11 March 2015

Wanting To Be Wanted



I remember very, very much what it was like to be single.

I wanted to be wanted.

I wanted a guy to notice me. To single me out. To somehow see something worthwhile or attractive or unique in me. And with that came wanting a guy...I'll just say it...to be turned on, to think I was sexy and desirable.

It is sad to say but I will admit that back in my late teens and twenties, there is nothing more I wanted than to be wanted by a guy.

My worth was dependent on it.

Ughhhhhh. UGHHHH!!!!!

Anyone else with me on this?

To all of you women who are just like I was, I literally beg of you to listen up.

Being in this mode is one of the most dangerous states you could be in as a single woman.

Wanting a guy so desperately (so that "your worth can thrive"; so that you can "finally feel secure and feel whole and wanted" - oh my) can put you in the position to just get the luck of the draw. Whatever guy that seems decent enough and approaches you first will get you.

And the scary thing is, it may not matter if he's not in a state to treat you well. It may not matter if he isn't someone you respect fully. It may not matter if he mistreats not only you but others. It may not matter if he lives a lifestyle that is completely contrary to yours. It may not matter if he has completely different goals and values than you. It may not matter if he is abusive.

I write this post because I have seen this pattern over and over and OVER in women, friends, and also in myself.

If your worth is dependent on a guy - you will justify the crap out of staying with someone, being with someone, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and even MARRYING someone. 

This could happen even when you know something isn't right. Even when it seems you do all the work for fostering the relationship. Even when you know deep down that you want something better. Even when you know full well that someone is treating you like a jerk.

Your life does not need to be a charity case for a situation like this!

So what do you do?

Pay very, very close attention to what you actually want in life and what kind of woman you want to be.

Define it. Envision it. Know it. Breathe it. And hold onto it for dear life.

And if you feel you might need a boost of self worth, please don't let years go by. I beg you to do anything you can to tackle that. Get a mentor. Find a therapist. Read some books. Do positive affirmations. Read some of my self-worth posts. Put some new things into practice. Come to our next retreat (late summer-date TBA soon)!

Improving your self worth will give you the best chance at having a beautiful relationship and a beautiful marriage. It will give you the best chance at attracting someone who also wants to bring good energy to the table.

With love,

Mara

Has anybody else found themselves in a bad relationship because they wanted so much to be wanted? I would be curious to see how common this is. 

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15 comments:

  1. It was a very brief relationship. It was my first one right out of high school. Once he "caught" me, the chase was over. I ended up doing all of the work. If I didn't call and plan something to do together, we wouldn't have seen each other at all. We both went off to college with the intention to keep dating. Eventually his bishop told him not to date before his mission, and he stopped talking to me. I had no idea about the bishop thing, and I really wanted it to work out. I didn't know why he wasn't answering my calls or texts. I felt terrible and unloved. Eventually I realized that this was not a good situation. I broke it off because he was too scared to do it. I should have ended it much sooner.
    I didn't date at all (even go on dates) for a couple of years after that. By the time I met my husband, I felt free from the previous relationship and had learned how to say no when I don't feel right. That made dating my now husband much better. I didn't hang on to him or feel like I had to tie him down and keep him with me. We were independently happy, and thus happy together. He had a previous bad engagement and I think he learned similar things from it. The previous relationships were awful, but we did learn, so I am grateful for them in that regard.

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  2. Three of the best things I have done in my dating life are being single (happily) for long periods of time, having high standards of who I will date, and having self worth before I ever started dating. First, I have always been single for long periods of time between relationships, sometimes a few years. It's important not to date until you are really comfortable being single and independent. Otherwise you'll choose a partner just to "rescue" you from your single status or whatever makes you nervous about being solo. Also, unless you allow yourself to be single for significant periods of time, you'll never really learn who you are and you won't reflect on lessons learned from previous relationships. And I mean happily being single and focusing on your hobbies, friends, and other things that compose your life, not being single while obsessing about dating and finding a partner. Second, have high standards for who you'll date. If you constantly find yourself in relationships, your standards aren't high enough. Don't distress if you have a hard time finding a partner, because your standards should be high enough that there aren't that many people to whom you want to devote the rest of your life. Third, if your self-esteem and self worth are low, just take a break from dating until you've worked on that. There are too many pitfalls if you don't value yourself enough, don't know what you want, don't have healthy boundaries, or are willing to settle in order to be in a relationship.

