Isn’t it always the way? A couple is together for ten years, seems happy, decides to finally make it official, only to break up less than two years later. Well, no, that isn’t always the way, but it does seem to happen, especially in Hollywood. But even in the rest of the world, there are many cases where two people seem very happy and committed to each other…until they walk down the aisle. What’s that all about?
I believe this is a classic case of commitment-phobia. When you are together for ten years, as Brad and Angie were, you know who you are marrying. Especially if you have children together (they tend to bring people’s true character to light). So, most normal, non-commitment phobic people would feel fairly good about their decision to wed after so much time together. But someone who is afraid of commitment, would have the opposite reaction. Suddenly, the thought of being locked into a decision forever seems very scary. I can’t walk away anymore if I want to, the Phobe thinks. What if he cheats on me? What if he changes? What if I fall out of love? What if I see a side of him I didn’t before? What if someone better comes along? Of course, everyone might think about these hypothetical scenarios, but they are usually passing thoughts and they aren’t so strongly rooted in anxiety that we act on them. This what I think happened in the Jolie-Pitt marriage. As great her humanitarian work is, and as good of a mother as she may be, I believe Angie has a problem committing in her romantic relationships.
It would not be that surprising, actually. Her relationship with her father has been strained from the beginning when he left her and her mother when she was only a year old. And as any shrink will tell you (and there’s a lot of merit to it), a girl’s relationship with her father sets the stage for all other male relationships. I think Angie is most comfortable when she’s free to move in life without anyone else’s say so, especially from a man, and if you are married you know that you always have to at least consider your partner for just about everything.
I also think Angie likes to be “in wanting”, meaning once the relationship no longer provides a little bit of pain, ache, or pining, she gets bored and leaves. This is something I discuss in great length in my new book, “The Curse: Why you can’t find or keep the love you want” which hits shelves next spring. For a lot of women, love only feels right when there is a bit of craving attached with it, and once your married, you lose that. You can try to incite wanting again by creating drama, picking a fight, or cheating, but if that doesn’t work, an able women will simply move on to someone else. I imagine Angie will have a new boyfriend any minute now…
“He’s been texting me for the last three days, but he still hasn’t asked me out for another date! What is going on?”
I get asked some form of this question at least twice a day. Frustrated single women scratching their heads over why the man they are seeing, (or maybe more accurately, not seeing) is dragging his feet on setting up a date. The romantic tales of today are sounding more and more like this; boy meets girl. boy gets her number. boy texts girl. boy texts girl some more. girl gets frustrated that boy is not making any real moves. Sometimes there is a date or two wedged into all that texting, but not always. Quite often the relationship fizzles out leaving girl to wonder, “where did we go wrong?”
The reason these potential relationships fail to take flight can vary. Some men just prefer the comfort of a virtual relationship, others start interested but that interest quickly wanes with one text too many, but most are doing what women wish they wouldn’t do. They are texting with multiple girls at once and just don’t have the time to date all of them.
Tired of constantly losing at the dating game, my client, who we will call Grace, decided that she spent too much time during our sessions asking me when and what to text boys. Exhausted at the minutia, she decided to do the unthinkable. She disabled her text messaging. She decided she would date plugged for the next year and hope for better results.
When Grace handed out her number, she made a point to tell the guy she couldn’t receive texts. Some looked confused but others just accepted the information. Some wouldn’t call even after taking her number, but the ones who did, set up dates. Not only that, but they set up the next date before that date ended. The biggest difference came with online dating though. Since Grace was a big internet dater (and I recommended not giving that one up) she emailed with men but again told them she didn’t have text capability. The results? There were no more long drawn out texts convos with men she hadn’t met, no more waiting “day-of” to get a text about where and when they would meet (or if they were even still meeting!), best of all, she wasn’t worried that she was wasting time constantly communicating with someone she wasn’t going to see again. Grace’s story changed to boy meets girl. boy gets girls number. boy calls girl and asks her out properly.
Grace’s resounding success caused a wave among her friends. Soon they were all dating unplugged. I began telling my clients to stop giving out there cell phone numbers and go back to using their home phone. Funny, not all were up for the challenge and when pressed, admitted that they were afraid of letting go of their virtual relationships, even at the prospect of more quickly developing a real one. Most that tried did try it though, were pleased at the turn around. They felt no more angst and anxiety in between dates. They felt more confident while on them, too, because they were only going out with men who picked up the phone and asked them out, which takes more thought and courage than typing a quick “how r u?”. And while you would think that communicating less with someone would slow the relationship, in many ways it had the opposite effect. More people were going on more dates, more often, and building something real rather than aimlessly surface chatting for weeks about their daily grind, or plans for the weekend.
