I’m Sensitive, Afraid of Rejection and Push Men Away

I'm Sensitive, Afraid of Rejection and Push Men Away

I wanted to see if you had any tips about modifying my own behavior, because I’m driving myself (and a progression of men) at least a little batty.

Reading your blog has been so useful to me over the last 2 months of intense dating, thank you. I try to – and often do ­– successfully apply your advice. It’s been up, and down, and absolutely wonderful and then total hell. I’m 34, attractive to people who like my physical type, and I do okay – many men like me, and I like some of them back. I have the usual frustrations with bad dates, vapor trails, and the men who are just emotionally available enough to keep me around but won’t let anything progress, but I’ve learned to accept this as part of the ride.

But I’m very emotionally sensitive and naturally very defensive, and it’s killing me. When a man pulls back just a little bit – even very early on, and very possibly just in my head – I start to freak out on the inside, to write the death warrant on the non-relationship, and to become tense about the whole affair. I write “you’re obviously not interested – nice to know you” emails way too quickly, leaving men going “Wait. What?” They often stick around to work it out – I swear some of them even *like* it – but I’ve poisoned the natural progression of our discourse, and I think the long-term effects are usually negative.

I know this is bad. I logically know it’s very bad. But when I’m in the middle of an “it’s over and he doesn’t like me! I must defend myself!” attack it feels 100 percent like the only course of action. Then I write the email/leave the voice message and… instantly feel horrible. I sit in dread of the response. I suddenly see the mature, thoughtful way I could asked them what was going on with them that I didn’t take.

Do you have any mechanisms, anything at all, for heading off this behavior at the pass? I feel like a slave to my fears of rejection, and it’s causing a “let me reject you before you reject me!” nuclear reaction that slimes everything in radiation and leaves everyone, self included, emotionally flayed. I hate it.

Thank you, even if you just read this! Your blog really is the best.


Oh, Emily.

I’m about the last person you should be asking for advice on defending yourself.

I’m constantly writing long-winded, emotional, poorly-thought-out responses to the various ways that my words are minced, mangled, and misinterpreted – and every time I do, I feel a piece of my soul break away.

Being understood is tiring work.

If you consistently fly off the handle that every man in the world isn’t following your imaginary script as to how he’s supposed to act, you’re essentially writing your own unhappy ending.

Being right requires constant maintenance.

And letting everyone know that you’re right is like a full time no-paying job.

Which is the key point – there are NO REWARDS for being right.

All you do is end up alienating the people who have the potential to care for you.

Are your negative impulses “correct”? I’m betting they often are.

But if you consistently fly off the handle that every man in the world isn’t following your imaginary script as to how he’s supposed to act, you’re essentially writing your own unhappy ending.

Remember: Men do what they want, not what you want.

Stop expecting them to do what you want, try to understand where they’re coming from, and you’ll soon discover that they start appreciating you a lot more.

I’m not an easygoing person, but I will be the first to tell you that there are few qualities more valuable – in a wife, in a friend, or in a business partner.

If you don’t learn to let things roll off your back, then most men – unless they’re blindly whipped on your intoxicating beauty – are just going to conclude that you’re too much work. Or, as other men have been known to say, you’re “hot and crazy”.

And a man can only deal with so many tantrums, so much criticism, and a finite amount of drama before he concludes that he’ll date someone less attractive, intelligent and impressive and find himself a nice girl who makes his life easier.

In fact, I just did a teleseminar last month, called “Being a Great Girlfriend” in my FOCUS Coaching group. Took a bunch of questions and spent an hour teaching women how to better understand and connect with men in relationships.

When you fire off angry missives to guys who barely have anything invested in you – much less a real boyfriend – you’re certainly not understanding him, appreciating him, or making his life better.

As “research”, I asked my Mom and wife to tell me the three things that made them great partners. After they both said, “Oral sex”, we got down to these three things: not emasculating him, appreciating everything he does for you, and doing your best to make his life happy every day.

When you fire off angry missives to guys who barely have anything invested in you – much less a real boyfriend – you’re certainly not understanding him, appreciating him, or making his life better.

You’re just telling him he’s an insensitive schmuck.

Yeah, we don’t like hearing that. Especially if we have valid reasons for not doing what you want us to do.

So, are there any mechanisms for heading off this behavior at the pass?

Apart from taking a deep breath, a time out, and a full day before you write something you regret, the only thing I can think of is this:

“Why He Disappeared – The Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever.”

