So here I am writing a somewhat ill-advised late night post. A while ago I established that for myself it was a bad idea to write these posts at night. But I cannot deny that sometimes it is late at night that inspiration hits. Also sometimes I get a kind of courage, which then inspires me to write exactly that kind of post which might provide just a little too much information, or might be too enthusiastic, thus proving the very point that I should not write these posts late at night!
I know I have not written the rest of the Mental Health post, as I said I would. It’s quite a delicate subject, and I know my attitude towards it might be a little unexpected. So a very small part of me is calming my spirit down to make sure my attitude towards writing it is appropriate, and gracious and sensitive. But mostly I’m just procrastinating, if I’m perfectly honest! Also I’m aware that there is now a substantial list of posts that I said I would write, and which I have not written, some of these now date back years. I must attend to those and finally write them!
This is the reason why I wanted to write this post now: it occurred to me that I am finally over my shyness! Or I finally understand it! For people who might not be very familiar with this blog, or who have been fortunate enough to not be on the receiving end of this behaviour, I can be characterised by a crippling level of shyness regarding men to whom I am strongly attracted. It has now happened very strongly regarding two poor men and I felt so awful because I felt utterly unable to be friendly and normal towards them and I essentially blanked them both – these two incidents happened decades apart. No matter how hard I tried to force myself to “act normal” towards them I just could not. So instead I ended up acting rudely which made me feel awful because that is not how I truly felt towards them at all.
So now I think I’ve finally worked out what the issue is, and how to deal with it.
(ALSO in this post, I would also like to talk about why I never seem to be attracted to good solid Christian guys – that is the one or two that I’ve actually met in my life – they’re just too humble!!!! But let’s first deal with this shyness issue!)
It is all about two very strong but conflicting forces that are occurring within my head.
The first force is immensely strong attraction, of course. This all begs the question of why I was so strongly attracted to them in the first place. As simple as this is, I think I’ve worked out that it just boils down to confidence, especially in their own masculinity. Actually both of these men had a certain type of walk – hello?!
The second force though, is a huge sense of fear, a sense of vulnerability, precisely because I am that attracted, knowing that if you were to follow this attraction it would make you more vulnerable than you would ordinarily be with other people, not knowing whether I can trust them. And those two forces were constantly clashing in my mind. Sometimes attraction would obviously make you want to look at this person, but then this fear/not knowing would make me want to quickly look down again. Constantly being pulled in two directions was…not fun. And yet the attraction was so strong and compelling that you don’t want to walk away from it, even though you find it frightening.
Because of the thoughts I have had about relationships and my efforts towards understanding relationship dynamics, I now feel better able to understand when I can conclusively release myself to trust someone, or to generally conclude that someone has reliable character. But this was not the case all those years ago with the first guy (I don’t want to reveal how many years!) I did not know that there was a time limit I could give myself after which I could allow myself to trust him. So I felt myself forever doomed to precariously lurch back and forth on that mad balance, never feeling able to conclusively trust, but definitely not being able to walk away either. Also he was emphatically not a Christian and not from my very strong faith background. In truth I should have walked away, but I just did not want to, and I did not feel able to. But mostly I did not want to! With the second guy, whole decades had elapsed since the first guy and you’d think that I’d have had a bit more understanding, especially with all my blogging and relationship analysis. But I still behaved in that exact same way, like a rabbit caught in the headlights, and considering how much older I was it was *****so***** embarrassing. Don’t get me wrong, the first one was extremely embarrassing too!!!
Unfortunately, the problem with attraction is that it can strike immediately, can’t it?! Long before you’ve had a chance to conclusively check out their character. Just the way someone laughs or throws back their head can sometimes…you know!
But you know what, this weird shyness only happens with a very very small number of guys. And actually, it is not only when I am attracted to a guy, but also sometimes when he is the one seeming to give me strange vibes, or sending out “feelers”. I don’t know whether it is too soon to reveal this, but Oh. My. Goodness. There is this guy at work with whom I am definitely acting awkward but in this case he is the one who seems to be quite aware of me, to try to put it diplomatically. He actually reminds me *a lot* of one of his predecessors – I don’t want to spell out which one, but let’s put it this way, this current guy at work has got dark hair. I don’t want to say more than this, but oh my goodness. Seriously. Oh my goodness!!! To be honest it is quite flattering, not least because I am almost certainly a good few years older than he is, possibly even a full decade – possibly even more! But hey, this is my life! That would actually be a modest “reverse” age difference considering some guys who have previously not been able to hide their attraction to me. But I’ll save that brag for another post! I’m actually not averse whatsoever to the idea of being with a younger guy, even a much younger guy. In fact I actually quite like the idea, and I definitely prefer it to being with someone older. But my Dad instantly vetoed the idea when I previously, tentatively broached it a few years ago, regarding yet another guy who was also a decade younger than me. That said that was a few years ago, and my Dad is quite pragmatic, just like me! Who knows, if I suggested it to him now, (considering that I am still not married, and clearly running out of options) he might shrug, just like that time I told him I was attracted to the non-Christian guy at university. Yes that would be the very same “first guy” in this post! Actually, at that time my Dad did more than shrug, but because he is a pastor and he has a reputation to protect, I do not want to admit what he said in that instance!
