Is She Giving Men Bad Vibes?

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Savannahsad_woman_square
Comment: It’s been eight years since my last serious relationship. I was eighteen when I met him, twenty when I moved in with him, and twenty one when I left him because he mentally and physically mistreated me. I moved back in with my parents. Started my life up again; I would meet guys here and there but would tell myself that I wasn’t ready. That I wanted to enjoy being single for a bit. I then met an amazing guy. We hit it off immediately!!! He seriously gave me the feeling of butterflies in my stomach whenever I would see his name on my phone or right when we were about to see each other. We would have great conversations  and not to mention bed time was AMAZING!!

Time went by and we still had no title, I went over one day and I was a little standoffish because I was so confused on us and he asked me if I liked him and I said YES but totally backfired because he responded that he was going to training because he was going to be deployed  I didn’t know how to respond. I left his place that day didn’t hear from him for a couple of days and I text him and he replied with “who is this” I was crushed. So back to the dating scene again. About an year went by and he Appeared once again. We found each other on facebook about a month before he was going to come back. I was really excited because I wasn’t gonna lose him this time. I saw him a day after he got back but little did I know all he wanted was a hook up. He said he wasn’t ready for anything serious with anyone. That it wasn’t me.

A few months later he was promoted and moved where he then met a girl who a few weeks later became his girlfriend, a moth later engaged, and two months later they were married. I was destroyed so I went and out of anger started sleeping around with what ever guy stood in front of me!!

Now that I have started acting more like a lady not that I wasn’t before, not even the dogs approach me. I recently started going back to a salsa night club where I would usually go ( I love to dance) where I knew for sure that if it wasn’t going to be a love connection I would sure get asked out to dance but now, Not even that!! I couldn’t believe it! What is wrong with me. I’m told constantly that I’m beautiful. I’m not built like Beyonce but I’m not a busted can of biscuits either ( and even if I was my BFF is a BBW and she’s got guys drooling left and right for her)! I just don’t know what to do anymore. Time is passing me by and I can’t even get asked out for a date much less for a serious thing.

A guy at my work told me once right off the bat that the reason I’m single is because he could tell that I was dangerous. That I have fire in my eyes and that’s why I was going to have a hard time finding the right guy. That when I did it was going to be someone worth it. Never saw him again to ask him to please explain what he meant by that. I promise you that I’m not mean looking and that my eyes are not really on fire or red they are dark brown many say I speak with my eyes and that they are beautiful.  All I got out of that is that I should probably walk around with my eyes closed. I really do miss the butterflies in my stomach feeling. What am I doing wrong? Should I stop even trying and just give up? Should I move? I need some help please I’m at my ends wits!
Age: 28
City: El Paso
State: Texas

I can’t speak to what you may or may not be doing that could be keeping men at a distance. It’s possible this is all in your head and you’re connecting dots that don’t exist. But…

A guy at my work told me once right off the bat that the reason I’m single is because he could tell that I was dangerous.

Yeesh. Okay. Let’s unpack this gem.

I once had a close male friend say to me that a man would have to be very confident in who he was to be with me.  Here’s what he was actually saying:

“You’re a handful.”

That’s not a compliment. Nor was it an insult. It was an attempt to tell me how men perceive me without being blunt. This is how many people deliver constructive criticism. Not me, of course. I much prefer the straight from the hip route.

And he was right. I am a handful. Between my personality, my sexual assertiveness, who I am, and what I do for a living, there are a lot of men who don’t consider me girlfriend material. I am unsafe. I am not vulnerable. I am difficult. I am not simple.  I’m overly-suspicious and exceptionally guarded. Men sense all of that. I know that there have been men who have dated me who were looking for relationships and discerned very quickly that I was not a good candidate. I’ve had men tell me they can see my ambivalence and that they’re afraid to pursue anything because of that.

That doesn’t make them intimidated by me, nor does it make them weak. It means they can see that things won’t be easy with me. There’s nothing wrong with wanting easy. I am just…not that.

I work hard at trying to keep these little quirks to myself, but inevitably they poke through. I have also heard that “fire in your eyes” comment. Again, not a compliment. If anything, it’s a form of criticism. By “dangerous” that co-worker of yours meant “unsafe.” The truth of statements like that is always in the subtext.

Between your abusive ex and this Facebook guy, I think you’ve probably experienced a lot of pain and hurt and that those things are coming through when you interact with men. They can sense that you aren’t going to make yourself too vulnerable, and because they don’t know you that well, they don’t even bother to wait and see if that changes.

People don’t have to spend hours of time with us to get an idea of our personalities, positive characteristics, or issues. While most people aren’t self-actualized enough to be able to pinpoint what it is about someone that seems off, almost everybody has an internal meter that buzzes when something doesn’t feel comfortable or right. I think that might be what is going on with you. For a near stranger to tell you that you seem “dangerous” means he’s picking up something about your demeanor that feels threatening.

