Why Modern Dating Can Be So Hard

Why Modern Dating Can Be So Hard

Share & Comment
When you think about it, despite feeling difficult, the problems people struggle with in dating sound pretty trivial.

For instance, we have been walking and talking their entire lives, yet walking up to an attractive woman and opening our mouths to say “Hi,” can feel impossibly complex to us. People have been using a phone since they were children, yet the agony some go through just to dial a person’s phone number you’d think they were being waterboarded. Most men have kissed a woman before and they’ve seen hundreds of movies and instances in real life of other people kissing, yet as she stares dreamily into his eyes hour after hour, he tells himself he can never find the “right moment” to do it.

Why? It sounds simple, but why is it so hard?

There are men who have built business empires, gone to war, played violent sports, climbed mountains, written novels — and yet the mere sight of a petite woman in a sexy dress sends their hearts racing and minds reeling.

Dating advice often compares improving one’s dating life to improving at some practical skill, such as playing piano or learning a foreign language. Sure, there are some overlapping principles, but I can’t imagine a grown man trembling with anxiety every time he sits down at the keyboard. And I’ve never met a man who became depressed for a week after failing to conjugate a verb correctly. They’re not the same.

Generally speaking, if someone practices piano daily for two years, they will eventually become quite competent at it. Yet many people spend most of their lives with one romantic failure after another.

Why?

What is it about this one area of life that the most basic actions can feel impossible, that repetitive behavior often leads to little or no change, and that our psychological defense mechanisms run rampant trying to convince us to not pursue what we want?

Why dating and not, say, skiing? Or even our careers? Why is it that a person can conquer the corporate ladder, become a militant CEO, demanding and receiving the respect and admiration of hundreds of brilliant minds, and then at night cower and stutter his way through a date with a beautiful stranger?

Our Emotional Maps

As children, none of us get 100% of our needs met. This is true of you. It’s true of me. It’s true of everyone. The degree of which our needs aren’t met varies widely, and the nature of how our needs are unfulfilled differs as well. But it’s the sad truth about growing up: we’ve all got baggage. And some of us have a lot of it. Whether it is a parent who didn’t hold us enough, who didn’t feed us regularly enough, a father who wasn’t around often, a mother who left us and moved away, being forced to move from school to school as a child and never having friends — all of these experiences leave their mark as a series of micro-traumas that shape and define us.

The nature and depth of these traumas imprint themselves onto our unconscious and become the map of how we experience love, intimacy and sex throughout our lives.

If mom was over-protective and dad was never around, that will form part of our map for love and intimacy. If we were manipulated or tormented by our siblings and peers, that will imprint itself as part of our self-image. If mom was an alcoholic and dad was screwing around with other women, it will stay with us. If our first girlfriend died in a car accident or dad beat us because he caught us masturbating — well, you get the point. These imprints will not only affect, but define, all of our future romantic and sexual relationships as an adult.

You and I and everyone else have met hundreds, if not thousands, of members of the opposite sex. Out of those thousands, multiple hundreds easily met our physical criteria for a mate. Yet out of those hundreds, we only fall in love with a very few. Only a handful we meet in our entire lives ever grab us on that gut-level, where we lose all rationality and control and lay awake at night thinking about them.

It’s often not the one we expected to fall for either. Susie was perfect on paper. Jane had the great sense of humor and was amazing in bed. But Melissa is the one we can’t stop thinking about, the one we involuntarily keep going back to over and over and over again.

Psychologists believe that romantic love occurs when our unconscious becomes exposed to someone who matches the archetype of parental love we experienced growing up, someone whose behavior matches our emotional map for intimacy. Our unconscious is always seeking to return to the unconditional nurturing we received as children, and to re-process and heal the traumas we suffered.

In short, our unconscious is wired to seek out members of the opposite sex who it believes will fulfill our unfulfilled emotional needs, to fill in the gaps of the love and nurturing we missed out on as kids. This is why the people we fall in love with almost always resemble our parents on an emotional level.

Hence why people who are madly in love say to each other, “you complete me,” or refer to each other as their “better half.” It’s also why couples in the throes of new love often act like children around one another. Their unconscious mind can’t differentiate between the love they’re receiving from their girlfriend/boyfriend and the love they once received as a child from their parents.

