This is going nowhere...

I’ll be doing a few posts on combating the female fear of rejection over the next few weeks. This is my first installment, I’m not sure how many posts will be published but it will be poignant. The series originates from my belief that there needs to be something said about how men fear breaking things off with women because of the way they’ll react to rejection.

Over the course of time women find themselves within a spectrum of decisions to make with their dating life. The biggest decision they’ll always have to make is how far to extend themselves without a significant commitment from a man. Fine, if you think that works, run with it. I’ll be perfectly honest, it doesn’t work that way. Any man who commits to a woman without knowing fully what he’s getting himself into is a fool. Within the past week as I did my research and polling for this article, I received this advice from a friend of mine, “A woman shouldn’t do anything for a man until he expresses genuine interest.” In other words, she thinks that everything in a relationship should be, “Man first, woman second.” I replied, “That’s a horrible idea when it comes to me. I’m all about mutual interest.”

This cat and mouse game comes from the fact that when women overextend themselves to men, they sometimes get rejected. Women feel that if they approach a man at a bar, he’ll assume that they are loose or easy. I don’t agree with women approaching men, but I surely don’t think every woman that has approached me has been easy or loose. Moreover, the reason why women hold back during the courting stage, whether it’s emotional, mental, or physical is because they feel that if they give a man everything, they’ll be left with nothing. Nobody likes to go “All-In” and then end up empty handed. To me, this is a fear of rejection. It’s also a dynamic that really has to stop. Just like a woman has a right to reject a man after she’s seen all he has to offer, a man should have the same rights. Lastly, if a man does not seize his right, then he renders himself defenseless in a relationship destined to fail.

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There are tons of ways that men reject women all the time. I’m going to focus on the three that don’t necessarily mean that the women are inadequate or there is something inherently wrong with them. I think it would be best if I focused on the areas where mature adults should be able to agree, a man has a right to choose.

Just because you find Mr. Perfect, doesn’t mean he views you as Mrs. Perfect

By far this is the dynamic that plagues the Black dating community the most. It’s the belief that once a woman identifies her Mr. Perfect, he should in turn think she’s his Mrs. Perfect. I would counter you with, just because you think he’s your Mr. Perfect and you think you would be perfect for him, does not make you Mrs. Perfect. There’s plenty people walking around today who think they have the skills to run for President or be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you aren’t doing that right now, there’s not much proof that you can do it later. As a woman decides that she’s found Mr. Perfect, she has to understand that she may not appear to be his Mrs. Perfect. Therefore, he concludes it probably won’t work.

Just because you overextend yourself, doesn’t mean he should be subject to a lifetime of unhappiness

Most times when relationships are failing women like to point to all the things they did to make the relationship work. I always counter by saying, “If you don’t go All-In then what are you doing anyway?” But really, this entire phenomenon could be easily replied to with, “Well, join the club.” Men have been overextending themselves for years. They’ve been championed in the courting process. (Championed merely means they are traditionally responsible for leading.) The way it works for men is that we give all we can and we lay it on the table and then we ask you to decide. If you say no, then he has to accept your decision and walk away. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. You gave him your all and showed him that you were willing to give him the world? That’s great, just cause it didn’t work for him, doesn’t mean that’s a bad approach. Stay the course!

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Just because you have self-esteem, doesn’t mean that he has to sacrifice his own

A man needs to have a little self-esteem in order to make it out here in the world. What that really means is that he’s got to make a decision with where his expectations with woman meet what he should realistically deserve in a woman. I’ll tell a personal story. I found myself courting this young lady for a few months and I’m chasing her around this great city we call, DC. I would make it a point to call and set up frequent plans, I didn’t fall off the map from time to time, I stayed steady and focused. For the life of me, I couldn’t get this young lady to respond favorably to my advances. (Let me be clear, we went out on about 6-8 dates. I said, “Favorably,” meaning it wasn’t going anywhere.) What was the problem? My friends all said that I could do better, that I deserved better and that if at no point she was ready to catch on and move the relationship, I should walk.

I’m being nice, for all intents and purposes of this post it’s really not necessary for me to share her stats versus mine. The only stat that was important was that I was chasing and she was not responsive. At a certain point, I realized something, there’s a shortage of successful Black men in this city who are willing to court a woman and even share the outlook of a monogamous relationship. I met up with her for drinks one evening and laid this out on the table. I said in a version of these exact words,

“I’m not trying to be cocky or conceited, but I just know that there aren’t too many brothers like myself around these parts. I know enough to also know that I deserve better. I deserve to get a return phone call when I call. I deserve to know that a man who’s willing to take you out and build with you is more important than your addiction to nightlife. I’m man enough to know that I deserve a woman and not some girl who isn’t ready to grow up.”

After that, I stepped off and never spoke to her again.

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The problem in these situations is that most men fear walking away because of how women tend to react to rejection. It’s supposedly part of a man’s creed to know that he will experience rejection at some point in his life. I used to always think that women were much more accustomed to rejection than men. However, I know now that they are only cool with rejection when it makes sense to them. If he has a girlfriend or he’s emotionally unavailable… cool. However, if he’s single and looking, then “why not me?”

That’s the source of anger and frustration for women. They want to know why not them. Truth be told, the expectation that just because you express interest or allow him to court you means that he’s stuck with you for life is just too much.

“He led me on.” He was supposed to do that, go hard or go home. You did too, he thought you were a great match for him. Turns out, you weren’t.

“There are plenty of men who would love to have me.” That’s cool boo boo, those guys are still single. Have a MeetUp.

“I was willing to give him everything.” Oh brother…

I’m just joking, don’t get mad at me. The takeaway: if a man doesn’t want to be with you, even if he has up until this very point told you that he wanted a future with you, walk away. You don’t want to be with a man who isn’t sure if you’re right for him, you want a man who wants to be with you. End of story.

– Dr. J