The Downside of Dating an Attention Whore

Name: Betrayed
State: New York
Age: 25
Comment: I am a 25 year old male and have been with my girlfriend for 6 1/2 months. She is very social and outgoing and likes talking to people in general, whether or not she knows them. I know she would never cheat on me. She sees me five or six times a week. She gives me attention. We both agree that talking to the opposite sex socially is fine but flirting with them is a form of cheating and a big no no. I never see her flirt with another guy and she hasn’t expressed interest in another guy. However every so often she makes comments. She said on facebook she was losing her voice and that guys might see it as a turn on. I couldn’t believe she mentioned other guys and not me. She wore a revealing french maid costume to work and got hit on by men but told me she ignored them.  And once when we were out with her female friend and her friend said her breasts hanging out of her french maid costume guys would find sexy. And my girlfriend laughed. Why is my girlfriend making these comments if she really isn’t interested in other guys? Am I wrong to be jealous and upset with her? If she really wanted the attention why does she just see me and not other guys too? I tried to break up with her over this but she talked me out of it which made me think she really does just want me. She could have taken the opportunity to be promiscuous. Please help!

 

First things first. Let’s address the “flirting is cheating” rule you and she have decided upon. If you really believe that, then expect to be “cheated on” the rest of your life. Sometimes flirting is an involuntary reaction when you find yourself conversing with someone whom you feel attracted. It’s easy to say that, once you’re in a relationship, that those things need to stop. Well, unless your partner is stapled to your hip, sometimes you’re going to forget. I found myself engaging in a  Twitter conversation last week with a guy. I almost responded to something he said with something flirty. Before I hit send, I realized what I was doing and re-wrote the tweet. Sometimes you just…forget. Doesn’t mean you care any less for your partner. It just means you got caught up in the tweet. Or moment. This is going to happen. In a typical relationship, where there is genuine trust, then the occasional bout of flirtitis is not a threat.

However, in your case, you do have something to be concerned about. While I don’t think you’re girlfriend is cheating on you, she does seem to need quite a bit of attention. Here’s what bothers me about your letter. It’s not that your girlfriend is writing flirty wall comments or status updates. It’s that she’s talking as though you don’t exist. Like there’s no chance that you’ll even see what she’s writes or hear what she says. That is what makes her flirty demeanor disrespectful. It’s like she’s putting you down in a subversive way by speaking as though you aren’t within earshot. She’s not outwardly criticizing you. But she is insulting you.

This need for attention isn’t about the other guys. She probably doesn’t want them. She’s not saying what she says to encourage the men. She just likes the idea of men thinking of her. And the thing is, this is not just something women do. I’ve seen men conduct themselves in the exact same way. Look at Marshmallow’s story. That guy? Big fat attention whore engaging two women who didn’t seem to have much going on in their lives but him. That’s what these types of people want. They don’t want people with full lives or other responsibilities. They want people with very little going on personally. That way they can devote all their time and energy to them and who will make themselves available whenever the Attention Whore feels like giving them attention.

My friend was recently dating a guy that she met online.  I never liked him from the moment she showed me his profile and told her so, as it reeked of self-importance. After about a month,  he came to her and asked her to make her Facebook page unsearchable, saying he had this “crazy ex” who was harassing him. Again with the frakkin’ Facebook. She asked him who she was so she could block her. He wouldn’t tell her. She dumped him a couple weeks later. Now, there’s really only one reason a person in that situation would not reveal the  name. And that reason is…they’re hiding something or exacerbating or flat out lying about the situation to make themselves sound more important. They’re trying to rope their significant other in to their need for drama and attention. Drama that wouldn’t even exist had they not been looking for it in the first place.

The status updates, the french maid costume…these are all attempts at getting male attention. Which is perfectly fine. We all like attention and seek it out in various ways. Where situations like this become unhealthy is when the need for attention appears bottomless. It’s healthy to want to know that those you find attractive return the attraction. But there’s the typical need for attention we have and then there’s self-obsession. The OP’s girlfriend seems oblivious to what her commentary does to her boyfriend. It’s almost like she doesn’t really care, because her need for validation surpasses the needs of anyone else. My friend’s guy? He had no problem momentarily freaking her out and probably had no idea (or really cared) that he was opening up a big can of worms for himself. He just wanted to see how far she would go to please him and hang on to him.

