Bad-boy magnet

Why do I keep attracting the wrong kind of guys? Men are in and out of my life—men without jobs, men who treat me bad, men who are selfish. It always starts off great with the man real attentive and sexy then it’s a mess. Why is this happening to me?

Here’s one possibility: When you realize that a man (choose as many as apply) is not good for you, not who you thought he was, not capable of becoming who you imagined he would be, or that he lies about everything important or inconsequential, you hold on to him hoping that he will change for the better. It’s as if you believe that love means he will do anything to make the relationship work. When he doesn’t, you do whatever you can think of to keep it together. Unfortunately, that’s desperation, not love.

You need a spoonful of sugar. So try this: When you suspect that a man is not good for you, end the relationship. That’s self-love and you gotta have it before you can love anyone else. Developing genuine love and appreciation for yourself will limit your tendency to be a victim. That victim mind-set is the driving force behind your tendency to attract “the wrong kind of men” and keeping them in your life beyond a minute. If you raise yourself up into the kind of woman who only dates men who are employed and treat others with respect, you may reduce the number of dates that you go on, but you can improve the quality of those dates.

In the meantime, weed out the beliefs within you that insist on choosing men based on flirtation or sexual attraction. As you already know, flirtation and lust are not valid signs of relational harmony.

After a long self-imposed hiatus, I’m trying Internet dating again. When I hit it off with a guy and we’re at the phone-call stage, the problem starts. He’ll say something like, “So do you want to meet for coffee Saturday afternoon?” I’ll explain that I already have plans for Saturday afternoon but Sunday afternoon is open. So he says that he’ll call me Saturday to make plans for Sunday. Then either he’ll never call or he’ll call on Sunday instead. I can’t figure this out. It happens a lot to me and to other women I’ve spoken to. Why can’t these guys just make plans with me for Sunday when we’re on the phone? Why do they have to call back?

Why not just ask your potential date that same question when you’re on the phone together? You probably would do that if you were talking to a friend, right? Perhaps the socially imposed mystique surrounding romantic relationships misleads you into thinking that you have to act differently than you normally would. Not true. So the next time this scenario occurs, simply say (with enthusiasm) “Let’s make plans now. I’m excited about getting together with you” or something along those lines that is an honest expression of how you feel. If he still insists on waiting, you can ask why or let it go with the understanding that he’s probably not that into you. No worries. His loss.

Of course, another side of this dilemma is that you seem like a closer (that’s sales lingo for someone who can convince customers to seal a deal). Why apply so much pressure to move the action from a phone conversation to coffee in person? You might benefit from slowing down, enjoying the process of meeting new friends (instead of focusing on trying to meet a boyfriend) and trusting that the right guy will negotiate a mutually beneficial meeting time with you.

Meditation of the Week

“Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope,” writes Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The challenge, of course, is this: to love yourself and others enough to admit the truth, not your opinion or what you think they should be aware of. Are you willing to do the long work of achieving the capacity for truth-telling?