Women with an aversion to nice men

wife, husband, marriage, relationship, single womanThe words of Rumi above spoke to me because I’ve learned on my journey that the best way to improve the world is to improve yourself. It’s also the best way to get ready for a relationship. I’ve been working on myself incessantly and I now realize the importance of self-love and self-care. I’ve replaced feelings of loneliness with a desire to nurture myself and be easy on myself, to take time for myself and treat myself they way I’d want someone else to treat me.

I saw a therapist today to discuss my penchant for unavailable men and while she was asking me questions about my relationship history, I realized with astounding clarity that I have left every man (or boy) who tried to be nice to me. I have been patently incapable of being sexually attracted to a man who treated me decently. It didn’t matter how handsome or amazing he was, if he was nice I walked. And that’s something they say about women like us – we have an aversion to nice men. The therapist also said we tend to pick the same partners over and over again unless we are extremely conscious about doing the work to change that imprinting. So, let’s begin!

Friends with kids normalizes casual sex

I saw the film Friends With Kids about two pals who decide to have a baby together without a romantic relationship. They are inspired to the arrangement by their married friends who went from being cool Manhattanhites to hate-filled suburbanites upon becoming parents. The story was interesting and unique and the cast rendered the film highly enjoyable, especially Maya Rudolph who is a personal favourite. The intense dinner scene at the chalet was a huge turning point in the film and I’ll stop there with the synopsis as I want you to see it unspoiled.

My problem with the film is not so much in its ridiculous premise, but with a scene in the film in which the lead actress (who also happens to be the writer and director) meets a wonderful man after striking out countless times on the dating scene….AND SLEEPS WITH HIM ON THE FIRST DATE. The act of sudden intimacy was portrayed as normal and desirable and the couple went on to enjoy a mature and loving relationship. What? Films are usually terrible about glamorizing casual sex and treating sex with a virtual stranger as the norm but the characters at least know each other a little bit before diving into bed! I was astounded to see sex on the first date touted as a cause for celebration. In reality, this woman would probably never hear from this man again if she gave it away on the first date. What a terrible message and what a LIE to tell women. Casual sex is not liberating unless you are a man. For women, it is punishing. If you want a relationship with a man …MAKE HIM WAIT! He will love you for it.

The Wounded Woman

relationship, daddy issues, unavailable man

After I learned about my “addiction to love” I was led to a book called the Wounded Woman about the fractured father-daughter relationship and how it wreaks havoc on our future relationships. I had already heard about the “longing for Daddy” that comes up when we pine away for an unavailable man. If your father was absent either emotionally or physically you will gravitate toward unavailable men because that’s your experience. The author, Linda Leonard, also asserts that a girl’s relationship with her father can result in her being either a “guarded amazon” at one end of the scale or an “eternal little girl” at the other end.

The former is the over-achiever who has taken on masculine qualities to get ahead in business or some other competitive field. Often, her father wanted a boy or made his daughter know that his love was conditional on her achievement. The eternal little girl (that’s me!) is a woman who feels herself inadequate and mistrusts her own ability to take care of herself because her father was weak and/or unavailable. This could be an absent father, an emotionally unavailable father (that’s mine!) or a father dominated by an overbearing and critical mother (mine, too).

The Wounded Woman is not an easy book to read as it’s written in psychology speak and I prefer plain language. It does give much insight, however, into the importance of the father/daughter relationship and the devastating effects that can have on future relationships with men. I’ve never had a satisfying relationship with a man because I was carrying around so much baggage from my childhood. And my father won’t change. This is another false belief of the daughter of the emotionally available man: that if she just tries harder, does better, is better, her father will show her love. I can tell you it doesn’t work that way. My father is completely closed off to emotions or warmth and that has nothing to do with me. He’s now exhibiting the same behaviour towards my two daughters and I feel as though I’ve had enough. I’m reducing our visits because I can no longer abide the lack of attention and affection toward his granddaughters. They deserve better and so did I.

