Brief background: Born the youngest of 7 children. Never really been fond of my mom. My dad has practically been my role model for most of my life until I realized that I had to be my own person and not him.

My dad always warned me that my mom could be manipulative, even when I was very young. I caught on to her when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. She would cry, throw a tantrum, or flat out lie to get her way.

She had her favorite sayings like “You only have one mother” or “Look at what I’ve done for you” to get me and my siblings to comply with what she wants.

This didn’t “traumatize” me, I don’t think. I take people as a case by case basis.

I do believe that women, yes, all women, have a tendency to do certain…. things. I don’t know how to put it without coming off as a sexist, so I will dispense with sugar-coating.

Manipulation through tears, or emotional manipulation is a big one. I’ve seen it a lot, everywhere, by most women, and it will happen when you try to date one. I don’t judge, I just think that most women have a tendency to go this route to keep the men of their lives in line.

But either way, I’ve dated women who have been extremely pleasant, it doesn’t matter. I cannot attach to them. Period.

And I don’t think, “Woe is me I wish I could attach to my partner,” I actually wish other people were more like me because it just doesn’t make any sense.

I think deep levels of attachment completely ruins a relationship. When things are casual and sexual, I feel like the vibe is a lot better. Once a woman attaches to me, then she wants me all to herself, yet that may be against my wishes.

I like to date around, and to date multiple partners at once, but I’ve never been with a partner, even ones that expressed how much they loved me, that were willing to “share” me so to speak.

Instead, I have to be the one to get shackled with another. I don’t know if this is bitterness or resentment, but I have to make sacrifices (monogamy) for my partners throughout my life but they never have to sacrifice (polygamy) for me. I feel like I’ll never be able to have what I truly want.

It’s almost as if I’m an alien or something. I can’t understand how loving someone so intensely means that you want them all to yourself, but when you don’t care for someone that you may be sleeping with, you don’t care about what they do or who they sleep with yet they can come and go in your life.

It is almost like I am being punished for being likable or dateable, because it comes with conditions, which doesn’t feel like “love”, yet casual dating doesn’t have any conditions, but that makes more “senseQ> to me in terms of what “love” is or should be – unconditional.

I don’t know if I made any sense or not but that’s the gist of what I’ve been feeling since adolescence.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you have concluded that your mother is emotionally manipulative and that you see all women as using emotional manipulation to get their way. You seem to be assuming that how your mother behaves is how all women behave.

Relatedly, you said “I take people as a case by case basis” and then, in the very next line, said “I do believe that women, yes, all women, have a tendency to do certain…. things.” That is a major contradiction. If you see all women as having a tendency to do certain things, then you don’t take people on “a case by case basis.” What you are saying, in essence, is that you see all women as being like your mother. If so, this may explain your attitude about women and your inability to connect with them on a deeper level.

You are correct. Casual dating does not have any conditions. It’s also a very shallow type of relationship. It doesn’t require virtually anything of you. You’re free to do what you want, with whomever you want, whenever you want to do it. If you don’t have to commit, then you never have to worry about getting hurt. It puts you in a less vulnerable position, emotionally.

You said that you “think deep levels of attachment completely ruins a relationship.” That’s in direct opposition to what virtually all human developmental theorists believe about relationships. Not all relationships have to be deep, in fact most of them are not, and that is normal. But the inability to connect on a deep level with anyone, not even a potential life partner, is a problem.

One of the most cited and well-respected psychological theorists is Erik Erikson. His theory of psychosocial development outlines stages in the life cycle that need to be effectively resolved in order for an individual to be psychologically healthy and to prosper in life. There are eight stages in his model dealing with infancy through death.

The one perhaps most relevant to you, is that of intimacy versus isolation. This generally occurs in one’s 20s through their 40s. This stage involves bonding to another person, being able to feel the pain of another, essentially becoming selfless. That is what is supposed to happen in intimate relationships. If it does not occur, an individual may experience loneliness or isolation, according to Erikson. It may be the result of a person being too selfish to give themselves over to another person, too frightened or too hesitant. Perhaps you are too selfish, too frightened or too hesitant because of the experience with your mother. You might also simply not be ready for something deeper at this point in your life. Immaturity, limited life experience, and not having met the right person, could explain your position. That could all change in the future.

If you would like to examine this issue more depth, I would highly recommend consulting an in-person therapist. A therapist can help you to determine if there is a connection between the way your mother behaved and how you think about and interact with women. It’s important to come to a resolution, otherwise you may fail to develop the kinds of important relationships that are necessary to be a happy and psychologically well-adjusted person. The shallow nature of your interactions with women may work for now, but at some point, like most people, you may desire something deeper and more meaningful. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle