Why A Woman Should Be Fine With Or Without A Man

The other day I noticed a comment on YouTube for the video podcast I did with Dr. Taylor Burrowes. This person left a couple of genuine responses and I wanted to take this opportunity to address one thing he said. The commenter writes:

It surprised me to hear the guest say that she has/promotes a mentality that women should be fine with or without her man. This is backwards logically and is a defense mechanism. If a woman is fine without her man, then she wasn’t that into him to begin with and should not be involving herself with a man she isn’t devoted to. In actuality, theres probably very few women in happy relationships, (including this guest) who employ this strategy. If a woman isnt completely emotionally invested in her man, the relationship is dirt. She needs to look at the man she is with as if he is something special that needs to be cherished. She needs to be enamored with him. This “take it or leave it” strategy is doomed for failure.

When I read this person’s comment, I suspected they might interpret what I said in the interview as promoting the idea of women being careless or indifferent about the relationship or the man they are in a relationship with. It could have been in the way I phrased what I said in the talk with Taylor that might have made it seem that way, but I wanted to clarify and explain my position on this.

When I was in my teens and early 20s, I used to be what you could describe as very needy. Whenever I had a boyfriend, I clung to him and became emotionally dependent on him. I thought I would never meet another guy who I would have a good connection with again. It was to a degree that I look back now and can say that it become pretty unhealthy. Whenever a guy would break up with me, it was like my whole world was ending. I would become devastated and feel as if I could never be happy again. Feelings of grief would consume me, and not for days or weeks, but months and I’d even lose weight due to my loss of appetite.

This happened a few different times during high school and college. Maybe it was just a part of the hormones and the drama of becoming a young woman who thought she found ‘the one,” but the neediness was a feeling that I never wanted to revisit again. It’s a feeling that I realized no woman should ever have to go through. Thank goodness my mom was there to help me gain some perspective and reclaim my self worth.

When I say that a woman should be able to be okay with or without her man, I don’t mean that she needs to be indifferent or careless. This doesn’t mean that she isn’t devoted or invested in him, but that she should still value herself and be able to function and be happy if something happened to him or if for some reason the relationship ended. It means that no matter what happens, she can pick herself up and carry on without the loss crippling her life.

Calling it a defense mechanism sounds to me like reaching for an excuse for a woman to place a man on a pedestal and value him more than she values her own well being, which isn’t healthy. It will likely send that woman right into the needy and codependent way of thinking that I used to have.

You can’t make a man be the center of your universe.

He can be a valuable part of your world, but making him the center, making him your everything, is simply foolish.

Men really don’t like needy women anyway. They run from these type of women. They like knowing that a woman is in his life because she wants to be, not because she needs to be. A needy woman will chase, and we all know by now that men don’t like to be chased. Instead, he is going to want to pursue the woman who can be complete on her own but the two together can add value to each other’s lives.

A woman can always have the understanding that a desired man in her life is special and that her relationship with him is something to be cherished while keeping her self worth solid and avoiding emotional neediness.

A good, high value man will have no problem with this concept.

Adopting this mentality has been an important part of what has kept my relationship happy and long lasting.


— Ash Pariseau

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Ash Pariseau
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Comments 22

  • This is a very delicate balance! I do agree with you that a single woman needs to have enough happiness in her life that she isn’t “clingy,” or desperately throwing herself at men and doing things to violate her self-respect (for Christians, this includes sex before marriage) just to keep him. I think most women, when they believe they have a high value man, do this, which of course makes the man want someone else and get tired of her neediness. The worst part is that serial relationships like that can damage a woman emotionally, so you are right women shouldn’t have that mentality.

    On the other hand, men are definitely not attracted to a woman who “doesn’t need him.” It’s a turnoff for traditional men (and some secular), to be in a relationship with a woman who constantly tries to emasculate him by showing him she doesn’t need him.

