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Fear of commitment

Fear of commitment
Fear of commitment
Fear of commitment

What’s behind the fear of commitment?  Why are you attracted to players?  How can you deal with the power struggle in relationships?  The following is a transcript of Lucia, host of The Art of Love Radio Show interviewing Patrick Wanis Ph.D. Human Behavior & Relationship Expert and author of “Get the Man You Want.”

Lucia: Hello and welcome to the Art of Love. My name is Lucia. I’m your host and a dating and relationship expert and I’m here to entertain, educate, and enlighten you about love, dating, and relationships, take your live calls, answer your e-mails, and speak to authors of books which I find interesting.

As usual, I’ve done it again if I may say so myself. I have yet another interesting guest and he is calling in all the way from Australia so we get to hear a lovely Australian accent today, and the book is called Get the Man You Want. So this book is for all women and for gay men. Just kidding. [Laughter] Oh, maybe it is. I don’t know. All right.

Hey, Patrick. How are you doing?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Oh, I’m doing great. Thank you, Lucia. How are you?

Lucia: Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you for calling in all the way from Melbourne, Australia. How’s the weather?

Patrick Wanis PhD: It’s windy here so it’s the opposite season so it’s quite cold actually.

Lucia: Oh, it’s winter still there?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah. Australia – Down Under is the opposite in seasons. So I just left L.A. about a week ago where it was close to 100 degrees and now I’ve come down here, Down Under, where it’s almost minus 100 – in the sense that it’s very cold for me.

Lucia: Right, right, exactly. Well, let me give you an introduction and then we’ll get started. So anointed the woman expert by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis, PhD is a renowned celebrity life coach, human behavior and relationship expert, clinical hypnotherapist, and author with extensive credits worldwide. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national television on the Montel Williams Show. He is the human behavior and relationship expert for Playboy Radio’s Afternoon Advice show, a regular contributor to Cosmo Magazine, my Bible, the featured Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior Expert for the Canadian TV series “Six Degrees of TV”, and is the relationship expert to the movie The Putt Putt Syndrome.. So that is quite a resume.
Who is your book, Get the Man You Want, who is that for?

Patrick Wanis PhD: It’s really for women that want to not just find a man but have a great relationship with a man. Even a woman that’s in a relationship can learn a lot from this book because what I teach is ultimately that whatever you want in life – it’s not about changing the external, it’s about changing yourself. It’s about making changes internally. So whether you want a better job or whether there’s something you want to achieve or you want to make more money or have greater success in any area in your life, you start with yourself. And the same applies with relationships so I teach that every relationship begins with you. That means the more you like, love, and respect yourself then the more that others will like, love, and respect you. If you don’t love, like, and respect yourself then the love you’d give is needy love; a desperate attempt to fill in inner emptiness. So any woman really will benefit from this book ’cause she learns more about herself and more about men.

Lucia: Right. And do you think probably in a lot of the cases in romantic situations there is a lot of this needy love going on?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Well, needy love occurs in, not just in romantic situations but, even in some familial relationships. The problem is that we’re often thinking in romantic relationships about ‘What can the other person do for me?’ rather than ‘How much can I love this person? Can I get to the place of unconditional love?’

Lucia: Yes, that is the goal but it seems so elusive for everyone ’cause everyone is obviously, of course, thinking, well, what can I get out of this?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Exactly. And that’s the very point that I’m making here: that often when we enter into relationships we’re only thinking about what can I get out of this and how can I feel, and what can you, the other person, do for me? Then we’re no longer coming from an authentic place. We’re not expressing love from our heart. We’re almost playing a tactical game.

Lucia: [Laughter] I know all about that. So then are you saying go into a new situation thinking what can I give to you and not have any expectations in return?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Well, that’s a really interesting question, and I think it’s a valid question that seeks the answer of balance. You can’t be the martyr that says, “All I’m doing is giving and never receiving anything.” And the other extreme is, “Well, I have no expectations whatsoever which therefore means I let this person, male or female, treat me in any way they want,” and it’s not about that. It’s about the balance and if you have expectations that the other person is going to be perfect or the other person is going to make you happy because you’re not happy in yourself, then you’re obviously setting yourself up for failures.

It’s what I call symbiosis. Most of us have been victims of relationships that are parasitic. What I mean by that is that if I’m the parasite, then I’m feeding off you and that’s all I’m doing. I’m not giving you anything. But a symbiotic relationship is where we’re both mutually benefiting each other. I’m loving you; you’re loving me. We’re helping each other, we’re helping each other to grow, we’re supporting each other, et cetera. If we enter into the relationship thinking that all I care about is “What am I going to get out of this?” then we are never ever going be happy. We’re always going to be let down and we’ll be dumped, male or female, because the other person eventually gets tired of just giving and never receiving anything.

Lucia: Right. Now, you mentioned —

Patrick Wanis PhD: So I think it’s the balance.

Lucia: Yeah, life is all about balance. Now, you mentioned a few minutes ago about, okay, you have to love yourself before others can love you. So you always hear that but exactly what does that mean? What does that look like when someone loves themselves?

Patrick Wanis PhD: That’s a great question. I just want to add something to it. I also teach that no one will ever love you more than you love yourself because you won’t let them. So let me explain this. You cannot have respect for yourself if you don’t have high self-esteem, then you’ll let someone in a relationship treat you poorly. But if you have self-respect and self-esteem, you’ll stand up to this person, not necessarily as a confrontation but you say, “Do you realize what you did was wrong? Do you realize how it affected me? Do you realize how you have hurt me?” If the person has no interest in how it affects you or how it hurts you and you respect yourself enough, then you’ll know when to walk away rather than thinking like most women who are in abusive relationships think, which is: “Oh, it must be my fault. What can I do to make him happy?” or “I need to love him more. He’s only tired and stressed out. It’s my fault that he’s hitting me.”

