I read your post about “The Chase” (and being dissatisfied when it’s over once the guy you’ve been pursuing shows genuine interest- like I thought I wanted!) That’s my issue. I want to know where you think this stems from and how I can correct that mindset (if I should) so that I can be in a happy, healthy, lasting relationship (not just with men, but with people in general). I didn’t always have this subconscious mindset, and I can’t remember when it changed, or if it was there all along and only in recent years I’ve become aware of it.
Thanks so much for your time.
I’ll start by answering your questions in reverse order. First off, no you didn’t always have this mindset. It is not something any of us are born with, but it is something that frequently develops overtime. You asked if you should break it? Well, let’s put it this way, if you don’t stop being dissatisfied with men who are interested in you, that means you either won’t ever get married or you will marry someone that does not genuinely like you. Both sound like unfavorable outcomes, don’t you think? If you want a happy, healthy, relationship then as obvious as this sounds, you need to be happy and healthy yourself. This mentality, which I call The Curse, and is the subject of my third book, causes you to only look for what is not right or what is not happening in your life. This mindset keeps you focused on that which is lacking, completely disregarding what you already have or what is easy to come by. Why? One, because we live in an instantly gratifying world and especially if we’ve had parents that contribute to this mentality by either giving us whatever we want, or the opposite, making us always want from them. We have trained our minds to be this way for so long that by the time we are adults it is just automatic. The minute we obtain something we spend little time in a state of gratitude for it, and instead, immediately jump to, “what else?” or “what’s next?”. This is what leads us to chasing men. Once a guy likes you, you don’t spend any time appreciating him because you have not learned to be grateful in your own life. The second reason is that this Cursed mindset doesn’t really seek love. It only seeks validation of self. Meaning, you think you are looking for love, but what you are really looking for is a boost in self-esteem. And men who lavish you with interest are nice for a day, but after just a short time, you get restless with them because you know they like you and that boost they initially gave you has waned. So you go looking for someone else. Someone who won’t let that feeling fade for you. A guy that keeps stringing you along for instance. One who’s interest ebbs and flows. This kind of man will constantly keep you chasing him and therefore, every time you have a small win with him (like he calls after so many days of not calling), your self-esteem gets another boost.
How do you break this mindset so that you can get married, have babies, and ride off happily into the sunset? I won’t lie to you. It is a process that takes time. There are many ways to break the Curse. The first way is just to simply be aware of it. Next time a man disappears on you, or lets you down, instead of thinking, “what can I do to get him re-interested?” (which is you looking for validation of yourself and your worth), think, “this guy is obviously flaky and I’m seeing a flaw in his character.” Likewise, the next time a guy shows you he likes you, instead of thinking “ugh, he’s too into me”, think, “I’m so grateful that he appreciates me and that someone really likes me!”
Be aware in other aspects of your life were your thoughts gravitate to what you don’t have. With your job. Your friends. Your wardrobe. Your body. If you are the type that is always shopping because you never have enough, always gossiping because you thrive on drama, or always pursuing the next job, promotion, award, or accolaide, it it very possibly that you are also only attracted to men (or women) who aren’t available and really don’t care about you. Being cogniscient of your thought patterns will help you slowly change them and begin to break the horrible mindset of the Curse.
For more on The Curse, check my website or amazon periodically. It is scheduled to be released later this year.
It’s baffled women across the globe. We have racked our brains, asked our friends, and even consulted a professional. But no matter what we do, it seems we will never truly know why that cute single guy we met last week, who asked for our number, and seemed so interested, never called.
Yes, I have the answer. I’m not kidding. I actually feel a little silly that it took this long to figure it out. Especially being that the it’s something that I’ve always known but never made the connection. So without further adieu, here it is. The reason behind the “Can I get your number and never call you.”
To understand this phenomenon, I want you to imagine you are Christmas shopping for a nice little gift for yourself. Yes, you have been good this year and you are allowing yourself one present. So you go to Nordstrom and you see these cute shoes that will go perfectly with your New Years Eve dress. You try them on and they look even better on your feet! You walk around testing them out. You love them. You are happy you have finally found your Christmas present. You look over at the line and see that it is out of control. Ugh. The holiday season. You ask the saleswoman to hold on to the shoes so you can shop around a bit more and wait for the line to die down.
