If you follow me on Facebook, you will probably remember that I recently mentioned an attractive single, blonde, 38-year old nurse, I have nicknamed “The Nurse.” (So original, I know.) To recap, The Nurse and I had a candid conversation about how difficult it was to find a decent guy. Nobody wants to commit – everyone just wants to play the field and are only looking for a hook-up.
Like most of us, The Nurse had gone through a major break-up that left her world turned upside-down. And, even though she had been divorced for three years, she still talked about it like it was just yesterday. She had been married for 10 years, but she left him because he didn’t want children. So even though she left him, her ex-husband was able to start dating someone right after they divorced. Good for him, right? But that’s not the end of it. To add insult to injury, guess what she just found out? He’s expecting his first child.
When you’re dealing with the pain from your last relationship, there’s really nothing worse than finding out that while you’re in the midst of your pity party and depression, your ex is happily moving forward with his/her life with someone new. I should know, because I’ve been there myself. I left my boyfriend after three years, in hopes that he would eventually come to his senses and realize the mistakes he made that made me leave. Ha! Was that wishful thinking! Not only did I find out that he wasn’t coming back, but it didn’t take him long to fall in love with someone else. Within six months, they were engaged. That was definitely the worst day of my life. So yes, I can totally relate to The Nurse’s story. We watch our ex go on and be happy with someone else, while we are still sleeping all by ourselves, every single night, in that big, lonely bed of ours – feeling pathetic.
Yup, it totally sucks.
Curious as to how she was doing now, I asked if she was dating anyone. Did she have a boyfriend? Surely she was dating, because The Nurse that attractive, I thought surely she must be dating someone.
Oh, but she was… She told me that she had dated here and there, but it was this one guy who she really liked a lot and had been seeing for a few months now. The downside to this is that he wasn’t looking for a relationship, but that she was totally into him.
Say what? Didn’t she just say she left her husband because he didn’t want kids? I was confused, so I asked her what she liked about this guy so much. I noticed that as she described him, her whole demeanor changed. She became happy – almost giddy if you will. Her description of him included things like he was cute, fun, owned his own business and that they got along really well. So what was the problem? If he was so great, why didn’t he want a monogamous relationship? “Oh, no. He wouldn’t go for that. He’s too scared to be in another relationship, because he was really hurt from the last one.”
Then, she added that she could relate to not wanting another relationship because she still felt so hurt by her ex-husband.
And we all know what I said about that…
“Ya, I call bull shit. Of course you want another relationship! Don’t be silly,” I told her. “We all do. We all want someone we can wake up to every morning, share our hopes and dreams with – a best friend we can count on and have sex with. Deep down inside we all want someone we can love and who will love us in return.” That’s when she smiled at me and said I was right.
“Okay, so now that you know what you want, why are you wasting your time on this guy? He’s not right for you, especially if you want children and he’s not even willing to commit.”
“I know…” her voice trailed off as she looked down at her hands.
Then it dawned on me – she was stuck on “That Guy”!
We all know who That Guy is, right? If you don’t, I will describe him. He’s elusive, he comes across as being very mysterious and confident. He makes us feel frustrated and insecure, but because he keeps sending us text messages, even when we haven’t seen or heard from him in weeks, we somehow justify his actions in our head and give him the benefit-of–the doubt that he really was “busy.” We end up hanging on way too long, having ourselves convinced that he’ll eventually change and fall in love with us, but he won’t, because he’s That Guy who will never commit. His favorite past time (besides sleeping with us) is keeping us guessing. He’s desensitized to our feelings and if we call him out on his insensitivity or bad behavior, he’ll easily write us off and convince himself that we are just another crazy person. Most women know who That Guy is because these days he’s everywhere.
Why she was even giving this guy the time of day was beyond me, but I had been in her shoes before. I understood her addiction to this guy and why she felt he was so “great.” I didn’t want to come down too hard on her and make her feel bad, so instead I took a different approach. Instead of getting up on my soap box, I started asking her some thought-provoking questions.
