A friend of mine, let’s call her Claire, is constantly on the hunt for a guy—a guy who calls, a guy who cares, a guy to take her off the market. But instead all she gets are the same meaningless hookups, week after week. Claire meets a guy at a party and the two of them hit it off. She goes to his place and they drunkenly hook up. She texts him mid-week to get the details of the sushi date he promised her. He doesn’t respond. Claire meets a new boy the next weekend. This time she flirts like crazy and kisses him by the bar but doesn’t go home with him because she wants to make him wait (she wants him to want her as much as she wants him). A couple days pass and Claire still hasn’t heard from said boy. She sends an innocent, “how are you?” text. He doesn’t respond. Claire feels lonely and unloved.
The next weekend, she gets a call from a past hookup at 2am and gladly accepts the booty call invitation. After they hook up, the guy wraps his arms around Claire and kisses her on the forehead. Claire feels happy and complete. The boy promises to make her breakfast in the morning. Instead, he wakes up at 8am and says he’ll text her later. He doesn’t. She feels upset and unwanted and the only way to make this feeling go away is to find another guy. Claire desperately wants a relationship, but she continues to settle for sex. She’ll do whatever it takes for a man to look her way. Claire is constantly seeking male attention.
Sound all too familiar? We talked to Patrick Wanis Ph.D., Human Behavior and Relationship Expert, Kerry Cohen, the author of Loose Girl, and Love Stylist Tristan Coopersmith to learn why you need think you need this male attention and how to stop feeling this way.
You have low self-esteem
It’s one thing to want a man in your life because you actually like him; it’s another thing to want a man in your life to make you feel better about yourself. One collegiette says, “Although I have a boyfriend that I have been dating for a long time, I am still always going over the top and out of my way doing things for other guys in hopes that they will like me/fall for me. When I go out with my friends and go dancing I always look around to see who's looking at me and what I can do to get them to keep looking!” Wanis says some girls engage in these compulsive behaviors as a way to gain male approval.
Girls with low self-esteem have a “need to be liked or desired” and think a guy can help fill the emptiness in their lives. But unfortunately, this doesn’t usually happen. If you’re insecure, you may turn to a man to make you feel better about yourself (even if you just met him), but the person you need to turn to is yourself. “Focus on building your self-love up so that you don’t require validation from others,” Coopersmith says.
You’re afraid of being alone
Coopersmith attributes this destructive behavior to three specific things: fear of abandonment, fear of replacement, and fear of infidelity, all of which boil down to the fear of being alone. “By staying aggressively in touch, physically, verbally, financially or otherwise, women can feel that they are securing their place in a man’s life,” she says. We need to realize that we won’t be alone forever and stop acting this way.
You had a bad relationship with your father
Imagine what life was like growing up at home with your father. Were you always Daddy’s Little Girl? Or did you avoid spending time with your dad at all costs? Whatever the case, this may help explain why you are the way you are today. Wanis says, “Good relationships with fathers can reduce some of these promiscuous behaviors.” Stop constantly pursuing guys and start reestablishing a healthy relationship with your father, if you think that might be part of the issue.
You don’t understand how men think
“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” I’m sure we’ve all heard this famous axiom before. And yet many of us may have never considered that our inability to fully comprehend the male species could lead us to constantly seek male attention and engage in promiscuous behaviors. Instead of figuring out how men think and using that information to get the results you want—real dates, meaningful relationships, etc.—you do what you think men want, i.e., throw yourself at them. If you’re only looking for sex, have at it. But if you want more, you have to listen to the truth: “You’ll only get him into bed if you chase him, you won’t actually get him to like you,” Wanis says.