Does He Like You?

This is a question every single girl says at some point during her dating journey.  We think about it. We obsess about it. We play and replay every action and every work dissecting it beyond recognition. Why are we so concerned about what he thinks? As I watch friends navigate this process, it seems like they are so concerned about whether or not their love interest is interested in them that they forget to decide if they even like the guy. It is almost as if they want to be in a relationship so badly that they will overlook important red flags or downplay their wants and needs in a partner. They find themselves saying things like, “He’s not working now because he is taking time off to decide what he wants in a career” or “He’s not insecure and controlling, he just loves me so much he can’t stand to be apart.” No! He’s riding the unemployment train with no intention of finding a job. Run! He wants to control you and no amount of reassurance will ever make him feel secure in your relationships. Someone who loves and trusts you will give you the space you need to be an individual. If a man is worth your time, you don’t need to make excuses for him.

Whether you believe it or not, you deserve to have a man cherish you. You are of value.  So, why do you spend so much time trying to make it work with men who aren’t what you want and need? The bottom line? Lack of self-esteem. If you don’t believe that you are worth having a relationship with a man who meets the basic criteria on your list, why would he? A friend of mine was recently telling me about a girl who dates a variety of men with whom she sleeps with immediately. Deep down, she really wants a relationship with a man to eventually marry and have children, but she continually puts herself in situations where that would be unlikely. If you don’t respect yourself, why should he? If you send messages about being open to a fling, why would he expect that what you are really trying to do is find a life partner? If you are having casual sex because you think it is fun, ok. Hopefully you practice safe sex, but if that works for you, ok. But, if you are sleeping with men because you hope they will give you more or keep their interest, the joke is on you. Men and women think and feel differently about sex. Men can, for the most part, compartmentalize while most women view sex as a deeper emotional connection. Talk about having different expectations! Let me be clear ladies, no man who meets you in a bar and takes you home with him after last call is looking for an emotional connection.

Where am I going with this? If you want a lasting and fulfilling relationship, put yourself in a position to find it. Meet worthwhile men by doing the things that you want to have in your life. If you don’t feel like you have much going for you, figure out where you want to go and do it. Be the partner you want to find because like attracts like. If you want someone who is confident, intelligent, successful and outgoing, you need to play the part. You need to build your confidence. You need to engage in intellectually stimulating activities. You need to start something that would bring you a sense of achievement. You need to attend social gatherings that allow you to meet new people. Putting all of those pieces together, you increase the chances of meeting men who will treat you with the respect you deserve because you will treat yourself with respect. You are a walking billboard and if you don’t believe what you are selling, no one else will either.

Treating yourself with respect also means receiving as much as you put in. So many women think that if they just give enough, sacrifice enough, or make themselves available enough, a man will fall in love with them. If this is you, you could not be more wrong! That amounts to you being a servant. Being indispensable makes you a good employee, but it does not necessarily make you an ideal partner. Putting yourself in that position sets you up to be a doormat.  You will be taken advantage of and be under appreciated. Forget about respect. The sad truth is that many women are socialized to believe that putting everyone above us and sacrificing as much as possible makes us a better woman. This is also wrong. It makes you angry, resentful, tired and sad. This school of thought is not healthy. Many women chronically in this position even develop weight problems due to emotional eating and can also eventually lead to depression.  When we are respected, other people are not only willing, but actually want to give to us emotionally. If you are consistently doing the heavy lifting in your relationships, it is time to establish boundaries and find balance. Women who choose partners (even that word signifies that both people contribute) who give to them more equally are more confident, happier and have higher self-esteem. They also have the confidence and self-esteem not to  put up with partners who will not do their part.

I can hear you now….this all sounds great, but no man wants me! Nonsense! There are men out there for every woman regardless of shape, size, and ethnicity, whatever. Sure, there will be men who are not attracted to you for some reason, just like there are great men that won’t be what you want. It doesn’t make them unlovable. All too often, the women I work with seem to think that just because a man is not attracted to them, they are damaged. This is not the case, but when you act like you are damaged, men will run and the men who don’t run probably won't be healthy for you.

Stop wasting your time trying to figure out what he thinks and if he wants you. Instead, invest your energy in yourself. If you become the person you want to be, the right man will not only find you, he will find you irresistible. When you invest in yourself, you get to decide whether you want him, not the other way around.  Don’t wait around hoping that some man will give you the life you want. Make the life you want and find a relationship that compliments it.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.