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  3. I didn't necessarily experience this while I was single but I definitely do now that I'm married. What do you do when you can't (or don't want to) break up and there isn't an option of independence to work on improving yourself and finding self worth? I'll admit that while I've never had a very high self esteem, it has absolutely plummeted since getting married and not having a spouse who finds me very desirable. It's so painful. He's not a "bad" man and we love each other and we've built a life together that we don't want to end. We have children and we are committed but I can't help but feel very let down that these basic human needs aren't being met and I can't/won't find them with someone else. These last two posts have really resonated with me and I appreciate your message so much. Thanks for all you do!

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    1. Anon, I'm sorry to hear about your experiences. It sounds like you are suffering and feel stuck. Please just remember that you always have options. They might not be ideal options, but don't ever assume that things just have to stay the way they are forever. If you end up divorcing, you'll be fine eventually and maybe even buckets happier. I'm not saying that divorce is the right choice, I'm just saying that you have options and don't need to box yourself into one set of choices for a lifetime. You can find your strength and self-worth in order to make whatever changes are necessary in your life to be happier. Above all, please do not resign yourself to a lifetime of not having your "basic human needs" met. That's such a sad way to live. Also, it's harming your children to see you like this. They are perceptive and are learning every day from your lack of self esteem and the relationship you and your husband are modeling.

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  4. I've been very lucky in my life that I've never needed a man to love me. (And that might be because I didn't know what it was like to have a man love me the right way.) I was strong, had a good career, wonderful friends, a terrific family and there was always something going on. And as my friends started to get married and move on I just thought, well this is my life. And it's a good life. What I've never been able to wrap my head around was my beautiful, smart, kind friends (who are all much better people then I'll ever be) could be with these men that put them down, hit them, left them hanging, made them cry. It's never computed for me. And I think part of that is because I was lucky. I have a strong family. I was taught from a young age to be strong and independent.
    Now I'm with someone. He has taught me what love it and what I was missing and I am so grateful that I waited to find him. That I didn't date the jerks who I knew weren't good for me. I also think that by being alone (I'm not quite 30 so I'm not old, I know that) for much of my life has given me an interesting perspective on relationships. I love having someone to love, I love having someone to talk to, or send silly cards to and I am grateful for that. But I don't need it to survive because I also love myself. I sometimes think people who are constantly in relationships need to step back from that and learn to love themselves a little more.

    Sorry I've rambled and gone off topic. Thanks for this blog. It gives such hope.

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  5. This is meaningful to me in many ways. I definitely felt this as a young, single adult, but I'm more concerned with how this still affects me as an older, married woman. I still crave male attention, and not just from my husband. I want to be seen by others as beautiful, desirable, even pined over. This is not to say I'm looking for an affair or unhappily married because I don't consider myself either; rather, I crave the attention and validation that I'm seen as attractive because for some reason that resonates as meaningful to me. I've spent years trying to understand what is at the root of this. I had an abusive, absentee father from whom I'm now estranged and I wonder if the dynamics of that relationship led me to crave male acceptance I never felt I had. Does any of this make sense? And without discounting me as a horrible person, can you offer me some advice or thoughts on breaking this cycle?
    I worry that I find excitement and satisfaction in men flirting with me and I worry more that I get excited by the idea of someone pursuing me, just so that I could resist because I'm married. I can't tell if I'm just childish and horrible or if this is an actual thing that I can overcome.

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    1. Its natural to want that when its what we see everywhere. In media and the movies where married women are pined over, and marriage is seen as boring. I would suggest maybe starting something you feel joy from that can help you build confidence in yourself giving you attention in a positive way. But nothing can replace the power of self worth and confidence. So many of us women have lost that because of the world around us and it teaches us that we have to be pined over to be worth anything. But that is such a lie!!!!!!! Do things to build confidence in yourself, tell yourself you are beautiful, find a good hobby, take some hot pics for your hubby;), ask him to go on more dates. Dress up and do something fun with your hubby. Put little extra efforts into your relationship and he will notice and return the favor. Goodness attracts goodness. Work on becoming the best confident version of you, and you will realize you don't need the validation of a man to be happy. You just need to be able to love yourself and to believe in your self worth as a beautiful woman full of goodness.

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  6. you do not know how much i needed this right now at this moment. thank you

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  7. I definitely see this with my best friend right now. She is thinking about getting engaged to the first guy she has ever seriously dated even though his lifestyle is very contradictory to the life she wants to lead. I really worry about saying something to her about it because I don't want to offend her but I don't think this relationship will make her very happy.

