2384. PROVERBS — Sex Differences 02


  1. Her Highness Meggerz deserves honorable mention for this contrasting jewel of a comment she made at 2364:

“I think perhaps the reason that men and women respond differently to blame is that women are more prone to internalizing blame as shame than men.

“Women are more likely to interpret “That was stupid” as “I am stupid,” whereas men are more likely to interpret “That was stupid” as “I did something stupid,” and there is an ocean of difference between the two.

“This leads to women feeling less lovable for having made a mistake, whereas a man will either fix it and be satisfied with himself, or dismiss the mistake as a fluke unrelated to his worth as a mate.”

 

  1. His ego and sense of significance are the same. Demeaning one discredits the other. His greatest fear, insignificance in his woman’s eyes discredits her.
  2. If men were born for togetherness, nurturing, intimacy, and continuous dialogue, they would have been born female. They have to be trained by girls and women.
  3. It’s every man’s nature to want to lay with attractive women. It offends his present woman when he insensitively reminds her of that side of his nature.
  4. Meaningless sex eventually leaves women feeling empty. By middle age, promiscuity weakens their feminine self-respect, -worth and -image.
  5. Men and women are so different hormonally and psychologically that couples succeed because of gender difference more than sameness. [75]
  6. Men are aroused by curiosity that fires their imagination. Women are aroused by desired touching and intimate caressing.
  7. Men are attracted by female physical attractiveness. Women are attracted by manly ability to brighten their future together.
  8. Men are empathetic until everything is done that can be done. Then, they become sympathetic. Women get sympathetic before they look to take action.
  9. Men believe what they see. Women believe what they hear.

40 Comments

Filed under courtship, Dear daughter, marriage, sex differences

40 responses to “2384. PROVERBS — Sex Differences 02

  1. Oh, my heavens, if this is not truth about the sexes, I don’t know what is. Women are made to be relational and nurturing, to reach out and draw in, to create networks of relationships where everyone is on the same page, singing the same tune (or harmonizing), agreeing, smiling, feeling warm and safe . . . and when they do something that disrupts (or when they perceive they have done something that disrupts) the harmonious getting along . . . yes, the sense of personal moral failure, the sense of shame is strong.

    Shame is all about having failed the group. Women have traditionally have been responsible for entire families–raising and disciplining kids, caring for a home, making sure the father goes out into the world ready for battle, negotiating with neighbors, service providers, doctors, and others to gain peaceful, economical, protective relationships that benefit the family.

    When women perceive that they have done something to disrupt their fragile network of harmony, they feel shame–the sense that they have let down the group or somehow disrupted the big kum-bah-yah picture. And yes, definitely, in my own life, those moments shriek at me, “You are defective!”

    My father, bless his memory, used to get so frustrated because, as compassionate a man as he was, he could not understand why I as a child cried so much at not being able to accomplish certain tasks at home and school. The reality is that I had/have certain learning disabilities that never really got recognized, but my perception was that I failed to learn something, so I was a horrible person.

    His attitude of “well, stop crying and start learning” could never quite batter down the door of my attitude, “It’s too late! I failed! I’m doomed!”

    Admittedly also at work were also personality differences and a family culture of perfectionism. But praise God that Daddy just rolled his eyes and kept pushing forward–and pushing me forward through each school year.

    • Oh, and may I say, in addition to number one which obviously looms quite large in my life at the moment, everything else is Just. So. True. When I was twenty, I refused to see it, but now . . . oh, boy, is it all true.

  2. That Horse Is Dead

    Sir Guy,

    For point #3, what does it mean if a man of interest volunteers that he has problems with intimacy and vulnerability? Without any prodding on my part, he made this seemingly random confession while we were driving together for a daytime outing (which he planned). As I’ve watched him over the last couple of years, he generally shows he cares for people through acts of service and is always generous and the “give his shirt off his back” kind of guy. Do I interpret this to mean that he’s setting me up ahead of time for his exit again or is he attempting to explain his lack of relationship skills because he does have an interest in me? After two years of off again/on again interaction, I’m not sure to continue being patient and enjoy the journey or finally let this man go.

    Your Highness That Horse Is Dead,

    Those are terms of interest to women and not men. What did you say before he volunteered that he has problems? Did you bring up those terms or mention something that you expected out of him that could have triggered his response?

    Men don’t think about problems with intimacy and vulnerability, except with an ulterior motive. Intimacy for men is playing with your hopefully naked body, which gayness can discourage. Vulnerability is caused by fear of dealing intimately with you, which can be faked. So, I suspect his motive comes from somewhere in this group:

    • He seeks to stir your curiosity so you will let him in your bed. Does he seem to appreciate touching your body?

    • He’s a manipulator and tries a new method to get whatever he’s after. Have you ever detected devious or manipulative thoughts in his behavior?

    • He lacks masculine courage to go where he expects you want him to go. Does he tend to lead or follow you?

    • He’s gay and either still sorting out his life or doesn’t want you to know.

    Those are just guesses, darling. I don’t have much detail. There could be other explanations, but you’ll have to figure it out.

