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I remember in high school the very distinct feeling that I would never understand men. The boys I had dated long-term in both high school and college sent me such conflicting messages that I truly believed men simply didn’t have emotions. Not like women did, anyway. After all, how can you tell someone you love them one day, and then blow them off to party with your friends the next? It seemed I was always waiting to hear how the guy felt, what he thought, and where he deemed our relationship was going. Everything was on the guys terms because I cared too much and wanted to work through anything, while they took their time mulling over the pros and cons of being with me. It was frustrating, demoralizing, and exhausting. I remember thinking, how in the world can I sustain a relationship with any man if they aren’t as emotionally invested as I am?!
Luckily, after I graduated college, I met and dated a boy that showed me that not all men are cut from the same cloth. He was sweet, fun, and the first real relationship I had ever had. And thanks to him, my previous philosophy on men being void of emotion completely changed. I realized there would be men in the world that would match my emotional investment, and I learned a few very key insights that helped me continue through the dating world, and end up happily married to my wonderful husband today. Had my mentality not changed on this, I might still be dating in circles right now.
Here is what I want to pass on to women who feel as I did back then.
1. Men need reassurance. I realize now, looking back, that I never really gave any love to my high school old boyfriend. I was brought up that men needed to treat me with respect. I was told they were lucky to be with me, and that I needed to keep them in pursuit. In essence, I just had to “be” in the relationship to make the guy happy and my job ended there. My poor BF brought me flowers, wrote me love notes, and met me after every class. What did I do for him? Complained if he had to stay late at practice, or decided to eat lunch with his friends one day out of the week. Sadly, it didn’t dawn on me until later in life that my job wasn’t to just receive love from a guy, it was to give love to him, too. And that included positive affirmations of my feelings – which I never gave anyone because it was drilled into my head that I was to keep them in hot pursuit at all times. But at some point, the chase has to end for the relationship to really begin.
2. Not all men are created equal. Yes, there are guys out there that are jerks, players, or narcissists, and they do not know how to be in a relationship with anyone. But there are also men that are kind, loving, supportive, yet still strong and masculine. I went into a lot of my younger relationships expecting to be let down and hurt because that is what the guy before and the guy before did. However, assuming this made me defensive and suspicious. In other words, a real joy to be around! I spent a lot of time overreacting to certain situations that warranted no reaction at all because I just assumed all men were the same. If one had wronged me in the past, it was only a matter of time that the current one would too. Letting go of Continue reading
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.”