Women, we all seem to have one common problem in life… and that is finding a good man. It seems that we spend a little too much time with Mr. Doesn’t-Call-Back, Mr. Push Away and Mr. Just Not Into You. However, today we’d like to help ourselves get on the fast track to true love. And to accomplish this we have enlisted the help from Ken Page, the author of many books, including Deeper Dating: How to Drop The Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.
Just Amorous: Ken, why do some of us women always choose the wrong guys?
Ken Page: We all have two basic circuitries of attraction. We can be attracted to someone because they are not really available, almost available, almost treat us right, or almost love us—and those attractions are intense. It is a very human thing. Those attractions can feel like real love, they can drive us nuts and take up years of our lives. Those are what I call ‘Attractions of Deprivation’, and they function the same way that a Los Vegas slot machine functions. You are going to get the gold, but you don’t know when and you can’t control why. But every now and then you get some, and there is nothing that sculpts addictive behavior more than that. Most of us have been there, and they feel like love, but they are Attractions of Deprivation and we usually don’t end up getting the cheese.
And then there is another kind of circuitry of attraction, called ‘Attraction of Inspiration’. It is like what happens if you are dating and dating and messing around, and then all of a sudden you really fall in love. You say this is the kind of person I want to build my life with. It’s when you’re attracted to someone because of who they are in the world and because of how they treat you. In other words, you actually grow your attraction because of their availability, as opposed to growing your attraction based on their unavailability. This usually starts out less intense and the sexual attraction and romantic attraction grows along with a really good feeling inside about who you are and who the other person is. But it grows differently and it grows slower.
People looking for a real relationship really need to understand the difference between the two. And to make a conscious choice. If you were to only focus on your attractions of inspiration, your entire romantic life will change. You will find love starting to happen.
Just Amorous: What are the skills that women need to work on the most when dating?
KP: On your first date, don’t just notice what you are thinking about the other person; notice what you are feeling. A lot of times you might look at someone and think, that person is really not my type. They don’t match my profile. But if you drop down in your feelings you might think, “Yeah, that person is kind of sexy,” or “I feel really good with this person.” What is the quality of the connection? These are are skills that everyone should know, and almost nobody is ever taught.
Just Amorous: Where are the best places to meet a guy these days?
KP: I am going to break it down based on my highest rating down to my lowest. Okay, highest in in places with people who share your values and interests. I know you’d rather hang out in your t-shirt in your living room and search online. I get it one-thousand percent, but you are going to do a lot better the other way. So mix it up. Of course you can do the online thing, but do some of the real stuff too. If you are using a geosocial app, liker Tinder, turn it on when you are at the museum, or doing volunteer work or at a lecture and not just when you’re at the bar.
I would say that drinking at a bar is one of the worst ways. Not that people haven’t met and fallen in love getting drunk together in a bar, but it doesn’t happen that often and it is probably the worst way. A better way is that everybody has a circle of friends that they have curated over a number of years. If you ask the people who know you best to think about who might be right for you; probably they will think about it. But if you tell them to go through their Facebook contacts, I can pretty much guarantee they are going to line up a few really great dates for you. That is an incredible way to meet people, because these people know you. And feel free to tell them who you’re interested in. If you have a particular type, and you don’t tell these people—they are not going to know and then you’ll have a lot of painful dates.
The other way is online, and I would say to use it in more skilled ways. Watch the rabbit holes and tendencies you fall into. Try to stay more conscious.
Just Amorous: What would you say is one of the biggest ‘rabbit holes’ women find themselves in?
KP: Everybody has a fear of intimacy. I think if you are breathing… you have a fear of intimacy, because love is the most precious thing of all—and it scares us. We get afraid of being hurt or having our love betrayed. It is normal to fear intimacy. But research also seems to show that the people who are the most afraid of intimacy become the most sexually attracted to people who are unavailable and have the least capacity to build a connection with someone. So if you are someone who keeps chasing after unavailable people, watch for meeting someone who you like, but start getting afraid with. That is a sign that they are available.
Just Amorous: Oh, now that’s interesting.
KP: And it is a good thing.
Just Amorous: you talk about ‘the Wave’, which is when a man pulls away from his partner. What should a woman do when a man is pulling away? Is there a way to help him get through it and make the right decision?
KP: Here is what I would say. Number one, talk to your friends as much as you can to help you keep your balance. It is a frustrating thing and really difficult, but you don’t want to keep going back to that person for something he is too afraid to give you. That is number one. Number two, watch his behavior. Does he handle the wave like a gentleman or a jerk? That is going to tell you a lot. Because if he is going through the wave and he just pulls back some, but doesn’t blow you off or act stupid—and he is honest and only takes some extra space, that is a good sign. He’s handling it in his own way. That will give you information about if he is worth pursuing.
The next thing is to give him time and space. The other thing is—do not beat yourself up if you call or text him. Don’t blame yourself in thinking that you doing that is what is making him afraid. It is better if you can give him space, but what’s most important is if you feel that you can’t and you need to contact him—don’t beat yourself up over it.
Just Amorous What about when a woman is dealing with a man who is commitment phobic; what is the best way to deal with him?
KP: She can give him a certain period of time. She can share her feelings—and then she has to start accepting what is. This guy might just not be ready.
Just Amorous: Is that when she should give up?
KP: You feel it out. You don’t want to give up too early, but you don’t want to hold on forever. This woman Siggy Flicker, she is coming out with a book soon. She is a dating expert; she is great. She has a great line. She says, a man’s rejection is Gods protection.
Just Amorous: (laughs) We like that! Thanks for speaking to us today, Ken.
KP: Thank you.
Ken Page, LCSW, is a nationally syndicated columnist, psychotherapist, lecturer and author of the critically-acclaimed bestselling book, Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. He is also the author of Psychology Today’s extremely popular blog Finding Love. He has led hundreds of workshops for thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations. He and his work have been featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Time Out New York, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Discovery Channel and Psychology Today Magazine. He is the founder of Deeper Dating, an acclaimed event for single people committed to deeper values.