Two new clients this week shared stories about their past dating and relationships, telling of how they stayed with men who made them unhappy. These otherwise smart women tried and tried to be who the men wanted them to be, but it never worked out. Now, looking back, they are kicking themselves for staying so long. Those men were not only wrong for them; they were cads.
For them, I wanted to repeat this post from last year about how we, as women, try so hard to rearrange ourselves into someone else…just to get the guy. And how it never turns out well.
I believe this statement is generally true:
Women can twist themselves like a pretzel to please a man and persuade him to adore her.
My friend Pegi reminded me of this the other day. While she was having dinner with a new man she was interested in, he told her that he wanted to date multiple women at this time in his life. She asked me “What should I have said?”
My immediate response was “What do you want? Do you want to date a man who wants that?”
Allow me to deconstruct my thoughts about this.
- Believe him.
Pegi said she didn’t know whether to take him seriously. When a man tells you personal information about himself, especially about what he wants in his life; believe him. The great odds are that he’s telling you some important truth that he wants you to know. Will he change his mind some day? Maybe. Should you wait for that? Nope.
- Even soft pretzels break.
Pegi is looking for a relationship. She established that early on in her return to dating after many years. Why would she even consider this? To go on one more date with this man is a bend I don’t think she should make. This is significant stuff! It’s not agreeing to watch football next Sunday or go to a sushi restaurant even though the smell makes you want to puke. Accommodating this, even for one more date, is contrary to who she is. First, she wants something very different. Second, she wouldn’t be able to trust or respect this 60 year old man that wants this. Third, and most important, she ultimately won’t trust or respect herself if she makes this bend.
- Remember: You’re the star in your story.
That Pegi’s first response was “what should I have said?” tells me she was considering him first. It was a mix of “what should I do to keep him interested?” and “what should I say to not appear mean?” She really didn’t care if he was interested; that was her ego reacting. When she thought about it from the perspective of what she wanted, it was easy: she knew he wasn’t someone she wanted to date. It’s interesting and distressing that her kneejerk reaction was to figure out what would please him. We do that. We need to stop doing that.Once you’re clear on what you want and who you are, be that person. Period. Always. Show up as yourself and keep that fabulous woman present. Thinking of you first may require practice. It’s not about what he wants or how he will react. It’s only about your truth.That truth should always be your first concern.
Now…your turn with this. Think about the last time a man told you something about himself that you didn’t like. What was the immediate conversation in your head? (C’mon…it’s a known fact we all do over think this stuff.) Was it Do I like this about him? or Is this what I want? Or was it about him, what he wants, or whether your willingness to accept this would make him like you more?
There are three fantastic payoffs of staying grounded in who you are and confidently being that person on every date.
- One of the top ranked attributes men like about women is “authenticity.” Most men can spot your twists and turns ladies. When you are just being yourself, that’s a turn-on. It signals confidence, which is very attractive to mature and confident men.
- When you’re being yourself, you will attract the man who is going to be a good partner for you. When he meets you he’ll know it and have the “Hey! She wants me and I can make her happy!” response. Off you go with a hope of a great relationship.
- Playing a character is exhausting. You’ll be so tired and chances are it won’t go well even though you’ve worked so hard.
On your next date, commit to practicing this. Just stay aware, and be your real, true self. I promise that on your way home you will feel 100% better than you did after your previous 10 dates.
Oh! And here’s what I think Pegi should have said: “Thank you for telling me that, Bob. That’s different than what I want in my life right now. I appreciate lunch, but we won’t be a good match.” And then she should have never looked back.