It's Not Him,
The Common Denominator
Several years ago I was sitting in a café in Georgetown having breakfast with my best friend, Adison. She had dragged me out of bed that morning to talk about her most recent relationship, which, like many before, was headed downhill fast. Before I could even order a cup of coffee, she declared that her latest would-be-boyfriend, Gavin, was an asshole. She then proceeded to give me the play-by-play of their relationship with her usual enthusiasm.
'He never calls when he says he will. He acts like he likes me one minute, but then I don't hear from him for days. I am just so fed up with men and their games!'
I listened, as good friends do, as Adison vented her frustrations. She rambled on about Gavin's commitment phobia; how his hot and cold behavior drove her up the wall; and how the next time she saw him, she was going to give him a piece of her mind. But somewhere between the words jerk and player, I realized that this most recent relationship disaster sounded a lot like her last one. In fact, when I thought about it, it seemed like getting dumped was becoming a pattern
As Adison was about to call this guy an asshole for the tenth time, it hit me: maybe it wasn't such a coincidence that all the guys she dated turned out to be jerks. Maybe there was an actual reason for it. It did seem a little odd that all the guys she liked drove her crazy and eventually ended up MIA, especially since each relationship started out so differently. Yet somehow she kept getting the same result. I realized I knew what was happening. There was only one common denominator in all of Adison's relationships, and it wasn't the men
'Adison,' I said. 'Do you ever think maybe it's not him, it's you?'
Adison's jaw dropped. As soon as the words left my mouth, I cringed and waited for her reaction. I was supposed to be her friend. I was supposed to be on her side. I was supposed to call this guy a selfish bastard, not bruise her already damaged ego. In fact, I was just about to recant my statement when she said, 'Really? You think I'm making him act this way?'
Up until that moment I truly believed that Adison and I had just been picking the wrong guys. Whenever our relationships got rocky, we would blame the guy for being insensitive, unavailable, or just plain shady. We truly believed that most men were frogs and we were going to have to kiss a lot of them to find our prince. But now I had seen the light. Men weren't the cause of all our headaches, we were. If a guy didn't act exactly the way we wanted him to, we would freak out, overreact, and drive him away.
Take Adison's new relationship for example. This guy, Gavin, did like her. There was definitely a mutual attraction when they began dating. However, Adison started assuming that they were in a relationship after only a couple of weeks, whereas Gavin was still testing the waters. She switched into full girlfriend mode before Gavin had really decided how he felt about her. So when she started coming on strong, calling a lot and making all-weekend plans with him, he started to back off.
This, of course, drove Adison crazy. And the crazier she got, the more she pressured him. The more she pressured him, the less he wanted to see her. She became angry and critical whenever they were together and accused Gavin of being immature for wanting to spend more time with his friends instead of hanging out with her. On the flip side, Gavin was becoming more and more convinced that Adison was trying to control him. For God's sake, they had only been dating for a month! Eventually Gavin stopped returning her calls all together, leaving Adison in relationship limbo, wondering what had happened.
Adison and I spent the next hour dissecting all of our previous relationships. In almost every instance, we realized that the guys we had thought were jerks were really not so bad after all. We just blamed them for the fact that the relationships had gone awry. We had come up with every excuse in the book for why they behaved badly, when really, we just didn't know how to act with a guy we liked. It didn't matter that Adison was a smart, pretty girl. The way she behaved completely turned guys off. What an epiphany! I had to laugh at all the crazy mistakes we had made throughout the years. Looking back, I wondered how I could have been so oblivious.
Suddenly, Adison became panic stricken.
'Ohmigod, Jess, do you know what this means?' She shrieked. 'I have been dumped three times in the last year, and I am now realizing it's because of something I'm doing. I'm turning guys off. All this time I thought I was just dating the wrong kind of guy. It never occurred to me that I might be bad at dating. Now what am I supposed to do?'
Good question. At the time, I didn't have the answer. I just knew that this problem wasn't unique to Adison and me. All of my friends were suffering from their own dating dilemmas as well. The more I thought about it, the more I was certain. It wasn't the guys that were making our lives miserable. It was us!
OK, So It's Me. Now What?
Years later I was in Las Vegas with my good friend Lana. We were attending a conference to promote her latest children's video. After a couple hours of standing on our feet, we decided to take a break and get some lunch. We found a restaurant in the casino and quickly grabbed a seat. A few minutes later, two guys sat down at the table right next to us. The one on my side was extremely cute, and I couldn't help but overhear his conversation. He had just closed a huge deal. One of the networks had agreed to fund his TV pilot. After a couple of minutes I realized 'cute guy' kept glancing my way. After the fifth or sixth time, I finally decided to catch his eye. He smiled at me, and I leaned over to him and said, 'You guys sound like you're celebrating.'
Ten minutes later we were engrossed in conversation.
Twenty minutes later 'cute guy'' asked for my number.