If you have had your fill of flirty texting that lead only to confusion, anxiety, and more texting, take the uplugged dating challenge and keep us posted on your results!
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I RUINED MY CHANCES WITH A GREAT GUY! CAN I WIN HIM BACK?
So there is this guy who I’ve known since high school. We got reconnected after we graduated college and he asked me on several dates and we had a great time. We’ve hung out frequently for several weeks. I made one big mistake and want your advice on damage control if possible. I really do like him and would hate for it to have to end. So one night I decided to have a party at my place; something I haven’t done in a while and invited lots of friends over including the guy I like. He was out with his friends and said he was going to try and come. A few hours into the party, I got very drunk and overloaded his phone with calls and texts asking when he was coming. I haven’t heard from him since. I haven’t tried reaching out to him for fear of it being too soon and making it worse but also I don’t even know what to say. Please help I really wanna try and get him to see it was a genuine drunken mistake and to try and look past it.
What do I do
Have you ever heard the saying, In Vino Veritas? It means, in wine there is truth. So even though you see this as just a drunken mistake, it’s likely that this guy sees this as a character revealing incident. Meaning, he now thinks that being with you, in a relationship, will mean lots of nagging texts and questions about his whereabouts, and possibly nagging about other things like his clothes, choice of friends, career path, etc, etc,. This is much more than just an “oops” on your part, and getting back in his good graces might be very tough now. The best thing you can do is call him and tell him that you are extremely embarrassed at the way you’ve behaved and that you normally don’t drink that much (and then NEVER drink that much again!) Ask if you can take him to lunch for being so obnoxious. Hopefully he will say yes, and you can begin to rebuild what you had. But beware, it’s really hard to undo this type of damage because the number one thing that a man doesn’t want in a relationship is a naggy, needy girlfriend. You’ve basically showed him that you have that side so he’s likely scared to get any further involved with you. Drinking and texting is extremely dangerous so next time, leave your phone out of reach. And if you ever feel the urge again to blow up a guy’s phone, make sure you call one of your girlfriends instead. Think of her like your AA sponsor!
My parting advice: don’t let your “wants” rule you. If he doesn’t do what you want him to do, accept it. Don’t push and try to get your way because you want him to be your boyfriend. That’s what got you where you are now. If you can learn to be accepting of the men and situations in your life, you’ll notice that things get a bit easier and you suffer less heartbreak. Continue reading
This blog is an oldie but a goodie! I last posted it in 2009, so for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, enjoy!
Your are out with your friends enjoying a few drinks on a beautiful night. Your phone vibrates. You have one new text message. You pick it up and see that it’s Sam, a guy you met three weeks ago and hooked up with because you were really wasted. He’s a nice guy, but ever since that night, he’s been pseudo-stalking you. You’ve been cordial, answering some of his texts and calls, mostly because you like the attention, but he’s just not the one for you. You tell your friends at the table, “It’s Sam the stalker again. He is out in DC and wants to know where I am.” There’s a round of snickers and laughs. Someone tells you to be nice to the poor guy and tell him where you are. You never know, he might have cute friends, she says. You take a sip of your margarita and say, “Let’s see how the night goes. If we don’t find any cute guys here, I will tell him to come by.”
Two hours and two rounds later, no one at the table has seen anyone cute. You are almost forced by one of your oversexed friends to call Sam and bring his entourage over. By now you have a good buzz going and figure, why not. He’ll buy you your next round and tell you how hot you are. So you text Sam and tell him where you are in Arlington. You laugh to yourself because you don’t even have to extend an invitation. You know very well that he’s going to say by some strange coincidence that he’s at the bar next door and will just swing by. Fifteen minutes later, Sam, his best friend, and his roommate stroll into bar. People are introduced, shots are ordered, and the night officially begins. Sam is all over you and the more you drink, the more you like it. By the end of the night, you and Sam are stumbling back to your place. You guys make out all over your apartment and for some reason it’s really great. Maybe it’s because you’ve been going through a dry spell, but whatever the reason, you are into it. You continue to make out with Sam and the more you kiss him, the more you like him. How could you have disregarded him before? Maybe he’s not as bad as you initially thought.