This is also why dating and relationships are so painful and difficult for so many of us, particularly if we had strained familial relationships growing up. Unlike playing the piano or learning a language, our dating and sex lives are inextricably bound to our emotional needs, and when we get into potentially intimate or sexual situations, these experiences rub up against our prior traumas causing us anxiety, neuroticism, stress and pain.

So that woman rejecting you when you approach her isn’t just rejecting you, but to your unconscious you’re reliving every time your mother rejected you or turned down your need for affection.

That irrational fear you feel when it comes time to take your clothes off in front of a new someone isn’t just the nervousness of the moment, but every time you were punished for sexual thoughts or feelings growing up.

Don’t believe me? Think about this. Someone no-shows for a regular business meeting with you. How do you feel? Annoyed likely. Maybe a tad disrespected. But chances are you get over it quickly, and by the time you get home and are watching TV you don’t even remember it even happened.

Now, imagine someone you are extremely attracted to no-shows for a date. How do you feel? If you’re like most people who struggle in this area of their life: like shit. Like you just got used and lead on and shat on.

Why? Because being flaked on rubs up against your unconscious fear of abandonment, fear that nobody loves you and that you’re going to be alone forever. Ouch.

Maybe you freak out and call them and leave her angry voicemails. Maybe you continue to call them weeks or months later, getting blown off over and over again, feeling worse and worse each time. Or maybe you just get depressed and mope about it on an online forum, asking for advice to prevent it happening in the future.

Every irrational fear, emotional outburst or insecurity you have in your dating life is an imprint on your emotional map from your relationships growing up.

It’s why you’re terrified to go for the first kiss even though she’s sent you 100 signals saying she likes you. It’s why you freeze up when it comes time to introduce yourself to a man you don’t know or tell someone you just met how you feel about them. It’s why you clam up every time you go to bed with someone new or you freeze up and get uncomfortable when it’s time to open and share yourself with somebody.

The list goes on and on.

All of these issues have deep-seated roots in your unconscious, your unfulfilled emotional needs and traumas.

Disassociating From Our Emotions

A common way we bypass dealing with the emotional stress involved in dating is by disassociating our emotions from intimacy and sex. If we shut off our need for intimacy and connection, then our sexual actions no longer rub up against our emotional maps and we can greatly diminish the neediness and anxiety we once felt  while still reaping the superficial benefits. It takes time and practice, but once disassociated from our emotions, we can enjoy the sex and validation of dating  without concerns for intimacy, connection, and in some cases, ethics.

Here are common ways we disassociate dating from their emotions:

  • Objectification of sex and members of the opposite sex. Objectifying someone is when you see them only for a specific purpose and don’t see them as fully integrated human beings. You can objectify people as sex objects, professional work objects, social objects, or none of the above. Men tend to objectify women sexually. Some women objectify men as avenues for gaining power or influence. But objectification is ultimately disastrous for one’s own emotional health, not to mention one’s relationships.
  • Sexism. Viewing the other sex as inferior or inherently evil/inept is a sure way to redirect one’s emotional problems outward onto a population at large rather than dealing with them yourself. Without fail, men who treat and view women as some inferior “other,” are more often than not projecting their own anger and insecurities onto the women they meet rather than dealing with them. The same goes for women.
  • Manipulation, lines and tactics. By adopting lines, manipulation or tactics to meet and seduce women, a man is withholding his true identity from the woman and therefore is withholding his emotional map as well. If a woman is falling for the perception of who he is rather than who he really is, then there’s far less risk for conjuring up the buried emotional stress and pain of his prior relationships.
  • Overuse of humor, teasing, bantering. A classic strategy of distraction. Not that jokes or teasing are always bad, but an interaction of nothing but jokes and teasing is a means to communicate without saying anything important, to enjoy yourselves without actually do anything, and to feel like you know each other without actually knowing a thing. This is most typical of English-speaking cultures, as they tend to use sarcasm and teasing as a means to imply affection rather than actually showing it.
  • Stripclubs, prostitution, pornography. A way to experience one’s sexuality vicariously through an empty, idealized vessel, whether it’s on a screen, a pole, or running you $100 an hour.

