The Man Whore Who Hated Himself

There’s a woman in my bed;  she’s 32 years old and from Eastern Europe. She has long black hair, a flat stomach and piercing blue eyes. The white silk sheet is barely covering her well-proportioned tits, and she’s stunning. She watches me brush my teeth in an effort  to rinse  a taste out of my mouth. Not the taste of  pussy, but the taste of vomit.

Not from being drunk. I only had two drinks.

Not from food poisoning.

No. This was an emotional sort of vomit.

I was feeling the effects of an enormous hole that I had tried to fill with twenty-one one-night stands. About  four months ago, my ex and I finally stopped sleeping together. She couldn’t do it anymore.

She couldn’t handle my craziness.

My insecurities.

I felt lonely, insecure, and unworthy.  So I hopped on Google and begin to search what makes a man attractive, hoping I could win her back or find someone better.

The average man’s advice to impress a woman is shaped around the perception of social status and confidence. One of the largest self-help industries for a man’s confidence is called the Pick-Up Artist Industry. A landfill of advice on how to turn a “nice guy” (me) into a confident man that every woman wants.

Where tactics like saying, “Quit looking at me like a walking sausage” are paired like string cheese and boxed wine with how to escalate (touch her leg… NOW), polarize (You’re kind of ugly, but I’ll stick around *simile face) and tactics on how to sleep with an abundance of women.

It’s as if we are collecting Pokemon cards, but this time, it’s getting real.. “Tina. She had a power level of 8 with her majestic blue eyes attack and her squirting abilities.”

Tina-Pokemon

Gotta catch ‘em all!

Anyway, back to me and my vomit.

So here I am brushing my teeth as this beautiful woman from Eastern Europe tells me, “I love you. You’re amazing.”

I spit out the taste before I reply to her. “You’re crazy. That’s just puppy love. You just met me.”

I crawl back into bed and wrap my arms around her. Within the hour, she’s on me again. The pain in my gut gets worse and worse, but I finish the job for the second time. Afterwards, I go back into the bathroom and close the door to hide my dry heaving. I look in the mirror, and then look away. I hate myself. I’m disgusted and unhappy.

In our post-industrial era, men are lost. Research has identified the  most masculine attributes as emotional control, primacy of work, control over women and pursuit of status. 1 Our society tells us to stop feeling. It’s telling us to give up on meaningful connections. It’s telling us to stop whining, and start earning.

As our world has exploded with the internet,  we are being stabbed with repetitive information on how to act like a man. It tells us how to dress, how often to have sex, where to touch, and what to say.  It’s to a point that we regularly doubt our own decisions and self-worth.

As more and more information has become open-sourced, we have  began to open-source higher levels of inadequacy and anxiety as well. The first thing you learn about marketing is that fear sells.

Tell a guy that he isn’t a man unless he gets laid three times a week. Offer a book that gives him “step-by-step instructions” on how to become that man, and he’ll buy it. This same concept applies to man-to-man advice. Every guy I knew told me I needed to go sleep with a bunch of women to get over my ex. So I did.

When we try to fill the holes of our self-worth issues with other people, we do nothing but make the holes bigger.

Men obsess  over getting laid as if it will solve their self-esteem issues. As if it will finally make them feel cool,  or worthy. Women obsess  over feeling loved, or they crave a boyfriend. They assume it will make them happy. They assume it will help them feel good about themselves.

The biggest problem with dating and relationships is that we  expect the relationship to fix our problems.

Prior to my most recent ex, I dated a girl in college for three years. Towards the end of our senior year, she asked if we could see other people. “You know,” she said, “just to  make sure we are right for each other.”

So we did. I hooked up with someone I was attracted to, and she slept with a Freshman on my soccer team.

Immediately afterwards, she blamed me for everything.

It was my fault for her making that decision. A combination of my anxious attachment style and still being in love with her led me to taking the fault and accepting the blame.

She had me go to couples counseling sessions, where she reinforced how shitty I made her feel. Meanwhile,  I bottled my emotions. I squared my shoulders as I tried to act like an emotionally stable man who cared only about her.

