Oh Your Man Left, Well Who Wants To Hold Onto A Stray Dog Anyway?

don't leave me
Love, Self

Is it possible to hold onto a man who does not want to be held?

Ladies, are you doing everything you can to hold onto men?

Are you making sure his happiness is a priority and he is fulfilled in your relationship? Because you know if you’re not, he will just go to the next pretty thing that will give him what he wants and will not even ask for a whole world in return, the way you have.

I have spent a few hours last week working with a young woman, Jill (not her real name) who is in her early thirties. Jill is drop-dead gorgeous. She has a great career; she is well read and widely traveled. Jill can have any man she wants. Yet there she was, lamenting to me about her fiancé, who left her without as much as a goodbye. He packed his things (and a few of hers) while she was at work.

By the time she got home that night, he was gone, along with a few pieces of furniture that she bought when she first moved into the apartment. Apparently, he had a history of sleeping around. Each time his affairs surfaced, they would have a fight, followed by monumental make-up sex. After each such session, they 'made up.' Jill would blame herself for being too controlling, too domineering and too suffocating for him.

Each affair and ensuing fight deprived Jill of a bit more of herself: whether it was her habit of speaking her mind or her need for emotional closeness. At the end, Jill turned into robo-fiancé, doing and saying things that she thought her lover would approve. You know how it ended. So there she was, left to blame herself for being a burden to him and not doing even more to hold onto him.

Guess what: there was absolutely nothing that Jill could’ve done to make him stay.

There is absolutely nothing that any woman can do to make a man stay. That’s because if a man wants to leave, ladies, it’s not because you were not able to hold onto him; it’s because he wants to leave. Let me repeat: IF A MAN WANTS TO LEAVE, IT’S NOT BECAUSE YOU CANNOT HOLD ONTO HIM; IT IS BECAUSE HE WANTS TO LEAVE. If a man sleeps around, it is not because of something a woman did. It is because he wants to sleep around.

How is it even possible, in 2014, when feminism and women’s rights came such a long way, that we are still having these conversations? Why are women still blaming themselves for failed relationships? Why are women still beating themselves up for not doing more to make a man stay?

Jill is a prime example of every man’s fantasy woman. There is not a man that I know that would not give his right pinky to go out with Jill. Yet there she was, beating herself up for some imaginary battle she did not fight. I asked Jill if she thought that perhaps the guy was just a bastard? It did occur to her, but after carefully overanalyzing and overthinking the situation, she decided that she was largely at fault.

Unfortunately, Jill is not alone. Her state of mind may be a little extreme and I did recommend a therapist for her. However, she is not the only successful woman left wondering what to do to hold onto a man.

Here is something to ponder, ladies:

Why would you want a man to whom you need to hold on?

Why would you want something that needs to be carefully handled and treasured like a fragile porcelain teacup that you inherited from Grandma?

Why do you want a relationship where you have to spend so much time and effort to ensure you are performing all the right dances around him?

Why do you want to spend your time worrying where he is and whom he is with? Wouldn’t you want a relationship where you can be yourself?

Would you not want a relationship where you trust him to be in a company of thirty Victoria’s Secret models and still think of coming home to you (ok, we may allow him to think of a few other things, as long as he comes home to you!). 

The point is, the very basic factor that needs to be present in any relationship in order for that relationship to survive is trust.

TRUST. No, I am not advocating rosy fantasies of 'happily ever after' with a white picket fence, 2.5 children and a dog. I am not suggesting that you should settle for nothing less than a relationship that is 100% argument free and is perfect in every other aspect. Such relationships are like unicorns: everyone can describe it, but no one actually saw one.

However, in the very least, you want a relationship where you can be yourself. Where you can speak your mind, behave in a way that is natural to you and be able to love your partner unconditionally, no matter where he is or who he is with: BECAUSE YOU TRUST HIM. 

Ladies, if you have to put so much effort into holding onto a man, please ask yourself if he is worth holding onto. And even at the risk of sounding corny and trite, I have to quote the immortal words of Sherrilyn Kenyon: "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with."