    Finally… it gets really difficult to separate this when in a marriage with kids and for many years. In that kind of secure, monogamous and loving relationship, a wife *does* come to a place where she knows it would be horrible without her husband in her life… thus divorce is avoided and both work together to keep their marriage beautiful (hopefully). It’s not inherently wrong to know divorce would be devastating – for everyone involved but especially your kids. And it’s not wrong to know you are much better off with your husband, and that you and your kids definitely need him. In general, this dynamic switches once you’re married, which is interesting to think about.

  • Hi, this is Aaron I wrote the comment mentioned above. I agree, this is a good topic to discuss. One thing you mentioned was the fact that you were emotionally clingy in your teens and twenties and that when your previous boyfriends ended relationships with you it left you devastated. These instances prompted you to re-think your approach to relationships. I see where you are coming from but your strategy is coming from a place of not wanting to be vulnerable or hurt, so you developed an armor to protect your emotions. You became hardened. The truth is, a womans emotions are her strength, not a weakness. It’s part of what makes you feminine. As much as your emotions drive us crazy, deep down, we love you for having them and expressing them. Denying or repressing them isn’t good and often makes a woman less attractive because she’s emulating a man.

    As I stated before, I don’t think a woman can be happy in a relationship if she’s holding back emotionally. If my wife had the same “take it or leave it” attitude we wouldn’t be together. A woman wants to adore her man and I believe this to be natural. Adoring a man isn’t related to a lack of self worth. She may or may not like herself but linking self worth with her adulation for a man is erroneous in my opinion

    • It’s not that I became hardened, it’s that I stopped being codependent.

      I still feel and express my emotions but they no longer come from that scarcity mentality that I once operated from.

      There’s nothing wrong with a woman adoring her man, but it becomes unhealthy when she starts thinking that her life is nothing without him.

      A woman should be able to come from the mindset that she has no problem experiencing emotions or expressing them, including the fact that she prefers him in her life. However, if he were to end the relationship, she would feel sadness and grieve, but she’d be able to eventually move on and still be a happy, functional human being.

      So it’s not so much about holding back emotions as it is examining where those emotions are coming from.

      • I think your intentions are good because you are wanting women to be emotionally healthy in event of a break up. However, trying to avoid heart ache isn’t a good strategy for anyone, especially women. I say this because in order to avoid heart ache a woman usually becomes colder, more distant, and as I said before, “hardened.” She’s not going to be a good mate if she’s like this.

        The topic of a woman knowing her self worth is something you mentioned and is an interesting topic as well. In your opinion, how does a woman come to understand their worth/value? I believe a woman’s value should largely be dependent on what a man finds attractive in a woman. Those traits tend to include things such as; physically attractive, hard working, trustworthy, understanding, cooperative, gentle, pleasant to be around, etc. These characteristics are under emphasized and as a result, women are suffering when it comes to finding relationships or maintaining a healthy one.

        I think a better way for women to approach this is to find the right man. First she needs to be taught on what the “right man” actually means. To be honest, most women don’t really know how to articulate this. They don’t usually have criteria for choosig a mate, and as a result, judge a man using their feelings, They tend to “feel around” until the right feelings arise. This is unwise and probably leads to more heartbreaks than not.

        • I think it’s best for women to be smart and cautious in their relationships with men. If heart ache does happen, it needs to be worked through and moved on from. If women do this properly, they won’t become cold or distant, but savvy.

          A woman’s worth should be derived from within herself first, not dependent on what men find attractive.

          That way, if a man does hurt her heart emotionally, she can still have a solid sense of self worth.

    • Read Taylor’s comment on this page. She seems to have a pretty good grasp on the mentality that Ash is trying to encourage here.

  • I think a very common mistake that people make is to take the exaggerated form of a term or phrase and base their argument on that. Being ‘fine’ without your man doesn’t mean that you have a take it or leave it attitude and doesn’t mean that you’re ready to date the next man that comes your way the next day. It means that you’re literarily ‘fine’. That you’re okay. Not great and excited about life, but you’re fine. It means you’re not necessarily happy, but you’re also not at the verge of a mental and emotional breakdown. And I think this is a good thing and has actually really helped me put my relationships in perspective.

