It wasn’t just the way *he spoke, or the clothes he wore, or the feeling I got when he paid attention to me. It wasn’t just his sophisticated choices about anything and everything, and his self-assured posture. It was more than this.
And that’s the hardest part to let go of: What I saw he could be. What I projected onto the huge blank of his canvass--until he rolled it up and moved to another town with his show (before the ratings went sour).
You know what I’m saying. But have you ever reflected all the way to the bottom of that perplexing merry-go-round of “it was going so well so why did he suddenly just jump off?”
Because at the bottom you must might find some solace and insight that prevents this from ever happening again.
Years ago, I read a book by the authors of He’s Just Not That Into You, called It’s Just a F*** Date.
In this book, the authors—a husband and wife pair named Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola—unpack strategies that help women especially navigate the dating scene, including tips on how long to wait before sleeping with someone, etc.
I can’t say that I’ve followed all of their guidance ... some of it was too regimented and just not realistic or conducive to authentic behavior and experience. Yet the one thing that hit me the most was their passing mention of how women view the potential of a man, and how a man can respond.
They bring up the fact that a lot of women focus on the potential in a man because, as they bond with him, they think of him in a more long-term way and tend to project his higher aspirations onto him. These are not figments of their imagination. It’s like, the man wants to start a business, so as soon as the couple gets closer, the woman starts to encourage him to take steps, support him in his need to focus, etc.
What happens next is what fascinated me. Once a man in such a scenario gets this dream opportunity of having a cheerleader** and a supportive partner for his goals, he responds one of three ways.
1. He senses the support and doesn’t believe in himself enough to accomplish his goals (fast enough or at all) and distances himself from the woman from a sense of somewhat unconscious self-directed shame.
2. He embraces the support and then, as he works toward his potential, feels he is falling short (of his potential and/or his ability to please her and be the appropriate partner for her standards) and that she reflects that notion every time he interacts with her so he distances himself rom the woman from a sense of somewhat unconscious self-directed shame.
3. He embraces the support and moves forward proactively in the partnership, growing, changing and learning in time based on a sense of self confidence, receptivity and desire to be a kick ass person and mate.
I don’t think I need to explain which one is best for you. Just wanted to let you know that these categories have been proposed and may help you spot the difference that much faster (which I did and acted upon to meet a match in category 3)!
*For those in a same-gender relationship, I would apply this information in terms that resonate. I write this from a cross-gender perspective as a female in a somewhat entrenched role ... but I hope you will still consider it could apply to anyone, because it could! It could even apply to a woman by a man if the woman is the more yang member of the relationship.
**This is not to say a nagging partner who wants to change him. This is to say a receptive partner who listens and encourages step by step based on what they sense will help the partner reach their potential. Fine lines. Massive difference.