That’s probably the extreme example of a woman that doesn’t love, like, and respect herself and so she therefore allows a man to be abusive. Another example that I’ve had with clients is where the woman says to me that it could be a boyfriend, it could be a husband who turns around and says to her, “Oh, you’re lucky to have me because no other man will have you because you’re fat and ugly and stupid” and he proceeds to put her down. That’s the way to control her. Now, if she doesn’t have a healthy self-esteem and self-respect, she’ll allow him to keep treating her that way rather than standing up to him or walking away. Does that make sense?

Lucia: Oh, of course. Absolutely. So then, okay, so the buzzword here is obviously always self-esteem. What is it and how can someone raise their self-esteem?

Patrick Wanis PhD: There’s three keys to self-esteem. Self-esteem is primarily is how much do you like yourself, how significant do you feel, and how capable are you or how capable do you believe you are? How much you like yourself means are you full of guilt? Are you full of resentment? Are you full of shame, humiliation? Do you blame yourself for something in the past? Do you think you’re a bad person? Do you think you deserve to be punished? Do you think that you’re ugly or stupid or dumb or you’re a failure or you’re a loser? These are all obviously extreme examples but you’ll be shocked when you sit down with someone and ask them these questions and uncover the truth. Most of us don’t think we’re good enough.

So step one is how much do you like yourself?

Step two: How capable are you? What are your talents? What are your skills? What gift do you bring to the world? Women have a greater challenge because we expect so much of them. We expect them to be physically beautiful; we expect them to be intelligent; we expect them to have a great personality; we expect them to be a great housewife; we expect them to be great in bed; we expect them to be successful in career; and we expect them to be great at home and then we expect them to be great as a mother. So there are a lot of expectations. But you can still sit down and say “well, what are my skills? What are my talents? What are my gifts? What are my abilities?“

The third part is: how significant do you feel? That just simply means who needs you? How are you contributing? How are you making a difference? When we don’t feel that anyone needs us, we feel completely insignificant and we feel worthless. But when we know that someone needs us — our children, our husband, a colleague, a friend, an elderly friend, someone sick – then we feel we have greater significance. I also teach that our ultimate satisfaction comes from being able to contribute and make a difference, from being able to serve not just take, from being able to give not just take.

Lucia: Wow! Well, those are three great points ’cause you know everyone talks about self-esteem but no one ever really thinks about how the heck they’re going to raise their self-esteem so I think those are really helpful.

Patrick Wanis PhD: And I want to add to that, Lucia, that a lot of people confuse self-esteem with arrogance. I mean you look at someone like Paris Hilton always walking around with her head up in the air and always very, very much associated with artificiality and superficiality. So we think, “Oh, she must have healthy self-esteem.” But there’s a huge difference between arrogance, confidence, and self-esteem. Arrogance is, “Oh, I’m better than you. You’re inferior. I’m superior.” And that always comes from a deeper place of inferiority. So the person that acts arrogant is usually quite insecure underneath. The person that’s confident naturally knows who they are, what they want in life, and what their direction is, and what their identity is. The confident person says, “I got a challenge in front of me but I know that I can get through it no matter what. I’ll be okay no matter what.” When you have a healthy self-esteem you also respect other people and you respect yourself; you respect other people.

You know, the point I made earlier about no one can love you more than you love yourself because you won’t allow them simply comes down to this, and I know you experienced this. You meet someone new for the first time. It can be male or female and you get a vibe from them. You get a vibe whether they feel good about themselves or whether they feel bad about themselves. When someone doesn’t like themselves they won’t let you treat them well. This is when you find women who sabotage good relationships. They meet a man. The man is treating them really, really well. They’ve never been treated that well before. What does the woman do? She finds a way to push him away because at a subconscious level she doesn’t believe that she deserves to be treated that way.

Lucia: So then if a woman is in that situation, what does she have to do? Does she have to raise her self-esteem using the three points you mentioned?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, I mean that’s one way. The other way, of course, is to raise your self-esteem by also looking at what are you carrying from the past. Meaning, what are you taking from the past that makes you at a subconscious level think that you don’t deserve to be loved or something in the past that programs you to think that being treated in a bad way equals love – because a lot of us have a distorted version of love. It could be either arguments or heated debates or someone talking down to us as equivalent to love and it’s not. It can simply be that we were taught what we call Negative Love Syndrome. That means that we associated love with something that’s negative or we associate it simply with a twisted version of love. You know, a child ends up believing that love is whatever they experienced with their parents; so they’ll grow up thinking that that’s love even if it’s completely unhealthy. It even might be when two people shout at each other or the man shouts or even a woman shouting ’cause that’s the way she grew up so she thinks, “Oh, that’s me expressing love because that’s how my mother or father expressed it” even though it’s not healthy.

Lucia: Right. Now, you mentioned abuse – so if someone was mentally, emotionally, or physically abused as a child, then how is that going to affect their love life?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Unfortunately, what happens is, if you were abused as a child, you grow up again thinking subconsciously that that is equivalent to love or you think, “That’s what I deserve and that’s who I am” and/or you think, “Well, that’s how people interact. This is what I am meant to receive”; that the social interaction, the way two individuals interact is through abuse. For example, I remember having one client who ended up becoming a stripper and ended up abusive relationships and, of course, she was abused as a child. Now, she wasn’t sexually abused but she was physically abused and the father even as young as age three would pull down her pants and smack her bottom. Now, we might say, “Well, that doesn’t sound so extreme,” but that and a few other incidents led her to think that that’s how she’s meant to be treated.

