I have a homegirl who I’ve been close friends with for almost a decade. She’s gorgeous, motivated, successful and to her chagrin, still very single.

But don’t confuse that with her being lonely, because she definitely goes out on a lot of dates and even enters into the “opening stages” of relationships with dudes. The reason I’m so close to her is because she’s just a genuinely good person with a truly good heart, so I know she’s not BSing when she says she wants to find a good man that will spoil her as much as she’s willing to spoil him.

Over the years, as she’s continuously told me about her failed relationships, the one comment I’ve always found myself saying to her is, “Fam, you really gotta stop giving these ninjas the world before they even show you they’d give you gas money and bubble gum.”

The truth is, I know she can’t help it because it’s her nature. She’s a giver. My friend is the type of woman who, in between working her 9-to-5, her side hustle and running her own company, will always find time for the man she cares about. And it’s unfortunate as hell that her generosity has been taken advantage of so many times.

Recently, she came to me and said she had found a new way to date, one that would decrease any potential chances for heartbreak. Intrigued, I sat back to listen, only to hear her repeat a misguided phrase I’ve heard far too many women utter as if it’s the absolute gospel: “I’m just gonna find a man that loves me more than I love him.”

I’m not sure who started this logic, but it’s predicated in the insidious falsehood that the person with the bigger heart is the most susceptible to being manipulated. That logic isn’t deep. In fact, it’s actually over simplified. The key to finding love in a relationship with a man isn’t so much about finding someone with a greater adoration for you than you have for them, but rather finding a man that loves you with his heart, not his mind.

As commonplace as this occurrence is, it’s interesting that we don’t talk about it often. There are a lot of dudes who are in relationships with women they love in their mind and there’s a very high chance those dudes are going to use those women up in every way they possibly can.

Let me explain how this phenomenon has come to be.

A man’s first heartbreak can be incredibly traumatizing (which is obviously true for women too), but for men, there’s an extra layer of wounded masculinity that lies underneath the pain of love torn asunder that really changes a dude.

In an attempt to hold his manhood in tact, many dudes determine to never allow themselves to be vulnerable again and that means never allowing their heart to exist in a relationship with free reign because it’s just too risky. So the next time we find a woman who checks the boxes we want in a significant other, the fondness we develop for her is more mental than emotional.

This is a stupid, weak and completely defensive method of dating, but we do it to protect ourselves.

Sure we can meet a woman who is beautiful, down-to-earth, brilliant, accomplished, educated and all of that. But the bond we develop with her is one predicated more on “sense” than passion and unsurprisingly, it rarely works out. A relationship without a complete emotional surrender is as easy to get into as it is to weasel out of.

I’ve loved women with my mind. I know a ton of men who’ve done the same. And I know my homegirl has ran across more than one dude who has treated her like that as well. We can love the idea of a woman more than the reality of her, but doing so has one major defect: since true love requires an emotional acceptance of one’s flaws, a dude who loves only the idea of a woman never truly enjoys the totality of her because our mental affinity can’t traverse that gap.

The major mistake my homegirl made is being so anxious to give her all to a dude right out of the gate. She didn’t even take a moment to really decipher how much he actually cared about more than just her features, but rather the sum of her parts. She doesn’t need to find someone she’s more dispassionate about; she needs to give a dude a little time to show he’s actually interested in cultivating something serious.

Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.