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Craving male attention


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I hesitated a little before posting this, but maybe you guys can help me to understand myself better. As some of you may have noticed, most of my threads are about men. I realized I crave constant attention from men and I wonder why. I know this is a question is for a therapist, I’m just tired of myself for feeling this way. I don’t think I am desperate but for some reason I seek male attention, I don’t have to be crazy about a guy, it just feels good knowing a man is into me.

 I’d like to understand myself, so I can’t stop seeking approval from men. I don’t know if it’s my self-esteem, but it makes me happy if a guy likes me, texts me, and wants to get to know me. Should I fix my self-esteem in order to stop looking for validation? I should also probably mention that my relationship with my father is not very good.

I hope this makes sense, thank you.

Edited by kim42
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Any time you identify something about yourself that you don't understand, it is worth it to investigate.  Why do you think you seek approval from men?  Is it because you wish your father would validate you?  What types of men to do seek approval from?  All the men you meet?  Or just some that you admire?  

There is not point in looking for approval from just random guys or guys that you don't approve of either.  

I think it feels good to have a guy like you and text you or whatever.  That is not so odd or necessarily mean you have low self esteem.  But if you're basing how you feel about yourself on it, then yes.  you should work on that.  Of course rejection hurts.  If you liked someone and they didn't like you back, that doesn't mean you need to fix anything.  Some people just have bad taste (smile).

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Thank you Lambert, it's not all men, I need to be at least a little attracted to them. If they show some interest, I get almost addicted to it, and if they stop texting me for a while, I get upset.

And if there's no man pursuing me, I feel I should find someone who would give me that attention.

It sounds silly, most of the time I don't want to date these guys, I just like the attention.

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Perhaps you're insecure and need to fill a void you've never had when you were growing up.  Perhaps you are a narcissist. 

My sister and her husband, my BIL (brother-in-law) are insecure narcissists, always want to be the center of attention, always want the spotlight, have people look at them, be impressed by what they have (house, neighborhood, cars, jobs), always want all conversations to revolve around them and they crave attention the likes I had never seen before.   It is never enough.

Then there are my in-laws (MIL - mother-in-law and FIL - father-in-law).  They are extremely set in their lives, have more money than you can ever dreamed of, no debts, paid off their homes long ago, extremely comfortable monetarily and blissfully married forever.  They don't have to say anything because they have it made in the shade.   They're quietly content, very secure and self confident.

You mentioned that your relationship with your father is not good.  You've answered your own question.  You crave male attention because your relationship with your father is not sound, stable, nurturing and normal.  Since you can't get it from your father, you crave male attention from elsewhere. 

You sound young.  If you become financially strong and independent, you can afford to be more picky and choosy when it comes to men.  You can afford to shop around and only receive attention from the best, most honorable and highest men of integrity.  Until then, you have to settle for craving attention from crumbs. 

Hopefully, you can begin changing the way you think by surrounding yourself with upstanding people whether friends, family, your community, church if you're faith based and morally influential, fine examples.  Interacting with alike people will build your self confidence and security.  You'll become one of them in a positive way.

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3 hours ago, kim42 said:

As some of you may have noticed, most of my threads are about men. I realized I crave constant attention from men and I wonder why. I know this is a question is for a therapist, I’m just tired of myself for feeling this way. I don’t think I am desperate but for some reason I seek male attention, I don’t have to be crazy about a guy, it just feels good knowing a man is into me.

 I’d like to understand myself, so I can’t stop seeking approval from men. I don’t know if it’s my self-esteem, but it makes me happy if a guy likes me, texts me, and wants to get to know me. Should I fix my self-esteem in order to stop looking for validation? I should also probably mention that my relationship with my father is not very good.

It's called mother nature. You're a young woman. Have fun. It's not going to be this way forever. (Just don't get too crazy out there!)

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You might want to look up the term limerence. It’s when you crave attention from men (in your case) and develop a romantic infatuation and crave their attention.

There is a spectrum for this mental state and perhaps you have a mild form of it.

I feel I have it to some extent as well.  I love the idea of fantasizing, over an actual relationship at times.  Anyway look it up, it may explain your feelings.

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Kudos to you for being aware. I actually think what you describe is very, very common in people (not just women either), particularly younger people too - I'm not sure of your age. It's very flattering and kind of addictive to be in those early stages of getting to know someone, compliments abound, excitement, the other person putting in maximal effort, etc.

