Why It’s Not Working

Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 3.20.58 PMDisappointment. It’s like you take a deep breath, let it out and then everything sighs. Your bones settle, your head feels heavy and your heart gets quiet and your whole body just kind of goes “well…” It’s a feeling we can all empathize with, I’m sure (and if you can’t, you don’t have a soul or you’re on Prozac), whether it’s regarding a professional position you didn’t end up receiving, a school you weren’t accepted to, a missed opportunity, or whether it pertains to a failed romance you were sure would work out. The automatic response to the latter is to sharply veer from disappointment because, as I’ve mentioned here, we are a society that places great value on overcoming pain as quickly as possible and it’s true that we should learn to pick ourselves up again but going from sixty to zero to sixty again in a matter of 24 hours is just unnatural.

Nevertheless, disappointment is inevitable when you feel your romance or relationship is slipping through your fingers. I’ve written previously that beginning to date is a delicate dance of guessing and wondering and the collapse is very much the same case in a sense. Why didn’t he call me back? Are they seeing other people? Is it me? I thought our date went so well? These are all questions we ask ourselves that are generally most prevalent when the date did indeed go so well in your mind. Yet through my various observations, coupled with my own dating experiences, I’ve come to realize that there are some basic tendencies women engage in that cause their man to go Code III in the other direction.

1. You act like a high-maintenance diva.

Proudly referring to yourself as a diva or princess or even a bitch is the fastest way for your date to begin with “check, please!” No man wants an entitled, impossible, and therefore immature, girl to bring home to Mommy Dearest. I don’t mean to say women should immediately abandon their morning beauty routines, not take care of themselves, or lower their standards and disregard their values, but criticizing or complaining about a man because of his income bracket, the car he drives, or the job he has is the perfect tune to “Single Forever.” Act with grace, manners and hold yourself on your own. A man’s job in a relationship is neither the butler, the bank account, nor to act like your father.

2. You bring up the “What are we?” talk two weeks in.

It’s natural for women to like safety, control, and to know where we stand. It’s totally understandable because our minds operate differently from that of a man’s and we like to organize and categorize. For me, law enforcement by its very nature, is chaotic and spontaneous and I therefore find myself trying to maintain a secure and tempered environment in all other aspects of my life due to this instinct. The problem comes when our innate desire for security and commitment bleeds into the feelings for someone you’ve met only a few weeks ago. Having a contrived talk to determine the status of a blooming romance just weeks in is much too fast. I’m an East-Coaster but I think we can all learn from the West-Coasters’ “go with the flow” lifestyle. Avoid the desire to label things right away. If it’s meant to be, the romance will organically blossom to a point where both individuals feel a commitment to one another and then the “What are we?” talk will come naturally. Controlling the outcome of a romantic encounter before the feelings are there for both people will only end up as a pressured and awkward “well….”

3.You don’t have your own life going on = needy.

We’ve all done this before. We like a guy and suddenly start to invest our whole selves into the relationship and our whole world revolves around him. Even if we engage in the Hard To Get Game, placing a man at the center of your energy emits a neediness and desperation that cannot be hidden, regardless of how long it takes for you to text back or how many pictures you post on Facebook of you partying with other guys. The most attractive thing about a woman is when they have their own lives with a career or school, friends, passions, etc. If your man fits into that life and compliments it, all the more reason to keep him around. But a man cannot ever be the center of your happiness and entertainment. You’ll end up compromising yourself for that someone and if that relationship collapses, you’ll collapse along with it.

4. You put more energy into being pretty than being interesting.

Beauty can surely garner attention, but unless you want a man who is simply after a trophy girlfriend or wife, being pretty is not going to be enough to save the relationship. Society, especially the media, consistently pushes the message that physical attractiveness is a woman’s primary currency for success in life. Consequently, we end up zeroing in on the exterior rather than the interior. Real, authentic beauty radiates from the inside, a combination of confidence, self-respect, values, intelligence, heart and spirit, that lasts far longer than any waterproof mascara and that 24-hour foundation crap. Eat healthy food, take care of yourself, take pride in your appearance, but relying on being pretty as your primary asset will only result in attracting someone who doesn’t see (nor care to) the real you.

5. You cannot carry a quality conversation.

I’m not saying you need to go and scoop up The Washington Post, the Financial Times, and the Economist, or dive right into the complexities of the Affordable Care Act over appetizers, but you cannot build the foundation for a lasting relationship with a one-sided monologue or by telling Bob about that new Balenciaga bag in the window of Barneys that you were simply floored by. Poor Bob, all he wants to do is have a nice dinner. Remember, there are two people in a relationship and you should want to get to know the other person. Ask questions. Really listen to the answers. A true connection requires honesty and showing vulnerability. It requires sharing. I think one of the most honest conversations I had this past year was with a Capitol Hill coworker in a bar of all places and I appreciated it all the more after I later had to listen to someone else’s monologue concerning a date they had at Red Robin. Try to take the conversation beyond the superficial small talk (but only do it it it feels natural. Certainly don’t sit down and fire off questions about your date’s childhood traumas).

If any of this feels a little familiar, I suggest you take a step back and evaluate what you’re doing wrong in the relationship. Map out what you can do better the next time around. You’ll be better for it.

Watch your six & stay purring,

Liv.

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