It’s the best summation I can offer about why men marry some women and not others, and I think you’ll really get a lot out of it. Please come back and let me know what you think. And don’t worry: there’s a money-back guarantee!

Thanks, and please come back here to let us know how it goes.

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  1. 31

    I very much agree with the polarity between the sexes being an important thing, but it doesn’t have to take the form of me acting crazy for no reason.
    I think it is possible to keep a man satisfied and still be a nice, easy going person. For example, keeping it lively in the bedroom 😉

    My current bf had a long history of dating strong, bitchy women with attitude (I suspect because his mom was one). I am a strong woman, but not bitchy in the slightest. I think it just took some time for him to realize how nice it is to date someone nice- but like I said-I find keeping it spicy in the bedroom keeps him from feeling like I am too ‘vanilla’.

  2. 32

    So, from the comments I’m gathering that men find “sexual polarity” in women being unpredictable and sometimes downright psycho. Well, great.

    Most of the truly bitchy women I know are married, but would I want their marriages? Not in a million years. A man who puts up with, or even enjoys, that kind of drama is simply not the one for me.

    As for the original letter, well, sometimes dating does feel like a game of “chicken;” you want to let go before the other person has a chance to do so and cause you lots of pain. Whenever I start to feel this way, I try to take a deep breath, distract myself, and also think about what it is that *I* want. Rather than being so worried about HIM – is HE pulling back? Does HE no longer like me? – I force myself to consider whether or not I admire him as a person, find him interesting and kind, etc. Often, I realise that I’ve been so focused on my panic that I haven’t actually been getting to know him and his character.

  3. 33

    For me it is the gender polarity thing that I don’t get. I have had so many women like me, even fall for me . . . for a while. Then they break up because they don’t see being with me for a long time. Then they say “but I have this or that friend” probably because they feel badly for dumping me. I am pretty sure my lack of grasp of gender polarity is what I am missing and from what I see of it, I would rather be alone. I don’t want to be “tested hard for no reason” and likewise, I don’t believe in putting someone in their place unless they have earned it.

    Maybe if I understand gender I can get there, but if not, I will stay the nice guy that women like but never love. I would rather that than not be true to myself.

    1. 33.1

      Hi AllenB,

      I hear you. “I don’t want to be “tested hard for no reason” and likewise, I don’t believe in putting someone in their place unless they have earned it.” I think like you too but I do the dumping, either way I am not with the person I want to be with either. 

      I have plenty of options so it’s really not for the lack thereof. It is more a matter of quality then quantity as far as I am concerned. It is also a messed up broken world as well so that doesn’t say much for social norms. hahhahaha.

      I do think it is helpful to see social norms as a guide of sorts especially in the beginning until someone has had time to discover your real personality. I march to the beat of my own drum I thought. I am different I thought. What it means is that I miss out on the well-adjusted people who potentially have the same beliefs I do.

      I have come to accept that I can never run totally away from social norms, anything out of the ordinary is suspect, people fear different, people fear change. So I use it intelligently to allow myself more opportunities while keeping my authentic self intact.

  4. 34

    Maria #29

    “an easygoing disposition may generate warm friendly feelings and good will, but it doesn’t engender passion.”

    A non-easygoing disposition might also engender “drama.” Drama might be passionate, but it won’t last in the long term. You can be nice, but still have a spine, and you can have a fun, passionate relationship without the craziness. In fact, over the course of a lifetime, it’s highly preferable.

  5. 35

    After some traumatic experiences with men and some beautiful ones, too, I felt two ways: I was mortified of getting helplessly attached and becoming the doormat I had been too often; and I was hopelessly romantic and still really enjoyed the company of men. Well, now I call myself hopefully romantic, and I also learned to stand up for myself while being kind and considerate. I used a practice that might help you, too.

    The key is to find The Third Way between desire and detachment. Desire is fueled by your passionate nature, and detachment is counseled by your practical, logical nature. I put both to work at the same time in an exercise that is harrowing at first and then ultimately satisfying.

    Upon getting to know a man, sometimes I’d get that obsessive feeling ~ wondering how did he feel about me, when would he call, what did his every little action mean … where would this go …. and then, what if it didn’t go, what if he never called, what if I fell for him and he ditched me, what if, what if, what if ???