    Guy

    • Cinnamon

      Interesting situation, THID. He could be setting you up, but it’s possible that this is his indirect way of apologising for his hot and cold behaviour of the last two years without losing face. Given the history here, I would say ignore the remark and don’t read anything into it per se. I would, however, watch his actions very carefully. If he brings up the subject again I would say something vague along the lines of, “people have different ways of expressing their care and concern for others. We aren’t all clones of each other, and isn’t that wonderful?”

      If he starts to go hot and cold again you will have your answer. If he does, gently let him go but without explanation – and this time for good.

      • That Horse Is Dead

        Hello Lady Cinnamon,

        I almost feel like you’ve been along for the ride with me as you’ve been following along my history with this man! I appreciate all your comments about the situation and look forward to Sir Guy’s perspective as well.

        • Cinnamon

          THID,

          I’ve enjoyed watching you apply WWNH principles to your dating life. We can all learn from this example, including from the questions you ask yourself.

    • That Horse Is Dead

      I see none of the options are good. The conversation leading up to this was about our Sunday school class. There’s been a change in teachers. The previous teacher discussed topics around life issues (and he had wanted to do a class on intimacy/vulnerability). So, after discussing the change in leadership style, he stated he wished we could have studied that particular topic because he had issues with it. So, it may be manipulation.

      Your Highness That Horse Is Dead,
      Or, he may have wanted to clear some I & V issues with you through a broker/SS teacher. Get some opinion points across without blaming or directly discouraging you. I suggest you declare him innocent until further evidence appears.
      Guy

      • That Horse Is Dead

        He said specifically whenever a woman he’s dating gets close, he pulls back.

        • Miss Gina

          Lady THID,

          Sorry, I haven’t been following this situation, but just from what is here, it sounds like this guy could be a really decent guy with perhaps more than usual awkwardness with verbal skills. It took me a long time to understand the way that a man can be affected by a woman he greatly admires. Even professional speakers can get nervous, tongue-tied, and squeaky-voiced. (This of course is part of the female dominance Sir Guy encourages us to cultivate.)

          Would it be possible to ask some questions that might ease some doors open for him? If you have been seeing each other for that long (even on and off), there must be some level of rapport…Something along the lines of, “Was there something you were trying to help me understand the other day when you said X…?”

          I tend to agree with Sir Guy that he seems innocent. He appears sincere to me and not preparing to flake out and disappear. As I see it, instead of giving in to the temptation to withdraw again, this time he stepped out into the unknown and opened his heart to you a little bit. (Vulnerability!) You gently helping him to express what he doesn’t know how to say by drawing him out will work in your favor.

          (I did not mean to write a long comment here, but here we are, lol!)

          He just admitted to you that he isn’t perfect, which for a guy happens almost never, especially to a lady of interest (outside of manipulation, which seems rightly to have been ruled out). I would guess he is starting to trust you deeply and hopes you will be understanding. I would take the comment as an acknowledgement that he hasn’t been all he might like have liked to have been in that department, an apology and hope for forgiveness, and a great compliment to his opinion of you.

          Just my opinion…sorry if I am really off in left field here.

          • Cinnamon

            Miss Gina,

            This is a great counter-perspective that seems to dovetail with my original suggestion to THID that this could be his way of apologising for his prior track record of hot and cold. The only way I would part ways with you is with respect to your suggestion that she bring it up again (“Was there something you were trying to help me understand….”).

            The most conservative approach in my view is for THID to say nothing about the remark, but instead of pulling back, for her to be slightly warmer and more receptive toward him. It’s more conservative than Sir Guy’s suggestion to pull back a little bit in that, presuming your hypothesis is correct, her warmth and receptivity should encourage him (whereas pulling back would discourage him). Either way, she will be able to discern his actual intent only by watching his actions unfold over time.


            Your Highness Cinnamon,
            Your reasoning is sound as usual. However, we part company on her warmth and receptivity encouraging him. It may but it doesn’t answer the question: Is he after her or sex? Whereas, when she pulls back a bit, he senses he may be losing her. If he’s after her and not just sex, he won’t let it happen; he would more likely turn more assertively trying to win her.
            Guy

          • That Horse Is Dead

            Lady Miss Gina, Cinnamon and Sir Guy,

            I’ve thought about this post a lot today and appreciate your contributions. It’s a mystery unsolved at this point but I will keep you posted if I gain any new insight.

      • Cinnamon

        Sir Guy’s point about mindset of giving him the benefit of the doubt is an extremely important one to keep in mind, but the behaviour remains the same: watch his actions (as President Reagan said: “trust but verify”).

        With regard to his remark about pulling back in dating when she “gets close,” if he brings it up again, I would just smile and in a lighthearted way say something along the lines of “Well, we all have challenges in life.”

        • That Horse Is Dead

          Little does he know I have WWNH in my back pocket (actually 4 years worth?). It seems unfair for him:)

          Your Highness That Horse Is Dead,
          The more I read between you and Cinnamon, the more I’m persuaded he’s using Vague and Unavailable tactics. He’s a player awaiting you to convince him of your great value by yielding on your initiative. Keep your distance and perhaps pull away a little bit each time you’re together. Then watch his actions.
          Guy

    • Cinnamon

      THID,

      I agree with Sir Guy. I think the most likely scenario is that he is using pop psychology to manipulate you in order to conquer you. Think of it as a form of “Vague and Unavailable,” with the following subtext: him simultaneously trying to elicit sympathy from you while he sets up a challenge for you to be that “special woman” who finally breaks down all those defences to his “intimacy issues.” In other words, he is encouraging you to sell yourself to him as being more sensitive than – and thus superior to – other women (including his exes), who don’t appreciate the diamond in the rough that he is, of course. My advice remains the same – ignore the remark and watch his actions unfold.