So she would tell me stories of how she’s with a man, she’s in a relationship, and then he becomes abusive and he’s dragging her across the floor by her hair. Now, we think that this is an extreme example, but where is it coming from? It’s from the belief inside her that that’s how she deserves to be treated, but that’s how the man will treat the woman. So however you were raised will determine what you believe about yourself, what you believe you deserve, and what you believe the world is like and if you keep attracting that until such time you go deeper and you change the original belief. You change the way you perceive life and you change your beliefs about what you believe you deserve and how good you are or good enough you are.

Lucia: Right. So does that mean someone needs therapy or is there another way to fix that?

Patrick Wanis PhD: You know, we try to avoid the word “therapy” if possible because often when we say therapy, people think that they’re broken and it’s not being broken or that there’s something wrong with you. It’s that there’s something missing and basically it’s self-love and self-respect or it’s that you’re carrying around all these negative emotions. I teach that when you’re really willing and you’re ready, that the right answer will come to you. It might be a therapist; it might be a counselor; it might be a psychologist; it might be hypnosis; it might even be a book; it might be meditation; it might be prayer.

Once you start to make the effort to say, “I want to be free of the past. I want to be happy. I want to love myself,” your mind not only changes but you see things that you didn’t see before and that could be a book, that could be a message, it could be something you hear on the radio, it can be listening to your show Lucia, and someone hears something that clicks. If you keep an open mind, meaning that “I know what I want. I want to get help. I want to be free of the past, ” you come across someone that will have those keys and then all you need to do is ask yourself and your gut (that’s your intuition): “Does this person feel right for me to help me with this challenge? “And if you follow your gut, you’ll be led to the right person.

Lucia: Wow! That’s a great answer. [Laughter]

Patrick Wanis PhD: Thank you.

Lucia: Okay. Let’s talk about men for just a minute here. Now, you said in your book, “Men want someone like their mother.” So, in what way? Does that mean that if she was nurturing — that they want someone nurturing or what?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Isn’t that scary when you hear that?

Lucia: Yes.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Men aren’t aware of this. Again, it’s at a subconscious level and it doesn’t refer to mom’s looks or appearance; it means that they’re going to repeat the dynamic they had as a child. If the mother really mothered them and was extremely nurturing, they tend to be attracted to the same kind of woman. If the mother was cold, they’ll be attracted to that same set of cold women. So they end up repeating the pattern and that also happens with women too; they end up attracting a man that in many ways is similar to the dynamic they experienced with their father.

Lucia: Okay. So then would it behoove a woman if she’s interested in a man to find out what type of relationship he had with his mother and try to mirror that?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Well, I don’t know that she should try to mirror that but I think she should be careful that if he had an unhealthy relationship, he is probably still going to be unhealthy unless he’s resolved that. I was just talking to a TV producer a week ago in Los Angeles and we were talking about this topic and we were talking about men and women and I said, “Look at the girl or the lady and look at how she is around her father because that’s going to tell you who she really is and how she truly feels about men. That’s going to reveal all of her insecurities.” The same applies to a man. If you meet a man and he’s not kind and he’s not gentle with his mother, then there’s a good chance he’s not going to be kind and gentle with you. So now I wouldn’t say that’s what he’s going to be like, but just be aware of what was his relationship is and was, and be aware that he’s going to try to repeat that, recreate it unless he’s so aware, cognizant, and hopefully evolved that he’s been able to move beyond that and now he’s looking for a healthy relationship.

Lucia: Right. Okay. And then you also said that men feel threatened when women don’t know what they want. What do you mean by that?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, this is a really interesting point. This is something that I teach men. I say to men, look, don’t go out with a woman that doesn’t know what she wants because while she’s with you she’s going to try and find out what she wants and maybe she’ll end up realizing that you’re not what she wants or that she wants to live with someone else or she wants to be doing a different kind of job or her values will change. Of course, this really applies to both men and women. You don’t want to ever be with someone that doesn’t know what they want because they’re lost and they’re confused and they can be easily misled and again it comes down to: this woman says or thinks that she wants children or she doesn’t want children or she thinks she wants to live in a hot place like Miami or maybe thinks she wants to live in a place with snow like Denver. And then one day she wakes up, it might be a year in a relationship or two years into the relationship and suddenly she says the opposite of what you thought she wanted and it now means that your relationship can’t work out.

It’s always easier to have any kind of relationship, personal or business, with someone that knows what they want; someone that’s clear about their goals and their identity, their desires, their values, their principles, and their standards. It’s very hard to be with someone who’s lost because then what happens is you’re trying to become their mother or their father, you’re trying to guide them and you may guide them to a place that they want to go or again as I said at the very beginning they might find out what they want and what they want is not you anyway, or not the life you’re offering.

Lucia: Right. Right. Okay. Let me ask you about this. It’s not in the book but since you’re a behavioral therapist, my belief is that men who are quick to rush into a relationship or into a dating situation where they try to move things along quickly, they are usually the ones who are also just as quick to rush out. Do you agree with that?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Most likely yes because “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”, but, what you’re talking about is someone that’s either impulsive, someone that falls in love too easily, so therefore there’s no depth, or someone that is overly spontaneous meaning they’re impulsive, or someone that doesn’t think about what they want. So yeah, if someone’s moving too quickly, then there is a good chance that they might move out just as quickly.

Lucia: Right. Yeah, ’cause I’m always suspicious ’cause I get e-mails from people and they go, “Well, I just met someone and then we were dating. We were seeing each other every day after two weeks,” and as soon as they mentioned that things were moving along quickly I’m like, “Uh-oh, this is headed for disaster.”