You leave the store and head straight to Starbucks to grab a drink. You head into a few other stores. Nothing too exciting. You keep going. Finally an hour passes and you find yourself at the opposite end of the mall. Your feet hurt from all the walking. Your caffeine has worn off and you sit down on one of the couches outside Urban Outfitters. The mall is going to close in thirty minutes. Should you walk all the way back to Nordstrom to get your shoes? It seems miles away now. Your car is right outside the door. You don’t want to walk all the way back to Nordstorm and then all the back to your car here. You could drive back to Nordstorm, but then you’d have to find parking all over again and it was such a pain in the ass this afternoon. Suddenly your phone rings and it’s your BFF. You tell her your shoe dilemma. She says, “Why don’t you just borrow my Manolo’s for New Years?” You think about it. Not a bad idea. You’d save money, not have to walk or drive back to Nordstrom, and you’d be wearing shoes that are new to you. “Okay,” you tell her. And with that, you’ve abandoned the shoes you promised to buy.
Just as you talked yourself out of buying those shoes, time and time again, men talk themselves out of calling women. They have the same dialogue going on in their heads — I could call her, but it is so much easier not to. If I call her, what would I say? What if she doesn’t call me back? Was she really that interested anyway? Plus my ex girlfriend called me last night and I could just call her instead. That would be easier. What seems like such a good idea at the time, often becomes less of a good idea the more you think about it.
You cannot and should not take it personally when a guy you just met doesn’t call or text you. Who knows what the reason is, but if you just recently met him, there is no possible way the reason is you. He doesn’t know you so how can he reject you? What tends to happen is just what I stated above. When a man is in the moment, and you are right in front of him, he is on a high. Adrenaline is pulsing through his veins and emotion is overriding all other factors. However, once the high dies down and he is away from the situation, logic sets in. He may start to second guess himself. He may start to talk himself out of things. He can get distracted with other priorities, and then what he had planned and promised to do gets pushed to the bottom of the list.
So don’t despair that the guy you met last night didn’t follow up on that phone call he promised. It has nothing to do with you this time around. Go buy yourself some shoes and you will soon feel better
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To learn the techniques to find a guy, get him interested, and keep him that way, check out this book. You will learn the techniques Jess used to find and keep her husband, as well as what she teaches her clients! For more info on Jess and her coaching, check out www.jessmccann.com and follow her on Twitter @iamjessmccann to ask a question about your relationship!
If you have a dating dilemma that you don’t know how to handle, this is the book for you. How do you turn a friend into something more? What do you do when you run into your ex? Can you get him to stop texting and ask you out on a date? All these questions and more are answered in this Q&A dating scenario book! Continue reading
The internet is all a buzz about tonight’s 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The costumes will undoubtedly be amazing, but will pale in comparison to the legs, abs, and behinds, of models like Miranda Kerr and Alessandria Ambrosio. These girls are on the top of their physical A-game and no man or woman can resist tuning in to watch them strut their stuff. Including me!
But something had me thinking as this annual event neared. Not too long ago, I received an email from a twenty-something girl in California who was depressed because she thought she wasn’t as pretty as her girlfriends. She said she was considering plastic surgery in order to “keep up with them and get noticed by more men.” At first I had a strong reaction. I thought, “Wow, this woman is actually thinking about altering her appearance based on how her friends look?” But then when I gave it a second thought I realized that this is why anyone gets plastic surgery, isn’t it? (Unless you have some disfigurement, of course.) But otherwise, it’s all about keeping up with the Joneses. It’s all about looking as good, or better than the people around you. And as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show airs, I wondered how many single women would dip to another low seeing a bevy of women far more fit then they are.
For all you girls out there reading this blog I have an interesting nugget of information. This may save you a little time, and a lot of money. On top of that, it may prevent you from seriously damaging your self-esteem down the line.