I was destroyed so I went and out of anger started sleeping around with what ever guy stood in front of me!!

That’s not an act of empowerment. That’s an act of self-destruction. I don’t think you were acting out of anger, either. That doesn’t really make any sense. What sort of pain were you inflicting on these men who were screwing you and leaving? I’m guessing none. More likely, you were indiscriminately sleeping around to hurt and punish and yourself.

I think what you need to do is go to therapy and work through your residual pain and leftover anger at the guy who abused you. You’re giving off some kind of vibe – angry, sad, afraid – and it’s making men question whether you’re someone they wish to engage.




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24 Responses to “Is She Giving Men Bad Vibes?”

  1. Fyodor Says:

    Please use punctuation. This is painful to read.

    • Anouk Says:

      I suspected English is her second language, but perhaps I am wrong?

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Sure the sentences run on, but it’s actually quite nice to see so few commas. People use far too many commas these days.

      Let’s make a mutual disarmament treaty to not go on about composition style. Leave that to Mrs. Snodgras.

      ( actual name of my 3rd grade English teacher. )

    • fuzzilla Says:

      **I’m not built like Beyonce but I’m not a busted can of biscuits either**

      I actually quite enjoyed the OP’s wordsmithery and think she sounds fun (but yes, I agree with Moxie).

  2. Anouk Says:

    A sensitive, measured and wise response, Moxie. I imagine that Savannah will get a lot out of it. I agree that therapy would be of great benefit in her situation.

  3. LostSailor Says:

    Moxie’s take on this and the advice is spot on. What I got from the relationship history is that Savannah goes for unavailable men and obsesses; that’s certainly the case with the Facebook soldier. After that, she was the unavailable one, but not that she thinks she is “ready” again, she’s upset that the men aren’t. Sorry, but this stuff doesn’t happen just on her timetable. And that seems to be one thing she can’t accept.

    But when a guy gives her a key, that he could tell she was “dangerous” her response is that her eyes are “beautiful,” and her choices are to close her eyes, stop trying, give up, or move. What’s missing? Perhaps a little self-reflection on why someone would consider her “dangerous.” While I’m not always a fan, Moxie’s advice about therapy may the the correct path.

    But Moxie’s also right that it doesn’t take a long time to recognize that something is off about someone. There have been more than a few times when I’ve sensed something off (trying not to use the “C” word here, but, yeah, that’s what I thought) in women who were more than clearly interested. Subsequent events I observed with other guys only confirmed that my original gut feeling was absolutely right.

    Guys are sensing something in Savannah and want nothing to do with it. It has nothing to do with her looks or her eyes. And until she can figure out what it is and deal with it, it won’t change.

    Part of the problem might be her feeling that “time is passing [her] by” and trying to compensate for that by being indiscriminately over-eager. That can definitely be off-putting…

  4. Eliza Says:

    Moxie’s advice is right on…therapy is the best path–since behavior is usually embedded and derived from our past experiences…and not solely from those we date/have dated…but from what we observe in our own families. I for instance, come from a situation where a parent was deceived/betrayed…and I had to reflect and accept that I was perceiving “men” as untrustworthy in general–without even knowing them on an individual basis. That got in the way of my being able to open up. Although, one or two guys were Type A and so interested enough to wait and pry open – what one of them terms “an oyster in that clamshell”–he stated. I know there’s a pearl inside there somewhere–but she’s afraid to come out and be seen. And that was spot on. I have been perceived as the “teflon gal” – who doesn’t need anyone…but what many fail to see is that many women that come across like this are just covering up – to not be vulnerable and exposed…self-preservation at all costs. And it’s a combo–of personality too–some women can’t be tamed, they are less passive, very strong-willed and in turn, more difficult…not “easy” for lack of a better word. We can’t help who we are–we can only hope to meet that someone special that is willing to accept us as we are. But therapy would probably be helpful, to heal wounds from the past and move forward in a less self-destructive way. Great post and advice by the way. I felt as though I was reading about myself in Moxie’s description. It’s a facade and a vibe I probably unconsciously put out when in reality–I “want” a 50/50 partner/friend/soulmate. “Need” is a tough word for me to swallow I guess. Again–the idea of vulnerability comes to play.

  5. Jenny Says:

    No, I’m sorry. You’re off here Moxie.
    1. Some stranger commenting On your personality is irrelevant. That is something my therapist taught me. People project. People make “deep” comments on your character to sound “knowing”. Don’t give a stranger credit.
    2. You do not have to work on yourself to be less difficult. You need to accept yourself and accept that the right man will accept you for that.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Sure, people project, and everyone’s tastes are different, but if you consistently get the same feedback about yourself, from many people of varying backgrounds and temperaments, there’s probably something to it.

