Sample Q&A: Dating
Q: What other things should I watch for when I’m beginning to date again?
Our reasons for being attracted to a particular woman can be healthy, neurotic, or problematic. Let’s go over a few of the other common reasons men find a specific woman enticing, and then let’s look at the risks related to each choice.
More Good Ways to Choose a Bad Woman Comparison Shopping. This, in itself, is not a bad idea. It makes sense to compare your experiences with different women that you date. The problem is that guys, especially after divorce, tend not to shop long enough. Make sure you have squeezed all the melons before you put one in your shopping cart.
She’s Pregnant. Perhaps, you thought this only happens to teenagers. Well, you are old enough to know better, but it can still happen to you. You certainly know how to prevent pregnancy, but if it should happen to you, don’t rush to the altar. Take some time to consider how the marriage will work out in the long run. Better yet, make sure that this is not an issue you have to consider.
The Old Habit. Usually, what happens here is that you date someone for a very long time, and she insists that you marry. At some level, it feels like an ultimatum: either marry me or the relationship will end. We see a lot of guys who wind up marrying as a result of this kind of pressure. At the time of the marriage they seem okay with the decision. Later, though, they often regret it. Then, typically, they blame her for pressuring them and decide they never loved her anyway. Divorce usually follows. If you have been dating someone for a long time, but you are not sure you want to marry her, you need to figure out why that is. Maybe, you just don’t want to be married. Maybe, you know at some level that the marriage to her won’t work. Maybe you would like to marry her, but you are still too anxious. Answer the questions about your reluctance and then resolve the relationship one way or another. At the very least, tell her if you are not going to marry her, even if that ultimately costs you the relationship. To not tell her is simply unfair if she is still hoping for a lifetime union, especially if she wants to have children by you.
Just Like Dear Old Mom. Some guys decide that what they need is a woman just like the one Dad found: Mom! Of course, most of us would be appalled to sleep with our mothers, and this may be how you feel, too, after a time. It’s a better idea to look for women who possess some of Mom’s better qualities, rather than to find one who could take her place. Otherwise, pretty soon you’ll be feeling like a rebellious adolescent.
Groucho Marx Syndrome. You may remember the old Groucho Marx line that “I wouldn’t join a club that would have someone like me as a member.” Some men have such low self-esteem that they jump at the chance to marry any woman who would have them. After awhile, though, they come to realize that no one else can improve their self-esteem. They resent the woman for not making them feel good. Divorce may follow. If you have poor self-esteem, your first task is to learn how to feel better about yourself. This must be accomplished before you can make ANY relationship work well.
Damsel in Distress. In this approach the guy seems to seek women who need “help.” The more that she is in need of rescue, the stronger is his attraction. Frequently, at some level, the guy expects Ms. Damsel to be eternally grateful for rescuing her from that dragon, the mortgage payment, or her wicked step-parents. Unfortunately, there is not usually a “They lived happily ever after” ending to this story. After awhile, the guy (Prince Valiant) begins to see that she had some role to play in her own distress. Indeed, she usually demonstrates some of these problems in her new marriage to the Prince. For her part, she may begin to resent him, especially if he reminds her of how he saved her. Conflict may be bitter leading to break-up. Be careful about damsels. They might need frequent rescuing, and you may get tired of that action. Better to find a self-made duchess.
For more answers and helpful resources The Guys-Only Guide to Getting Over Divorce by Sam J. Buser, Ph.D. & Glenn F. Sternes, Ph.D. is the single best resource for men facing divorce. Easy to read, lively, down to earth, and definitely guy-friendly. One of the best tools for lawyers, family doctors, therapists, and health-care professionals — every office should have a dozen copies. Written by nationally recognized experts in men’s issues.