A number of the emails I’ve had recently have a core theme to them – women believing that they’ve ‘scared away’ a Good Man. In some instances women were pushing away decent guys because they just couldn’t believe that he or the relationship could be different to their usual dramatics and effectively carried on like they didn’t deserve a good relationship. And then…in other instances, their mind, body, and soul was trying to eradicate a No Good Man out of their lives, effectively doing them a favour although they may not have seen it at the time.
Sam, 36 was distraught when her guy said that he needed some time apart to sort out some family issues – it came at a time when she was already very insecure about whether she could hold on to him. “I’m afraid that my neediness pushed him away and he just gave up on me. I just couldn’t feel secure with him and I admit that with or without him I have low self-esteem issues. I really wanted to be with him and at first it was going so well but I got worried that he might be seeing other girls. On several occasions I asked him if he was sleeping with anyone else. He said no. But that didn’t stop me from checking up on him and I found out that his ex had been at the same place he had but he didn’t mention it. This drove me crazy but I couldn’t admit what I knew. I asked him again if he was cheating on me and he said no, but I couldn’t leave it. I’m pretty sure that I’ve scared him off – is he a good guy?”
To question whether you scared someone off may cause you to focus on the wrong things. Take Julie for instance – who knows whether he was shagging around on her but let’s be real, whether he was or wasn’t, she would have still been asking if he was sleeping with someone else, checking up on him, and basically not letting things be. If you’re scared that someone is going to abandon you or cheat on you (or both), you’ll believe you’re with someone that will do this and likely end up with someone that reflects the very things that you’re afraid of. Even if she wasn’t with someone who was cheating, she was behaving like someone who was – who wants to be asked again and again if they’re screwing someone else?
Julie painted herself into a corner because under no circumstance could she feel secure because she was unhappy with herself and convinced she couldn’t hold on to a man for any length of time – this will push away a great or not so great guy. The latter may stick around because he sees an opportunity to take advantage. The great guy will eventually tire of being painted as a not so great guy judged on the merits of her insecurities and past boyfriends.
If you’re wondering if you pushed away a ‘good guy’, the key is in understanding whether the issues in your relationship were internal or external.
Did you choose an amazing guy and then sabotage it with all of your negative internal messaging? If you did, you will not have any real external evidence to back up what you were thinking and doing. If you would behave this way regardless because this is your pattern of relationship behaviour, it’s almost like the external factors don’t matter because the only drum beat you’re listening to is the one going on inside of you. You’re not being evidence based. You don’t believe that you are capable of having the relationship, so you predict (negatively) what is likely to happen, behave accordingly and end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy that validates your fears and beliefs. When you’re afraid of something you act like it’s already happening instead of sanity checking to see if it’s reality. It then becomes what you believe – a premise that you hold to be true, even though it may not actually be true.
If you can hand on heart say that this guy had no issues, both feet in the relationship, was doing everything to bring the relationship forward and your insecure self overtook things and wouldn’t let the relationship be, then yes, I’ll be honest, it is very possible that you have scared off a ‘good man’. You need to be able to be honest with yourself and be real enough to look at both yours and his contribution instead of assuming the responsibility for the success and failure of the relationship like you have that great a power.
Or did you choose the same guy, different package that is central to your pattern and because he reflected every negative thing that you believe about yourself, love, and relationships, the relationship was doomed anyway? If this is the case, there will be real external evidence that demonstrates that you were right to have your concerns and push them away. Your boundaries will be crossed and no matter what ‘good’ points they have, they don’t eradicate what are legitimate concerns that impact on the ability to have a healthy relationship. Yes you may have pushed them away and no you might not be conscious of your reasons for doing so, but think of it as your defence system kicking into gear.
When we have low self-esteem, the reality is that we wouldn’t know a decent guy if he came along and bit us in the bum. We’ll be suspicious of him and wonder if he’s too good to be true, and tar him with the same brush as other men we’ve been involved with. I should know…I’ve done it myself.
When we have a particular mindset about ourselves and what type of experience we think we’re likely to get, we can take a good guy and like a blank canvas, paint our insecurities all over him.
If you’re in this situation, whatever and whoever they may or may not be, is not really at the heart of the issue because until you resolve your own issues, it won’t matter if he is The Most Perfect Man That Ever Did Land On the Universe, your beliefs will ensure that your relationships all go down the same road where you get to believe the worst things about yourself, love, and relationships.
Personal security is very attractive and it resonates throughout your interactions and your experiences. Lacking in personal security isn’t very attractive and it permeates your interactions and experiences.
We may tell ourselves that the ‘right man’ won’t be scared off by our insecurities but that’s really like dodging the responsibility of our own contribution and saying that he must prove himself and that we don’t have to be accountable for our own negativity. What we don’t realise is that if we’re not going to believe differently anyway their efforts to show their love is like throwing their energy into the abyss.
Ask the many people who don’t love themselves if they really do feel the love when someone says they love them? Short-term they do, but beyond that they don’t because they don’t feel it for themselves, they can’t embrace it from others.
Much like how I say that there are women that walk away from unavailable men because they recognise that it would detract from them to be with someone who cannot be present and accountable for a relationship, it is exactly the same thing for someone who finds themselves involved with someone who they like, but who they realise is dealing with problems that make them emotionally unavailable and unable to fully commit themselves to a relationship.
If you’re that woman who really does think that she has scared someone off, rather than beat yourself over the head, indulge in blame and shame and lament your loss, get to the heart of why you would scare someone off and deal with that so that the next time, you can work out if you’re in a stick or fold situation and embrace the good.
And I should add – We are each responsible for our own actions. You cannot scare a decent guy into being an assclown. If he behaves like an assclown it’s because he is one, not because you scared him into one.