    That’s when I’d do this practice. I’d think of the man as fully as I could ~ all his cuteness, kindness, everything that attracted me, all the best of the futures I could imagine with him. Then I’d imagine a tragic accident that would leave me without him in my world forever … and I’d throw myself into that scene as fully as I did the previous fantasy. Crying over his dead body, imagining life going on without him, feeling the blackness and despair.

    But the thing is, in every case, life did indeed go on. I couldn’t escape the fact that in my imagined scene that seemed so awful, the tragic fantasy continued afterward with me alive and actually not so very much different than my real life in the present moment. My tears poured at first, then dried. My heart wrenched terribly, then continued beating.

    This practice was helpful to me because I could put my overactive imagination to work and play out scenes in depth and intensity without actual risk-in-the-flesh. I could check out the very worst of the “what ifs”. After living through the trials and coming out the other side, I felt equipped to go through the real thing and deal with whatever might happen. I found courage to face the unknown because I’d already dealt with the worst I could imagine. I’d do this as often as the terrors would arise.

    In seeking The Third Way, those of us who have super-active imaginations can put them to work as relief valves instead of as nuclear reactor meltdowns.

  6. 36

    I have 3 words for this woman:
    Look it up. Classic signs…textbook in fact. Fear of abandonment. I’ll reject you before you reject me. This cannot be solved with a quick note on how you should treat a man…it takes long, intense therapy!

  7. 37

    Mia – you stated, “men dont value easygoing, kind, cool women. So many pursue girls that are high maintenance and high strung. ”

    Some men do pursue high maintenance, high strung women. Some guys will tolerate such traits only if the woman is extremely attractive though in my experience the infatuation is soon overcome by her demanding nature. Other men actually enjoy stress filled relationships.

    I think most men, especially as they get older and wiser, are looking for easygoing, kind, cool, and fun women. Not women who are spineless and agree with everything the man says, but women who have a mind of their own yet are laid-back and sweet.

    If you act batty/bratty you will likely find that men will tolerate such behavior for a very short time. They will ignore the red flags, have their fun with you, and then move on. Such behavior is tolerable for a weekend fling – not for a long term relationship. As EMK and others have mentioned so many times, the alpha male and bad boy personalities might create some initial chemistry but such men are lousy prospects for the long term. The assessment is the same for high maintenance and demanding women.

    Keep us posted with the results of your experiment…

  8. 38

    @ Mia:

    HAHAHA!!! Your last comment about acting psycho and bratty just made me smile. I was literally telling my married girlfriend this, last year. She’d been through the dating trenches too, and she’s my sounding board and sanity check. I told her, “Maybe I just have to be psycho, check a guy’s phone, snoop in his email, act like a little bitch, just so I can meet someone. Because that’s all I see anymore, are girls who treat men badly, getting the guy. We nice girls who don’t want drama, hate drama, and would treat a guy well, get kicked to the curb.” I realize it goes both ways, as I have had guy friends say the same thing, but I have to operate from where I am, as a woman. I stopped pursuing men and I had no fewer than 3 men tell me later that at first, they thought I didn’t like them at all, because I was so “hands off.” I told one guy, “I respect a man’s space and privacy and I am not interested in being the psycho chick.” He was really impressed by that, and while we did not work out as a couple, we do remain friendly and banter some on Facebook.

    I can totally understand how you feel, and where you’re coming from. Been there. You keep hanging in there and you do what you do best. I really was getting to a point where I just thought, you know what, I like me, I love me, and I am tired of the nonsense and drama I see here in the DC dating pool. I’m going to take a breather for awhile, focus on me, my Mom’s fight with cancer, and my best friend, home from a tour of duty overseas. I was really becoming OK with the thought of never finding anyone else and going on alone, and then my fella came around. You just never know who or what could happen to you.

    Big hugs. You’re going to be OK. 🙂

  9. 39

    Folks: it’s slightly creepy how many posts here interpret “sexual polarity” as meaning drama and slap-downs of the opposite sex.

    Michael17 wrote: “I’d say what is missing is sexual polarity. Just as many women get turned on when a guy “put them in their place” from time to time, many men get turned on when a woman tests them hard for “no reason” or even when she acts a little batty from time to time.”

    Say what? I don’t view a man who attempts to “put women in their place” as masculine. I view them as insecure control freaks. I also don’t like drama in men.

