IT WAS A sobering moment when I befriended guys who ‘got laid all the time.’ I had formed an idea of who I wanted to be in my mind, an idea that was based around how I wished to behave, the results I wanted to get, and the way people would react to me. This idea, to my mind, would prevent me from feeling what I felt at the time; loneliness, sadness, and shame.
Based on what I felt was lacking within me, this idea took root in the real world as a ‘player’. A guy who got all the girls, and was capable of getting the validation I emotionally needed at the time. For a long time, it was my ultimate fantasy.
But as with any fantasy, reality had its ugly way with it.
I was sat in a hostel in South East Asia, talking with a guy who had an exceptional ability with women. When we went out, he’d almost always bring one home. He’d talk to them in bars, the club, the street, everywhere. When I asked him about his life, he always had stories littered with women. In fact, it seemed his stories never ran out. He’d experienced everything.
But despite this, something always seemed off.
Halfway through his latest story, probably about some South American threesome, or that Stripper he took home, I asked him if he’d ever had a long-term relationship. He said he had, then continued on with a story, probably about an air hostess. He was smiling and happy, but his body language screamed at me that he had avoided the question. So later I asked him again.
And I noticed a pattern.
When he talked about his Ex, it was stories about how she wasn’t over him, how whenever he went home she would jump at the chance to make herself available, how he felt sorry for her and sorry for the guy she was with. When he talked about his Ex, he made a point of illustrating how she knew she had lost out, because, clearly, he was such a great guy.
It was a pattern of details, of attention; where he always seemed to find a way to illustrate how desirable he was, and how hopeless women were without him. And it didn’t just pervade the stories of his ex, I came to realize it occurred in every story he told and everything he did.
It was one of those points in a conversation where the connection between you breaks, and you realize, despite the apparent similarities, that this is someone who is different to you on a fundamental level. He needed me to know his Ex regretted losing him. He needed girls to want to sleep with him and he needed me to know girls wanted to sleep with him. Because, at the base of it all, he wasn’t talking to me, he was talking to himself. He needed all these things.
He was consumed by his need for validation.
Despite the attention he got, the lifestyle he had, and the confidence he walked around with – there was something oddly hollow about him, something pitiable. I saw in him everything external that I wanted, but at the same time, nothing that I wanted internally. He was a man at once propelled by his confidence and ability, whilst at the same time, stunted by his malformed emotional needs, which he constantly had to placate with validation. Inside, he was just as needy as I was when I had started. He was just as needy as a guy who couldn’t get laid.*
Despite his results, he was everything I was trying to run away from.
Befriending guys like this, I eventually became disillusioned with my fantasy. The reality wasn’t a life I wanted, and it was a life that seemed to trap a lot of men. No ‘player’ seemed to have made it out the other side. Far from being immune to the pains that had driven me to seek validation from women, these men had been consumed by it. But what’s worse is that whilst they got laid all the time, they never, ever got the kind of girl who was impressive in her own right (confident, self-assured, and with her shit together). Instead, they had just become really good at gaming emotionally needy women. Because they were so emotionally stunted, all they could attract were emotionally stunted women.*
Both of them, locked in some need for validation from one another.
Right before my eyes, the James Bond fantasy became unmasked like some Scooby Doo episode as the babyish, emotionally immature fantasy that it always was. It turned out to be a life I didn’t want; and more importantly, a weak man that I never wanted to become.
A lot of guys find it hard to move beyond this need for validation. Hell, I still do too, even though I actively try to avoid it. The truth though, is that this lifestyle, without exception, has appeared in my life as something entirely without merit. Aside from a basic ability to confront anxiety, this lifestyle is usually an indication of an innate inability to confront something about oneself. This, of course, is not to say that being promiscuous is bad. It is only to say that your attachment to the idea, and any attachment to the idea you see in others – is almost always a bad sign. A sign that you or they are emotionally stuck, and going to stagnate.
When we let go of the hunger for validation, we invite into our lives a quality of emotional living that rewards us with enriched opportunities from life. If we truly value our development over our need for validation, then the outcome we invite is that we live lives that are in a constant state of growth. Instead of feeling we need to be someone, we organically become someone. Instead of telling people stories to enhance our ego, we tell people stories that add something to their lives. Instead of learning how to attract a certain kind of woman, we naturally attract the kind of woman who is right for us.*
With the rise of online dating, the shallowness of relationships has never been higher. Any guy with decent photos and a lick of confidence can become a ‘player’. But in becoming this player, he inadvertently confines himself within a sphere of emotional growth. It’s never been easier to get validation, but it’s validation that we should be wary of. Because looking outside yourself for fulfillment, in itself, stops you as soon as you get it.
Instead of aspiring to become another fantasy, hold your emotional richness as a benchmark for your own achievement. Look to overcome your fear, enhance your happiness, expand your comfort zone and diversify your identity. Instead of becoming a fantasy that exists to get you validation from women, become a fantasy that exists to make your life more fulfilling.
Because when you do, the women will come, and instead of being limited by it, you’ll be all the better for it.
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*I still see this same guy posting pathetic and ill-veiled updates on Facebook talking about how he’s newly single and ready to go wild. As if anyone cares and it isn’t blindingly obvious this is just to make his Ex jealous.
*If this is something you’re into, go for it. Personally, I’ve always found it unfulfilling, boring, and not much of a rewarding challenge.
*Unsurprisingly, the kind of woman who could lock us down.