Difficult Women

God knows there are difficult women out there. Women who are — at times — shallow, bitchy, selfish, dishonest and, of course, crazy. But what I’m here to say is this: Your problem is not that these women exist; your problem is that you’re trying to date them.

Wait. I hear you protesting. You are right now saying to your computer screen: That’s the surprising secret about difficult women? But, but, but… all women are like that!

Actually, things are more complex than that. Because, while it may be true that every woman has her something, we don’t all have the same something. Right? So, why, if you’re like most guys, do you find yourself dealing with one or two of the same somethings over and over again? Even when you specifically go looking for someone completely different from the last chick who caused you so much grief, how is it that, lo and behold, here you are, one year later, putting a new password on your phone, again?

I’ll tell you how.

Because it’s not that bitches is crazy. It’s that you got a thing for bitches… who is crazy. This is also known as having a “type.” But where we generally think of having a type as, say, liking redheads or being an “ass man,” what most people really have is an energetic type. Someone who acts (and reacts) in ways that we mostly enjoy, until we realize that what we’re attracted to is just the exterior, hiding the other quality which, it turns out, bugs the sh*t out of us. And the deal is this — that other quality? It matches something inside you. So let’s look at some common archetypes and what they might correspond to in yourself.

The Bitch

What makes her attractive: She’s a go-getter. She’s sassy. She’s a challenge. And, often, she makes money. What’s underneath that: The bitch is all about anger. Often, she’s been hurt out there in the world and she’s developed a tough exterior — and sometimes interior — to protect herself.  What dating her says about you: There are two ways this can go. You can be attracted to the bitch because she expresses the anger you can’t, won’t or don’t allow yourself to express — which often means you’re “a nice guy.” Or she just reflects (and usually amplifies) your own anger back to you. If you’re the kind of guy who’s known for knock-down drag-outs with his girlfriends, or maybe gets into a bar fight every once in a while, this is definitely you.

The Sexpot

What makes her attractive: Duh. She’s hot. And she’s willing. What’s underneath that: A woman who knows how hot she is and has spent most of her life and relationships controlling men with her sexuality. What dating her says about you: I know all men are attracted to “hot,” available women. But only a specific kind of guy is actually trying to get into a relationship with a woman who wears Lucite heels — or just vibes likes she’s wearing them. If you’re the guy who just can’t get interested in a girl who couldn’t pass for a porn star, you might have an issue with addictive sex. You know how normal drinkers just have wine with dinner while the addicts are in the bathroom doing blow? When it comes to sex, that’s you. You need to get high. Off sex. You know you’re this guy if sometimes you just wish you could be the kind of guy who could settle down with a “regular” woman and get it over with — but you know deep down, you just can’t.

The Gold Digger

What makes her attractive: She’s a trophy. Incredibly well put together, she’s the kind of girl who, when you’re with her, makes you wish you could run into your ex. What’s underneath that: The gold digger thinks like an asset manager — how can she use what you want to get what she wants. What dating her says about you: If you’re attracted to trophy wife material, you go for only eights, nines or tens. You’re most likely also a “King of the World” type who believes all women are just out for (your) money. If this is you, women are just another resource to be mined or commodity to be traded. So it makes sense that you attract (and are attracted to) women who leverage their own assets in the hopes they’ll be able to exploit yours. The beauty of this relationship is that you can both be sure you’ll get what you really deserve: each other.

The Mess

What makes her attractive: She’s often charmingly childlike and adorable, and unlike a lot of other women, she really needs you. And that feels good. What’s underneath that: She’s in trouble. She’s an alcoholic, she’s in debt, she’s bananas, or she’s got daddy issues the size of Montana. What dating her says about you: Whatever she’s got going on, you imagine you’re going to fix it, and that makes you feel powerful. And women who can take care of themselves don’t make you feel like that. If the messy woman is your jam, there’s a strong possibility that you feel kind of chaotic inside but can’t allow yourself to acknowledge that — it would be too embarrassing (even to yourself) — so instead you find a messy girl and try to clean her up. Either that, or your mom was a disaster. Either way, therapy would be a really good thing for you.

The Liar

What makes her attractive: She wants to have sex with you on a regular basis and keep it casual. What’s underneath that: She swears she only wants to be friends with benefits, but she’s kidding herself. In three weeks, she’s going to be demanding to know why you refuse to commit. What dating her says about you: There’s only one way a woman — or anyone — can successfully lie to you, and that’s if you’re lying to yourself. Usually, you know all along if a woman is really the type who can have sex casually. At least if you’re over, say, age 25. But she was there, she was cute and you wanted to believe her, so you went along with it. And now you have to deal with the fact that she’s upset you don’t want more. The bottom line here is that when you get real with yourself, everyone who isn’t being real with you will instantly bail out of your life. Which is precisely what you’re afraid of — that if you’re honest about what you want, people will bail.

What Do You Do With This Knowledge?

This is a short list, but you get the idea. So what do you do? Start approaching every date you go on, every chick you find yourself involved with and every old girlfriend you’ve ever had as embodying some aspect of yourself you need to deal with.

I’m suggesting that you start paying way more attention to those mechanics. And if you stick with it, even just a little while, I can promise you something amazing will happen. As you begin to see that women aren’t really the “other” — they’re just you, except the flip side — you’ll stop running around selfishly taking an up-or-down, hot-or-not vote on every woman you date. You’ll become curious about who they are as human beings and what that might reflect back on you. And you’ll realize the other surprising secret about difficult women: They’re only really looking for their match.