In the past, I didn’t feel comfortable giving out dating advice. I was a bit of a prude, and didn’t do much shopping around, so I wasn’t very confident in my qualifications for the role. Experience and mistakes have taught me a great deal about how to present myself in the wonderful world of dating, especially living in Los Angeles (Google “dating in LA”, sigh). As much as I vowed never to become or sound like one of those “guru”wannabes, I find more of my female friends and associates coming to me with their questions and concerns. Odd…
Anyway, there’s a lot I had to learn through trial and error, like finding the happy medium between giving him too much attention and giving him too little. Or mirroring a guy’s actions if he becomes distant; the more you try to reel him in the harder he pulls away. So, here we go! These are a few pointers from my own lesson book that I tell my girls to help them understand why they may not be getting what they want from the dating game.
1. You don’t trust yourself.
If I could, I would get a bullhorn, hike to the very top of Runyon Canyon, and shout, “STOP GIVING THESE JOKERS THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT! (Hey, that rhymed!) In general, women are wired with a heightened emotional disposition, more so than our male counterparts. This allots us the ability to feel when something is amiss or doesn’t seem right. Our intuition is damn near spot-on, but because we fear the stigma of looking “crazy” or being accused of assuming, sometimes we silence it. When we give the “benefit of the doubt”, we’re basically saying, “I know you will most likely make a mockery out of me, but I’ll trust you anyway.” How ABSURD is that? We give them the benefit of the doubt and then get mad when he runs off with them showing no reciprocation or remorse. And now that we’re on the topic of benefits…
2. You give up your “benefits” way too soon.
I’ve seen men come in my life and pursue me like a cheetah to a gazelle, then disappear like nobody’s business when they realize they won’t get that one thing they wanted from me. I used to get upset about being ghosted, now I rejoice.
The ones who aren’t for you will always weed themselves out. When you start a new career, there’s usually a probationary period before they offer any benefits. Do yourself a favor; follow suit when it comes to men. Don’t give him a time period of waiting, because he’ll know how long he has to behave himself. Don’t even give yourself a time period to wait. Chances are, you’ll know sooner than later. Take things slow and let him prove himself over and over and over and over and over again before you even consider giving him anything. If he truly wants you, he’ll stick around.
3. You put all your eggs in one basket.
Let’s talk business here. You are the company, he is a potential employee. Honestly, interviewing multiple prospects can be draining, but I’ve learned the lesson from limiting myself. When you have good male energy around you, it makes the other men aware that you’re in high demand, but you’re selective with your supply. Also, if we want to talk social psychology, the more attention you give someone, the less interested they become, so imagine what happens when you put all your focus on one. Diversify your portfolio; if one guy drops out, no worries, there are two or three others prospects to consider.
4. You don’t ask questions.
I once talked to a guy who brought up his ex-girlfriend on the second date, and my instincts knew he still had feelings for her. When I felt compelled to ask about it, I held back. This was the same guy who had a female roommate at the time and I didn’t inquire about the history of their relationship when I seriously wanted to know. Mistake. The same guy who, when someone unexpectedly banged on his door, nervously told me, “Oh, it was nobody.” When I wanted to ask about these things, I held back because I felt, “Well, he’s not my man. That’s not my business.” Mistake, mistake, mistake! Ask questions, and when you see a red flag, get out of that situation as fast as you can.
5. You are not honest about your emotions or what you want.
The same guy from the previous reason was someone with whom I fell deeply in love, or so I thought. When I told him we would be good together (passively implying I wanted more than a friendship) he responded, “I actually…just…wanna be friends with you.” My reply? “Well, if you just want to be friends, then…that’s okay.” I was lying to him. I was lying to myself. It was not okay. I wanted to scream and yell and smack him upside the head through the phone! The last thing I wanted to do was hold the bench down and watch him bounce from one wack female to the next, doubting my majesty and questioning why he didn’t feel I was good enough. I was too afraid to speak my mind, because I was afraid of scaring him off, but keeping him around and suppressing my feelings only made me resent him more. I was disintegrating from the bitterness while he slept like a baby at night next to the female who wasn’t me.
How or why would he feel the need to treat me how I wanted him to when I never stuck to my guns about any of my expectations? Do yourself a favor; SPEAK UP! Say how you feel, say what you want, and what you expect. You’re not “crazy” or “overemotional” because I can almost guarantee the one who is not for you will try to guilt trip you by labeling you as such. It’s all a mental game, reverse psychology. Be honest and know you deserve all the love you give out and then some.
6. You unconsciously gravitate towards emotionally abusive or manipulative men…
Maybe that was the nature of the relationships modeled to you growing up. Maybe your father or father-figure was absent, either physically or emotionally, and now you instinctively chase after men who make you pull for their affection like daddy did. First of all, if these are the reasons, you no less worthy of love, intimacy, and reciprocation from the man of your dreams than the next woman. It is not your fault any important, primitive relationship was not set in stone for you in your childhood, but as a woman, it is in your power to recognize this and change your mentality about who you are and what you deserve. I only speak from experience. I wanted the emotionally distant boys to love me, and I pushed the good guys away. The new feeling of being treated the right way felt too constricting and frightening to bare. I gave the ones who did little to nothing for me my time and affection, because their type of treatment felt familiar. I had to understand that my desire to fix them, wasn’t about them, it was about me.
7. You are or you make yourself look desperate for a relationship or intimacy.
Men can sense it from a mile away, and they either run away in fear or they flock to it with ill intentions. The one’s who flock to it, most of the time, are those who want to take advantage of you in that vulnerable state. When you become too consumed with being loved or accepted by another person, it makes you more gullible, so you discredit you gut or, even worse, try to justify what he says when he tells you the truth about how he feels about you. Also, overdoing it with the cheesy memes about “#RelationshipGoals”, how your “wifey material” or the saddest one, how “don’t nobody want cho’ ass” makes you look like your posting for attention, fishing for compliments, or throwing yourself a pity party. The guys who don’t double-tap or comment, well, they look, but they don’t feed into it. They aren’t exactly checking for the woman who’s constantly sulking about not having someone to cuddle or “bae around town” with. The guys who comment are there to gas you up for the sake of playing into that desperation to get what they want and dip. Either way, both one of these guys can tell this behavior is an indication that maybe…
8. You feel unworthy/don’t love yourself enough.
If you did, you wouldn’t allow so much of your happiness to be dependent on being in love or being with someone. You would be too busy pouring yourself into bettering your craft, building a business, defining and reaching your goals, seeing the world, or loving and treating yourself. You wouldn’t be waiting around for someone to do those things with or for you. I know, because I was that girl. I was too afraid to face my own vices and change myself, until I came to understand that me healing from the past was nobody else’s responsibility but my own. More importantly, I decided my feeling unworthy, undesirable, or unlovable was a complete and utter delusion. All I did was change my mind about who I knew I was, and it just clicked. Out of nowhere it seems, things became a lot clearer. As a woman, you’re the prize. The power is in your hands, and men know this; they wouldn’t try so hard to get a piece of you if they didn’t. Understand this, and act accordingly.