Generally, the more resentment one is harboring towards the opposite sex, the more one objectifies them. Men who had turbulent relationships with their mothers, men who were left by their wives or girlfriends, or men who were tormented by women growing up, these men will likely find it much easier and more enticing to objectify and measure their sex lives than to confront their demons and overcome their emotional scars with the women they become involved with (See: Madonna/Whore Complex).

Women also disassociate their emotions and objectify men as well. But there’s a lot more social pressure on men to ignore their emotions, particularly “weak” emotions such as a need for intimacy and love. It’s more socially acceptable for men to objectify their sex lives and boast about it. Whether you think that’s right or wrong or doesn’t matter, it is how it is. 

Confronting Your Issues and Winning

Disassociating from your emotional needs is the easy way out. It requires only external effort and some superficial beliefs. Working through your issues and resolving them requires far more blood, sweat and tears. Most people aren’t willing to dig deep and put in the effort, but it yields far greater and permanent results.

1) The biggest misconception when it comes to working through an excess of emotional baggage is that these feelings ever completely go away. Research and brain imaging indicates that fears, anxieties, traumas, etc. are imprinted on our brains in similar ways that our physical habits are. Just like you’ve developed a habit of brushing your teeth every time you wake up, you have emotional habits of getting sad or angry any time you feel abandoned or unwanted.

The way to change is not by removing these feelings or anxieties altogether, but rather consciously replacing them with higher order behaviors and feelings.

This can only be accomplished through taking action. There is no other way. You cannot rewire your responses in healthy ways and confront your insecurities if you aren’t out there actively pushing up against them. Trying to do so is like trying to learn how to shoot free throws left-handed without ever actually touching a basketball. It just doesn’t work.

If you have a habit of flipping out and leaving angry voicemails every time someone doesn’t call you back, you don’t get rid of the anger, but rather channel that anger into a better and healthier activity, like say, going to the gym, or painting a picture, or punching a punching bag.

2) Anxieties can be overcome through utilizing implementation intentions and progressive desensitization. For instance, if you have a problem getting sexual or making the first move with women, start with baby steps. Tell the next woman you go on a date with that she’s sexy. Once that feels comfortable then challenge yourself to have a conversation about sex. After that challenge yourself to hold hands with a woman. Then challenge yourself to kiss a woman.

I’ve set up online programs that utilize progressive desensitization to help men overcome their anxieties around women.

Obviously this takes time and requires consistently facing situations which make you uncomfortable, but that’s the idea. You must overlay old emotional habits of fear and anxiety with new healthier ones of excitement, boldness and assertiveness. Mentally train yourself so that any time you feel anxiety, you force yourself to do it anyway.

3) The final step — once you’ve learned to channel your negative emotions in constructive ways, once you’ve eaten away at your anxieties and are able to often act despite them — is to come clean with people you date about your needs and start screening based on them.

For instance, I’ve always had a fear of commitment and needed a woman who was comfortable giving me space and some freedom. Not only do I openly share this with women I get involved with now, but I actively screen for women with these traits.

Ultimately, your emotional needs will only be fully met in a loving and conscious relationship with someone who you can trust and work together with – and not just your emotional issues, but hers as well. We unconsciously seek out romantic partners in order to fulfill our unfulfilled childhood needs, and to do so cannot be completely done alone.

This is the reason that honesty and vulnerability are so powerful for creating high-quality interactions – the practice of being upfront about your desires and flaws will naturally screen for those women who best suit you and connect with you.

This kind of authenticity changes the whole dynamic with women. Instead of chasing and pursuing, convincing and persuading, you focus on consistently improving yourself and presenting that self to the women of the world. The right ones will pay attention and stay. And whether you spend a night or a year with them, this enhanced level of intimacy and mutual vulnerability will help heal your emotional wounds, help you become more confident and secure in your relationships and ultimately, overcome much of the pain and stress of that accompanies sex and intimacy.

 

An Invitation for Change

I invite you to post in the comments below what your emotional hang ups are in this area of your life, where they probably come from, and how you could overcome them in an open and honest way.

