Man looking to his left
Published by  
Wes Myers
January 27, 2023

Get Out of the Boyfriend-Zone

Women put men they don't want to date in the friend-zone. Men dating women they wouldn't marry put themselves in the "boyfriend-zone."
Wes Myers is the co-Founder and CBO of Keeper, an experienced matchmaker, and relationship expert. He is an Iraq veteran and Wharton MBA.

Men griping about their relationship woes sometimes complain about a place called “the friend-zone.” The friend-zone is where women put men they aren’t attracted to or don’t vibe with. They say “I think we should just be friends.” Clueless men view “friendzoning” as a discrete phenomenon, failing to recognize that the women are simply trying to let them down politely. They believe some intrinsic quality makes them friend material rather than boyfriend material, when what’s really at play is a basic lack of attraction.

Maybe some guys actually end up being friends with these women, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m not here to talk about the friendzone.

Let’s talk about the boyfriend-zone.

Men need love, affection, appreciation, comfort, and support. This isn’t news, but it isn’t something we often say out loud. Men also like women. I like women. We like women so much that we cold-approach them in the cereal aisle, go on cute little wine bar dates, buy stuffed animals, and subject ourselves to ABC’s The Bachelor.

If I really like a woman, I’m willing to do all of these things, plus give her a ring, marry her, have children with her, and develop a deep bond that persists through the waning years of our lives.

But my standards for a wife are not the same as my standards for a girlfriend. Just because I date a girl does not mean I’m willing to marry her. Anyone can relate to this, but it’s more of a male thing.

Girls you’re willing to date are relatively common. Girls you’re willing to marry are far rarer.

Because we like girls, and because we need all of the things I mentioned above, men enter relationships with women we would not marry. We get comfortable. I know guys who have been caught in this cycle for 15+ years.

They’re stuck in the boyfriend-zone.

Usually guys decide whether we’d consider marrying a girl early on, but sometimes you don’t realize you’re in the boyfriend-zone until a relationship is mature. Sometimes you don’t realize she’s not the one for you until after you’ve become seriously involved. Those little red flags of incompatibility seem like no big deal until eventually it dawns on you that things are just not going to work. The longer you’ve been together, the more entanglements there are to prevent you from getting out. Breaking up is hard to do.

But staying for years with someone you don’t want to marry is unproductive. It’s not fair to either person. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

If you’re like most men, you do eventually want to marry the right girl. If you met her today - whether you’re 21 or 35 - you’d be ready to embark down the path toward marriage on the usual route. (If you disagree, report back once you’ve met a girl you’re really wild for). But you’re a lot less likely to meet her while you languish in the boyfriend-zone.

Dating apps are like conscription to the boyfriend-zone. Bumble’s mascot should be Uncle Sam saying “I Want You… to waste your prime years with women you aren’t serious about.” (Even if you’re just trying to get laid, this is often where it ends up). After ten years of Tinder, we find no adjustment to the decline in marriage, unprecedented relationship frustration, and more men caught in the boyfriend-zone than at any point in history.

This is because dating apps don’t offer sufficient information to evaluate a partner for marriage-potential beyond a few photos and lame captions about dogs or mozzarella sticks. What dating apps are good at is getting you face-to-face with women you’d be willing to date but probably not marry.

Say you’d date 20% of the girls you meet on dating apps but only marry 1%. Play the numbers game long enough and the most likely outcome is you meeting a girl in the 20% category and settling down for something temporary. Once that’s over, you’ll get back on the dating apps and roll again. And so the cycle continues.

What we need now more than ever is a matchmaking product that filters out the 20% and only introduces you to girls you’d consider for marriage. One roll and you’re done.

Enter Keeper.

Keeper captures the full you and everything you want in a wife (we mean everything), then we go out and find her. We only introduce you to women you’d consider for marriage. Our value proposition for women is the same - we know what they’re looking for in a husband, and we only make the match if you're who she wants as well.

We’re here to liberate you from the boyfriend zone, so you can stop wasting time with dead-end relationships and focus on what really matters.

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