In Annie Hall, Woody Allen describes his adult relationships with women by referencing a quote attributed to Groucho Marx: “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.”
That pretty much characterizes a lot of my friends’ love lives, too. Every time I sit down to coffee with a girlfriend or dial up one of my long-lost wingmen, I hear the sound of heads beating against a proverbial wall. He won’t commit. She treats you, your time and your interests with indifference. And Woody Allen pops into my head.
Why is it that we want the people who don’t want us?
This is an oversimplified question, of course. Because if you’ve ever had a close friend in one of these relationships, or god help you, you’ve been in one of these relationships, then you know it’s not that easy.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me – he just doesn’t believe in monogamy.
It’s not that she doesn’t care about me. She says she cares about me. Her personality is just naturally indifferent.
Well, he’s just really busy right now, being a (start-up owner/lawyer/musician/pilot/insert self-important time-consuming profession here).
She likes me. I can tell she likes me, but she’s just flighty.
These are the rationalizations of those who suffer from Woody Allen Syndrome (WAS), a case of almost subconscious-level low self-esteem issues when it comes to the opposite sex.
Naturally, those who don’t suffer from WAS will ask, “What’s wrong with the guys/gals who actually like you?”
Nothing. Nothing at all. WAS sufferers simply never get that far. Consider the odds: You’re bound to run into more potential significant others who aren’t right for you than those who are. In my mind, it’s like a 80-20 ratio of non-matches to matches, depending on your pickiness and temperament.
Here’s how you banish Woody Allen from your dating life.
Stop waiting for things to change.
Listen to me now, fellow WAS sufferers: they will never be more interested in you than they were at the beginning. Yes, every good relationship will grow and you will be more and more in love with that person, but that starts from a pretty high level of interest from the get-go. It doesn’t start from indifference and grow to strong affection.
Stop doing the same thing over and over.
I hope by now that we all know the definition of insanity. If not, click here. It amazes me that we haven’t figured out that this applies to our romantic lives as well. If you keep picking up douche bags in bars, STOP GOING OUT TO BARS as your romantic strategy. If you keep dating people who don’t really seem that into you, STOP DATING PEOPLE who aren’t that into you. If internet dating isn’t working, then STOP. It’s not going to change. The odds of the right guy popping up after the first month is slim-to-none.
Go where the nice, caring people are.
My therapist told me to start volunteering so I could meet a nice guy. I volunteered and guess what? I met a nice guy who actually wanted to be in a relationship with me. Do something different, even if it seems improbable that it will actually work. It doesn’t have to be a soup kitchen or an animal shelter. Do something that utilizes your skills and is something you genuinely care about. I volunteered to do social media strategy for a political group, which also helped my resume.
Don’t settle for someone who won’t join your club.
As cheesy as this sounds, you need to know your worth. And you are worthy of a significant other who thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread. Imagine there’s a You Fan Club. Would he join? Would she be the president? If he or she wouldn’t even show up to a You Fan Club mixer because they have other stuff to do, then 86 ‘em. You deserve someone who is your #1 fan. And that doesn’t make them somehow less desirable. It makes them smart.
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