I think many people experience this in their younger years and then it kind of tapers off after a while as many grow and derive greater joy and sense of self-worth from other things, whether that's from a good relationship, having a family, having some really awesome passions, career, etc. It's possible that your poor relationship with a father could play a part in this, although I've seen people with good relationships with their dad still do this. 

Remain aware of this tendency in yourself. Next time you feel that urge to connect with someone for the sole sake of connecting to feel better, sit with the feelings for a while and think on them without acting. 

For the record, I don't feel there is anything wrong with casual dating as long as you're not leading anyone on and you're not rushing into anything with anyone and it's not negatively impacting your life. If that's something you feel that you need to "get out of your system" and kind of want to have fun with it, go for it. Just be safe, be upfront, don't get into a serious relationship, and don't get pregnant. 

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Coronavirus isolation, working from home, being in a foreign country can all add to loneliness.

Add to that the difficulties dating in these times and many people are struggling.

It's normal to want to BF. If you had a regular BF it would assuage some of the loneliness and isolation.

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Thank you everyone for your kind replies. 

Wiseman - you pretty much described my current state of loneliness. It'd be nice to have a BF. There is a guy I see every now and then, but it's just casual and lately I feel it doesn't make me happy anymore.

Batya - I like my work, I'm very dedicated to it, my company likes me and this makes me feel good about myself.

Cherylyn - I think you're right about my father, he was cold and distant, very strict and would put me down for the smallest things. I don't want to be the center of attention, I actually don't like when a conversation revolves around me too much. I used to be rather shy when we had gatherings at work.

Fudgie - I'm dedicated to my career and love my job, I feel this attention craving is to fill a void, I'd just like to know why. I don't lead these guys on, I do enjoy the attention but I don't spend time with them if I know they want something more.

Just to add some details:

My father thinks I'm not pretty and he's surprised when a men actually likes me.

I was bullied at elementary school for almost 2 years, boys would make fun of me that I was ugly. 

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21 minutes ago, kim42 said:

My father thinks I'm not pretty and he's surprised when a men actually likes me.

I was bullied at elementary school for almost 2 years, boys would make fun of me that I was ugly

Despite all of that, you seem like a well-adjusted person. I mean, that's judging from your posts on here. I don't think I've ever seen you on here strung out over a horrible man or a horrible situation. You just have a couple of questions here and there, a few normal-scale challenges, and you happen to like sloths a lot. It's unfortunate that a few people have caused you to doubt your looks. But it doesn't seem like its sent you over the deep end.

 

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2 hours ago, kim42 said:

Batya - I like my work, I'm very dedicated to it, my company likes me and this makes me feel good about myself.

Putting it another way.  What in your life gives you the sense of validation you believe you get from male attention -that specific type of feeling/inspiration.  Not just general "makes me feel good about myself."  Also do you crave men to notice your looks and physical features -where you feel they find you attractive/sexually attractive? Is it that specifically or do you crave a person who happens to be a male paying attention to you as an interesting person? 

Edited to add I could not agree more with Fudgie.

Edited by Batya33
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How do you view yourself?  Do YOU think you are attractive? 

When you are getting ready for work in the morning do you worry and fuss about your hair, clothes or makeup?

Are you using online dating to seek out this attention from men to make yourself feel better about your desirability?

Most people want to look their best, most people want others to like them and accept them but when that want becomes a need and if you don't get it filled you feel like less of who you are then it is a problem.

Your father sounds like a horrible a jerk.  What do you say to him when he tells you that you aren't attractive?  Maybe it is time you let him have it and tell him how much his words all these years have hurt.  Just because he is your father doesn't mean you need to stay in contact with him, especially since he puts you down all the time. 

I think you have a good handle on this, just be careful how far you go to get the validation.  Some people have endless sexual encounters to fill the voids they have...

Lost

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3 hours ago, kim42 said:

Thank you everyone for your kind replies. 

Wiseman - you pretty much described my current state of loneliness. It'd be nice to have a BF. There is a guy I see every now and then, but it's just casual and lately I feel it doesn't make me happy anymore.

Batya - I like my work, I'm very dedicated to it, my company likes me and this makes me feel good about myself.

Cherylyn - I think you're right about my father, he was cold and distant, very strict and would put me down for the smallest things. I don't want to be the center of attention, I actually don't like when a conversation revolves around me too much. I used to be rather shy when we had gatherings at work.

