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The Reason you keep dating Rotten Eggs

Eggs“This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.”  Woody Allen


In the past few weeks a friend and a client both said “I do” to marriage.  Both women found a way to trust in the institution despite their prior experiences.  Both knew their man was the one for them.

You might be thinking to yourself, “That’s all nice and good for them. Me? I just don’t trust men.”  Simultaneously, you might feel a longing for what they have.  Perhaps, if you were to be completely transparent, deep inside, you would admit that a committed relationship is what you profoundly desire.

I sat at that contradiction for a long time:  both yearning for intimacy and feeling I would get railroaded if I put my heart out on the line. The truth was that, although I had been in long-term relationships, the love I craved was never possible because I consistently chose men who were not trust worthy. I didn’t realize then that my lack of trust was actually the thing that held me back from the love I craved..

How you may ask?

By hanging on to my own misguided “eggs.”  I used to believed the story that men, inherently, were not to be trusted.  And, so long as I held onto that story, I would keep my distance.  I could stay safe. It took me questioning  who I would be without those belief “eggs” and opening up to a very different way of thinking that finally allowed me to experience the kind of relationship I always wanted.

So what holds us back from trusting in the first place? Let me get scientific on you, if you would indulge me.

Our brain functions to move us toward pleasure and away from pain.  This includes emotional pain – which is interpreted by our brains as “danger” and will instinctively activate our sympathetic nervous system.  Once our bodies identify a threat, we prepare for battle (or for getting out of the situation): muscles tense up, our heart starts beating faster and blood flows away from any non-essential body systems.  When we experience break-ups, fights, bad relationships over the course of a lifetime, these stress reactions lay down neural pathways in our brain intended to protect us.  The moment you begin to think about going out on a date, seeing him as “potential,” or entering into a new relationship, you will instinctively and habitually go into into “red alert” as the stress this creates smacks of danger.

The majority of women who attend my workshops tell me they just don’t trust men – they’ve been cheated on, lied to, hurt.  Many are angry and resentful. Just the thought of being in relationship dredges up past memories.  While they crave the “safety” of a committed relationship, dating and meeting new men doesn’t feel completely “safe.”  This skepticism means not fully giving of themselves.  It means strategizing, revealing only certain information as if they were launching a military operation.  They go into it expecting, on some level, that something bad will happen, just like it did before.  They long for Deep Soulful Love and wonder why they’re not getting it.

I was just like you.

I believed that if I trusted wholeheartedly, I was going to get hurt.  But I kept ending up with men who were not trustworthy.  What was with that? Without going into details, let me share the findings of a really interesting study by Carter and Weber I read recently which explains why not trusting might be the reason you keep ending up with Mr. Wrong.

You  might think that not trusting would make you a better lie detector.  Apparently not.

The study found that people who had a high level of trust in others tended to be better at detecting lies.   People who trust expose themselves to exploitation and so they tend to develop better “radars” for catching lies.  They also were also much better at identifying non-verbal cues than “low trusters.”

They didn’t say so in their study, but I would add that people who are highly trusting probably also trust themselves. This is the predominant characteristic I find lacking in many of the women who attend my workshops.  When they say, “I don’t trust men” most will admit that underlying that statement is “I don’t trust myself not to choose wisely.”

It took me a long time to turn that whole thought process around, mostly because I was not aware that in not trusting, I was the one who was creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of relationships doomed to fail from the onset.  It is also why in my Relationship Workshops, I spend the first two thirds of our time on cultivating trust in oneself before I ever talk about the dynamics of being in relationship with men.

How do you begin to make change? You can start with a simple assertion, “I trust myself.”  Write it on post-it notes, with dry-erase markers on your mirrors and windowpanes, recite it in the car to yourself…  It can be the first step to getting closer to your Mr. Right.

I’d love to hear from you.   What is your trust story around men?  Are you holding on to your eggs?    If you’ve found a way to trust yourself, share your tips for doing so!

Listen, my love, as I have sounded this out for your pleasure. Click below:

P.S. While this material doesn’t cost you a cent, it came from my heart.  All I ask is that you share this post with at least three friends.  Fair trade, right? xoxo Joëlle

5 Responses to “The Reason you keep dating Rotten Eggs”

  1. Lauren G Reliford (Queen of Forgiveness) says:

    Woman, this post! It’s amazing! It’s exactly where I am right now in my life. My trust in myself is utmost. I trust my man too! And we are stretching the limits on trusting and creating limitations on what a relationship should look like and we are just having a relationship! I must admit. I love the greener grass over here.

  2. Katie says:

    Another interesting and meaningful post, Joelle. Thank you!


  3. Meg says:

    Yup. You nailed this one for me. I was taught not to trust men by my mother. As I result, I’ve landed in the PERFECT challenging relationship to test my ability to trust. Bad egg or good opportunity. I guess I get to decide ..

    • Joëlle says:

      You surely do! So glad you are giving yourself the chance to sit in this sticky question. Genius move on your part. The answers will surely come. xoxo J

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