Patrick Wanis PhD: Well, it could be, unless the man is so clear about what he wants and the woman is and he says, “I know what I want and you’re what I want”; that could be the case, but then again, if he’s clear about what he wants, he’ll simply state, “Look, I know that you’re the person I want. I know that this is the relationship I want.” And then if he’s smart, he’ll be able to proceed with the woman according to her approach and needs: she might need more time for different reasons. Maybe she’s got some loose ends to tie up; maybe she’s just come out of a relationship; maybe she wants to proceed slowly before introducing the man to her children; it depends on what the circumstances are.

Lucia: Right, right. I totally agree. Okay. You also said in the book that — and I’m glad you said this because I always knew it but a lot of guys need to hear this and you said, “Women do not dress sexy so they can be hit on.”

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, isn’t it funny that we even have to discuss this because men are so silly sometimes. Maybe I could use a stronger word but I won’t. The man meets the woman and she’s dressed hot and sexy and that’s what attracted him to her. Now, when he gets in the relationship, he wants to change it and her. Now, generally men don’t want to change women but that’s one thing that insecure men do want to change about a woman. They say, “Okay, now when I met you, you were dressed in slinky, sexy dresses but I don’t want you to dress like that anymore because I know you’re going to attract other men.” Now, the woman gets dressed up sexy and she’s on her way to a friend or maybe she’s out shopping and he thinks, “Oh, you’re out to meet someone else. You’re trying to attract other people.” And that’s not necessarily the case because what you need to understand is women dress to feel good about themselves and, women dress, first to compete with other women and second to get the attention of men. First and foremost, when women walk in a room, they look at what other women are wearing before they look, “Is a man looking at me?”

Lucia: Right.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Is that true or not?

Lucia: Yes. [Laughter] Absolutely.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Okay. I’m guessing it’s true because you’re laughing. [Laughter]

Lucia: Yeah, and here’s the other thing that you may or may not know. It’s like when we dress sexy we also do that in case we happen to run across some guy we may be interested in but we’re dressing just for this guy. We actually don’t want anyone else looking at us even though it’s obviously unrealistic.

Patrick Wanis PhD: And I’m glad that you’re saying it as a woman so that men will hear it so that they don’t mistakenly think it’s always, “Oh, I’m dressing sexy so I can attract and be appealing to every man.” Sometimes a woman is really just doing it for you, and I say this to men too. When you come home or you’re in a relationship, there’s your girlfriend, your partner, or your wife and she’s just had her hair done and she’s dressed up. Men are so stupid sometimes they don’t notice that she’s doing it for him and he was like, “How much did I pay for that haircut?” rather than saying, “Wow! You did this for me?” or complimenting her, reassuring her, and then recognizing that the woman does want to look good for her man and then they want that but some men are just not thinking, “Hey, she’s doing this for me” because men can be extremely insecure and think, “Oh, she must be doing it for someone else.”

Lucia: Right, right, exactly, yes. So I’m glad you mentioned that. I haven’t heard anyone else mention the whole women dressing up thing before. So moving along, now most of us — I don’t know if I’m making a big general statement here but, a lot of people have fear of commitment and you say that that is actually a fear of rejection.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, it’s funny. You wouldn’t think that; we often think fear of commitment means all I want is my independence and it’s true with men that men have fear of commitment on two levels. One, they fear losing themselves in a relationship and losing their identity and individuality. But underneath that also is the fear that “Well, will she reject me?” because the only reason I’m really afraid to commit to you is that if I commit to you and I’m one-on-one and I open up and I just express to you all of my fears, my vulnerabilities, then I’m much more vulnerable to you hurting me which means you could actually obviously reject me and that would create great pain. So yes, men do also have a fear of rejection as do women. And the other reason a person might have a fear of commitment is if they have no idea what they want in life.

Lucia: Yeah, ’cause a lot of times people say, yeah, men have fear of commitment or they’re commitment phobes but you’re saying they’re actually just afraid of getting rejected.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, I really believe that. Even if the man says, “I want to be an independent person,” well, why are you so independent that you never want to be in a relationship? What are you ultimately afraid of? Usually, unfortunately, most of our behavior is motivated by fear and it’s a fear of being hurt, fear of being rejected, fear of being exposed to something positive, fear of realizing that we’re not good enough, fear of someone walking out on us. For example, the fear of abandonment as an adult is quite different from the fear of abandonment as a child.

If, for example, a man grew up in a household where the mother was never around, he’s going to often have a fear that the wife is going to cheat on him and the same applies to women. So if the parents weren’t around, it’s hard for a man growing up to be able to commit to something because no one committed to him and he has a fear that, “Oh, you know, my mom wasn’t there. My father wasn’t there. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe there’s something wrong with me.” So when we become adults we do everything we can to protect ourselves from feeling pain.

Lucia: Yes.

Patrick Wanis PhD: And yet, of course, really what’s happening is we’re missing out on having a great relationship.

Lucia: Yes, I agree. Also, you said that if men just wanted sex, then they wouldn’t get married – so it’s obviously not true that they just want sex.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, this is where women get confused because the men still want a lot of sex when they get married and women say “I think well, that’s the reason he married me.” No, it’s not because the men also will feel that “Oh, I’m not going to get as much sex when I get married” particularly if have they talked to other friends who are married or they talked to older people who are married and they realize, “Oh, priorities change. You’re not going to have as much.” A man chooses to marry a woman because he loves her and because he wants to build something with her. And I remember having this conversation with one of my best friends from a few years ago who is a real man’s man, and he was telling these funny sexy jokes and when he tells me these jokes, I ask, “Is this something you do with your wife?” He goes, “My wife? No, that’s the mother of my children. I could never imagine her doing that.” [Laughter]

Unfortunately, that’s the whole concept behind pornography that pornography is the idea that the woman is going to do what the wife never does. So I just want to reiterate that point that men do marry for love. They don’t marry for sex. They might be attracted to the woman that dressed very sexually and is very sexually aggressive but they’ll very rarely marry her. It’s like, “Dude, that doesn’t last very long anyway because there’s nothing else to keep them there.”

