Dear Neil: What is wrong with women? My last several attempts at having an intimate relationship have all failed, largely because I keep encountering damaged women who push away having a close, intimate relationship with a man. One woman was recently raped and was afraid of getting close with a man. Another had a drinking problem and never acted as if she actually valued me. A third became repeatedly withholding and rejecting—all the while denying that she was withdrawing and distancing our relationship. And the fourth walked around with a hostile, jealous, critical, angry and defensive veneer which made trying to have a reciprocal and heartful relationship with her impossible. Why is this happening? Are all women damaged?
Rejected in Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Dear Rejected: Just like you’re wounded from all these rejections and bad experiences, so are the women you are describing.
In fact, look carefully and you’ll notice that, to a greater or lesser degree, we’re all wounded. From time to time—through disappointments, betrayals, losses, mistakes, misjudgments, failures, ruptured dreams or whatever—life wounds all of us.
Yes, some people, men and women, have been damaged (by childhood, bad luck, poor choices, etc.) and haven’t done the work yet—or done enough of it—to make peace with the past so they can love, trust and freely offer their hearts again. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all people are badly damaged. Some are. But all of us, to some degree, are wounded.
What you can do is to not let all these rejections and disappointments damage you. You can continue to go after finding or creating a good relationship with a woman without getting overly jaded, cynical, angry, bitter, helpless or hopeless—and without walking around with a chip on your shoulder toward women.
The dilemma you face is to figure out how to keep your hope and spirit up in spite of your recent experiences. You do that by not losing sight of your goals and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Don’t let these disappointments and rejections knock you off course from your goal of having a good, intimate relationship with a woman. Believe in yourself, rise to the occasion and don’t let this adversity beat you mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
However, look carefully at what your role was in causing the problems in your relationships, or in assisting those relationships to fail—so that if you are inadvertently contributing to women withdrawing from you, you clean up your part of the problem immediately. So carefully look at what you might do differently or more effectively if you had the opportunity to repeat those relationships all over again.
Life is about falling down and getting back up again. Get back up, dust yourself off, and go after the intimate relationship you seek all over again—with hope, good spirit and gusto.
“Everything precious including our dignity can be taken from us but the one thing that cannot be taken away is our power to choose what attitude we will take toward the offense that had happened.” —Viktor Frankl
“The world breaks everyone and afterwards some are strong at the broken places.” —Ernest Hemingway