I heard the most intriguing thing from three different women in the past month. Each of them was dating a guy who she found attractive, interesting and fun, and who was crazy about her. Yet each of them said almost the same exact thing, “I don’t WANT to fall for him.”
One woman said her guy was great, sexy, attentive and a fantastic lover but she wished he was a couple of inches taller. One said that though he was handsome, manly, generous, and she was starting to feel chemistry, she didn’t want to like him because someone better might be out there. The last one said that even though she found him really sexy, smart and sweet, she didn’t want to open her heart to the possibility of love because she still loved an old boyfriend who she was hoping would come back.
Each of these women was holding herself back. Does this resonate with you?
No matter how much you may want and long for a healthy, connected relationship with a good guy, the obstacle may not be a lack of guys coming into your life. You also need to be prepared for a real relationship to happen. If you’re not, your mind will wind up latching onto any reason to dislike the guy in front of you no matter how superficial it might be. Just like those three women.
Or you’ll subconsciously sabotage the relationship and then blame the man for being a jerk. In fact, all three women were still hung up on old boyfriends. Yet when I explored those past relationships, I saw that each woman had pushed the “man of her dreams” away – each woman had, at one point, broken things off or given an ultimatum she knew he couldn’t fulfill. They made things not work.
As much as we don’t want to believe that we might be pushing the men we love away, this pattern is common. I know because I’ve been there myself. The very men that I pined away for, when they moved closer, I’d start noticing things that were sure to make the relationship fail, or I’d do something to push them away – I’d take something he said wrong and break it off, or I’d joke around when he tried to go deeper or I’d just stay closed down.
If this is you, don’t beat yourself up!
First, know that you’re not alone. Whether you push men away, set up walls or just close down, guarding your heart is such a natural reaction, especially if you’ve gotten hurt in the past by someone you love – even a parent or sibling.
Then instead of feeling bad, celebrate this amazing discovery about yourself. Understanding empowers you to make a different choice going forward. Bravo to you for continuing your lifelong journey of self-discovery and growth!
To get past this, though, try these two things:
Start by Writing Down a List of Things You Want in a Man
Don’t just think about it in your head – that’s part of the problem. You’re likely to have some vague criteria that keeps shifting as you start getting triggered and scared. I want you to write them down! From “he has a steady job, is polite, is super masculine, doesn’t smoke and is kind and generous” to even smaller details like “he’s punctual, dresses nicely, holds the door for me and has large hands!” Anything that is important to you. Don’t be nervous about what you write. This is for your eyes only.
When you have your list rank order it according to importance, with the most important/can’t live without at the top. Then draw a red line at some point on the list. Above the line is what you can’t live without – deal breakers. Under the line are those things that are nice, but you can live without if he has the above-the-line traits. Yet never give up “I feel good when I’m in his presence.” That’s essential.
Next, Go Out and Date!
Include types of men that you’ve never dated before – men who you don’t necessarily find exciting or flashy. Good, solid, boring men. You’re not doing this to find Mr. Right. In fact, do NOT think about what your house, kids and honeymoon will be like with him. Consider him practice and that’s all.
Practice sitting with him while you lean back, unzip your heart and stay open. Practice being open and not closing up, even when you aren’t attracted to him. Practice staying open and tolerating your fear when he triggers you somehow. Like a muscle, you need to exercise your ability to stay open and be vulnerable and practicing on men that don’t trigger you is a great way to learn to take down your walls.
While you’re dating different men, any trait you see that fell under your cut off line (the “I can live with” section) is off limits to think about. If your mind goes there, stop it! You made your decision, and you’re not out to marry this guy. You’re exploring.
If you see any of the traits in a man that are above your line, i.e., things you can’t possibly live with, then that’s it – cut him loose and move onto the next one, even if he’s flashy and sexy and you feel all tingly inside. I know it’ll be hard. Yet you don’t have time to waste. Think of him like a beautiful, overpriced yet cheaply made shirt. It’ll fade and fall apart after a few wears.
A good relationship is not just about finding the right man. You also need to prepare yourself to be ready for when he shows up, you need to work on yourself so that you’ll be whole and grounded and ready to be a healthy partner. You need to learn to take down those walls.
Doing these two things – making a list to help you navigate to a guy that’s right for you without being taken off course by being blinded by excitement and practicing staying open with guys who you can naturally relax with – will help you to open yourself up to love. You’ll learn to trust yourself and to let men in to experience the intriguing, genuine, receptive, real you!
The amazing thing is that while you’re practicing and building your relationship muscle, you might be surprised. One of those “boring” men might actually start winning your heart. You might find that a slow, steady and consistent fire feels better than a roller coaster, hit-and-run, flash in the pan.
You have everything you need to find a deep, committed, loving relationship, and it’s just waiting to get out! Love really is out there if you take down your barriers and let it in. Today’s the day to try something different. Know that I’m walking this journey with you and am cheering you on the whole way.