Now we all know that men like attractive women, and that’s part of the reason girls feel the need to maintain a certain level of physical beauty. But a USA Today article shows that men are not as picky as you may think when it comes to looks. Turns out you don’t have to be the belle of the ball. You don’t even have to be in the top 10. When it comes to being attractive, men don’t necessarily go for the hottest girl in the room. To put it a bit bluntly, if men were to grade women on their level of attraction, it would be more on a Pass-Fail grade than assigning them a A+, B- or C. Peter M. Todd, of the Cognitive Science program at Indiana University conducted a study on how men and women choose their mates. He conducted the research over a speed dating event in which all the men were told to select a follow-up date with however many women they wanted once the first round ended. Out of all the characteristics the men listed as important: Health, status, family, etc… men put physical attractiveness before anything else, ignoring the lack of other traits as long as they found the woman physically attractive. No surprise there However, here is the interesting part. “Men tended to select (for a follow-up date) nearly every woman above a certain minimum attractiveness threshold.” Indicating that to be asked out again, you didn’t have to be better looking than the other girls. You could be numero uno or numero 100. Either way, you were getting asked out.
So what does this mean? Well, to me it means we can stop making so many visits to Palm Beach tan. We can also hold off on those breast implants. Being the best looking girl out there is not going to get you any closer to a relationship than being the tenth, or being twentieth. If you ever start to think that your friend is hotter than you and thus gets asked out more, that could all be in your head. I guarantee that the girl who emailed me doesn’t need plastic surgery. She just needs an attitude adjustment. When you think everyone else is taller, thinner and therefore prettier, you are creating your own self-fulfilling prophecy. Men will not approach you because you are a Down-in-the-dumps Dolly, not because you aren’t cute enough. The moral here is maybe we should be spending more time on the inside than on the out. Maybe instead of bleaching, waxing, teasing and spraying, we should be doing more constructive things to better ourselves. I’m all for keeping yourself in good shape, don’t get me wrong, but do we really need to put SO much effort into our looks? Especially if there is little return on our investment? Most guys will readily admit that what first attracts them is a womans’ physical appearance, but it’s not what keeps them. So if your level of attractiveness doesn’t really sway men one way or the other, wouldn’t time and money be better spent on something that would make you more of a catch in the long run? What do you think?
For more advice on how to handle men in any situation, check out my newest book, “Was it Something I Said? The answer to all your dating dilemmas.”Learn when and what to text him back, how to have the “relationship talk” and much, much more! You can even view the table of contents and see all the questions asked here!
My friend Megan called me last night completely confused. She recently met a guy online and was starting to really like him. “He’s cute, smart, and very witty,” Megan said to me. “The only problem is, I can’t tell if he likes me, or if he’s just looking for a hook-up.” Of course I was intrigued, and I asked her what made her think that he was trying to get into her pants verses her heart? She thought for a second and said, “The dates we go on seem to be going downhill. First date was a nice restaurant. Second date was drinks at a bar. Third date he just asked me to come over and hang out at his house. What do you think? Is it in my head, or is he just out for one thing?”
Good question. And with just that information, it would certainly seem so. But let’s not jump to conclusions here. Yes, there are some guys out there that are not interested in getting serious. They want to play the field, and have sex with anything they find aesthetically stimulating. However, there are also men out there that do want to find a good girl to hunker down with. So the question is, how do you know which guys are which? How can you spot out the guys who are just out to score and split?
1. He doesn’t try to impress you. Most guys want to make a good impression with someone they like. They try very hard to please a girl, especially in the beginning. But if he doesn’t seem to be making much of an effort there could be a good reason why. Vanessa was dating a guy that called her everyday. He seemed to want to get to know her since he was making such frequent contact. But when they were together he didn’t pay much attention to her. “He would have me come over and sit on the couch while he watched football. Or he’d invite me out with his friends but spent more time with them than with me. It became very obvious that the only time I got attention was when he wanted to make out.”
Don’t get confused if he is extra attentive over the phone, and not so much in person. It takes no time or effort to send a quick text. The real test is how he acts when he’s around you.
2. He doesn’t go the extra mile. It’s the little things that make all the difference. Does he open your car door, hang up your coat, or take you out for ice cream when you’ve had a tough day? For Rachel the answer was not so much. She was dating a guy that wouldn’t go an extra inch, forget about a mile. “He would always make me go meet him whenever we went out. He never picked me up at my house. I had to drive to see him or else we weren’t getting together.”