Fudgie - I'm dedicated to my career and love my job, I feel this attention craving is to fill a void, I'd just like to know why. I don't lead these guys on, I do enjoy the attention but I don't spend time with them if I know they want something more.

Just to add some details:

My father thinks I'm not pretty and he's surprised when a men actually likes me.

I was bullied at elementary school for almost 2 years, boys would make fun of me that I was ugly. 

I actually feel exactly the same. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one experiencing that. Though I’ve become better on being self-sufficient in this sense by seeking professional help from a therapist. Issues with parents especially fathers have a huge negative impact on your adult life. I would recommend speaking to a professional to find other outlets to gain self esteem. Perhaps working out or building a new skill. 

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33 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

How do you view yourself?  Do YOU think you are attractive? 

When you are getting ready for work in the morning do you worry and fuss about your hair, clothes or makeup?

Are you using online dating to seek out this attention from men to make yourself feel better about your desirability?

Most people want to look their best, most people want others to like them and accept them but when that want becomes a need and if you don't get it filled you feel like less of who you are then it is a problem.

Your father sounds like a horrible a jerk.  What do you say to him when he tells you that you aren't attractive?  Maybe it is time you let him have it and tell him how much his words all these years have hurt.  Just because he is your father doesn't mean you need to stay in contact with him, especially since he puts you down all the time. 

I think you have a good handle on this, just be careful how far you go to get the validation.  Some people have endless sexual encounters to fill the voids they have...

Lost

I agree with the top part but not the second. I don’t think there is ever a “good handle” on validation. If you’re dependent on it, it’s a problem. If it’s like flattering to receive a compliment that’s different. I think OP should address the underlying issues but that’s just my opinion. Though, I do kinda speak from experience. 

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

Putting it another way.  What in your life gives you the sense of validation you believe you get from male attention -that specific type of feeling/inspiration.  Not just general "makes me feel good about myself."  Also do you crave men to notice your looks and physical features -where you feel they find you attractive/sexually attractive? Is it that specifically or do you crave a person who happens to be a male paying attention to you as an interesting person? 

Edited to add I could not agree more with Fudgie.

I need to think about what give me this sense of validation, I'm not sure.

It feels good when men are attracted to me because of my looks, but it's not just that, I also like when they want to talk to me, ask me questions, I just like flirting, and the fact that someone pas attention to me.

I used to feel very lonely and as if I were invisible when I was younger, maybe this why I keep seeking this validation from men.

 

 

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I think you've hit the nail on the head, Kim. Your dad not giving you much attention, boys bullying you for your looks, feeling invisible when you were younger...it's not a wonder. 

I definitely think being aware of this is over half of the battle and you have that down. You need to sit with these feelings at the time you feel the urge to reach out and find a guy to flirt with. You have good self-insight and could probably work through them on your own or work to channel them into something else when they occur. 

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1 hour ago, lostandhurt said:

How do you view yourself?  Do YOU think you are attractive? 

When you are getting ready for work in the morning do you worry and fuss about your hair, clothes or makeup?

Are you using online dating to seek out this attention from men to make yourself feel better about your desirability?

Most people want to look their best, most people want others to like them and accept them but when that want becomes a need and if you don't get it filled you feel like less of who you are then it is a problem.

Your father sounds like a horrible a jerk.  What do you say to him when he tells you that you aren't attractive?  Maybe it is time you let him have it and tell him how much his words all these years have hurt.  Just because he is your father doesn't mean you need to stay in contact with him, especially since he puts you down all the time. 

I think you have a good handle on this, just be careful how far you go to get the validation.  Some people have endless sexual encounters to fill the voids they have...

Lost

Thank you Lost, I think I'm satisfied with how I look, I have some insecurities, just like everyone else I guess. I definitely feel more confident than before. 

I try not to talk about these things with my father anymore, I live in another country, and I see him once a year. We don't talk that much, and when we do, it's just basic things, usually about my work or something random. I once told him he has very little empathy, after he had said something mean to me, and he just thought I was overreacting. 

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45 minutes ago, ForeverLearning said:

I actually feel exactly the same. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one experiencing that. Though I’ve become better on being self-sufficient in this sense by seeking professional help from a therapist. Issues with parents especially fathers have a huge negative impact on your adult life. I would recommend speaking to a professional to find other outlets to gain self esteem. Perhaps working out or building a new skill. 

Yes, it's good to know I'm not the only who feels this way. Therapists are expensive here, but I'll see what I can do, it gives me hope that you feel better now 🙂

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1 hour ago, kim42 said:

I need to think about what give me this sense of validation, I'm not sure.