    I honestly think that men just like to fantasize about women being distraught without them because it’s a projection of how they would feel without their woman and if she broke up with them. I would caution women against listening to this kind of advice. It is not healthy at all for a woman to break into pieces just because her relationship is over and it certainly isn’t emasculating for a woman to not be a complete mess at handling the house, job, children and every other task just because her man isn’t there. That’s codependency and even if some men claim to like that, most do not and their actions display that they do not. They might find it endearing in the beginning, but long term, it’s annoying and indicates a low value woman.

    Remember that with men, talk is cheap. A lot of what they say may not actually translate to what most of them will do in real life. I’ve tried doing both, and my relationships have been a lot richer, more satisfying and more valuable to both of us because I had the mentality of “whatever happens, come rain or shine, I’ll be fine.”

    • Women who are just “fine” about their relationships with their men are women who are not attracted to their men. “Meh”. “Eh, I guess he’s OK.” “Eh, I guess life is ok.”

      If all you can say about your man is that he’s “OK” and “fine” and “well, I guess we’re good”, that’s a recipe for disaster. If that’s the best a woman feels about her man, that’s a very big problem.

      • That’s not the type of mindset we are talking about.

        In other words it’s saying:
        I love my husband. I adore him, cherish him, an invested in him, and I prefer him in my life. But if he really wanted to leave for some reason, even though it’s not what I would personally want, I’m not going to beg him to stay. I’ll feel emotions upon the breakup and as normal but the pain will eventually end and I’ll start a new chapter in my life as a happy, functional woman.

        I won’t spend my entire life grief stricken over someone who didn’t want to be with me.

      • Ash has answered this comment so perfectly, I feel like there’s little else I can add.

        Whether or not you’re attracted to your man, there’s just no value to a woman being a codependent mess. Men do not appreciate it long term, and it’s not good for a woman’s mental and emotional well being.

        • You wrote your reply well too. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not being clear enough or if there’s a better way of communicating the message but you seem to understand what I mean so I think we’ve made the point well enough.

  • The other day you tweeted, “A woman must have a purpose but she can’t make a man that purpose.” That fits directly into what you are talking about here.

    Men will tell you that they want to be needed but their actions will tell a different story. He will resent and lose all respect for you. If you become too dependent on him for survival and happiness, it might stroke his masculine ego but you simultaneously risk lowering your value. You’ll essentially become the equivalent of a child or a house pet.

    • My father had a slightly different take on that. It wasn’t necessarily the man who’d resent a needy woman, a needy woman can just as easily resent the man.

      As he put it to me, “Between someone who claims to want you and someone who claims to need you, go with the person who wants you. They’re less likely to resent you later.”

      18 months after declining my marriage proposal my ex said this to me:

      “I can’t control you. You don’t need me, You were only with me because you wanted to be. There was nothing to bind you to me. I was afraid that one day you’d wake up and not want to be with me. If I gave myself to you and you left, I’d be devastated….You did everything I ever asked of you. The harder you tried, the more I resented you for it. I made things so hard for you.”

      It took a few years and a therapist to get my head around that. The therapist said, “That was a confession. Everything you need to know about that relationship is in that paragraph. When you understand that, everything else will eventually fall into place.”

      • Thats interesting but what exactly was the therapist alluding to?

      • What I mean is, when the therapist said it was a confession, what did they mean

      • What the therapist meant was my ex was “confessing” that her abandonment issues rose to the level where she didn’t trust me and wouldn’t take the leap of faith. The therapist said that she explained why the relationship didn’t work. She was afraid to make herself that vulnerable.

        When my ex finished telling me that, I asked her if I had been playing a game I could never win.

        She replied, “Pretty much.”

        The therapist concluded with, “You were lucky she didn’t marry you. Your life could have been so much worse.”

        • I think I get it. Your ex had abondonment issues and was afraid to show vulnerability. Her fear of being dumped led to her sabotaging the relationship. What’s interesting is that your ex had the ability to understand what she was doing. It’s almost as if she was watching herself harm the relationship but did not have the ability to stop herself. Relationship stuff is a trip!

      • You got it.