    Speaking for myself only (but maybe some women agree): the most masculine men I know are not dramatic at all. The traits I personally find masculine is if they know how to fix things easily, enjoy outdoor activities, enjoy showing care to women, and don’t complain or gossip. The strong, quiet type with no excess drama.

    The most feminine women I know are also not drama queens. They are modest and pleasant, and they move and act with grace.

    Drama would only detract from masculinity and femininity in both cases. You can fully embrace your sexuality without acting batty or “putting someone in their place” – that’s indicative of discontent and egotism, which aren’t attractive traits at all. Embrace the things you enjoy – that makes you attractive.

  10. 40

    Another thing: I found that Evan defined femininity himself in another post. THIS comes much closer to the truth than acting psycho or batty to attract a man:

    “Being feminine isn’t defined by long hair or a curvy body or – as you falsely state – becoming some ‘submissive little doll of a woman’.

    “Being feminine is about being receptive, warm, upbeat, nurturing, supportive, sexy, and confident in your own femininity.

    “The great news is that you can still be smart, strong, and successful and possess ALL of these qualities.”

    See? No room for drama or psycho behavior in any of this. If anything, it sounds incredibly relaxed. I really like this definition. Embodying your feminine nature is something to relax into, not something to desperately strive for.

  11. 41

    “So, from the comments I’m gathering that men find “sexual polarity” in women being unpredictable and sometimes downright psycho. Well, great.”

    Nope. Not me. There is nothing sexy about drama. Nothing.

    Having been pegged a “nice guy” at times over the years, I think what the real issue is behind the lack of attraction to “nice” people is a lack of self confidence and authenticity. Bending over backwards to please, and not really having your own ideas, desires, etc. Overall, I actually haven’t had too difficult of a time getting dates or finding women interested enough to want a relationship with me. However, I have had periods in every relationship I have been in where I get caught up in fears of losing her or being rejected, and when that happens, my confidence goes, and so does the edge in my personality. In my view, anyone who considers themselves nice and easy going, and yet is having trouble in the relationship dept. should take a look at their level of confidence, as well as the level of pleasing behavior and excessive deference going on.

    One of the main reasons why people think drama is sexy is because they know of no healthy alternatives to having passion and synergy in a relationship. Arguing, playing power games, and being petty/bitchy provide the desired heat that hooks folks, but it’s like a lot of pharmaceuticals in that the side effects are worse than the benefits provided.

  12. 42

    Kathy #36:

    *looks it up, as directed*

    “Symptoms of BPD: People with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values may change rapidly.
    People with BPD also tend to see things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people may change quickly. A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.
    Other symptoms of BPD include:
    •Fear of being abandoned
    •Feelings of emptiness and boredom
    •Frequent displays of inappropriate anger
    •Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting
    •Intolerance of being alone
    •Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing”


    Nope! Armchair Diagnosis Rejected. I have very stable relationships with everyone in my life including most of my exes, (my “crazy” is insecure, never mean or nasty) I have no serious impulse issues aside from a slight Amazon addiction, I’m an INFJ who *loves* being alone, do not-self injure and never have, and have such a collection of things to do/hobbies/books/etc I have the opposite of boredom issues. If I couldn’t sleep I would. I’m just very emotionally sensitive, and after a bad marriage am too reactive to men very specifically.

    I’ve also sent this to many friends who claim I’m being a bit harsh on myself/exaggerating the extent to which I’m nuts, which IS one of my bad habits – I’m big into self-flagellation, and quite good at verbalizing it.

    But there’s so much great advice in this comment thread; so many ways to think about it, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    1. 42.1

      You sound a bit like me, actually.  I do have anxiety around rejection but tend to hang in there and try to “prove myself” which is plain dumb.  But here’s a question, are you an only child?

      I am and I think only children tend to respond poorly to rejection.  Being in a relationship is kind of stressful, being rejected used to be debilitating when I was younger.  And I find myself utterly relieved when it’s over only because the pressure is gone.  It’s a lonely spot to be in really.
      I’m INTJ, only child and probably what’s termed “highly sensitive”.  I tend to take long breaks between relationships, but then mine have all sucked. 

  13. 43

    Hey Emily,

    Holy crow, what happened, were you and I cloned?? You pegged it exactly, the bad marriage and being reactive to men. That’s exactly it. I agree with you, you never came across as Borderline Personality Disorder at all. I think you’ve just been through a lot, and that it’s left some marks. I think it’s great that you want to work on stuff, and I am right there with you on that.

