Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy

Merging sense and sensibility in modern relationships

Morning After Regrets?

First excitement, then comes the let down

It is not uncommon for women to report feeling energized when a man shows sexual interest in them and then let down after a sexual event.

Short of the celibacy solution, there are steps that a thoughtful woman may take to tip the odds in a direction that favors a more romantic outcome.

Consider that when feeling let down is a recurring event, it may mean the woman is actually using a male strategy for dating—a strategy that does not put a high enough premium on emotional compatibility.

What is helpful?

Women who spend a little time in advance weighing what their goals are before they hook up are much more likely to have a fulfilling overall experience. I know, some will complain “but that makes it such a mechanical process and where is the fun in that.”

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Thinking it through in advance does not mean giving up the spontaneity of the moment. What it does do is make a woman more knowledgeable about what may trigger the wonderful chain reaction of emotions that link by link snap into place as a good match is formed. Advanced introspection is also the best known way to avoid the morning after letdown, which in itself is not exactly fun.

Doing well at this means, for one, that it is helpful to keep in mind the profile of men responsible for earlier let downs. It may feel more comfortable slipping into a familiar pattern even when that pattern is a type of man that has disappointed in the past. Patterns are powerful. People take the same route to work and rarely think twice about alternatives. Short of an emergency, for most of us thinking about an alternate route is not worth the mental energy.

A woman who lets the process of meeting a new man become as rote as her route to work risks living in a Ground-Hog-Day reality. The face may change, but after a short run of enthusiasm the rest will be too, too familiar.

A more productive strategy is to look for men who are different. Not different in the nuances, different in bigger ways. How they engage in conversation. What they talk about. How they explain themselves. How they look.

Is he full of solicitude or does he view the world with a studied indifference? If in the past you have gone with studied indifference, break out of the mold and try solicitude. It doesn't have to be a personality that is a polar opposite of previous experiences, it just needs to be different enough that you feel a little challenged.

Women grow with their ability to experiment with the unfamiliar. It is a bit of an art, but it is a learned art. These women don't stop screening for jerks, but they don't use such a fine screen that they mistake new and unknown for undesirable.

There is no way to avoid all disappointments, but women who are open to making choices that are outside their usual patterns have the advantage. They are more likely to find a level of meaningful emotional intimacy and once in a while true romance.

For those who find themselves relying on old patterns that have mostly led to disappointing letdowns, it is time to reorient. It takes work, but the assessment process is empowering and gives women a tool that promotes self-interest.

 

Jill P. Weber, Ph.D. is the author of Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy—Why Women Settle for One-Sided relationships.

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