General Dating Questions/love?

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QUESTION: Dear Dr. Dennis W. Neder

I need your help concerning relationships.
I'm not very trustful when it comes to men, though I'm open minded and I try to be receptive to every bad experience that comes along.
I've never been close to my father, and this may explain my attractiveness to older men(although I'm 22) because I believe I can find in them that kind of emotional maturity I am looking for. I have a huge desire to fall in love, to get to care about someone and to feel loved again.
I find it difficult to really trust and "surrender". Last time when I did that, I ended up being hurt. And I don't want to settle for less. I want more than that. I want someone who can understand the true meaning of love. Although I've been in relationships before, I've never found that in a man.

Still, I want to believe in that pure love, when you know that your partner supports you in every single way, makes efforts to keep you happy.
Maybe my doubts comes with the age. I'm still young and I need to experience things in order to create an opinion about that.
My last experience was with an older man. Eventually, I got to the conclusion that I wasn't good enough for him or he still wanted to have fun. It was hard to get emotionally detached since I was so in love with him.

That made me weak, insecure, unattractive someone, though I I'm happy with my body. How can I deal with these feelings?
I go out often and meeting people hasn't been very helpful. The next thing that crosses my mind is the fact that if a guy likes me, he would just want to have sex with me. I need to get rid of this pattern, that how I'd name it now, a pattern.

Thank you so much for your time.
Warm Regards, D.

ANSWER: Hello Denisa!

Let's start here: as scary as it may seem, every time you get hurt in a relationship you get stronger and the hurts are less and last for shorter time periods the next time. Obviously, the goal isn't to go out and get hurt a bunch of times but knowing that it gets easier does help at least a little.

Knowing this does something else for you. It helps you learn how to trust. What you come to understand is that trusting someone else has nothing to do with them. It has everything to do with you. When you know that you can survive being hurt your trust level soars. That's because you accept the responsibility for your own trust. You can give it easily and without tons of qualifications or expectations. You can open yourself up to possibilities - not hurt.

That's a pretty high level of living but it's definitely one I hope everyone aspires to own. Trust me that it's absolutely worth it.

Let's talk about your expectations next.

I absolutely get the sense that you have a list of expectations that you bring to your relationships - something of a script of what he'll do, act, say, etc. When he doesn't follow your script you get angry, hurt and frustrated. I believe this is true because of saying things like believing in "pure love" (WHOSE "pure love" - yours or someone else's? They're all different!), expecting "support in every single way" (simply not possible - everyone has good and bad things about themselves and some you'll/they'll like some you/they wont) and other things.

What this comes down to is an expectation of not having to grow or change. You want some guy to just accept you however you want to be without any work or investment on your part. That's a very immature way of looking at relationships! In fact, everyone has their own lists too and it's far, far more important to meet someone else's expectations than even to have your own met. I'll get more into this in a moment.

As far as someone making you happy; you're in the same boat. It's really not anyone else's job to do that! It's YOUR job to come to your next relationship as a happy, well-adjusted individual FIRST.

It's these expectations that are creating many of your insecurities. That's a lot of weight to put on any new relationship and frankly, the vast majority of them simply can't survive that weight. It's like going to one of those old-fashioned water pumps with the handle and saying, "Ok, give me water and THEN I'll start pumping based on what you give me". You're going to be one thirsty girl if you do that - and your relationship experiences bear that out!

There are a number of things you can do to deal with these problems but the first is to throw away your own list of expectations and start coming to your relationships from a marketing point of view. Let me explain:

Let's say that you want to start selling cookies based on some recipe you've created. So, you make a batch of those cookies and sit around in your kitchen waiting for customers to come around. None do because no one even knows you're even there baking.

One day someone just happens to smells the cookies and just happens to show up at your front door. Lucky you! They taste them and find them awful and won't buy any of them. Your feelings are hurt because you put so much time into making them and you get angry at the customer for not being "good enough" to know how much work you put in.

What a successful cookie maker does instead is to take their cookies out to the public and share them around. They listen closely to the feedback and continue to adjust the recipe to find what the customer wants and than, actually makes those exact cookies! This is called "selling what the customer is buying".

The trouble you're having is that you're not selling what your customer is buying. You're setting down your list of must-have's without knowing much about what they want and thus, are getting hurt because they won't live up to your expectations.

Now, let's say you threw away that list. You don't forget it entirely, but you don't constantly use it as a guide to a "good" or "bad" relationship. Instead, you start focusing on what your target market wants and needs. When you become so knowledgeable that and actually start delivering it, do you really think you're going to have any of the problems you've told me about? Of course not! You're going to be the woman of that man's (or those men's) dreams!

Where do you think your trust level and confidence will be then?

This is all about breaking the patterns of expectation, anticipation, investment, hurt, insecurity and then starting it all over again. Change your focus from all those things you want and need (which as I've already pointed out aren't realistic anyway) and instead, focus on what your target market wants and needs. Things will change pretty dramatically.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
818.334.8826
http://beingaman.com
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer me.
You are perfectly right. If I accept that things don't always happen the way I want them to happen and I'm open to the possibility that I can get hurt,I'm also open to the idea that I can live with it, with the feeling of being hurt. So, what you are saying is that I can live with almost everything as long as I simply accept where I stand.

Second of all, I don't think you understood the second part, of what I was trying to say about my "expectations" towards men. It seems that you obviously got wrong the idea of "someone supporting me in every single way".(sorry about my English, I'm European). I want someone who can stand for me and our relationship. This is what I meant.
I'm independent, therefore I don't need him to "support" me financially.
I am also willing to make compromises in a relationship as well, even sacrifices if I have to. I felt the need to clear that up because I didn't want to give you the impression that my way of thinking is selfish and lacks rationality.

Bottom line, I don't want to end up like my parents, living in a hopeless marriage. I want to wake up in the morning knowing that there's someone who's worth my love and affection. I may be pretentious, but I've never asked more that I can give.
And I enjoyed reading your little story. What you were point out is that I should know how to adapt to any situation, in my case relationships with men. But that's valid in their cases too.

I truly appreciate your honesty in your answer. Thank you again.

Best Regards, D.

Answer
Hello again Denisa!

You're very welcome.

I'm not really saying that you can live with almost anything simply by accepting it as a possibility. What I'm saying is that as you experience hurts in your relationships you'll get stronger and come to rely on your own ability to deal with them. You'll begin to "trust" yourself to be able to handle what comes your way and you'll also become wiser about the choices you make.

I hope it's obvious that I'd never recommend anyone go out and try to get emotionally (or physically!) hurt but then, I don't have to. Life is full of ups and downs. You can't avoid the downs hoping only for the ups. If you do that, you won't grow and you'll never build the confidence you need to have strong, healthy relationships.

Regarding your meaning of "support" - no, I got it - and actually, your English is pretty darn good for it being a second language.

Like you, I want the guys you date to be able to support your emotional needs too. I want them to know it's part of their job in dating you. The problem is this: what if they don't know it? What if they fail to give you the support you need? You can certainly blame them for their ignorance to a degree but you can't fall apart because if it. You have to accept some responsibility for your own emotional health and well-being. If you try to give all that responsibility away to someone else and take none of it for yourself, you're going to constantly be hurt without that growth I talked about before.

You and I want the same things for you. I want people to have strong, passionate, intense, fun relationships and to not be so scared of hurt that they avoid them. Some people can do that and some can't. It's really all about growth and experience.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
818.334.8826
http://beingaman.com
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder

Expertise

I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: http://beingaman.com. You can email me directly at: dwneder@beingaman.com.

Experience

I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

Education/Credentials
Doctor of Philosophy

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