As an example, I grew up in a broken family where all members isolated themselves and we communicated our emotions very seldom. As a result, I became highly sensitive to confrontation and any negative emotions of others. I became the consummate Nice Guy and for years struggled to assert myself in my relationships and around women. In fact, I objectified my sex life quite a bit and adopted some narcissistic behaviors in order to push me through some of these insecurities.

My fear of commitment is undoubtedly rooted in my parents’ divorce and my knee jerk reaction for years was to run away any time a woman attempted to get close to me. I slowly eroded that fear by opening myself up to intimate opportunities little by little over a long period of time. I was incapable of becoming intimate with a woman unless I had an escape route (i.e., she had a boyfriend, or I was going to move to another city soon, etc.).

Spending all of my adolescence living alone with my mother has made me particularly sensitive to female affection, and like a smoker rationalizing reasons to smoke one last cigarette, I have often rationalized myself into intimate and sexual situations with women who I perhaps should not have been with or didn’t actually like as much as I thought I did.

This is my emotional map — at least part of it. These are the hang ups and issues that I’ve battled and slowly beaten back with years of active effort. These are the realities that I express openly and seek out the proper women who can handle them.

What are yours?

Print Friendly

Did you like this article?

Every couple weeks I send out a newsletter with new articles and exclusive content for readers. It's basically my way of keeping in touch with you and letting you know what's going on. Your information is protected and I never spam.

Subscribe below to stay connected.

225 Comments

Leave a Comment

  • Reply

    yu

    13 weeks ago

    It is for the most part all been said. But there is a lot missing or wrong here.

    Let’s start here,

    “Generally speaking, if someone practices piano daily for two years, they will eventually become quite competent at it. Yet many people spend most of their lives with one romantic failure after another.”

    These are not really comparable. A piano has (or most of them have the same set up.) A chord played on one will 99 percent of the time be played and sound the same on all. Women, no. Women are similar in gender but there are many ways around them. For example if I learn a “chord” like a “pick-up line” that suggests that the “chord” I play with give me the tune I want” But when the “tune” tells me to get lost or that’s so lame.” We can’t control that.

    I am not just speaking about “lines” but approaches and interactions for that matter.

    Here,

    “In short, our unconscious is wired to seek out members of the opposite sex who it believes will fulfill our unfulfilled emotional needs, to fill in the gaps of the love and nurturing we missed out on as kids. This is why the people we fall in love with almost always resemble our parents on an emotional level.”

    This is nothing more than a double standard that only benefits women. If a man adopts or displays this notion, he will be shamed as a “loser” or “needy” or “clingy”.
    If a woman does, then she is encouraged by the media and society that the “right one” will come along and “save” her from the drudgery of being single or alone.”
    We have to MAN UP! and all that while they are allowed to sit back.

    I saw somewhere in the comments someone said another was whining just because he pointed out the reality of dating dynamics.
    To that individual on the receiving end… that is no different than the accuser saying because you disagree with Obama’s policy you are a RACIST,
    because you don’t like Beyonces music or don’t care for Raggae or an artist you are a HATER. It’s just a cop out don’t worry about that.

    Now this,

    Someone said women initiate with signals…
    This is a laugh, sending out an ambigous, vague, or non detectable signal, with subtlety as observing a pebble rolling down a mountain from an MIR space station is not at all comparable to saying ” Hello, My name is, ” How are you I find you interesting, lets get together, blah blah blah. So lets squash that.

    And here,

    Some woman said because of the changes…Well guess who friggin caused them. IF they really were content with how things were in the “past” then why would they “Eve to the apple” if you know what I mean. Well I guess since biblical times it is prone to happening.

    Oh and about the online dating aspect…
    300 emails and 90 percent were trash? That only reinforces what women say about “no good men left” which you display disagreement with.
    Fortunately this is not true. I have made female profiles on numerous sites and I ALWAYS got emails with “Hi I want to date or I like hwat you wrote etc etc.” Very few wre solicitations and if they were they were copied and pasted and not tailored to the individual.

    Women embellish this as ” WE GET NOTHING BUT CAT CALLED” And cry victim…(which they are allowed to.)
    If 300 (and for women that is a modest number you will never see men even receive a percent of that) emails form them come your way and you cant even pick one…it is not men it is you. Your out of control Pickyness and sense of entitlement is what is turning the didlgent ones away and leaving you with desperate types which their desparationhas been CAUSED by said entitlement complex and pickyness.

    I see sites RIFE with women in their underwear have “just looking for fun” or “friends” as intentions and wonder why they get “cat called”
    It’s like if I open up a venue and request dancers, but I have ads saying musician or show musical interests and then get disappointed when all these people with instruments show up instead of dancing talent.

    Also why the hell should women start approaching with this male abundance?
    You have Pizza hut, Mcdonalds, Olive garder, Papa johns, think of any food service WILLING to deliver and PAY YOU. (Just like the men who deliver themselves, approach, and pay for her things), there would never be a reason to put any effort in themselves.)

    The only way to change this if men (and I know this won’t happen) en masse, stop giving their time attention and apporaches to women.
    You ever wonder why a Fat, overwieght, (doesn’t care about health or appearance or esteem) woman “approaches men.”?

    Because she knows she is not the object of desire and if anyone IS going to see the real her and what she has to offer SHE will have to make the moves and not expect or demand they are made for her like the other 90 percent of women. She doesn’t get “food” no pun intended/ delivered to her meaning she doesn’t get males lombasting her with approaches and knows it’s either start hunting or starve.”

    You do the above with ALL types of women, and before you know it, it WILL be just LIKE Brazil, as you claim they are all about approaching.
    Again this won’t happen becauce society and the media and feminism and the weak men who feed into all of that will keep fueling and perpetuating these dynamics to prevent a better dating future and male/female interaction.

    “My experiences around the world have shown me that northern European English speaking cultures have some major sexual and emotional repression built into their societies and these are symptoms rather than causes.”

    WRONG. Well mostly. Only the repression thing is right, and it mostly appiles to men. I see what he is saying.
    If you didn’t know what color the sun was and 10 different people told you “Blue” you would believe it is indeed “blue”
    Just like if 100 men and that is a modest number told a woman she was “pretty or “attractive” or whatever.’
    They will INDEED think that…not only think it but flaunt it because as you even said they are insecure about looks and especially what others think so any boost will
    be multiplied to the umpteenth degree. Which in turn ties into your point about how it is very apparent that women think they deserve the world.

    I’ll break it down even further

    Symtoms….
    1, Inflated ego,
    2, belittling men or even other women
    3, thoughts and acts of narcissism.

    CAUSES.
    1, Society
    2, Media
    3. Men (particularly the ones Jeff was speaking of) FUELING and PERPETUATING the “pedestal conundrum.”

    You appear to present it backwards. It is not JUST cultural it is also Sociological, Psychological, and Biological too.

    Anyway

  • Reply

    Tom

    12 weeks ago

    First of all I must say I just discovered your blog last night, initially being interested by some posts related to dating., and since then I’ve probably read about 8-10 articles. All very on point and relevant to my experience. They have offered a very clear way to recognize a lot of my own patterns and provide ways of making changes that I want for myself. Thank you for the gift you are offering in the form of this work!

    I’m 26 and have been working on my personal development/growth consciously for a couple of years now. Luckily I feel very supported in doing so, I know many other people especially fellow men do not. One of the main things I have just recently discovered is my fear and resistance to opening up and making myself vulnerable. I am finding that this, along with many other things I have been working on goes back to my parents divorce, similar to what your experience. For me it happened when I was 3. I think that because the unconscious mind is still operating much more than the conscious mind at this age, that it left a much deeper imprint than when if I had been 10 or 15.

    So similar to your experience, I spent much of my time alone or, with my mother. I am only beginning to figure out how this has created hangups for me in terms of vulnerability but intuitively it feels like this: When I was younger I didn’t wan’t to be a burden on anyone else so I kept the bigger more important things inside. I never shared the pain I was feeling about the divorce, nor the pains I was experiencing that simply go along with growing up. This has resulted in things like having very few romantic relationships, communication issues with my parents, and possibly my propensity for getting into trouble as a teen and a bunch of other things.

    I look forward to continuing to read your work here and integrating what I can when I can into my own life. I’ll probably buy a copy of your book, though I wish it was available in print because I am much more likely to get into longer reads when they are in paper format.

    Thanks again for your work Sir, I’m about to read some more.

