I was chatting with a girlfriend this weekend about the abrupt end to her most recent relationship. We are both in our 40s, better than average looking and college educated.
We take care of our bodies, nourish our minds and souls on a regular basis and try like hell to be good people. Yet we both end up dating the same guy in a slightly different package over and over. It never ends well for either of us, and we are damn sick of it.
We both lamented that all the therapy and self-help work we have done does not seem to be netting any new results for either of us in the relationship department, and we wondered out loud why we neither one can seem to figure this shit out. This led me to ask the question, “How do you make yourself change the type of person you find attractive?” Reprogramming myself on the intellectual level has clearly not been enough to override my instinctive physical response to the men I meet.
See, for me, there has to be some kind of chemical reaction when I first lay eyes on a man for me to be interested in pursuing him. If I do not feel that magnetic pull at first, it will never be there. Chemistry does not grow on me.
Make no mistake, though, I don’t jump into bed with just anyone. (Ahem, anymore.) But if I can’t at least envision us getting tangled up together as I gaze into your eyes during our first meeting, I will NEVER want to partake in the sexy bits with you. Just sayin’.
This is not to say that a dude has to look like Johnny Depp, Jason Statham or Robert Downey Jr. for me to feel a tingle in my nether regions. But he does have to possess a key feature that draws me in — bright blue or green eyes, nice biceps, a stellar smile — SOMETHING that spawns a flutter in my belly and propels my mind toward the mental checklist of whether sheets are clean and lady parts are shaved. Couple a sexy physical feature or two with charisma, charm and wit, and I am doomed ... er, smitten.
If there is no chemistry immediately, the man in question will forever be in the friend zone. And to be honest, I have a lot of friends already, so I am reluctant to make time to get to know new ones. Plus, if a man asks me out on a date and I know he has no chance of getting in my pants in this century, I feel guilty about wasting his time. And for me, rejecting someone else feels almost as icky to me as getting rejected myself.
Back to my original train of thought… My girlfriend and I both tend to be attracted to a certain type of guy — the Alpha Male.
Physically strong, athletic, a man’s man — I have always been drawn to a guy who could kick another dude’s ass if called upon to do so. He’s an outgoing, charismatic, smart, witty leader. He is independent and stalwart in his convictions. He smells like an intoxicating mixture of sweat and sawdust because he fixes things around the house and works on cars. He also probably owns firearms and rides motorcycles. And he knows how to manhandle me with just the right amount of …
Sorry, got lost in the moment there.
Anyhoo, it has been my experience that in addition to all of the positive traits inherent to Alphas, the ones I have fallen for over the years have also deserved one or more of the following less-than-desirable labels: alcoholic, emotionally retarded, narcissist, sociopath, all-around douchebag.
And let me just say that an emotionally retarded narcissist stops being sexy pretty quick.
So, as I have looked over the wreckage of my adult relationship history, it hasn’t been difficult to figure out exactly what I don’t want in a partner. Yet, from an appearances standpoint, I am still attracted to guys who end up being bad for me in nearly every way. Unfortunately, I don’t know this until I have already fallen for them.
I have spent the past five years bolstering my self-esteem and working on my own character defects, of which there are many, and serve as a big part of why jackasses still are attracted to ME.
I know to the depths of my soul that I deserve better than I have gotten in the past. So I am at a loss. Why can’t I make myself want emotionally available and secure men who have white-collar jobs and minimal baggage?
I’ve been very fortunate to have quite a few very decent and nice guys ask me out over the last two years of my singledom, but I turned them down because there was no spark. I mean, NONE. It would have been like going out on a date with my brother. (I’ll say it for you … Ewww.)
I wish I did not feel that way. Truly. I wish I could reprogram my hormones so that I get butterflies for the next mild-mannered financial planner I meet at a networking event and not the aloof, off-duty police detective in a dark, crowded bar.
(In my defense, I have been strongly attracted to a couple of Alphas in the past six months who I did NOT pursue because I found out early on about some major red flags. Hey, I’ve finally learned a thing or two in my 41 years.)
All of this yammering shows me that I am still better off single. At least for now. I would much rather be alone than make another detrimental choice, and I clearly have some more work to do before I will be able to make a good decision in the man department. At this rate, I may be 50 before I'm ready, but what the hell?
This year, looks like I am my own Valentine.
Screw it. Pass the damn candy!
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.