Often women meet men to whom they are attracted, yet seem to “freeze” when the man shows he is interested. It’s not that she doesn’t know how to flirt, she has done her “flirt” thing effectively, but when, in fact, Mr. Available moves forward and reciprocates, she feels awkward, uncomfortable, and confused.
There are a variety of possible feelings to consider that maybe be at the cause of the “freeze” including:
1. The Limiting Belief that he wants her “only for sex,” which causes her to pull-away and activates any residual baggage regarding men, her worth or her inability to say, “no.”
2. The fear that she will now have to keep him interested, and she is unsure or lacks confidence on her ability to be successful.
3. She is filled with self-doubt, and is thus too scared to explore the possibility of dating, having to set appropriate boundaries, or get engaged in something that at some point could include rejection, hurt, or failure.
As a result of these fears, limiting beliefs, assumptions and interpretations, the woman will then just do the “safe” move which is mumble something halfheartedly, pay her bill, pick up her groceries, or turn away to go meet her friends. Either way, the end result is that when we go towards the border of the reality we currently know, a border which may not be the desired outcome yet is frighteningly comfortable, we choose to engage in the “old” behaviors.
In order to move forward, it becomes clear that one must ultimately choose to take a risk and explore the new possibilities of dating without hauling the baggage, fears, and pain from the past into the present. In order to choose to take a risk and continue the flirtation you can simply look at what is “at stake” and then understand what “pain” you will have to endure to get to the long-term gain—a relationship.
1. What is the “Pain” of the current situation? Make a list. Describe, in detail, what the results are from not taking the risk. How do you feel when you “freeze?” What happens to your confidence, your self-esteem, and your feelings of empowerment and joy when you turn off and walk away?
2. Create a second list describing what you would “Gain” if you were to move past your fear, to ultimately experience the love and partnership you desire. Go deep with this list and ask yourself why these benefits are important to you. For example, writing simply “to have a relationship” is important, but asking yourself the specific benefits of being in this relationship are critical to this process. For example, you could add to the list such details as, “I would feel seen,” “I would feel love and experience intimacy,” “I would be cherished and adored,” “I would have someone who knew and accepted me—the good and bad.”
3. It is important now to look at what you “Gain” from staying in the safety of the “freeze.” After all, you would not do it if there were some unconscious or conscious benefit. For example, “I feel safe,” “I won’t get hurt,” “I won’t have to suffer rejection.” Make this list thorough, because it is the beliefs contained in this list that are the EXACT reasons why you “freeze,” and why, up until now, you have had no true desire to do something different. In fact, in many ways it can now become clear to you why you consistently choose to stay in the “safety” zone.
4. Last, you must be honest and determine what sacrifices and risks you will have to endure in order to get to the “Gains” list you made in Step 2 of this process. Detailing what it “costs” you to make the change is important, because it is in the thorough exploration of this list that you will decide if you are willing to endure the discomfort in order to experience the joy of relationship, intimacy and the joy of true partnership.
If you choose to move forward to reach towards the gains you would enjoy from relationship, create strategies that allow you to open up, engage in moving forward, and continue to flirt WHILE minimizing the “Pain” of the new behavior. For example, if you were to continue to flirt, how could you manage your expectations so that you don’t interpret it as “rejection?” Or, how could you come to truly believe that getting hurt or disappointed won’t kill you; that it is merely part of the process of experiencing connection?
Ultimately, it is ONLY choosing to move past the fear that will take you on the path towards finding partnership, love, and connection.
Originally published on DatingWithDignity.com