But anyway, here I am getting distracted. My point was going to be that the shyness within me can occur when I am the one feeling attracted to someone, or when I am feeling “attraction vibes” from him, but the common denominator is that I don’t know whether I can trust him. Because when a man is attracted to you then as the woman there is potentially just as much vulnerability to him as when you are the one who is attracted to him.
But you know, there are some guys with whom I just feel safe, I just implicitly feel as if I can trust them. Which is not to say that these other guys with whom I acted shy were/are not trustworthy. And it is not even a faith thing! Some of these guys that I can just implicitly trust do not share my faith or indeed any faith whatsoever; some of them are just as atheist as was Mr Uni Guy. And I was thinking – you know what, I could have some of these difficult conversations with these guys – in fact I have had these conversations, and I could reveal these difficult things, and there is just no fear there whatsoever. So what is it that just implicitly makes me trust these guys? For all I know the trust I feel for them could be deceptive. They could be totally capable of the things I’m unconsciously scared of with the guys towards whom I act shy. So with one guy, you will be able to chat so freely, and naturally, and laugh and joke, and tease, even bare my heart, rant about my exes – that is my ex-churches – and it’s not a big deal whatsoever, and then the next guy will come and you will just blank him. If you’re me. I feel awful treating people like this, but I honestly don’t know why I react so differently to different people for no apparent reason. I guess I will have to work harder to understand it – I guess the guys with whom I can be lighthearted keep things lighthearted and I don’t feel as if some profound emotional connection is created between us through our various interactions. So I can forget our lighthearted conversations in a trice. This is a habit I try not to cultivate at work, but I can even “joke-flirt” with them. But with the other guys, it does sometimes feel as if there is already something deep lurking beneath the surface, and every surreptitious look (of which there are many – on his part – maybe a few on my part too!), every word shared, adds to this deep thing and if, God forbid, my hand was to accidentally graze his, or if I was to walk just a little too close to him, possibly while I was not paying full attention, and conducting a lighthearted conversation with another guy over my shoulder, only to realise with a start who was standing in front of me, I would internally groan. And if I was to make the mistake of even trying to “joke-flirt” with one of these guys, I would have to avoid work for a month. No exaggeration!
And then there were the guys who were attracted to me, but still caused no awkwardness whatsoever. There was this guy, again much younger than me, in another job, and to be candid I already knew from his behaviour, those subtle cues that people give out, that he was attracted to me. And one day he and I had a meeting, with other people. It is extremely hard for me to articulate what happened in that meeting but it was as if he was unwittingly projecting his attraction for me to fill that entire room, without remotely saying or hinting at anything suggestive, or making any suggestive body language. (The room was not very big!) Not deliberately, not in any kind of aggressive or intimidating way, but all the same with so much intensity. It had to be seen to be believed. I have never experienced anything like that in my life, before or since. Before that, I had never imagined that something like that could even be possible. Even in the heights, or depths, of my own attraction to guys, or their attraction to me, I have never projected or experienced such intensity. This was off the scale in terms of flattering. Even though I had known beforehand that he was attracted to me, I was beyond stunned. And yet despite all that, with him there was minimal awkwardness. Perhaps because I did not feel like he and I were on the same wavelength emotionally, and it was not the most obvious thing to me to imagine feeling that way about him. Although to be candid it was not at all impossible. He was a sweet guy, and I hope he finds a deep passionate love in life such as he is clearly capable of.
Anyway my point is that moving forward, once I know I can trust a guy, I don’t have any need to be awkward towards him. But then, thinking on my feet, I guess there is regular everyday trust for everyday interactions and friendliness, and then there is the kind of trust where you admit that the reason why you’ve been acting crazy is because you’ve got a humongous crush. That introduces a whole new level of vulnerability, and requires a whole new level of trust! But anyway, I’m now going to move on to my next subject, before I get tempted to list out every guy that I have ever suspected to have a crush on me!
The second thing I wanted to talk about is this: after many many years of self-analysis, I think I have finally worked out what makes me attracted to someone. (I’m so tired now, my work is getting full of typos!) And you know what, it is simply confidence. Though I hate to admit this, my eyes seemed to be turned by a certain amount of male swagger, mixed in with just the right amount of male vulnerability. And then it also has to look authentic and natural that this man is naturally confident in his masculinity, without seeming boastful or braggy.
And I’ve been thinking recently that there have been Christian (and non-Christian) guys who were outstanding in terms of character, and yet my eyes were just not drawn to them. Here’s the thing, I was attracted to them in terms of friendship but not necessarily romance. I just did not and could not think of them “that way” even though I have since determined character as the primary criterion for choosing a spouse. As excellent as these men may have been, they just did not give off the correct notes that successfully appealed to my sense of being attracted, even though they would likely have made outstanding husbands. I don’t know whether this is something for me to work on, to learn to ignore the question of attraction, or whether this is something I can discuss with someone who would be an excellent husband, and who wants to be with me: does this count as trying to change someone – asking him to develop some swagger to help me be attracted to him physically? Actually on second thoughts I would not want to do that anyway, because then everyone would be attracted to his combination of character and swagger, and I would not want to fight through hordes of desperate women just to get access to my own husband!