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Fantastically, true modern partnerships (or at least our idea of them) can and should help us self-actualize, elevate us, and help us become our best selves.But we need esteem — level 4, knowing who we are and what we bring to the table, having couple, opposite-sex or same-sex: When one person is lower in the pyramid, there is less headspace for love (level 3), especially of the makes-me-better, self-actualizing variety (level 5) because he or she must first tend to self-esteem (level 4).
I watched this explanation gaslight some of the coolest, brightest women I knew.
It wasn’t that they couldn’t believe a guy wouldn’t be into them; it was that they couldn’t believe they sensed a great connection and could be so wrong about how it would all play out.
When connection after connection failed to pan out, they concluded they weren’t enough — and often set out to change themselves in pretty fundamental ways. I’d like them to consider another explanation: Maybe it was him, and maybe it was timing, and maybe he was struggling to deal with the relationship as a result of simple psychology.
For my book on dating and relationships, I talked in depth with many men who date women, and polled Americans on gendered expectations.
Male and female survey respondents said they felt the two biggest stressors for men were still “supporting their family financially” and “being successful in their job or career.” I learned a lot of heterosexual men still want to be a full contributing partner — someone who has the capacity to support a significant other financially and practically if needed, and someone who brings home at least their fair share of the bacon in a dual-earning household.