‘Treat them mean keep them keen’ – why do mean guys get the girls?

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‘Treat them mean keep them keen’ – why do mean guys get the girls?

As a woman it’s rather concerning that sayings like ‘Treat them mean keep them keen’ exist, and even more alarming that there may actually be some truth to it. Some women do have a tendency to go for the ‘player’ – the unavailable and in some cases the outright abusive guy – over the tender, sensitive and loving one. It would appear that some of us are more comfortable being in a relationship where we aren’t treated with the love, adoration and respect that each of us deserves.

What’s really going on here, if we profess that we just want to be loved and adored by a man?

Surely men that offer less than love and adoration wouldn’t be appealing, yet so many can relate to the experience of having chased or desperately clung on to guys that ‘just aren’t that into them’, and the abusive relationship that follows.

Could this in fact be an issue with women’s lack of self-worth and acceptance of their own sensitivity and preciousness, rather than issues with the tender man?

To receive love in full you have to feel worthy and deserving of it, which requires you to have that level of love for yourself first.

I’m sure many men can relate to the experience of having told their girlfriend time and time again that she is beautiful and looks amazing, yet the woman brushes it aside and continues to criticise how she looks. If a woman doesn’t feel that beauty within, there’s no amount of compliments that will ever change how she feels – she has to know it for herself first.

So, what does a woman seek if she doesn’t feel good enough in herself and holds a lack of self-worth: a man that will confirm the negative beliefs she holds about herself and thus justify that way of thinking, or someone that will bring up the sadness of how she doesn’t feel deserving of more?

Like trying to receive a compliment that you just don’t believe, the love of a tender man can feel painfully uncomfortable, which is why so many women can pass them off as being ‘too soft’, ‘too sensitive’ or ‘too boring’ when absolutely nothing is wrong with them… in fact everything is right.

Maybe what is really going on here is that women choose the tough man who is living the ‘keep them mean, keep them keen’ pattern of behaviour because this man won’t ask her to look at herself, nor ask her to be vulnerable, delicate and sensitive.

The world may tell men to ‘toughen up’ and ‘not act like a girl’, but the role of the tender man is absolutely vital in supporting women in getting back in touch with their innate sensitivity and preciousness.

In a world that feels harsh, hard and at times loveless, it is difficult for women in relationships to feel safe enough to share this delicateness, which is why the gentle loving presence of the tender man can be so confronting – because it calls women to let down their walls of protection and address their lack of self-worth.

We may think these walls prevent us from getting hurt when in fact they do the exact opposite. Without a deep connection to our inner-heart we lose our true compass in life – our innate wisdom and knowing which tells us everything we need to know. It is the loud voice at the back of our minds that we too often dismiss when things don’t feel right; when someone’s behaviour feels off or unloving and it’s time to start to say no at the first signs of abuse. This voice, our inner knowing, is our ultimate protector and power, it is not something to second guess, brush off or play down.

"Let a man know that anything other than his natural caring love will not be accepted. He will then learn that he cannot get away with being less than he truly is."

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 562

As women we may judge the tender man for being ‘too soft and gentle’ and opt for one that matches the images we’ve been sold on the tough, protector version of masculinity, even if this means being in an abusive relationship, but what we are failing to recognise here is the absolute strength and courage that it takes for a man to be vulnerable in a world that tells them to be the opposite.

Despite the continual pressure they feel to shut down, withdraw and retreat from sharing their sensitivity with people, these are the men that have held onto something so very pure and precious – something that we all entered the world with, boys and girls equally.

Could it be possible that if women embraced the power of this sensitivity in themselves and in the men around them rather than put up walls of protection, that the reflection of the tender man would actually become a turn on rather than a turn off, and the mean guys wanting to continue the ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’ wouldn’t keep getting the girls?

Now wouldn’t that turn the tables around?

Filed under

AbuseSelf-worthRelationshipsIntimacyHealthy relationships

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    By Alison Coleman, Bachelor of Business (BBus)

    Alison is a practitioner of Universal Medicine Therapies in Sydney who brings a depth of warmth and wisdom to her work in supporting people to develop a strong sense of their value, worth and unique expression in the world.

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    Photography: Matt Paul