Right before my 40th birthday it hit me: being too strong wasn’t attracting the right man. It had been eight years since I divorced my first husband. I’d spent most of this time working on myself. Now it was time to put myself back on the dating circuit. As I started going out on dates, I began to question some of my long held beliefs about men, women, and relationships. Because I was a strong and independent woman, I had always thought that my ideal man would have to be stronger than me so that he would “challenge me” and “take the lead.” Now I began to wonder if there was a flaw in my thinking. Was the fact that I was being too strong and independent inadvertently attracting the wrong men and pushing the right ones away?
It occurred to me that, if I wanted a man to take the lead, I needed to stop being too strong and independent. If I wanted a man to be stronger than me, I needed to stop competing with him. And if I wanted a man to be the man, I needed to start thinking and behaving more like the woman.
But what did it mean to “be the woman?” I honestly didn’t know. When I was nine, my father jilted my mother, leaving her heartbroken and humiliated. One wintery afternoon when I was fifteen, my mother and I were walking around a Midwestern shopping mall when she told me never to rely on men. “Don’t ever let a man do to you what your father did to me,” she said, trying to protect me from men like my father. Then, lifting a line from a seedy Sidney Sheldon novel, she said something I will never forget. “Remember: when they’re hard they’re soft and when they’re soft they’re hard.” Thanks Mom! Words to live by!
You have to laugh. I mean, who quotes Sidney Sheldon to her 15-year-old daughter? But I was young and impressionable, and I took my mother’s advice to heart. I decided right then and there that I would never need a man for anything, and for many years, I didn’t.
As I got older, I pushed men away to test them and see if they were “man enough” for me. Or, if I felt an immediate attraction, I would pursue them and sleep with them right away. It never occurred to me to question my behavior. I just assumed that one day the right man would come along—one who would “get me” and know how to “handle” me.
It wasn’t until I was almost 40 that I realized there is a word for men who know how to “handle” women: They’re called players! Because I couldn’t push these men around or push them away, I made the mistake of thinking that they were “real men” and that they were interested in getting to know me. Men who were “too available” bored me to tears, but the players I met were tenacious. They knew what they wanted and they went for it. I loved the feeling of being pursued by a man who seemed to know what he wanted—especially when what he wanted was me.
I didn’t understand at the time that players are really only after the thrill of the chase. They aren’t interested in getting to know us at all. They just want sex. To them, it’s all a game. The harder we make them work, the more fun it is for them. Ultimately, if it doesn’t work out with one woman, they’ll just try again with someone else. That’s a comforting thought.
This all makes perfect sense to me now. Think about it: when a man is attracted to a woman and she rejects him, he feels hurt and he figures she isn’t interested. It’s ridiculous to think that he should keep coming back for more rejection. If a man rejected me, I wouldn’t keep pursuing him—would you? There are many unflattering words in the English language for people who keep coming back and don’t get the hint: needy, anxious, clueless, masochistic…
Once I realized how flawed my thinking had been, it changed my entire approach to dating. I began to have more respect for men. I stopped being too strong and independent and I started looking for ways to empower men so that they felt that they could take the lead. I also stopped looking for some immediate chemical rush and started looking for a connection that felt grounded and real. I stopped thinking that relationships should be complicated and challenging and started believing that they could be open, honest, and easy. I stopped finding unavailable men attractive and started opening up to the men who were attracted to me. But most of all, I admitted to myself that I wanted a man in my life, and in order to have that, I had to start trusting them. When I accepted this, I softened and became more open and vulnerable. It wasn’t long before I attracted a real man—one who knows how to take care of a woman and who loves taking care of me.
If you want to discover Naked Dating and learn how to attract the love of your life, feel free to book a free consultation with me, Lisa Shield, by clicking here: