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Thoughts on Attraction & "Manning Up/Growing a Pair". Seems unfair to me...


justletgo07

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This is sort of a rant with a few questions at the end. Here goes:

 

Since my girlfriend broke up with me, I have been reading pretty much anything I can get my hands on that deals with relationships, communication, co-dependancy, attraction, etc. I've been incredibly motivated to understand why my relationship fell apart, and why it seems that most of my relationships have ended in a similar fashion. Like many of you, this was initially driven by my desire to get back together with her, but that now seems less and less likely.

 

Anywho, one of the things that I have come accross in multiple places is this whole idea of attraction, female psychology, and this concept of "manliness", etc. Now I realize that some of these sources (namely the "Get Your Ex Back" e-books specifically targeted for guys) are filled with loads hyper-masculine BS, but even reputible books seem to focus on the characteristics of masculinity, such as confidence, strength, emotionally in control, etc. The attractiveness of these characteristics makes sense to me, in part.

 

I guess my problem with all of this comes in that these books stress the ideas of never being insecure, or needy, or depressed, or that you have to tread this fine line between being emotionally closed off and "over-sharing" your emotions. They also seem to argue that as soon as you cross that line and begin displaying those "less desirable" characteristics, that attraction plummets. They seem to reinforce the gender stereotypes and pressure put on men in our society.

 

I guess what I'm getting at is that sometimes reading all of this makes me feel as though, as a man, I'm not allowed to be depressed, or insecure, or ask for reassurance. Or if I do, I can't expect my girlfriend to be there for me or want to help me work through it, at least not for very long. That to maintain a relationship, I have to express these intense feelings and emotions where my girlfriend is not exposed to them, or I have to find a way to block them out entirely.

 

Personally, I feel like this is part of the reason so many men physically and/or emotionally abuse their girlfriends and wives. There is so much pressure to "man up" and "grow a pair" and not display emotional weakness, and the men that do open up and share how they really feel are treated like "doormats," go largely under-appreciated, and are often ditched for guys who will treat them horribly. It makes me sometimes feel like I can't have a bad day, or a bad week, and especially not a bad month or year.

 

I guess it makes me think back to one of the causes of my own break up, and some of the things my gf said when she was breaking up with me. A big part of it was that we were both stressed by things in our lives outside of the relationship. For me personally, I was having a hard time dealing with the realities of life after college, which really got me down in the dumps. On top of that, I was and continue to deal with an increasingly strained relationship with my family. Adding to that the fact that I had lost a lot of friends due to them moving away after college, my gf became a big part of my support structure. I guess I just wanted to be asked how my day was sometimes, or be held or kissed without having to initiate it. Even a text message every now and then saying "I love you" or "Just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you" would have been so comforting.

 

She never seemed to know what to do with me when I was sad or upset, whether it had to do with her or not. Sometimes it seemed like the idea of comforting me was odd to her. When she finally broke up with me, she said that she couldn't be in a relationship with someone who couldn't be strong for her. I feel like I gave her so much comfort and support, and that she expected me to, but I was expected to go without much. That seems unfair to me.

 

Now I realize that extended periods of depression and insecurity are often too difficult for any relationship to handle, but do women expect men to self-soothe and not have overly-emotional moments, or to always be the strong one? Or was my girlfriend just unusually selfish? Am I not supposed to have emotions this strong?

 

I realize these may seem like a dumb questions, and I promise I am not trying to make any generalizations about women. I am simply asking. Every long-term relationship I have been in has ended for a reason similar to this, and I realize I have some co-dependency and attachment anxiety issues, which I am working on, but I feel like no one I have been with has had the willingness to be there for me the way I was for them.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have.

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I guess what I'm getting at is that sometimes reading all of this makes me feel as though, as a man, I'm not allowed to be depressed, or insecure, or ask for reassurance.

 

The advice I always give anyone about to make a speech in public is "just be really, really funny and the audience will love you."

 

Hopefully you can see how stupid that advice is (and the humor behind it!!!)

 

It is very easy to prescribe in a book just what range of emotions you should be performing to optimise your chances with women. But emotions are so dastardly because it is very hard to control them for any length of time. You can fake it for a while but that is about it.

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I can't speak for all women, but I know it's a huge turnoff to see a man too emotional. I'm not saying in all aspects of the relationship, but when it comes to sensitivity or depresssion, I need my man to be strong. Although I will be supportive if he is having problems, for the most part I don't do well with comforting (this also may stem from a loveless childhood and horrid relationship with my father).

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Those books are all about manipulation to get someone back together...the fun and dashing side. But honestly, someone who can be intimate, verbally expressive about their wants and desires...you are a catch. There is a reason why they end the same way, you've probably been dating the same person over and over. It's time to look for someone who wants to take turns getting on that soap-box with you...not someone who thinks the world revolves around them all the time. One quality you should be looking for is someone who always finds it is important to take time to connect, and really communicate. That's why true love is hard to come by...it's loving the person through the good and the bad...it's needing each other because you love each other.

 

Don't ever let some book tell you who you can or cannot be.

