“Find yourself first… like yourself first… love yourself FIRST… & friendship & love will naturally find YOU.”
~ Mandy Hale
Tip 1: If you don’t value yourself, it will be easy to devalue a guy because he is interested in you.
This is because we are usually not interested in people who value things that we do not.
Insight: Confidently and honestly be able to say these three statements:
- I value myself enough to be valued by a guy
- I know when a guy is valuing me
- I have chosen guys who have truly valued me in the past
If you struggled to say any one of the above statements in earnest and with confidence, you may be struggling to value a guy who is interested in you.
Tip 2: Do not choose a guy to assess how loveable you are.
By understanding how your parents impacted your self-worth and what you may have done to try to win their approval, you will more easily recognize when you are only interested in guys who mimic your experience of seeking approval in your family.
Insight: If you did not feel protected and valued by your parents, you will continue to want to gain mastery over this rejection by trying to win over men who lack the ability to protect and value you.
Freud called this Repetition Compulsion.
Being compelled to choose a relationship that mimics rejections in childhood in hopes that you can become loveable enough to be wanted.
This way of being, which is sometimes unconscious, will almost always leave you feeling alone, so think twice before you reject the guy who is actually interested in you.
Tip 3: Choose the guy that is right for you rather than the guy who is right for your family and friends.
Insight: Most all women dating back centuries have been striving to be beautiful and talented enough to be wanted by a handsome and successful man.
Marrying someone who was approved of by a women’s family and community has allowed many women to escape painful scrutiny from the people closest to them. Therefore, once you realize a guy is interested in you, the next thought you may be pondering is whether your friends and family will approve.
Don’t fall into this historical trap!
Take time to get clear on what you really want in a romantic partner before you diminish the value of a guy who is interested in you.
Allyson Cole, PsyD – www.createoutcomes.com
What happens to you when that guy you like starts to show interest?
Do you feel a zing in your stomach and want to run the other direction?
Do you have a moment of panic?
You may have noticed a pattern of behavior like this. But have you thought about what could actually be happening on a deeper level?
Sometimes, when people express interest in us, we may tend to pull away.
Here are some specific questions to ask yourself to try to figure out why you lose interest when he shows interest:
1. Am I afraid to fail?
Too often, we can end up sabotaging a relationship before anything happens. Sometimes when we look at our past, we can begin to understand what’s going on. Take a moment or two to consider your family of origin.
Maybe your parents got divorced or you had a turbulent childhood. It could be that your parents were not the best role models. These experiences can have a significant impact on you.
Some people are afraid of having a repeat of a toxic relationship, so they don’t move forward in the first place. The rationale is, “I can’t fail if I don’t let a relationship even start.”
2. What do my past relationships look like and how are they impacting my future ones?
Maybe you had a really great relationship with someone in the past and you are worried no other person will come close. Perhaps you’ve been burned by someone in the past and you’re wondering whether this next person might do the same.
Take a moment to reflect on what specifically has happened in your past relationships and how that has impacted you.
We all learn good and bad things from relationships and these experiences can actually help steer us towards what we desire in our future relationships.
3. Is “losing interest” a way of protecting myself from getting hurt?
Ask yourself, “What am I afraid might happen?” Maybe you’re afraid he might reject you. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll end up looking foolish. Think about other fears you may have. If we can never be vulnerable, we can never have a truly intimate relationship. Maybe you’ll make some amazing memories together.
Ask yourself whether it could be time to stop guarding yourself and instead to allow yourself to be open to letting someone know you.
It pays off to do a little introspection before moving forward in a relationship. Consider working with a counselor or therapist to understand in greater depth how your family of origin issues or past relationships may have impacted you. Remember that it can take a while to work on yourself; everyone grows and recovers at different paces. In the end you may be glad you did!
Melissa King, MA, LPC, NCC – www.firelightcounseling.com
Are you noticing a pattern that your feelings for the person you’re dating begin to change when they start to show that they are interested and invested in your relationship?
You may be wondering why your feelings have changed or you may already be pulling away emotionally.
