What I discovered about dating and vulnerability...
I'm a funny person. I like to be funny and make people laugh. I just love to be the center of attention and have an audience (even if my audience is just one person who really isn't listening). So after my separation, I thought it would be easy to attract the perfect guy. Hey, I'm attractive and funny, what's not to like? Ha, not so fast. It wasn't easy at all and boy did I learn the hard way.
I was intrigued by online dating and thought I would give it a whirl. My Match.com profile started out like this: "I couldn't find a way to describe myself so I asked my ex-husband. He said, "She swears like a sailor, drools while she sleeps, and my mother couldn't wait to get rid of her."
And on the part where they ask you the last book you've read. I wrote, "How to Stop Being a Co-dependent Girlfriend, written by Oprah Winfrey."
Even more hilarious, right? (Okay, I might think I'm funnier than I really am.)
Obviously, my profile wasn't true but I was using it to showcase my humor. I received a ton of e-mails—every guy remarked on my funny profile and that they would love to take me out to dinner. And so I went out with a few of them.
I found that I dominated the conversation, they laughed at my jokes, but not one of them was interesting to me, nor did I find any of them attractive. I couldn't understand it! What was I doing wrong?
And then it occurred to me that being funny isn't really who I am. It's a part of me, but it isn't me. Underneath my humor, I'm quite vulnerable. I can be scared, I hate to be alone, and I always worry that I'm not the best mother.
I had to ask myself, do I want a guy to laugh at my jokes, or do I want him to take care of me, love and support me when I'm feeling low? I realized I wanted the latter so I revamped my online dating strategy. I needed to be vulnerable.
Now, being vulnerable doesn't mean being desperate. Desperate is saying that you are so lonely you'll do anything for a date. But being vulnerable means you have a softer side to you, and that you aren't perfect. Say something that scares you a little.
Thus, my new online dating profile went something like this: "I have two amazing boys but sometimes I wonder if they'll catch on that Mom needs to get out more and find love for herself. I love meeting new people and I'm ready for a relationship, but if it doesn't happen soon, then my boys are stuck with endless bowling nights and pizza!"
The men that wrote me were completely different than the first round. They were nicer, perhaps because my profile invited them to say something vulnerable about themselves.
On my dates I tried not to dominate the conversation and tell jokes. I listened more and made myself promise to say at least one thing that scared me. And I figured something out—men dig that!
No matter how Alpha-female we may be, what we find attractive about men is their manliness—their ability to hunt, nurture, and provide. Thousands of years of evolution have wired us this way. So being able to attract that right guy may require you to take a back seat, listen and be vulnerable!
Once you have him and he has you, then show your stuff, girlfriend! Tell your jokes, make him laugh until he pees himself, and he will love you for all that you are!
More dating advice on YourTango:
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