      • Meow Meow

        Yeah….guys like to “warn” us so later they don’t have to feel bad about their less than positive actions. I will never forget one fellow I was dating (before I got married) who apropos of nothing at all said ‘I like variety” to me. Out of the blue!…Variety of…women? Sexual positions? Dressing up/role play? My mind wondered but I just said “Oh.” And…changed the subject. I was saddened by the inappropriateness of the statement, and the apparent cluelessness of the guy! We had just barely started to get to know each other, but that just crushed me. Later I realized it was very likely a test of me, or a warning. Whatever it meant, the ambiguousness of the statement was a real date killer. (Maybe I was supposed to say “Me too!”) See what happens, turn the tables. Maybe you can be the ambiguous/mysterious one for a change?

        Your Highness Meow Meow,

        You just spotlighted another sex difference for my collection: female vs. male curiosity.

        Hers is tempered by caution and relevance to both situation and person with whom she’s associating. She’s busy enough; she needs no new challenges.

        His isn’t tempered by the situation; he seeks to impulsively explore the meaning and relevance to him. Perhaps a new instigator for his imagination and potential for some new knowledge or accomplishment.

        Guy

  3. It seems to me that, thanks to feminism, there are many men who are working all the angles they can think of to come out on top, so to speak, in a relationship–get something they see as worth having without being shot down, emasculated, hog-tied, dictated to, dismissed, and dumped.

    Some guys protect themselves by being players; other guys play what I call the feral cat game. They are attractive and charming and a bit stand-offish until they see whether or not they’re going to get a bowl of kibble. Then they sidle up to the dish and nibble, then run and hide under a bush the minute they see a hand reaching out to pet them . . . or smack them?

    The feral cat in my life is, in my mind, really such a handsome, unique, astounding creature that I can’t stop trying to lure him out from under that bush. But I’m keeping in mind all along the way that he could run away at any moment . . . or sink his fangs into my leg.

    I also, as a praying person, have been praying that God would heal him, twice divorced product of a home in which his parents’ coldness and criticism toward each other was made worse by the death of a brother after he got in a fist fight with his father and left home never to be seen again. Can you say sad?

    Here you have a guy who destroyed his first marriage and got dumped, ironically thanks to being consumed with being a better husband and provider than his father.

    And his second wife emotionally manipulated him (as his mother did) and then dumped him after a get-together to discuss reconciling (when out of spite she spiked his drink with a date rape drug).

    And all during this crap, he drove himself crazy trying to take care of three small children by himself.

    I say all that to say he has struggled to do what he thinks God wants him to do, but he can’t seem to shake the idea that he is a failure and a loser because he failed to live up to other folks’ unrealistic expectations.

    The song says, “Our God is an awesome God.” Those who lean on God can have confidence in themselves because they can have confidence in God.

    I don’t know if he’s ever had a true sense of confidence in himself as a child of God. But if he could grasp that even a little bit, it would be so amazing.

    • Meow Meow

      It sounds like he’s told you a lot about himself….or have you heard these details about him from people who know him? There are always two sides to every story…This “cat” sounds like he already has you on his side, even praying for him, although you are trying to be aware that he might be a scratcher. Looking after three kids is great, heroic even….but years of trauma whether brought on by one’s own poor choices or mistreatment by others can do a lot of crazy things to a person’s morality and view of the world/themselves and they can act that out on others who aren’t immediate family. if you are “luring” him it sounds like you’ve already decided he is worth at least some effort and that you’re the catnip! Take your time as you get to know him well and best of luck!

      • I have heard a lot straight from the horse’s mouth, to mix metaphors. And I have heard a lot from other people. And I have observed a lot. And though, like me, he is flawed, and may never get over the dysfunctions in his life, truly for me no other man I have known can hold a candle to him.

        I hestitate to call it being in love, since there is no youthful, selfish ignorance involved. Some days I feel like a stalker with an obsession, but for the past year our interactions have basically consisted of just a few minutes at church and a very, very few phone calls and e-mails.

        I think that a lack of confidence on both sides is the biggest issue, and without confidence, I can see how he would be a nightmare to try and live with.

        Thanks for your encouragement. That’s why, when it comes to men, women need the unbeatable wisdom of . . . other women. 🙂

    • Ari

      I hope i don’t offend you Edith Mciveen, but I agree that you should take your time with this him. If he is for real, you will see it, but if he’s not, you will see that too if you go slow. Besides if he is that hurt by his past relationships slow is the right choice now.

      You know, I have heard sob stories from men and like the other lady said there are 2 sides to each story. One thing I’ve discovered is that these men often choose bad women, maybe due to strong sexual attraction? I don’t know but they are CHOOSING this path and at least for me it has let me know that they are not in a healthy place emotionally. Next!