    And to the poster who talked about women who like “men who put a woman in her place from time to time” ummmm yeah, see in my book, that’s abuse. There is no reason for a guy to act like that. And if a guy I date EVER attempts that? Well, they’ll be the mayor of Dumpsville, USA, population: him. If a guy calls me on something, that is one thing. But if he even thinks he can “put me in my place”, he’s got another think coming. If I have an issue with a man, I discuss the issue. I do NOT “put a man in his place.” Good lord.

  14. 44

    Adding my voice to the chorus of those saying that “a man putting a woman in her place from time to time” is anything but sexy. Major deal-breaker, in my opinion, as it’s a pretty accurate predictor of future abuse. I’m also not sure I’d want to be with a guy whose idea of sexy is the woman acting batty from time to time. We all have enough stress in our lives already, and why anyone would be actively looking for more — in their own love life, no less — is difficult for me to understand.

  15. 45

    Kathy #36

    BPD is a fairly serious condition. A friend of mine dated a woman who had it, and their relationship was very volatile. For example, she might call him at 3am in a rage and scream at him (anger issues), or suddenly decide his almost six-figure income wasn’t high enough and want to break it off, then change her mind the next day (impulsivity). Eventually, despite the intense physical attraction, he couldn’t stand it anymore and broke it off. He doesn’t have crazy chemistry with his current girlfriend, but they’ve been living together quite happily for several years now.

  16. 46

    mia @16: “There are a lot of men who ain’t ever gonna be our husbands but still offer us something of value that we can learn from and enjoy if we just ratchet down our expectations accordingly.”

    So true. Why does it have to be an either/or situation always? I am still in touch with three of my past dates. We are now friends and it feels good having male friends who care about me even though we aren’t intimate sexually.

    Re rejecting before you are rejected- well, that’s just immature, fearful behavior imo. Nearly all of us have done it though at one time or another, depending upon our mood. At 59, though, I have pretty great self esteem and don’t feel the need to protect myself that way emotionally.

    As one male friend put it: “If your self esteem depends completely upon what another man thinks of you, that is co-dependent behavior!”

  17. 47

    While I never freak out to a guys face, I may do it in the privacy of my own home when he goes, say, a week without calling.

    But why do we do this to ourselves? Men generally are not worthy of this kind of agony.

    I can think of 3 recent men who I thought I would marry right away. I was the perfect no-pressure yet authentic woman to them. One stood me up for our fourth date and it became clear he was not separated from his wife. The other two, it became apparent on the 9th date that there were things about their personality that were not compatible with us having a ltr, and they vanished anyway. There was a fourth man I wanted to marry when I was 23 and he dumped me abruptly after five months bc he said he could no longer be with someone only half of his race, he needed someone fullly from his culture. There had been no inkling that this was a problem in the beginning.

    I bawled my eyes out over each man — and for what? I think I was more upset that I’d thought my search was finally going to end and got let down.

    The more I think about it, women should not be freaking out over ANY man who we have been dating less than six months. We don’t know if he’s the right guy for us, we don’t know his issues, and we have no control over him. Women need to get out there and date dozens and dozens of guys ( hold off on sex), and when those dates are not in our presence not even THINK about the guy, and not worry about exclusivity until he’s really proven indisputable interest.

  18. 48

    Nathan #41 says there’s nothing sexy about drama, and I agree when drama is defined as immature acting-out. There is another kind of drama which is infinitely sexy, and is considered the very essence of the polarity of the universe: Shiva-Shakti energy.

    Shakti is the feminine principle, and is always in motion. You could compare it to the moving waters of the oceans or rivers, or to the wind whether in storm or gentle breezes. Shakti is our emotions, always in flux.

    Shiva is the masculine principle, and is perfectly stable. This is infinite space, the depth of being, the calm mountain unaffected by storm. Shiva is our presence, the core of our being, at one with the Source.

    The universe needs both: nothing would happen without both principles present. Each needs the other to feel alive.

    When a woman storms, a man feels her Shakti energy. When a man stands his ground, a woman feels his Shiva energy.

    A woman’s storm does not have to be destructive, and does not have to be directed at the man or directed at anyone, and it doesn’t even have to be particularly “stormy”. The most important thing is the authenticity of the emotion. Authentic emotion is sexy: it’s Shakti energy. Sometimes it’s immature and comes across as bitchy or crazy. Shakti energy refined by experience and maturity becomes delicious and succulent, truly awesome in its ability to enliven … everything.