In truth, I was a fucking train wreck. No, it was worse than that. My train wreck was submerged in a frozen lake, infested with soul sucking merpeople.

My college sweetheart  made me promise to go the rest of my senior year without hooking up with anyone.

I did.

She didn’t.

She lied through her teeth, and regardless of what other people said, I believed her.

Love is like formaldehyde. It makes you blind.

And that’s where it all began. I left college with a low self-esteem and a messed up view of myself. Our life experiences influence how we perceive ourselves. Combining this heartbreaking situation with cultural messages formed my emotional blueprint – the blueprint on how we perceive and feel about ourselves in relation to love, sex and men/women.

Within two months of leaving college and my college sweetheart, I met the most gorgeous, opinionated women I have ever met. She was intelligent. She had unique perspectives that I had never seen in a woman before. The relationship was fun for the first few months, but once I started to fall in love with her, I changed. My attachment style began to rear its ugly head, and I began to feel inferior to her beauty and personality.

Due to accepting the blame for losing my last ex, I was determined to make sure that I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Most people who struggle within their dating lives place themselves inferior to their significant other at some point or another. As a result, we place ourselves below the person we are dating, and we develop self-sabotaging behavior.

Like most insecure men, I put her on a pedestal. In a way, this objectified her. Over time my neediness and desperation to be with her all the time became very unattractive.

I’ve known women who sacrifice their identity to fulfill some romantic notion of how love should be, thus destroying the relationship in the process. I know men who worship sexual conquest.  Not only does such a man objectify women he meets and act in a manipulative fashion to get sex, but will also objectify himself and treat himself poorly.

Since our emotional blueprint tells us we are not equal, we  become addicted to dysfunctional relationships. We rationalize the irrational behaviors of our significant other, and sabotage our chances of fulfilling our real needs.

The Pedestal Problem

I put in a lot of effort with my last ex. I would constantly surprise her with flowers, and high heels. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt I needed to keep her attracted.  I needed a reason to feel worthy of being with her.

When we feel unworthy of something, we develop a perceived gap between how we view ourselves and how we view the other person. To close this gap, we either give up and decide we are not good enough, or we perform in an attempt to live up to this perceived standard, a standard only we see.

The problem is these performance behaviors destroy us as a person, as well as our dating and relationship lives.

  1. We are never quite sure if we are doing the right thing or not. If a man believes he must impress a woman he meets, he will constantly second-guess or doubt his own words and behavior, reinforcing his insecurities about his self-worth.
  2. Low self-esteem reminders. If you act under the belief that you have to perform to make others like you, then you are reinforcing the implicit belief that you are inherently inferior. You are reinforcing the existing pedestal problem.
  3. Trust-Inhibiting.You feel that you must always perform specific actions and behaviors in order for partners to love you. The problem is you will never be certain if they love you for you, or if they’re attracted to the behavior itself.
  4. If you feel below something or someone, you fear asserting yourself. As a result, you suppress yourself and hide your true desires and intentions. The more your needs get bottled up, the more explosive you will react when the bottle does open. Suppressing is neither healthy nor attractive.

Using provided pick-up lines, or following strategies like “touch her when you say this line” cultivate a subconscious message that your true intentions, desires, and self-worth must be hidden for you to be loved. As a result, you act under the premise that you must impress others to be happy. That you must hustle to be worthy of love.

But the truth about any healthy relationship is two healthy people with independent secure identities come together to help one another improve and grow. You become an attractive man or woman when you are proud of yourself, accept your flaws, and don’t compromise your values for someone that doesn’t appreciate it.

If you go out to the bars and clubs, not to hang out with friends and have fun, but with the intention to get laid at any and all costs, then you are performing. You are putting your self -worth behind the value of the external metric of sex – even bad sex.  You’re putting the priority of sex over the priority of finding someone with common values who will make you feel happy. You’re putting it over spending real time with your friends and having a good time.

PUA culture was developed as a response to nerdy guys like me who wanted to quantify dating so we could become “successful.” We wanted to turn over the emotional process of meeting someone, and remove all of the uncertainty and spontaneity of the conversation so we could turn it into a chess game. She moves her pawn here, I move my rook here.