      I do wish you the best. So maybe let him chase you a bit, invest himself so that he cherishes you as you deserve. If he is the one having to convince YOU to give him a chance he won’t have the time to feel sorry for himself. He’ll feel like a winner because he had to work for it! And you want a man who feels like that, don’t you? ☺

      • Believe me, I have been going so slow I feel as if I am going backwards some days. It’s more than three years now.

        I am at a point where it is very clear that each of us has issues with confidence (which is expressed differently in men and women I know).

        Without confidence, a serious relationship would be hell.

        No person can give another person confidence; we each have to find it and develop it for ourselves.

        I say to him that he is entirely admirable and worthy of respect, and he is, but he doesn’t believe it. He doesn’t trust what I say and won’t until he finds that confidence that he lost or never had.

        I assume if he ever finds his “mojo,” he would want to pursue me. Because, wow, I’ve got a lot to offer. Or he might decide to go after someone else. Who knows? I’m not in control of life.

        I’ve got so much time to wait. I mean, my biological clock stopped ticking a while ago, and the imperative to FIND SOMEONE AND PROCREATE is dead. I’ve gone from being desperately impatient to being frequently annoyed at having to anything that requires effort.

        However, I think he’s worth the wait and the effort. And I have an interesting life to live in the meantime.

        Again, thanks for encouragement. Good food for the heart and mind.

        • Ari

          I’m sorry i did not know this had gone on for 3 years….that is very long. I wouldn’t give him the time of day… if he values you he will come after you. Do you think there is a chance he does not want another woman in his life?

          Just my 2 cents and worth as much.
          You, my dear, are a saint… bless your heart, you have patience.
          Love,
          Ari

          • I have heard his mouth say, over and over, “I want someone to grow old with.” The very first time I accepted an invitation to lunch at his house, he said, looking out at a beautiful back yard he entirely landscaped all by himself, “I want someone I can grow old with and go to Home Depot and pick out flowers for the yard.”

            I almost jumped up and down and yelled, “Pick me, pick me!” But I thought, “You know, he’s trying to make me feel sorry for him.” So I declined the bait.

            And then, when he gave me a cute nickname, I said thank you but kept things cool.

            And then, after he gave me a huge spontaneous hug in the hall at church one Sunday, I basically said, “I know hugs are just your way of greeting everyone; you’re a hugger. To me, hugs are much more significant. We’re not huggers in my family. If we hug in my family it’s a sign of something really special. If you keep hugging me, I’m going to take it seriously. If that’s not what you want, then don’t hug me.”

            And after he invited me to lunch AGAIN, and spent an entire afternoon sharing the details of a very tough, loveless childhood, I basically said, “When you share stuff, it makes me feel all nurturing and protective. And if all you want is a friendship, then maybe you should stick to sharing with your married women friends.”

            And after he invited me out for my birthday and took me to a great restaurant wearing his kilt . . . oh, wow. I thought he’s not just messing with my head. This is a date, not beer buddies hanging out.

            And after he accepted an invitation to dinner at my house and brought me two Guinness beer mugs as a gift along with four beers and held hands with me while we prayed over the beer stew . . . and after we took a walk in the community rose garden one Sunday afternoon, doing nothing . . . I was convinced he wanted a relationship.

            But because of my unhappy past history pursuing guys according to the feminist mandate, and because of what I was beginning to learn from WWNH, I sat tight.

            And he went into stealth mode. I’d send an e-mail. Three weeks would pass by. He’d finally reply and say he found it in his spam folder. We’d chat at church, sort of flirty-like, but otherwise, nothing.

            And then, when my niece came to visit, driving a U-haul of furniture from my mother’s house (she had gone into a nursing home), he single-handedly organized the volunteers from church who offloaded the furniture and got it into my house. But by that point, I had sent him a letter which got no response. I said in it, “I realize you are busy, and it’s stupid for me to get angry at you for doing what you do and being who you are. So I’m just going to back off.”

            And then after a period of more nothing, he proposed that I contact folks at church to see if anyone would like to get together for a Friday evening fish fry at the very restaurant we went to for my birthday. The reason I should do it was because his computer wasn’t working. So I did, and a group of people thought it was a good idea.

            He picked me up. I asked if he got the letter. He said yes and got a panicked look on his face that lasted through the fish fry and up until he drove me back to my house and parked in the driveway.

            “Did you think there was something romantic going on?”

            He said he just wanted to be friends with lots of different people. He didn’t know if he would ever get married again. He was just an ordinary guy trying to figure things out. He wasn’t going to change.

            I asked how he could not know what effect his words would have on a woman, since he lived with two wives and raised a daughter. I said I would not apologize for admiring him and it would be stupid for him to change because I admired him for who he was. And I said I understood what romance was, that it was a man asking me out because he thought I was somebody I had to have in his life.

            And then I got out of the car and stomped in the house.

            And then for a year we didn’t really communicate. And then near the anniversary, I said, “I’m sorry, I still don’t want to be just friends because I still admire you and respect you, perhaps more than I did.”

            And there was no real response. However, something happened to clue me in to his heart and mind.

            He planned, and bought a lot of stuff for, and organized a group of men to cook stuff for the Mother’s Day dinner “for the ladies” that is a tradition at my church.

            I, in collusion with the woman who basically oversees all the dinners, came up with the idea of presenting him a decorated apron with a thank-you card signed by all the women of the church. Thought it was appropriate since he started out his work life in restaurants.