    Some men are attracted to bitchy/crazy because it seems juicy and alive. Those men are resonating at the same level of immaturity at that time.

  19. 49

    When I feel like that, in any situation and not only dating, what I do is write the letter/email, but then save it in drafts or don’t send it. Then leave it overnight or a few days for life to give a little perspective and I usually calm down enough to get a clear head. It helps because you get all the anxiety out by writing it down but by not sending it, you eliminate real consequences of your actions.

    Also try being politely unavailable, a great term I heard someone use once to get around negative or hurtful people. There’s a great book also about being a highly sensitive person, not sure if that applies to you but it’s a different perspective on why you might feel that way.

  20. 50

    I had a thought about something someone said earlier in the comments (too lazy to go back and see who). A guy who flakes out on a you after a few dates is not necessarily an indicator that he’s not looking for a serious relationship–it’s only an indicator that he’s not looking for a serious relationship with you.

  21. 51

    @ Rampiance:

    I’m glad you brought that insight. I wondered why guys would seem to be so attracted to women who acted like spoiled brats. I’d watch or listen to guys who have psycho girlfriends and I would just go, wait a minute, what’s wrong here? All these relationship bloggers talk about how men want a laid back woman but I just see guys dating crazy women who are not very nice to their guys. What gives?

    At one point I thought to myself well, I guess if that’s what men want, well good on them, but I’m not lowering myself to that kind of level, just to have a man, and when they start whining to me about their crazy girlfriends, I’ll just sit there and laugh, and go back to reading the latest good book I got on Kindle. 😛

    My current guy hates drama. He understands that I am going through a lot right now and is very patient and understanding, but he doesn’t tolerate petty nonsense. He told me some really bad first date stories and he was starting to think that all the women around here were drama queens!

    It’s nice to know that nice, laid back, calm, non abusive men DO exist out there. Y’all were getting harder to find!!!

  22. 52

    I think the core problem here is that women by nature take things way too sensitively and focus “blame” on themselves when a guy pulls away and becomes distant – sometimes its NOT ABOUT YOU..for real! I had to learn to be self aware about this though myself and stop the chase.

    Women naturally want to find a problem when a guy starts to act “weird” – usually we think the problem is US. Finally I realized that hey, if this guy isn’t into me anymore, that’s fine…no dramatic goodbye note is needed, it’s his loss if he isn’t as interested like he used to be – in fact I figure more than likely he must’ve found another ‘interest” elsewhere – so why would I even want a guy who can’t make up his mind about me ?

    I’ve been seeing a guy for a while. A couple weeks ago he opened up and told me he loved me and we had gotten very close at that point. The next weekend he was noticably different and growing distant – but yet not disappearing all together. I think there may be something to that whole “Rubberband” theory and I think it doesn’t just happen to men but women too. When you discover you’re getting close and intimate with someone, sometimes you freak out – and stresses in life can add to the feeling of just wanting a little breathing room.

    I think my guy needed some space. In the past I probably would’ve agonized over WHAT I DID WRONG to make him distant. Did he still love me? Was he lying to me? Why is he acting this way? Probably would’ve asked something like “why are you doing this and what are you feeling?”. All things that I now realize are things that DO NOT work on men. It makes you appear clingy/needy and it then drives them further away.

    Instead I’ve had to adjust my thinking patterns to the “oh well, more fish in the sea” attitude and bam….I’m out doing things, living my life – and guess what? When he does call to chat he’s dumfounded that I’m not moping in my apartment bawling my eyes out wondering why he can’t live without me. It intrigues him…..that I’m being super cool and not interrogating him.

    Cue to a week later….being apologized to for distancing himself – he’s just been under a lot of stress he says – and he came stretched back and coming on as strong as ever. Because I gave him room to breath and wasn’t psycho about “where things are headed”.

  23. 53

    I’m afraid I agree that men like the drama in far too many cases. Although I guess it’s probably because those women are more ”difficult to catch”. The easy going, sure I’d love to see you, types probably don’t present as much of a challenge.
    I also agree that the hard work chicks/drama queens do seem to find partners more easily. The reality is though that their relationships don’t last as long – certainly in my age bracket anyway. Similarly the guys who like drama don’t seem to be able to hang in there either (and I have had the pleasure of dating some of those conflict-addicts too).
    As for firing off the rejection email too soon, well I also stick by the theory that if interest is not GROWING from the guy then HJNTIY!!!
    Doesn’t matter who does the rejecting first, if he wants you he’ll work for it.