Lucia: Yeah, exactly. Now, do you think it’s possible for people to get burned out on sex and just want to give up? I mean not on sex, sorry, on dating?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Sorry. I didn’t quite understand that. Say that again.

Lucia: Okay. Do you think it’s possible for people to at some point do so much dating that they get burned out and they just want to give up?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, of course, there is. I mean I think that applies to any area in life where you keep longing for something, searching for something, working for something, and then you’re simply not having success. It’s very easy to become despondent and feel hopeless and helpless and say, “Okay, I’m just giving up.” Yeah, that is possible. I think particularly depending on whatever stresses you have in your life, if you’re looking at dating as a way to bring more enjoyment in your life and the actual process becomes very stressful and very unsatisfying, then yes, you’ll give up on it because you’ll get burned. You go, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’ve been meeting too many of the same kinds of guys or I’m meeting too many losers or I’m meeting these people that are lying or they’re not what their photo looks like or they’re not who they said they are on their profile.” I think it’s easy for people to become despondent.

Lucia: So what’s the remedy for that? Do you think it’s just: take a step back, take a break, and regroup?

Patrick Wanis PhD: I knew you were going to ask me that. [Laughter] I think you’ve already given the right advice. Step one is if you are really feeling like you’ve burned out then yes, take a break for a while and then the second logical step is: reevaluate your strategy,  because whatever you’re doing in the past wasn’t working so you’ve got to change your approach. And that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It just means the strategy you’re using isn’t working.

So look at your approach: “How am I going about this? How am I doing this? Is it something about my profile? Is it the way that I’m presenting myself? Am I pretending to be something I’m not? Am I holding things back from this person? Am I lying? Am I not showing them my real photo? Am I just answering too quickly or am I not answering quickly enough?” There are some women who say, “Oh, I want to wait for a while before I get to meet the man” if they’re dating online, if they met them online. “No, no, no, I don’t want to rush and meet him. I want to get to know him. I want to have more exchanges of phone calls and e-mails and text messages.”

Then where you go wrong there, is that you’ve created this vision, this image, this picture in your mind of this person, and then you meet him, and then he’s nothing like what you thought he was because you’ve created this false image that someone can’t live up to. What I mean by that is: we have this expectation and then we meet them and either they don’t meet our expectation in our mind or there’s simply no chemistry. So on that point of online dating: I say that once you feel that there’s a connection and then there’s an attraction (and you’ve spoken a couple of times on the phone) then, meet this person as quickly and as safely as possible because that way you’re going to find out whether there is chemistry. You and I can have chemistry over the phone but when we meet it’s possible that we don’t have the same chemistry.

Lucia: Right. Absolutely.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Because over that time the chemistry might be more about the intellectual banter and about the fact that we are talking about the same topic, but then we meet and there’s no physical chemistry. There has to be some sort of physical chemistry. There has to be magnetic attraction, otherwise what happens if these two people enter into a serious relationship, they always feel like they’re missing out on something. “Oh, I love my partner but I’m not in love with my partner.” That means you’re not excited and you want to be excited if you’re going to be in a relationship. You want some excitement.

Lucia: Well, a lot of excitement, not just some excitement. [Laughter]

Patrick Wanis PhD: All right. Thank you for saying that.

Lucia: Yeah, that was the point, and also I think on the phone it’s easier for people to talk ’cause obviously you have to, ’cause you’re on the phone and so it’s easy to be more talkative on the phone, and then when you meet a lot of people are quieter in person, don’t you find?

Patrick Wanis PhD: That’s also true. Some people have greater confidence over the phone and others don’t. But what you’re talking about is really significant; once I meet you maybe you’re going to be talking differently, maybe I’m going to notice your body language and I don’t like the way your body expresses itself or maybe I’m going to notice you’re not hygienic. So maybe I’m attracted to you but I think, as a woman, “Look at his fingernails” or “Look at his shirt” or “He’s got holes in his socks.” Now, I don’t know how you’re going to know that unless you take off his shoes. [Laughter] Maybe you notice something about him that you think well, this person is not clean or they’re not hygienic or they’ve got bad breath or they’re not healthy or they’re not well-groomed or “Well, you and I could be best friends but I just don’t feel anything else.”

There was that movie with Katherine Heigl. I think it was 27 Dresses where she’s in love with her boss and she’s completely infatuated. And then one day she finally gets to kiss him and they both go, “I didn’t feel anything.” Then they kiss each other a second time to make sure and they both say the same thing, “I didn’t feel anything.” And this is something that — I don’t know if I say it in this book but I know I did say it in one of my other books, [“What a woman wants”] that women determine whether they want to sleep with a man based on the way he kisses.

Now, the significance of that is that a woman can also measure a connection to a man by the kiss. Is there passion in the kiss, is there meaning, is there tenderness, whatever that one is looking for. So you can’t just decide “this is the person” based on correspondence, e-mails, and phone calls. You have to meet the person, you have to interact, you have to be around them, and then ask yourself, “how do I feel around him?” Maybe I feel really uncomfortable. Maybe I don’t feel safe. Yeah, I feel like I can’t trust this person. Maybe this person is a great charmer over the phone but when I meet him I actually realize the charm is a manipulation. It’s not real charm. So yes, you’ve got to see the person and you have to meet the person – in person.

