We women, nurturers that we are, erroneously think that the more we take care of a man and pay attention to him, the more he will take care of us. We do this even from the beginning of relationships, and especially if we are really taken with a man – we’ll make him the center of our lives, start re-arranging plans to be with him, and generally put him first in the false belief that he will do the same for us.
But this often has the unintentional effect of pushing a man away – sometimes for good. The obvious reason for this is that a man will feel pressured in the relationship and will start to resist your efforts for closeness. But there’s another subtle shift that happens you may not be aware of…and that may be working against you.
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF IS SUPREMELY ATTRACTIVE
A healthy man isn’t attracted to a woman who doesn’t take care of herself. You can look and act as independent as you want – by working hard at your job and taking great care of your kids and volunteering and keeping your house clean – but he can tell if you’re not taking care of your basic needs for peace, relaxation, health, and time to just be.
He can tell that you’re not filling yourself up. And then he feels horribly pressured to fill you up. Whether you ever ask him to or not – he’s waiting for the shoe to drop. He’ll take what you give him, but he’ll withdraw for fear of when you’re going to ask him for payback.
THE SEEDS OF RELATIONSHIP DISCONTENT
When you start putting a man first, then something immediately gets relegated to second: you. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll either push away your man or desensitize him to your needs and feelings. Over time, you become angry, and it starts showing up in all your interactions with him.
When you give and give to a man without feeling reciprocated, all that bottled-up resentment actually makes you cold to him without you even realizing it. You’re not simply angry at him for neglecting you and not pulling his weight in the relationship. What’s really happening here is that you’re angry with yourself for not putting yourself first to begin with.
A man will treat you the way you treat yourself, so the most effective way to get a man to treat you better is to start taking better care of yourself.
SO WHAT EXACTLY DOES TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF LOOK LIKE?
You have to take care of yourself in the way that feels good to you. For some of us, it’s going to the movies, cooking and baking, lying in a bathtub full of bubbles and oils, taking a walk around the block or into the wilderness.
It could be reading a book in the corner, lying in bed for an hour in the morning, or staying up late when everyone else is asleep.
It’s about staying in touch with friends and family who make us feel good… and staying away from the friends and family who don’t make us feel good.
So, how can you find out what it is that makes you feel good? What is it that you can call “taking care of myself”?
START THIS WAY
1. Write down a long list of everything you could possibly do that would make you feel good and taken care of.
2. Keep that list around you at all times (maybe pasted on your mirror), so that if you ever have a moment where you catch yourself thinking of everyone else and not thinking at all of you, you can do something from this list.
You can schedule a doctor’s appointment. You can schedule a manicure. You can schedule some time to do a favorite hobby or sport. You can schedule an hour when you will say no to everyone else and just do what you want to do.
What we need to do here is to interrupt the automatic pilot that we’re all on, so it’s important to treat these things as important as you do all your other commitments. We have to change the belief that just doing nothing, for our own wellbeing, is useless and unproductive.
A woman who takes care of herself and has a healthy self-esteem naturally makes a man want to please her and keep her happy. Once you start putting yourself first, notice how it changes your relationship with a man. See how he looks at you a little bit differently. When he realizes that you’re not relying on him for your happiness, the pressure is lifted; and he will naturally start coming closer to you and taking even better care of you than before.
Thanks for reading this first step to better relationships. It’s now up to you to take the next step and see what The Modern Siren has for you.