Yes, these “tactics” do work from time to time, but like me, you’ll eventually find how meaningless the sex is. You’ll find how unfulfilling it is to “game” someone into bed with you.

Vulnerability

The solution to the pedestal problem and resolving bad attachment behavior is this scary concept called vulnerability. It’s scarier than the Dementors in the Harry Potter series.

The Pick-Up Artist industry thrives on teaching men what to say and how to act. These tactics of how to be an Alpha male are counter-intuitive. One time in a dating seminar, I asked the coach how to become an “Alpha male.” His response, “you get a lot of women to sleep with you.”

“How do you get a lot of women to sleep with you?”

“You use my lines, and act like an Alpha male.”

The irony in acting like an Alpha male is just what it says. Acting. A confident man does not have to act confident. He just is. An intelligent woman does not act intelligent. She already is intelligent. When we act, we sacrifice who we are for the sake of what we believe other people think.

A vulnerable man or women does not act. The fear of the looming judgment, the rejection and the expectations build up just like they do in a person who acts. But the vulnerable person expresses themselves authentically, despite these fears. In a counterintuitive fashion, authentically expressing your desires, intentions and needs removes some fear and feelings of unworthiness.

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be, and instead, embracing who we are. Choosing to be authentic “means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, set boundaries and allow ourselves to be vulnerable.” 2

Authenticity is like a UFC fight against the shame and the fear of not being good enough.

To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight – and never stop fighting.  – E.E. Cummings.

Being vulnerable and authentic is uncomfortable. You will feel the pushback internally. You’ll see the eye rolls, you’ll hear the whispers, and you’ll feel a sense of isolation. It will feel as if a volcano exploded nearby and lava is falling all around you. The earth beneath your feet will give way because you’re doing something big; you’re opening your true self to the world. For those who have hidden and acted as long as I have, it will feel as if your very life is ending.

The what-if’s will consume your mind.

“What if I let my flawed self be seen and no one likes what they see?”

“What if my family/friends/co-workers like me better with I’m performing?”

Your mind wants you to play it safe, because it hates risk and judgment. We are hardwired to act in a socially acceptable way in order to encourage collaboration and survival.

The truth is… “Humans are attracted to each other’s rough edges.” – Robert Glover

So show them. Challenge yourself by doing things that hurt. Do it on purpose. Develop a willpower practice, such as very hard exercises or very cold showers. Choose something that makes your brain scream with fear of how hard it is and tolerate it. The goal isn’t just to get used to it. It’s to understand that pain is something you can survive.

That the emotions you feel are the body’s biological opinion, not commandants.  Understanding that you are not this fear, that you can survive something that is uncomfortable, is one of the most powerful realizations you can come to in this life.

Vulnerability is uncomfortable. You’ll hear the voices in your head screaming as the fear of unworthiness and no longer being accepted grips you. Your legs will shake. Your heart will jump into your throat. But as the authentic words come out, you will realize something deep inside yourself.

You will realize that just because you feel something, does not make it so. That the inner voice and suffering, like everything else in life, will dissolve and be replaced with something better. A belief that you are worth it, that you no longer have to act and hide your true intentions and desires. You can bare every weakness; scars, shame, pimples and all.

Be authentic with your friends, lovers, potential mates, families, strangers and co-workers. When you state your true desires, wishes and intentions, all the people that do not meet those needs, will fade away. You’ll be left with people who are real. People who accept you not for your performance, but for who you really are.

That’s what an authentic life feels like.

  1. James Mahalik, Tracy Talmadge, Benjamin Locke and Ryan Scott. Using the conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory to Work with Men in a Clinical Setting. Journal of Clinical Psychology 61, no. 6 (2005): 661-74
  2. Book: The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown (2010)

Kyle Benson

Kyle is a healthy relationship coach fascinated with the science of love & relationships. He loves helping couples revitalize relationships in the bedroom and out. Salsa dancer. Traveler. Power lifter. Learn more here.
The Man Whore Who Hated Himself