Addicted to Love: Love Addiction

I chatted in my last post about an addiction to unavailable men. I had no idea in turning a phrase that is normally used to describe substance abuse, that I was referring to a true affliction around which many people (mostly women) have to work a 12-step program to be free. I learned that love addiction is not about true “love” but romance and attraction, that it is often characterized by an aversion to “nice” people, falling “in love” with someone you’ve met online and not in person, longing for someone who has no idea about your feelings or who will never reciprocate them (unrequited love), and other fantasy-type relationships. Basically it’s an escape from reality. I confess I have suffered in all these categories and had no idea it was a disease!

I’ve always longed for the man who will take me away from it all rather than one who will become part of my life. When people say you have to get to know someone on their home turf, meet their families, find out about their hobbies and work, that just sounded so boring. I realize that’s the fantasy aspect of the affliction. I was relieved to discover there is a name for these horrible feelings around my failed love life and a reason why I keep going back to the same types of men. It’s the insanity that Einstein talked about in doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Before I had the awareness of what I was doing, I was powerless to stop it. Now I see the reality of the situation and can learn how to change it.

I’ve already picked up new habits, like do not give more than I get hoping he will reciprocate. Actions speak louder than words (pay attention to what he does, not what he says). Stand by your boundaries (I started giving out my landline so he doesn’t have the option to text). I always laughed at the title of the book by Robin Norwood, “Women Who Love Too Much” but now it turns out I am one of them. I have to read this book to discover what is going on with me!

It also turns out that fearfully abstaining from sex as I have is a form of anorexia – withholding from yourself the thing you want out of fear that you will binge if you have even a little bit. It’s an unhealthy form of self-control. That doesn’t change my desire to remain celibate but it does give me something to consider. If you avoid something out of fear, that is markedly different than staying away while you engage in self-reflection and personal growth. I plan to get going on the latter!

The Single Woman

new kids on the block, relationship, marriage, men, women, dating, celibacy, abstinence, sex, God

“There is truth to the ‘just not that into you’ phenomenon. The more you accept that, the better off you are. Move on. Don’t think of striking out as a failure, or somebody not calling you as a failure…it’s just another step in finding somebody. Don’t fear rejection. Don’t put so much emphasis on it. It just may not be the right time or the right person. So what?” ~Jordan Knight via The Single Woman

I used to fear rejection so much that I’d do anything to avoid it, including having sex with someone I barely knew. Consciously, I didn’t realize I was seeking approval but in hindsight and after much self-improvement work, and nearly a year and a half of celibacy, I can see my motives clearly. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted because I was so busy trying to figure out what other people wanted, and altering myself to please them. It was truly soul-sucking and it wasn’t until I made a conscious effort to discover what made me tick – in other words what motivated me to do the things I did – that I could begin to change.

I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to realize I don’t want somebody who treats me poorly; I just wanted him to want me and it had very little to do with him as a person. He was more like a mirror to me of myself. If he rejected me, then I must not be lovable or acceptable. I had no inner core of wisdom to tell me I was fine on my own. For the past year and a half I have been on a mission to find self-love and I can honestly say I am finally there. Random thoughts run through my mind that say “You’re a lovely person” (and I am!) rather than “Loser!” or “You’re so stupid,” which is what my self-talk used to sound like.

If a man stops contacting me I don’t obsess on it or, heaven forbid, call him again. I know enough now to know that if a man wants to get in touch with you he will, even if it requires him to hire a private investigator – no lost phone number is going to stop him. Rather than fuming over a lack of attention, I acknowledge my need for a certain level of attention and if he can’t give it, he’s not the right one for me. Right now I have about 5 men interested in me. That would have been a big ego trip for me before, but now it is simply a weeding out process. 5 could easily and quickly become none. If he asks me what I want to do on the date, he’s probably not the one for me. If he doesn’t want to pick me up for the date, he’s not the one. If he goes three days without contacting me…not the one. I am learning what I want and don’t want in a man and it’s based on authentic desires rather than a desperate need to be accepted. I accept myself now, I really do.

