Dating and Mate Selection — 19 April 2010
Why some men fall for the wrong women

The fascination of nice men with unsuitable women is puzzling to observers. When desirable males are drawn to females for the wrong reasons they may pay a heavy price for their inexplicable choice.

Factors affecting unwise mate choices for males include: childhood imprinting, sexual appeal and satisfaction, male competitiveness and esteem boosters, as well as misinterpretation of female behavior and emotions.

Early childhood imprinting has a significant impact on males’ mate choice. For example, young boys who grew up with a single mother who indiscriminately entertained men at home may have been programmed to normalize lack of commitment as an acceptable behavior for women. During adulthood, these men may be drawn to passionate women who seek intensity and variety – not commitment.

Men are visually stimulated and tend to be readily sexually aroused by pleasing images. Having an attractive female as their partner may cloud their judgment about assessing her traits and character.

For other men, the companionship of a visually pleasing woman becomes a source of accomplishment and reflection of their merit. Having attracted a beautiful female may provide the man a source of greater esteem and importance in the eyes of his male friends.

Some men find a woman’s forward approach a sign of their desirability rather than a personal trait, which may or may not continue to please them throughout their life together. Since men are very sensitive to women’s criticism, control or disapproval, their early assessment of the woman’s forward style as friendly, helpful and loving, may be erroneous and may not hold true in the long run.

Kind men may select women they choose to rescue from a bad family, tyrannical father, abusive relationship, financial crisis or overwhelming life circumstances. They find the woman’s plight so compelling that they rush to “save” her. They may assume that her gratitude will secure a solid loving bond between them. However, the inequality between the “rescuer” and the “rescued” may create an unstable and unsustainable long-term union. With time and with no help, the early kindness of the man may lead to a sad, unsatisfactory parent role with the extinction of passion between the mates.

Many males, who tend to analyze life in a linear ways, may understand a woman’s emotional state as situational rather than a manifestation of her personality. One man explained his girlfriend’s ongoing anxiety as her insecurity about whether or not he will propose to her. After she accepted his proposal, he understood her fretting as pre-wedding jitters. “She will become secure and calm as soon as we marry”, he said. When his predictions failed to materialize and after more years of excuses and unhappiness he finally understood that her anxious insecurity was part of her makeup.

Since most men thrive on autonomy, absence of criticism, appreciation and passion they must correctly assess the woman’s capacity and willingness to provide these four basic needs throughout their life together.

Good men:

• Review your early childhood female role models to safeguard against selecting a woman who resembles unhealthy ones.
• View the woman’s physical beauty and appeal as only one aspect of her being that must be matched by other positive traits.
• Understand that the respect and superficial esteem of your male friends will not sustain you in a troubled relationship at home with an unsuitable woman.
• Ascertain that her direct and forward style that flatters you is indeed a positive, not a controlling attribute.
• Abstain from allowing your urge to help a woman become your major reason for marrying her. “Rescuing” another person may create an indebtedness that may interfere with healthy partnership.
• Be realistic about the woman’s nature and do not rationalize her reactions as being solely temporary and situational.
• Concentrate on your realistic long term needs of mutual respect, appreciation and passion in selecting the partner you deserve.

Related Articles

About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

(0) Readers Comments

Comments are closed.