Henry Cavill says he's scared to date post-#MeToo because he doesn't want to be called a rapist. Is he alone?

The #MeToo movement has called out and torpedoed the careers of several famous men. And now one in particular says he is scared to date because of it.

In a lengthy interview with GQ Australia, Henry Cavill opened up about how the #MeToo movement has had a direct impact on his love life. “There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman. There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned for thinking that,” he said. But Cavill says it’s “very difficult” to pursue a woman that way “if there are certain rules in place.”

“Because then it’s like, ‘Well, I don’t want to go up and talk to her, because I’m going to be called a rapist or something,’” he continued. “So you’re like, ‘Forget it, I’m going to call an ex-girlfriend instead and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked.’ But it’s way safer than casting myself into the fires of hell, because I’m someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what’s going to happen?”

Henry Cavill is being criticized for comments he made to<em> GQ</em> Australia, telling the magazine he finds it hard to date because of the #MeToo era. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Henry Cavill is being criticized for comments he made to GQ Australia, telling the magazine he finds it hard to date because of the #MeToo era. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

People on Twitter were not impressed by his comments:

But he isn’t the only man who is feeling this way. Licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go?, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that some of her male clients now say they feel “censored” when it comes to dating. “My job is to explain that being appropriate is not censorship; it’s mindfulness, and there is a difference,” she says.

The problem ultimately boils down to how men behave when it comes to dating. “It’s not difficult to go through a normal courtship process if there are rules in place,” Durvasula says. “Sadly lots of people equate ‘love bombing’ with ‘courting.’”

The “rules” generally say that people should get to know each other first, respect each other’s boundaries and pace, and have good communication between them. If that happens, a first kiss “will come spontaneously,” Durvasula says. “Perhaps Cavill adheres to more of a primate model of mating, but times have changed. We now are able to talk. A sweet text, a thoughtful choice of restaurant, opening her car door, asking her about her day, a small bunch of flowers … that is a courtship, and it is charming. It doesn’t need to be alpha male posturing.”

The appropriate model of dating is more work for some men, and that could be part of the reason some are pushing back, Durvasula says. If a man is nervous to date post #MeToo, Durvasula recommends learning to be present with someone, learning what that person is about and who that person is and letting the individual set the dating pace. “This isn’t about overpowering someone and convincing them; it’s about being a good partner and a good person,” she says. “It’s not about bagging a prize.”

But making a good choice when it comes to who to date matters too. If a person is intensely demanding early in the relationship, jealous, possessive, and prone to strong shows of anger, it’s important for a man to ask himself if he’s comfortable with that, Durvasula says.

Ultimately, treating #MeToo as something abnormal because it holds men accountable for their behavior “speaks volumes” about men who feel that way, Durvasula says. “A potential partner wants to feel desirable and attractive, not like a prize or prey. There’s a difference.”

UPDATE, 7/12/18 12:30 p.m. ET: Cavill has apologized for his comments in a statement to Page Six: “Having seen the reaction to an article in particular about my feelings on dating and the #metoo movement, I just wanted to apologize for any confusion and misunderstanding that this may have created,” he said. “Insensitivity was absolutely not my intention. In light of this I would just like to clarify and confirm to all that I have always and will continue to hold women in the highest of regard, no matter the type of relationship, whether it be friendship, professional, or a significant other.”

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