Can You Smell The Desperation?

I used to work with a woman years ago who had the men in the office scared out of their wits. It wasn’t because she was a tough boss or a demanding coworker…it was because she was totally desperate to land a man.

The truth is that she is and was an awesome person – hilarious, smart, so much fun to be around – but all that was eclipsed by the stigma of desperation. She didn’t think anyone could tell, but just about anyone could smell the desperation from a mile away. She talked about men all the time, she inquired into the marital status of every guy in the office (especially any new guys), she dressed a little trashy, she made men uncomfortable by overly touching them and attempting aggressive flirting. All in all, she was just a hot mess. It was really hard to watch because the more she acted this way, the more the men stayed away.

Desperation creates a horrible, viscious cycle. The more desperate you feel and behave the more it keeps the people you most want to attract away. It’s not something that can easily be hidden either…if you feel it inside, you can bet it’s leaking out in ways you’d never really expect.  Guys can tell if  you are desperate to settle down and get married right away or trying to beat your biological clock. It makes them feel as if it doesn’t matter to you who you end up with…that you just want to seal the deal, get off the market and start having babies with whoever will agree.

Here are some signs that you might be acting as if you’re desperate:

  • You’re always in a relationship and feel unbearably uncomfortable being alone.
  • You’re micromanaging your relationship – you have it all planned out and push for commitment right away. You push to know what you mean to one another,  try to manipulate an “I love you”, push him to propose, etc. You feel incredible anxiety until you get to the “next stage” of the relationship.
  • You accept last minute dates and booty calls.
  • You don’t have your own preferences. You want your potential partner to like you so much that you are overly agreeable, don’t voice your own opinions or don’t stand up for yourself.
  • You fish for a lot of complements to feel secure and good about yourself.
  • You neglect your friendships, your hobbies and your personal interests. (No one wants to date someone who puts their life on hold to secure a relationship.)
  • You rationalize bad treatment or drop some of your relationship “must have’s” to make a relationship stick.

The bottom line? If you see yourself in the list above, it’s time to work on realizing how amazing you are, how much fun to be with you are! Focus on developing the life you want to have by working inwardly on yourself, instead of outwardly on others.

Are you happy? Do you have active friendships and social interests? Build these up! And, I’ll tell you a little secret…happy, busy, interesting people attract the MOST interest from the opposite sex. So create that life and watch the relationship prospects line up all down the block.

Final thought….dating isn’t a game – it’s a dance. You teach partners how to treat you by the treatment you accept. It’s a basic human behavior. So expect a lot, expect honesty, stability, smarts, good careers and cherishing behaviors…and don’t accept anything less.

Photo credit: Sailor Coruscant’s Flickr photostream


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Categories: Discussion


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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15 Comments on “Can You Smell The Desperation?”

  1. February 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Each bullet point describes a good friend of mine. Many times I’ve suggested she be single and give the relationship world a break, but how do you tell someone that they are coming off too desperate?!

  2. February 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    This is a totally amazing post & I’ve lived both sides of the coin. When I stopped running from one relationship to the next, & started working on me… Not only did it turn out that I attracted more quality people (friends & dates) but I felt SO much better inside. It took time but I got there & SO SO glad I did.

    • February 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      The same thing happened for me, Cadence!

  3. February 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I second the previous commenter, Emmy. I have a friend who needs to read this post, but how could I ever pass it on to her?? Grr…

    • February 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      Hmmm…maybe recommend the blog to her, but don’t send her just this article. I totally know what you mean though – this is a very touchy subject.

  4. Patricia
    February 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    How do you treat this situations when you are married??????

    • February 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      Well, if some of these behaviors are occuring when you’re married it’s time to work on and address your self esteem. Do you have a life that’s your’s independant of your partner? Do you have and spend time with meaningful friends? Do you have any personal interests and hobbies that make you feel good about yourself or make you happy? Do you have standards for how you require people to treat you? If not, it’s time to build your happiness and your life.

  5. Patricia
    February 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    we do have friends, however we do spend a lot of time together. It’s hard to be in a marriage where a woman doesn’t feel love and your partner doesn’t show you with physical contact love. and there is only so much I can address the situation.what to do when your partner tells you he is not sure if he is in love with you? I have work, school, friends and so does he. what’s wrong with my marriage?

    • February 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Patricia, I’m so sorry you’re going through this.
      Yes, it’s a big red flag if your partner is telling you that he’s not sure if he’s in love with you. I recommend seeing a counselor together to sort out the issues and remember why you fell in love in the first place. And, if he won’t go to a counselor with you…definitely go on your own to sort out what YOU need and what’s best for your happiness.

  6. Patricia
    February 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    thank you so much! I will try…i don’t think a counselor is an option. But we’ll see.

  7. February 10, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Great article!

  8. February 10, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Oh, I know one or two girls like that. Yes, guys know. They can smell women like that a mile away.

  9. February 13, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Wow what a great article! I think its always good to reevaluate how you fall in the desperation scale. There are some things I could work on. Thanks for posting

  10. February 15, 2012 at 3:33 am #

    Desperation is a sad dilemma. The more you want and need the less likely you are to get what you want.

  11. February 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    She seems like a hunter to me!!!! She is finding ways to obtain what she ultimately wants…. Desperation would be trying to hold on the some that isn’t worth holding on to!!!! I love women that put out what they want and its my responsibility to tell them whether i am buying it or selling it!!!!

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