            I decorated the apron, but that was not mentioned. I was not mentioned at all. It was presented to my cat at the start of the lunch, and what did he do?

            Did he rip the package open, put the apron on, strut around, and say, “Hey, ladies, thanks!” No, he got a frightened look on his face, said nothing, and practically ran into the church kitchen.

            And then, at another dinner, he sat down next to me and proceeded to tell the woman across from him how it was tough to find someone to date.

            I got up and walked away.

            Despite all this, we’ve slowly, slowly begun talking and e-mailing again. Very occasionally. Each time, I send him a quote or a thought that is inspirational or encouraging.

            I’m working Sir Guy’s method of indirect praise; I’m working the hair mousse and pretty clothes and cologne.

            And I’m working my own life. I’ve changed my diet. I’ve started looking for a new job. I’ve started get work done on my house. I’m hanging with my women friends.

            To sum up all this whole long rant, my cat is truly, truly, truly the most awesome man I’ve ever met in terms of intelligence, creativity, compassion, humor, hard work, loyalty, and morality.

            He’s also the most effed-up in terms of lack of good self-esteem. He’s survived some horrors with a relatively hopeful, sunny personality and way of dealing with life, but when it comes to love and intimacy, he gets really sad and looks really old and tired.

            I am so tired of searching for love, and I’ve got time on my hands. If God grants him the ability to stand up some day and say, “Screw it, I’m going to be happy anyway!” . . . wow. I really do think he would come looking for me.

            If that never happens, like I said . . . oh, well. God is good, but no matter how you slice it, some things in life will always be sad.

            Your Highness Edith Mcklveen,

            May I suggest another strategy? Drop your objection to friendship. He sounds interested in having a relationship and you have made impossible what you want. Quit talking about what you expect. You don’t let him discover your worth to him as friend first and perhaps something else later.

            You keep telling him what you don’t want; he tells you what he wants. No room for connectedness because you keep looking for the unworkable and telling him about it, which effectively blames and thus discourages him for each encounter. You turn yourself or turn him off before he can be turned on by a more friendly relationship.

            Unfortunately, you can’t always get what you want without giving of yourself. In this case, it may help immensely if you promote, exploit, and harness his interests to yours instead of expecting the opposite.

            Guy

  4. Meggrz

    Guy – Thank you so much for including that, I’m flattered!

    Edith – Your name, ‘the feral cat game,’ is spot on.

    I’ve got a feral cat in my life, too. He’ll make a concerted effort to spend time with me for a while, then drifts off for a while, either busy with work or other women. As a successful, fit, charming fellow, he hasn’t had much issue securing sex, and unsurprisingly, he has little respect for women. (His dating history is a string of short term relationships with models and strippers – that tidbit ruled him out as a romantic interest for me.)

    Too bad for kitty that I’ve got a man of good character in hot pursuit now. I still indulge kitty’s overtures of friendship, though, because I honestly think he doubts women like us (that are not sexually available to him, and have merit outside of our sexual assets) exist. I don’t mind doing a bit of the teaching he missed in his formative years.

    Your feral cat may never come around, but even if he doesn’t, remember, you might be the only upstanding woman he’s ever met – which is probably quite fascinating and intimidating to him.

    • My cat really is not a player. He really has self-confidence issues that cropped up in adulthood.

      Again, I’ll say that, for a good while before I made bold to start interacting, I watched him and how he treated other people– men, women, kids, a group of developmentally disabled adults who come to church. He was and is warm, genuine, kind, helpful.

      He is friends with some of my women friends at church, all of whom are upstanding. He talks with them all the time–and their husbands and kids–and invites them to dinner at his house and works on committees with them.

      But, since a “conversation” we had two years ago, in which I said I didn’t want to be just friends (because it would mean a relationship so risk-free as to be meaningless), he has waffled back and forth about interacting with me. And I have done the same.

      If I’m honest, we’re both feral cats. We both lack confidence for various reasons. I am assuming that, unless God does a miracle and gives him the confidence he lost or maybe never had . . . he will never come around. And if he did somehow, without real confidence, he would be a horrible romantic interest.

      As far as sex goes, he at one time nattered on endlessly about marriage as this ideal state in which, after a long, hard day, a man and a woman could comfort each other.

      But the reality in his life is that his father was so busy trying to earn money to feed a family, and his mother was so busy trying to feed a family, that they had little time for each other, and they had less time after the murder of a brother drove a further wedge between them.

      And he had two crappy marriages.

      And then he had sole responsibility of raising three children.

      So I assume he’s spent most of his adult life dreaming of good married sex but sublimating that longing through child-rearing and work or through masturbation (which I don’t think is necessarily narcissistic behavior; I personally think sometimes it’s the only way to deal with being lonely and having no perceived prospects for intimacy).

      He is scared of screwing up and looking stupid. It hasn’t apparently helped him to have me say, “But we’re all broken in various ways; you’re not special.” So he has to find that missing confidence.

      And if he doesn’t, oh well.

      • Meow Meow

        I’d love to hear what Sir Guy thinks about all this, your fella in question is clearly a “good” and “kind” man, in that he helps others in the bigger picture of life. The “Greater Good” so to speak, like Superman. But the emotional strength required to hold down something intimate and long term is something that clearly challenges him to the point of running away. Like Clark Kent!