  • Reply

    Skye

    11 weeks ago

    My mother was both a lesbian and the head of the local battered women’s shelter.

    When it comes to looking for partners, I have an incredibly frustrating tendancy to be attracted to lesbians. (I’m a guy.) In high school I asked out three girls- two of which turned me down because they weren’t interested in guys, one of which I dated for a few months before she realized she didn’t like guys. Another two months passed before she came out to me, and we dated the rest of the year so I could act as ‘cover’ for her. This wqs actually one of the best phases of the relationship- I got the … is prestige the right word?… of having a girlfriend, having a date for prom and all that, and throughout it all I got to spend time with an intelligent and gorgeous young woman. I was a little scared about the idea of sex (which in retrospect I think is kinda normal for teenage guys) and this let me have a relationship without having sex on the table and without any expectation of commitment. We ‘broke up’ when we went to college.

    Thing is, this is now kinda the template for a relationship. I asked out around a dozen girls my freshman year- all interested in women. Two didn’t discover this about themselves until after we’d dated for a little bit. I can still be confident and ask more out- but even when we start going out frequently, I still kinda expect them to turn out not into guys. Doesn’t help that that’s why my mom left my dad, so I’m just hoping they tell me before I make a serious commitment. The more I get to like someone who says they’re into guys, the more anxious I get for the other shoe to drop.

    So theres my main hangup. How to deal with it? I dunno, date a straight girl? I hope that the farther i get from college, the more people will have figured this stuff out about themselves. As homosexuality gets more accepted, I hope that should let more people come out and be honest about it. I don’t know if that will help me, but it might.

  • Reply

    Rivka

    6 weeks ago

    The guy I really and truly fell for does not resemble my parents. But maybe most of the other guys I’ve been interested in hanging around, have resembled them. After all, the guy I really and truly fell for does not resemble any of the other guys I’ve been interested in.

  • Reply

    Ryan

    4 weeks ago

    I’m going to be 30 in January, and have never had any type of relationship with a woman. I’ve actively tried to get dates, but have never achieved a first date with anyone. I feel like a complete failure at life. Very slowly I have noticed that I have developed some resentment towards women, since they seem to hate me.

  • Reply

    Leslie

    3 weeks ago

    let’s talk about my emotional map. my mother loved me too much, but my father … not so much. when I speak of their love, I mean the emotional openness they demonstrated while dealing with me. mother’s way of showing she loved me consisted of keeping me close, in a bubble, one in which I’d suffocate, while father never cared too much to say so much as an ‘I love you’ or give me a hug. yeah, so my family is more conservative in that way… whatever you want to call it. point is, I crave love. I crave affection. when I meet someone who shows interest in me, I want to drown them with my love right away and never let go. if I trust that they have shown enough signs of liking me, I will open up … probably 10x’s more than I should right off the bat & I give my all. I’ve reached a point in life where, yes, I fear being as open as I am because there’s always a chance that I will get rejected, BUT there is also a slight chance that I won’t… that my love will drive the other person to open up and share the same love I share or some portion of that (my hope). the problem with that? I risk … everything. my dignity, my pride, my understanding of emotional perception.. so then I wonder, “should I just hold back and be like my father or continue to smother like my mother?” maybe I just need to find balance.

    • Reply

      ValterV

      3 weeks ago

      Leslie, I’d like to offer you some hints. I’ve got a similar experience, parents-wise: cold and distant father, warm and suffocating (but also loving in a conditional way) mother.
      - Keep in mind that feeling loved “too much”, or in a wrong way, can be as harmful as being not loved (this is to avoid idealizing the mother, which I did for 30 years).
      - When you “want to drown them with my love”, remember that they feel your NEED more than they feel your love.
      Your love is not what drives them away, most likely your neediness is. No-strings-attached love is usually welcomed, needy love feels scary and off-putting.
      You have to become aware of your neediness, to manage it (accept it, but not let it handle you).
      - IMO, the solution is not holding back, and is not falling hopelessly in love. They are both unhealthy extremes.