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    1. Anon, I think you should say something (and that is the sign of a true friend - someone that will tell you what you don't necessarily want to hear). A similar situation happened with my best friend. And we were inseparable! Like sisters. She was dating a guy that I didn't think was right for her and I eventually said something. I'll tell you though, that ended our friendship for almost 10 years. She didn't want to be with him and that close to me. I was devasted at the time, but we moved on. But, I always missed her and the time we lost together. She didn't end up with that guy and is currently married to a man that I think is perfect for her! We ran into each other about 6 months ago and our friendship has flourished and has been coming back ever since and I am so grateful. She is also happy and with someone I know she will be happy with forever. And even though we lost those years, I don't regret saying something at the time.

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    2. This is such a hard thing, and I think Anon 2 offered some good advice. The tricky thing, is that when we tell someone something so sensitive like this, can we do it without threatening them or causing them to be defensive. Sometimes, out of a misguided sense of love, we actually control and manipulate a friend and their decision because we think they aren't capable of making it themselves. The way we speak to them can disempower them, make them think we don't respect or trust them, or something else like that that causes them to reject otherwise really great advice.

      I'm not saying I know how to do it right all the time. Just saying we need to be very self aware when we do things like that so that our words empower them to make their own decisions.

      I too would talk to someone if I felt I needed to.

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  8. Thanks for a great post! I feel like this was somewhat how I thought when I was with my first husband. I was totally in love with him at the time (or was it initially the "idea of being in love"?). However, he was the first guy I ever really dated, we didn't date very long and I think that with the way we grew up, it was just the next expected step we were both supposed to take. Whether or not that was true at that time and not to say that this cannot work for everyone, but it was just too quick for us. We really didn't take the time to get to know each other over time and I would definitely tell my kids now that they really need to date more than one person. And if you come back to the first one, great. But, if not, in the end - you really found out about yourself, who you are and what you are looking for, etc. I still have a workable relationship with my ex which I am so thankful for for the sake of our kids, but I am so much happier now with my current husband and know that it will last forever because at the time I met him, I knew who I was. And it wasn't about him. He knew who he was as well and together we work great together and I am so happy and in love. I hope to share all these messages and your posts with my daughters one day.

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  9. This mindset hits so close to home for me. I was that girl who grew up with one goal, to have someone want me as much as Rhett Butler wanted Scarlet O'Hara. I wanted to walk into a room have someone see me and just instantly connect and want to be with me. To my great astonishment it did happen. I was 16 it was a region dance our eyes met across the room, he asked me to dance and we were inseparable for that entire night and a couple of days after. Being so young we knew nothing serious could happen so it ended. It gave me such a distorted perspective of how love works. In highschool and college I wasn't pursued by men, and I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I was so depressed all I wanted was that across the room attraction feeling again, and I knew it was possible. It did happen again I was at a friends party he walked in and yep I could tell he wanted me, and I was in shock because it happened again and yes someone wanted me. This would become the most destructive relationship of my life. We were inseparable I loved how much he adored me, but I had to give up many of my core values to make the relationship work, I hated who I was becoming because of this relationship. I realized that the only reason I stayed or even was with this man was because he wanted me, more than anything. I was so scared that I would never find someone like that again that I stayed and gave up so much. My entire worth was based on this relationship that had picked out the parts that made me, me. With help from friends, and this blog as a friend recommended it to me during that time. I ended it. It was to this day the hardest thing I have ever had to do, I was terrified and so heartbroken. I was giving up all I ever wanted, even though it was poisoned. That same day I kid you not I met my husband. My roommate was dating his brother, and I went over to their house for the first time and saw Nick. It was across the room, he was sitting playing guitar. And he dropped everything to give me advice that changed my life, he let me know that I was worth so much more than what I thought of my self. He gave me courage to become the person I knew I wanted to be. He didn't fall in love with me, or lust over me that night. But he was the friend I needed that helped me to heal. Yes folks not love at first sight, but that doesn't make it any less real. He asked me out six months after that meeting and I wondered what was different from then, was I prettier, did he not think I was hot before, was it a set up. The truth was he was finally ready to pursue a meaningful relationship with me, and even though we were both nervous, we opened up to each other and talked through the night on our first date. We built ourselves a relationship with friendship and honesty. When the kissy stuff finally came two months later it was the icing on the cake and we were inseparable. I know this was a long story but ladies it is so important to find love with the person that wants your soul. That is not something that can be found by simply looking across the room, it takes time, dedication, vulnerability, and some lucky timing. Be the best version of yourself and your goodness will attract goodness and lead you to the one your soul will love. Yes that lustful wanting and attraction is awesome, but nothing is more deeply satisfying than someone that wants to know your entire soul. Wait for that and if your in a horrible relationship get yourself out. You will find love again, don't waste your life with plastic, when the pearls are waiting for you just around the corner. Dearest Mara thank you for your love, and for posts that bring out the best in people and help us to realize what can truly make us happy. Your blog helped me get out and have the strength to carry on, and I know it has for so many others.