Fear of intimacy

relationship, marriage, husband, wife, dating, therapy, psychology, self-helpRecently I came to the stunning realization that I have been pursuing unavailable men as a way of avoiding intimacy. The conclusion was reached with the help of a therapist, but not in some earth-shattering way. She made an offhand remark, almost under her breath, while I was describing to her yet another crush of mine over a man whom I knew was attracted to me but was unavailable for a relationship (he had a girlfriend). The words she spoke rocked me to my core but they should have been so obvious: “maybe you have a fear of intimacy,” she suggested.

And with those words the habits of a lifetime came clear to me. I have consistently sought out emotionally unavailable men, including my ex-husband, because they did not require of me to get close to them in any meaningful way. And the bonus is I got to blame it all on the them! I learned from another therapist (I”m not seeing multiple therapists – this was at a retreat) that the feeling of “longing” I subject myself to with unavailable men is a “yearning for Daddy” and is extremely common among women with emotionally distant fathers. Bingo! Talk about an empowering discovery. Now I am done with fantasy relationships or hoping for more from men who are not capable of sharing their hearts or even their time. I am learning so much from my slow return to the dating life. If a man takes three days to get back to me, that’s information, a preview of the level of attention I can expect to receive in a relationship with him. And guess what? It’s simply not enough.

Tracy McMillan for Huff Post: Why You’re Not Married

Tracy McMillan wrote Why You’re Not Married

I consider myself a marriage-bound person even though I’m not dating 🙂 I’ve never been a dater and have been in a few very long-term relationship including a decade-long marriage. I’m not afraid of commitment, but what I have come to discover about myself is that I’m afraid of intimacy. I tend to choose men who are emotionally detached (the “man’s man”) and who are incapable of sharing deeply with me. Of course, I’ve been incapable of the same thing but it’s easier to blame it all on them. It also normalizes the situation because people expect men to play their cards close to their chest.

According to John Gray of Mars and Venus fame and many other experts (it’s science, people), our survival as a species has depended upon men’s need to retreat into silence when they have a problem and women’s need to talk, talk, talk about it to lower their stress levels. I’m a quiet girl but I can attest to the fact that my need to TALK about a problem is so strong that I will blow a gasket if I try to keep it to myself. Sometimes it is in the talking that I find the solution OR I simply feel a release of stress even if no solution presents itself. I don’t just feel better after talking it out, I feel as though I have saved my life. Women bond by talking; men bond by doing.

I came across an interesting article by Tracy McMillan for Huffington Post called Why You’re Not Married. Addressed to single women she outlines six reasons why women who want to be married aren’t. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and provides a template to follow if you are interested in attracting a suitable man. My favourite is #3 since I used to use sex to avoid intimacy (ironically enough).

1. You’re a Bitch.

You probably don’t think you’re angry. You think you’re super smart, or if you’ve been to a lot of therapy, that you’re setting boundaries. But the truth is you’re pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it’s scaring men off.

2. You’re Shallow.

When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit. Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl.

3. You’re a Slut.

Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore — but they’re not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you’re having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop.

4. You’re a Liar.

You know if you tell him the truth — that you’re ready for marriage — he will stop calling. Usually that day. And you don’t want that. So you just tell him how perfect this is because you only want to have sex for fun! You love having fun sex! And you don’t want to get in a relationship at all! You swear!

5. You’re Selfish.

If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy — or at least a guy with a really, really good job — would solve all your problems.

6. You’re Not Good Enough.

Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period. Not understanding this is a major obstacle to getting married, since women who don’t know their own worth make terrible wives. Why? You can fake it for a while, but ultimately you won’t love your spouse any better than you love yourself. Smart men know this.

What do you think of Tracy McMillan’s six reasons you’re not married?

Men and women: too different to be equal

relationship, marriage, husband, wife, single woman

A friend of mine was telling me about a woman at work who was bragging about trimming hedges over the weekend. “Was your husband out of town?” my friend asked innocently. The woman got very defensive and said “I can do it!” My friend replied (not out loud, of course) that she wouldn’t be surprised if that husband dreamed of having a woman who would let him be the man and trim the hedges himself. I can’t help but agree. What is this preoccupation, this insistence that so many women have on Equality?