        When I met her, she was a self-sabotaging people pleasing pushover. I told her if she didn’t turn that around, she had the potential to go through life as a very unhappy person. 5 years later, the last thing I remember saying to me was, “You told me you thought I had the potential to go through life as a very unhappy person. I hate you for that.” A month prior to that, she said, “You taught me how to stand up for myself and I’m grateful to you for that.” Go figure.

        It was her apparent ability to understand herself that kept me in the game. I thought if I hung in there a little longer, she’d come around. She never did and the therapist said she likely never would. Whatever led her to be as she was happened long before I met her and unless she dealt with that, we didn’t stand a chance.

        I asked her if she wanted to get back together, She was seeing someone and said no, she was going to make it work with my successor. I asked what she wanted from me. She said, “I just want to stop feeling miserable all the time.”

        I responded, “I don’t understand. You’re where you chose to be, doing what you chose to do, and you’re sleeping with who you chose to sleep with. Who’s making you miserable?” She hung up on me.

        Later, in a final attempt at reconciling, I offered to pay for a marriage counselor even though we weren’t married. She declined. Later, she told me she’d undergone a Past Life Regression and had a tarot card reading done about us. She had told me when we first starting dating that her greatest fear was to grow old and die alone. I told her she’d had a pretty tough year and asked if, maybe, that under hypnosis, her old fears had come to the surface. She said, no, we’d tangled before sometime in the late Middle Ages.

        I told her that was depressing. Apparently, had we failed to learn anything in 800+ years, we’d get to do this again. The tarot card reading was bleak. The reader said she “…didn’t know how we could be friends, let alone lovers” and she’d “…never seen such chaos in a reading.”

        The ending got even better but the post is getting long. 25 years after we parted company, she sent me a FB friend request. She was with a guy who could be my clone. My ex told me she wanted to meet my wife back then but I declined. Back in the day, I’d asked my ex if this relationship would ever be what I wanted it to be, She said,

        “You should find some sweet young thing that adores you and not waste your time with a crusty old broad (33 at the time) like me.”

        I found a picture of my then smoking hot wife and me and posted it as my profile picture with quote, her initials, the date, and the name of the restaurant we were in when she said it.

        I added, “I found one!” Then, I deleted the request. I don’t know if she ever saw it but I haven’t heard from her since. I did a social media drive-by a while back and they’re living together.

        You’re right, “Relationship stuff is a trip!”

        • That’s a lot of drama! As I read and then re-read your post, I thought to myself “I understand how guys can get caught up in messed up relationships like this.” Nice guys such as yourself tend to be accomodating when they should not be. We give people, especially women, the benefit of the doubt when we really need to be stern. I used to be this way and I’m still probably too accomodating to women at times. However, my wife would probably disagree.

          It’s not easy being a man, and it’s even harder to understand how to navigate a relationship as a man who is a really nice guy. You saught out a therapist but it seems that she would benefit more from one than you would.. If she did see a therapist you might still be together, but ultimately, that might not be good for either of you.

      • One of the nicest things the therapist said to me was,

        “You’ll be a thorn in that woman’s side forever.”

  • Perhaps no women here have been hardened or or developed resentment towards men due to previous relationships going wrong but many women who go through tough breakups become cold, distant, resentful, hardened etc. I spoke with a 22 year old girl earlier today at the gym. After asking a few questions I could tell by her tone and choice of words that she had been emotionally hurt by guys she dated. She made the comment that she was “doing her” and was not currently wanting to be bothered by a man. I could feel strong resentment coming from her and she later confirmed this to be the case. She was visibly angry, sad, and lacked trust in men, and I’ll bet she she was emotionally invested in the relationships that went sour. All of this has caused her to avoid dating in order to prevent experiencing the pain she previously felt.

    Codependency, seems to be the topic of this conversation, and of course, a clingy woman who can’t function without her man isn’t attractive but I really don’t think codependency is what this conversation is about. Obviously, most men do not want a woman who can’t function without him and hangs on to him at all times, but he does want a woman who is completely emotionally invested in him. If a woman is ok with her relationship being over, she likely didn’t like her man very much and she shouldn’t have been with him in the first place. A woman like thiis of no use to a man.

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