Mainstream culture and media tend to sensationalize and reinforce the thrill of the chase early in relationships, but the reality is that this phase does not last long and relationships based on secure connection evolve to be deeper, steadier, and more vulnerable.
There are several reasons why your feelings may be changing, the person you’re dating may not be the right fit, you may not be feeling ready for a relationship, or you may be experiencing a common underlying fear of loss and being hurt.
A common trigger for fear in relationships is the feeling that the more you open yourself up to your partner, the closer you get, the more you could get hurt if the relationship ends.
To have a healthy and secure relationship you have to open yourself up and and to get closer.
Indeed, having a healthy relationship requires that you open yourself up to connection, even in the face of potential loss and pain. So, what can you do if this feels familiar?
Start by bringing your awareness to this pattern and where it is coming from.
- Have you been hurt in a past relationship?
- Did you witness a painful divorce growing up?
- Have you lost a significant relationship in your life?
Identifying the underlying fear will help you better understand your feelings and to process them directly.
Notice How You Cope
Think of a time in the past when you felt scared, what did you do? For example, do you make plans to go skydiving, feeling anxious and excited, and then find that you talk yourself out of the experience? The way you cope with fear outside of your relationship is likely showing up in how you are coping now.
Practice Opening Up
If you recognize this pattern in your relationships, connect with the fear of opening yourself up, and want to try to rekindle your feelings for the person you’re dating, it can help to start small. Begin by sharing more of yourself with the person you’re dating.
Brené Brown explains that the process of building trust and safety to be vulnerable is like filling a jar with marbles.
It takes a certain amount of marbles to feel safe to open yourself up and small experiences of vulnerability fill the jar over time. Additionally, positive experiences of vulnerability can build connection and reignite excitement in a relationship.
Fear of loss and pain are not only common, they are natural, and it is the exquisite dilemma of human connection that we must open ourselves up to the very things we fear in order to have the healthy and secure relationships that fulfill us.
Lauren Skuba, MA, MFTC – www.positivespace-therapy.com
Why do some women go after the “bad guy/gal”, while others choose the attentive, “good guy/gal” type?
Or perhaps, you participate in a romance for 2 or 3 months, attracting your mate, once you have his commitment, it is no longer attractive to you. While the “pursuit” is on, you are interested, and once you have him, the desire and excitement is gone.
There are many factors that play into our attachment needs, and ultimate relationship design and durability.
In therapy modalities, this is called Systemic therapy. How does the individual relate in terms of relationship versus isolation. Systemically, these layers range from sexual orientation, family of Origin issues, physical/psychological genetic propensity, educational and work background to any trauma and abuse you may have suffered.
If you recognize a pattern of pursuit than withdrawal in your relationship choices, the answer could be in your past.
If the thrill is in the chase, not the long term commitment necessary to maintain a healthy connection, with a committed partner, reasonably, there are stumbling blocks holding you back.
Potential messages from the past of unworthiness, trust issues, abuse patterns, fear of rejection/abandonment and divorce in your own family all could lead to this pattern, and feelings, of loss of excitement and finally a decision to end the courtship.
Multiple potential narratives, or systemic thought patterns could be impacting your current choice in partners and decisions to stay.
The pursuit is only phase one of a long term healthy relationship.
The next level of intimacy includes, what I call the “wake up” stage. After the oxytocin is leveled out, often called the “love hormone” for attraction, than the real work of relationship begins.
Good news is, these thought patterns, layers of trauma, or relationship messages can be changed.
Long term committed goals can be obtained thru personal growth, therapy and being mindful of your own underlying goals for relationship and how to take the excitement of dating to the next step of long lasting commitment.
Carolyn Riviere-Placzek, MA, LMFT, RPT, CST – www.collaboratecounseling.com
You’ve met someone… he is handsome, funny and seems to check many of the boxes.
After a few dates he seems to be very interested, responding quickly to messages, asking for another date, even cute little good morning and good night texts.
And then it happens…you realize you’re just not that into him. You want to be, you try and in spite of your frustration in yourself, it’s just not there.