        Your Highness Meow Meow,
        I responded to her comment. It may interest you as something you don’t expect.
        Guy

      • That Horse Is Dead

        Lady Edith,
        I’m glad you shared your story with us because it has helped me tremendously. What I see from your comments is that I often cannot see the forest for the trees. Other people can see my forest, but I’m so entirely focused on the trees that I miss the bigger picture.

        Like you, I have collected brief moments of pleasure that my man of interest shared with me over the last two years. I could name them, replay them in my mind and justify that he would not be doing these things with me if he didn’t have feelings for me. These moments produce hope that this man can move toward me in the way I need but he ALWAYS pulls away. I ask myself, “Am I misinterpreting his friendship in the wrong way? Misreading his signals?” The answer is always “no” because he does things for me that are more than friendship – provide and protect sort of things. And around and around we go.

        My friends have been on this roller coaster with me for two years. Each time he comes back it seems he is finally pushing past vulnerability or intimacy obstacles. But predictably, he does another disappearing act. I used to think that he had a crappy marriage because his wife cheated and left him for another man (whom she remarried). I kept telling myself he is just scared to get close because he was so hurt. How could she do this to a guy who is so generous, a voting citizen, hard worker, landscaped yard, etc.? Now I wonder if she was starving because of his crumbs?

        The thing about cats is that if a cat is not socialized properly in the first four weeks of life, the cat will always be maladjusted to human handling. No matter how much you want to love it, it will always run away. I know because I’ve taken care of three cats like this, one that lived to be 23 years old. I think you need to be careful about assuming why your man does or says what he does (i.e. dreaming of good married sex, scared of screwing up and looking stupid, etc.). The fact is we cannot read another person’s motives or identify deep psychological problems until we are around this person on a regular basis. And then, sometimes, it’s difficult to know you are being manipulated except you just know something is wrong.

        All of this is to say what I’ve decided to do with my man of interest is finally let him go. If he comes back in full courting mode, without weeks of no contact, it will be a miracle. I agree with Meggrz that I may be the only upstanding woman he’s ever met. For this reason, I’m glad I’ve been consistently kind and will continue to be gracious to him. But, I deserve more than crumbs. Your writings give testament to your female nature and optimism, and I wish you the best in your journey.

        Your Highness That Horse Is Dead,

        You may be expecting too much without confirming his efforts.

        You expect him to move forward in a courting sense—and it reflects in your attitude. He becomes discouraged at the lack of interest in him and his techniques for pleasing himself. IOW, he sees no or little match in your interests because you keep focusing on his pleasing you.

        He ‘disappears’ for weeks is caused by this. He departs your company and recalls and regrets things that he said and did that piss him off for not doing or saying such and such, which would have been much better to him. It takes a week or two to forget those ‘mistakes’ and so he returns to try again. The same exchange between the two of you has the same effect; he describes his ‘dumbness’ to the steering wheel and can’t forget it for several days.

        I suggest you find some ways to tell him that he’s really a hotshot at pleasing you. You like his natural manner and ability to make you feel good even when he’s stumbling for the right, wrong, or inattentive thought. Don’t let him depart your company until he’s convinced that you are totally pleased and hope to have him lift you up again soon. But don’t seek his promise; leave him free to decide what and when he wants to see you again.

        Guy

        P.S. OTOH, he could be a manipulator.
        G.

        • That Horse Is Dead

          Sir Guy,

          I need to make sure I understand what you are saying otherwise I feel like you are giving women false hope in hanging on to a disappearing and reappearing man, and we may never know when it’s finally time to cut the cord. And this is the biggest problem for me: which is he, a man who needs reassurance in his efforts or a player (or sociopath) who wants to conquer a challenging prey? For clarity, I have come to understand that a man’s feelings grow for a woman by pleasing himself with his ability to please her. So, if I enjoy and think about the moments he pleases me, how is this a bad thing to look forward to our next time together? Every time I am with this man I enjoy his company (even just sitting in the church pew together and talking about our weeks). If he did not see a match in interest, would he keep returning for two years? Why would a man who seems confident in all areas of life subject himself over and over to the discouragement of a woman who doesn’t have a matched interest in him?

          But, just to make sure that this was not the case, I have reached out to him on multiple occasions to make sure his is not a one-sided effort. For example, inviting him to my son’s football game, asking him to help me do manly things around the house I can’t do, asking his opinion on important decisions or to explain something in the news or politics. It’s to the point that if I don’t initiate, he will go weeks without contact. As a side note, our entire relationship has been platonic. Every time we share a day together, this is when he disappears. Which, if I understand correctly, is because he is pissed off at himself for doing/saying or not doing/saying the wrong things. So, I feel like I’m in a no-win situation.

          If he’s not entirely convinced of my interest, then being myself around him is not good enough and I will always be jumping through hoops to reassure this man. So, I don’t feel like I’m too focused on his pleasing me as much as it’s an issue with him. If I’m overlooking anything, I really don’t want to let a good man go, but I also don’t want to be stuck in a quasi-relationship where I’m wondering if what I’m doing is good enough to reassure him I’m interested which is exhausting. This could go on ad nauseam.

