAN wants to take you where you want to go.



You can tell if a man is a actual grown-up man, or a boy-man by noticing how YOU FEEL about YOURSELF when you’re around him. A boy-man wants to both have his feelings massaged all the time and yet be in charge of everything about the relationship. In other words, he wants to be both the boy-man AND the girl in the relationship. And he wants to be both at the SAME time. Whenever he feels like it.

That just leaves no place for YOU at all! It means you can never count on him when YOU need anything, because he’s thinking about HIS feelings first. It means he doesn’t think about making you feel good, because he’s totally wrapped up in how HE feels.

An actual, grown-up man feels good when he makes YOU feel good. You can see a real man’s face light up when YOU’RE happy. And you can see him feel disturbed when you’re unhappy.

So – what does this have to do with being able to tell if a man is a man or a little boy?

With a man – you might feel scared (because we’re all afraid of intimacy). With a boy-man, you’ll feel on edge.

So, notice how you feel. If you’re on edge, you’re probably rowing, or getting ready to row, or feeling really weird because you’re not rowing. If you’re feeling weird – then GOOD FOR YOU! Just hang onto yourself, lie back, listen to him sing, and feel the love coming toward you!

If he’s a boy-man, he’ll just sit there, leaning back, waiting for you to row. And you’ll feel tired of him after 15 minutes.

If he’s a man, he’ll pick up those oars and row you somewhere you may never have been before.

Here’s a success story!

Dear Rori,

Your book is the best purchase I ever made! It has helped me get the relationship I want back on track so fast I keep pinching myself – but it’s real.

I’ve been seeing a man for almost a year – and it’s been a very off and on thing for him. He’d call and be around a lot and then drift away and not call or see me for weeks. He did that over Christmas and again for a month recently. But he always came back.

I pulled back a lot – didn’t call him and used your techniques: of not being clingy, turning around imagining other men, level one listening. He began to come around and call a whole lot more and was clearly more interested again.

We were having dinner one night and I told him I felt there wasn’t a long term probability for the relationship, because, while it was no secret that I was crazy about him – it didn’t go both ways and I wanted more.

I told him that I wanted his company frequently and to not be alone for weeks at a time, to have a relationship where I had a part in a man’s life and he in mine – and not a sometime thing. I emphasized PART of his life – not 24/7, because I do like to be alone some.

I said I wanted to meet his friends and he to meet mine – and I didn’t want something that was a sometime sideline. That the sometime thing hurt and I didn’t want to hurt. I said I wasn’t giving him an ultimatum – I was just telling him where I was coming from.

Boy was I surprised! He did a complete 180 degree turn and said he loved me and that he was just uncertain because he’s had several relationships that ended and the last one was a real disaster.

Since then we’ve spent every weekend together and he’s always making plans for the next one and calls and is sweet and affectionate and doing all sorts of things for me and things are just going along fine. (And I’m not doing everything I can think of for him, which I was before.)

I wouldn’t have believed it was possible a few weeks ago – but with your advice it’s happened, it’s true and I’m delighted and happy – thank you.


If Linda can see a 180 degree turn in her relationship from just my book, just by speaking her feelings in words he could hear – so fast and with things so bad to start with – imagine what you can do!

Love, Rori

From Sarah – Rori Raye rocks – even her sales pages are amazing, filled with information and help – she goes at this relationship thing and attraction thing in a different way than anyone out there. To learn how you can have the relationship of your dreams and get your free Rori Raye newsletters, go here-> Rori Raye’s Free Relationship Advice eLetters


  1. mariam on October 3, 2009 at 5:37 am

    how can I send an Email easyly?

  2. Sarah on October 3, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Mariam, who here would you like to email? Sarah

  3. tinque on October 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Awesome article. Rori rocks…

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