One of the most common questions I receive from my female clients and readers is, “Are there any GOOD men out there?!”
I know from personal experience that it can seem the world is full of self-serving cads. I absolutely loathed being on the dating field. I’d almost resigned myself to living a life of solitude and celibacy. Seriously, that’s how bad most of my dating experiences were.
First off, most of the men on dating sites are looking for someone to hook up with. It can be a huge waste of time to finally narrow your choices down to one guy and then, when you meet up with him, he mentions he isn’t ready for a committed relationship (even if the conversation was about something completely unrelated).
You know, the whole, “I’d prefer to keep it casual” spiel. (Translated – fun, drinks, and friends with benefits). And sadly, if you agree to the Fun-Drinks-Let’s Keep It Casual scene, then that’s probably all you’re going to get.
Because while a man may enjoy a woman’s company and even have great sex with her, it doesn’t mean he considers her long-term relationship material. Once the initial lust wears off, things can get pretty hairy if there isn’t some type of solid foundation started.
The fact is that our brains and beauty can attract a man, but they won’t necessarily keep him. Men aren’t always about looks. They are obviously drawn to those things, but a woman’s actions and confidence (or lack of) are what determines if a man will stick around or keep searching.
Does that make him selfish, or even a narcissist? Not necessarily, especially if a woman agrees to “keep it casual”. (Although it IS a red flag if his profile says he wants a relationship, and then he says he prefers casual dating).
We can’t hold a man accountable for something that we agree to. If casual dating is not something we want in regards to relationships, then we shouldn’t continue dating a man who has made it clear that he doesn’t want commitment — no matter the seeming connection or chemistry.
While dating can be frustrating, the fact remains that there are good men out there. But, you’ll have to wade through the losers and users to find them – and you may learn some very valuable lessons along the way.
As a narcissistic abuse survivor who’s been in the trenches and made it out alive, below are the top three mistakes we make as women that can epically ruin our chance at true love. These are applicable to women everywhere, but if you’ve been through the dark night of narcissistic abuse, don’t make these grave blunders:
Not all men are narcissists, jerks, or emotionally unavailable. Healthy, normal men want to know that they can make a potential partner happy. They also want to feel loved and accepted. If they begin to feel they are being scrutinized, pressured, stalked, tracked down, and suffocated, they’ll pull away and eventually start looking for someone else who is more warm, open, and free-spirited.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t expect open lines of communication with a potential partner, but the first few months of dating are about getting to know someone. It’s not really the time to lay all of your weaknesses and failed relationships out on the table or expect instant exclusivity from someone you just met.
On that note, a man who immediately wants to know about how you broke up with your last boyfriend or husband is likely either a manipulator or has self-esteem issues (besides, who wants that kind of negative energy flowing on the first few dates?)
If you feel hypersensitive after meeting someone new, it might be a sign that you have some more healing to do. However, if you want to date, then you can give it a whirl, but don’t expect to strike gold (or a committed relationship) right away…and definitely don’t hold a new person accountable for your happiness and sense of security.
2. Accept the wrong men.
Not so long ago, I believed that I attracted men who wanted to take advantage of me. What I later discovered is that the problem wasn’t that I was attracting the wrong men, but that I was accepting them.
Does that mean I deserved to be treated as an afterthought or that I was just asking for manipulation?
It means that in spite of knowing what I didn’t want in a relationship, I swept deal-breakers under the rug, somehow expecting things would work themselves out – all because I felt a sense of connection or attraction.
I wanted to be approved of by a man that I hardly knew instead of stepping up for myself when a red flag popped up. Such that, when things seemed to be going swimmingly and then the deal-breaker happened, I brushed it aside.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all men who violate one of your deal-breakers are narcissists, only that those particular men aren’t for you. (Although, a narcissist will definitely violate all of your deal-breakers, and others you hadn’t thought of yet).
No one man is so unique and special that we have to throw caution to the wind and take whatever we can get. Having that mindset will land us in relationships where we will always be disappointed. (Besides, a good man won’t expect you to violate your values just to stay in the relationship).
Maintain your deal-breakers. Always.
In short, if we find ourselves in relationships with liars, cheaters, addicts, or emotional vampires, our job isn’t to get them to stop lying, cheating, drinking, watching porn, or consuming our lives. Our job is to leave.
You might have to leave several wrong men in the course of finding the right one, but it’s worth it.
3. Assume that giving a man your all is what’s needed to keep him.
We grew up being told that women are supposed to be submissive, nice, quiet, and do whatever men wanted.
However, this isn’t the 1950’s and we aren’t June Cleaver.
I’m not trying to be feministic, and I certainly don’t speak for women everywhere, but the truth is that what we learned about how to be a woman that men love and want to keep is mostly wrong.
A normal, healthy man doesn’t want a woman who takes care of him as if he were a child–sitting around, always at his beck and call. There’s no magic or intrigue in that. (Although this is exactly what narcissists and other manipulators want). In fact, doing so can actually cause a normal, healthy man to be very uninterested in you.
Men also don’t want a woman who is so strong-willed and alpha-oriented that she makes him feel emasculated. It may seem old-fashioned and counter-intuitive, but there is something to be said for masculine and feminine energies.
Before you start thinking that feminine energy is about slaving over a hot stove and a washing machine, think again. Feminine energy is about warmth, love, openness, and nurturing—not being someone’s door mat.
Avoid the wrong ones, attract and keep the good ones…
I’m not taking up for all the men who use and confuse women. You know, the ones who only come around for a booty call, carry out their relationships via text messages and Facebook pokes, or string women along for years without ever committing. In short, narcissists, cheaters, and the emotionally unavailable.
These men will always exist and there’s a very good chance you’ll be approached by more men just like this as long as you’re on the dating scene.
My purpose is to help you avoid the common mistakes we make as women that either keep us entangled in unhealthy relationships, or worse, drive healthy, commitment-ready men away.
There is love after narcissistic abuse, once we stop believing what we think we know about how to be a “good woman”, thus allowing ourselves to avoid unhealthy, narcissistic men.