Lucia: Yes, true what you say about the kiss because, boy, you can be attracted to someone and then you kissed him and there’s nothing and you’re like, “What the hell happened?”

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, and then just accept it: You’re not a failure. It’s just there’s not a match. That’s all.

Lucia: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Patrick Wanis PhD: There’s not a match.

Lucia: So why are we attracted to people who play games?

Patrick Wanis PhD: I think generally speaking because we’re bored in life. I mean I have to say to someone, “okay, what is it about the game that you’re attracted to? Is it because you want that excitement? Is it ’cause you like the power struggle? Is it ’cause you like the challenge? Is it because you’re afraid and so you hide behind the game?” The games prevent two people from becoming intimate; they prevent two people from really getting to know each other.

Again, depending on what kind of a game is it? Is it an intellectual game? Is it a mental game? What is the game that this person is playing? What is the benefit you’re getting out of the game? Is it a way for you to avoid intimacy? It’s the kind of question that I would be asking myself and then say, “What would it be like if it wasn’t a game and there was real love?” You know they can still be exciting and there can be surprises. The person can surprise you with a text or a present or showing up and that’s excitement. But that’s not the same as a game where someone says, “I’ll call you in an hour,” but then doesn’t call you for a day and you’re wondering why or there’s you and someone else and he’s trying to decide. That’s not healthy.

Lucia: So then game playing would fall under the category of power struggle?

Patrick Wanis PhD: It could definitely be about power struggle. Yeah, if you’re playing a game, you’re like, “okay, who’s going to have the upper hand here?” That’s because if both people are playing this game and they’re both afraid of letting go and they’re both afraid of losing control and they’re both trying to control. If I’m playing the game rather than being played, then I’m trying to control and manipulate because I’m afraid. What will happen if I let go? I want to control the other person because I’m afraid that I might be rejected or something will go wrong, so therefore I must control. Whenever there’s a power struggle and the man is trying to control the woman, which it often is, it can also be the other way around, but usually the male is trying to control the woman – and that comes from a personal fear.

Lucia: So let’s say they’re both trying — they’re struggling for control. So it’s like warfare between two countries. Who’s going to win? So what do you do if you’re caught in this power struggle?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Well, step one is you become aware that you’re actually in a power struggle and then ask yourself “How is this affecting me? How is this affecting my relationship? Do I feel better? Do I feel insecure? Is it stressing me out? Is it making me ill? Is it making me anxious? Is it making me afraid? Is it stopping me from being who I really am? Is it wasting my energy?” If you’re wasting your energy playing games then you’re losing — that’s energy that you could be giving to something else in your life whether it’s work, career, children, family, or friends and it’s energy that you could be giving to the relationship in a more empowering way.

So step one: become aware that you’re playing the power games. Step two: how is it affecting you? Step three: what am I afraid of? What would happen if I stopped playing the power game? Now, if you stop playing the power game, it’s harder for the other person to play it. So let’s say the woman now realizes, “Oh, we’re both playing a power game.” Now, she can turn around (once she’s done the first three steps) she can to the man and say, “Look, I know that this is a game. This is a power struggle. You’re trying to control me” or “this is a power struggle and I’m not going to play into it.”

So sometimes calling someone out in their game is enough to, at least, be very close to neutralizing the game. Now, that person may then become so frustrated because they can’t play the game anymore that they leave you or they go somewhere else. Well, then you know you were never going to have a healthy relationship with this particular person.

Lucia: So then, let’s say someone says, “I’ll call you in an hour” like you said, but then they don’t call till the next day and they do that several times, then how should you handle that situation?

Patrick Wanis PhD: I think that whether it’s via an e-mail or you get them on the phone and say, “Okay, three days in a row or you told me three days ago, you’re going to call me now and you haven’t called me day one, day two, and this happened three times. Is there a reason this is happening?” And notice that I haven’t accused anyone. I’m just asking a question. It’s not easy to ask that question when you’re really angry, you’re hurt, and you feel rejected and you feel stupid. But if you can start off with that and say, “Is there a reason that this is happening?” or “Are you aware of this?” Now, if you play that neutral hand then the person has to go and say, “Oh, I forgot.” Then you say, “Okay, I’m concerned because you’ve forgotten three times.” And then get a commitment out of them.

And then if they’re not even saying sorry and then they don’t even care, then you turn around and say, “Okay, well, I feel really stupid or I feel like you’re ignoring me…or I feel like I’m insignificant to you. I feel like I don’t mean anything to you because you told me you’re calling now and you have forgotten about me for three days. How is that possible?” And then he might say “Oh, look, I’m really sorry, such and such is happening in my life, et cetera, et cetera.” Then if that person does say they’re sorry and you say, “Okay, well, I need you to promise not to do this again.” Now, if the person is not willing to say, “Okay, I promise I won’t do this again,” then that tells you they don’t want to change or they don’t care. And then you’ve got to make a decision. Also determine if you want to be a priority in his life and whether or not he is willing to make you a priority.

So again, we’re talking about people that are dating. So one of the greatest fears we have is accepting that this date or this relationship isn’t going to work. Why? If it’s not going to work, it’s not going to work. It’s like you’re going to test a car and “Oh, I don’t like this car.  It looked great from the outside but once you drive it, it didn’t work. It doesn’t feel good then you walk away. You don’t have to buy it. It’s the same thing with the relationship. You are buying a relationship but you are still buying into it – you’re still making a commitment. It’s okay to say, “Look, I met Paula, and Paula and I don’t get along. We don’t match. We had some fun but we’re not a match.” That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you or her. It just means that you are not a match for each other. You’re not suited to each other, your personalities, your temperaments, your values, or whatever. Accept that and walk away. It doesn’t mean you failed. It just means you’re not suited to each other. That’s all.

