In order to improve my dating, I read a lot of self-help books and dating advice (including your awesome books!). I’ve learned a lot, but I’m starting to sense a theme that goes something like this:
In order to attract a man, you need to be so confident and positive that he’ll want to be around you all the time.
Obviously, there is a kernel of truth to that — it’s important to be confident and positive because those traits attract high-quality men. But nobody can exude confidence and positivity all the time. Sometimes I worry that no man will like me if I express any negativity. What if I have a bad day? What if the guy I’m dating does something annoying, or my best friend’s mother dies, or someone rear-ends my car at a red light? How do I strike a balance between positive and real and still keep a man’s interest (and my sanity)?
Not Always Smiling
While it is true that attracting a man does take a certain amount of confidence and positivity, I think there are two very important distinctions to be made here. First, keep in mind that these traits are important for attracting a man, meaning they are most necessary when you want to capture a guys attention – a guy who does not yet know you. Of course, once you get to know someone you will have bad days and should share them, but you don’t want to unload your problems on someone who just asked if they could buy you a drink. Second, there is a big difference between opening up about your feelings and showing emotion when things are not going well, and acting if the world is ending when one of life’s little problems pops up. I’ll take your example of someone rear ending your car. There are some people that would overreact in a negative way to having minor car accident – one that doesn’t result in anything but a scratched bumper. They might wallow in misery for the rest of the day and then get angry about it until the following week. One client of mine said she cancelled the rest of her day and called her boyfriend screaming, cursing, and crying when she accidentally backed into a parking meter. This kind of all encompassing negativity is what these books are warning against. Yes, life is going to hand you lemons sometimes, and while you don’t always have to make lemonade, if you want to keep a guy interested, you shouldn’t hurl those lemons at him. Expressing that you’ve had a hard work day, that someone close to you has passed, or even telling the person you’re involved with that picking their toenails really turns you off, doesn’t have to be a ugly or forlorn conversation. You are certainly allowed to be sad, get annoyed or angry and it won’t make men run from you as long as your delivery is appropriate and your relationship, solid.
The worst thing you can do is not tell the man you are dating why you are feeling down in the dumps. Pretending that everything is okay when clearly it’s not, often leads men to diagnose women as crazy or premenstrual. If you are going through a tough time, you should share that with your partner, rather than bottle it up and put on an unconvincing act. If you think you are saving your partner from listening to your woes, think again. Men want to know what’s bothering you. They want to help. They want to listen. You just have to communicate your feelings in the best way possible and for a lot of people, that can be hard. If you don’t, however, your sadness or frustration will come out some other way. You don’t want to burst into tears when your boyfriend asks you to pass the ketchup, because he really will think you’re a bit unbalanced if a condiment can upset you. Add the words, “I’m feeling..” to your vocabulary and use them. It’s totally fine to say, “I’m feeling a bit sad today because…” or “I’m feeling a little frustrated today and here is why…” You would be surprised at how just using those words to preface your feelings can make a big difference in how you communicate.