Be wary when you feel like you are doing all the work in the relationship. It’s a give and a take, yes, but in the beginning a guy will bend over backwards to win over a woman he cares for.
3. There is no mental connection. He wants to get to know you in the biblical sense, but how about just getting to know you period? Does he ask you about yourself? Your friends? Your career? A man that wants to settle down will ask you about yourself to see if you are the kind of woman he wants to be with. He’s fishing to see if there is a future. But if the relationship never gets into serious discussions it’s because he has no serious plans for it. My client, Brynn was dating a man that talked about himself incessantly. He was so self-absorbed that she eventually realized he would never love her more than he loved himself.
4. He is pressuring. Does he tell you that sex is really important to a relationship? Does he make you feel bad for holding out? Does he make it seem like he can only open up emotionally if you open up physically? If that is the case, run for the hills. This guy is just out to get some nookie. Don’t let him manipulate you. Sex is important to a relationship yes, but are you even in a relationship yet? Or have you only been dating for five weeks? Truth be told, a good guy will wait forever for the right girl. A selfish guy, however, will wait for no one.
If you really like the guy you are hooking up with, and want to find out how to get him to take you seriously, you must do one very important thing – stop hooking up with him. He won’t give you more if you don’t require more. There is a way to let him know that you like him, but aren’t going to keep casually hooking-up with him until you have decided where the relationship is going. It’s a tricky conversation to have but it’s all laid out in my new book, “Was It Something I Said? : the answers to all your dating dilemma’s.” Check out an excerpt from the book right here!
In this Question and Answer book you will find all the best advice for handling every romantic situation. We cover it all – from hooking up, texting back, and moving forward to a lasting commitment. If you have ever been stuck searching for the right words to say, this book will give you word-for-word instruction on how to tackle the most troubling scenarios. How do you bring up the “Relationship Talk”? How do you ask him if he’s seeing other girls? What do you say if you like him but don’t want to go all the way? You will never again be at a loss for words. Any question you may have is answered right here!
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The dating book that has helped single women across the globe!
I think at some point in life all women have asked themselves this question. If you’ve ever been dumped by a guy who claimed he wasn’t ready for a relationship and then practically moved in with the next girl that came along, it is hard not to question if something about you is flawed when your relationship doesn’t work out. You may not even be able to pinpoint what it is about you that seems inferior to other women, you just feel deep in your bones that somehow you are. If you watched this season of The Bachelor on ABC, you may remember that sweet, southern Kacie B. cried the very words, “Why am I not good enough?” after she was sent home rejected following her home-town date. From her point of view, if she were somehow “better” she would have been the one to get the final rose. But as we have seen play out repeatedly in season’s past, the “best” woman does not always win. In fact this season it would seem that the absolute “worst” woman triumphed over all. But Courtney, who landed the Bachelor and that final rose (but was temporarily dumped just weeks after the show aired) has involuntarily taught every woman in the world a very important lesson. And that is this – being “good enough” isn’t what makes a man love you. If that were true, Ben would have picked, Lindzi, who in many people’s opinion, was prettier, smarter, and orders of magnitude nicer. Or earlier cast-off, Emily, who in my opinion was not only more attractive than Courtney, but also a PHD student with a great sense of humor. There were so many women on the show that arguably seemed “better” than Courtney. Yet, Ben picked her. Why? Because something about Courtney resonated with Ben. His personality, his life experiences, and his own feelings about himself all play into why he chose her. Her being the “better” woman was not a factor at play. I’m hoping this is an ounce of comfort to any brokenhearted woman wondering why their man left them for someone else.
A client of mine fell deeply in love two years ago, only to have the man she thought she would marry leave her for someone else. They had had a bumpy relationship from the start but my client always thought that somehow they would work through their differences and end up together. When I first started coaching her she was already obsessed with her ex’s new relationship. Like many women, she stalked her former flame and his new girlfriend via the social network, hoping to find a a shred of understanding as to what this woman had that she, herself, did not. Unfortunately she not only failed to find the answer, she became even more perplexed when she realized the woman was less physically fit, less educated, and more needy (as evident from her many amorous wall posts on Facebook). Several times my client asked me what it meant to be abandoned by your lover for a person of less quality. Did it mean that despite all my clients’ wonderful attributes, that she was just somehow, unexplainably inferior?