          Your Highness That Horse Is Dead,

          Our wires are crossed and I hate to be blunt. Without my having the full picture that you have, I can only offer ways and things for you to examine and judge.

          I keep trying to give you options about his motivation; you keep trying to find reasons to change his apparent interest to more closely match yours. It boils down to this. Since you can’t know what truly motivates him, only you can decide who and what he is relative to you.

          What would keep him coming back? The expectation that you will yield to his conquest is most likely. After that, only a deeper interest in you than he seems to be showing.

          “Every time we share a day together, this is when he disappears.” He probably gets the message once again that you’re not ready to yield, and so he spends no more time feeling you out to see if you’ve perhaps changed. If so, he’s not after you, only sex.

          He knows you’re interested in a relationship. He also knows you’re unwilling to yield, which pretty much says he’s interested only in sex with you. If you have to know for sure, yield and see how long he stays around. If you can’t do that, drop him completely and see with what freedom and reliability he wants to see you.

          It’s natural for you to want to know for sure just where he stands on being matched with you, but it’s just as natural for his refusal to cooperate until you yield. At which time he confirms whether you’re a keeper, booty, or dumpee. As of now, he sees too little promise in you as a keeper and so he reacts only to your initiatives.

          Guy

          • That Horse Is Dead

            This reaffirms it’s time for me to finally let this man go. It seems he’s not after me, only sex — which will never happen. Thanks, Sir Guy:)

          • gonemaverick

            gosh Sir Guy! you are smart.

            Your Highness Gonemaverick,
            I love it when pretty women tell me that, but I learned much of it from you gals.
            Guy

  5. Meow Meow

    THID’s story also rings a bell with me —-my husband told me how he divorced his first wife because she was “Always unhappy he didn’t earn enough money.” I thought she was a cruel old meanie too to hear him tell it. No doubt wanting furs and diamonds. Years later, when hubby has had difficulties holding down employment for over a decade AND we’ve nearly lost our home multiple times AND we have a disabled kid together….AND I fear getting sick because I’ve had to be the multi-job breadwinner for years…(did not want)….well….that’s why i now say two sides to every story. It doesn’t mean i don’t LOVE my man who is ALSO kind, good-hearted, good with kids, and brave, (he would die for me,) but things can be more complicated than good vs. evil. I didn’t realize his ex was apparently complaining about not having the BASICS like a roof over her head and food to eat! In fact I now suspect my husband may have ADHD, and always has. Which explains a lot.

    (He does seem to be learning how to be Mr. Right in our later years….slow but sure. I’m convinced things have mainly turned around because of what I put into practice from WWNH!)

    (Musings:—-the number of people who suffer from undiagnosed/treated mental disorders in the U.S. is significant, and it may be a strong factor in some of these guys we are talking about. They may be self-selecting themselves out of dating for good reason. And, as much as one can say love conquers/heals all, in the case of mental illness even at first seemingly benign ones like ADD/depression it would be naive to go into a relationship with someone afflicted and not be aware how strongly that can affect you and potential kids you may have……)

    • That Horse is Dead,

      I cannot tell you the alarm bells I hear ringing in my head as you describe the man you are interested in. I read in your description that you feel badly for him; for his childhood etc. There are many men who have had horrible childhoods and have gone on to have healthy adult relationships. My pastor is one of them. He was beaten horribly by his father but is living an upright, cheerful life in a manly way. I would never have known about his past but his wife mentioned it.

      In contrast, your love interest shared a lot of details about his hurts with you. He also chose to make remarks about wanting to grow d with someone when he was alone with you. This was deliberate. This was a hook. He’s an adult. He knows what he is doing.

      The definition of a sociopath is someone who can make people feel sorry for him. I can tell you feel badly for this guy. But you don’t want to be his mother! You want to be a cherished and protected wife.

      You said he raised his children on his own? I would be very curious to see how they turned out and if he really did raise them on his own. He sounds far too self-absorbed to have raised balanced and secure human beings.

      I’m telling you…run for your life. He is responsible for some really bad choices as an adult and he needs to own up to the fact that he blew his marriages. Maybe he chose wrong…twice….but he was there and proposing marriage to those women!

      Jill

      • That Horse Is Dead

        Lady Jill,

        I think we are on the same page. I was replying to Lady Edith and you are describing her story. It sent alarm bells to me as well. It’s easy to see the alarm bells when it’s someone else’s story, but much harder when it’s our own story. I’m so glad she posted her comments as it helped me finally cut the cord from a man who is showing eerily similar behavior patterns.

        • The cord is cut. He cut it. Well, he did that thing lots of guys do because they don’t want to look bad or they want adulation without commitment. He said “Let’s be friends.” I said no.

          Because the last time a guy said that to me, and I took him seriously about being friends, he turned on me and told me I needed serious help.

          Because we are members of the same church, I spent a year making my point by ignoring him as best I could.

          I entirely recognize at this point that he lacks some crucial ingredients in his self-concept that would make him a consistent, trustworthy Mr. Good Enough. It occurred to me this afternoon that, if he grew up as he did, and he was responsible for raising his children, they probably saw him angry a lot; they probably saw him drunk on more than one occasion.