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i agree with tattoobunnie - i wish my ex had the ability to communicate about his feelings but he couldn't. he bottled every little thing until he just exploded one day for no reason. part of a relationship is loving and caring for the other person - every one has down times. i know for myself i definitely want a man i know will be there for me through think and thin, and i think most women will be the same. i think as long as there is no smothering, or possessiveness, or jealousy then having a man in tune with his emotions and who needs some reassurance from time to time is a wonderful thing.

ignore those stupid books. you sound like a total catch - your ex will realize this down the road when you've forgotten about her. but by then you'll have moved on to something better for yourself. do try to not date the same person over and over. i used to do that too... i went to see a therapist to help me recognize what attracted me to those people and that definitely helped.

good luck with everything!

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Interestingly enough, the advice you describe about not being needy, being confident, strong etc - is EXACTLY the sort of advice given to women in e-books!

 

I agree with this sentiment. I think there is a general problem with many people (men or women) being way to needy when it comes to relationships.

 

Ironically, I think the people who are most in need of a relationship will have the most problems with dating and maintaining healthy relationships.

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I realize these may seem like a dumb questions, and I promise I am not trying to make any generalizations about women. I am simply asking. Every long-term relationship I have been in has ended for a reason similar to this, and I realize I have some co-dependency and attachment anxiety issues, which I am working on, but I feel like no one I have been with has had the willingness to be there for me the way I was for them.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have.

 

Thanks for writing the post. This is an interesting subject.

 

It is obvious that there are some expectations about male behaviour and that some of the expectations are neither pleasurable nor healthy in the long run. I do however think, that if you look more closely, you will see that "society" makes unfair expectations of both genders. The expectations are typically not the same however. Who is worse off? I think it depends on who you ask.

 

I am glad that you are taking steps to work with your issues. But I would encourage you to look at it as something you do for yourself - not because society or women expects it. But something you do to achieve a higher degree of freedom and satisfaction in your own life.

 

Your life will become so much easier when you don't have to act needy (I am speaking from experience). It will result in much less stress, fewer worries and much many things will seem much simpler to you. So becoming self-validated is a worthy goal.

 

This also means that we should be careful not taking advice in books too literally. They may provide pointers or signposts along the way. But the advice given is often rather extreme or inconsistent with other advice. At times the advice is even counter-productive. So please be careful.

 

Oh.... I'm rambling here...

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Ironically, I think the people who are most in need of a relationship will have the most problems with dating and maintaining healthy relationships.

 

I agree totally - also, the less needy you are, the more likely you are to have all your needs met in a relationship (where these relate to companionship, rather than expecting another person to fulfil responsibilities which are rightfully yours).

 

On a slightly different though related tack, I don't understand why it's derogatory to say to someone 'Well, it doesn't take much to make YOU happy!' If it doesn't take much to make you happy, you have a very good chance of having a happy life!

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Justletgo07;

You are a wise young man....far beyond your years.

What you have expressed is exactly that of what many women encounter....source....myself and many of my women friends. Although I am a lot oldr than you....I have experienced the same feelings and emotions you have expressed. I have been with many men, and have been the "dumpee", not the "dumper'often, only because I had a bad month, problems at work, expressed my emotions or, basically, have been a human being. As I am now older, I realize, men/woman are looking for Mr. Perfect to hold up their lives for them....good or bad, and, their aren't that many out there who have patience and understanding. Sad but true. And the more relationships you encounter...ther more you find this true. What I have found, and realized, is I find, being myself is the only way I can deal with life or another person. I have realized I like myself, right or wrong, good or bad, needy at times, self confident and strong at other tiimes. That is what makes us all human. Some people burry their feelings due to all kinds of past problems or just a way of dealing with traumas in their lives. Others are way-overboard with drama. It is just dwon to one final thing....chemistry and how much you want to deal with and how much the your "love" wants to deal with. If they really love you, they understand and if it's not meant to be, they will find a way to drive yo away or shut you out. I know this is not something eveyone wants to hear....but I feel (and only my personality), why would anyone not want to be with someone who is "real", right or wrong? If I have to play games or pretend I don't have a bad day or feelings, then I am not being me...and then they are not in love with the ral me and it will come out sooner or later. Just be you.....right or wrong. Learn from each relationship and try to grow and be "true" to yourself. That is the only relationship that could possibly last or be "for real".

I, myself, was recently dumped after 1 1/2 yrs. by a man who I had a wonderful relashionship with. Had tons of fun, got each other, chemistry was awesome, but....he had a 23 yr. marriage and it ended horribly bad for him. In turn, he guarded his heart, became hardened and although I realize I was the best thing that he ever had (even he aid so)m, he couldn't get past his experiences. Sad for me. I have been very sad but I realize, I can only be me. I was the best I could be and he loved that for as long as he could. And he tried to blame all of his ill feelings on me as the reason he needed to leave but I know....sometimes, you hve nothing to do with the ending. It is beyond you. He had a problem with me just expressing a problem or having a bad day. I knew....if he can't handle that, he can't handle me. Games aren't the answer and neither is changing yourself unless you find that you need to improve in some areas. No woman really likes a man that is dramatic, has lots of insecure times or is needy. It's universal. No man likes that either in a woman. That's why you have to be true to yourself and find confidence in who you are and what yo have to offer and if they can't find that attractive....they aren't for you. Peace my man....find yourself and yo uwill succeed with the ladies!

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