It feels good when men are attracted to me because of my looks, but it's not just that, I also like when they want to talk to me, ask me questions, I just like flirting, and the fact that someone pas attention to me.

I used to feel very lonely and as if I were invisible when I was younger, maybe this why I keep seeking this validation from men.

 

 

I think she might be onto something here, keep going with this train of thought. Look at your day to day and think of some things that have lifted you up.

For example, here are a few I can think of:

1. My FIL once asked me (early on in dating my now-husband) who did my taxes. I said “I do.” and the look of surprise on his face told me he was impressed. I was pretty smitten.

2. I had an electrician come look at a few problems for me last week. He asked who had installed my garbage disposal for me, I said “I did.” Again, he was impressed and I felt like Rocky.

3. My boss is working with me to help me learn to operate in a way that I will be revered as a “voice of reason”, she’s teaching me how to use factual sources to explain application, and I was able to do exactly that when a coworker asked me how to handle a situation. I literally could feel myself growing professionally. Pretty cool.

 

My point is, there are probably several beautiful moments that happen to you on a weekly basis. You just have to have the right mindset to be able to see them. It’s okay for male attention to fill some of your cup, but make an effort to notice all the other things that also fill it. Your self awareness and desire for growth are very admirable, so I know there’s more beauty there than you think. Choose to see it every day!

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I think it's normal and healthy to crave male attention. The only time it becomes toxic is:

1.) You become obsessive about it and NEED it to validate your self worth and center your entire happiness on it.

2.) If you know the man is already dating someone else or is married.

But if it's single men and you enjoy attention but are also happy in other areas in your life and don't feel the need to constantly have attention, then I don't see a huge problem.

It all depends on where you're at.

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If you can't stop doing it or quit cold turkey it's probably an issue. Try it? It may not be as big of a problem as you think. I also think you're very young and allowed to feel all those curious things and want to feel someone give you that attention especially if you haven't had any or a lot of serious relationships. Feels like stones left unturned? 

I hardly ever received any 'girly' attention from either of my parents. I was one of the boys so pretty much sexless or androgynous. The plus is that it gives you the freedom to explore your sexuality without limitations later on. The negative is that you wonder if your parents ever recognized you as a female at all in a patriarchic world. I think though that they were on to something and prefer to take the more enlightened path - they knew what they were doing and they refused to place extra importance on any type of gender bias. 

Don't feel too weighed down. Also like some other comments, kudos to you for recognizing something new or that you can understand about yourself. 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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2 hours ago, kim42 said:

Thank you Lost, I think I'm satisfied with how I look, I have some insecurities, just like everyone else I guess. I definitely feel more confident than before. 

I try not to talk about these things with my father anymore, I live in another country, and I see him once a year. We don't talk that much, and when we do, it's just basic things, usually about my work or something random. I once told him he has very little empathy, after he had said something mean to me, and he just thought I was overreacting. 

So I find that I statements work better -rather than accusing someone of lacking empathy I would say "when you say that I feel hurt"

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7 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

So I find that I statements work better -rather than accusing someone of lacking empathy I would say "when you say that I feel hurt"

Thanks Batya, I'll try to remember this, it's really hard to talk to my father about anything related to emotions, I gave up a long time ago.  

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1 hour ago, indea08 said:

I think she might be onto something here, keep going with this train of thought. Look at your day to day and think of some things that have lifted you up.

For example, here are a few I can think of:

1. My FIL once asked me (early on in dating my now-husband) who did my taxes. I said “I do.” and the look of surprise on his face told me he was impressed. I was pretty smitten.

2. I had an electrician come look at a few problems for me last week. He asked who had installed my garbage disposal for me, I said “I did.” Again, he was impressed and I felt like Rocky.

3. My boss is working with me to help me learn to operate in a way that I will be revered as a “voice of reason”, she’s teaching me how to use factual sources to explain application, and I was able to do exactly that when a coworker asked me how to handle a situation. I literally could feel myself growing professionally. Pretty cool.

 

My point is, there are probably several beautiful moments that happen to you on a weekly basis. You just have to have the right mindset to be able to see them. It’s okay for male attention to fill some of your cup, but make an effort to notice all the other things that also fill it. Your self awareness and desire for growth are very admirable, so I know there’s more beauty there than you think. Choose to see it every day!

I like the part about having the right mindset, I think that's something I could do, to shift my attention to other things in my life.

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