Of course not.
What my client failed to consider was (again) her ex’s personality, life experience and his own feelings about himself. Even though he was a good-looking, confident man, he had come from a broken and dysfunctional family. His own mother was an extremely volatile woman who relentlessly picked on him while smothering him at the same time. She was hot and cold with her feelings. Growing up he never fully felt accepted by anyone. Then he met my client. A woman who loved him the way he always wanted to be loved. A good, kind, well-balanced person that would never attack him or his character. And for him, that felt…awkward. He was not comfortable with that kind of love yet. He was not capable of appropriately receiving it. He truly felt more at home with someone who was …”dramatic.” Someone that provided the “ups and downs” he was accustomed to growing up. His mother also Continue reading
If there is one thing Amy S. knows for sure, it’s how she feels about her ex boyfriend.
“I don’t know what I saw in him,” she says now. “But at the time, I was so in love I couldn’t see straight.”
Amy had dated Clayton, a real estate broker in D.C., for nearly five years when she discovered he was cheating on her. She took him back for a short period of time only to find out once again that he was cheating.
“I thought there was something wrong with me,” she tells me one afternoon. “Here was this gorgeous guy with all the fixin’s – degree from Georgetown, condo in the city, running in the right circles – and I couldn’t get him to commit.”
Amy says she tried ten different strategies to make the relationship work – from backing off to practically moving in. Nothing seemed to steady she and Clayton’s volatile status. Finally she just gave up and let go.
“I cried for a long time and blamed myself. It took me years to finally realize that I was not the problem and that Clayton wasn’t as great as I thought he was.”
Amy says she learned the hard way that good on paper doesn’t necessarily mean good in person. I myself have seen too many women duped into thinking a great resume equals a great guy. Although a few of our suburbs were recently named some of the best places to find rich singles (Arlington weighed in at #2) that does not necessarily guarantee that you as a woman have your pick of the Nation’s litter. Just because a man has the right look, the right job and the right degree, doesn’t automatically indicate that you are getting the best guy. In the metro area, there are a lot of Clayton’s: Guys that only look like husband material on the surface. They are the guys that will wine and dine you, but won’t ever commit. They are the ones that will tell you every detail about their life, but fail miserably at asking about yours. They drop names, as well as car models and measure their worth by their vast collection of passport stamps. Some girls call these men players, or bad boys, or even jerks, but doing so would elevate them to a higher caliber than justified. After all, labeling a guy “a player” suggests that no woman is good enough to tie him down. No, I prefer to brand these kinds of guys more accurately and call them what they really are. Losers. For at the core of every bad boy, every jerk and every womanizer is simply a loser that happens to dress well.
Harsh? Maybe. Appropriate? Absolutely.
Allow me to lift the wool from your eyes and reveal the telltale signs of a loser. First off, you have to look past the well-packaged exterior and investigate what is inside. If you are the type to fall fast for a handsome face, your Lose-O-Meter will need to be recalibrated because loser’s these days have had aesthetic upgrades. Secondly you have to know that the true measure of a man does not rest in his bank account, job title, handsome face or 5-series. It rests solely in his character. And a man’s character can be seen in one very clear and unmistakable way: How he treats other people, especially those from whom he has nothing to gain.
A man of character respects others and therefore earns others respect. When you start dating someone new, ask yourself this; how does he treat the man refilling his drink? The girl he has no interest in? The friend that is in trouble? A real man does the right thing even when no one is watching. When a loser does something selfless he makes a public service announcement.
A man of character displays strength and discipline. A Player has neither.
A man of character knows the value of a good woman. A Bad Boy does not.
And a man of character is in complete control of his emotions. A Jerk let’s his run his life.
If you want to know if a man is worth his salt, don’t size him up by the clothes he wears, the people he knows, or the places he travels. Those things are trivial and don’t represent worth. Any fool with a Visa can buy a Rolex or fly across the globe. A real man is defined by his integrity and good nature; if he is true to his word, if he is moral in his beliefs, and if he is confident enough to carry them out.