And then you wake up the next day completely sober and realize you had on major margarita glasses. Sam is lying in your bed, snoring like a sabertooth tiger, drooling on your favorite pillow. You are annoyed like crazy. How long is going to be here, you wonder? He finally wakes up, smiling like a cheshire cat, and pats the space next to him, indicating he wants you to lie back down. You’d rather shoot yourself than cuddle with Sam so you make up an excuse about having to run into work that morning. Disappointed, Sam reluctantly and slowly, gets out of your bed. You throw his pants at him and watch him stumble to get dressed, knocking over your alarm clock and family photo in the process. He apologizes and then asks if you have time to grab some breakfast. Ah, sorry no. You really don’t. Some other time maybe. Sam picks up on your unintentional invitation to do this again, and says, “Ok, when? Do you want to meet up later tonight?” At this point you just want him out of your apartment so you tell him to call you later and you will see about getting together. He finally leaves after you pretend to walk to your car. You get back to your apartment and collapse on the couch. You eventually drift off to sleep but not before labeling Sam’s number DO NOT ANSWER into your cell phone.
I know you can all related to this story. We have all had guys we just aren’t into, chase after us relentlessly. We’ve all caved and been nice to them, even hooked up with them once or twice. We’ve kept them on the back burner in cases of emergency and extreme boredom. But guess what? This story is not what you think. You’ve just entered the Twilight Zone. You were not out with your girlfriends having margaritas last night. You were in DC, hanging out with your best friend and her roommate, hoping to hear from the guy you met three weeks ago and had a hot hook up with. A hook up you have not been able to stop thinking about. That’s right, in this scenario, YOU are Sam. You were the one who texted him to find out where he was. You were elated when he told you he was at the Eventide rooftop in Arlington. You rushed over and played it off as if you at the bar next door. You met up with him and his friends, had some drinks and ended up back at his place, where at some point in the night you fell completely in love. You woke up in his bed filled with excitement. You are certain he likes you now. He wanted to go to breakfast, but a work emergency took priority. Totally understandable. You like him even more because he’s ambitious. He told you to call him later and you guys would meet up again that night.
Maybe you saw this switch-a-roo coming from a mile away. Maybe my Twilight Zone blog was totally predictable. I really don’t know. What I do know is this. There are lots of girls out there that string along men that they aren’t interested in. They hook up with them when it’s convenient, call when they are lonely, and essentially use them when they want to. Those same women often come crying to me when a man does the same thing to them. These girls bounce back and forth between men that like them but have no interest in, and men that they like but can’t pin down. Ironically, these women cannot see the writing on the wall when a man is only with them out of convenience. They make up excuses for sporadic behavior. If he doesn’t call for a week, but then suddenly texts while he’s out on a Friday night, they believe it means he’s suddenly come around! He was just busy all week with his stressful work schedule. The truth is that guys will use you in the same way you use them. In order to find love and happiness you must stop the cycle of use. It’s the most anti-love action possible. How is it fair that you waste that nice boy’s time but then fall to pieces when another guy does it to you? The Universe will absolutely bring you what you deserve and if it knows you are only hanging out with someone because you are lonely, it will not blink at handing you the same scenario. Don’t waste your time on men that are not interested in you and don’t waste someone else’s time either. Getting involved with men who make you chase them can do a terrible number on your self-esteem. Unbalanced and unloving relationships chip away at your heart and by the time you find a guy that really likes you, you don’t know how to act. You don’t know how to really be in a healthy relationship because, thus far, in your past there has only been use. If you don’t like someone, don’t waste their time. And if a guy doesn’t seem crazy about you, do yourself a big favor and just move on to someone who is. What you put out to the world is what you will get back. Be kind and loving to men and they will be kind and loving to you.
Dear Jess, Last week I gave a guy my number. It took him six days to
contact me, but he finally sent me a text. How long do I have to wait to respond to him?
I’m a fan of applying old-school rules to new technology, so the first time a guy reaches out to you, you should wait at least twenty-four hours to respond. It does not matter if he texts, calls, e-mails, or instant messages. Whatever mode of communication he chooses still warrants the same reply time. Having difficulty with that? Think of it this way: Ever since you gave him your number six days ago, you’ve been staring at your phone, recapping the night you met him, second guessing his interest, and undoubtedly doubting yourself, what has he been doing? Going to the gym, seeing his friends, and, oh yeah, not calling you. As you’ve been sitting there in a quiet panic, wondering if you were going to hear from him, he’s been living life worry free. Now that he’s called you, it’s his turn to wait and stress a little. However, if you call or text him back immediately, that won’t happen.
