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March 1, 2010 12:11 PM Subscribe
Why am I addicted to male attention? And how do I stop?
posted by blackcatcuriouser to Human Relations (29 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like every somewhat attractive/interesting guy I meet/know, whether at work, or school, or in social situations MUST be made aware of how funny, how witty, how pretty I am. I don't necessarily flirt in a sexual way. I'm not touchy-feely or suggestive at all. I don't compliment the guy's appearance. There's nothing physical. Nor do I bat my eyelashes or twirl my hair.
But I intellectually flirt and ego-boost, and it often feels like this is my default in social situations with males. It's along the lines of:
"I love that band, too! That is my favorite book ever! You have awesome taste! Look at how much we have in common!" (Occasionally I'll fib and feign knowledge of something, which is lame.) or... "Wow, you are the most hilarious person EVER!" (Sometimes I'll laugh a little TOO hard, extend a jokey exchange a little TOO much.)
I'm a bit too engaged, a bit too interested. I become very conscious of my appearance. I very much want to be liked, even if I have no intention of taking things any further and no real romantic interest in the guy. If I can walk away with a distinct feeling that the guy might want me, I am pleased with myself.
I'm in a serious relationship and have always been a long-term relationship person. My current boyfriend of several years is affectionate and complimentary. Of course, the kind of fawning and flirting that is characteristic of the early stages of dating has waned a bit, but that is to be expected once you're with someone for a long time. (For the record, I would also enjoy this kind of attention from him - it's not just about other men - and he did provide that earlier on in the relationship. But I think expecting him to fawn over me the way he did during Week 2 of our budding relationship is a little unreasonable.)
I have never been sexually promiscuous or cheated on my boyfriend. In fact, I've been extremely selective about my involvements. I've almost never acted on that kind of attention. It seems like it was satisfaction enough just knowing that that guy would jump at the chance to be with me if given the opportunity.
As you can imagine, this has gotten me in trouble from time to time. Not just with the boyfriend, who does completely trust me but thinks I'm too flirty at times. But it's also gotten me in a couple of tough situations with male friends who developed crushes on me and felt led on when they realized I wasn't actually interested in being more than friends, and miscontrued the attention I gave them as romantic interest (which is fair). Naturally, that didn't bode well for the future of those friendships.
Further, if a male acquaintance once pined for me and pines no longer or moves onto a new girl, I feel a bit jealous. I see how utterly ridiculous that is. I never, ever act on it. But the feeling does arise and it's quite disturbing. I have a boyfriend! Whom I love and very much want to be with and have no desire to cheat on! Why should I care whether some other guy thinks I'm the cat's pajamas?
Is this about power? Control? Horrible insecurity and need for constant validation? Low self-esteem? Narcissism? Poor socialization with males? Lack of fatherly attention growing up? I'm aware of my behavior, obviously, and have gotten better at curbing it a bit. But why have I been doing this in the first place? What is this need to be desired and wanted? And how can I stop feeling that need?
Speculation, psychological guesses and similar tales welcome. I am embarrassed and troubled by this and it's felt good to type it out. Thanks for listening.