I could go into more details about how the weekend unfolded. How 'cute guy' (his name was Daniel) showed up at the club we were at that night. He bought us drinks, held my hand, and kept telling me how adorable I was. But the particulars of that evening are trivial. After all, lots of boys and girls meet and party in Vegas. The crazy part was what happened the next morning. As I went downstairs to check out, Daniel was waiting for me in the lobby. He begged and pleaded with me to stay another night. He even offered to pay for another room at his hotel. When it became clear I wasn't going to be convinced, he reluctantly let me go. But not before telling me that I was the most amazing woman he's ever met and making me promise I would see him again.
When Lana and I jumped in a cab to the airport, she looked at me with amazement and said, 'How is it that every guy falls in love with you?'
I had to laugh.
'No seriously,' she continued. 'When I was single I had guys hit on me, but they didn't fall all over themselves the way they do for you. It took weeks, usually months, to get them to commit. I feel like that guy would have reserved the Chapel o' Love tomorrow if you had let him. How do you do it?'
It was at that moment that I realized I had to write this book. I had a secret, and it was time to share it.
The Girl I Used to Be
As I said before, I wasn't always so successful with men. Even after my 'It's not him, it's you' epiphany years earlier, I still had my share of dating disasters.
In college, I had an on-and-off relationship with a guy named Shawn. I really liked him, and when we started dating again my junior year, I thought we were finally on the same page. I asked him to my sorority formal which happened to fall on my twenty-first birthday. I was very excited that I would be spending such a big night with a guy I really liked. On top of that, all my friends would be there to celebrate. However, two days before my birthday he called to tell me he couldn't go with me anymore. The girl he really liked had just asked him to go to her formal on the same night. I was devastated. I felt rejected. I never wanted to see him again. Unfortunately he lived next door.
Another time I fell hard for a Sigma Chi who lived upstairs from me. He would come over all the time and we'd eat, watch TV, and make out. We never defined our relationship, but since we hung out so much, I figured there was no need. He was my boyfriend, as far as I was concerned. Then one day I overheard a couple girls on the quad talking about him. I listened in and learned that he had been pining away for one of their cheerleader friends who finally decided to go out with him. The next time I saw him he was holding hands with C-H-R-I-S-S-Y from the squad.
Then there was Danny. I dated Danny for eleven months. I call that time period the Crash of '99. I was head over heels for him. Funny thing was, at first he chased me. He wanted to take me out and I kept turning him down. He called and pursued relentlessly. Eventually I caved in and went out with him. After seeing him a few times after that, I was hooked. The tables were turned, and now I was the one pining after him while he scheduled me in between rounds of golf. My entire week revolved around Danny. If he wanted to hang out, I dropped everything and ran over. I never knew when I was going to see him again, so I took every chance I got. I stopped making plans with friends because I didn't want to be somewhere that I couldn't leave in case he called. It was a disastrous relationship. I was absolutely powerless, and I didn't know how to regain control. So eventually after many tears, I finally left Danny. He had a new girlfriend three days after we broke up.
So as you can see, I've had my fair share of sob stories. Realizing that I didn't know how to date was only the beginning. I knew that I had a problem—I just didn't know how to fix it.
Luckily, after college I stumbled upon the formula for dating success. I had figured out how to get a guy interested, keep control, and get him to commit. My love life took off, and guys who had never noticed me before were falling all over themselves to ask me out. Whereas before, I couldn't catch the eye of the captain of the chess team, I was now dating celebrities and professional athletes. I was even pursued by one of Fortune's 40 Richest Men Under 40. Guys were telling me they were in love with me after only a matter of weeks, and all of my boyfriends were discussing marriage. It was crazy, but it felt great. I couldn't believe the change. I was the same person I had always been, but now I was getting the response I had always wanted.
Since I discovered this secret, I have not been dumped, stood up, cheated on, or left in limbo wondering where I stood. I have had men go to great lengths to get my number and they have all asked for a commitment without me having to say one word. But the best part of all is that I no longer have to settle for the guys that just want me. I can pick any guy I want, and I know I can make him want me right back.
So what's my secret? How do I do it? It's all laid out right here in this book. And what exactly is the difference between this book and all those others out there? Simple. This book is not based on opinion or secondhand advice. It will not just help you understand men and why they do the things they do. What good is having that information if you don't know how to use it? No, this book is different. It will teach you exactly how to gain control of your love life and make you effective in dating, regardless of who you are or what you look like.
Now be prepared. This book presents some rather unorthodox advice. But that's a good thing. How many other dating books have you read that have done absolutely nothing for you? This book is different. It won't be like The Rules. It does not contain flimsy outdated advice my mother's mother gave me. And it's not like He's Just Not That Into You, because honestly, by the time you're done reading this book, he will be. No longer will you sit around with your girlfriends analyzing text messages and waiting for phone calls. You want to land a boyfriend? You want to get married? Well, you can. I am going to show you how to use proven techniques to get any guy you want.
©2008. Jess McCann. All rights reserved. Reprinted from You Lost Him at Hello. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442