May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Before You Can Love Others, Learn to Love Yourself

My problem with women is that I feel that I always like them more than they like me. I’m a very romantic, devoted kind of guy. Once I meet someone I like, I think about them constantly and feel the need to be in touch daily and get together often. I would think that women would feel flattered to know that someone is thinking about them constantly and thinks so much of them. But I find it has the opposite effect, and ultimately I get the feeling that they need to run from me.

I know I’m not great alone, and prefer doing things with another person rather than just by myself. I do work full time and have a pretty good job, though not a very exciting one. When I’m not working, I need to fill my time with someone special. I’m 24 already and have gone out with quite a few women, but somehow have never made it past a third or fourth date. And honestly, I’m usually not the one to end it.

I’ve been told that I have to play “hard to get” a little. But it’s not who I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Do you think there are women out there who can appreciate a devoted person like me, or is my only hope to become someone I’m not? And if that’s the case, how do I become someone else?

The Navidaters respond:

Thank you for writing in. I think your letter may speak to a lot of people who, like you, wear their hearts on their sleeve. Lots of people prefer not to beat around the bush or play games. And lots of people appreciate candor, honesty and vulnerability. These are all beautiful qualities that make someone very appealing to the right person.

If I understand you correctly, you are in a tight spot. It feels as though you see yourself as having two choices: I can either be very forthcoming and show my vulnerability, or change my personality into someone I am not. That is a pretty big choice you have here, and I’m sure it doesn’t feel too good. After a bunch of rejections, I can understand why you feel these are your only choices. However, I’d like you to think about slowing down for a moment and exploring what brought you to this point.

Most women want to feel desired and to know they are thought of. But, truthfully, it seems as though you may be coming on too strong and too fast. I would imagine that women may be thinking, He doesn’t even know me. We went out once or twice. He can’t possibly be crazy about me yet. He doesn’t even know me as a person yet. He must be very eager to be in any relationship.

Women want to feel special and unique. If you are expressing your strong feelings for them right off the bat, the woman may feel as though it’s not necessarily her that you are crazy about, but rather being in any relationship that you are crazy about. And so, this may be why women break up with you after a few dates.

I think you may benefit from some soul searching, whether on your own or in therapy, to discover and then process the way you so deeply attach to, and then need to be in constant contact with, someone after a first date. Of course, we all want love and security and connection. But the early stages of dating, whether in Orthodox or secular circles, is really about getting to know someone. In the beginning of dating we have to give people space. And all throughout your relationship, you will need to give her space. God willing, when you are married, your wife will need her space to be with family and friends and will not and should not always be available to you. And you are going to have to be OK with that. If you are not OK with that, I think it may be worthwhile to enter therapy to explore why that is and help you learn to enjoy being in your own skin without someone else.

There is nothing like a loving relationship. Studies show that through loving, healthy, intimate relationships, individuals gain self-esteem. Healthy relationships even have health benefits. However, in order to enter that kind of healthy relationship, we must first have a healthy relationship with ourselves. My advice to you is to take a break from dating and work on your relationship with yourself. I am hopeful that with the proper work, you will re-enter the dating world with a newfound love for yourself that the right woman will find appealing. That confidence and appreciation for yourself, along with your “heart on your sleeve” romantic inclination, will be very attractive to lots of women. You can do this!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

By Jennifer Mann

 Jennifer Mann, LCSW, is a licensed, clinical psychotherapist and dating and relationship coache working with individuals, couples and families in private practice in Hewlett, New York. To set up an appointment, please call 516.224.7779 and press 2 for Jennifer. To learn more about her services, please visit thenavidaters.com. If you would like to submit a dating or relationship question anonymously, please email [email protected]. You can follow The Navidaters on Facebook and Instagram for dating and relationship advice.

 

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