    • jay Says:

      Point 1: Same thing I was thinking. I suppose that someone who barely knows you may have a valuable insight. Especially if you’re wondering what first impressions you give. But I wouldn’t obsess about the pop psychoanalysis of one passing stranger. It may or may not mean anything. If ten people tell you the same thing about yourself, that probably means something. But one passing guy? Maybe he had a deep and valuable insight, and maybe your hairstyle reminded him of his ex-girlfriend and suddenly he’s applying everything about her to you.

      Point 2: Well, I’d think people should always be trying to improve themselves. “Be yourself” is not good advice if, in fact, you’re rude and lazy and selfish. It is good to ask how much you’re willing to change to get what you want. Like, I have a beard. At one point my wife said she didn’t like me with a beard. She was far more important to me with the beard, so I shaved it off. Later she changed her mind and said she wanted me to grow it back. So I did. But if she said she wanted me to change my profession, I’m not sure I would have been willing to do that. My religion? No way. Etc.

    • LostSailor Says:

      Jenny may want to get a better therapist, or understand the OP’s situation better. Moxie isn’t off.

      Savannah is trying to meet “strangers” and get them interested in dating her. So a comment by a “stranger” (actually, a co-worker) might be just the insight she needed. Jenny–or the rest of us–really doesn’t know the context of that comment beyond what the letter said. I wouldn’t discount it.

      To say you don’t have to work on yourself, just accept yourself is a blithe, facile statement. Some people may indeed need to work on themselves–I was one. Some people need to just accept themselves. But more important, you won’t know which is right for you until you start to understand yourself and what are your issues that are leading to your problems. Just “accepting” yourself doesn’t help if your behavior is pathological or self-destructive or self-defeating. No man–or sensible person– is going to just “accept you for that.”

  6. xyzed Says:

    Moxie’s reply was on the mark. I am currently dating (16 months) a woman who also projects the same vibe (unsafe, dangerous) but deep down has a good side once you get to know her. Somewhere down the line she has been “scared” and now on guard (and defensive) if she senses you are trying to pry into her past. She is also very attractive (as the OP mentions). I have recommended therapy but so far refuses.

  7. Selena Says:

    A couple months ago I wrote here about every time I had an intense almost-from-the-start infatuation with some guy, it inevitably proved out he wasn’t that into me. Like with your military guy, it would end up being a fling, perhaps with a later booty call. Taking this phenomenon apart, I suspect my subconscious may have picked up on something about the man -he was not interested in having a relationship with me- and used it. He didn’t want a relationship, and I wasn’t totally ready for one, so therefore he is ‘safe’. Perfect. Butterflies all around. And subsequent disappointment because my conscious mind did not (or did not want to) recognize this at all.

    I’m not a therapist Savannah, only saying your letter makes me wonder if you might be experiencing something similar. Your first serious relationship last for 3 years with someone who mistreated you mentally and physically. That’s heavy stuff, especially at such a young age. It would be NATURAL for you to be cautious about getting into another relationship after that experience. Add to it, the only time you felt the butterflies was with someone WHO WAS LEAVING. And further, I have the impression that you may be impatient dating anyone for whom you don’t feel butterflies immediately.

    Here’s the thing: most of us have to have a level of attraction to someone else to want to get to know them better. To want to be physically intimate with them. But the “It was love at first sight!” deal is far less common and usually doesn’t end up lasting.

    I think it’s possible that you aren’t being approached because you look dangerous, more that you are giving off an aloof, “You don’t give me any butterflies – back off!” vibe. This is not your intention, but it could be reflected in your face, your posture.

    Therapy is certainly an option. There are also many self-help type books you might find useful. Browse a big book store, the public library, Amazon. I think you might find some things you can relate to and perhaps some A-ha! Yes! moments. I have.

  8. Steve from the City Next Door Says:

    The comments by the guy at work – who it sounds like was not a co-worker since it was right off the bat and he was never seen again – does not mean too much.

    Still it appears like there is a problem so a professional would be in order.

  9. Howard Says:

    I have not been at this site in a while. It seems nothing much has changed in the damage that we do to ourselves. Therapy is a good option but not the only option. After all, talk is still cheap, and actions count for more. Now don’t get me wrong, therapy can, and often results in better actions. I however see a greater issue and it’s a malaise that plagues many of us in this so-called modern world. It’s the preoccupation with ourselves. For most people, this preoccupation functions well as a survival mechanism.

    However, the dating arena is unfortunately a place where that preoccupation can backfire, if we are not polished enough to at least come off as being a little congenial.

