Last week was Men's Health week; and as another nod to the guys, I thought I'd help them by helping you better understand them. (Did you follow that?) In particular, I want to help you better understand the experience men have when they're trying to "date like a grownup."
If you've read my eBook, you know that I believe strongly that empathizing with men is absolutely essential to your dating and relationship success. The definition of empathy is "the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings." So the only way you really can empathize is to know their side of the story.
Men and women are different in many ways, but we're more the same than you may think. And this is especially true as we get older. We all have dating disappointments and horror stories. Just like how you've dated your share of challenging types of men like the Pinger, the Couch Potato and the older-and-balder-than-his-profile-guy…men also meet and enter into relationships with less-than-impressive types of women.
I've talked to countless single men over the years about their experiences with women, especially those in their 40s, 50s and beyond. In the following days I'm going to give you some of their stories of dating and relationships. (Guys, if you're reading this…get in touch if you want to share!)
Just like we can meet the same types of guy over and over, men can do the same with women. Here are some of the types of women men deal with as they date and relate.
The Princess The Princess is confident, well put together, and very attractive. She easily lures in men. She still follows "The Rules" and requires that her man do what she wants, when she wants. He needs to make all the right moves. She's a scorekeeper, and she alone decides when he's given enough to satisfy her…or when he hasn't and is history.
The Princess has an "I deserve it" attitude and has little or no concern for how she can make the other person happy. She insists he give and give with little or no reciprocity; after all, he's the The Man and she's his prize!
The 18 Year Old The 18 year old dates - sometimes a lot - but she doesn't have relationships because "she doesn't want the men who want her, and the men she wants don't want her." She doesn't know what will make her happy and has not yet learned how to communicate and relate to grownup men. By default she clings to the same type of guy she wanted in high school or college. He's often the "Bad Boy" because he excites her. (See the Wow Me Woman below.)
The nice, relationship-minded men get quickly discarded by the 18 year old. Try as he might, the 60-year-old fabulous guy can't measure up to her expectations because she's looking for a man who doesn't exist. She gets stuck in affairs with men who never commit, and it's often the nice guys who are interested in her who bear the brunt of her hurt and anger.
The Scaredy Cat The Scaredy Cat has been emotionally wounded by men in the past, and she can't let go of it. She mistrusts men and often blames herself for the rejection she's felt, believing that she just wasn't good enough. She says things like "I need him to say he wants a relationship, and then I'll open up," or "Once he gets to know me, he probably won't like me."
The Scaredy Cat may put her guy through lots of tests before she feels confident that he's truly interested. When he passes those tests or shows he has feelings for her, she questions it and might up the ante. She picks fights, picks the wrong guys, or maneuvers relationships to end because it gives her control.
This "I'm never going to find a good relationship" gal leaves men unable to get any traction during courting or in a relationship. The wall she has erected is just too high for him to climb in order to get to the other side. Since trust and affection are what men yearn for from women, he usually does her a favor and leaves…hence rendering her "right" once again.
The Wow Me Woman The Wow Me Woman is a midlife gal who still thinks that excitement is the key to judging if a guy is a good match. She's looking for her guy to be interesting, keep her laughing, ask her all about herself, and give her butterflies…all on the first date. If she's not swept away, there won't be a second.
The Wow Me Woman leaves many good men in her dust. Men sense her quick judgment, which leaves them feeling deflated, unattractive and powerless. That man then makes a poor impression (understandably), and the date is chalked up to another "he just wasn't right for me" experience. The Wow Me Woman is often single for a very, very long time.
The Bitter Gal The Bitter Gal is angry -- usually about everything, but especially about men. She'll find fault with every man she meets. A guy never has a chance, even he is the nicest guy in the world and really likes her. (Which usually doesn't last very long since, no matter how pretty and smart she is, she is no fun to be around.)
The truth is that The Bitter Gal has been playing the victim for most (if not all) of her life. Her life isn't going the way she wants and she just can't figure out why. With men, she might complain that they just "don't get her," but the truth is that she's giving them every reason to head for the hills with her off-handed comments and negativity. She hasn't mastered the life skill of introspection, so she's blinded by her bitterness. It doesn't occur to her that she might be the problem even though every date and relationship seems to end the same way. Though a nice guy might try to break through and prove her wrong about men, he will give up out of exhaustion.
The Sexpot The Sexpot is all about putting out the sex vibe. She believes her sexuality is the only way she can attract a man, or she wants this point in her life to be a series of sexual experiences. Either way, she's not connecting with men. She posts a provocative picture on her online dating profile, invites him over to her house on the first date, shows too much skin (especially for a woman over 40), and is overly familiar with her affection.
The Sexpot offers herself up on the first date and is offended if her date doesn't partake. Men who are looking just for sex will say yes. Relationship-minded men may also say "yes" even though they may feel somewhat emasculated or turned off by her aggressiveness. (They are men, after all.) She won't get a call from either of these guys and forever wonder why since she thinks she gave him what he wants.
You know that dating at this stage of life (Or any, for that matter!) is not exactly a rose garden every moment. When you appreciate the same is true for the men you date, it will go a long way toward building compassion and, therefore, building relationships.
Most every man has his set of dating bumps and bruises. Next post I will share more about the women they date along with some of their personal stories.