“Don’t fall in love with me.”
It seems every time I’ve used that sentence since my divorce (eight years ago now), I’ve gotten exactly what I didn’t ask for: the guy fell for me. Reverse psychology? Certainly, not intentional.
My divorce was amicable but painful. After 13 years, I choose to leave a good man who still loved me very much at the time. His suffering and my guilt over it ate away at me until I was ultimately and completely emotionally unavailable for anyone else.
I went through several relationships after my split, each time leading with that one warning: “This is for a good time not a long time. Don’t fall for me.”
Even though my intention was to do no harm, which to me meant not-committing—fear of karma, or worse hurt someone else again—each time I wound up in a soon to be doomed relationship with another victim left licking his wounds.
Looking back, I’m sure somewhere deep inside I wanted a relationship—true love and fairy sparks and not-so-consciously had my sights set on those industrious illustrious illusions of “forever” and “he’s the one.” (For sure this time.)
I’m not all that and a bag of kale chips! So, why did these decent guys keep buying in to a bad package deal?
Somehow, my being elusive (read: emotionally f*cked up) must have triggered their innate “chase and conquer” gene.
I didn’t do it on purpose. As my best male forever friend says, “We’re all here just looking for love.”
And don’t feel sorry for those men. They’ve all moved on to find their perfect–for-them sweetheart! And here I am still flying solo. (Incidentally, we’re all on good terms and many of my exes have asked me for relationship advice, so I can’t be all bad.)
A man I recently met and started engaging with in fits and starts told me, “I see why you’re single. You push everyone away.”
He is right. Yet he keeps coming back, despite my ill treatment of him.
I decided to do some research to see if I was innocently (or at least sub-consciously) luring them in to feed my I-need-to-be-loved/desired/wanted ego.
I Googled® “how to make a man fall in love” and with plenty of sites offering an array of tips and tidbits, I found the answer to my high-success-rate-low-level love connections on Huffington Post.
In a simple, articulate article, the HuffPost author describes three ways of making a man fall in love with a woman. (Author’s descriptions.)
- The Natural Way. This mysterious spark of nature cannot be defined. Not everyone gets to experience it but when it happens, you just know know know it. Whether chemistry, pheromones or unexplained animal attraction from across a crowded pizza joint… It. Just. Is. (I’ve experienced this. With my ex-husband. Go figure.)
- The Devious Dastardly Way. (Oh dear.) Basically, it goes like this: Give. Withdraw. Repeat until the poor fellow is putty. (Insert guilty expression here.) Give genuinely and generously. Withdraw with reason. Go back and do it all over. Note: This is terribly manipulative even if subconsciously directed, but it confirms men like a challenge. The problem, aside from the obvious this-is-not-loving, is that the whole thing is insincere.
Infatuation does not = love!
Not only that, but this non-love game must continue to be played in order to keep him interested and more likely the game ends and the player (in this case the head-case chick) and the played-out (guy) both lose. Not good, lose-lose.
- The High Road. Bring out the best in him. Encouraging his best self shows our best self. He’s less likely to be getting that elsewhere, and since energy flows where attention goes, those traits will grow. He’ll like that and love us for inspiring him to get there. Win-win.
There’s no right way or one way to “make” a man fall in love.
But there is a wrong way to entice a man that will leave all parties feeling poor-me. That sucks. (Trust me.)
I’ll admit I’ve inadvertently played this losing game. But I’ve also given genuinely and generously and been honest about my intentions. But even being up front about being “unavailable,” actions can mislead. Bad dog. I lose.
So, be a good person. Be accepting, loving, genuine and honest. And have an interesting and fulfilling life of our own so it gives men the perception of the chase without the negative side-effect of dangling the cookie. The right one will fit into our lives if/when he shows up. (Whichever one he is, as I believe there’s more than one in this grand world.)
And if that’s not in our cards for this life’s journey then we’ll be alright anyway because we’re busy and loving ourselves enough that it won’t even matter.
And then I’ll get a cat.
I apologize to any men one I accidentally hurt on my journey thus far.
Incidentally, I did find there are some high-love-points things we can do to encourage a man to feel/continue to feel amorous toward us that bolster self-esteem for both parties. Click here to see them!
Editor: Catherine Monkman