Today’s letter comes from Wendy, who has been grappling with a question that’s been driving women crazy since the dawn of time. Wendy writes:
Why are men so fickle? I recently met a great guy who seemed really into me. We went out a few times, and I thought something great could be developing. But as soon as I began making myself more available (which is what I thought he wanted), he lost interest and stopped calling or texting. This makes me wonder: are all men in it for the thrill of the chase? I’d hate to think all men are this way, and I don’t want to play games, but it seems holding back is the only way to keep a man interested.
Thank you for this great question, Wendy! It really gets to the core of some of the dangerous myths that can wreak havoc on our love lives. One of the most persistent myths is that acting coy, disinterested, or unavailable is the way to pique and sustain a man’s interest. It’s a fiction that’s been passed down and reinforced through generations, but let’s take a closer look at the implications of such behavior.
First of all, if you really are interested in and available for a long-term relationship, then pretending to be unavailable at the beginning is to start from a place of dishonesty. Your foundation already has cracks in it! If you know that you want an open and honest connection, one in which you don’t play games, then why sell yourself short? To deny what you truly want in favor of what you think he wants means that you’ve bought into another, even more harmful myth: that men are universally and fundamentally relationship-shy.
Are Men Relationship Averse?
I’m happy to tell you no, this simply isn’t true. Sure, there are some men out there who aren’t looking for a deep emotional bond in their dating life—we’ve all run into more than a few of those!—but not all men are this way. There are many relationship-ready men looking for women who are available, clear about their needs, and willing to be vulnerable. If you keep finding yourself in situations with men who “go cold” as soon as you open up, we’ve got to look deeper and get to the source of the problem.
It sounds cliché, but we really do attract what we put out into the world. If you’re presenting yourself as unavailable, you will attract men who are not relationship-ready. You set the tone for the relationship, and then when you suddenly open up and expect emotional intimacy from a man who hasn’t shown signs of wanting such a thing, it’s not him who’s changing the temperature; it’s you. He’s simply reacting.
So how do you break the cycle?
1. Assume responsibility for who you’re attracting. In owning the responsibility, you take back the power to alter your course.
2. Train yourself to be open, honest, and vulnerable on your fist date. I know this seems scary, and doing this will scare off a handful of men, but consider that a blessing; those men aren’t the men you want anyway! Relationship-ready men will need you to be available and will respond well to your vulnerability. This practice will weed out the players, jerks, and commitment-phobes and spare you the heartache of pouring energy into a relationship that’s not nourishing you at your core.
You Get What You Give
Incorporating these practices into your dating life will require you to be fearless, both in examining your own heart and in revealing its contents to another. But trust me, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. Begin taking your walls down—and filling in those emotional moats you’ve dug around yourself for protection—and you might just be surprised how much more easily men find their way in.
Let me know if this resonates with you!