Next time you meet a man that you find interesting, don’t be so easily won over by his attractive exterior. Instead dig deeper and find out what kind of person exists beneath the surface. Because like Amy, you may waste years thinking that you are dating the total package, when in reality the guy may just be a Loser in Sheik’s clothing.
For more on what to look for in a man, visit my blog on Washington Life and learn, “What your “must-have” list is missing.”New! As of September 27, 2011 – You can follow me on Twitter @iamJessMcCann or you can email me for a consultation here.
“I wish I liked him more. He’s so sweet and thoughtful. He is always on time. He calls when he says he will. And I’m not worried about being hurt this time. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted…but I don’t want him!” she cried.
I was sitting on my couch with Raquel, a client I’d been coaching for only a few months. She had been dating Anthony, a software developer with a small start up business, for only a few weeks. When she had met Anthony, she had just broken up with Jay, her on-and-off boyfriend of three years. She was trying to move on but she was having great difficulty. Raquel’s former relationship was filled with highs and lows. She and Jay were hot and heavy one minute and not speaking to each other the next. Their chemistry was great, but their communication was not. Despite all the head butting though, Raquel was deeply in love with Jay and always thought he was the one. Why they couldn’t just make it work, frustrated her to no end.
Now she was dating Anthony – a guy that made her feel good about herself. A man that wanted to hear her point of view and valued her opinion. Things that, over time, Jay had lost interest in. Besides that, Anthony was cute! He was tall, he had a great body, and he had these adorable dimples that came out whenever he laughed. So why wasn’t Raquel feeling it?
“I keep thinking if I give it more time, I will like him more. But I just don’t get that rush of excitement like I did when I was around Jay. I don’t feel the butterflies,” she told me.
“Is that what you think love feels like? Having your stomach always tied up in knots?” I asked.
Raquel wasn’t sure how to answer.
“I just know that for three years, I had butterflies with Jay. My heart even flutters when I think about him now! Doesn’t that mean something? Isn’t that true love?”
“No,” I told her. “Butterflies after three years of being someone that you couldn’t get along with, does not mean it was true love. It means it was exciting – and it was exciting because Jay was unpredictable. He would spend a whole weekend with you and then not call you for three days. You never knew when you would see or hear from him again and that is why your heart always jumped when he came around. Not because it was true love.”
Adult Love: What does it feel like?
Everyone likes the feeling of falling in love. It’s a beautiful high that carries you throughout your day. It makes average living more lively. It turns the mundane into something remarkable. And when you come in contact with the object of your affection, the rush is nothing short of intoxicating.
We’ve all felt this way at one time or another. My husband gave me the such bad butterflies I could hardly eat around him. Ask him if I have that problem now though, and he’d probably break into a fit of laughter. Eating more now doesn’t mean I love him less, on the contrary, I love him more today than I did the day I married him. But real love doesn’t make you feel so nervous that you may lose your lunch. It feels like something ten times better and a lot less nauseating.
When love is the lasting kind, you don’t feel like you are standing on the edge of a 400 foot cliff (I should know, I’ve actually stood there.) Sure, you may get the butterflies in the beginning but when love is real, it goes deeper than, as Lindsay Lohan put it in Mean Girls, “feeling like your stomach is going to fall out of your butt.” It feels like home. Like a warm cozy room with a fire place. It’s happy. It’s safe, and I’m elated to say, it’s super comfortable. No, you don’t get tongue-tied around your partner after so many years – but you do feel a rush of utter happiness when they walk through the door after a long workday and you would absolutely jump in front of a moving bus if it meant saving them from any harm.
