08/16/2011 02:27 pm ET | Updated Oct 16, 2011

Is It the Man, Or Is It Me?

Last year I found myself, again, feeling confused, upset, rejected over a dating situation when he didn't call. When he didn't call for a few days, I jumped to the conclusion that, again, like all men, he wanted me when he couldn't have me. He wanted to chase me, then he got me, then he lost interest. This seems to be a recurring pattern for many women that I talk to. After a certain period of time (sometimes it's days or weeks or months), the daily calls and cute texts stop. The effort to make plans to see us stops. Why do they stop? Most women assume that it means he's over it. That he got what he wanted, or realized he wasn't going to get what he wanted without a commitment. Because he's bored now that the chase is over. It feels horrible. When this used to happen for me, I felt used. I felt like a fool for falling for it and letting it happen again. I hated that cycle. I hated that feeling. It made me not want to date. EVER.

But then I decided that I didn't want to feel that way anymore. I didn't want to believe that anymore. Quite honestly, however, when I made the decision not to feel this way, I didn't know how I was going to do it. Because even though I decided I didn't want to feel that way, the truth is, I still felt upset and confused and hurt when the calls and all the attention stopped coming.

But here's how I did end up doing it. Here's my process, and how I changed: I realized, that if I am the one responsible for my life and my thoughts and my feelings, then I am the one who can change this pattern. It's not the guy's issue... (this is in NO way letting a man off the hook for treating us disrespectfully or not following through by the way, but we can't control his behavior, we can only control our own)... but if this is a pattern that happens to me on a regular basis, perhaps, just perhaps I have some part in it. If it happens a lot for me, it can't always be the guy, right!? Maybe it's not just the man... Maybe it's me. I mean, really, every single guy I dated was a jerk? Really? Couldn't be. Somewhere, I knew I had a part in it.

I asked myself, what is it that I need to shift to stop repeating this pattern? For me, the first thing I needed to shift was my self-esteem. To own feeling whole, complete, confident, happy in myself, regardless of what anyone does or says. Inside, everything is so calm and strong that nothing from the outside can shake me... Definitely not a man not calling, no matter how much I like him. Our worth is NOT dependent on whether or not a man calls. That is just plain ridiculous.

The second thing I needed to shift was my immediately jumping to the conclusion that the guy is a jerk. I guess it is different for each woman, but for me, I asked myself, okay, does not being in contact with me or making an effort to see me for a few days really make him a jerk? Sure, in certain situations it does, but for me, as I asked this question, in my situation, it doesn't usually make him a jerk. I made up stories in my head, without knowing facts. I realized I decided he's a jerk without really any information, and this decision is what caused me the pain! This decision that I jump to is what creates the pattern I keep experiencing.

And this was the real moment of clarity, and here, ladies, is the key to what I realized and would like to share with you:

The truth is, whether he calls or doesn't call, or asks you out or doesn't ask you out, is something to observe. Not to get upset about, jump to conclusions about, or make excuses about. Just observe it. It is what it is. Okay, fact: he called or he didn't call. If he doesn't ever call, good, on to the next (because there will ALWAYS be a next one), or when he finally does, you get to decide if you're okay with how long he took to get in touch with you, and based on that, you get to decide if you want to see him again. You get to decide if he is someone you want to share your precious time and unique, wonderful feminine energy with. YOU choose. Not him.

If you feel, like I did, that you have been repeating the same dating pattern over and over, ask yourself what is your part in that? How are you recreating it time and again? It is not happening TO you. You are responsible for it somehow. So ask yourself how you are responsible for it, and how you can shift it. And remember that the choice is YOURS. Remember that you are a sexy, powerful, confident woman, and YOU are deciding whether or not to let this man into your special life.