Bored Too Easily? Why no man can keep your interest (except maybe the wrong one!)

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Hi Jess. I definitely think I have a problem with being bored too easily with guys. Even the ones who look amazing on paper and are really nice looking! Guys with great jobs, similar interests, good sense of humor, and good looks…I find myself losing interest with them after only a few dates. I just feel like “something’s missing.” The guys always seem to be very interested in me and want to keep going out, but I find myself pulling away. What is wrong with me?? I’ve only had two serious relationships in my life and it took me years to get over both of them. Could I have commitment issues or just a love of the chase? Please help! Thank you.
- Bored Betty

Hi Betty. Before I start doling out advice, I want to say bravo to you for even realizing you have a problem! A lot of women turn down guys over and over again without really thinking through what it is that turns them on or off about someone. In many cases, what a woman finds attractive in guy may not necessarily be a quality that is right for her in the long run, but without awareness of this, many females continue to chase the bad boy, or the guy that is good on paper, all the while alluding real love.

Now…On to what you really came here looking for…

Based on the information you gave me in your email, here is what I think is going on. I do think you have a fear of commitment as you suspected, and yes, with that comes a love of the chase. It’s not that you have an aversion to good, decent, guys. It’s that you have an aversion to anyone that shows you a real ability to commit. Guys who show interest, and express an eagerness to know you more seem boring to you because you know where they stand and there is no mystery, no thrill, and no excitement in that. Those three things are present, however, when you are pining after an ex-boyfriend year after year; a man whose interest in you changes as frequently as the weather. I suspect your break-ups took a very long time to stick, with many late night texts, and even a bit of hooking up? The uncertainty that comes with an ex who still communicates with you is what fuels the “wanting” to be with him. And that is what you are attracted to. You don’t know if and when you will see your ex again, and that causes anxiety and wanting which we often confuse for those amorous little butterflies. Basically, anyone who doesn’t give you anxiety, who doesn’t cause you to “want”, you don’t find exciting and therefore you think something is wrong, or missing.

But heed my warning, if you marry the man who gives you anxiety, you will spend the majority of your marriage repenting your decision. To not know when your husband will call or come home is torture to a wife and mother. And make no mistake about it, the man who’s love runs hot and cold will continue to do so whether you take his last name or not.

So, how do you make the change? How do you stop running from the good guys that truly want to be with you? The first step is to simply be aware of this pattern in yourself and when you feel that “wanting” inside you occur, don’t follow it blindly. Know what is happening. Recognize the pattern you have of finding thrills in your dating life and understand the consequences. Second, on a deeper level, the addiction you have to wanting men is an unconscious need within yourself to prove your own worthiness. Meaning, you unknowingly feel incomplete and subconsciously worry that you are not enough, but by winning over an unattainable, or uninterested guy, you satisfy that doubt (although just temporarily). Simply put, the love of the chase points more to how you feel about yourself, than about the guy.

For more advice on how to break this habit of constantly getting bored and chasing guys, be on the look out for my next book, The Curse : Why you can’t find or keep the love you want, coming out later this year!

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Does He Spark Joy? Is this the only question you need to ask in your relationship?

Recently I had lunch with best-selling author and good friend of mine, Heather Maclean. She was in town for a quick visit and luckily had time to see her old reality TV friend. As we caught up over a spicy chicken pizza, the topic inevitably turned to books. One that seem to be all the rage today is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which Heather had just finished and I had just started. Although the book had many interesting and unique tips and advice on how to declutter your life, the one that stood out the most to her was the practice of sorting through your things, holding them up and asking yourself one question…”Does this spark joy?”

Being a purger myself, and always looking for new ways to organize, I really loved this technique. After all, at the end of the day, isn’t that the best reason to keep something in your life? Because it brings you happiness? As Heather and I chatted on about the author’s brilliant rumination, we began brainstorming what other areas could this simple question be applied? Dozens, apparently. It could work for the small things like selecting music to buy, as well as the bigger things, as in what career path to choose. Of course, it didn’t take long for me to consider if this could also work for relationships. So many of my clients contact me when their relationship is in a state of flux, looking for guidance on whether they should work to save it or walk away. They agonize over their pros and cons list, lament over the few things they can’t seem to change, and vacillate between starting all over and just sticking it out. The question they always ask me in the end is, “What should I do?”, and perhaps now would be a good time to answer their question with a question. If a relationship no longer sparks joy, then what purpose is it serving anyway?