As my friend reasons, as long as men can’t give birth, there’s no such thing as equality of the sexes. All so-called equality means (this is me now) is more WORK for women. That is ALL it means. Equality does not serve women, it serves men. They get to do less work because women are so insistent that they can do everything men can do. Which is about as true as saying men can give birth.

I’m not only talking about physical tasks but also things like decision-making. I often become befuddled when faced with a decision and when it comes to my children I give ultimate decision-making power to their father even though we’re not married any longer. He’s just better at it. He’s more logical, rational, and has superior reasoning abilities. When I told my daughter that was the reason I let her dad make the decisions, she said sagely: “Men and women both weigh all the options when making decisions. The difference is that women will second-guess themselves, but when men make a decision there’s no turning back.” She’s eleven and she understands this implicitly. She hasn’t been brainwashed by society to be outraged at the idea that men and women can be good at different things or approach them in different ways.

Men are from Mars

relationship, sex, celibacy, marriage, men, women, dating

Like many people, I used to scoff at that famous book by self-help guru Dr. John Gray called Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. The title was embarrassing and the whole concept seemed so cheesy, I would never read such pablum. Well, guess what I just uploaded to my Kindle?

Over the past year and a bit of celibacy I have been studying relationships in an effort to discover how I’ve gone so wrong in my past entanglements and to gain an increasing level of self-awareness. I’ve always looked at what I could get out of relationship without wondering what I could put into it. I realize now that *gasp* men and women are different and we have different needs and styles of communicating. I highly recommend Dr. Gray’s book for anyone woman or man who has scratched her head trying to figure out the opposite sex.

One of the most important lessons I gleaned from the text is that men don’t need to talk about their problems to feel better. As shocking as this may seem, the book says men mainly talk to give or receive information. It sounds sensible but for me (and all the women I know) talking has very little to do with exchanging information. We talk to feel close to other people and we talk because it lessens our stress. If I had a problem and didn’t talk about it immediately, I would explode! Apparently, men prefer to work out their problems on their own silently and will only ask for help if they’ve exhausted all options.

The author also addressed the fact that when you tell a man your problem he will try to solve it. That’s how he shows he cares. If he can’t solve it he feels like a failure and will not want to listen anymore. Sound familiar? He might also feel as though you are blaming him for your problem even when that’s the furthest thing from your mind. What men don’t realize is that we women just want someone to listen to us go on about our problem and usually in the talking we will see the solution ourselves. Or we will simply feel better for having said it out loud.

There are so many other gems in this book that have not only increased my self-awareness as a woman but have shed some light on those mysteries of men that I never understood and always took so personally. I hope you will check it out if you are feeling confused about your partner or the opposite sex. It might clarify a few things and improve your relationship or any unions you may have in the future.

Men are dynamic, women magnetic

sex, relationship, marriage, men, women, gifts, God

Dr. Pat Allen says that no woman wants to give, protect and cherish anyone over the age of 10 unless she is given what she needs first. The mistake we and society make is in believing that nurturing is a feminine quality when it is actually masculine. That makes a lot of sense to me in the way I feel when taking care of my two daughters. Caring for my children does feel very masculine because it is a leadership role that requires me to discipline and make decisions and be a role model. Although I adore my time with my girls and am so grateful to be their mom, I feel the need to replenish after a day of looking after them with some quiet feminine time to myself, be it a candlelit bubble bath or meditation.

When I’m allowed to be magnetic and “enchanting”, just being in my feminine energy, it feels “right” whereas trying to make things happen by being assertive and aggressive feels like I’m going against my nature. Which I am. Dr. Allen says women are meant to be magnetic and receptive and men dynamic and giving, that women must be rooted in their own sense of self-worth and men must feel competent and adequate. It’s that cherish vs. respect thing.

That’s why men are drawn to women that seem like they don’t need them and turned off by women who come across as desperate. Because a desperate woman doesn’t know her value. At the same time, giving a man too much can turn him off as he is meant to be the giver. I can attest to this in my last relationship where I made the mistake of thinking I had to reciprocate his giving in a material way. Men give to show their love; they don’t want anything in return except our respect.

What do you think of these ideas?