All of this is done out of a desire to create a sense of urgency around the person seeking attention. As if they want their mate’s to feel threatened in some way and become consumed with thoughts of how to keep the other person happy. Sounds kind of pathological, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. It’s a need that runs so deep that it likely can never be  fulfilled completely. These people – the drama queens and attention whores – will continue to seek out the insecure, the young, the naive, the impressionable, as those people are their only options.

Listen to the OP. Do you hear how threatened he is by all of this? That’s what she wants. Only she doesn’t even know it. She’s oblivious to it. That’s what makes people like this so emotionally dangerous. She probably continuously finds herself in situations with men who are “too possessive” or “too insecure” completely unaware that she’s creating that reaction, at least partly. She probably has no idea that she’s drawn to men who already are somewhat insecure or easily threatened.  My friend’s guy probably is constantly in situations where there is “drama.”  He is so lacking in self-awareness that he doesn’t even realize that the common denominator is him.

I tried to break up with her over this but she talked me out of it which made me think she really does just want me.

Eh. Maybe. More likely she doesn’t want to lose the attention and validation you provide for her. She doesn’t necessarily want to date the other guys. She just wants attention. You can stay with her, but most likely nothing you give her in the form of attention is going to be enough.

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19 Responses to “The Downside of Dating an Attention Whore”

  1. P. Says:

    I don’t see it. She sees him 5 or 6 times a week, he knows she would never cheat, and he’s ready to break up with her because she wore a sexy costume to work and makes an occasional non-specific comment about “guys” finding her attractive?

    The OP screams insecure neediness — he sounds like the one with the limitless need for attention; not her.

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    • Sarah Says:

      I don’t see it, either. It’s hard for me to imagine the workplace that would host a Halloween party or encourage costumes during the work day but, suspending that disbelief, it’s even harder to imagine finding a woman’s Halloween costume that ISN’T sexy. That’s kind of what Halloween’s about.

      “I never see her flirt with another guy and she hasn’t expressed interest in another guy. However every so often she makes comments.” — So, sometimes, she makes comments about men in general, and they’re all really about or directed at OP? I see. Nothing crazy about that.

      I’m not saying this girl is definitely NOT an attention whore, but the conflict here has nothing to do with “disrespect,” as Tom put it — OP just doesn’t like his girlfriend’s personality.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

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      • P. Says:

        Presumably, when the OP was deciding whether or not to date her, he found her sex appeal, if not her outgoing personality, part of what attracted him to her. Unless he’s known her all his life, there’s something she did that caused him to notice her and want to date her, whether it was her sexy body, bubbly personality, or both. If he noticed how hot she was, it’s not like other guys are now not going to, just because they’re dating.

        All that matters is whether she’s actively encouraging it (which it doesn’t seems like she is — one of the comments was made by a female friend and the others seem very non-specific and innocuous) or doing anything about it, which you insist she isn’t and wouldn’t.

        Maybe he wanted her to wear a nun costume for Halloween and take a vow of silence so that she’s not risking attracting any male attention by talking to a guy?

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  2. Horace Says:

    OMG. What a puss. I mean, crazy jealous much? It’s like a teenager wrote this. He’s all butt-hurt because she agrees that guys might find her boobs sexy?

    This dude needs to get a hold of himself and work on his self esteem. Or maybe date a Puritan.

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  3. Tom Says:

    Been there. That disrespectful behavior will never, never end. She needs the attention at all costs and does not understand why that would bother you. If you make your mind up about splitting up dont let her talk you out of it. What is that? Stick to your guns, and have respect for yourself because she sure doesnt.

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  4. D Says:

    I personally love dating women who like to dress sexy and get attention from other men. It’s a reflected glory thing. Probably a little immature on my part, but it’s never caused a problem.

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    • Horace Says:

      Agreed. If a woman wants to go out of her way to feel sexy, why would I stop her.

      My second longest relationship was with a woman who is 4 inches taller than me, and I encouraged her to wear heels. Because I feel awesome, at 5’6″, walking into a bar/club with a 6’1″ hottie on my arm.

      You got 4 thumbs down because, apparently, liking beauty is wrong wrong wrong. It makes other women feel insecure. For shame.

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  5. Mandy Says:

    Wow, I don’t really see how the girl is much of an attention whore at all. She made an innocuous joke on facebook about guys thinking it’s sexy when a girl loses her voice (I’m guessing either because she’ll sound seductive, or if she loses it completely she won’t be able to talk at all (haha)). How does that have anything to do with her boyfriend? Are you really not allowed to comment on something like that if you’re in a relationship?

