One of the most frustrating and puzzling relationship issues is determining why the guys you want don’t seem to want you.
A lot of our readers are in these types of situations; that’s probably what led them to A New Mode to begin with. They are involved with a guy who just doesn’t seem to be as interested. He’s into it, he’s attracted, he likes hanging out with her, but he’s not quite there. She, on the other hand, has gone all in and the fact that he isn’t at the same point leaves her with a constant feeling of unease just beneath the surface.
If you have been in several situations like this, you might start to wonder if it’s you, if you’re doing something wrong. But then how can that be when all these other guys, the ones you don’t want, are desperate to date you? Why is it that the commitment and the proclamations of love and devotion only seem to come from the guys you don’t want and not the ones you do?
I remember facing this predicament for many years when I was single. There was Craig the writer; he reached out to me about doing guest columns for some leading publications and then we went on a few dates. In addition to getting a career boost, he was also a fantastic guy. He called (yes, called, not texted!) just to say hi, he never left me hanging, he eagerly talked about me meeting his friends and family, he absolutely adored me, but ehh…I just wasn’t so into it.
There was Tom (not his real name because I actually can’t remember his real name, but I assure you he’ll never forget mine!). He did sound production for Broadway plays and he was really cute and cool. And he worshipped me. He stared at me like I was some divine being and wanted so badly for me to fall in love with him at the same rate he was falling for me. But no, I just couldn’t.
Then there was Ben. We went out on about five dates and on the first date I stupidly left my keychain wallet in my apartment, locking myself out and leaving me without any cash or cards for the entire night. He was a total gem and stayed out with me until 2 a.m. when my roommate finally came home. Our dates were always great and he was a wonderful guy who thought I was the smartest unicorn on the planet, but no, not him. At the same time I was dating Ben I dated Brian – now Brian I liked!
Brian was an aspiring poet who taught guitar to children to make ends meet and slept on a mattress in a dingy Bushwick apartment. He was sexy, he was aloof, he was lost, and I had to get in there, to know what was going on in that head of his. I was transfixed. We went on three wonderful dates. After the third he told me he was going to California for a week but would be in touch when he got back. We shared a passionate kiss and I floated home on a cloud, I could not wait for my new love to return from the West Coast.
But I never heard from him again and I was distraught. I even sent him a text well after a week had gone by asking how his trip was and I got radio silence. How could he not respond? What did I do wrong? Did I kiss him back too passionately? Did it come across as desperate? Should I have acted more indifferent when he said he would be in touch when he got back, maybe responded with a casual, “Cool, sounds good,” instead of, “Great! I can’t wait!”?
How is it I could be the most spectacular goddess to the guys I was indifferent to, but a take-it-or-leave-it to the guys who actually did stir something in me?
I got married a few months ago to a guy that, from the beginning, I really liked and he really liked me back! It was probably my first relationship where the levels of interest were equally reciprocated and it marked my full recovery from wanting guys who didn’t want me. But why was this such a problem for me for so long? And why is it something that plagues so many women out there?
1. You Want Him
One of the biggest reasons the guys you want don’t want you comes down to the simple fact that you want them.
When we want something, it represents something to us and we internalize the having of that thing as meaning something about us. If we can get the guy, then we’re validated, we’re worthy of love, we have succeeded. If we can’t get him to want us, then there is something wrong with us; we are flawed and unlovable.
Wanting puts you into agenda mode. You meet a guy who has a set of qualities that you want in a man and you make it your mission to have him. From that point on you measure your interactions with him in terms of whether they’re getting you closer to, or further from, your ultimate goal. When you have an agenda, you are interacting with the thoughts in your mind and this prevents you from building a genuine connection.
The minute you decide you want him, he is no longer a person with his own desires, needs, and wants. He is a thing that you need to acquire. This mindset seems innocent enough, but ultimately, it is what blocks you from getting what it is you want.
2. You stress over how he feels.
When you want a guy and aren’t sure if he wants you back, your mind can’t help but stress over how he feels. You tally up the signs he likes you, you go over every interaction, you read into every single text looking for clues. You are essentially playing emotional detective, and participating in this line of obsessive thinking transmits a desperate, needy vibe that men can intuitively pick up on.
When you go on a quest to figure out how he feels, your fears and insecurities will inevitably get activated and this will come across. Most mainstream dating advice focuses on how you behave when really, your vibe is what determines if a guy will be drawn to you or repelled from you.
It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s the intention behind it.
If you are acting a certain way in order to make him feel a certain way about you, he will intuitively sense that you aren’t genuine, that you are trying to get something from him, and his guard will instinctively go up because that’s how all people naturally respond when we sense someone has ulterior motives.
It’s much like a car salesman who comes up to you and is all nice and jovial and seemingly interested in you as a person. You don’t buy it because you know that, while he might be very nice and might like you very much, he is really just trying to sell you something and that is driving all his behaviors.
(If this is an issue for you I highly recommend you read my article on how to stop stressing when it comes to dating and relationships.)
3. Too much pressure
It doesn’t matter if you come out and ask him where things are going or if he has feelings for you, if you mentally want something from a guy (in this case, a commitment), he will know and will feel pressured.
Even if you’re just waiting by the phone for his text…I don’t know how, but he will just know. This why the guys you aren’t so into are usually so into you…because there’s no pressure. You’re just feeling it out and testing the waters and he feels a sense of freedom in the relationship.
Here is a very important thing to realize about how men fall in love. Men usually fall for a woman based on how they feel when they’re around her.
Women, on the other hand, usually have a mental checklist and if a guy checks off enough boxes, she’ll see him as a potential romantic partner and will begin to invest and get excited about the possibilities.
Sure, most men have a certain “type,” but they rarely go out seeking a specific set of qualities. What makes a man commit is how he feels in your presence. When he feels pressured in any way, then it leaves little room for him to feel anything else and it causes him to lose whatever interest he had in you.
4. Not connecting to who he is, his core essence
As I said, when you have an agenda, you are engaging with the thoughts in your head, and not with the person in front of you. A lot of the times, we convince ourselves that we like a guy just because he matches up with our dating checklist, not because we have gotten to know who he truly is at his core.
No man wants to feel like he’s filling a slot that any other dude could easily occupy. Maybe you like that he’s good looking, employed, funny, tall, nice, etc., but there are millions of other guys like that out there. A guy wants to feel chosen because of how great he is, because of who he is at his core, not because he meets some minimum requirement of characteristics.
A lot of the time, the guys you want don’t want you because you don’t make an effort to truly connect to him as person. You see him as a means to an end, an opportunity to have a boyfriend and settle down, without really taking the time to get to know him.
When you connect with a man, he feels safe. And as I explained, a man bonds with a woman when he feels good in her presence, and feeling safe always feels good.