DATING ADVICE QUESTION FROM A WOMAN:
My boyfriend listened to one of your podcasts in early August and told me about it vaguely, he didn't want me to know too much, but because I have a degree in sexuality studies and my work is reflective of our society's gender roles, I had to find the pod cast and listen to it.
I listened to all of them, excellent advice by the way, but I noticed that you don't really talk about what to do once you are in a relationship. Where are those podcasts? Do you have advice for men once they are in a serious relationship? because they really need help with that too.
I just know I would flip out if my boyfriend started dating other women just so he could build his confidence.
Great to hear from someone from the "other" side... :)
And even better that you're in this field as well. I have to admit it's nice to get validated by the professionals.
I don't have a degree in this area, as most every guy I advise knows, but I do have a PhD. in the school of hard knocks. I've been around the block, and I've studied basic relational psychology, practical human behaviors, and motivational psychology.
One of my best friends is a relationship therapist, and I discuss this stuff with her frequently, too.
First of all, I'm only on Podcast 12 or so. Give me time, hon.
I only advise men for the first couple months of dating. And this is on purpose.
I will occasionally help guys past this point, but I feel like that's already been done to death by the 3 Billion other relationship "gurus" out there.
However, that being said, I'll frequently help those I know with their relationship woes. I can give long term help, too.
The harsh reality boils down to a few elements, and these comprise most all the problems I see with men and women:
1) They were never compatible to begin with, but they had great chemistry, and they just can't seem to come to terms with this.
2) They never had great chemistry to begin with, but they felt they should be together because they were somewhat compatible, and it's easier to stay together than hurt the other person
3) They have problems related to one or the other not living up to their gender role adequately (men not taking a leadership role, or women not nurturing her man)
4) Low self-esteem and insecurity issues (sometimes extending into other psychological problems)
I don't like to oversimplify, but I've seen about 95% of all relationship issues stem from these 4 areas (most of them falling in number 4). That's it. The ones that don't fall into these can usually be overcome.
Now, this isn't to say that it's as easy to determine when to break it off and move on. There is a lot of gray zone where it's hard to tell whether the problems can be worked out. I never advocate bailing as a first response because we grow the MOST
in the context of a relationship.
However, a lot of people also hurt
others the most in the same context, so that's why I preach that you MUST
have a good level of self-esteem BEFORE
you get into a relationship. Otherwise, it's just one big battleground over insecurities on both sides.
Now, you note that I talk about guys dating other women. I think this is a necessity (as it should be for the woman) in the first 30-60 days of a relationship.
1) You'll find out how mature or insecure your partner is.
2) You'll keep a better head about you when you don't feel this person is your one and only hope.
3) You have a frame of comparison.
4) You don't drop immediately into codependency and spiraling obsession - usually ending in doom for the possible relationship.
5) You'll feel better about yourself if you don't feel that #5 is your only fate - you've got options
And there's more, but those are the most important.
I don't advocate it purely as a "self-esteem booster" or to make a guy feel better. It's not meant to be a "happy pill."
But let's face it. If that's what it takes to get his level of self-esteem up higher so that he can have a higher quality relationship, Right on!
The ends do justify the means in this case. We have better relationships with people who feel genuinely GOOD about themselves. Period. (And as we know, this isn't the root cause of a man's self-esteem, it's only a symptom.)
Typically it's only the insecurities of one or both people that make relationships difficult, and that's a sign that perhaps it's not the true attraction of one for the other that's holding them together. It's usually some twisted self-gratification instead of a genuine desire to experience another person.
I want my woman MOTIVATED
to be with me. I want them to KNOW
that I know my own value. I want them to UNDERSTAND
that they are dealing with a quality, secure guy who does not feel the need to limit his options.
Dating other women are also not something that gets thrown in later on. In other words, if you guys have started a dating relationship based on just seeing each other, well that's the terms of the deal right there. If he wants someone else in that mix after this point, it's not about you anymore, really. He's just "not that into you" as that book says.
So I think guys should start out
this way. See several people at first, then narrow the playing field down. Not the other way around.
The next harsh reality is that most people are NOT
a good fit for us. But the evil dilemma is that in order to be ready for the right one, you gotta go through a lot
of the wrong ones.
Believe it or not, I'm ALL FOR
one-to-one monogamous relationships when they can be done.
But in my humble opinion, humans are NOT
monogamous by nature (neither men nor women). That's most of our problem in today's world.
Marriage was an institution created by MEN
to keep his woman faithful so that he could make sure his offspring were really his and have some legal control in place. (I oversimplify here, but this is essentially true.) Of course, this doesn't work, but somehow it made good sense when a woman needed a stable form of support to raise the children with.
Most animals in the wild do NOT
pair bond for life, and humans are no different. (Male or female.)
And I also think that a relationship is the best way to try to grow as a person - when the time is right. And it's also a lot nicer to come home to the same person. Promiscuity is fun when your young, but dangerous later.
I ramble, but I think you should see my point of view better now.
So, in closing, I don't condone polyamorous behavior (more than one lover) as a way to jack up your self-esteem, because that behavior will sow the seeds of your own doom.
But I do think men need to keep their options more open and their sense of confidence up so that they can make better decisions with the one that might matter
. And then they won't scare her off when she finally shows up, either!
I will actually cover more "relationship" questions in the future.
The truth is that most guys just want a shot at having
a relationship. And that's where I fit in.
Tell your boy to "MAN-UP" and be proud
that he's looking to get more information to improve himself.
I bet you'd respect that a heck of a lot more than him trying to hide it from you like a dirty secret, wouldn't you?
You know I'm right when I say that the one thing that women find the most attractive is a man who isn't ashamed of being a MAN
And when you're ready for that guy, send me your phone number and let me know when you're in the San Francisco Bay area next. We'll go out and have some delightful food, drinks, talk, and ... fun.