    And she occasionally like to dress sexy. And agreed with a friend that her boobs looked hot? I like to dress sexy. I have a boyfriend. Sometimes I go out without him. I’m not looking for other men. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to wear a potato sack. I like to look hot, and I like it when people (anyone, really) think I look hot. I don’t think enjoying looking good in public makes me an attention whore.

    I think the OP has no idea what a healthy relationship is. It’s possible to be in a relationship and still maintain friendships and fulfilling lives both inside of and outside of the relationship. You shouldn’t expect someone to change because you’re dating them. They shouldn’t be hitting on other people, but if you like a girl with a flirty personality and a great rack–don’t expect her to cut off all social contact and wear sack dresses as soon as you start dating her.

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  6. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    Are you really not allowed to comment on something like that if you’re in a relationship?

    It’s not a matter of permission. It’s a matter of respect. He’s not complaining about what she wore. He’s complaining that she’s making comments in front of him about other guys. If the gender roles in this story were reversed, I bet all the women would be calling the guy is jerk.

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    • P. Says:

      If the gender roles were reversed, I would be laughing at the guy …. either he’s just reporting on what someone else said about or to him, or he’s deliberately trying to make me jealous (which wouldn’t work, especially if I trust that he’s not and would never actually get together with someone else while we were together).

      I don’t see a single thing that I would consider disrespectful, coming from either gender. And with a definition of flirting construed so strictly that she can’t reference “guys” generically without getting him worked up, then you’re right…she will “cheat” on him the rest of his life.

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    • Mandy Says:

      If her Facebook status was something like “I’m losing my voice! It sounds all deep and raspy. I bet guys would find this super sexy”, then I don’t think it’s disrespectful. It’s simply an observation. I don’t think the gender role matters here. I don’t think referring to the opposite gender, on a whole, in reference to what they stereotypically find attractive is disrespectful in any way. And as for the outfit, her friend said “Guys are gonna love your boobies!” or whatever in front of her and her boyfriend (the OP). And she silently agreed? Well, yeah, that’s a fact. I don’t see how that’s disrespectful either.

      I’ll just agree to disagree.

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      • Horace Says:

        You suggest an important point. There’s a difference between her referring to guys, in general, and some specific guy.

        This certainly has more to do with his insecurities than any failing of hers.

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  7. dimplz Says:

    I’m not sure why the gf is telling the OP that men were hitting on her and she didn’t respond to them. If she didn’t respond to them, there’s no reason to tell him. Unless he asked. Then again, she made another comment on FB about guys finding her deep voice sexy. To me, she’s an oversharer at best, and at the worst, an attention whore. Then again, I’m not a girl in her 20s on facebook, never wore a “sexy” outfit for Halloween because I’m sexy in whatever I wear (the clothes don’t make you sexy, your attitude does) and don’t need an occasion to look that way. If she’s ticking him off, he needs to tell her exactly how she’s doing that. If he wants to break up with her without even hearing her out, SHE should dump HIM.

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  8. Saj Says:

    It’s so weird how so many guys have made the statement (you’d be hopeless without me, I don’t know how you’ve managed to function and not starve to death/lose your job/ fill in the blank before I came around). I managed before, during and after them yet I still get these statements from 100% of anyone I’ve spent considerable time with and I know I’m doing (something) to cause it I’m just not exactly sure what.

    Not to mention drawing guys who tend to get jealous or want to be controlling but I always put the breaks on that behavior the best I can but maybe it’s in such a way they see it as even more of a challenge or that they are “saving” “rescuing me” from myself when I think things are fine and have it handled.

    The OP sounds like he’s running off waaaaay too much testosterone and needs to examine his feelings as being a bit extreme and try to calm down. Hopefully age and experience will do this and yah his girlfriend is probably fueling the fire a little bit here and there but frankly most girls would in either an act of defiance to the controlling behaivor or an attempt to show him how silly his overreactions are. If a girl starts submitting to silly “Don’t look or even refer to another man EVER” he’s asking for a dormat or a girl to tell him “Why are you this insecure? Holy crap” which will sadly just backfire and make him feel even more paranoid.

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    • Horace Says:

      Well said.

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    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      “I know I’m doing (something) to cause it I’m just not exactly sure what.” It’s possible that your life isn’t as under control as you think it is, but it’s also possible you just attract controlling assholes. Either way, kudos to you for recognizing the pattern; that’s the first step toward fixing it.

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  9. Horace Says:

    Let’s all just grow up. Whether in a relationship or not, we ALL want to feel that we’re attractive to our preferred sex.

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