Keeping the Butterflies Alive
Some people mistakenly fight off real love. Have you ever known someone that religiously breaks off every one of their relationships at the same time point in time? Maybe they hit the seven month mark and suddenly decide they “aren’t feeling it” anymore. Or perhaps once the chase ends and commitment begins, they start to lose interest? These people are what experts call, “love junkies” – they chase the high that comes when you start to fall in love, and once they come down from it, they either create turmoil to get the high back, or they move on to someone else to create it all over again. They unknowingly prevent themselves from ever getting to the true love phase. Raquel had become an love junkie, which is why she was still couldn’t let go over her tumultuous past relationship and fall in love with someone stable. If a guy didn’t give her cardiac arrest, she was convinced it meant she didn’t like him. The truth is that Raquel and most love junkies are addicted to the feeling of excitement that uncertainty brings. Not knowing if someone liked her, not knowing when they would call or want to see her again, drove Raquel nuts. It made her feel extremely low. That’s why when the phone finally did ring, the high was so great, it felt like a full on episode of “When Butterflies Attack.” Her relationship with Jay was always in a state of flux, so the butterflies never went away, and she always assumed it meant it was love.
If you are like Raquel and you think a relationship is boring without ups and downs, then you are still dating with a high school mentality. If you are still attracted to guys that aren’t good for you because they keep you on edge, realize that you will be signing up for a stormy relationship, and later a rocky marriage. Yes, you get a rush of adrenaline when after three days and no calls, your phone rings. It’s exciting when you are dating, but it will be hell when you’re married. You don’t want to be at home, pregnant and wonder where your husband is, do you? How your relationship functions right now, is how it will be after you’ve walked down that aisle. Men that are unpredictable (my nice way of saying unreliable), don’t miraculously transform into steady and dependable husbands once they wed. If you have been with someone for years and you still aren’t able to fully relax and be comfortable with them, you aren’t in love… you’re an addict.
Raquel was so used to her roller coaster relationship with Jay, that the stable happy one she had with Anthony seemed lackluster… that is until Anthony broke up with her for not appreciating him.
My advice for any love junkies out there. Be careful chasing butterflies. The good, dependable guy in front of you isn’t boring. You are just strung out. If you need some excitement in your life, don’t get it from boys. Sign up for skydiving. It’s a lot less dangerous.
I had only been dating Palmer for a few months but I already knew I really liked him. I was twenty-one at the time and just finishing up my last year of college. Palmer avidly pursued me. I’d run into him at clubs and parties and he’d always slip away from his date and plead with me to go out with him. I thought it was exciting and romantic. I thought he was exciting and romantic. Finally after months of asking, I obliged a dinner invite and we ended up at restaurant near school. He was the perfect gentleman, opening doors and pulling out chairs. He paid for dinner and asked if he could kiss me goodnight. That date sealed the deal for me. I was falling for him.
A few months into our relationship, Palmer decided to enroll in my school. He had taken a few years off to wait tables and save money. I could tell he was nervous about his first day because he spent an extra ten minutes in the bathroom doing his hair and asked my opinion on three different shirts. When we got in the car and headed out to school Palmer was very quiet. He didn’t even turn on the radio. I reached over and rubbed back a little. “Hey,” I said. “Don’t be nervous. Everything is going to be great.” I wasn’t expecting the reaction I got.
“Get off of me,” he said with irritation.
An alarm went off in my head. I heard it. I tried to make sense of it. Why would he be upset with me? Why would he be annoyed at me for being supportive? I was confused. I looked at Palmer for a few seconds, hoping he would realize what he had said and apologize. But he didn’t. He just kept driving.
That was the moment that Palmer showed me who he really was. It was also the moment I chose to ignore it.
I continued dating Palmer for several more months and I can honestly say without a doubt it was the most emotionally exhausting, confidence wrecking relationship of my life. He was a moody, selfish person that threw anger tantrums if he didn’t get his way. He was also a womanizer that needed endless attention in order to feed his ego. At the time though, I blamed myself, thinking I was not good enough and couldn’t make him happy. That’s what happens when you don’t listen when someone tells you who they are. You get in too deep and you can no longer see them clearly. That day in the car I heard the alarm bells and knew that he had issues. But as I continued to date him, his issues disappeared and mine began to develop.
I have always loved Maya Angelou’s quote, “When someone first shows you who they are, believe them.” Over the years I’ve realized the importance of this message as it saves you wasted time believing in false hope that people will become who you want them to be. Who are we to tell them who to be anyway? All of us have been told at some point in our lives that people don’t change, so to some of you perhaps Maya Angelou’s quote may not be as profound a statement. But I think that the emphasis here is not to simply believe someone when they show you who they are, it is to believe them when they FIRST show you. That is the crux of the message. For if you ignore it the first time, you will lock yourself in for a long ride ending in disappointment. Had I gotten out of the car that day and decided that Palmer’s reaction was not normal, not nice, and not fine with me, I could have saved myself many months of heartache and many years of self-doubt.