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  10. After spending a few years in college going on minimal to no dates, and watching my roommates and friends go on what seemed like hundreds, I began feeling exactly the things you described in this post. I was convinced that I was worth nothing unless a guy showed interest in me.

    Then, a handsome and charming guy asked me out and I was head over heels almost instantly. Some of my friends knew him, and warned me that he was bad news, but I ignored it because he was just so charming. And he was charming... at first. He seemed like the kind of guy you see in the movies; he always knew exactly what to say to make my heart skip a beat.

    But it wasn't long before he began to show his true colors, and sadly, everything my friends had warned me about (and more) turned out to be true. He treated me terribly. I should have jumped ship at the first sign of the many red flags I saw, but by this point, his "talent" for saying what I wanted to hear turned into a tool to keep me from running away. He was manipulative, and verbally/emotionally abusive. I was never a priority to him, and whenever I tried to talk to him about this, he somehow twisted it and made me think it was my fault. No matter how many times I ended up in tears over something horrible he did or said to me, it would always end up with me believing I had caused it! I tried to get advice from friends and family about these issues, and then he would find out I had talked to them, and be furious. He convinced me that discussing our issues with others was "inappropriate" because we should just work things out between us. I believed this, and was left so very alone.... because even when I tried to "work things out" it would always turn out in his favor - I was just being "too crazy" and needed to "chill out".

    The people that didn't know him well were also fooled by his charm, and so many people would tell me how lucky I was to be dating this guy. In my mind, my worth COMPLETELY depended on this relationship staying intact, because to outside observers he was "so fantastic", and I loved being attached to that reputation... despite being completely broken inside.

    I started to become a shell of myself, and became very isolated from my friends and family for a time, even though I am typically a very social and outgoing person. This is what finally caused others around me to see that something was wrong. I tried to break it off with him several times but he would always talk me out of it. Sadly... it took my parents getting involved (and I was 22 years old at the time!!) to get this terrible influence out of my life. They were the only ones who knew even a little bit of what was going on, and were (understandably) sickened by what this guy was doing to me. I was absolutely terrified when they offered to intervene, but I'm so glad they did. While it wasn't easy, it was the greatest act of kindness I'd ever been shown.

    Luckily for me, my story has a happy ending. I'm blessed to now be married to a man who treats me like a queen and I have never been happier! But it's not just because of him, it's because I have used the things I've gone through to find myself and recognize MY worth. It took a long time, but I understand now that my partner doesn't determine my worth, but finding one that also builds me up and recognizes my worth is an indescribably wonderful feeling. I know now that I deserve to be treated as an equal and am so lucky to have that blessing. I don't know that I would have appreciated that so deeply had I not gone through those horrible experiences.

    Sorry this was so long, but I just felt I should add my story here. Thanks for the post, Mara! Your blog is so inspiring and has helped me through a lot of tough times. :)

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  11. Danny and Mara, This post is amazing. Thank you for writing it. My question is: what do you do if you learned this lesson too late? I am married with 3 children now. I have since learned my husband had a very devastating addiction but we've been working through it. He is recovering well and is 2.5 years sober. He is learning these lessons too, just very very slowly. He is very nice and treats me well but I married him because I had no self worth and I settled. I know my happiness is not his (or anyone else's) responsibility. I have found ways to be truly happy regardless of my marriage. Lots of therapy and learning how to love myself and allow myself to be loved has been invaluable. Your blog has helped tremendously. I wish I could have known this before, but I am where I am. I don't want to get divorced for my children's sake. Am I destined to be with a man I settled for (although he is a good provider, father, etc) although I truly don't have a deep connection or desire to be with? I love him as a person but cannot say I am "in love" with him. Thanks for listening!

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