          I fully recognize that he is effed up. And I am never going to have a relationship with him if he doesn’t change. Because, while as a fellow Christian–his sister, a member of the same faith community–I have a responsibility to care about him and challenge him and remind him of the ideals that we both supposedly subscribe to . . . it is not my responsibility to somehow crack open his head and pour confidence and trust and a solid sense of what it means to be a man. That’s between him and God.

          I will acknowledge freely that there are moments when I get melty thinking about stuff he’s done, and I get melty at the idea that he could one day shake off the chains he’s bound himself in. But really, he surely is messed up.

          One bright ray in the dark picture is that he has met on a regular basis for prayer and discussion with the pastor of our chuch for several years. They have (by his report and by the pastor’s report to me at one point) had extensive discussions about marriage in general, about his marriage in particular, and about whether or not he will ever get married again.

          Just today, I wrote a long letter to the pastor, talking about my observations and conclusions regarding this strange man who thinks he’s a feral cat. I laid out family of origin dysfunctions as he himself has described them, of which there are plenty, and where, from my perspective, they have led. And what I think it would take for him to become fully human and entirely adequate as a man in his own eyes.

          I figure give the pastor a hand.

          Meanwhile, I know, I know that he thinks he’s a eunuch, and he thinks, underneath all the bravado, that I’m part of the sex that cut his balls off. It has to be there somewhere, based on who he is and what he’s been through.

          But while he suffered because of his mother and his two wives, I am going to use the distance that *he* placed between us, and gently treat him with the dignity and respect that, according to Sir Guy, all men are born craving.

          From a Christian perspective, he is a fellow creature made in God’s image, that is, made to mirror God’s intelligence, creativity, compassion, sense of justice, forgiveness . . . all that stuff. He was made to be a wonderful and unique and glorious being, and it isn’t dysfunctional for me to remind him of that. It is the least I can do for any other human being, male or female.

          If he, or they, cannot accept it, oh well. God is good, but life is sad.

      • Ari

        Lady Jill,
        I appreciate what you say to Lady Edith “you want to be a cherished and protected wife”… beautiful thoughts/advice. I’m holding on to that thought for myself as well. ❤
        Ari

        Your Highness Ari,
        I regret I can find no way to help you search out other comments by Lady Jill aka nt12many. She’s a mother of eight and very wise and valuable contributor here.
        Guy

  6. I have been verrrry long-winded in my various comments with this topic, and I *sort of apologize*, but I have gotten some good, clarifying responses from Sir Guy and the Ladies of the Court.

    I want to make one final comment about “players” and then wrap up my contributions in this area. Because, finally, I do see some light in the darkness, and no matter where it actually leads me, I’m going to end up in a great place.

    So . . .

    I just want to say here that I know what a player is.

    I’ve been a victim of a man’s perpetual seeking of admiration from women.

    (And of course, as has been made clear through WWNH, all men, even the best men, most married and faithful one-woman men have that in their nature.)

    I’ve gotten caught up in the conviction that *I* can win a man if I become exactly what he wants. I’ve bent myself into a pretzel trying to catch and keep his attention–by cooking for him, dressing pretty for him, praising him, letting him do things for me. Whatever.

    And I have felt the devastation when, as a good little worshiper and doormat, I have heard a man say in essence, “I don’t want you, and you’re a crazy stalker bitch if you keep trying.”

    And part of that was, in the beginning, my naivete. But part of it was, and continued to be, my perpetual woman’s desire to be The One Who Did What No Other Woman Could Do, Tame the Beast and Have Him Eating Out of Her Hand.

    That fantasy fed *my* ego for years and years because in my mind it was the only scenario that would make up for a childhood and adolescence in which I was teased and bullied and mocked by other kids for a variety of awful reasons. It had me ignoring good, basic, boring men (men I could have had married) for players.

    But, oh, look at that. I was a player, too. I didn’t mind if good, basic, boring men paid attention to me while I drove myself crazy waving the magic wand of my specialness and trying to get a selfish beast of my choosing to turn into my Prince Charming, my trophy, my proof that I was the Queen of the World.

    That scenario, believe me, believe me, is NOT going on. The man I have been writing about here is a man who is struggling to overcome a horrible life. He is fearful, he is haunted by his past, he has blind spots, he has dsyfunctions galore. But he is not a player.

    He compartmentalizes, he ignores, he puts on a good front. But he has never lied to me; he has never tried to put on a “harmless” face, seduce me, and get me in bed; I have never heard anyone, anyone, even his best male friend of twenty-five years, say he is someone that can’t be trusted.

    He is, by his own clear admission, not available. But he has never, like some other guys I’ve known, strung me along and given me false hope.

    The false hope, which I had at first with this man, was on my part. But I have gotten over that. I see extremely clearly that, unless God does a miracle in his life (which is what it would take), I can never have an intimate relationship with him, and to try and do that would be a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea.

    But as I’ve said before, he is a human being with hopes and dreams, with a heart and a soul. And he is trying soooooo hard. And to the extent that I can, I will give him basic respect, and even trust, and treat him like the prince God made him to be.

    And then go on and live my good, God-blessed life.

    Your Highness Edith Mcklveen,
    You’re now guided by a mind made mature and a heart made beautiful with your clear definition of self-interest. Congratulations; you’re one of a few.
    Guy

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