  24. 54

    Perhaps focusing on the positives would help create perspective. For instance, if she were a he, that kind of behavior would simply lead to complete and utter loneliness. At least she is getting out of the house and has the chance for some free dinners.

  25. 55

    IT’s funny how perspectives are taken as all or nothing.

    RE my last post #25, I was NOT saying that we guys ought to go Charlie Sheen or anything. Just that we need to develop a masculine edge. In a way that goes somewhat beyond the “be a nice guy but don’t be a pushover” advice that everyone around here seems to keeps saying.

    And I was NOT saying that the way for women to get a man addicted to them was to have daily crying/screaming jags or to throw fits in public or to spend hours getting ready just to go to the beach–due to you building yourself a shrine or something to honor your “devine feminine”. (That gets VERY old very VERY fast.) A little bit of feminine emotional unpredictability/occasional high-maintenance is a good thing though. As is spending time, effort, and money to look good: tights instead of gym shorts, paint your fingernails and toe-nails, wearing something a bright girly color, and so on.

    Just as women don’t want to feel like “the man” or “the bad girl” (due to the guy being some sort of goody-two shoes or something) in a relationship, men don’t like to feel like “the emotional one” in a relationship either.

  26. 56
    David T

    What I am hearing from this is there are multiple and very different perspectives on what sorts of behavior and looks people find attractive.

    @Michael17 Frankly, if a woman is going around with painted nails all the time, wearing “girly color tights” and spending money on plastic surgery, I am likely going to be very turned off.

    Interestingly sometimes there are real people underneath that sort of thing, as I learned in one recent dating experience. Nevertheless, their values are generally far off from mine and such women will not fit into my life very well.

    I feel something of the same way about emotional unpredictability. There are usually real people under that also, so I can put up with it to a point, but I certainly don’t desire it.

    Then I read posts like Helen 39 and 40, and Nathan 41 and I see the kinds of folks who think like me. Emotional authenticity and earnestness, value in communication rather than drama; these are what I value also. I don’t think there is any happy medium that satisfies everyone. I think each person has their own types and there are multiple ways to interact.

    Evan talks about behaviors and interactions that are generally effective and most likely to work, and he may have those spot on the head, but a one size fits all approach will never work for everyone.

  27. 57

    i can’t remember where i read in these comments but i think i read two women say that they thought this “rejecting guys in a volitile fashion” before they reject you is from previous marriage trauma. well, i can be added to this list. before i was married, i never behaved like this with guys, but after i went through a terrible marriage, i started doing this strange rejecting behaviour towards new potential mates. it’s like a post traumatic stress syndrome which seemed to last for quite a few years after my terrible marriage ended. i think that i had some serious unhealed emotional wounding which manifested itself in rejecting potential future mates. it really was a living nightmare. i’ve said many times since i found evan’s website that just over a year ago i had my heart broken, and cried every day for 8.5 months. it’s been about 14 months now. from that long term daily crying and alot of all over body deep tissue massage (and improving my diet emensely) it feels like it has brought me to a more emotionally stable place in my body. thanks to evan’s website and my new found emotional peace, i feel quite sure that i won’t do this rejecting behaviour in the future. now, i feel that there is no way i’m gonna get emotionally vulnerable with a guy (which happens when i get sexual with a guy) until i am fairly confident that the guy is stable, genuine and respectful and seriously wanting a long term relationship with ME. the players/charmers can say they want all this and tell me everything i want to hear to make me think they want this with me (like my heartbreaker guy did), but i think that it takes time to find out how a guy is really ticking. in other of evan’s posts i remember reading some guys saying that if they really want a long term relationship with a women, they don’t mind if they have to wait for the sexual stuff. in the past year, i’ve met a few men who have been interested in me and have done and said all the right things, but because i was still totally heart broken, i wasn’t interested in them. but it turns out that i’m still friends with some of them and i’ve seen what they are really like and i think … thank god my broken heart protected me from being vulnerable to their words and initial positive actions. i’ve seen with one guy in particular, even if he says he thinks i’m “all that” and he treats me really well, i see that he has seemlingly no self control when it comes to women in general and he blames the women for his behaviour. OMG. so even if a guy is into me and treats me well and does everything right, doesn’t mean he’s a good, stable long term partner. now i feel like i have the emotional stability to stay cool, calm and collected while i watch and listen very carefully to potential future mates, and really just have fun getting to know them (if they’re interested), without getting sexual too early and hurting only myself if they aren’t good for me in teh long term. and as i have read elsewhere on this website … alot of guys are the wrong guys – the good guys are fewer but they do exist.