If he actually calls you, do not pick up. Let your voice mail handle things for now and return his call the following day. This isn’t revenge for making you wait—it’s just rebalancing for the greater good of your future relationship.
After you text him back the first time, you are going to have to vary your response tactics. If you religiously wait exactly twenty- four hours each time, he will eventually pick up on your pattern and think you are playing a game. It’s always a good idea to let time pass before you reciprocate a call or text, but if you want to remain a mystery and keep the chase going, the key is to be unpredictable. Text back immediately some of the time but then wait a few hours or a whole day the next. Keep him on his toes by being unpredictable when it comes to your return texts and calls.
What If He Calls and Doesn’t Leave a Message?
Dear Jess, Update! He just called! But for some reason he didn’t leave
a message. Can I call him back?
If you want a guy to know that you have been sitting by the phone eagerly awaiting his call, then by all means, go right ahead and call him back. But consider this first: How do you know that he really meant to call you and this wasn’t just an accidental pocket dial? How embarrassed will you be if you call him and he says that he didn’t really intend to call you? Then all that self-restraint you’ve been exercising will be for nothing. He’ll think, “Wow, I pocket- dialed her and she got so excited she called me!”
For argument sake, let’s say he did purposefully call you and did not leave a voice mail; if you call him back, you will be setting a precedent that he doesn’t ever have to leave you a message. While you may not care about that right now because you are so elated to hear from him, you will care after it happens for the tenth or fifteenth time. He will learn that he can do the bare minimum, and you will still jump to his attention. In essence, you are positively reinforcing bad manners and unconsciously telling him that you aren’t worthy of being properly pursued.
One of my clients constantly struggled with her phone etiquette, too. She would always Continue reading
By now we’ve all heard the story. Governor Mark Sanford cheated on his wife, Jenny, with his hot Latin lover from Argentina. Now Jenny Sanford, who has recently penned a book about her marriage, admits their were some signs she chose to ignore that could have saved her this immense heartbreak. I know when I first heard that the governor was opposed to the “vow of fidelity,” I immediately labeled Jenny Sanford as, well, an idiot. How could she go through with the wedding knowing her future husband was not on board with forsaking all others? How could she not take this as a huge red flag that an affair was imminent? What in the world could have convinced her that marrying Mark Sanford was a good idea? Continue reading
Many of you have been aware of my recent year long health issue. I would get severe pain in my stomach every 2 months or so. It was always accompanied with vomiting and fever. The pain was sometimes in the middle of my stomach just around my navel, but sometimes it would move to a widespread pain. It was AWFUL. I was in pain for days. I could not eat, sleep or move. I saw ten doctors and did every test in the book – Ultrasounds, CT scans, Hida Scan (for gallbladder) MRI, Blood tests, and they all came back normal. My family started to doubt that I was even having a real problem. Continue reading
What do you do if you are always arguing about the little things with your boyfriend? Do you feel like most times it takes you FOREVER to get him to listen to your point? Are you usually on the same page, it just takes a long time to explain yourself so he understands? Well, I can give you a great tip to help you with these little disagreements and misunderstandings. In sales, when we stumble upon a customer that is difficult to persuade, we often use a tactic called, FEEL, FELT, FOUND. Let’s say I was an AT&T salesperson and … Continue reading
In light of the latest Letterman scandal, I decided to really investigate why so many indiscretions happen in the workplace. Sure, you spend enough time around the same people, you are bound to really get to know them, and possibly become attracted to them. But the more I thought about it, it seemed that of all the possible workplace romances, the one that happens more often than any other is the old “falling for the boss” routine. So why does this happen time and time again? More importantly, is their something about being the boss that woos women into thinking they are actually in love when they really aren’t? Continue reading
Welcome to my new blog page! Today marks the one year anniversary of Jess McCann’s Blog – I know, the name is not that original. Thanks for tracking me down at my new web address. In honor of this glorious day, I’ve decided to post the top 5 blogs of the last year. Many of you have been following since conception and I just want to thank you for being loyal readers. I hope you continue to read and comment for years to come. Enjoy what I consider to be the most memorable and poignant blogs of the past year…