Life as a hopeless romantic
I admit it, I’m a hopeless romantic. But as love lives go, mine has been less than spectacular. As of late I have come to wonder is there something innately, hopelessly and yet ineptly romantic about my approach. Is it my selection of femmes or femme fatales; or, at a core level is it my personality type that drives me towards and recklessly into these failed liaisons.
I appreciate the chase, I enjoy the anticipation of the reward and love the women, but somehow several broken relationships later, two failed marriages and now a lack of explanation in my choices, and I wonder how hopelessly romantic can one get. How does being a highly sensitive male, play a role in all of this? Let’s see.
Getting what you want or getting what you get
In the pursuit of love, one either gets what one wants or gets what one gets. In other words, how much does fantasy versus reality play into the entire mate getting game. I have always felt that who we are attracted to is largely an unconscious decision, most of which is a product of our environment, our culture and perhaps our DNA. Chemistry as they say either happens or it doesn’t. Love experts, say that we should be as specific as possible about what we want, but it is what we desire that often drives our decisions. And that, again, is largely deeply buried under the hood. What we want and what we desire, are often in opposition.
With that said, how does this effect strategy in the pursuit of love? Well, for most men, especially most non-HSP males, this is simply a law of averages, zero sum game. You pursue as many females as possible, and at some point, your mate magically appears in your life. I mean, you take your lumps, and you move on. Sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you get what you get.
For HSM’s because of the way we experience love, this strategy has to be balanced a bit differently.
The rise and fall of the romantic arc
Because HSMs feel emotions more deeply, with deeper expectations and if things don’t work out-- deeper heartaches, HSP males must expect that to risk more in love, one understands that the joy, the hurt and the possible ecstasy will be greater than perhaps any other emotion we feel. This is the romantic arc that we are all bound to, but often is more difficult for HSPs, male or female, to deal with in love matters. As Dr. Elaine Aron suggests, it is important to develop some emotional regulation to help moderate the often roller coaster like ride along the arc of love.
The Female paradox
Compounding things even more is what I call the female paradox or even the female prerogative. And I know this is going to be controversial, but, women often state in surveys that what they expect in a mate, especially a male mate, is this sensitive, feeling guy that is honest, passionate, romantic, kind and with a great sense of humor. Sounds great so far, doesn’t it? This is almost a perfect template for an HSM. But, as I’ve often found out the hardwiring for the female ideal looks more like a Neanderthal: muscular, confident, aloof, with arched brow, built for the hunt and dressed in white armor.
The paradox still lives even in modern times. That leaves HSP males getting to play the role of empathetic brother, rather than champion or lover. I don’t fault women for this hardwiring, but recognize that for HSM’s looking for female affection, one is going to have to look much longer and be more selective to find a compatible mate. One that gets you.
Looking for love or letting love look for you
So where does one look for love if you are an HSM? Online dating sites are really popular right now, but rarely are there any sites that can take into account the HSP personality type. Because HSPs are very observant and can ferret out nuances in information, you might expect that we would be good at the selection process on dating sites. However, my experiences have been less than satisfactory.
We as HSPs are often drawn to people who are not necessarily good for us. For example, we tend to gravitate towards people with problems, part of our empathetic personality type. And, to compound this, people with problems are drawn to us. Not exactly a recipe for success. This can be very draining, very frustrating and a prelude to heartache. Dr. Judith Orloff describes these emotional vampires, as people who will take advantage of our empathic nature, and pretty much suck the life out of us. The odd thing is that we will often allow this to happen and will perpetuate the idea that we can somehow change these people. Of course, we can’t, and although it makes for good sport, it always ends in some type of epic failure.
In the end, sometimes it’s best to let love look for you. Live your life, pursue your passions, hang out with people that make you feel comfortable and appreciated and at some point, you will be found.
Where HSM men go wrong
As HSMs we often shoot ourselves in the foot or as it were the heart. Things that we do wrong are: expecting romantic overtures to always be welcomed (incurable romantic); not fully understanding the male/female dynamic in all of its complexity and paradox; not projecting confidence or shall we say showing our inner Neanderthal; confusing our emotions and sometimes being too external with them too early in the relationship, which of course, drives women crazy. Again, this requires some self-restraint and self-regulation.
The key is to be aware and mindful of the myriad of emotions you are feeling. Met them out appropriately and cautiously and only to those that can appreciate your passion, your intuition, and your big heart. And if it does happen, the big rejection – allow yourself to grieve the loss, learn from the mistake, take time to be with yourself and regroup. Let that angst squeeze out of you, without depleting you. Of all men, you will recharge again soon enough, more so than most. It is your nature and your life.
In defense of great loves
This is not to say that HSMs are doomed to failed loves. I really believe in great loves. We often settle for less, thinking there is no better. And perhaps, for most of the population this will do. But as an HSM and a hopeless romantic, I am holding out for that great love, regardless of when she shows up in my life. I know she’s out there. As one who loves deeply, I will need to find one that also can receive that kind of love. That can handle it. She doesn’t have to be an HSP, and frankly, it would be in both of our interests that we are not alike completely. It adds to the edginess of love, the spark, the passion and bonding of the yin and the yang. Someday…
Thanks for dropping by, until next week.
Bill Allen lives in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.