Copyright 2006 Brenda Shoshanna
“What’s life without a girl friend?” asks Jimmy, a tall, forty-five year old Sicilian man, an irresistible charmer. “I never say good-bye to one without a few more waiting in the wings,” he says. “It keeps me going. Is that so bad?” Then he flashes his boyish grin.
Although he never stays long, Jimmy has strong opinions on male female relationships. “There’s a conflict of roles, with no roles clearly defined. “Women want monogamous relationships. Men don’t want to get trapped. Men get guilty about leaving though. Believe it or not, it’s hard to leave. We men do get guilty. Whatever we do we end up feeling like rats.
Underneath all this are his feelings of dependency. Jimmy believes a man is nothing compared to a woman.”A man really wants a woman to run the show,” he says easily. “A guy doesn’t know what’s going on. But he also wants the woman to let him think he’s running it. If women could only understand that -boy. It’s a subtle thing.
Commenting on this issue, Dr. Robert Berk, says, “There are a lot of men who can’t tolerate their own dependency on women because they experience it as emasculating. They therefore withdraw. Some downgrade the woman to make her appear a lot less valuable than she really is to them.” Jimmy compensates by having as many women around as he can. This way he won’t be the one to be left – an unbearable ego blow.
“A man likes a strong woman,” Jimmy continued, “but she should be strong in subtle ways. In order to have a really terrific woman that he wouldn’t want to leave, a man has to be confident that his love was strong enough for her so she wouldn’t go somewhere else. Good women are too much for most men.”
When Jimmy finally found the woman of his dreams, he saw her twice, and after that, wouldn’t ever see her again. “The magic was really something. I held her close, we laughed a lot, she was terrific. Neither of us could part. It was perfect. At the end of the night we didn’t take each other’s numbers. We just had our night and said good-bye. We both said to each other we hoped we never saw each other again. You see, we created this incredible illusion for two nights, but could we do it again?
After what happened that night, well, it can’t get better than that? I’m gonna live off that memory the rest of my life.” For Jimmy, and many men like him, being truly happy, and affirmed in love can only happen in the world of illusion.
He was determined to hold onto this woman and the two nights they spent together exactly as they had been. He needed it badly. At all costs he didn’t want the fantasy to be destroyed, or to see aspects of himself or her that didn’t fit in.
When a man is seeking illusion, fantasy, and escape from painful conflict or feelings of low self-esteem, a brief, magical experience, in which no one is tested, becomes a substitute for real love. A fantasy love cannot be threatened or damaged. It also cannot be taken away. Of course, the contradiction inherent in this situation is that holding onto this fantasy keeps the possibility of ongoing, sustaining love away.