Losing interest in someone once they show interest in you, at first glance seems to be a puzzling scenario.
However, upon a closer look there are a few common reasons this might happen.
1. The Thrill of the Hunt
Evolutionarily speaking men are typically hunters. However, I do think there is something to be said for women liking a challenge as well. It’s the old adage that women like a “bad boy,” that aloof, unavailable man.
I always say stereotypes are there for a reason. It’s because we too like the thrill of the hunt, the excitement in trying to attain the unattainable.
There is something about having that one thing, when it seems we can’t have it.
Would we really love those shoes if there were millions of them and they were giving them away for free? I think not. Sometimes we just have to realize that just because something is available does not make it less valuable…in fact when we are ready that man who likes us back becomes very appealing.
2. Defense Mechanism
Sometimes the reason we don’t like someone once they start liking us is because we didn’t really like them in the first place. Once they begin to show interest the reality and fear set in and we realize we are going to hurt them if we continue down this path.
Being honest with ourselves and others can save everyone a lot of pain in the long run.
Once we realize we just aren’t that into someone, the kind and loving thing to do is to set them free so they can find someone who feels equally about them.
3. Low Self-Esteem
I believe the biggest reason women lose interest is because they have low self esteem and when a guy shows interest they immediately think there must be something wrong with him.
Maybe even subconsciously…”why would he like me, what’s wrong with him?”
I recently spoke with a friend who admitted, “Yeah if someone liked me right now, I would wonder why. I don’t even like myself very much.”
If we work on our own self-esteem and loving ourselves when we feel it from someone else in return it will be much easier to enjoy and more comfortable to accept.
Keeping these things in mind, next time you start to feel like you’re losing interest in a great guy, it might be time to take a look at yourself and see where there is room to grow.
Pamela Georgette, LMFT, ATR – www.createachange.net
Kate made her counseling appointment over the internet, so I didn’t know why she was seeking therapy.
After she settled on my couch, I asked, “So, Kate, why are you here?”
Kate began to tell me about her life. She appeared to be a smart young woman with a pleasant personality. She had a job she loved and lots of friends.
“My life is good in so many ways,” she said. “But I have this one thing that keeps happening over and over again. My sister thought it might be good to talk to someone about it.”
Kate told me whenever she started dating someone she was the one to pull away, to end it. “That’s not unusual,” I said. “Maybe you’re just very particular?”
“No,” she said, “It’s more than that. These are guys I actually like but I’ve noticed when they start showing more interest in me, I automatically lose interest in them. It’s very confusing.”
“Tell me more about these relationships,” I said.
After giving me the details of her failures, as she called them, I told her I didn’t think she was losing interest.
Instead, she was experiencing anxiety created by the vulnerability that a romantic relationship naturally requires.
I added, “Your ultimate fear is rejection. And the way you deal with that threat is by shutting down and pulling away. It’s a quick fix but ultimately leaves you feeling lonely and unfulfilled.”
“I think you might be right,” she said as tears filled her eyes.
I suggested she keep a journal, where she could document her thoughts and feelings as they were happening.
And I encouraged her to practice meditation and mindfulness skills to help her live life more in “the present” rather than projecting into the future.
She agreed to do the homework.
A couple of sessions later, Kate confessed that her thoughts about herself and relationships tended to be negative, with worst-case scenarios as the outcome.
When she found herself getting more involved with a guy, a typical thought was, “I know he’ll figure out I’m not interesting enough and he’ll dump me.”
I helped her to dispute her negative thoughts or, at least, to neutralize them by asking her to come up with solid evidence to support her beliefs that she wasn’t worthy—which, of course, she couldn’t.
She gradually began to consider that maybe—just maybe—she could have a mutually satisfying relationship. Armed with this new insight she was ready to hit the dating scene again, but this time with more confidence.
Can you relate to Kate’s dilemma? Are you anxious as a promising romance begins to blossom? Do you pull away to protect yourself?
It takes courage to face vulnerability but with insight and intention, you’ll find yourself in a better place, as Kate did.
Susan Tschudi, MA, LMFT – www.therapybysusan.com
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