    Amanda (6): i’m going to tell you what i wish somebody had told me when i was involved with a guy like yours. he’s just not that into you and he hangs around because he doesn’t have anybody better on the horizon and you give him sex and probably fullfill other of is basic needs. but if he does meet somebody he wants to have sex with more than you, he will not hesitate to chase her. i’m wondering if his behaviour towards you is the only unmanagable part of his life. there is no future with this guy – at least no good quality future where you live happily ever after with him. you may endure more years of pain and suffering while you hold onto this totally unavailable, disrespecful guy. he doesn’t respect you. and you deserve respect. i think you are being triggered by him from you childhood wounding and that’s why you can’t let go. but seriously dude, i’m trying to help you out by giving you a reality check which nobody did for me when i was in that situation.

  28. 58

    David T: right on. Although, full disclosure, I love painting my fingernails and toenails. Hubby, who is the rugged outdoorsy sort, doesn’t understand this at all, but he’s fine with letting me indulge myself. Meanwhile, I enjoy doing outdoor activities with him but can’t start a campfire on my own unless there’s a match or lighter. I’m no good at pitching tents either.

    Maybe THAT is the real sexual polarity Michael17 means. Not a male and a female smacking each other down and doing stupid things to disturb the other person, but each having oddities or abilities that are enjoyable to oneself and a little puzzling to the other. Again, there’s no room for drama or meanness in any of this. It’s more embracing one’s abilities and peculiarities, and appreciating the others’.

  29. 59
    David T

    Heck Helen, that is just plain old humanity, not gender differences. There are some behaviors men express more than women on average and things woman are better at than men on average and vice versa. I learned how to gut a fish from the woman I lost my virginity to, and I also dated a woman who was as skilled if not more at house remodeling and building related tasks. People are different, no matter how similar they are in other ways, and I have often enjoyed, learned and grown through the differences between me and my dating partners. That is what I will always miss about not having someone to share my life with.

    P.S. The nail polish thing was is for instance indicator rather than a judgement on all woman who paint their nails, period!

    1. 59.1

      That’s interesting that you learned how to gut a fish from the woman to whom you lost your virginity, and that you dated a woman who was skilled at remodeling houses.

      Sounds to me like you’re a pretty open-minded guy like that. Some men might find such knowledge in women somewhat emasculating. I don’t know who those men are, but they’re definitely not the type of men I’d want to date. Personally, I’m likely to leave fish-gutting to the guys and gals who aren’t squeamish, but if someone ever wanted to teach me house-remodeling, I’m game. 🙂

      And by the way, I relish my own femininity, sexually speaking, especially now that I am OUT of food-service. But if there is one “feminine” thing I don’t do, it’s painting my fingers and toes. I tried when I was younger, but I am hopelessly awkward with it, and even if I wasn’t awkward with it, I don’t like the smell of polish remover. I also don’t grow my nails out for the simple fact that I’m a musician and play keyboards. It’s impractical.

      Because I grew up in an egalitarian–and spiritual–home, my views on relationships and how women and men should interact with each other are likely going to be different from others. I like a guy with a typically masculine vibe. But I also love it if they’re also an artist and/or musician. But then, I’m a musician as well, so there ya go. 😉








  30. 60

    Leesa, I can totally understand how you feel.

    Once I started reading EMK’s and Paige Parker’s blogs and other sites/blogs/books, I started becoming alot more empowered. I did send some rejection emails, but I did them because I had firm evidence that the guy was misbehaving, such as standing up for dates, disappearing, etc. I also did what another poster had suggested earlier, about writing an email and not sending it, and sat on that email for a couple of days, to make sure I was being calm, rational, not psycho. It was a real struggle, because my instinct was to shove them away before they got a chance to hurt me.

    It is definitely not easy to learn new behaviors when you’ve been traumatized in such a fashion, but not having all the drama is also really nice. My current guy says that he appreciates that I am independent, don’t have any petty drama, can get along with people and not always have to whine about everything, etc.

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