We get something of proof of this when Michael shadows Martha and Rhetta in turn for days on end because he cannot work up the nerve to do what he thinks of as his rightful role and 'dominating' the relationship. Lynn would have us see him as a shy boy who's afraid of getting hurt. The reality is that his romantic life is hampered by the same mental infirmity that has him at odds with Elly: he's too blasted stupid and passive to think of what to do on his own but thinks that any woman who tells him what to do is out of line because he's supposed to be calling the shots 'cause he's got a penis.
This would be bad enough in and of itself had it not become the template for all relationships that we see. Eric, Warren, Paul and Anthony all stalked Liz and I'm pretty sure that if we were to take a look at the past, Elly would look back at her past and see a familiar gangly shape in the background of all manner of photos from before she was aware of John's existence.