Most people, even those in volatile relationships, might jump to defend themselves when posed the joy question. “Yes, it brings me joy!” They might say. “It just also frustrates me, makes me sad at times, and forces me to do more cyber stalking than I’d like.” The key it seems would be making sure you truly understand the meaning of the word joy. Because if a relationship is bringing you a significant amount of pain, it’s likely that what you think of as “joy” is really the pleasure portion of the pleasure-pain cycle taking it’s turn. (If I’m losing you, just bear with me.) Joy is a feeling that arises from within you, and pleasure is something that is always tied to something outside of you. Pleasure is not ever in our control and therefore, can instantly turn to pain when it goes away or changes on us. (For example, we might feel great about our relationship until we send a little text and don’t get an immediate response. Suddenly, all the warm and fuzzy feelings fade and we are in a flat spin of negative emotions.) Of course, we might be sad when a relationship ends, and that doesn’t mean it didn’t bring us joy. It’s natural to feel brokenhearted when love is lost. It’s while you are currently in the relationship that this question must be asked. If you are truly in love, and with the right person, then joy should arise despite little (and some big) bumps in the road. Regardless of his annoying habits, or her idiosyncrasies, you should really feel immense joy within yourself just be being around the other person. If, however, what you mostly feel is stress, anxiety, and a constant rollacoaster of emotions, then it’s likely that this relationship is not sparking joy.

I have seen too many of my single female clients stick out a relationship that strikes more fear than anything else. The joy they claim to feel is really just a brief buzz when anxiety is absent and the guy is “being nice” for a change. In cases like this, the joy question is definitely a fitting one. What about couples that are married, and have been married for many years though? Does the question still apply so fittingly after kids, second mortgages, ailing parents, and the many other responsibilities that lean heavily on a relationship? Is the joy question too simple, and too flippant for all that a marriage is? Can we really boil down it’s worth to such a simple yes or no question? At this point, to me, the query is not one of evaluation anymore, but more so a reminder that the reason we chose to be in together in the first place was because life is inevitably better when it’s shared with someone, and joy is something we do have control over. So after years of being together, if our relationship isn’t sparking joy anymore, we can take a look at ourselves and ask why not, and what can we do to reignite it? The answer to that may not be so straightforward, but it does spark thought, self-awareness, and reflection…and none of those things are bad.

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Women are angry so men won’t marry? The truth about why some are putting off matrimony

Angry and defensive women, men don't want to marry
You may have read the recent
Fox article, where author Suzanne Venker claims that today’s men don’t want to marry because women are angry and defensive, but I don’t think you should believe it. Not for a second. Sure, high-powered, angry, aggressive women with an I-don’t-need-a-man attitude do exist. We all know of one or two of them, and their uber independent persona is uninviting to not just men, but to most everyone they meet. However, the majority of women I know on a personal and professional level are warm, caring, sensitive creatures that can also pay their own rent and change a flat tire. This does not make men obsolete, nor do I think it makes them feel that way. Men were not created to merely change light bulbs and pay bills. Yes, for years they were the hunters and we the gatherers, but ask my husband the last time he hunted through Whole foods and brought home some actual bacon? It was 2008. And you know what? He’s happy as a clam that I do the grocery shopping! Just because women have become more capable, does not mean men aren’t attracted to us and don’t want to marry us. To purport that women becoming more equal to men makes a relationship harder is, I’m sorry, ridiculous. As my friend, Dr. Stephen Williams states, “Women are able to be more who they really are today than ever before.” So Suzanne, with all due respect I don’t think we need to, as you put it, “surrender to our nature.”

There is, in my opinion, another reason that some men aren’t keen on committing.

Until the 1960’s invention of the birth control pill, men and women did not engage in casual dating and they certainly did not have casual sex. For centuries, courting a woman was a ritual, and both men and women abided by certain rules. Today, there are no rules! Where once upon a time, a man had to call on a woman at her home, in front of her family, in order to see her for an hour or two, a guy can now just pick her up at a bar and take her home for a late night romp. Before birth control, men and women did not engage in sex before marriage. It was too risky. So what did men and women have to do in order to have a physical relationship? You guessed right! They took a trip down the aisle and made their relationship permanent. The fact that they do not have to get married in order to have sex today, is one of the major reasons that both men and women are delaying marriage or opting out of it completely. It is not because women are more capable and thus, more angry and defensive.

Whether you are a career focused, take charge, kind of woman or you are a family-oriented, Susie homemaker type of gal, the fact remains the same. If you have sex early in a relationship, before a commitment is established, the likeliness of cultivating something long term greatly diminishes. A recent study confirms that couples who engage in early hanky-panky had the worst relationship outcomes. Unfortunately in today’s datingsphere it is common for men to have different expectations on when sex is going to happen. If you are dealing with a guy who has had several past girlfriends put out too early, you may need to reel in his expectations with you. Many women don’t know how to do this and thus they simply give in because they feel obliged. In my book, Was it Something I Said? I talk about how to put off sex but still let a man know you are interested in him, and still keep him interested in you. That way you can continue to have a fun, exciting relationship while increasing your chances for a long term romance.

If there is any truth to female wrath scaring men from matrimony, it’s only due to having a premature sexual relationship. Have sex with a woman and then don’t call her for five days and yes, you will find her angry and defensive. But I ask you, can you blame her?

To learn how to tell a man you aren’t ready for sex, but still keep him in hot pursuit, as well as how to talk to men about other troublesome topics, check out “Was it Something I Said?: The Answer to All Your Dating Dilemmas.”

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