      The solution, it seems to me, is:
      - Learning to love yourself
      - Take care of your needs (the more you take care of them, the less you project that needs onto others)
      - Become more and more aware of yourself; the more aware you are, the less your unconscious wounds will be able to influence your love life.
      It’s a long process, but you will reap vast rewards. :-)
      Mark’s advice and teachings are valuable tools, even when they’re targeted towards men.
      Best wishes, Valter

    • Reply

      Hannah

      2 weeks ago

      Oh my. That is me, to a T. Absent father, there but not present, very needy mother. I rarely fall for someone, but when I do (once every six years or so), I’m head over heels, giving it all, sharing all, being there completely. And boy do I understand why most of the guys have taken a hike.
      I’m working on my issues, trying to calm myself down, not get into that frenzied state of complete anxiety, especially in the beginning. It’s extremely hard for me to deal with anything uncertain when it comes to relationships and I absolutely detest that first state, where everything of course is quite uncertain.

      I’m aware of this now, and I’m working on it. Trying not to cling. But I also realise, that the solution is not to completely rein myself in, as that is who I am: passionate, giving, very open. And I have the right to be that way. What I should not do to myself is to let someone else throw me completely off course just because they’re not able to give me what I need. And I also should try to keep in mind that even if I’m 100% right away, the other person might not be at the same level, and that is not necessarily a bad thing at all.
      Of course, it doesn’t help that the guys I fall for emotionally resemble my father and therefore won’t ever be able to give me the attention I need, nor do they communicate their feelings in any way. Thus, my aggravation kind of grows with every male encounter. I need to shift my “search” dramatically! And I do that by becoming more aware of why I’m feeling like I do and what my needs are and why they are as they are. It’s slow driving, but I am getting there, some day.

  • Reply

    BonnieP

    3 weeks ago

    The article mostly made sense, and it was very logically and rationally put across. However , though it was easy to relate to, I found that it does not quite apply to me. I started thinking about my own emotional map and it goes something like this:
    I have wonderful parents who love me and are extremely supportive of whatever I do. They are a little conservative and we have little points of tension here and there , as with most families I suppose. Nothing to make me ever feel like running away from home, to put a gauge on it.
    The people I generally am attracted to however are people who are a challenge. It’s almost like I can’t believe it can be THAT easy when a nice guy comes along and is willing to do anything for you . No, I always fall for guys who are generally good hearted, but not immediately emotionally available. And they’re not always the nicest people, though they’re smart and worldly and they certainly know how to treat a lady, WHEN they decide to.
    It’s frustrating because there’s such a huge divide between what I need and what I want.
    This probably is a very common thing but I believe it’s akin to a ‘poor little rich girl’ problem. I dunno.

  • Reply

    Melanie Victoria

    3 weeks ago

    The cycle must be broken at some point. We are not doomed to end up with people who unconsciously mirror our parents.

    I began by digging deeply to see where the roots of my anxieties and fears came from. Unsurprisingly, much of the difficulties I experienced were due to childhood trauma.

    Then I began seeking out literature on anxiety, shyness, whatever- anything to disabuse me of the notion that I am alone or that mindless suffering is the only way. I refused to read anything self-help related and restricted my research to books written by psychologists and other mental health experts. Refusing to listen to self-help garbage and some of the poisonous ideas promoted by the self-help industry, I was exposed to the latest research and given a dispassionate, clinical perspective.

    I stumbled across books on cognitive behavioural therapy in my research, which is basically desensitization. Cognitive behavioural therapy was the most effective strategy for taming my anxiety and rooting out problematic behaviour. As Mark said, the only way to change these behaviours is to challenge them and expose ourselves to that which scares us. Note that I am not pushing cognitive behavioural therapy. However, cognitive behavioural therapy gives you a guideline of how to go about challenging your fears. Challenging your fears and exposing yourself to what scares you need not have a name.

    Challenging your fears and rooting them out is the only way-
    There is no other way, and there never was.

  • Reply

    Val

    3 weeks ago

    Raised with an emotionally & physically distant father who was very hard to please (ok, verbally abusive if you must know) has created an emotional need in me to want (to the point of stifling) constant attention from my mates but I gravitate towards the ones that do just the same as dear old dad.
    Am separated after a 20 year union from a guy who SHOCKINGLY is cold, distant &borderline verbally abusive. Have been in intense therapy for year & a half now. And happy to say I’m 2.5 months in the healthiest relationship of my life. Possibly both our lives as we feel our ability to recognize each other’s true worth. We are in very similar places in life but recognize we both have lots to learn in the “truly healthy relationship” dept. I’m terrified but thrilled at the same time with emotional tools I’ve not had before. Even more impressive is my mindset that if this one (as great as it is right now) turns out to not be something long term – I’m heading in the right direction to accept the one who is. Unchartered territory never felt so good! Wishing the same for you.
    Nameste.