Lucia: Right, yeah, it’s just hard to look at it that matter-of-factly when you’re actually in it and maybe you’re having sex and maybe you have feelings for this person to just say, “Oh, okay, we’re not a match. Goodbye.”

Patrick Wanis PhD: That’s a really good point, Lucia. If you’re in a relationship and it’s now at the level where there’s a sexual relationship and a sexual connection, yeah, it’s not as black and white as I’m saying where you simply go, “Oh, okay, bye. I’m out of here.”

No, it’s not as simple as that. You’re exactly right because your emotions are involved and particularly if you’re a woman and I mention this in my book: Oxytocin is playing a role here. Oxytocin is a hormone and chemical that’s released from the body when a woman is breastfeeding, when she gives birth, when she has orgasm, and when she’s nurturing. And that’s what makes you feel closer to the person next to you. So every time a woman has sex, she’s feeling closer and closer to the man. So yes, it is harder to walk away, but you’re still going to look at it and say, “Okay, how much pleasure am I getting out of this? How much pain am I getting out of this?”

It might be hard to walk away now that you’ve already given some energy and time for this but then you still have to look at it almost in objective terms and say, “Look, I’m so attracted to this man, we do have a lot of fun but here’s all the pain I’m experiencing. Do I still want to feel this in five year’s time or would I prefer to give my energy to finding someone that I can have a better relationship with?” If you are still attracted to the person that’s unhealthy for you, that’s when you need to go and say, “Okay, what is my challenge? What are my beliefs that are attracting me to someone that is not healthy for me? When am I going to accept this? Do I not believe that I deserve better?”

For example, when you talk about someone saying they’re going to call and not calling you back, so they’re letting you down and disappointing you, they’re not keeping their word, then you might ask yourself, “Was that how my parents were? Was my father or mother like that? Did they not keep their word? Oh, yeah, my dad would say he would show up to my game or to my recital or to something and he didn’t,” and maybe you’re repeating that now. So have a look at that because it might be something deeper or it might be as simple as, “Hey, this guy is not good and he’s not respectful. It’s time to let go.”

Lucia: Right. And continuing with the power struggle topic, now you said that a power struggle comes out in many ways which I’m about to name but it’s like look at all these ways that comes out, it’s like that means everybody is always in a power struggle. Of course, you mentioned controlling, criticism, jealous, cheating, workaholic, casual dating, playing games, and bragging.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, and I’m glad that you’re actually revealing those because they’re all really important examples of the different ways that your partner or your date might be trying to stop you from being you. That means they are trying to shrink you as a person, trying to make you feel that you’re not that special; the person that is bragging about how great they are, or they are getting jealous, or the person is a workaholic so they’re saying, “I’m going to work, work, work, work. So you don’t even have much of me, much time or much of my attention.” And then there’s the other ones you listed as well.

Lucia: Yeah, because this just seems to be the MO for relationships these days.

Patrick Wanis PhD: And again, it always comes from fear. Let’s say, the fear of if I give myself wholeheartedly to this person, what will happen? So therefore, what I’ll do is I’ll withhold. I’ll withhold giving love, and therefore I withhold receiving love and neither person really feels good about it. Some women will put on weight as a way of withholding or protecting themselves, rather than withholding love, protecting themselves. Some women become fat as a symbol of the wall around themselves and then they say, “Well, what man would be attracted to me?” What they are afraid of is trust and ultimately their fear is when I trust, that trust would be betrayed or violated.

Lucia: Right. So then how does one overcome this? Do you think that, okay, you just have to take a leap of faith and say, “Okay, I’m not going to be controlling. I’m not going to play games. I’m going to show this person that they can trust me, that I am interested in them,” and then hopefully they’re evolved enough to see that and stop playing themselves?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Well, you have asked quite a few questions that I want to try and answer. Step one is always, of course, awareness. Are these games happening? Where are these games that are happening?

I’m referring to the power struggle as being these games. So if this power struggle is occurring, then you have to call out your partner and say, “Look, I’m aware of what’s happening here. I want us to have a different kind of relationship. I want us to be more open with each other.” If your partner just says, “Oh, that’s stupid. You’re an idiot. What are you talking about?”, then you might want to step back for a while or for a moment and then see if you can approach the same topic again from a different angle. Maybe that person isn’t good at communicating.

But again, if they’re not good at communicating, and if they’re not willing to see that there is a power struggle and if they’re not willing to look at the relationship, then they’re also telling you the relationship is not a priority and maybe it’s more of a priority for you than for the other person. There always does tend to be, in every relationship, one person that sort of has a little more power than the other. That’s true. But when the scales are tipped to an extreme, then you’re never going to feel safe. So yes, awareness and, talk to him about it; offer some solutions. You can also try to reassure the man or the woman that’s playing the power struggle, “Look, I’m here. I love you. I’m not going anywhere,” and maybe say, “Look, is there something you want to talk to me about?”

It might be simply asking questions more about the person’s past without overly prying and hearing every past single girlfriend or boyfriend. Find out a little bit more about the past; maybe they’ve been injured; maybe they’ve been hurt; maybe they’ve been betrayed. So therefore, they do everything to control. For example, children who grew up in a family of alcoholics will become adults who are very controlling. And the reason for this, is because they felt that as children they had to keep it all together or they had to do things to avoid dad going off the rails or avoid dad from hitting, shouting, screaming or smashing things. So that child will grow up and tend to be very controlling in relationships because they’re afraid of losing control because if they lost control as a child, dad might go crazy.

Lucia: Right.

Patrick Wanis PhD: So the more you can learn about yourself and the more you can learn about your partner, the greater relationship you’ll have.

