Excerpt from the research for my next book STRONG WOMEN IN LOVE: Five Steps to Find and Keep Love—and Avoid Disappointment

Break ups and troubled relationships do more than hurt—they confuse you. What went wrong? Why did it last so long—or so short? Why did I choose him? Or why can’t we resolve our problems?

If you are smart, you’ll take a mini-break from dating or stop using ineffective methods with your partner until you can answer these questions. But if you are not love savvy, then you’ll take too long of a break, delve superficially into your issues or get your “emotional dukes up” against getting wounded again.

Swearing off men or closeness robs you of opportunities to learn about your needs and issues and soon you get interpersonally rusty. Paradoxically, avoiding love and fortifying your defenses leave you more likely to make mistakes.

Forty percent of the women in my study found themselves caught in this most frequent trap of Flat-line to Fireworks when they fell head over heels in love after they promised themselves no more men. Usually, the new man became the next ex-boyfriend. Women who already had partners tried very hard to be happy with hastily-chosen and unwise choices—who eventually also became their next ex.

You are especially vulnerable to this dating and mating pattern if you work too much and hate making mistakes almost as much as you dislike your family’s failure to create a supportive environment. In today’s world, Flat-line to Fireworks begins with you feeling so hurt that you take an emotional time-out by promising yourself no more men. Like Sleeping Beauty, you close your eyes to dating and or resolving key issues with your partner, and soon your life becomes a flat-line, just like the ones on heart monitors in emergency rooms that tell physicians the heart has stopped beating. At first, you are so hurt that you swear off men. And if you already have a partner, you close your heart to him. Loneliness or powerful life events such as getting older, ill or losing a parent intensify and then overpower your hurt feelings. Now you run the risk of doing things you might regret—breaking up, having an affair, building a double moat around your heart to keep out your current partner or leaping before you love and going over that cliff with yet another inappropriate person.

You might banish men from your life for a week, a month, a season or a year. Or, out of loneliness, fear, financial problems or the sake of the children you decide to stay with your man—but give up on love.

More important than how many days you swear off men is your No More Men Mindset. The vow of no more men or love comes from such intense fears of getting hurt that you believe you cannot withstand the pain again. Avoiding intimacy seems safer than risking what feels like a mortal wound from love’s disappointments. You adopt an armor of toughness to hide and protect an often unknown core of fragility—and you fool yourself into thinking that wanting a man is a sign of weakness. At first, you are so hurt that you swear off men. And if you already have a partner, you close your heart to him. Loneliness or powerful life events such as getting older, ill or losing a parent intensify and then overpower your hurt feelings. Now you run the risk of doing things you might regret—breaking up, having an affair, building a double moat around your heart to keep out your current partner or leaping before you love and going over that cliff with yet another inappropriate person.

Here are some beginning steps you can take to avoid this trap.

1. Answer why you chose this person when you did. Are you repeating your parents’ relationship? Are you inadvertently creating a relationship that is similar to a troubling and incomplete one you had with one of your caregivers?

2. Promise yourself that you will get emotionally brave enough to face these issues.

3. Get professional help. Usually, we don’t know exactly what more to ask or how to spot the best explanation.

4. Make a list of all the things you didn’t like or respect about your parents or caregivers. Now make a list of the same things regarding your hurtful relationship. What similarities do you see?

5. Take your time in your next relationship. Postpone sex. Hang out together instead of going on formal dates.

If you are a strong, capable woman and would like to be part of my research, please go to my website www.lovevictory.com , click in the Research box in the upper right, and you will be taken to the link for my online survey. If you indicate that Self Growth led you to my survey and if you leave your email, I will contact you with free help!

Thank you. You can also read my articles in major sites such as www.qualityhealth.com and www.helpstartshere.org

Author's Bio: 

LeslieBeth Wish is a psychologist and a social worker. Her work at the New England Institute of Family Relations, the first sexual dysfunction clinic in New England, and her research-based book, Incest, Work and Women, earned her national recognition and honor as a pioneer in sexual dysfunction and women's love and career issues. Her book uncovered the connection between childhood abuse and women's career problems.

Women can also learn about their relationships by following the love adventures and misadventures of her cartoon character Almost Smart Cookie, which is on her blog, www.drlbwish.blogspot.com. You can access the cartoon strip directly from her website, www.lovevictory.com by clicking just under Cookie's face.

Website Directory for Family
Articles on Family
Products for Family
Discussion Board
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, the Official Guide To Family