“So, let me ask you this, if you had five other guys knocking down your door, wanting to date you, giving you attention, texting and calling you all the time and taking you out, would this guy still mean this much to you?”
“That’s a very good question – probably not.”
I sat there and let her think about what I had just said before I moved on to my next question. “Okay, here’s something else to think about. I know you mentioned earlier that you didn’t have a good relationship with your dad. Most of the time that leaves us feeling unwanted. Unfortunately, unless that feeling of rejection or abandonment is resolved somehow it usually carries over into our adult life. So when we go find a mate, we are still trying to fill that void. So let me ask you this, is it fair to say you attract men who make you feel like your father did, and somehow, if you win their love, it means that you are finally good enough?”
“Oh, my God, you’re right…you should really be a therapist.”
“It’s an emotional scar that a lot of women carry with them – and I blame the breakdown of the family. I don’t think people understand how important it is to have a mother and a father equally raising you. Both are important, but with so much divorce these days – what are the current divorce rate statistics? Fifty percent? That’s the problem right there. Father’s who abandon ship. And because we lack a father figure in our lives, we seek approval from other men…aka ‘Daddy issues.’ I mean, c’mon…how many strippers do you know who have a great relationship with their father?”
“I have no idea…”
“This is really about your perception of yourself. I think you’ve been focusing on the wrong thing with That Guy. Instead of questioning if he’s good enough for you, you’ve been waiting for some kind of validation from him to indicate that you’re good enough. You already know you’re a great person who is worthy of love. You don’t need to be validated by a guy who is clearly emotionally inept. Don’t you want better for yourself? Don’t you think you are better than someone’s afterthought or hook-up?”
“You’re absolutely right.”
“You deserve someone who will cherish you. If you really like him and you guys get along so well, why don’t you ask him to be exclusive with you? If he says ‘no,’ then there’s your answer: He’s just not that into you and then you will have a decision to make.”
It was at that time that I decided that she needed to read He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys. So I let her borrow my own personal copy.
The next time I saw her, she said that not only did she love the book, but that she had even read excerpts out loud to her roommate.
This of course made my day.
So, I think I have found another passion besides writing, which is helping other women see their own self-worth. When I meet women like The Nurse I feel like I can totally relate to what they are going through.
Like so many of us, The Nurse had it all backwards. I get it. When we find ourselves being dumped after one or two dates, it takes a toll on our self-esteem and we think it has something to do with us. Maybe it does, or maybe that guy just wasn’t a good fit. Regardless, we have to stop taking it so personal. And why settle for a guy who is not into you, anyway? Why would we do that to ourselves? I’m a woman, I know how a woman’s mind works. We wait around to hear from that guy we just had a first date with,, hoping that we’ll get another date and wondering what they thought about us. Did he like me? Did I talk too much? Did he think I was pretty? When in reality, we really should be thinking, “Did I like him and do I want another date?”
As soon as The Nurse starts thinking differently about herself, she will start to change the energy she is projecting and then she will start attracting better people. Trust me when I say this, because this is exactly what I have done; I have attracted better men into my life and even if I do attract a bad one (it happens) at least I’m willing to recognize it, and vote him off the island as quickly as possible. Most importantly, I’m not chasing the wrong guy anymore and, instead, I’m giving the right guy a chance.
My hope is that I can help other women start making better decisions in this “hook-up” society that we live in – even if it’s one woman at a time, because, you know what? Of all of the conversations I have had with random people at The Shaskeen and even online when I was online dating, I have met so many really nice guys out there, who are waiting for a really great girl to give them a chance. But, apparently, their complaint is that there are no nice girls out there.
How ironic is that?!
Look, bottom line is, if we don’t treat ourselves with dignity and respect, why should men? It’s really that simple. How we treat ourselves and how we think about ourselves is the energy we will project. So, until or unless we stop hooking-up with “That Guy” who will never appreciate us, we’ll never attract, or even recognize, “Nice Guy” who will.