Lucia: Okay. And then one more thing about this whole power thing, when someone is bragging or they’re trying to make you jealous, is that always a sign of their insecurity?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Yeah, it is. It’s a horrible, mean, nasty thing to do because if it’s ever done to you, you know what it feels like. It’s okay to tease your partner occasionally but, in a playful way. But when you try and make someone jealous what you’re really saying is, “I don’t feel good enough for you, therefore I have to tell you, “Oh, look at this other woman who keeps calling me. Look at this other woman who keeps chasing me. Oh, look at this hot, sexy woman and she wants me.'” What I’m trying to say to you is that I don’t feel good enough for you because if I felt good enough for you, if I felt secure, why would I need to tell you that? Why do I need to make you feel bad so that you think, “Oh, I’m lucky to be with Patrick?” No, that’s not good. That’s not healthy.

The same applies to bragging. Bragging is simply a way of hiding and masking our insecurities. If you ever have experienced, and I’m sure you have, that someone in your life that you know is just naturally confident; they’re not bragging; they’re not putting you down; they don’t try to tell you how great they are; they just are who they are. They act, walk, talk very comfortably and they have a sincere interest in you.

This is something that I teach men and I say to them, if you really, really want to make sure you’re secure in a relationship and if you want to make sure your woman doesn’t leave you, then, do the opposite. It’s not by telling her, “Oh, I’m not good enough for you”; it’s by telling her how great and wonderful she is – because the more special you make a woman feel, the more special she wants you to feel.

If you reassure that she’s beautiful and she’s the only one for you, that you treasure her and she’s number one, she’s your number one priority in life and if you listen to her, pay attention, and you spend time with her and if you respect her body and if you express empathy and compassion and you stop giving her advice except when she really asks you for advice, then you’re allowing her to blossom, to be who she is. And when a woman feels that she can be herself around you, she feels safe to trust you then she wants to be around you because she feels special. Unfortunately, men don’t get this. They think, “Well, the only way I could have her, the only way I can be with her and not lose her is by controlling, by cramming her into this box.”

But what happens just like the spring that you keep cramming down, one day it pops out and then it’s exposed. So the more you try to compress the woman and shrink her and control her, the more she’s going to rebel one day. It may not be for a few years and once you lose her, she’s gone. But if you really want to have a secure relationship and know the woman is devoted to you, then give her what she needs. And there are two things to point out and teach to men: stop trying to be right and just focus on being happy! Men are very stubborn and stupid – thinking only in cause and effect – sometimes when they say, “Well, why do I have to put the toilet seat down? That’s not right.” Well, I say, “What do you want to be? You want to be right and have arguments or would you prefer to be happy? Put the bloody toilet seat down. It really isn’t that hard for you, is it?” Rather than having stupid arguments with your wife or your girlfriend or your partner. I mean how dumb is that? The same thing applies to toothpaste. Make that little extra effort. “Why does it have to be me? Why isn’t it her?” Well, again, you can be right or you can be happy. That’s a really, really important point. Focus on being happy rather than being right. Take the initiative.

Lucia: Exactly.

Patrick Wanis PhD: I think that’s a critical point when it comes to men. Don’t focus on being right. Focus on being happy. And really you can apply that to any area in your life because sometimes you’ll be right and it won’t equal being happy.

Lucia: Yeah, absolutely. So then one final question, so if a woman is with a man who’s bragging, who’s trying to make her jealous, how should she handle that?

Patrick Wanis PhD: Very strongly say to him, depending on what he’s saying, maybe not in that moment, just let him say it and then later come and reassure him, “You know, honey, I love you. You’re the only one for me. I have no interest in anyone else. I don’t care about how many other woman look at you”

Lucia: Oh, okay.

Patrick Wanis PhD: I did have a client who had a very similar situation and he would do that to his wife and then when I spoke to him I said to him, “Well, how would you like it if she did that to you?” I said, “How would you like if she come up and said, ‘Oh, I was in the gym and this hot hunky guy was checking me out and asking me for my number’?” I said, “How would like it? You wouldn’t like it, would you?” Now, it’s hard for a woman to say that to her partner because of the way he might rebel, but if she can at least reassure him and then see what happens. So I teach the same thing to men and women. Reassure your partner when they least expect it. Don’t do it when they’re asking you for it; do it when they least expect it, because it sounds more natural. So if the woman comes up and says, “Do I look fat in this dress?” and you go, “No, honey, you look perfect.” She says, “No, you’re just saying just saying that. But later, when she’s not expecting it, say “Honey, you look great in that dress.”

Lucia: Hmm. Perfect.

Patrick Wanis PhD: And you’re not doing it because you’re trying to get her into bed or have sex. You’re just doing it like an off-the-cuff remark. “Oh, well, honey, you look great in that dress,” and then you keep walking on,  to the kitchen or you make your coffee or whatever you’re going to do and she’s thinking “Huh? What just happened?”

Lucia: Right, right, wonderful.

Patrick Wanis PhD: That’s how you reassure each other, when there’s no ulterior motive.

Lucia: Wonderful. So let’s end on that note and again the name of the audio book is Get the Man You Want. The website is Of course, we’ll have the link on the L.A. Talk Radio page and enjoy your visit in Australia, Patrick, and thanks so much for being on. It was fun.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Lucia, my pleasure and thank you very much for the opportunity to spread a positive message.

Lucia: Okay. Take care.

Patrick Wanis PhD: Thank you.

Lucia: Bye. Okay. Thank you so much for joining me today. Remember that you can sign up for my free weekly newsletter at the You can read an excerpt from my book which is Lessons of Love at and until next time. Remember that love inspires, empowers, uplifts, and enlightens.

[0:53:05]                    End of Audio

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