Every day I talk to women who are frustrated and saddened by not having intimate love in their lives. They want it, but are actually afraid to fall in love.
My clients and most of my single friends are over 40, and there seems to be a common thread: they are resistant because they are afraid of giving up their independence. But adding a man to your life really isn’t about giving anything up, it’s about adding something: the ability to receive and accept love.
The woman I met last week is the shining example of this. Lori was beautiful inside and out. I instantly admired and envied her. She was über stylish, exquisitely thin and healthy looking, and she lit up the room. She was friendly and open, and she spoke with pride, confidence, and clarity. She knew what she wanted and how to get it.
That was when she talked about her business.
A completely different Lori emerged when the conversation changed to her romantic life. This lively, confident woman turned sad, insecure, and seemingly hopeless. Her story is so common among mature, single women: she created a good life for herself, did it almost single-handedly, and rightfully wears that as a badge of honor. But now, in her later years, she longs for companionship and affection. She fears living the rest of her life without it. But I think she fears having it even more.
I know this story up front and personal. I was successful and independent when I (finally) married at age 47. Like so many single women, I had a great deal of strength and fortitude, and had accomplished and overcome many things in my life. And I had done it on my own. I was not willing to give up my independence and the happy life I had created for myself. My mantra:
I don’t need a man. I just want one.
Lori said this to me. I’d venture to say that any woman who grew up with “women’s lib” has uttered this phrase. Use whichever word you want – need or want – the truth is that we know our lives would be richer if we could share it with someone special. But there is something standing in the way that seems insurmountable. We say we don’t want to compromise, change or settle. I just don’t buy that as the real fear.
Our fear of falling in love is really fear of giving up emotional control. That’s what creates an inability to receive love and care; especially from a man.
There are so many factors that lead us to the stifling belief that we need to do it all ourselves and that “letting” a man do for us weakens us or makes us…heaven forbid…neeeeedy.
I want Lori, and you, to learn what I finally learned. It’s okay to need a man. It’s okay to let a man do more for you than buy you dinner. It’s okay to receive help and loving care from a man…it’s okay!
You know you have a have a ton to give – you’ve been doing that all your life. Now you need to learn how to be cherished, adored, and…yes…even taken care of. Adding this to your life in no way negates your accomplishments or requires you to lessen the desire or ability to take care of yourself. You still have to do that. In fact, a mature man will want you to do that. You’ll just have an extra cheerleader and sage to help you along.
Once you learn it’s okay, you’ll soon learn the magnificence of it. Men love to be needed. They need to be needed. Once you embrace this, and dare to open up to receive, you will be able to bask in the glow of knowing that you have a protecting, supportive partner in life. Seriously, what can possibly be wrong about that?
Spend the rest of the week noticing how open you are to receiving from men. Are you letting them hold doors for you, give you advice, or tell you how lovely you look? And notice how well you receive. And when you receive, how do you feel?
Ladies, this is a shift in thought that must take place if you’re going to have a meaningful relationship with a mature man. It requires – yes requires – that you have an open heart and are willing to give up some of that control you (think you) have. You can do it. And I bet $1000 that you will like it! I mean really…even Gloria Steinem got married.
Can you use more help opening your heart and welcoming men into your life? Read my book ‘7 Secrets to Finding Love after 40’ to learn how I opened my heart, and get exact action steps that will lead you to YOUR grownup love story.
So this is pretty life changing for me to think that I have to feel comfortable in receiving now…but, but….I was always the one to nurture, and give and then feel left empty due to lack of response…we ALL need to be needed! Bobbi, thanks for a great column on realizing that men need to be needed as well and for the tips on allowing it to happen.