    Indira Ghandhi used to say there are two types of people in the world. It comes down to what we say in our heads when we meet someone. Some ask, “How can this person help me meet my objectives?” The better among us ask,”How can I help this person meet his or her objectives?”

    Most of us are not entirely in any of those two camps or at least have the sense to not display that we are only in the camp of “what’s in there for me”. I suppose that’s what warmth comes down to, “other people getting some idea that we care about people.”

    The remedy to us failing at, exuding that warmth, is action. I suppose I could recommend the cliche volunteer work, but it’s better for you to just force yourself to cheerfully engage everyone you meet, expressing you truly care about what’s going on in their lives and endorsing them. Start with the store clerk, or the person serving you coffee or the bus driver or the little old lady you never speak to. The key here, is about steeping outside yourself and doing this with a total stranger, as opposed to your usual acquaintances or family members. What you are trying to create, is a shift in the way you see the world and the energy you give off.

    • Eliza Says:

      I agree with Howard’s idea of stepping outside of oneself–and giving off a positive energy and one of “warmth”–but please no disrespect to New Yorkers–I am one myself–how do you do that–when 90% of people are plugged in–with their faces plastered to their cells? Try doing this on a subway or NY street–any day or any night?! Try it. People barely smile–or perhaps I am observing that on a Monday AM rush hour-on the way to work. Oh joy! Not the best time? I agreed that therapy would be a good initial step for the OP – since she was (in my opinion) involved in an abusive relationship in the past – and then proceeded to be self-destructive by getting physical with plenty of guys–and according to her – out of anger. That’s clearly a situation where therapy can enlighten and help her get some clarity.

      • Joey Giraud Says:

        I remember visiting NYC in the 90’s, before smartphones, and it seemed to me that New Yorkers were much more open and conversational with strangers then the people in my reserved midwestern city. I had quite a few good chats with total strangers, and I liked it a lot.

        The smartphone isolation zone… now it’s everywhere I suppose.

  10. Selena Says:

    From the letter:
    “A guy at my work told me once right off the bat that the reason I’m single is because he could tell that I was dangerous. That I have fire in my eyes and that’s why I was going to have a hard time finding the right guy. That when I did it was going to be someone worth it. Never saw him again to ask him to please explain what he meant by that.”

    I’d like to know more about the context of this conversation. Had she known him through work enough to banter back and forth? Was she flirting with the guy and he delivered this as a brush off? It seems VERY odd a man would deliver this kind of observation to a woman he barely knew.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I was confused why people were so quick to brush off that guy’s comment. “Pfft, whatevs, he’s a complete stranger…” Maybe he’s full of shit, maybe he’s not. Sure, he’s not a close friend or family member, but co-workers are people you see and interact with on a regular basis, they’d have a decent frame of reference as to your everyday behavior and interactions with others.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        Personally, I’d dismiss the comment mostly because of its content, not just because of the source. If a complete stranger comes up to you and says “your shoelaces are untied,” or “you have something on your face,” then you might assume those comments are sincere. If a complete stranger says you have fire in your eyes or seem dangerous, you can safely assume that comment is groundless, because those are not observable characteristics (unless you are literally on fire, or brandishing a weapon.). So, he could literally be saying that every person everywhere.

        • fuzzilla Says:

          That’s true. “I can tell you’re dangerous and have fire in your eyes” doesn’t tell you anything of value (as opposed to, say, “You kept interrupting your boss at that meeting yesterday” or “You screamed and threw stuff at the lady who stole your yogurt”).

          So why does she care what this idiot thinks? Maybe Selena’s right that she was flirting with him and hoping for “more,” as the kids say. Maybe she was strangely flattered (“Ooh, I’m ‘dangerous’!”).

          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            I wouldn’t go so far as to call her the “C-word” or anything but she’s probably just crazy.

          • Selena Says:

            Someone at work doesn’t necessarily mean co-worker. Could be someone who came into her workplace a few times, they engaged in some banter, when the banter got a little flirty he extricated himself. I would take dangerous, and “fire in your eyes” to mean the guy had the impression she could be too tempermental, perhaps too high maintenance for him.

            I don’t see how a total stranger would say these things *right off the bat* because how would he even know she was single? It’s unlikely a co-worker would say this right off the bat either- way too personal with someone who just joined the company. So without context, we don’t know if the man’s observation has merit or not.

            What I find more telling is that she is never being asked to dance when that was never an issue before. Even guys she thinks are unattractive aren’t approaching. This strongly suggests there is something in her demeanor giving off a “go away and leave me alone” vibe.

        • Selena Says:

          Guy at work tells woman right off the bat why she is single, dangerous, and has fire in her eyes. And he is never seen again…

          Cue sinister music.

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