Over giving

Does it seem that nice guys bore you? Do you fall passionately in love or lust with a guy who doesn’t really seem to care about you? Have men taken advantage of you sexually or financially? Have you been stuck in a relationship where he never wants to commit? Do you feel you have to work hard to get your man to pay attention to you? Do you see that you feel stuck in a bad pattern and never really have that great relationship you really want? Do you wonder why you aren’t the girl with the great husband and kids?

I am happily married now, but I have had previous marriages and relationships that were horrible. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. It was over-giving. It is a pattern I’ve seen repeatedly with many clients and friends. A woman thinks she is the perfect partner and is driving her man away by trying too hard.  Or she is stuck in a dead-end relationship with someone selfish and incapable of giving her what she needs.

We like to think of ourselves as nice people who go out of our way to make someone happy. But when that goes overboard, men take us for granted or use us. These same men go on to marry women who give them a challenge. The women they marry often require them to put in some effort to get and keep a strong relationship.

Start out right, keep it light

A lot of women have sex on the first date or on the first few dates. Sally pretty much slept with guys whom she had just met and she also put herself in some potentially dangerous situations. She rarely saw them again. A lot of guys will tell you anything to get you into bed. With all the dating apps, some guys have as many as 3 or 4 dates in a day and try to sleep with all of them. That guy doesn’t care anything about you and it won’t lead to a long-term relationship.

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Make sure a guy actually takes you out. If all your dates are in his apartment or yours, it does not count. If it is just a booty call, it does not count. Don’t let him drop in without calling. You need to go out, and it needs to be planned. You need to be seen together in public and do some fun activities.

Don’t give a man expensive gifts when you are dating. Maria bought an expensive watch for a man she had only been dating a few months.  Soon, she was out a lot of money, as well as the guy. Guys with healthy self-esteem are uncomfortable with too much, too soon. If it is his birthday or Christmas, give him a gift, but keep it light. Guys who are bad for you will just see you like one more misguided girl he can manipulate to get whatever he wants.

Don’t pursue him

If a man likes you and wants you, he will pursue you. Even in a long-term relationship, he should pursue it. A good friend of mine is a very prominent businesswoman. Her husband travels 5 days a week. She complained that he hardly texts her in her second year of marriage. She sent numerous texts and then he only responded once or twice a day. She was texting him a lot during the day and even put on sexy lingerie to do FaceTime with him every night. I told her to pull back and don’t give any more sexy shows. She quit texting him. Then, she would just make a brief response. After that, he stopped being so uncommunicative. He actually had time to take the lead and pursue her. Let yourself be chased, ladies. Now he texts her while he is on the road and actually has the time to wonder what she is doing.

Don’t be the ride or die chick

You will sometimes see a guy who makes a lot of money, is a pro athlete or musician, or is really handsome. He is an Entitled Guy. The biggest mistake a woman can make in the situation is to be the ride-or-die chick. You often see a girl who has 2 or 3 kids, and she is the eternal fiancée who will never get to the altar. She also puts up with his many infidelities or if he has a brush with the law, she sticks around to bail him out. Have enough self-worth to only stay with a man who treats you well. Unconditional love is for your children, not your mate.

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When in doubt, throw him out

A lot of women who are over-givers get stuck with weak men, lazy men, or users. This girl believes everything the Catfish tells her online and sends her life savings to a foreign country to some guy who doesn’t exist. When a woman gives too much, a weak man lets his mate plan all activities and events. Then the girl wonders why she has to decide and plan everything. My friend Karen planned all the excursions and pretty much all the dates for her and Evan. One day she had all their beach stuff and snacks ready for the weekend. He was supposed to come by her place and pick her up at 8 am. He never showed up. Maybe he met somebody with more exciting plans.

You are not his mother

Mothering a guy is a sure way to kill the relationship. My friend Margaret made sure her boyfriend quit smoking, took his vitamins, and started nagging him to eat healthier. Then everything fizzled in the bedroom because nobody wanted to sleep with their Mom. You will end up resenting a man you have to fix. If he has a habit you cannot live with, don’t try to fix him. Just get out of the relationship. If you can live with the fact that he likes donuts and pizza, shut up and let him enjoy his food. Working with Margaret, we realized she often took guys on as projects. Then she wondered why they all left. Nobody likes to be nagged. Be accepting or be gone.

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Don’t let him use you

Over-giving women often get stuck with a user. He will stay with you as long as you have something he wants. This is not a real relationship.  You help him find a job, he usually won’t like it and won’t stay long. He never has the funds to take you out. He has no car and has to use yours. He never manages to help out with chores around the house. You sometimes feel that he is acting like the woman in the relationship.  He is not supportive of your plans and goals. He doesn’t celebrate your achievements. Cut ties and hold out for someone who enhances your life.

Don’t overlook the nice guys

Maybe you have over-given so long that you have difficulty receiving love and care. Accept courtesies, gifts, and gestures because you deserve them. When he gives you a compliment, say “Thank You”. When he brings you flowers or a gift, show your appreciation. Give yourself positive affirmations like “I deserve a great man and a happy family.” Positively reinforce whatever nice action a guy does for you.  Whatever gets positively reinforced gets repeated. Sarah got a gift for Christmas that she really did not like. She let Tom know and always seemed to return everything he bought her. When he complimented her, she would say something like, “This old dress, I only paid $22 for it”.  He finally gave up and found a girl who enjoyed receiving things.

Receive love

When a guy says he loves your naked body, don’t criticize your body parts. Value yourself and your body. Don’t reveal your flaws to him or keep it dark in the bedroom. Just focus on the areas of your body that you like. Be grateful that your body parts work. Don’t ever contradict a man when he gives you praise.

Practice being a receiver of positive things in your relationships. Don’t give too much as over-giving is killing your love life. Accepting yourself and kind treatment from others will help you build the kind of future you really want.

Jane is a former college professor turned businesswoman. She owns two businesses in Charlotte, NC and is the author of Power Path to Love. Jane is happily married and has advised many people on how to improve their relationships. She also has done a series of brief YouTube videos on how to increase prosperity and positivity.

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