Today I’m blessed to be happily married to my wonderful husband. I learned a great deal from my prior relationships and thankfully I was able to self-improve instead of self-destruct. But I was fortunate. I had good family, great friends, and God and the Universe somehow pulled me through the dark times unscathed. But other people have not been so lucky. So if you have been in an unsatisfying relationship because you’ve been ignoring your partners true self, open your eyes and start to see what they’ve been telling you all along.
Update: Over a decade later, Palmer is still in school, still waiting tables and still throwing anger tantrums.
I got an email yesterday from a woman in Texas that was wrestling with her relationship. She has been dating a guy for about six months and is becoming increasingly frustrated about where the relationship is going. Here is a exert from her email:
“I can’t figure him out. He tells me that he is not ready for a serious relationship. He tells me that he needs his space, but at the same time he calls me throughout the week and we often spend at least one night together on the weekends. I can’t tell if he is scared of getting hurt, or if he has commitment issues. What he says and what he does are so conflicting that it’s driving me mad. I don’t know what to do and talking to him about this only confuses me more.”
Question. How many women do you know that go on dates just for fun? How many women do you know that continue to see a man that they don’t really like? Probably not many. If you are like most women, chances are the moment a guy asks for your phone number you start wondering, could this guy be the one? We date with a purpose. Or at least most of us do. We date to find that partner for life, that husband to love us, that father for our children. Rarely do we date just to date. Guys on the other hand…
True, there are those men out there that are solely interested in long term commitment right off the bat. There are always exceptions to every rule, so please hear me when I caveat what I’m about to say. Most guys do not go out on a first date and think, could she be the one? More often than not they are thinking about what it would be like to kiss you. They wonder what you are all about and if your personalities will click. They are thinking about what comes next. They don’t daydream ten years down the line. They don’t fantasize about what your children will look like. At least not on a first date.
This is important to keep in mind because going one step further, most women think, “if he’s not interested in marrying me, he’d break it off with me,” and that is just not always the case. Men, as I outlined above, don’t always think the way we do. I’ve known men that have kept women around for years with no intention of marrying them. I’ve had guy friends tell me, “I like her, but she’s not the one.” I can name a hundred different scenarios where men will keep dating someone that they don’t see themselves committing to. I call these women the “good-for-now” girlfriends.
G-F-N girlfriends are just that – good for right now. Maybe the guy is traveling a lot and needs someone to hang out with when he comes back to town. He’s too busy to put too much thought into dating, so he sticks with who’s he’s comfortable with. It’s easy, he likes her, but will he marry her? No. Eventually when she pressures him enough, he’ll crack and break it off. Is this fair? He thinks so. After all, he did tell her upfront he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship.
It would be great if all men and women were honest with their feelings. We’d all probably find our happily ever after a lot faster that way. But the truth is we aren’t always truthful and forthcoming. The truth is we sometimes put our own feelings ahead of the other persons. I experienced this first hand with a relative of mine that was dating a woman he didn’t see a future with. He dated her for three years! Three years with no intention of marrying her or even fully committing to her. How could he do this? How could he waste her time? Very easily, I would say. He told her all along that he was commitment-phobic and unsure about marriage. He told her he liked her very much and wanted to spend time with her, but needed his space. In his eyes he was honest and upfront with her, even though he was seeing her twice a week and spending the holidays with her, he didn’t feel guilty because he told her what to expect.
Scary if you are a woman. Scary to think you could be in a relationship with someone at this very moment and not know what’s going on in your man’s head. Scary to think maybe you are a good-for-now-girlfriend. But just knowing that this is possible, should make you all the more wiser. Just knowing that a man can date you without real purpose, should give you the gumption to walk away if you’re feeling frustrated. You want and deserve to be more than a good-for-nower. You deserve forever.
If you are worried about where your relationship is going, Continue reading