How to Avoid Romantic Inadequacy Syndrome!
Many of us men, and many women also, struggle with the feeling we have nothing to offer others, and that we are not competitive at all in the marketplace of love and marriage.
I believe reframing things is helpful, so we can avoid biased and subjective views.
Subjective Views and Intersubjective Views
Let’s begin with the distinction between a subjective, immanent, closed-in view, and an outgoing, transcendent, intersubjective view.
For example, instead of being self-absorbed and asking ‘Do I have anything to offer a woman?’ or ‘Am I able to compete with other men?’ you can shift the focus outwards. What do SOME women want? This will help you get a more objective, less biased answer than the first two questions.
Remember, first and foremost: women are HUMAN. That means they have human needs and human desires, and their capacity for respect and admiration is not THAT alien and exotic, as you might think. Think about what some women want, and then think about how, to however imperfect a degree, you correspond to that ideal. Women don’t necessarily demand perfection, or even anything very extraordinary. This is a bias and an exaggerated view that can lead you astray. You might be surprised at how commonplace and ordinary the desires and hopes of some women are, and the kinds of things (and character traits, and values) women are capable of admiring. Overthinking is underthinking, and underthinking is overthinking.
The obstacles you perceived are secondary: your ATTITUDE of despondency and dismissiveness is the real primary, fundamental obstacle. By working to reframe this problem in your mind, and take a fresh perspective, you can wear down this primary problem; after that, the secondary problems are things you can work on. Sensible women, like sensible men, don’t want a finished product. They want someone they can trust, that they feel they can grow with together, in a process of MUTUAL self-affirmation that brings out the best in each other. Spiegel im spiegel.
The Free Marketplace of Love
Another reframing strategy is to re-examine this notion of a free marketplace.
The market does not work perfectly: it is not that it is rigged, but more that it does have certain distortions: coercion, fear, manipulation, deceit.
How do you navigate a rigged market?
By holding your nerve, staying calm and steady, and above all, not making any rash decisions.
This is not merely basic, fundamental prudence: it is even better than that. Although it may not seem like that at first, you are actually giving yourself a competitive advantage against the bandits and mafiosi on one side, and the reckless gamblers and speculators on the other. You are avoiding the kind of ill-advised short-termism, and while you will lose shallow windfalls, you will make progress towards real windfall gains, as will the one you finally come to love.
Cool, calm, reflexive dispassion, almost a kind of ‘playfulness,’ is the key.
Also remember that as the market is not perfectly balanced and structured, luck does play a key role. Any good businessperson knows you have to make your own luck; but this doesn’t mean you are omnipotent. Sometimes luck comes to you. Sometimes it has to, otherwise further progress is not possible.
So don’t be too hard on yourself.