  • Reply

    Equalista

    2 weeks ago

    This statement shows that you STILL objectify women:

    “Stripclubs, prostitution, pornography. A way to experience one’s sexuality vicariously through an empty, idealized vessel, whether it’s on a screen, a pole, or running you $100 an hour.”

    Why assume that sexual leisure is something negative? Empty and idealized? Many people experiment sexually with porn at home to get to know themselves sexually, and those who have balls actually show up at the strip club to experiment in person. Even prostitution is not a negative thing in itself – sex work can be legitimately beneficial for both parties; consider those who have special needs as an example – having sexual services available to certain people who are unable to pursue a sex life makes their lives. And since prostitution is something that women can offer more frequently than men in our economy, they certainly deserve to be financially compensated for their sexual skills.

    These experiences can contribute to a healthy sex life in or out of a romantic relationship and no one needs to be objectified to enjoy the experience.

  • Reply

    T

    2 weeks ago

    My issue is my dad’s rejection I grew up with for my whole life and him constantly choosing my other siblings over me because I look like my mom and he wanted to get back at her for not going along with his sick plans. The rejection was very brutal I can go back into time thinking and examining how mean he was to me and how for my sister who we have the same mom he would send her birthday cards every birthday but for mines he wouldn’t send or call.

    I spent one birthday with him and it was my 23rd birthday and that was because my sister and I went to go see him and out brother and sister and that was the ONLY birthday he ever told me happy birthday and honestly I don’t think he meant it. I’m 24 now and he didn’t call or anything for my birthday this year. He always apologizes over and over for hours on end on the phone about everything but he’s never consistent.

    For this I fear inconsistency and abandonment from men. Whenever I get anxious or feel like I haven’t spoken to a guy I’m some time I’ll write them a angry text or email saying it’s over and how I knew they weren’t into me. Then they look at me like I’m crazy i always feel so awful after doing it After because even if they weren’t living and making decisions off of anxiety is not smart logical or healthy. I also developed a very bad anger problem when I feel like a guy gets disrespectful and walks out after. Argument to the point I hit which I am not proud of at all. It makes me feel very nasty inside because I know I am not a nasty or violent person.

    My relationship I have now is such a struggle a year and two months and we both have very bad issues with parents. His mother is possessive over him but at the same time she doesn’t let him have any privacy or speak for himself which makes him scared to speak up to me when something. Is wrong so instead he will do something to hurt my feelings so he feels better. His dad was never there.

    Good thing my mom and I are like best friends as I became older she was always nurturing having her makes things a little better. For my boyfriend in his culture he’s Haitian he Is not allowed to get nurtured or to have any emotions or he will be called weak by his mother. It’s sad because she is always controlling his mind making him feel like if he starts a life of his own and leaves her behind bad things will happen to her. His friends also use him and make a fool of him and he can’t even see it. It hurts really bad because I try to help but he thinks I’m against his family.

    Well to conclude , I have rejection and abandonment issues which caused me heavy anxiety from a child till now. The anxiety isn’t so bad anymore. But I plan on working on my confidence and allowing myself to feel anxious without feeling anxious about feeling anxious and just doing something to keep me busy like reading or yoga or walking around and writing. I also plan to be more patient and work on controlling my emotions whenever I feel like someone is rejected me or leaving me. I’m 24 I would hope I can get through this and maybe be with a guy who can help me get through it. My boyfriend is younger than me and he is just a slave to his culture and his mother I feel so bad for him. But I know I have to worry about myself or I will suffer far worst than what I am now.

    Praying and hoping things get better for me and whoever else out there who is going through their own problems. <3

  • Reply

    Jo

    4 days ago

    I could take the post below more seriously if they actually spelled things correctly. Also, if it didn’t sound like some biased tirade.

Leave a Comment