COUNCIL OF THE GODDESS | July 15, 2021 – VC Reporter

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Fine line between love and bait

My relationship with a man I was dating was getting serious. His previous relationship ended when his girlfriend dumped him. Last month he bumped into her and told her he was seeing me. She started to cry and begged him to take her back. He was torn over what to do. I told him that his feelings for her weren’t romantic but stemmed from a sense of obligation, and that he should be mad at her for trying to make him feel bad about hanging out with someone. ‘other. He always looked back to her, and now they’re engaged. I am furious. Why would he choose to be with someone who dumped him? He could have gone ahead with someone who really cares, who he could have a relationship with based on love, not guilt (of making that other woman cry). How can I prevent this from happening to me again?

– Outraged

We sometimes explain things to ourselves in a way that isn’t so much about presenting the facts as providing an airbag for our feelings. Take a question I often hear from readers: “Why has he / she stopped returning my calls?” Fortunately, many suggest the most likely explanation directly in their email; something like, “I just know they were kidnapped by the Russian Mafia.” Right. And they’re probably still tied up in an abandoned warehouse, tortured until they give in – agree to stand down and put the entire $ 36.72 back into their checking account.

While female tears can be kind of kryptonite for straight men, I’m sorry to say that other woman’s boohoos and a sense of obligation on your man’s part are unlikely to have controlled it. mentally so that he returns to her.

There is this notion that relationships simply involve two people loving each other and making each other happy. Supposedly once you have that it’s just cartoon birds, butterflies and flowers until you both sleep forever in graveyard plots side by side.

In fact, the human mind has evolved to have an integrated accounting department. His tasks consist in particular in preventing us from being “give all” to a “take all” sociobro, which, for ancestral humans, would have posed survival problems. In the mating realm, our inner accountant continually calculates our partner worth and that of our partner (or potential partner), determining whether we are selling ourselves short – or whether our partner is likely to come to that conclusion at About to be involved with us.

Chances are, when your man was with that other woman the first time around, he felt out of his league – perhaps feeling that, on a scale of one to 10, he is, say, a 6 for. she 8.9. If that was the case, he probably acted a little needy and clingy: qualities that aren’t exactly ladybugs. She, in turn, probably felt she could do better and put it on the sidewalk.

But then something changed that changed him: He had a wife (you) who made him feel loved and wanted, which likely changed his demeanor from needy-clingy to comfortably confident. Assuming that was what was going on, you basically provided her with the romantic version of going to the grocery store on a full stomach to avoid crying while standing in the donut aisle.

Plus, while the guy is unlikely to have expected this, you probably served as bait to bring his girlfriend back. Social psychologists Jessica Parker and Melissa Burkley find that single women (but not those in a relationship) view a man as “considerably” more desirable and worthy of pursuit when told he is caught.

“This may be because a tied man” was “‘shortlisted’ by another woman,” Parker and Burkley speculate. This “screening” is a form of “social proof”, a term coined by social psychologist Robert Cialdini. Sometimes we decide what we should value based on what others value. In this case, finding the man worthy of a boyfriend might have made her ex think, “Uh-oh… I made a mistake ditching him.” ”

Of course, you are hurt and disappointed. But it seems like you also feel cheated to some extent, like something you deserve has been stolen from you. There is a tendency to think that love should be ‘right’, which means that whatever you put into a relationship, you are owed in return. In fact, people in a relationship ultimately act in their own best interests. This sometimes involves throwing the partner who has done nothing but love them for the partner who dumped them but is ready to take them back.

Understanding this doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be hurt. However, if you’re realistic about love – acknowledging that you can’t expect it to be fair – and the danger of potential poachers, you might have a chance to step up your game and push them back. To be on the lookout for them, keep in mind the physical characteristics that make a man especially attractive to a single woman on the prowl: broad shoulders, a chiseled jawline, and big perky breasts on the seated girlfriend. on his knees.

(c) 2021, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. I have a problem? Write to Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, # 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or send an email to [email protected] @amyalkon on Twitter. Weekly podcast: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon

Order Amy Alkon’s new book, “Unf * ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence” (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2018).


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